Andre Leon Talley, Lynn Yaeger, Constance White, and Sasha Charnin Morrison Discuss The Mag Biz At Women & Fashion FilmFest

by Dena Silver

For the second annual Women & Fashion FilmFest, a flurry of impressive fashion types flocked to LIM College’s Maxwell Hall last week to pass along tidbits of knowledge. On the Fashion & Beauty day, there were panels on diversity in the industry, with chef Carla Hall and Devyn, the winner of The Face, on hand to chat, as well as a screening of Make It In America: Empowering Global Fashion, a documentary by James Belzer. Your Daily stopped by the “Magazines Behind The Scene” panel, where Andre Leon Talley, consulting editor at Vogue, Lynn Yaeger, contributing fashion editor at Vogue, Constance White, consulting editor at, and Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director at US Weekly, had a chance to chat. While the conversation ranged from the debate on the demise of print to getting their start in the industry, there were plenty of lessons to soak up. But we’ll let the pros do the teaching…

Lynn Yaeger on finding her way into the industry: “I got summer jobs in department stores because I loved to go shopping, but I always got fired. I was a terrible employee. I wasn’t the kind of person who could be an intern and work her way up in the magazine business.  I got a job at the Village Voice, which was down the block from the New School. I thought, ‘Oh, this will be fun.’ I was in the advertising department there, but I always loved to write. Slowly I began to write for them but it took me a very long time to find this career.”

Andre Leon Talley on his first Vogue contact: “At Brown University one day, I wrote a letter to Carrie Donovan, who was then a Vogue columnist. I wrote, ‘Dear Ms. Donovan, can you please tell me who discovered Pat Cleveland?’ She wrote back and she signed it in green ink.”

Lynn Yaeger on the demise of print: “I don’t think there is going to be print anymore. Maybe there are going to be these precious gift magazines that people get for Christmas. They’ll say: ‘Oh look! It’s a magazine! It’s so beautiful. Want to come over and see the magazine?’ I think print will be like the typewriter or the horse and buggy.”

Andre Leon Talley on his love for books: “I do think it’s important to have books. I personally need to have a book in my hand, to feel that page and hear the noise. I think that they give you not only knowledge and power and culture; they also give you fantasy and escapism, references and resources.”

Constance White on the next emerging fashion market: “What’s really compelling to me today in the area of fashion is this idea of what is happening in Ghana, the Congo, Sudan, South Africa…The countries of Africa together today are one of the fastest growing markets for fashion. We’re always talking about ‘Who’s buying this stuff?’ It’s the most unlikely people. These men in the Congo are buying Gucci, Balmain, and Burberry.”

Sasha Charnin Morrison on continuing the print revolution: “What we have to do as people who work at magazines is figure out what the next step is to keep it alive. It’s our responsibility to constantly reinvent ourselves. We cannot sit back and just let something like digital media take over. Whether that means you have to put a chip or a disk or something in your magazine, so that the pictures will start to move. We have to figure out what the new way is.”

Andre Leon Talley on his current muses: “My inspiration comes from my need in life. It’s 2014 if you want to wear tulle at five, you can wear tulle at five. And I’m also really inspired by people who collaborate, like Pharrell with Uniqlo. It’s amazing that Pharrell can find his way into Uniqlo with a couple of T shirts and a couple of hats, which reach the street.”

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