A day in the life of… a fashion writer.

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BEFORE WORK

6:03 – wake up, brush teeth, walk to local swimming pool.
6:20 – begin one hour swim.
7:20 – finish, shower, walk home.
7:45 – have a banana, do press ups, change into work clothes. Today I am wearing a grey Ralph Lauren suit with a black shirt, no tie. Go on Twitter, text friends back from during the night etc.
8:30 – leave house, take the Victoria Line to Oxford Circus. Takes on average 17 minutes.
8:45 – walk into Vogue House. Punch personal code into digital pad. ‘Sign in’.
8:50 – enter office. Small, one desk, two shelves, a cabinet and a window. Two piles of paper on the desk. Left hand pile = mandatory tasks for the day. Right hand pile = optional tasks.

BEGIN

8:55 – first phone call of the day. It’s a PR company asking to confirm an order of X amount of dresses. I don’t know the answer so put them on hold. Accidentally hang up. Never hear from them again.

9:00 – work ‘officially’ starts. Two interns knock on the door. One is nervous, probably his first week. They ask me if I have anything I need doing. I take a task from the ‘optional’ pile and hand it to them. Turns out it’s a simple task: go through the newly processed photographs and tag them appropriately: – designer/style/colour/year/season/etc

9:06 – one of my bosses, Julia, arrives for work. Pops her head around the door. Asks if I have my presentation ready. She doesn’t stop to hear the answer. She’s followed by a new assistant who smiles at me. She’s hot.

9:09 – phone call. Marc Jacobs PR confirming delivery of several new designs to our office today between 9:45-10:00. Has to be signed for by senior member (i.e. not me). I hang up and run down to the third floor to find department manager, Ricki. She says she’ll sign for the delivery.

9:20 – my first task of the day. Call Jaeger and Reiss fashion outlets. Order 15+ outfits / shoes /accessories from each. Woman at Jaeger doesn’t speak English very well, so I call out the order three or four times to make sure she’s understood everything. Reiss are helpful at first but don’t have three of the items in stock. I have to cancel the whole order. They’re pissed off. I’m pissed off. Phone call ends with the guy on the end of the line calling me unprofessional.

9:45 – I head down to the lobby to await the Marc Jacobs delivery. Van pulls up with a rack of beautifully pressed, beautifully wrapped clothes. Ricki isn’t here to sign for it. I get the receptionist to call her, but no answer. I have to call another member of staff down at the last minute. Naturally I blame Ricki. Everyone else blames me. Even the Marc Jacobs delivery guy.

10:05 – am now late for morning meeting. I walk in quietly and sit at the back. Another one of my bosses, Maxwell, notices me and asks why I’m late. I explain everything, he rolls his eyes. It’s like being back at school.

10:27 – meeting finishes. I’m a little late for a personal meeting with a new designer, Alice Groves. She won an award, or something. I didn’t have time to research her history. We meet in the lobby. She’s awkward and hard to talk too. Partly nervous, partly just plain weird. We go to my office and have a glass of gin.

10:33 – discuss fashion with Alice. We work out a deal whereby she gives us exclusive access to her future designs and in return we help promote her work. She has a few demands: more money, more exclusives, more exposure. We negotiate further but inconclusive and we schedule another meeting for next week.

10:59 – second task of the day. Walk down to Burberry and collect outfit for my boss. It comes wrapped in tissue paper and folded in such a way that I have to carry it as if I were holding a baby. I look like a prat. Builders stare / laugh at me. FML.

11:15 – my usual 10 minute break is cancelled because I’m so behind. On to task three. Round up five people – usually interns – and take them down to a photographer’s studio just behind the DKNY shop. In the studio I oversee our prints being developed. Interns are taught about the processes, etc. I half-listen, spend most of the time thinking about a girl. Director of the studio offers me a glass of whiskey. I accept, and we discuss Ansel Adams + others. Four large boxes are signed for and we all leave.

12:30 – one of the newer interns is ill and asks to go home. I sign his form and let him leave. Have to now find someone to cover his work. No one is available. I have to do it. Regret sending him home.

12:35 – quickly do intern’s task. Go through unedited articles and check for spelling mistakes. 1000 words in total. I skim read.

12:50 – time for lunch. I walk up to the top floor to find some colleagues and discuss a few things. We end up in a conference room and  drink gin / wine. Lunch is rarely spent eating.

13:03 – Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park. Our PR department ask me to go along and take photographs / interview some of the artists. As I have presentation, I can’t go. Find two writers and send them instead.

13:30 – lunch ends at 14:00 usually, but I have two big presentations to give later in the afternoon so spend the next half-hour editing and rehearsing my speech in the mirror. Assistant walks in. She’s used to my weirdness now. Hands me a file thicker than War & Peace. She has strong wrists.

14:01 – ‘lunch’ over. Presentation with Sony starts at 14:15, sharp. I arrive to the large conference room on the top floor at 14:10. Only Sony execs and a Conde Nast girl there. I’m forced to make polite (awkward) conversation. Rest of the team arrive, meeting begins.

14:15 – presentation. All magazines require funding. Profit margins are tight. Conde Nast makes a lot of money on Vogue/ GQ etc, but lose it on other publications. All balances out, but we need to keep sponsorship high. Essentially, presentation will hopefully persuade Sony to give us more money. My colleague, Jenny, goes first. She’s a better talker than I am. Gets some figures wrong. Makes up a word –  ‘unexponentially’ – and sneezes. I’m next.

14:23 – I start my presentation. Jenny was given 10 minutes for hers, she only spoke for 5-6. Mine is supposed to be 25 minutes long. Bad start. Wrong slide / wrong annotation. Sony woman folds her arms and looks at the ceiling. I freestyle. Panic. I make up a lot of words, probably. Everything happens in a blur. My figures are solid though, and the large file my assistant gave me goes down well – it’s full of citations, pictures, facts etc. When I’m finished Sony execs clap (sporadically) and I collapse into my chair. My boss makes a quick little speech and the meeting is over.

15:00 – my boss (I have four) says, ‘well done’ and pats me on the shoulder. Praise from Caesar. Hands me my performance review: acceptable. Meh.

15:03 – assistant says I received three phone calls while I was in the meeting with Sony. Two are from Jaeger, the other is from Elle magazine.

15:06 – phone Elle. Writer there wants to collab on a side project with me, away from our respective magazines. I agree to meet up one afternoon. I call Jaeger. Turns out the order I made (see 9:20)  is on its way to our offices.  Anyone can sign for it, so I notify the receptionist and cross Jaeger out from my ‘things to do’ list.

15:17 – phone call from confused new intern. She asks about legal forms and I don’t know the answer. Tell her to leave forms on my desk and I’ll do it tomorrow.

15:19 – fourth task of the day. Interview new writer. She arrives 30 minutes early. Very confident, well dressed. Interview is short, but good. She struggles with randomness of my questions – but has a lot of experience, great education, wealthy parents, etc. Personally, I wouldn’t hire her, but not my decision. Most candidates are interviewed three times. I’m only the second stage. I fill in my report on her, and say, ‘very good and better than most.’

15:51 – two models walk in. Heart in mouth time. One is flirty. I’m suspicious. I ignore both and water my cactus.

15:55 – second presentation of the day is about to start. I’m poorly prepared. This is to a Japanese investment company who have a lot of shares in our parent company, Advance Publishing. We’re looking to increase visibility in Japanese market. They had already expressed concerns, so presentation HAD to make them change their minds. No pressure..

16:00 – presentation starts. I’m the only person presenting. 19 people are in the room. 7 from Conde Nast, 2 from Advance Publishing and 10 from the Japanese company. I talk coherently  but struggle with some of the facts (which I’m reading off a sheet – they make sense, but not when you read them out loud… too many numbers, confusing!) There’s a break half way through as one of the Japanese blokes needs to use the bathroom. I spend the two-three minutes flicking through all my pre-notes to find a good quote, etc.

16:27 – presentation restarts. I’m a lot less nervous now and start to walk around like Steve Jobs (tribute) but end up kicking a table leg and looking like Bill Gates (gimp). Rest of presentation goes well. I had been schooled on how to bow. I bow, and the Japanese chaps bow back. It’s great. Tempted to bow again, but don’t want to overdo it. Start daydreaming of Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2. Laugh to myself at Chris Tucker. My boss catches me smirking and glowers. I pretend to shuffle my notes.

17:00 – all the difficult stuff out of the way. I can enjoy the rest of my day. Sorta.

17:01 – Jaeger items arrive. Receptionist calls me down, hands me the rack of clothes with a checklist and I drag them into the lift. I scan some of the items. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Non-English-speaking Jaeger manatee has mucked up my order. Nonsensical. Example: we ordered special snakeskin handbag, she gives us snakeskin belt, and so on.

17:09 – I don’t tell my boss. Instead call up Jaeger. Pissed off. Same lady picks up. We argue a little. She puts me through to head of distribution – woman called Amy (Ami? Aimie?) – she’s friendly and apologetic but nothing they can really do as courier has gone home for the night. I ask where they’re based, and it’s only 20 minutes down the road. I agree to run down to their offices and pick up the missing items.

17:14 – I take my next task – task five – and delegate it to another writer, a guy called Jon. Task is to meet with a client from a local art shop, and try and secure a deal to buy cheap ink / materials etc. Pretty fun job really, client meetings are always quite good fun if the deal is already done.

17:16 – I tell my boss I’m meeting a client and run down to the Jaeger.

17:20 – walking towards Jaeger. Phone call. It’s the two writers at the Frieze Art Fair. Both confused and ask for a brief. I have no clue, so tell them to get drunk and have fun.

17:39 –  I walk into Jaeger. Receptionist gives me a dirty look and asks who I am. She refuses to let me enter main building because I didn’t have an appointment (Amy hadn’t thought of this). Receptionist calls Amy. Amy comes to meet me and shows me around. I give receptionist dirty look. She goes back to typing on Facebook. Walk into surprisingly dark, quiet office space. Smells like a doctor’s surgery. Introduced to stupid non-English-speaking woman. She’s fat, as I presumed. She blames me, I refuse to play the blame game and call her a ‘cabbage’. She looks horrified and runs away to tell her boss, or something.

17: 55 – Amy gives me the missing items. Bigger parcels than I thought. Struggle to carry them. She shows me out and apologises again. Receptionist is now being nice to me and tells me she likes my ring. I tell her I like her FB profile picture and she blushes + closes the window.

18:00 – I run back to Vogue with stupid amount of boxes.

18:23 – walk into lobby and quickly dart up to my office. Jaeger items still on the rack by my window. Carefully arrange the new items in with the existing order and once finished, I wheel the whole lot up to the top floor and present them to one of our stylists.

18:38 – stylist looks them over quickly, fills in a form, stamps it and says thanks. Doesn’t look me in the eye once.

18:40 – Jon calls me and says he’s completed the meeting with the client on my behalf. Deal is secured and the forms have been sent up to my desk.

18:45 – enter office, find forms, sign them. Take them to my boss and make a copy for the legal team to file away.

18:51 – problems. One of the writers has failed to finish an article on time and we need the copy ASAP. I’m called down to help finish the last 200 words and check sources with two other colleagues. Easy enough, but I’m now behind schedule.

19:02 – task six. Call one of our top fashion clients. She’s in California, it’s midday there and she’s having lunch. Wants me to call back later but no time so we go over business quickly. She agrees to send some designs and unfinished articles by tomorrow night.

19:20 – task seven. Order two new touchscreen monitors. Have a 10 minute break afterwards. Banana + Earl Grey.

19:50 – have final meeting of the day with a textile weaver from Croatia. We order a selection of fabrics but can’t agree on delivery time. I want them by Friday (today’s Wednesday) he says next Tuesday. We eventually agree on a special delivery on Sunday – which means I have to come into work on my day off. Annoyed, but best I could do.

20:23 – see two models again. One still flirty. Invites me to drinks. I tell her I’m busy. She looks offended.

20:26 – day is almost over, but still a few tasks to finish. ‘Optional’ pile is hardly touched, so quickly delegate some easy jobs to interns who are still hanging around the building. Tasks include: restock vending machines, install new speakers in the conference rooms, alphabetise the magazines in the executive lounge and water the plants in the lobby.

20:32 – I start on my final mandatory task of the day: sell two slots of advertising space and copy-edit two features.

20:48 – call up 20th Century Fox over in Soho Square and speak to a friend there RE: advertising space. She thinks she can pass on two or three new contacts. Sure enough a few minutes later an email arrives with names and numbers.

20:58 – call first name. A senior editor at a top branding company. We do a quick deal over the phone (i.e. arrange a meeting for tomorrow). Call second person, a young writer for Bauer Media. Again, we arrange a meeting for tomorrow.

21:20 – copy-edit the two features. Doesn’t take too long. One of my bosses interrupts me half-way through and hands me a small leather-bound folder full of illustrations. ‘Take these to (address)’ she says. I quickly finish the editing, fill in the online form and send to server.

21:41 – exit the building to head down to (address) – not far, but forget name of recipient. Too late to go back. Arrive at large townhouse in expensive area. Knock on the door. Awkwardly say I have a leather folder for someone in the building. Doorman comes to the door but I refuse to give him the item, in case it’s important etc. Eventually a man comes down, smiles and exchanges my folder for a piece of paper, which is already signed and stamped with the Conde Nast insignia. Doorman thinks I’m a twat. Probably.

22:03 – walk back to Vogue House. Spend journey daydreaming about a girl. Almost get run over by a rickshaw thing.

22:07 – home time. Head back into my office and find all my tasks have been completed. Three optional tasks remain. Not bad. Pull out a bottle of Hoxton Gin, pour a measure and have ‘one for the road.’ Fill in filofax with updated times for tomorrow (interviews / meetings etc) and lock the safe, the filing cabinet and finally the door to my office.

22:20 – New girl stops by. We have a brief chat and leave together. She lives in Brixton so gets the southbound tube home. I head north.

22:45 – tube home quiet. I play Angry Birds.

WORK ENDS

23:08 – arrive home. Empty, dark. Have a banana. Call up some friends and talk about day, etc. Order some stuff online – books from Amazon etc.

00:00 – go up to bedroom and finish off some freelance articles. Go over lesson plan for a monthly Art and Literature class I teach. Realise some of the things I want to discuss with them are irrelevant and start plan from scratch.

01:00 – do final exercises of the day. 300 press ups, 100 sit ups and some arm weights. Listen to some relaxing music as I lie on the floor, exhausted.

02:00 – have a shower, brush teeth, get into bed.  Watch a film / documentary.

03:00/03:30 – finally turn all lights off and fall asleep.

DAY OVER

06:00 – wake up, brush teeth, walk to local swimming pool…

REPEAT

”Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Yeah right.

 

read more from the writer here

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