Julie Player, 54, embarked on her career at 15 and is now fashion editor at Britain’s best-selling women’s magazine. She talks to Christina Geggus about shopping for a living, her experience of working with Holly Willoughby and her joy of a good makeover.
What made you want to work in fashion journalism?
As a teenager I loved clothes, I used to read Jackie and browse through my mum’s catalogues. I remember I used to look at all the clothes thinking it is someone’s job to put all those clothes together. It was a job I thought I’d like to do. At 15 I spent two weeks in the fashion departments at Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. The whole experience made me realise I wanted to study fashion journalism and do it as my career. I also have always loved high street shopping.
What route did you take to become a fashion editor?
After leaving school, I went to the London College of Fashion to study Fashion Journalism, which was the only place in the country where you could study it at that time. I spent two years there and then landed myself a junior role in the fashion cupboard at Bella Magazine. I then went to Women’s Weekly and then ended up at Take a Break, where I have been since.
What does it entail?
I basically shop for a living. Each week I create fashion features showcasing what is currently on trend and how to style these particular items of clothing. For example, if I decided to do a feature on red dresses. I would research all the different red dresses out there, pick out the ones that my readers will like, get hold of the dresses, call the models in, book hair and makeup, and photographers. Once we have done the shoot, I download the images, write the copy and submit.
What is one key thing you have learnt?
The right clothes can make any woman feel happier and more confident and your role as a fashion editor should always be to direct your audience to the right clothes. Also that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on clothes or buy new all the time for them to make you feel great.
‘I have worked with Holly Willoughby a few times. she is always a pleasure to work with and is very sweet’
What is it you love about makeovers?
It is such an uplifting experience. I always get great feedback from the women I have styled on how it has given them a confidence boost and made them rethink their style for the better. It really shows the power of clothes, how what you put on can make you feel good about yourself and as a fashion editor I like to show people how the right clothes can do this on the page and in real life.
Have you worked with anyone famous?
I have worked with Holly Willoughby a few times via M&S Press events, she is always a pleasure to work with and is very sweet. This week I have had breakfast with Louise Redknapp-who was showing me what she is doing with Peacocks, as well as Andrea McLean showing me her new collection with Bon Marche. I also met Amanda Holden last week, she is nuts.
What has been your best moment?
I did a makeover on women who had worked in care homes during the pandemic. The three ladies came down to London were styled and had complete makeovers. The photos were stunning and the feature is set to be amazing. Easily moments like this are the best, as the ladies were so grateful for how amazing I had made them feel and the experience rightfully gave them a small glimmer of the glamorous world of magazines.
“Don’t give up, be open-minded and expect to start at the bottom”.
How do you stay at the top of your game?
My styling inspiration for fashion features mainly comes from women on the street, I like to be out seeing what women are wearing and how they have personally styled clothes themselves. To stay at the forefront, I do my job to the best of my ability and I think you have to style with the everyday woman in mind. Women want clothes they can afford and I think success in magazine fashion comes with understanding your readers and advertising clothes that are fashionable and affordable to them.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to be you?
It is all about showing your passion for fashion. Create your own Instagram, blog or put together your own fashion magazine, it shows your confidence in your fashion knowledge and creativity which employers love to see. It is a tough industry- don’t give up, be open-minded and expect to start at the bottom.