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Question: I want to be in fashion, but not in a design role. What are my options?

Claire is a fashion publisher working in Melbourne, Australia. We spoke to her about her role, the fashion industry and the best advice she’s been given.

FN: What advice would you give to someone wanting to start in the fashion industry, but doesn’t see themselves as a designer.

Claire: Explore all of the unseen careers! When I was at school I had no idea at just how many roles for business people there are in the fashion industry.

A lot of people are interested in the glitz and the glamour of ‘fashion’ but it is a business industry. The truth is that the ‘design’ element of the industry is probably the smallest bit. The rest is about selling product and working out how to get people to ‘care’ about fashion.


FN: What is an example of an ‘unseen role’?

Claire: You could work in retail or e-commerce, or publicity, product development or supply chain, marketing or social media, photography, editing, editorial or advertising. Each of these roles are really, really different.


FN: You are in editorial and work as a ‘publisher,’ what does that mean and how did you get here?

Claire: As the publisher, you set the editorial direction of the magazine. I didn’t even know I wanted to be a publisher when I was at school and I didn’t even know what a publisher was.

It’s my job to make sure all of the moving parts that make a magazine are working together in the same direction. In each magazine we need articles columns, special features, a few photo spreads, some product stuff, ads. So part of my job is to set the direction of the magazine edition and the articles that need to be included. Once the direction is set, you leave it in the hands of your editors and monitor the progress from a distance, stepping in only if needed.

Then I’ll read and review the magazine at certain points during production -including just before press time – and make any changes that are needed. When the issue is complete, you give the OK. You need to ensure that all of our client objectives are being met, that the magazine is being commercial, that you are being true to brand messaging.

But that is just print. I spend majority of my time driving online and social content and traffic. It’s not enough to just be a print business… you need to be across every vertical. So my job then becomes, “how can we repurpose this article into a social post, an online video, an article online…”.


FN: Your job is a bit creative and a bit business. Which one do you feel that you use the most?

Claire: I think I use creativity the most. You have to be creative every day. Everything is online and people will click away from your content if it’s not interesting. It’s not like the ‘old days’ where you’d buy a magazine and pour through it and re visit articles. You need to be creative in every execution to keep people tuning in to what you are publishing.

You need to ask questions like: How can we keep people guessing? How can we keep people engaged? How can we make sure our digital messaging is on point? Of course, the business side is really important. I’ve still got to be able to add up the spread sheets.


FN: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Claire: Not to expect for things to be fair, because you’ll end up feeling like the perpetual victim. Treat others fairly, of course, but don’t be disheartened if you feel that you aren’t being shown the same respect. Keep your head up and be better.


Sam: What’s one element of your job that people will be surprised that you do?

Claire: How much time I spend looking at spreadsheets! It’s long hours, a lot of analysis. There is a lot of pressure to bring eyeballs to a certain article or story online. It’s not often that great content just ‘goes viral’… if ever. It’s about getting it out to people in the right format, at the right time. It’s all very strategic.

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