This weeks Inside View guest is Nav Gill, editor of HYPEBAE, the women-centric arm of streetwear platform HYPEBEAST. After studying both design and communications at university, Nav found that her passion for writing and creating content gave her the most enjoyment and thus, lead her on the path to her current role. Nav has some great advice to share with aspiring writers on how to cut through the noise to create unique and quality stories, as well as discussing the unrelenting speed of the media landscape.
How did you get started in fashion? Was it always your plan to become an editor?
I studied Fashion Design with Communication at university. When I first left school, I knew I was interested in fashion and wanted to work in the industry in some capacity, I just didn’t know what. Luckily, my course was quite broad and I was able to have a taste of everything, from pattern cutting and tailoring to illustration and styling. I felt like it was the communication side I was drawn to most, I loved researching and writing, and it also happened to be where most of my skills lay so that was a bonus.
The fashion industry has changed so much, so rapidly so being an editor today is really different to what the role would have been whilst I was a student, and it’s still evolving now. After leaving uni, I contributed to some small indie fashion magazines whilst working in part-time before I landed my role as Editorial Assistant at Mastered, a fashion education company.
Since it was a start-up, my role was really broad and my responsibilities shifted with the company’s needs and my position grew to Assistant Producer. I learned a lot of great transferable skills here, especially in video production but writing was still my passion and I continued to freelance on the side with HYPEBAE, which then led to me taking on the first full-time position in their London office.
What skills do you think are crucial for aspiring fashion journalists to learn?
This almost goes without saying, but research is key and being able to do this well will always show in your final story and will help you form unique topical points that make your article stand out. Make sure that your angles are as unique as they can be, nobody wants to publish or read the same story. It’s really important to be personable too; that’s how you’re going to make the best connection – and hopefully draw the best answers – from your subjects. Also, interviews are much more than just sending over some questions by email – strong in-person interview skills are essential.
“You’ve got to be a great multi-tasker, especially with the pace that the digital fashion industry is shifting at.”
The industry has seen exponential change in the last 5 years, from representation, awareness of sustainability, and the digital revolution. What is the biggest change in your sector and how do you see it evolving in the next five years?
The biggest change for sure has been the advent of social media and the speed with which you have to get news live. With Instagram/Twitter, etc, as soon as any kind of news becomes available, it’s everywhere. Everyone’s publishing the same thing at the same time to capitalise on the buzz before the moment’s over. You really have to hone your skills to be as reactive as possible without forgoing writing something that’s actually informative and engaging. In the next five years, I don’t see this slowing down but I’m hoping web-based platforms will see the importance in balancing this out with more long-form features, in-depth features.
What's the most exciting thing about working in the digital media landscape at the moment?
No two days are the same. Particularly working at a platform that covers such a wide array of topics; one day you’re attending the Burberry show at LFW and the next you’re in Lyon covering the Women’s World Cup. I feel really privileged to work in an industry that taps into so many other sectors that aren’t directly deemed “fashion” and I think that’s true across digital media, you’re never doing just one thing.
What are your top tips for aspiring content creators to succeed in fashion?
You’ve got to be a great multi-tasker, especially with the pace that the digital fashion industry is shifting at. You have to be prepared to be hands-on and learn to do it all, and if there are things you don’t know how to do, you need to take the initiative to figure them out. I can’t stress the importance of understanding that no job is beneath you; regardless of what your position is. Lastly, be nice and professional to everyone you meet – it’s a relatively small industry and word spreads fast.