Paula Goldstein was very close to retiring from the fashion industry, when she found herself falling in creative love, and moving from North London to Nolita to become Fashion Director of Refinery 29. As recently reported, the website is going global – so, it was perfect timing to pluck Paula from across the pond. The self-described, openly feminist girly-girl, once dubbed “the ultimate freelancer” by The Daily Telegraph, now works closely with the R29 team to realize the site’s ever-expanding, women empowering fashion and lifestyle vision. To satisfy her wanderlust, she continues to serve as editor in chief of her travel project voyaged etudes.com, a collection of travel moments and memories from her world and the amazing people in it. As if that is not enough, Paula continues to work as a creative consultant, brand ambassador, DJ and model, represented by NEXT. We caught up with Paula on her way to Paris Haute Couture…
Congrats on your new gig at Refinery 29 – how exciting! What brought you to R29?
They did – ha-ha! I was happily planning an exit from fashion last summer, writing a book and focusing on my travel project voyagedetudes.com. I had almost bought a villa in rural Italy to turn into a bed and breakfast. Then, I spoke to Christene Barberich, our Editor-in-Chief at R29 about a role they were looking to fill. What can I say? We fell in creative love! I was so excited by both R29’s huge reach of 22 million visitors a month and their really smart, approachable view of the industry. Most important to me were their tools, tone of voice, and ambitions of empowering women. So, I came out of early retirement and moved to New York for a new adventure.
You’ve been at Refinery 29 for a few months now – how have you settled in?
It’s been really exciting. We have some amazing things happening content-wise, as well starting a global women’s network and expanding to opening offices in new cities – a little ironically for me, the next being London.
What are your responsibilities as Fashion Director of R29? Do you write at all?
My expertise and tasks revolve around our vision, long lead initiatives, big stories that run across verticals, our styling, casting, photography and how we will evolve in the fashion video space. I actually write very little, Connie, our Fashion Features Director is a super hero and takes care of the written features.
How does working at R29 compare with your previous gig at Purple?
It is incomparable – Purple was a very small family with love, passion and drama in equal amounts. Refinery 29 is literally a game changing, power player in the world of media – both are brilliant but beyond different!
Was it a difficult decision to move to the United States from London?
Very hard – I adore London and I think it will always be home. I miss my friends constantly and the beauty and quiet of London. But NYC is amazing. The energy is addictive and I’m meeting fantastic people everyday. But, I need to work out more and time to sleep!
What do you find most exciting and most challenging about living in New York?
As I said lack of sleep since there’s always more work and more places to be. Ha-ha! Also, the lack of space – I’m trying to embrace living minimally in my tiny, new Nolita life.
How do the two cities compare In terms of the fashion and media landscape?
New York is the city where you make it, where your creativity can change the world, but London certainly is the kindergarten of fashion and media talent. London is the city of new ideas, new talent and creativity and its fashion week is geared for young talent. You see that in how many powerful indie magazines exist in London something that NY really doesn’t have. In the same way, NYC has the global powerhouses and London does not.
We love your “openly feminist” reputation. Please tell us a bit about your position on this and how it applies to fashion.
My basic opinion is that fashion can be very competitive and not supportive of women. The only way we can change that is to behave differently ourselves. I’m a girl’s girl and I want to foster sisterhood – in our day-to-day interactions with each other, to support charities and to challenge in equality the world over. Women lose their power as soon as they compare and compete but if we can all hold hands as such we can really change the world!
How do men play into this?
I’m a really girly girl – I adore men and their company and I want to make it very clear that you can still be pro-women’s rights and pro-sisterhood and like lipstick and adore men. It’s about building with men not attacking or alienating them. And the entire point of feminism is to have the choices to enjoy whatever you enjoy — be that manis/pedis or soccer!
Besides R29, what are some of your favorite websites and blogs?
I love the New York Times, my own website voyagedetudes.com, Rookie Mag and Slutever.
It’s hard to believe you have time for being DJ – what’s on your top play list right now?
I’m all about the 70’s right now and currently listening to Donovan’s Colours!