VAMFF NEWS

Looking back at the Fashion Writing Program

The Fashion Writing Program - part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Arts Program – is back for another year to amplify creative talent and support the exposure of aspiring writers. In 2020, the selected participants will be mentored by a Melbourne-produced favourite, Fashion Journal. The festival writing program has provided a platform for emerging writers to be published online and to attend and cover Festival events in a supportive environment.

We spoke to two of the program’s past finalists to see what they’re up to now and how the program ignited their creative career.

 

Eliza Sholly

Introduce yourself

Hola, my name is Eliza Sholly, and I currently work as the Deputy Digital Editor for Australian Traveller/International Traveller Magazine. While I am now based in Sydney, back when I was a fresh-faced Melbournian, I participated in the VAMFF Fashion Writing Mentorship Series for the 2016/17 season.

 

Eliza Sholly

 

How did the Fashion Writing Program help you in your career? What was the best part about the program?

This might sound hyperbolic, but I credit the VAMFF Mentorship series with sparking my move to Sydney, and my subsequent professional full-time writing career. I heard about the program through a friend who had participated the year before, who had won the opportunity to have Clare Press as a mentor, the Marie Claire fashion editor at the time. Seeing how invaluable the program was for her encouraged me to apply; and when I eventually won, I was chosen by Clare as well. Truthfully, I was terrified. Meeting Clare was a money-can’t-buy experience, and I wanted to impress her. As a mentor, Clare was consistently available via phone and email to help me with the ideation of my articles, as well as assistance with pitching, writing, fact-checking, editing and everything in between. She gave me a much greater insight into the industry at large, as well as facilitating the chance for me to travel to Sydney to intern with Marie Claire. Only through Clare’s introduction was I able to get my foot in the door and be brave enough to back my own writing ability as others around me had.

 

Life after the program

After coming up to Sydney for the internship, I fell in love with the pace up here. I relocated, and used the few connections I had to try and gain something more permanent. The Marie Claire internship turned into a contract role, where I was writing content for the digital and fashion teams. After the conclusion of the contract, I moved to Nine.com.au, where I was the weekend editor at their celebrity and entertainment vertical, The Fix. During my stint there, I was offered a more permanent position at Australian/International Traveller magazines, where I am now. The travel industry is one that I had never even thought of working, but it’s a super rewarding (and broad) space to be in. All throughout these full-time roles however, while the subject matters of my day-to-day have varied, I have pursued my passion projects through freelancing. Writing it all down like this makes me feel so lucky.

 

What’s your favourite piece of published writing?

A piece for i-D Magazine - Confronting the environmental impact of boxing day sales

While it’s objectively not the best piece of writing I have ever submitted, it’s the proudest I’ve been to see my name attached to something online. I sent over a cold pitch to Wendy Syfret who was editor at the time, and she accepted it. It was the first time I had ever been paid over $50 something I had written – so it’s a real nostalgic one for me.

 

What advice would you give to budding fashion writers out there?

Oh god! It feels so weird that I’m actually at a place in which I can give advice. Don’t be afraid to cold pitch. If you think you have a good idea, you don’t need to have all the connections in the world to get it published. There are heaps of resources out there (the Young Australian Writers Facebook page is a great one) that have templates and pointers that can help you craft a good, succinct pitch that will get noticed.

 

Amy Campbell

Introduce yourself

Hi! I’m Amy. I was a finalist in the Fashion Writing Program in 2016 and was mentored by the lovely Clare Press. Funnily enough, three years later, we both work under the same family of magazine titles in Sydney! Right now, I am the Style & Culture Writer at GQ Australia. I’m based in Sydney, but I’m originally from country Victoria and I studied Journalism at RMIT in Melbourne.  

 

Amy Campbell

 

How did the Fashion Writing Program help you in your career? What was the best part about the program?

The Fashion Writing Program definitely opened doors for me. Having Clare as my mentor, I was given the opportunity to intern at Marie Claire, where she was working at the time, which was an invaluable experience. Contributing stories to the VAMFF blog and reviewing the runway shows also gave my writing portfolio a sparkly touch!

 

Life after the program

I graduated university at the end of 2016, and moved to New York for a year. I got a job working retail and then an editorial internship at fashion blog Man Repeller, which was such a fun time. I moved back to Australia at the end of 2017 and got the job at GQ in March of 2018. It was, and still is, my first full-time writing job. At the moment, I edit our bimonthly print edition’s pop culture section, do the majority of our fashion writing (and some travel, which I love!) in addition to contributing style commentary and interviews over at gq.com.au. 

 

What’s your favourite piece of published writing?

Oooft, that’s a tough one! I’m proud of the interview I recently did with Steve Lacy for GQ, and the interview I did with musician Marlon William for Vogue Australia earlier this year. I’m very privileged – I’m always getting to talk to hot men. I also like the trend reports I’ve written for GQ. I can be funny and weird with them, which I love. Fashion writing shouldn’t be afraid to get weird.

 

Applications for the Fashion Writing Program 2020 close Friday November 8. Find out more information and apply here

 

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