So you’re still at school or college – or perhaps you’re at university but aren’t studying a fashion or journalism-specific degree – and you want to start writing about fashion. It’s just a pain that nobody seems to take you seriously if you don’t have any experience, right?! Don’t panic yet, though, as there are myriad ways to bolster your writing CV even if you lack any formal fashion education. Here’s how to kick off your fashion writing career – you’ll be on your way to paid commissions before you know it.
If you don’t have a blog already, create one now. Open a free account with WordPress or Blogger and get typing. Quality trumps quantity, so write about what you love and the words will come naturally to you. Blogging is an excellent way to develop your writing as, like any skill, the more you practise, the more you perfect it. If you’re planning to study a fashion or journalism course at university, admissions officers will expect you to have a blog or an online portfolio, so make sure this box is ticked before you submit your UCAS forms.
Read everything you can get your hands on
One of the most obvious ways to improve your writing is to read more but, surprisingly, many fashion journalism students think that reading Buzzfeed and flipping through Vogue will suffice. It won’t. Follow the news every day (NB: you can do this online for free, but the Daily Mail Sidebar of Shame doesn’t count) and either buy magazines or, to get more for your money, sign up to an online subscription service like Readly. It’s also important to note that, while it’s essential you know your specialist subject (in this case, fashion) inside out, it smacks of ignorance to overlook everything else. So know your politics, current affairs, sports and culture almost as well as you know your fashion, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than being asked who the Prime Minister is at a job interview and not knowing the answer. Don’t give fashion writers a bad name by purporting yourself as someone who only cares about appearances.
Do some charity work
Charity work is brilliant because, although you don’t get paid for it, it isn’t as discriminatory or hard to land as ‘real’ work. Many charities recruit for volunteers to work in their head offices in their publicity departments, which can make for great hands-on experience in writing press releases, controlling social media channels and working on marketing campaigns – all of which are important skills for today’s digitally savvy journos and PRs. Do-It makes applying for charity work online a doddle.
Remember extracurricular activities aren’t for nerds
Do you have a school paper? A college newsletter? A uni website or newspaper club? Get involved! These are great things to pop onto your CV or LinkedIn profile to make you stand out. Even if you’re at uni and aren’t studying towards a journalism qualification, just ask to get involved – universities generally have various amazing software deals secured, meaning you might have the chance to familiarise yourself with Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign and Photoshop are particularly important), WGSN and more for free.