What You Don’t Know About Working In Fashion

As we anxiously await New York Fashion Week, we’re turning to Amy Odell’s debut book, Tales From The Back Row (out today!), to hold us over. A true insider’s account, the collection of essays finds the former fashion blogger navigating runway shows, interviews and celebrity encounters with hilarious aplomb. Want to know what it’s really like to work in the style industry? Read our interview with the blogger-turned-author below, then grab a copy of Amy’s book ASAP.

Our conversation with Cosmopolitan.com Editor, Amy Odell:

When and why did you decide to write this book? Writing a book has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember, so I guess I decided to write a book when I still slept in a crib. As for this particular book, when I was working at the Cut, NYmag.com’s fashion blog, I thought the fashion industry would make for a great book of humorous essays because the industry is so, so fascinating and engimatic. I started at the Cut in 2008 and agents started approaching me a couple of years in about writing a book.

In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception of the fashion world (by people who are on the outside looking in)? I think the biggest misconception of the fashion world is that you can understand it by watching fashion-oriented reality television or being a clothes horse. But Project Runway and shopping are not really what the fashion world is all about.

Can you give a spoiler of your favorite part in Tales From the Back Row? I write in the book about what it’s really like to have a job interview with Anna Wintour – the questions she asks you, what to wear and how her office compares to what you see in movies like The Devil Wears Prada. Having that encounter, even though I didn’t get the job, was one of the best and most nervewracking moments of my career in media, because I admire Anna so, so much. And I managed to do it without passing out!

Amy in NYC. Photo: @instamyodell

Tell us about your encounter with Rachel Zoe. I cannot say enough about how awesome Rachel is. I had been writing about her from a far for a while, until she launched her clothing line and I wanted to do a story about it for the Cut. This brought me face-to-face with her, and allowed me to shadow her as she was launching it and introducing the line to consumers. I was – and remain – incredibly impressed by her vision, her work ethic and how she’s turned her vision into a multi-platform, extremely valuable brand. I think any media flack she gets stems from everyone being jealous that she’s not styling them. As I say in the book, she takes someone who looks like they live in a Las Vegas pool and turns them into the most beautiful creature you’ve ever seen.

What is your advice for anyone wanting to embark on a career in the fashion industry? My advice to young women who want to work in fashion is to remember that your intellect, talent attitude and work ethic matter more than your wardrobe. No one cares how expensive your shoes are if you can’t pack a trunk without complaining about it.

Words of wisdom for anyone wanting to write a book? For anyone who wants to write a book I would say, pursue the hell out of it. It’s not like buying extra skymiles with your plane ticket – no one is just going to ask you to do it.

On a personal style note, what are you looking forward to wearing this fall? Can I first say how sad I am that summer is ending? Summer is the greatest season because you’re not cold. That said, I can’t wait to wear my Acne shearling jacket, my OTK black suede Stuart Weitzman boots, and leather pants! Always leather pants.

Tales From the Back Row ($13), out today. Photo: @instamyodell

Amy's Fall Fashion Wants