Opened the TeenVogue.com and unintentionally found this inspiring interview (which I'm deeply touched). Read it on, guys! :)
The Teen Vogue Handbook: Anna Wintour
Vogue's editor in chief not only runs an internationally influential magazine, she also supports young designers through a fashion fund and raises money for charity.
Anna Wintour is so renowned in the world of fashion—and, for that matter, in the world at large—that she scarcely needs an introduction. In the 21 years that she has been the editor in chief of American Vogue, Wintour has kept the magazine firmly at the forefront of fashion, matched numerous young designers with venerable brands in need of fresh expertise, and engineered and overseen the launches of Teen Vogue and Men's Vogue. "Fashion reflects the times just as much as a headline in a newspaper does," she says. "If you look at the miniskirts of the sixties or the Chanel suits and jewelry of the eighties, you can see that. Vogue informs the reader about what's going on in the world, not only through fashion but also through politics, the arts, philanthropy, and sports. Fashion does not exist in a vacuum."
How did you first become interested in fashion?
My father was a newspaper editor, so I was surrounded by journalists my entire life. I think the fact that he was so well known may be why I chose to go into magazines and move to the States at a young age. Everywhere I went [in England], I was being asked if I was Charles Wintour's daughter. But I wanted to make it on my own. I moved to New York in the late seventies, after having worked for five years on a magazine in London, which was fantastic training because the staffs are smaller and you learn all aspects of the business. By the time I came to the States, I really understood how a magazine works. I came to Vogue as creative director, and three years later I went back to London to be editor in chief of British Vogue. I returned to the U.S. to work, very briefly, as editor in chief at House & Garden, and then I came to Vogue.
Describe your typical day.
There is no typical day. Every day is different, and that's why it's fun. Many things are routine—deadlines, certain meetings—but you never really know what's going to happen.
How involved are you with the photos and articles that appear on each page of the magazine?
I'm very good at delegating—people work much better when they have a real sense of responsibility. But at the same time, I don't like surprises. I don't pore over every shoot, but I do like to be aware at all times of what's going on.
What advice do you have for a young person who is interested in fashion design?
Don't go too fast. Because of reality television and all these celebrities thinking they can be designers, everyone imagines that they can just become a designer, photographer, or model, but that's not the way things work. People have to go to school, learn their craft, and build a brand—that's the right, healthy way to do things. If you're an overnight sensation, you can be yesterday's news in no time, whereas building something slowly and carefully that has value and quality, that's what's going to have legs. You'd be amazed at how many people come in here, and they make perfectly nice clothes, but they don't understand how to differentiate their brand from another, or they don't have a business plan, or they don't know where to produce things. Don't run before you can crawl. It's a very hard business, full of many, many extremely creative, talented people who work hard and still fail. If you have the basic building blocks behind you, you're much more likely to do well.
When you're hiring someone for an entry-level position at Vogue, what do you look for?
I look for someone who has actually read the magazine. People will say, "Oh, I love Vogue," but when I ask them to tell me something specific they liked, or a photographer whose work they enjoy, they look at me as if I'm crazy. Do your homework, go online, visit every museum, and intern. I like having young assistants in my office; they have energy, and I spend time with them to make sure they understand what we're doing. By investing in them, I'm investing in the magazine. All over Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Men's Vogue, there are people who have been through not only my office but also many other offices at Vogue.
Is there a "wrong" thing to wear to an interview with you?
A suit, I have to say. But who knows? Maybe next year I'll love suits. And I don't mind jeans. If there's a girl applying to work in the fashion department and she comes in here with a great pair of jeans pulled together with the right top, it's fine.
You've been very involved with the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and with 7th on Sale, which benefits AIDS-related charities.
The Costume Institute event is an evening unlike any other. It's not just fashion or Hollywood, but people from society, politics, theater, and the museum coming together. We're proud of the money we've been able to raise for the museum and of the very diverse exhibitions that we've put on. They're really among the most popular exhibitions at the Met, and people come from all over the world to see them. In regard to 7th on Sale, our industry was hit hard by AIDS, and that's why we were the first to step up and take it on at a time when a lot of people were still very frightened. The fashion community is very generous and we were incredibly moved by the loss of so many of our members—both high-profile and less well-known—and that's why we all wanted to support the cause.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund provides support to three up-and-coming designers each year. How did it come about?
After September 11, 2001, when fashion week in New York was canceled and the designers lost their deposits on venues and a lot of their money, we decided to do something to support young American talent. We put on a show at Carolina Herrera's showroom and invited the ten young designers we thought were most promising. Through our discussions with them, we realized how hand-to-mouth their existences could be, and that's when we started the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The finalists all say that it's great exposure and it's helpful to get the money if they win, but what's really fantastic is that it brings them into contact with so many people they wouldn't normally meet or have the opportunity to talk to. The mentorship is extremely important, and we make a point of keeping in touch with all our finalists to see how they're doing. We're very, very proud of the fund. It's something that the whole industry has gotten behind, and unlike many other initiatives— which I think are more about exploiting young talent—this is really about nurturing and developing it.
Is there anything else you've learned that you'd like to pass on?
You just need to have a love for what you're doing. It's not about thinking that it's the cool thing; it's about really believing in it. I was brought up to believe absolutely in the importance of journalism and communication and to have a real love for the printed word. I have so much respect for all the talented people I work with, because they're the best in their field and they care about what they do.
Superb. I love Anna Wintour, though many people said that she's rough, awful to work with, or anything. She knows what she's doing and she's doing it with zero doubt. Powerful woman, you can see that Vogue is the number one fashion magazine right now.
I'm inspired, hope you ditto :)