For those of you that don’t know, Condé Nast is the publishing power house behind the infamous catalogue of the catwalk …Vogue. With countless budding branches under their belts, including Teen Vogue, Miss Vogue (US) and Miss Vogue Online, the name ‘Condé Nast’ is one synonymous with royalty due to its affiliation with the fashion Bible. Being an avid reader of all the companies works (and an aspiring lifestyle journalist myself) the mere thought of a weekend under their professors and professionals threw my mind into a whirlwind of wonder and hope towards my future career prospects.
After 6 months of anxious anticipation, Saturday the 8th of July finally arrived. My black leather sling-backs kept my nervous knees balanced, as I climbed the stairway to heaven from Tottenham Court Underground. As I reached the Greek Street address, I met my reflection in the gleaming glass doors. I studied my look one last time before entering, checking for the imperfections bound to stand out in a place as fashionably flawless as Condé Nast. I had chosen an all noir, high-street ensemble, paired with a red lip and a Donna Karen over the shoulder bag to match. After giving myself an accepting nod of the head, I entered the 4 floored kingdom of couture the same way one would enter Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory- with a beaming smile co-ordinated to the excitement I held within. With a mask of professionalism, I stepped through the mirrored doors- which became exceedingly confusing when trying to find the exit later.
Modern. Chic. Classic. Elegant. These four words are the most appropriate when attempting to describe the immaculate white finish of each room. The effect of which, is similar to one I believe a halo would give, as the white on white paired with an open plan, countless mirrors and excessive windows meant a flood of light was reflected from every corner. I could’ve used a pair of sunglasses. As I met the women I was to spend my weekend with, I realised that the brightness of the building was not comparative to that of their personalities and levels of intellect. Each individual was a fountain of knowledge in her area- and my mind was an empty pool keen to overflow with information I was about to be fed.
I spent my few days in this architecturally exquisite premise, absorbing all that I could about the fashion industry and how to not only get into the business, but how to change it for the better. In a dog eats dog world, the revolving door of employees (whether designers, writers or creative genii) has meant a great loss in talent due to the ‘now means now nature’ of the 21st century customer. Online, magazines are expected to pump out 100’s of articles and social media posts per week. Designers are expected to form countless modé masterpieces for a never ending cycle of seasons that has grown from bi-annual, to now include the ‘pre-season’ collections as well. Standards are to remain high, however time flies faster than ever before- not only resulting in the burning out of many, but also a greater competition in employability. Due to this, some would say the once impeccable calibre of progression in Vogue covers has decreased.
When looking out on a print media stand, you could once spot the Vogue cover like you could a singular red rose in an overgrowing garden of dandelions. However, this exclusivity has decreased due to the stagnant nature of cover design and model use. No longer do their covers stand out in the newsagents, but instead become undetectable due to the recycle and re-use nature of today’s cover girls. Each magazine company uses the same faces in order to gain publicity and increase profits. With this controversial view to Vogue and its current way of working, myself and a few others took the floor, and gave a presentation to our peers, and to the lovely Zoe Souter (famous for her years of work at Vogue and Conde Nast) on how we thought Vogue should progress in today’s demanding world of media.
Once finished, we were met by the approving smiles of our professor (and of-course our peers) as our ideas were deemed ‘forward thinking’ and a ‘perfect way to counter the tide’ in today’s competitive market.
Although this would’ve been the highest possible note to end my time at Condé Nast on, we were then introduced to the editor of Miss Vogue UK, and Vogue UK’s social media manager – Naomi Pike. Her eccentricity was apparent by her shimmering gold slip-ons and dusty pink calf-grazing hem. But these unique and niche styles were not to be outdone by the beauty of her speech that made evident the talent within her mind. At just 23, she has the competence and skill of someone who’s worked in the business for longer than she has been living. Her talent alone has brought her to where she is today, and for that I found a respect and admiration that ran deeper than my love for Grace Kelly.
Although the trip was filled with moments of great intimidation and the feeling of complete inadequacy, it also provided me with priceless encouragement from those who have already made it. Although I don’t believe in validation, simply being told by a member of Condé Nast College that I ‘have potential’ has provided me with enough motivation to take the risky route. It is only through these risks that I can become the magazine editor I long to be.
So now, a week later, I still glow simply from the thought of my quick trip to the big smoke, as it has opened a thousand doors that I never knew existed. I am now at the technicolour sunrise of ambition, and completely prepared for the journey to find my professional Holy Grail.