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Image courtesy Christos Sewell
Interview

Corbin Chamberlin

06.26.13

Corbin Chamberlin is a freelance fashion writer, who regularly contributes to a wide range of major publications including Elle.com, The New York Times, The Cut, SCENE Magazine, and Financial Times. Chamberlin first broke into the fashion industry as a budding teen writer in Arizona through a project with Teen Vogue. Today, he is known for his cutthroat criticism and personal style, which has fashion editor Peter Davis dubbing Chamberlin “the new André Leon Talley.”

Interview

You write for many publications. What subjects do you cover usually for each?

The list seems ever growing — I’ve become a fierce freelancer of late! I cover fashion and luxury for the Financial Times, fashion and travel for Elle.com, a small bit for the Nationals and Style section of the New York Times, and I’m a contributing editor at the New York Observer’s SCENE Magazine. I’m really excited to start working with a new title at the end of the summer.

How did you first get into fashion?

When I was 16, 17 years old and worked for a publication in Arizona. I had a column where I would interview designers after months of pleading to let them talk to me. Then I did a project with Teen Vogue and I was hooked. The rest is history.

We were first introduced on Twitter. Do you find many of your relationships start there?

Certainly! I love people who have relevant, nice and thoughtful things to say online about fashion and beyond. If I’m digging what they are tweeting, I normally drop them a note and ask them to tea. I’m old fashioned in that aspect — why tweet one another when you can share stories over a scone?

Who is your favorite person to follow on Twitter?

It’s a toss up. The Phoenix Bureau Chief of the New York Times, Fernanda Santos is fiery reporter who covers the most interesting topics in my home state and isn’t afraid to address (and dissolve) tough questions from tough readers. Also, Twitter was created for Amina Akhtar’s hilarious tweets. Amina is the Executive Editor of Elle.com and she tweets a scramble of shoes, everyday humor and frustrations, and pictures her dog, Beanie.

How has the influx of social media affected your job as a writer?

Twitter hasn’t made a huge impact on what I do, honestly. It’s nice to collect people’s thoughts and opinions, and of course, watch what the brands are communicating, etc. Concerning shows, the expectations from your audience (and employers) are greater. It’s not enough to just attend a show or market appointment and give a review at a latter time. You have to tweet every second and look from the collection. It is very distracting.

Do you feel like the access through social media to designers and other influencers has changed the industry positively?

I do. I think it makes a stronger connection between the consumer and brand. The customer is becoming more aware of whom they are buying from, and what they are buying. It’s chic to have an education about the history of your handbag and its creator.

Who are you most excited about currently in men’s fashion?

There isn’t a defining trend. A few brands have my attention. I really enjoy the bison leather accessories that Parabellum is doing; they are masculine and seem like they will last forever. In addition, the shoes that Del Toro is producing are insanely amazing. I can’t get enough of them. The menswear line Rochambeau is one to watch. They are still developing and a brand, but I’m all about their aesthetic.

Do you think men’s fashion gets the attention it deserves?

Yes, absolutely.

As a male voice within the industry, is there pressure to represent “real men” the way publications attempt to represent “real women” in magazines and other media sources?

There isn’t pressure, and that’s what’s nerving. There are so many people of size who enjoy fashion that are not being provided for, and men especially. The push via advertisements etc., to accept one’s body in the female format is ever growing, though I still think there is a lot of work to be done; there isn’t the same kind of body-positive message for men.

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