How I Became a Fashion Editor
After graduating in graphic design from Central Saint Martins and studying “all things filmmaking, illustration and photography”, Ben Cobb began his writing career in film journalism, occasionally contributing to fashion titles. Some of his first interviews were with designers John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Diane von Furstenberg and others.
“I’m interested in people,” the fashion editor shared on a LinkedIn Live broadcast last week. I didn’t really discriminate.”
Cobb joins Dazed Media another man, and left the publication in 2019 after serving as editor-in-chief for four years.He then participated in influential style publications Love Helped launch as co-editor in early 2020 perfect magazinecreative communities and content platforms, Love Colleague Katie Grand. Joined in 2021. evening standard As editor of its complementary lifestyle and culture publications, S magazine.
Now BoF Careers share insights and actionable advice from last week’s event, Building a Career in Fashion with Ben Cobb.
How did you get started working in the fashion industry?
It was never my plan. I have tried everything to avoid it for a long time. I grew up around many friends and family who work in the fashion industry, but initially my two main passions were writing and film. I started writing about movies. This seems like a natural way to combine these two passions.
I am interested in people. So whether I’m a filmmaker, a fashion designer, or a novelist, I don’t really distinguish between them. So I was writing about the film for some style magazines, and it became, ‘Would you like to go interview the designer? And suddenly the different elements came together.
What was your impression when you started working as a writer?
[I did] A very early interview with the designer [like] John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier and I had a wonderful day in London with Diane von Furstenberg. […] i never [felt] Especially obsessed with stars or intimidated by big characters. If anything, I think it probably helped me to be a little naive because I asked what you probably shouldn’t have done.
Learn how to say no. A big part of the job is filtering out what you want to say.
Investigation is key in these early experiences. [I would] do a lot of heavy research […] Then I come up with a good idea in my head and build a character study, a portrait of what I think that person is like. It’s about going out the window early on. […] It takes such a wealth of research to let it go.
What core skills do writers and editors need to work in the fashion industry?
It’s as old as Hill, but writers need to respect deadlines. […] The magazine, which was published twice a year, is now published once a week. [take a] Stand up for deadlines.
Learn how to say no.most of the work [is] That means there are a lot of rejections, and you need to know how to say no and reject things in a professional and careful way.
What advice would you give to junior writers pitching their stories to publications?
Often we all see the same stories pulled from the same net in different ways. I think people are sometimes bound by the original story idea. That’s very important, but it’s also important to tell a known story that we’re all interested in at a particular moment. [and] Do it in a special way — your way.
Each magazine has a very different masthead. Don’t blow up on everyone you know.Do your research and be really specific about which titles [and] magazines you want to read.target them [and think] A place where you want to see your work printed and your story told. Focus on them and look at various publications. The title means something slightly different.
spend time identifying who is the right person [and] Just reach out. They also have important roles, such as managing editors and assistant editors. Get in touch, don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask who is the best person to send this to or point me in the right direction. It’s not him just once. We need to ensure that the first reach actually connects and counts.
what does your day look like?
It really keeps me on my toes—every day is different. [Today,] After writing something […] Since then, every day has been full of surprises, whether it’s running around town, seeing some event venues, or approving video content for social film clips.
The fun part and challenge of it is wearing all these different hats. I think that’s what I like most. It puts me in the widest arena of any other position I’ve ever held.
What do you look for in today’s junior talent?
Creativity and being a little loose with things. Things move very fast. I used to be like a dog with bones, chasing something tenaciously to the end. you can go back to that. Sometimes very focused vision can be harmful in some ways. It’s a powerful energy, but for me, in this media environment, it’s very healthy to keep things a little fluid.
Where do you think the future of fashion media is headed?
Storytelling and quality are always at the core of it.The way things are developing it’s impossible to know what those new platforms will be [and] What new ways to connect with your audience?
A highly focused vision can be harmful in some ways. It’s a powerful energy, but for me it’s very healthy to be a little fluid in this media environment.
[But] I don’t think anything has changed. Telling great stories and capturing great images is still the same. That’s always the job. It’s really exciting how it connects and how it finds an audience. How many options are there now? Who knows what will be available in two years. I think it’s exciting because it changes the way you think about being. I think it’s a technical thing. Essentially, the mind remains.
What do you think are the essential skills to work in the fashion industry?
Resilience. [Fashion is] Tough, but recognize talent. Just go on and understand your worth. Be honest with yourself. Hold fast to two things: your worth and what you are. Keep going until you get in. It’s a great industry that recognizes and nurtures new and exciting talent. worth it. […] Find gaps that have holes and can be filled. There is room for everyone. Just specify which area you are trying to find.
Discover editorial and media Roles at BoF Careers today:
Associate Editor, Burberry — London, UK
Copywriter, Gant — Stockholm, Sweden
Copywriter Manager, Tory Burch — New York, USA
Content Editor, Chico’s — Florida, USA
China Editor, Fashion Business – China
Disclaimer: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.