FASHION. BEAUTY. LIFESTYLE. an indecisive girl's life

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Alexandra Shulman Lecture

I guess for anyone who loves fashion, they will know of Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of Vogue for the past 25 years. Personally for me, Vogue was that one magazine that I didn't really read I just brought it to look at the pretty editorials & stick them around my room. 
Unbelievably Shulman was guest lecturer a few weeks back at my Uni which I still can't actually believe and I finally got round to blogging about it. Okay this post should have gone up a while ago but I only just sat down to write it today- as you can probably already tell, organisation is something I lack. 

The second I heard Shulman was giving a lecture at NTU I couldn't wait to sign my name up, I won't talk about it too much as I know I say this a lot but working for a magazine is 'the dream', so I was really interested to hear what she had to say about the industry. 

Alexandra Shulman has been editor of British Vogue for the past 25 years which is crazy to think I wan't even born when she took over Vogue UK, so when she announced she decided she was leaving back in November I was a little shocked. Still Shulman said she'd achieved everything that she'd wanted to with Vogue and felt it was time for a new challenge so is ready to leave June 24th.

Interestingly Shulman revealed she won't be missing the following:
- how relentless it is.
- the feeling of never achieving anything because you're always 3 months ahead in production.
- negotiations when the don't go your own way.

Running Vogue is a tough job, what with 12 issues a year it's a tiring but wonderful job to have. Still Shulman was use to the pressure after having been the editor of GQ magazine before she moved to Vogue. But the digital age we live in nowadays makes it so much more demanding, we all want the latest story yesterday which is an impossible task. 

What I was surprised to hear Alexandra say was that she feels the fashion industry has changed and she's noticed this since she's been in charge of Vogue. "The industry wasn't as democratic as it is nowadays and interest in fashion has grown so much!", back when Vogue started around the 60's  if you wanted to read a fashion magazine then Vogue was the answer but now we have hundreds of fashion magazines to choose from each appealing to different audiences. Fashion has always been about the celebrity culture but how many celebrities that includes has changed drastically over the last 25 years- celebrities are style icons for fashion. 

"People have a relationship with the physical object. Says a lot about you as a person" Shulman 2017.

Vogue is privileged, it's about telling the story that hasn't already been covered- every single newspaper and magazine wanted Duchess of Cambridge in their print but Vogue was the one who got her for their centenary issue, Vogue has a long standing history of having Royals in their magazine. Shulman said that the Duchess was very collaborative to work with, she gave her own opinions and liked the close to informal images shot by Mario Testino (a favourite photographer of Vogue and the Royals). Not all photographers are good to work with though- David Bailey has this "you need me more than I need you type of attitude" yet managing personalities is part of your role as editor. 

One question that everyone wanted to ask Shulman was what's next for her? 
"Journalism" is amongst the many things that she'd quite like to get her teeth into, a lot of newspapers have written to her about writing a weekly column yet it's not something that she's ever wanted to do. TV is another possible avenue that Shulman would quite like to explore- however she'd only do TV opportunities if they were not on Vogue. The 'Inside Vogue' documentary that they did was great for the magazine as it opened up a whole new audience, they had been asked before if they wanted to do it but they didn't because programmes weren't really something that they wanted. It was filmed over a big chunk of the year, Richard came in for 9 moths of filming between September - June.

Vogue has had some very memorable covers over the years but Shulman said that the Bowie cover is one of her favourites, she was very unprepared to hear that he had died. His gender fluid appearance made him the icon that he was, we all wanted to look like him. He had a massive influence to fashion.

Journalism is such a wonderful thing, we need that ability to be able to share stories and information with people even Airbnb have signed a deal with Hearst publishing to do a print magazine, that just shows that massive impact magazines have on all our lives. I for sure would be lost without them!

Shulman herself said she has no fashion inspiration however Prada has wonderful style, her own style is schizophrenic, practical style to fit in with her hectic life. Devil wears Prada is a fictional portrayal of fashion.

The millennium consumer is bothered by shared economy and lack of ownership because clothes massively define us as who we are. Two principles that keeps Shulman motivated are "If a things worth doing then you can do it anyhow" and "don't strive for perfection".

How important is the DNA of Vogue? 
There are 23 different Vogue's in the world and there is very little crossover between them all. Edward Enninful has worked on American Vogue so some of that may translate into British Vogue when he takes over as Editor but who knows.

One question that popped up in the interview was about ethical fashion... now for me this is something I've grown to value a lot over the past year since starting Uni, which is bad timing considering my clothes budget can only just about afford Primark. Shulman is sure things will change though, "people vote with their wallets. Everybody should if possible be able to afford as the issues are too huge for people to avoid." Quite true... now I not saying I'm going to stop shopping in Primark but I am going to start being more selective about where I buy from.

One final thing... 

What do you think Edward will bring to Vogue?
"Obviously you want to see the magazine still succeed but you do hope as well that the person who takes over from you doesn't do any better than you. I don't know Edward very well but I do know he has a brilliant sense of style and a good eye for visuals, he's also very collaborative so I'm sure he'll bring a lot to the magazine" 

This sounds very cliche but I found this lecture probably one of the most inspiring ones I've ever had, personally it gave me the boast I needed to work as hard as I can to get to where I want to be in life- which is good timing considering my deadline is on Thursday. Wish me luck!

Take care & I'll see you all very soon.


Pictures are not my own, taken from Google.

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