To those not in the industry, fashion — and fashion journalism — can sometimes seem like quite a hidden world. Marred by well-earnt clichés, certain aspects of the fashion industry have historically been gatekept by “the elite.” However, against a backdrop of global social unrest and intense criticism, fashion, like many other industries, has been forced to make changes for the better.
In a bid to uncover this seemingly secretive world, we speak to Daniel Rodgers, senior fashion writer for Dazed (also published in Vogue, VICE, Highsnobiety, The Face); Olivia Pinnock, lecturer and freelance fashion journalist (Forbes, Drapers, and The Telegraph, among others); and Isabella Silvers, multi-award-winning freelance journalist, editor in Hearst UK’s branded content team, and founder and editor of the Mixed Messages newsletter.
What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Fashion Journalist?
Don’t let The Devil Wears Prada scare you off. There are plenty of routes into fashion journalism, and you don’t necessarily need to boast any one specific sets of qualifications.
Reflecting on how he got into the industry, Rodgers, who grew up in London, recalls: “I was always interested in fashion, but I never really knew how that would manifest.” In school, he found that significance was often placed on academia rather than creativity, and that conversations tended to be centred around “what universities you might get into.” He ended up doing Spanish and Italian at university, which he found enjoyable, but had no relevance to his current career.
When asked if a degree is necessary to pursue a career in fashion journalism, Rodgers is quick to answer: “No, you don’t need a degree at all. You don’t need a degree of any kind. I don’t think there is a correct way to go into journalism and writing […] No one ever asks me about my degree.”
After various stints working at a cybersecurity start-up, a shop, and at a charity, Rodgers landed a job as a photoshoot producer and was excited by the prospect of being surrounded by creative people. However, he still had lots of thoughts about fashion that weren’t really being answered, so he started writing on the side “as a way to vent my frustration.”
“I literally sat down and wrote a notebook’s worth of pitch ideas and topics. I’d never written a piece before […] I guess an essay was the closest thing.” He then trawled Twitter and LinkedIn to find an editor to send his pitch to, “and luckily by some miracle, it got commissioned.”