I have a little X that pops up in my calendar on a monthly basis. It marks the arrival of the fashion magazine drop – I live in Stockholm, so it’s circa a week after local readers get their copies delivered. Nothing makes me happier than a zen filled Sunday sipping coffee and gorging a cornucopia of advertising, the written word and beautiful imagery. I am frequently caught sniffing the pages and stroking them fondly – my boyfriend thinks this is bizarre, but as much as I love an online binge, I harbour a soft spot for print.
I’ve always wondered what it must be like to create these pages from start to finish, to form those beautifully crafted fashion editorial pages that inspire and delight a loyal readership. I was chuffed then, when Dazed & Confused’s Fashion Editor Elizabeth Fraser-Bell agreed to chat to me about her career, a penchant for menswear and her thoughts on the British fashion industry.
Please introduce yourself. Elizabeth Fraser-Bell, Fashion Editor at Dazed & Confused. From Liverpool, live in London.
Where can we find you? @efraserbell on Twitter and elizabethfraserbell on instagram.
What does a day in the life of a Fashion Editor look like? There is not a typical day in the life. There are days where you wake up at 5am to get to a shoot location somewhere you’ve never been before in England, there are days where I get into the office at 9am and without realizing don’t leave again until 9pm after staring at a credit sheet all day. There are entire days you spend on a plane just getting to a location. days all you do is run around on press days all over London. days that you get to meet the most incredible and inspiring people. There are days where you get to go to a really fun party at the end of a day full of research and meetings. It’s a real mix and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What’s the best advice you received early on in your career? Pipe down and get on with it.
Where do you source your inspiration for shoots? Everywhere. I personally am quite drawn to film and childhood but inspiration can come from anything from cultural events to walking past someone in the street.
You style for both Dazed & Confused and Hero Magazine; to what extent do you tailor your styling to a publication? I don’t really consciously change my style for each publication. It really depends on what the issue is about, what photography suits that issue theme and in turn, which styling suits the photography and of course which credits you are given to shoot.
I loved the “Skate of Mind” feature you did for the Dazed x Selfridges collaboration, which brands are doing the sportswear trend right?The originals like Adidas, Nike, Supreme etc will always do it best but I do really love what Hood by Air do. They have such a unique vision coming out of a city that is so known for celebrating commerciality.
Rumour has it you have a penchant for menswear, where does this interest originate from? I guess it comes from working with Robbie Spencer for 4 years. He started out mainly doing menswear and as that time was my education, I lent more towards it. It was something I had never really considered doing when I was younger and so didn’t know as much about it, which must be why it kept my attention. It wasn’t boring to me as I wasn’t being shown something I already knew about. I do really enjoy womenswear, but that enthusiasm for menswear is instilled in me.
LCM seeks to make London the menswear capital of the world, what do you think differentiates British menswear from other capitals? First and foremost its our creativity. Maybe its because at the beginning London labels do not have as much money as Milan, New York and Paris, they have to be much more creative in their approach to design. Or maybe its because we have such a great set of schools that push boundaries here like CSM, RCA etc that constantly churn out our newest talent. It could also be the history of tailoring we have that has influenced our menswear into the shape it is now. Whether that’s Burberry Prorsum’s strong sense of heritage and tradition, Casely Hayfords gentle nod towards Saville Row or Martine Rose’s complete aversion to traditional tailoring. Whatever the reason behind it, you can always tell a London menswear show from the rest.
Who is your favourite British menswear designer and what makes them stand out? Christopher Shannon. He has always stood out to me because he does that amazing thing that only a handful of designers can do which is take the banal and every day and make it desirable and interesting. The past few season’s especially have been great for him, I feel like he has really found his place in menswear and cannot wait to see what he does this season.
Is womenswear fashion’s current fascination with menswear a passing trend or a timeless style? A bit of both really. There will always be parts of menswear that appeal to women. Brands like Saint Laurent, Celine, Prada etc continuously refer to menswear classics in their collections. But then there are always pockets of a particular component of menswear that makes its way into a trend, which will then blow over.
What objects do you have on your desk and what stories do they tell? My desk is full of rubbish. Mainly magazines and press releases. Numerous notebooks that I get half way through and never use again. I also have a large collection of pens and key rings that are traditionally brought back by each member of the fashion team when they go on holiday. Then there’s my little stash of hand written thank you notes from designers. I often appreciate them much more than a bunch of flowers.