We meet GFW alumni Verity Pemberton, founder and editor of Moon Magazine who is also art director at Burberry. Verity talks us through her career journey, how she became a stylist, tips on freelancing, and her creative aspirations.
Tell us a bit more about your career journey since showing at Graduate Fashion Week. What inspired you to found Moon Magazine?
Since graduating I worked as a designer at Urban Outfitters and now work as an art director at Burberry.
I started Moon when I was creatively frustrated in my first job. I had a lot of ideas for shoots and would make them happen — working on the weekends, calling in clothes, making mood boards and working with photographers — but I wasn't doing anything with the content. Creating Moon helped me to channel all these thoughts and ideas into something tangible.
How have you found life in the industry?
One giant journey! The job I am in now is totally different from what I thought I would be doing, but I love it. I have realised that it's so important to try and surround yourself with inspirational people who you can look up to, in some jobs this hasn't been the case and that's where Moon has helped as I have sought out my own set of creative inspirations. I also have realised the importance of learning, if you’re working somewhere it is so important to learn as many skills as you can whether it's the creative, business side or just general industry knowledge.
What does creative consultation involve?
After I had left my full time role as a designer at Urban Outfitters, I went back to help guide the direction for the following season — working on aspects such as the colour direction. At this stage I was also working with several brands and magazines on styling projects.
What advice would you give to students wanting to work in styling?
It is a hard job! It is not glamorous, but if you work with a great team it can be so rewarding. It is easy to put a look together but I think the important thing is making it your own — if you have a unique perspective and can make your work instantly recognisable, then you’re on the right track. Venetia Scott is a great example of this, I can see a picture she has styled and just by the aesthetic know that it's her. She has such a unique style.
What advice would you give to someone considering freelancing?
I was only freelance for a couple of months before I fell into another job. I think the best way to go about it is to structure your days so you have a bit of a routine and in quiet times be sure to get out there and meet people who could be potential collaborators. Make your own projects, always keep things moving and try to meet people you admire for a little bit of inspiration.
“If you have a unique perspective and can make your work instantly recognisable, then you’re on the right track.”
The industry is undergoing huge changes, with sustainability, diversity and responsibility becoming crucial themes. Do you have any opinions on these movements?
I totally agree — not just that — but with the huge shifts in internet and social media — it's a very different environment to when I graduated. In some ways, it’s great, and in others it’s not. More discussion and action around sustainability can only be a good thing. It has also opened up new roles which is great, and made for a bigger conversation on how to buy, use and treat our clothes.
I am a huge advocate of vintage and charity shopping — it's fun and can be a really personable experience — you are giving clothes another life. I also think its great that bigger companies are becoming more sustainable, although there's still far to go. Diversity wise I am so happy that there is such an incredible mix of girls and sizes currently being embraced by the fashion world and hope this continues to be the norm.
Where are you hoping to be in five years time?
Good question! Everything that has happened to me I couldn't of imagined. I would like to complete 10 issues of Moon Magazine, publish a book and be creative director for an independent fashion brand where I can shape their visual aesthetic.
Lastly, to any students that are reading this in admiration of your career — what advice would you give to the students hoping to showcase this year?
Work your butt off. Fashion as an industry is a tough one but if you truly love it and have the talent and work ethic to match you will do well. Always treat people with respect as it's a small industry so a good reputation will only get you further. Always be inspired and if you get in a lull watch a fashion documentary, go to the library and research or try and meet someone you admire. Also enjoy it, you've worked hard and just graduated so make sure you have at least one week off to recharge and congratulate yourself.