Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley recently held book signings and a Q&A at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, CA. I did some investigative journalism, pretending not to hear the security guard who asked for my "student I.D." & sat front row to jot down pages of notes to bring to you.
Photo from Teen Vogue's Bergdorf book signing in NY by Julia Chesky
A gaggle of fashion students sat in Room 500 of the FIDM building buzzing about courses, clothes, and Halloween plans in their best "I don't usually wear this to class" ensembles. Apparently, the place to be this Halloween is Santa Barbara...
"We're sorry to keep you waiting, but Amy is running a little late, she had to take a call from Anna Wintour, I'm sure you understand."
An audible gasp then collective giggles broke out around the room. Soon after, some FIDM figurehead or another introduced "Amy Astes" as a former Art History major, who once worked with "Anna Wintar." A little cringe worthy, but Amy politely corrected her, she was an English major at Michigan State, and all was quickly forgiven. The fashion aspirants were all smiles, sitting with eyes wide and notebooks ready as Amy took her spot at the head of the classroom. I whipped out my pen and took 4 pages of notes, just for you.
- though she trained to be a ballerina, Amy always loved writing and aesthetics, ending up an English major at Michigan State, where her father was a professor.
- first editorial job was as an assistant at the late House & Garden, where she learned the ins and outs of publishing.
- when HG folded, a Creative Director she had impressed on the job recommended her for a position at Vogue where Anna Wintour tapped her to launch Teen Vogue
- Teen Vogue spent 2 years in development, and after 4 test issues Conde Nast decided there was real potential in the market and deemed TV viable.
- Was massively intimidated by Andre Leon Talley at first, but he's actually "the sweetest man," and says Anna is the "ultimate editor."
- Since taking the helm at TV, nearly every girl she encountered had questions about breaking into various roles in fashion. Basically, on a personal and marketing level, it made sense.
- Why isn't her name on the cover as the author? "I didn't write the book!" she said. The handbook is comprised of industry professionals advice as a "roadmap to careers, whether you want to be the next Karl Lagerfeld or Anna Wintour or not."
- Karl Legerfeld gave her favorite quote from the book.
- Wanted to keep the book visually appeal with the usual great Vogue photography and design integrity.
- On reality TV "I don't want to be a media personality. I've seen people laughed off Madison Avenue for taking the reality star route, it can really backfire." That's also why you didn't see so much of her on the Hills.
Getting Your Start
- "Fashion is not the road to riches. But there is definitely room to make a living."
- NY vs LA/everywhere else: Who cares? "Fashion is so democratic now! With the internet, you can gain exposure in fashion from anywhere. The Rodarte sisters live in Pasedena at their parents' house!"