Fashion Journalists Are Journalists, Too

21 Mar

Over the course of my career, I’ve met many talented journalists who suffer from the same inferiority complex. Some are uncomfortable even admitting that they write about fashion; they feel the need to make excuses and intellectual justifications. Why is it that sports writers and food writers, for instance, have no problem seeing their work as relevant and serious? Fashion is an art form in its own right, one that has the power to change us, move us, excite us, and make us feel and look good.
–Stefano Tonchi, Editor in Chief of W

This quote from Tonchi’s letter from the editor really hit close to home, because I have been one of those journalists. As a journalism student, I had been taught to report about “real people” and  “things that matter.” It’s tough to feel like you’re a legitimate reporter when you’re bombarded by these messages class after class. I actually used to have guilty feelings about wanting to go into fashion journalism, feeling like I was a bad person to not want to write human interest stories that will change the world. But then I remembered that to a lot of people, fashion does change their lives. Opening up a magazine can take them away from their problems and putting on clothing that truly reflects who you are can be an uplifting experience. Fashion matters.

And I remembered that fashion reporting requires its own skillset. Just as sports reporters have to know players and coaches, fashion writers have to know designers and models. And like food writers have to have a refined pallette, we have to have a sartorial eye.

I think a lot of the stigma of fashion journalism comes from people who don’t understand fashion. They don’t get that it’s more than just clothing, when in fact it’s a designer’s vision put out on display, much like an art show. And the people who write about this art form deserve to feel like they’re doing meaningful work, because it truly is. I know deep down now that it is relevant and important. And even if the stigma doesn’t change, I’ll still be proud to be writing about what I love.


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