It’s no secret that Anna Wintour gives precise and direct instructions, but it might surprise you to learn that the Vogue editor-in-chief gives some damn good advice. In a conversation with Vogue’s newly appointed international editor, Suzy Menkes, Wintour addressed fashion students (young designers and budding journalists made up the group) at Central Saint Martins in London. Even though Wintour was addressing students, her sage advice and fashion wisdom can apply to anyone in “the industry” and beyond.
Work first, and then build your business.
I do think there is a tradition in England that you can do anything with nothing. The only thing I worry a little bit about—going straight from school to starting your own business—is that not many succeed.
...because you’ve gotta start somewhere.
Go get a job. Whether it’s working as a designer or working in a restaurant and then doing your own thing in your own time, it’s a reality of life. In the end, it’s going to be helpful to you and so many others.
Aim for long-term success, not instantaneous fame.
It’s possible in today’s world to be instantly famous, whether it’s through Instagram or whatever platform it may be, but it’s a very different matter to be successful financially and in the long term.
Get yourself a mentor.
It’s important to have someone to talk to and discuss everything with and bounce ideas off.
Whatever you do, don’t be shy.
How [people] present themselves publicly is important. In today’s world, you have to interact. You can’t really be some difficult, shy person who is not able to look somebody in the face: you have to present yourself. You have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus and what you believe in. If you can’t be passionate about who you are and what you are doing, how can [your audience] be?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Anna (and her signature bob) runs the show.