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02/02/2016

A top fashion journalist on what you need to know to get into fashion writing

A word of advice from Tim Blanks in the fashion realm is worth listening to. The internationally-recognised fashion critic who made a name for himself writing for Vogue, Interview, TheFinancial Times and as principle show reporter for Style.com is known for incisive show reviews that draw on his encyclopaedic knowledge of music and culture, to rich effect. As the newly appointed course director for online fashion school Mastered, Vogueasked Blanks to reflect on the key lessons that would aid would-be fashion writers on their way to success.

Read well to write well

“You set yourself your own standards in a way and I say this again and again: to write you have to read. While you’re reading you are seeing things that you can aspire to. You are seeing a style of writing, you’re seeing writers who have been through what you maybe want to go through in your life, and they’ve been published and they’ve been successful perhaps. Or even reading classic writers. Even reading Dickens or – I’m kind of having a Shakespeare moment myself – or books that I love…You read those books and you see how other people work with words and that is something that you take on board for yourself.”

Context can be key

“When you’re reviewing you’re looking at a fashion show, and when you’re looking at a fashion show you’re looking at what that designer wants to show you about what he has in his mind for the season – the hair, the make up, the music, the set, the choice of models. It’s slightly different from what he’s putting in the showroom to sell. So I review what he wants me to see. I don’t review what he wants the buyers to see. That’s why the context is critical…I can only write about what’s in front of me. The other thing about that, is that I’m telling the reader about what I saw and that’s the other thing. You are there. You’re in Sydney or Lima or Shanghai or wherever. And if I can give a little flavour of what it’s like to be sitting in this venue looking at these clothes then I’ve done it.”

Engage with popular culture

“I’m constantly listening to music, constantly reading magazines, constantly looking at TV shows. You know right now television is incredible so how can I not watch a series like The Leftovers or Bloodline or Jessica Jones, and not go to a fashion show and imagine designers looking at these things and feeding that into what they do? Nothing exists in a vacuum.”

And why it can help you find an authentic voice

“Look at incredibly written pieces of television. Like Chinatown - the perfect script. Listen to how people talk to each other. Actually listen to how you speak. I find that really interesting. People say to me, ‘oh I when I read something you wrote and I could hear your voice, I could hear you saying those things’. So listen to how you speak and get that on the page.”

Fashion history isn’t something you should labour over

“If it’s not something you’re interested in to begin with, it’s not something you can make yourself interested in. To be interested in reading about how fashion started or the characters who make fashion, for me it was kind of peripheral because Coco Chanel was part of worlds I was reading about anyway. Cristobel Balenciaga was dressing the wives of men whose biographies I was reading, you know, it’s sort of a peripheral thing.”

Be curious

“All I can say is nothing should ever be a chore because if it’s a chore it’s not valuable to you. If you feel you have to research something, you have to research something, it’s a real drag to do it, the research isn’t going to be useful to you. Just be endlessly curious, and everything you learn is a boon.”Read more at:plus size formal dresses | cheap formal dresses

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