Sunday, 10 February 2013

Topshop talks; When I met Alexandra Shulman.

Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, author and mother is perhaps one of the most influential editors of today. On 31st January, Oxford Street Topshop held a talk with the icon, where she discussed her book 'Can We Still Be Friends', her career and how to make it in the industry. Naturally, as a budding fashion journalist and someone who essentially wants her job, I went along to see what I could dig out.

The evening started off with Alexandra telling us about her book. Her reason behind writing it now, what it's about, and how she relates to the characters. She said that chose now to write her book because although she'd had the idea for a while, she managed to one day just decide to go for it... Despite the fact that it took her 2 years to complete. 

After answering questions on her novel, Alexandra went on to talk about her career; how she got to where she is, her icons, her failed attempt at working in the music industry... That sort of stuff. She told us that she really didn't want to follow in the foot steps of her parents- both two successful journalists. As someone interested in the music industry, Shulman's first two jobs included her working in that particular field. However, after being fired from both jobs before she'd even been there a year, Shulman resorted to seeking help from a job agency. As she was able to write in shorthand (a skill for journalists- something I am now able to do as well!), she ended up working for a magazine... And surprise, surprise, she actually found she liked it! 13 years later, we found a new editor on the throne of British Vogue; Alexandra Shulman.

The editor claims that when she started working in fashion she 'didn't know the slightest thing about it'. She had no idea that fashion was always 6 months ahead and that there were two major fashion collections showcased each year! Now however, the woman has adapted well and is even the editor of the British Vogue iPad app. She claims there are many aspects to her job, but is always thankful to those who buy the hard copy of the magazine- 'if there was no magazine, there would be no website'. Shulman also offered her insight into the ever evolving digital age, and predicts 'in the future, people will be charging for websites, to be able to see the content'.

'Always trust your own judgment.' This is, according to Shulman, key to being a successful editor. She also said that the 'wonderful thing about Vogue, is that we can experiment a little.' Her job, although it seems fabulous includes 'as much hard work as it does glamour'. Well, I don't think anybody would expect being the editor of THE fashion bible being easy! 

Getting my copy of 'Can We Still Be Friends' signed, and
getting some valuable advice from the iconic
She then went on to talk a little about the Vogue Festival. She expressed her happiness at its success, and also that she is a big supporter of British designers, claiming 'they're some of the best designers in the world'. As for the new Miss Vogue supplement coming out this June, alongside that month's issue of Vogue, Shulman told us it is a magazine 'for those who fell in love with Vogue at a young age' (essentially under 20 y/o). If it successful, the Vogue team may look into producing Miss Vogue on a regular basis!

After, there was a quick Q&A session between the audience members and Shulman. When asked what item of clothing should every woman own? Her reply was a humorous 'knickers!' So what more can we expect from the editor-in-chief of British Vogue? Well, so far, she is contemplating writing another book... And after the success of 'Can we still be friends?' I for one, cannot wait.

Alexandra Advice; 'You can always change your mind'. 

Marium x

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