Olivia Pinnock is a London-based fashion writer, lecturer and the founder of The Fashion Debates. Olivia has a particular interest in sustainable fashion, fashion history and the business of fashion. She is dedicated to uncovering insightful and fascinating stories in a visually-driven industry. We caught up with the multifaceted Olivia Pinnock.
1. How did you start your career as a fashion writer?
I studied journalism at university and built up my experience in fashion writing. I was lucky to get my first job out of university in fashion journalism running an online magazine for a start-up. From there I worked at various magazines, until I went freelance almost three years ago.
2. How do you juggle being a fashion writer and teacher at London Metropolitan University?
I only teach one module at the moment on Fashion Branding and Journalism to the second-year students of the Fashion Marketing and Journalism course so it doesn’t take up my whole week. It can be difficult to find the time to prepare lectures or mark coursework but I enjoy it a lot so that spurs me on to juggle everything.
3. Could you tell us a little bit about The Fashion Debates? What it entails and why you started it?
The Fashion Debates is a series of events discussing ethical issues that affect the fashion industry and aims to inspire people to do something about them. So far, we’ve covered a wide range of topics from sweatshop labour, to racism, the health of models, environmental pollution and unpaid work and internships. For each topic we pull together an expert panel to untangle the issue and invite questions from the audience. I started it because I was tired of feeling helpless about many of these issues that I really cared about. I love the fashion industry, but there are a lot of dark things that take place within it which are counterintuitive to the amazing and beautiful creativity it breeds. As someone who works in it, I feel a responsibility to make it better.
4. Being an advocate of Sustainable Fashion, any brands and designers we should know about?
So many! There are a lot of great sustainable brands for all styles, all budgets, and whichever cause you are most passionate about. Social media is a great place to discover them. Some of my personal favourites include Reformation, Age of Reason, and Beautiful Soul.
Image Credits: Jordan Wharf Young
5. How would a typical day be for you?
Because I juggle a lot of different roles, I map my week out every Monday to make sure everything gets done and I meet all my deadlines. So, each morning (not too early, I’m more of a night owl!), when I sit down at my laptop, I know exactly what I have to do that day. It could be anything from writing product descriptions for a copywriting client, to interviewing someone for an article, teaching a class, or booking the venue and drinks for The Fashion Debates!
6. Do you have a power piece or a lucky item that you always wear for important meetings?
A colourful vintage dress! I’m a big fan of vintage clothing in general and when I wear something unique and in a bright shade it makes me feel confident. I always find that people react to you in a much warmer way when you wear colour, they smile and they compliment you because it stands out, and that really helps when trying to make an impression on people.
7. What are your 5 must have fashion items?
A pair of heels you can walk in, a Mary-Poppins-sized handbag, a warm coat that goes with everything you own, nail varnish and a really nice set of underwear.
8. Do you follow trends? What according to you is the hottest trend for 2017?
I follow macro-trends. Nothing interesting comes out of polka dots being in for one season but the fact that trends like 70’s fashion, 90’s fashion, athleisure, and normcore have been around for the last couple of years and is actually being worn by everyday people tells us something about society right now and will come to be what the current decade is remembered for. To me that’s interesting.
Image Credits: Jordan Wharf Young
9. Do you follow the work of any fashion bloggers? Name some bloggers that you personally like?
I find blogs really helpful when I’m researching but I don’t have any that I follow specifically. Usually I end up reading blogs about fashion history and the stories of now defunct labels.
10. What advice would you like to give to someone who wants to became a fashion writer.
People will tell you that it’s really tough and really competitive, which it is, but if it’s what you desperately want to do with your life, then ignore them, block out the noise, and focus on achieving your goals.