Fashion Editor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotThe career of a fashion editor seems glamorous -- flying to fashion shows in Milan and Paris and rubbing shoulders with the stars. The reality is somewhat different, however.

Sure, there are trips. But they can be exhausting affairs with editors scrambling to get the best stories and pictures for their publication.

Lisa Tant is a beauty and fashion editor. "People have to remember that this is a business and not a fun way to get free clothes," she says. "If you're in it for the glamour, that wears thin fast and you won't last long."

dotFashion editors work at a variety of publications, including magazines, newspapers and Internet publications. They also produce television programs about fashion. They may work for large publishing corporations or radio and television stations. Some are self-employed.

dotThe typical day for a fashion editor involves spending hours on the phone with staff or freelance writers. They also meet with photographers and advertisers to make sure everyone produces the material needed for the upcoming issue.

dotFashion editors are the people who decide what their publication is like. They determine the content by selecting and preparing stories and pictures for publication. They set the tone for the magazine by determining editorial policy.

dotFashion editors plan the content of a publication and supervise its overall preparation. They manage staff, handle correspondence, edit the work of writers, hire photographers and stylists and plan budgets.

dotSome well-known fashion editors write their own columns in which they analyze the latest fashion designs, news and personalities. Most fashion editors have a background or education in the fashion industry in addition to their writing and editorial training.

dotMost fashion editors spend their days in an office. That can be a busy and hectic place. The search for the hottest fashion trends and personalities may also take them on the road to factories, offices or fashion show runways.

Fashion editors usually must work overtime to meet deadlines or to cover late-developing stories.

dotThis is a competitive field and some patience may be required to stick out the first few years.

"Is it easy? No. The fashion industry is intensely competitive and it can be very frustrating to get your foot in the door," says Tant. "But it's ultimately exhilarating."

dotPotential fashion editors need a thorough knowledge of the fashion industry, including design, trends, marketing and advertising, and merchandising.

As you can see, a fashion editor needs many skills. What's the most important? "Knowledge of all aspects of the industry. Staying updated on news and trends," says Lawrence Thompson. He is the former fashion editor for the Fashion Institute of Technology newspaper.

"You have to be able to use a computer. I'm on my feet all day. Also, people skills are a MUST."

At a Glance

Plan and supervise the content of fashion publications

  • This glamorous career is really a lot of hard work
  • Fashion sense and a love of writing are mandatory
  • A degree and experience in fashion publishing are required for this senior post