How to Become a Fashion Editor

To become a fashion editor involves a complex career and training path. It's not easy, but for some people, it's their dream job.

Training and Education

The training involved in becoming a fashion editor is conventional. It starts with a college qualification, usually a bachelor's or master's degree in journalism. This is good training for fashion editors because the journalistic role is very much part of the fundamentals of the work. Fashion is a very high-speed, high-turnover industry with rapidly shifting focus, and so is its media, much like journalism.

Media studies is a common component in the training to become a fashion editor. A double degree in media and journalism is becoming relatively common, as new media supplant old style formats.

In the editorial role, training and education go hand in hand. To become a fashion editor, that's actually a pretty good, enjoyable arrangement. It's also extremely functional. This is a very content-based industry, where the presentation skills of media and the information content of journalism are core competencies.

The training element really starts to hit top gear on the job, usually at the intern level. The technical training and production techniques in these internships are particularly important. The basic knowledge gained from formal education is invaluable for real enthusiasts because the transition from training to the business level is intense. The fashion environment is hectic, not to say manic, in its demands for speed, accuracy and quality. Some internships, particularly in top-line fashion media and publishers, are virtual miniatures of the industry as a whole.

Career Dynamics

Important: It must be noted at this point that this is an extremely tough industry in career terms. The fashion industry has a totally undeserved reputation as a shallow, faddish type of business. It's nothing of the kind. The glitz obscures a truly hard-nosed multi-billion-dollar industry. This is an industry for professionals only.

You must understand that in this industry you're dealing with very big business, and those are the kinds of professional standards applied to your work as a fashion editor. The business angle of the media you're working with is the absolutely critical content for publishers and media networks. That's the real basis of career success. You need to know the fashion business very well and understand its priorities.

Getting a job as a fashion editor is a first step in the career dynamics. After that comes a phase of developing your personal style and reputation and backing them up with excellent quality. Career progression is based on solid results. Your publications are who you are to the industry. A fashion editor's career is often a portfolio of different media and publications.

Networking in the Fashion Industry

A reality check for those who want to become fashion editors is this: Networking in the fashion media is based on relationships. Relationships can last for a whole career. Fashion designers have preferred media outlets. Most publishers want to be those outlets, and the fashion editor is an important part of the working relationship with the designers.

You need to be the fashion editor the big names want to work with. They're as tough or tougher than anyone else in the business, and they'll want to work with you because of your standards.