The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design was delighted to hear from renowned Fashion Journalist, Charlie Gowans-Eglinton via Zoom for our weekly industry speaker series.
Charlie joined our students in our virtual lecture theatre to talk about her sparkling career. Having recently traded in her role as Senior Fashion Editor at the Daily Telegraph to focus on her hugely successful podcast The Wingwoman, Charlie imparted some valuable takeaways for the CNC students. Here, MA Fashion Media Practice student, Megan McClelland fills us in on her talk…
About Charlie Gowans-Eglinton
Charlie studied Fashion Communication at Central Saint Martins, where her interest in fashion and writing grew. While there, she started to gain work experience by interning and taking on placements in different areas of the industry. Her advice was to “make a good impression” on those you work with during your work placements because, in the best-case scenario, they’ll call you back or take you on for a longer placement when a position opens up in the future.
Another piece of advice was to not pigeonhole yourself early on. If an opportunity to intern your general field of interest opens up to you, then take it regardless of whether or not it’s exactly what you had set your mind on. To explain this, Charlie drew from her own experience. When she was studying she was offered a fashion internship that she accepted, despite it not being completely aligned with her academic goals. Eventually, she was able to work in a position in line with her initial plan and she was able to gain valuable experience in other parts of the industry.
Attending Fashion Week
One of Charlie’s early career ambitions was to attend all fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, New York, and London – all during one season. She’s since achieved this and touched on some of the main take-aways of attending as a young journalist. For her, these were social and logistical aspects of attending. The social side of the role means getting to know other professionals in the industry. On account of budget restrictions, you will probably be the only person from your team who is sent out to fashion week, so making friends with other professionals will enhance your experience.
She emphasised the logistical aspects of attending shows for a journalist. You need to consider the time difference between when the show ends and the time you have to file your review. If you’re working for a British publication and attending NYFW, then you have much less time to turn around your review. The article needs to analyse the show, contain relevant interviews, and have a clear angle – all in 600 words in just a few hours. In an industry as fast-paced as fashion, being able to process information quickly is key.
A Day in the Life of a Newspaper Journalist
Charlie told us what her typical workdays looked like at The Telegraph. For her, the work was as rewarding as it was demanding. On deadline day, she would have a long procedural list to follow in order to get the articles published online and in print on time. In addition to this, there were multiple meetings in a day to keep the newspaper running smoothly.
Key Take-Aways from Charlie Gowans-Eglinton industry talk
- Writers don’t necessarily work in solitude.
- Publishing is a team effort completed by a handful of people. Interpersonal skills go a long way.
- Time management and organization are also beneficial skills to develop for aspiring writers.
By Megan McClelland, MA Fashion Media Practice: Fashion Journalism