Become a Fashion Editor: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a fashion editor. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a fashion editor.

Should I Become a Fashion Editor?

Fashion editors supervise the production of fashion-oriented content for a variety of media, such as magazines, newspapers, television programs, websites, and radio shows. This is not an entry-level position, and many fashion editors must first get their start as editorial assistants or reporters before moving up the ladder. The job itself is stressful and requires long hours, but competition for these coveted roles remains strong. Fashion editors have experience and training not only in journalism or communications, but also in the fashion industry.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree.
Degree Field(s) A fashion-related field may be necessary; editors also have educational backgrounds in communications, journalism, or English.
Experience 1-5 years of experience in a related profession is necessary.
Key Skills Language and writing skills; interpersonal skills, electronic publishing and Web design programs is useful, since more publications are being offered in online formats; skill with communication equipment is beneficial; long hours and tight deadlines; ability to cope with stress in a fast-paced setting
Salary (2014) $54,890 per year (Median salary for all editors).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Fashion editors need to be knowledgeable of the fashion industry in addition to having strong writing and editing skills. Aspiring editors consider a bachelor's degree program focusing both on fashion expertise and verbal reasoning skills. Degree programs such as fashion merchandising and fashion marketing are beneficial for this purpose.

Students in these programs are required to take courses such as English, history, accounting, textiles, design, and marketing. Students are also required to work with computerized design programs, worksheets, and other visual aids to generate fresh themes and anticipate new trends for retail displays, fashion shows, and other productions.

Success Tips:

  • Complete an internship. An internship enables an aspiring fashion editor to hone valuable interpersonal skills needed for interviewing and for the workplace, to learn more about the industry than what is taught in the classroom, and to build a network of contacts. The internship experience is also a helpful resume builder. Some internship programs require students to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) and complete a minimum number of college credit hours.
  • Gain experience with college media. Experience working at a college newspaper, radio or television station proves very valuable to an aspiring editor's career prospects. Students use the work generated at this level to show their skills to future employers. The experience is also an alternative for students who haven't had the opportunity to pursue summer or part-time internships.

Step 2: Find Employment and Gain Experience in the Field

Fashion editors perform a range of tasks, from producing programs for television and radio to supervising and editing teams of writers and photographers for magazines or newsletters to working extensively with advertisers and designers who may want to market products. The aspiring editor, however, needs to work his or her way up to the top level by serving as an editorial assistant for several years. Fashion editors also sometimes get their start as writers for magazines, websites, or other media. Some editors choose to be self-employed, starting their own publications.

Step 3: Network and Keep Up with Trends for Advancement

According to the BLS, more publications are being viewed online. Fashion editors who are technologically savvy and proficient in navigating online publications and social marketing platforms have an advantage in the job market as more and more print-based media is converted to an online format.

Aspiring editors should look for opportunities to network with others in the field and build strong connections with other writers and editors with whom they work in the course of their careers. It is also important for a fashion editor to have a good understanding of the fashion industry and current trends in the market. Editors keep current by viewing fashion shows and visiting designers' offices and showrooms.

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