Fashion editor in chief

Fashion editor in chief

Frances Bridges , Contributor I write life and career advice for twentysomething women. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Five years ago Teen Vogue published “The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide To Careers in Fashion,” to satisfy constant inquiries of how to work in fashion. Next week an update of the book will be published, with 90% new content, reflecting the evolution of the industry in the digital age.

The Editor-In-Chief of Teen Vogue, Amy Astley, is the brainchild behind the handbook, and credits the magazine’s readers with the idea. She wanted to answer all of their career questions in a meaningful way, so she created the handbook to direct them to an in-depth source.

Fashion, for all of its glamour and media presence, has a veil of mystery about how people break in and work their way up. Astley writes in the introduction of the handbook that becoming a part of the industry at large is not like becoming a doctor or a lawyer, “One does not attend a specific sort of school, follow a prescribed course of study, and emerged ready to be employed.”

Astley is very generous with career advice. She has made every aspect of her job accessible to readers. She has given Teen Vogue readers and aspiring fashion editors a window into her career, and draws as clear a picture as possible of what it is like to work in fashion.

The handbook includes advice from a mix of industry legends and new talent, much like an issue of Teen Vogue would. Various professions in the industry are explored, including designers, editors, bloggers, stylists and photographers. Industry icons like Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs and Mario Testino are among the contributors, as well as up-and-coming talent across the field.

I sat down with Astley and her assistant, Alexandra Thurmond, to find out what they think it takes to make it in the fashion industry. This is what they told me:

Culture

To work in fashion on a high level, moving to New York is paramount. New York is not only the fashion capital of our country, but the cultural center as well, and Astley believes only the cultured can truly succeed in the fashion and magazine publishing industry.

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