Working at a top fashion magazine may be a dream job for some, but it's not all handbags and designer duds. Some people run the behind-the-scenes operations, such as the publisher, editors, legal counsel, accountants and marketing managers. Because there are so many potential job opportunities on the business side of working at a fashion magazine, there is no one educational path. Several different degrees can lead to a career in business at a fashion magazine.
Degrees in business administration -- whether at the undergraduate or graduate level -- can lead to a number of opportunities managing business operations at a fashion magazine. Business administration degrees provide training in project management, human resources management, negotiations, overseeing a budget, inventory control and marketing. Graduates with a degree in business administration can hold a variety of positions at a fashion magazine, such as managing editor, project director, customer relations manager or bookkeeper. For some positions, such as managing editor, graduates may need to start in a lower position and gain training in another field, such as starting as a writer or associate editor and learning journalism skills.
Marketing and Public Relations
Fashion magazines are not just in the business of selling the latest designer fashions -- they're also in the business of selling themselves. Graduates with a degree in marketing or public relations can land jobs in a fashion magazine's marketing department, advertising sales or events management. These degrees can provide the training to promote the magazine, increase sales and subscriptions, build stronger relationships with advertisers to increase sales, or create more high-profile events to promote the magazine or the products featured in it. Internships or entry-level positions in fashion can help students tailor their marketing or public relations degree to the fashion industry, or students can choose to complete their degree at a fashion school, such as Parsons The New School for Design.
Journalism and Communications
Many writers go on to become executive-level editors and publishers after being promoted over the years. Many get their start with a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications. They may start at the magazine as writers, or they may have to take jobs as fact-checkers or editorial assistants. Over time, they may move up the editorial ranks, taking positions such as associate editor, assistant editor and section editor. With hard work, they may move into positions as managing editor, executive editor or even publisher. These high-level editing positions don't spend much time editing copy -- and some not at all. Mostly, they are responsible for managing writers and editors, hiring new talent and making decisions about the editorial direction of the magazine.
Most fashion magazines have their own in-house legal counsel to advise them on issues such as libel, plagiarism, copyright protection, closed records and protection of sources. Those interested in becoming a lawyer must earn a Juris Doctor degree and pass the state bar exam where they intend to practice. Though there is no "major" for a law degree, some law schools give students the opportunity to focus their studies on media law through specific coursework and extracurricular activities, such as law journals that focus on media law.
- Glamour: How to Get a Job in the Fashion Industry
- Fashionista: Which Fashion Career is Right for You?
- Vogue Italia: I Want to Work at a Fashion Magazine. How?
- Wharton MBA Program: Academics
- Parsons The New School for Design: Fashion Marketing
- UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communications
- UCLA School of Law: The Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Law Program
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.