Today, we get an impassioned interview with Chioma Nnadi, who is a fashion writer for American Vogue.
So, how do you improve your writing?
Reading. It seems like such a basic rule, but reading always helps with your writing.
Also just having an opinion. When you write something you have to have an argument. And that’s the leap I had to make at Vogue, figuring out what makes something important now.
And also coming up with ideas. You want to be able to convey the big fashion messages of the season in a way people can relate to. You want to give them some point of entry into what’s going on. There is a lot of information out there but narrowing it down, that comes in the editing process.
So we have to ask, what was it like the first time you met Anna?
The good thing was I wasn’t nervous because I had no time to prepare. They called me and said can you come in this afternoon and it was a Friday and I was wearing jeans. And I said, “Well I’m wearing jeans…” and they asked that I came in anyway. So I ran and bought shoes because I was wearing really ratty shoes. They were cheap shoes but at least they were new looking. And the whole time I was just thinking, “I wonder what she thinks of me, coming in and wearing jeans.”
I thought it would just be a cool story to tell my grandkids, that I met Anna Wintour.
What do you think the benefits are of being at Vogue?
You get the access. And being around people that are really exceptional at what they do is really inspiring. You learn so much.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
There’s always a desire to make something perfect, and at the end of the day we’re working on a monthly schedule or a daily schedule so there are some restrictions to that.
And what do you enjoy the most?
For me the most exciting part about the job is in discovery. I like featuring an under-the-radar designer hat you might not expect to find in Vogue. It was one of the reasons I started reading Vogue in the first place.
Also, I’m a real nerd about fashion, and for me just being in an environment where I can totally indulge and say things like, “what do you think about this pink? Or these shoes?” Being around people who are just as nerdy about fashion as me is really exciting. At the end of the day I’m not saving lives. We’re not writing about world politics. We’re writing about shoes, bags, dresses, hats.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
People who want to get started in fashion writing always ask how do I start, I ask them well what magazines do you read? That’s why I was attracted to Vogue, because I enjoyed reading it.
It’s important to think about what appeals to you, what you enjoy and love and then how can you get into the industry. It’s so important to feel that this is a place you’d want to work. Make a list of the places that you want to work, so you start in your own world.
Read the full interview on Garance Dore.
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