After the great success and booming popularity of Alexa Chung’s fashion documentary series with Vogue UK, Chung decided to debut a series of special episodes of her docu-series on the future of fashion. In these episodes, Chung goes behind the scenes at British Vogue to help viewers understand how to land a job within the highly desirable world of fashion publishing.
First, Chung explains the history of British Vogue, which launched in 1916 and continues a 100 years later to reflect the ever-evolving social landscape of the fashion-world. Even with a staff of over 50, it takes a minimum of five weeks to complete a single issue. Chung makes it her responsibility to outline all of the major jobs within the magazine, and clarify what exactly each individual contributes to the publication.
Through her interview with Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman, Chung is able to uncover the story behind how Shulman landed one of the most desired and dreamt-about jobs in the country. Shulman started as a secretary at a magazine which has since closed its doors, and after learning crucial skills such as how to pitch, how to
approach people and how to reply to things, Shulman freelanced for a while until “being in the right place at the right time,” — as she stated in the docu-web series — where she eventually gained the title of editor-in-chief of the popular magazine.
Between interviews, Chung maintains her cheeky humor, coming across as extremely relatable as she asks Vogue Senior Fashion Assistant Lucy Bower “Do you ever take things off the hanger and try them on?”
Throughout the series, each employee stresses the importance of acquiring internships and taking chances to further oneself in the fashion industry. Fashion Director Lucinda Chambers worked for Topshop until she impulsively called Vogue and bluntly asked, “Is there anyway I could come in for an interview?”
Now, Chambers is recognized as one of the most successful fashion directors in the world. However, the intent is never for the viewer to feel distant, instead the desired effect is for the viewer to feel included and inspired as he or she is allowed a glimpse into Chambers’ life through revealing pages in her personal scrapbook.
Another large aspect of the series is the adaption and evolution of the magazine alongside technological advances and the introduction of social media. Editor of vogue.co.uk Lucy Hutchings believes it is crucial to maintain the Vogue voice across every platform.
Initially the websites of big time publications were seen as “little sisters,” but Hutchings explains how now the integration of print and web is stronger than ever. Hutchings also provides an inside look at the process of monitoring site analytics and the goal of search engine optimization. Comparing the monitor of how many views the site gets to that of a stock market, Chung playfully screams, “Buy, sell, Hadid, Jenner!”
Using multiple interviews interspersed with shots of the British Vogue headquarters, Chung emphasizes the quick, ever-changing pace of the fashion publication business, all while offering the audience a backstage look at the industry.
A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 29 print version of Washington Square News