For those still watching reruns of Sex and the City and wondering how Carrie Bradshaw got her one-in-a-million break in a city as impenetrable as New York, look no further than real-life example Caroline Vazzana. While Carrie and Vazzana share a list of similarities – both built dedicated followings as big-city fashion and culture writers – Vazzana’s book, Making It in Manhattan, is a survival guide for anyone who dares to dream of working in the fashion industry. Making It in Manhattan soon grew into its own editorial website, which is chock-full of firsthand advice, from “5 Things to Know Before Interning in NYC” to “How to Dress Like Carrie Bradshaw in 2020.”
As Vazzana continues to expand her platform, her new Snapchat series, The Fashionista with Caroline Vazzana, capitalizes on her mission to lend a hand to those wanting to turn fashion from a pipe dream into reality. The Untitled Magazine caught up with her to talk The Fashionista with Caroline Vazzana, Making It in Manhattan, and using her experience in every corner of the industry to advise and inspire others. Read our interview with Caroline Vazzana below.
How did growing up in NYC influence your love for fashion?
Fashion has always been a part of me. Even when I was super young, I always insisted on dressing myself. Being in New York, you’re constantly surrounded by so much art and culture, which inspired me to want to learn more!
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion? Are there any particular designers that have influenced your creative journey?
When I was very young, I originally wanted to be an artist. I’ve always been a more creative person; I still love drawing and painting. When I was in high school, I realized you could actually work in fashion and make that your career, and that’s when I became hooked. I remember being young and watching a YouTube video of one of Betsey Johnson’s runway shows and just knew this was where I belonged.
What were some of your first jobs and professional experiences in the industry?
My first internship was after my sophomore year of college with Anna Sui in her production department. The summer after that, I interned at Marie Claire magazine with one of their fashion editors. When I graduated, I landed my first real job at Teen Vogue as the assistant to the fashion director and senior fashion editor.
Looking back, can you share an experience that you feel was a pivotal moment in your career?
I think there were many that shaped me, but that first summer with Anna Sui was such an incredible introduction to the industry, and I never wanted to leave. I knew instantly it was for me.
Can you tell us about your book, Making It In Manhattan, that you later turned into a blog?
I started writing my book, Making it in Manhattan, in 2015 while working at InStyle. I wanted to write it to inspire those trying to break into the industry. To pull back the curtain and share my tips and tricks in a fun and relatable way. After working on the book for a bit, my literary agent suggested I start an editorial site, also called Making it in Manhattan, to grow my brand outside of just the book.
What are 3 pieces of advice you can give to our readers who aspire to work in fashion?
- Network! Building your network is so important to break into the fashion industry. Do internships and ask people you admire for coffee. The more you build your network, the better.
- You really have to love it. Working in fashion truly becomes part of your life, so make sure you love it!
- Find what sets you apart! If you wait to build your brand as a content creator, try to find what makes you different or sets you apart, and run with it. Think about what you can offer to an audience, and really focus on that.
What was one of your most memorable styling gigs?
I had the pleasure of working with Sadie Sink from Stranger Things for her first set of red carpets, including her first Comic Con. It was such an incredible experience working with her when she was first starting out.
Between styling, designing, editorial, and more, you’ve worked in many facets of the industry. Which do you enjoy the most, and why?
I really enjoy them all. That’s the beauty of the industry – you can wear so many different hats. I do love styling myself, though, for campaigns with larger brands. It’s always so fun when they put their trust in me to style their pieces.
Can you share what inspires your content on TikTok? Any tips for building an audience on the platform?
I love inspiring my community to just be themselves and express who they are through fashion. Life is too short to care what others think or to save the fun clothes in the back of your closet. I try to keep that message in mind when I’m creating. I think on TikTok, in terms of growth, it’s just so important to be yourself and to let your personality shine through.
What can we look forward to from you next? Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I hope to continue to reach new people through my writing and styling work online. I’d love to dive even more into writing through a column and possibly a second book!