We met the delightful Fashionista senior editor, Alyssa Vingan, at the Datura pop-up shop a few weeks ago and bonded over a shared love of white linen and silk jumpsuits. Vingan started with Fashionista as an intern, and six years later, she is a seasoned editor with a clear sense of style and a distinct point of view. Fashionista maintains a small team and every editor’s beat is very comprehensive. Vingan is responsible for covering trends, models, pop culture, celebrities, as well as attending shows and market appointments. While the pace and turnaround time is quick, Fashionista’s growth is substantial and with Vingan’s help the site has positioned itself as a leading fashion news source in the industry.
When did you start working at Fashionista? What topics do you cover?
I technically started working at Fashionista six years ago as an intern after I graduated from Tulane. There were just two editors — Abby Gardner and Britt Aboutaleb — in the office that was basically a basement in Nolita. I often wrote about trends, models and the intersection of fashion and pop culture/celebrity. I’d say that my beat is still basically the same, with some more market, first-person experiential pieces and original reporting thrown in.
How has the environment at Fashionista changed as the site has grown? How big is your team?
The physical environment is very much the same — our office is still very small; it’s an open format with our desks and we bounce ideas off of each other all day. We’re still scrappy like we were at the beginning, but it’s been great to see how Fashionista’s evolved into an authoritative industry source. We only have six full-time staffers, which is something that people seem surprised about when we tell them.
What is the hardest part of your job?
I’d say the pace. It’s really unrelenting, especially now that there are so many sites competing for scoops and covering the same stories. With writing/researching all day (and press appointments mixed in), parties to cover at night and a handful of random red carpets and events scattered throughout the week, it can be difficult to find the time to get out there and do reporting and flesh out longer form stories and big-picture ideas for the site.
What’s your advice for emerging designers? How can they get your attention?
You definitely need to have a solid story behind your brand with something to say. The market is really crowded now, and if a label’s lookbook lands in my inbox that could easily be confused for another designer’s work, I’ll likely pass on it.
What designers should everyone know about right now?
The ladies in our office are excited about Brock Collection and Orley — both happen to be young, family-run brands with really classic, well-made clothing. They definitely appeal to a wide range of ages and tastes, but are both on the pricey side. I also look forward to seeing what Misha Nonoo and Rosie Assoulin put out every season.
Do you have a current least favorite Spring/Summer trend?
I guess I’d say crop tops, mostly because I don’t have Abs of Steel. I know this will likely be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t personally love the ‘70s resurgence, either.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be?
I don’t think this is limited to the fashion industry, but the pressure to build yourself up as a personal “brand” or a street style star through social media in order to advance your career seems to be increasing by the day. I admire people with unique style and who have a real point of view when they’re putting together looks (and I understand you can make big bucks through Twitter and Instagram now) but I know that’s not for everyone.
Biggest misconceptions about working in fashion in New York City?
That everyone is mean! Of course you’ll run into a jerk or an egomaniac every once in a while, but it’s definitely not the norm.
Best parts of working in fashion in New York City?
The people I’ve met here are so talented — they inspire me to keep learning, to be better at my job and to try more experimental, creative things. I love models, and working downtown I get to see them in the wild every day; the people-watching in New York can’t be beat when it comes to unique style. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt that I get to come in very close contact with the most beautiful clothing in the world a few times a year.
If you could write something that would be read by every designer, editor, and influencer currently working in the industry – what topic would you choose?
My editor Lauren [Indvik] wrote a funny piece on this a few seasons back, but I would love to write a Bible of social media etiquette for Fashion Month. The amount of times I’ve watched fashion shows from behind tablets and iPhone screens is absurd and it’s only getting worse — I got screamed at in Milan for holding up my phone for a single shot during the finale. There needs to be an official rule book at this point, especially since digital editors are often relegated to the back rows. (That’s another topic that would make for an interesting discussion as well.)
Have any summer plans? Will you have a summer uniform?
I’m about to go on a two-week adventure to Italy and Istanbul. In the summer I tend towards basic silk dresses, white linen button-up shirts with denim cut-offs, and I bought a pair of lace-up Isabel Marant sandals that I plan on wearing to death. There’s an optical brand out of New Orleans called Krewe du Optic that makes amazing sunglasses — I have a couple of pairs of those in rotation as well.
Favorite thing about NYC?
It’s impossible to be bored — if I have a rare day completely free of responsibility, I just pick a random neighborhood, hop on the subway and go exploring (and marathon eating, most likely).