Tuesday, 29 July 2014

THE INDUSTRY INTERVIEW

Many thanks to Harriet Bowe, Features Editor of The Industry London, for doing this Q&A with me. It was fun to reflect on past work experiences...



MEMBER INTERVIEW WITH LOTTIE JOHANSSON

Member Interview with Lottie Johansson
Freelance editor, consultant and blogger, Lottie Johansson has worked for every fashion publication worth knowing, including a considerable number of the fashion industry’s most prestigious titles. Honing her skills at the likes of VogueMarie Claire and Drapers, Lottie has carved out an illustrious career – putting her in touch with many Industry members along the way. She’s also just joined the British Society of Magazine Editors. Here the brand new Industry member tells us more.

With over 15 years experience, what’s been your biggest highlight so far?
There have been so many highlights over the years, but I really enjoyed working at Cond̩ Nast. Firstly, as fashion and beauty editor at Brides and then as executive fashion and beauty editor at Vogue, where editor-in-chief Liz Tilberis and publishing director Dick Shortway appointed me. I worked closely with both the editorial and commercial teams at Vogue, which I found really interesting. I also styled a lovely shoot with photographer, Arthur Elgort in New York and inadvertently sold a page of advertising at the fashion trade show Igedo in Dusseldorf Рmy one and only experience of selling space.


On top of freelancing, you write your own blog and work as a consultant – how do you manage it all?
Luckily things usually dovetail, but there are times when everything comes at once and something has to give. Sadly that’s usually my blog, but I pick it up again as soon as I can. It’s lovely to have an outlet for all the things that interest me, and hopefully others, too.

You’re harpersbazaar.co.uk’s vintage fashion expert – tell us more about this?
I started writing about vintage fashion for harpersbazaar.co.uk early last year and since then I’ve also written fashion posts for the website. I’ve been fascinated with the history of fashion since I can remember and started collecting vintage fashion and accessories when I was at the London College of Fashion. I used to have a stall at Camden Market selling Victorian petticoats and such in the early 80s and often used vintage pieces when I styled fashion features for 19, Marie Claire and other magazines. I’m now selling-off a lot of my collection of mainly 50s to 70s fashion, accessories and fragrances from my unit at a vintage emporium in Oxfordshire.

Who are your mentors?
I was fortunate to work for several strong and passionate editors when I was a fashion editor, including Liz Tilberis at Vogue, Glenda Bailey at Marie Claire, Maggie Koumi at 19 Magazine and Sandra Boler at Brides. The late Liz Tilberis was a true inspiration, who proved that it’s possible to work hard and still have time for family and friends; Glenda Bailey is one of the most creatively-driven women I’ve worked for and Maggie Koumi was such a joy to work with, on both a professional and personal level. She gave me my first big break in consumer magazines. I adored working for Sandra Boler at Brides. She was a fabulous editor and ran the magazine like clockwork. We bonded over a Betty Boop-inspired shoot I’d styled for 19 Magazine. She loved the cartoon character, so that broke the ice and I got the job!
I’m a great believer in that there are stages in your life when you are absolutely right for a certain publication or company and I was at the right stage in my career for all the above titles. There are also times when publications take a new direction and then you have a choice to stay or move on – there’s nothing worse than clinging on to something that you don’t believe in. Fortunately that has only happened to me once, when a certain magazine repositioned itself to appeal to a much younger audience…

Where do you see yourself in five years? 
I’ve been at my happiest, both creatively and professionally, when I’ve edited magazines, such as Live it, Wedding Day and Alive. So I’d love to edit a really fabulous fashion or lifestyle publication, or oversee a group of titles and have the time to focus on building a team and the brand (or brands) across various platforms. Whatever I do, it will be something creative that plays to my strengths and past experiences. I certainly can’t see myself slowing down, as I love working in this business too much.

What other Industry members have you worked with? And if none, in what capacity are you looking forward to working with other Industry members?
There are several familiar faces that I’ve crossed paths with over the years. I first met Hilary Alexander many years ago when I was the press assistant at fashion consultancy Indesign. It was my first job after studying fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion and Hilary worked for one of our clients, The Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Similarly, a very young Paula Reedmodeled for a test shoot I styled for 19 Magazine several years ago and her images helped get me the job. Alexandra Shulman had just started editing Vogue when I left and there are several other members that I have met during my career.
I’m looking forward to meeting and re-meeting members from all areas of the fashion business andThe Industry is a great mix of fashion insiders. The recent Lulu Guinness talk was the first event I attended and it was lovely to meet Lulu again. I remember when she first started designing and I bought one of her signature ‘Florist Basket’ satin bags at an early sample sale, which I still have today. Her stories of Filofaxes, telephones and trying to get past buyers’ assistants for appointments made me laugh, as they reminded me so much of when I started my editorial career working for the trade magazines Fashion Weekly and Drapers. There was no hiding behind emails then; you just had to pick-up the phone. Terry Mansfield once told me that I should be brave when pursuing my career and I’ve always thought that was excellent advice.

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