Chrissy Rutherford's Dos and Don'ts for Aspiring Fashion Editors
Chrissy Rutherford has what many aspiring fashion girls would consider THE perfect job—she’s the Digital Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar, which means she’s always logged on and dialed in to the latest industry news and social media buzz. Don’t be fooled by her title—Chrissy wears a ton of hats. She creates daily fashion content from shopping stories to celebrity style posts, runs the @HarpersBazaarUS Instagram account, and books talent for shoots—talk about a full plate.
It's hard work, but it's also Chrissy's dream role. “I knew that I was going to work in fashion since I was a teenager. I loved clothes and I loved magazines even more,” she explains. A degree in Communication with a focus in Media Studies from Fairfield University provided her the foundation to build off of, but that was only one element of her journey. During college and in the years post-graduation, Chrissy hustled hard, racking up an impressive list of relevant fashion and editorial internships, assisting stylists, and making meaningful industry connections along the way. It was thanks to one of those connections that Chrissy came to eventually land a perma-lance job with InStyle.com. “This is where I really honed my digital skills,” she recalls. From there, things fell into place. “InStyle.com’s fashion news editor eventually left to reinvent Bazaar.com. About six months later she called me to come work there, bringing my career full circle!”
Photo courtesy of @CHRISSYFORD
Photo courtesy of @CHRISSYFORD
Given her laundry list of accomplishments, we tapped Chrissy for more of her top tips on how to make it as a fashion editor. Here are her career commandments to follow:
DO always have a backup. “Make a plan A, B, C, D, and E.”
DO pay attention to up-and-coming brands. “It’s just as important as knowing the established ones.”
DO know your audience. Enough said.
DO diversify your skillset. “You can’t just say, ‘Oh I only do this’ or ‘I only do that.’ The digital landscape is changing so much, so you always have to be prepared for that.”
DO cultivate your taste. “I thank my eye for fashion to the many years I spent studying fashion magazines.”
DO write everything down. “It prevents you from having to ask the same question over and over. It’s so easy to forget things!”
DO NOT discount the importance of learning experiences. “I hit a slight snag after graduation because the economy took a nose dive, and everyone was getting laid off. I landed a freelance gig working as a sales assistant at a multi-label showroom. It was far from my dream job, but still gave me great insight into an industry I was dying to become part of.”
DO NOT be afraid to voice your ideas. “Even if you think they’re crazy or stupid.”
DO NOT dress for the runway. “A lot of people will show up for internships in heels, but the fact is we’re either at our desks for most of the day or running around to appointments. A bit of practicality is important.”
DO NOT expect anything to fall into your lap. “To be in this industry, you have to be very nimble, and willing to do whatever it takes.”
DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. “If you don’t understand something, it’s always better to clarify than do it wrong.”
And of course, DO NOT give up on your goal!