Never Worked a Day: I’m a Fashion Editor

Never Worked a Day is a series of interviews about people who are working, or are working towards, their dream jobs. A large bulk of us is still paying our dues towards that ambition, or is still actively searching for it. No matter our circumstances, I’ve always found that listening to inspiring people who have somehow found the courage, perseverance and admirable fervor to weave those dreams into a very tangible reality, acts as a huge propeller for us to discover and live our own passions.

Honestly, this is one of the most informative interviews I’ve ever conducted. I never knew that a fashion editor’s job was so fascinating and truly as glamorous as it seems on TV (besides the hard work and perspiration that gets cut out). 
Mary works as a senior fashion editor for Metro Magazine and I just love how her answers are so refreshingly honest and detailed (especially her advice to all aspiring fashion editors at the end). Enjoy!
All photos via: ArtofWore.com
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I work for a publishing company in Minneapolis that puts out around 25 magazines. I’m the senior fashion editor for METRO, a monthly city magazine, and editor-in-chief of three wedding magazines that come out twice a year. In my off-time, I run ArtOfWore.com, a blog dedicated to my personal musings on fashion, beauty and everything in between.

What are some of your job responsibilities for the magazine?
I conceptualize, research, write, assign and edit stories; organize, style and attend photo shoots; and host/emcee events for the magazines.

Tell us about New York Fashion Week. Is it as exciting as it sounds? How do you get on the list? (anything else you’d like to add about it) 
Yep, it’s as exciting as it sounds. I love getting to see designers’ collections, in person, as they’re released to the public. Each show lasts around 20 minutes, but it’s an exhilarating 20 minutes. Add to that the chaos of trying to get around town and make it to shows on time, and you have quite the frantic week. It’s also so much fun to get dressed up and see what everyone else is wearing. People really go all out. There’s no such thing as overdressed at Fashion Week.

I get on lists by purchasing press credentials through Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, then querying the designers’ PR firms for invitations. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. It’s getting harder and harder to get invited to shows, and I think that’s because so many bloggers are now taking up seats. Many editors are bitter about this, but I think it’s ultimately a good thing.

What are some of your favourite trends on the runway? 
Grunge, ‘90s, ‘70s, leather, neon, long skirts, printed pants, sequins, sheers and oversized tops.

Where are some of the best places to shop? (Including online shops)
I recently explored the new zara.com and I’m hooked. It’s so affordable and offers free shipping! I’ve also been known to scour ebay.com for deals. But honestly, my favorite places to shop are thrift stores. With so many trends pulling from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, it’s easy to find original pieces for next to nothing at Goodwill, the Salvation Army and stores like that.

I am obsessed with your Wisconsin Bride Fashion Shoot! What were some of the best and worst moments of organising a shoot like that? 
The best moment takes place at the shoot while everyone is huddled around the computer watching images pop up as the photographer is shooting. Of course, that moment is only good when the shots are coming together nicely; and when they are, it’s the best feeling. The worst moments usually take place during the planning of the shoot, when fear and uncertainty creep in. Sometimes I worry over an inexperienced model or an overly ambitious concept — either way I’m nervous until the minute we start shooting. Ninety percent of the time, there was nothing to worry about. But sometimes my fears come true and we have to scramble to save the story!

Where are your favourite settings for the photo shoots you’ve done so far? 
My favorite setting by far was in the sand dunes just north of Mexico. It was a grueling, hot day, but the view was fantastic and gave the story so much drama. I’ve also enjoyed shooting on the beach in Duluth, in the middle downtown Minneapolis during the lunch rush, in a small town in rural Minnesota, on a boat on the Mississippi River, and on the most amazing little farm.
How long does it usually take to wrap up a shoot? 
Anywhere from eight to 12 hours. But I’ve been on shoots that went as long as 14 hours. So exhausting!

What advice will you give to others who want to be a Fashion Editor too? 
Try to stay on the cutting edge of fashion, knowing which trends are fading and which trends are coming up; do internships to get your foot in the door; start a fashion blog and keep it up, even if it feels like no one is reading it; read as many fashion magazines and website as possible and study what makes stories great and not-so-great; assign yourself stories and write them, repeating this until you produce something amazing, then submit it to publications.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below or head over to Mary’s wonderful, and extremely stylish, blog!