8 Fashion and Beauty Editors on How Their Retail Jobs Impacted Their Careers

Fearne Cotton's charity pop-up shop at River Island in London. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images

Fearne Cotton’s charity pop-up shop at River Island in London. Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images

When fashion editors are asked how they broke into the business, many of their stories start and end with a single word: internships. An elusive peek into the industry where college students trade (usually free) labor for the opportunity to learn the ropes and make connections that will ultimately lead to a full-time job. The internship model, especially at magazines, has changed drastically over the last few years with some of the bigger publishing companies overhauling traditional programs — like Condé Nast did in 2013 — in favor of fellowships or paid temporary positions.

While it’s easy to see the benefit of internships in the fashion world, they’re few and far between and often geared toward those who live or attend school in New York City, as well as those who can afford to commit up to four months of unpaid work. For a number of top editors and writers, having a job in retail has provided a valuable introduction to the fashion world. Not just in terms of selling trends and styling mannequins, but seeing firsthand how customers interact with product and what they ultimately buy. Everyone has to start somewhere, and these eight professionals are proof that the first step towards your career in fashion could be as close as your local mall.



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