Living in a major fashion capital has so much to offer and it’s important to take advantage of it.
If you really want to be successful in fashion learn everything you can - be a sponge. It’s so easy to be so involved in your own work that you don’t have the time to go to a networking event but it can help grow your business.
I went to see Fashion Business Club’s most talked about event to date: Vogue on Vogue, where Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue was interviewed by Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com.
I subscribe to Vogue and I read the entire issue - usually in bed. I’m not the kind of girl who just likes to flip through the editorials - I really like reading the articles, the cover story, the shopping pages - everything. When I was little I remember my mum saying that there were too many advertisements and she didn’t encourage magazine buying. I always loved the advertising, it was one of the reasons I wanted to buy magazines.
I saw Alexandra Shulman speak a few years ago at the Fashion and Textile Museum and it was refreshing. I loved that she was unapologetic for her decisions. There isn’t anything she does without knowing why she does it.
Shulman may have studied anthropology but she’s a fashion veteran. Her mother, Drusilla Beyfuss was a journalist and author of Modern Manners and her father Milton Shulman was a theatre critic. Alexandra Shulman began her fashion journalism career in 1982 at Tatler, worked at The Sunday Telegraph, Vogue and the British edition of GQ, where she became editor in 1990. Shulman says when she started her position as director at Vogue “There is no depth to how much I did not know.” You can’t help but admire people who admit what they don’t know - something quite rare in fashion…
There are lots of fashion courses and it’s become fashionable to be in fashion but 20 years ago not every college had a fashion programme - most often they had design or fine arts but not styling, fashion PR or promotions. You had to work your way up and learn as you progess.
Shulman offered great advice to young designers “If you are going to be a designer, it is a business. You can’t just be an artist. Try to form a partnership with someone who can manage the business side; Valentino Garavani, Giorgio Armani and Matthew Williamson all formed partnerships with people who take care of business.” Also, many new designers are so excited and stressed about their show that they underestimate the importance of the photos. Shulman says it perfectly “The value of a show is the catwalk photos.”
Shulman is a magazine junkie. Of course she receives every Condé Nast magazine free but the magazines she likes to read and buy include The New Yorker, World of Interiors, and other home magazines. She said she also admires Vanity Fair.
One of the things that I really like about Alexandra Shulman is that she seems very down to earth and she is - but that doesn’t mean she’s not in charge.
This event felt like the who’s who in fashion, from BFC Chairman Harold Tillman to Liberty Creative Director Tamara Salman and the lovely Gabriella Piccinni, international business director at Diane Von Furtstenberg. The room was packed but so quiet, because everyone was listening so intensely to the interview.