Telum Talks... Fashion Journalism in New Zealand (with FashioNZ and Eye Magazine)

Telum Talks... Fashion Journalism in New Zealand (with FashioNZ and Eye Magazine)
Chloe Arentz

From the catwalk to the city streets, fashion journalists have always played a major role in showcasing the latest trends around the world. 

This month, designers, fashion writers and fans from across the globe were due to touch down in New Zealand to celebrate the 20th anniversary of New Zealand Fashion Week. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organisers made the difficult decision to cancel this year's event.

Despite this, Telum decided to celebrate fashion journalism in style by chatting with Evelyn Ebrey of FashioNZ, and Vanessa Bennett from Eye Magazine, about their love of fashion journalism.

Evelyn Ebrey, Editor / Publisher at FashioNZ
How did you get into fashion journalism?
I’ve always been interested in fashion. I first wrote about it for the now-defunct website,, in 2008. When I briefly worked at marie claire in Sydney, my Editor recommended I get a journalism qualification. I ended up doing a Postgraduate in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism at the London College of Fashion, graduating in 2012. I’ve written about fashion, beauty and lifestyle subjects ever since, and I’ve been FashioNZ’s Editor for six and a half years now.

Do you think there are any misconceptions about fashion journalism?
Like a lot of things that are labelled as "women’s interest", fashion journalism can be seen as fluff or unimportant, which is frustrating. The fashion industry is full of exceptional people doing creative and inspiring things - not to mention the industry itself is worth billions of dollars and is full of intelligent business owners. Everyone wears clothes and makes fashion choices every single day, so to write off fashion coverage as trivial does a disservice to us all.

How has the demand for fashion media changed in New Zealand over time?
There has definitely been a greater demand for fashion coverage as people have become more interested in their appearance with the rise of social media. However, fashion fans also get a lot of information from influencers and social media these days, so there hasn’t been a huge rise in the number of fashion-related publications. What has been great is seeing more diversity in fashion, and a slow but steady move away from the idealised and very narrow standard of beauty that we’ve seen on the runway and in publications for so long.
What's the number one thing you want to see in a fashion-related PR pitch?
I want to see a genuine effort to embrace diversity from the brand or event; it’s something readers and consumers are constantly asking for and what we work hard on conveying. Everyone deserves to see fashion content they can relate to and that makes them feel inspired, not excluded.

Biggest events of the year or dates to note?
Our biggest event for the year is usually New Zealand Fashion Week, which has unfortunately been cancelled. We’re hopeful it will be rescheduled later in the year, as it’s an important event for our local fashion industry and hasn’t been able to go ahead since 2019. That’s a long time without the lynchpin on our fashion calendar, and we've really missed it. I directed a short documentary to celebrate the event's 20th anniversary, which is online here.

Vanessa Bennett, Publisher / Editor at Eye Magazine

Do you think there are any misconceptions about fashion journalism and reporting?
I think we need to support the New Zealand industry more. The local fashion designers are an incredibly talented lot, and they often only get press over Fashion Week when they should be showcased throughout the year. 

Sometimes the press would prefer to showcase a global brand rather than designers in our own backyard. Our new designers coming up are so impressive. Look at Jakob Carter as an example - class and style beyond anything! He is New York and New Zealand in one dress.

How has the demand for fashion media changed in New Zealand over time? 
I think people will always want fashion media. Fashion makes us feel good, it can change our day and our mood, it inspires us and allows us to show who we are. Looking at fashion images in a glossy magazine makes us feel a sense of luxury and style. There will always be room for fashion media. The people want it, so we survive. 

What’s the number one thing you want to see in a fashion-related PR pitch?
Two things are important to us. Firstly, we need a pitch relevant to what the consumer wants, because the consumer is our client. The world has changed and is so conflicted about fashion at the moment. With so much time at home through the pandemic and so many people now working from home, we are dressing differently, so stories around fashion designers changing their creativity work for us.

Secondly, anything that says "wow" and "crazy". We love fashion designers like Cecilia Kang, who are just rock stars and jump right out of the box! Her designs compete on a world stage and are jaw-droppingly awesome. We like fashion that cares - no longer do we just buy something we love, we look at the story behind the brand.

Another tip: Always add a high-resolution image to your send-outs! Great images entice us.

Answers submitted by Evelyn Ebrey, Editor / Publisher of FashioNZ, and Vanessa Bennett, Editor / Publisher of Eye Magazine.

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  • Evelyn Ebrey
  • Vanessa Bennett
  • Telum Media
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  • FashioNZ
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  • Eye Magazine
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