Insight: Seizing Opportunities with Paris-based Fashion Journalist Faye Fearon
In this week's segment of Insight, we are joined by Journalist Faye Fearon who walks us through her career journey from editorial internships at British Vogue and Dazed to working as Junior Digital Editor at British GQ. Now living in Paris as a freelance contributor and copyrighter, Faye shares her best advice for those hoping to enter the world of fashion journalism and beyond.
Can you walk us through your career journey? How did you break into the journalism industry?
I moved to London when I was 18 to pursue a degree in English at King’s College. London, in my eyes, was the place I had to be to enter the world of journalism (as I had no connections prior) so I used my time outside of class to gain experience. This started with a job at Condé Nast’s Magazine Store in Vogue House, where I worked part time for the duration of my degree. I also carried out editorial internships at titles like British Vogue, Dazed and Glass. After graduating, I was hired by British GQ as a Junior Digital Editor, where I covered all cultural tops from fashion and music to art and cinema. I worked at GQ for almost two years, after which I decided to leave to move to Paris. I couldn’t have embarked on my specific career path without London, but I had such a desire to explore Parisian culture, and with the effects of Brexit, I felt it was a sort of "now or never" moment. I now work freelance here, still contributing to GQ along with other magazines like Monocle, L'étiquette, Holiday and Refinery 29. I have also branched into copywriting for brands, creative studios and advertising agencies.
What is your editorial focus and what sparked your interest in this realm? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Writing was always the clearest career path I could imagine for myself, because I saw it as the perfect medium to comment on my extended cultural interests. My core editorial focus is fashion – most often menswear – and much like writing itself, this interest was sparked because I saw clothing as a point of connection. As different and diverse as we all are, one thing we have in common is what we choose to wear in the morning, and I’ve always found the cultural exploration of that so interesting. So while my main editorial focus is fashion, I often write about this from other artistic perspectives, turning to key figures from music in particular to assess how its subcultures have shaped styles of today.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I tend to work from my apartment in Paris, just behind Montmartre, and the day is always different because I’m booked for a range of clients – which I love! It always starts with coffee (of course), a croissant (embracing the cliché) and emails. Then, I'll either research and write an article I have been commissioned or carry out copywriting work for a commercial project with a studio client. Sometimes I will walk down to Pigalle in the afternoon to change my work setting – usually at my favourite bar called Classique – and after I finish, I either meet friends for a drink, a dinner or a concert, or I embrace the unexpected. Paris is the best place to provide it.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced throughout your career journey so far?
The decision to establish a freelance business in a foreign country was without a doubt the biggest challenge, because it wasn’t something I planned to do at age 24. I always thought that being your own boss would require at least ten years of permanent contracts in publishing, so it was quite intimidating when I started on this road. But I like a challenge because it enhances your drive and determination. These qualities, combined with an understanding of the field as well as connections, have been key to making it work for me, and I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.
What advice would you share with aspiring journalists / editors / copywriters?
Be kind, be yourself, ask questions and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. In any of these respected fields, experience is essential, so reach out to the figures you admire and share your aspirations. I would say that if you’re studying at University, use the summer breaks to carry out internships, because it will give you a head start once you’ve finished your degree. But before all of this, simply write. For yourself. If it's really your passion, write personally before you embark on it professionally. Finding your voice is the most important thing.
What's next for you?
Branching into copywriting over the past year has allowed me to work with Art Directors on the conception of creative projects, and has simultaneously expanded my interest in it. I've always had such a deep love for visual expression, and in my field, it goes hand in hand with the words that accompany it, so I would love to branch into this in the near future. Outside of professional goals, I would also really like to pursue some music I've been working on privately in Paris.
Faye's Round of Speed Dating with DMY
1. What is your go-to drink?
Depends on who's out for the night. For the British me: beer. For the French alter ego: light and dry natural wine.
2. What was the last thing you Googled?
Animal adoption centres in Paris. Currently looking after the cat of a friend and the company is so nice while I'm working. Tempted now!
3. What was the last book you read?
The Richter Interviews by Hans Ulrich Obrist – a gift from one of France's finest tastemakers.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Exactly where I currently am!
5. What is your favourite TV show?
The IT Crowd. British humour at its best.
6. What would be your ideal date?
Bit of a cliché, but good wine in a charming and local-filled Parisian bar, followed by a walk through Montmartre (ideally in the after hours to avoid tourists).
7. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Tired-looking male musicians.
8. What’s the best and worst purchase you’ve ever made?
Best: A pair of Helmut Newton earrings which I bought at his museum in Berlin. Silver, round and framed in each was one of his photos: Simonetta's Eye.
Worst: Also the pair of Helmut Newton earrings, because impractically, they were clip-ons, and I lost one during a night of canoodling. Still breaks my heart to this day.
9. What was your first concert?
My dad took me to see an ambient musician called Roger Eno at a small orchestral hall in Liverpool. Kickstarted my love for music.
10. Make a party playlist with only 3 songs:
3! You’re killing me! But these today for a seductive soirée...
Krisma 'Black Silk Stocking'
Throbbing Gristle 'Hot on Heels of Love'