By Elizabeth Hazard
A the Forefront of Fashion’s Front Row : Vanessa Friedman
Vanessa Friedman’s name is practically synonymous with fashion. As the venerable Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic at The New York Times since 2014, she is considered by many to be the utmost authority on fashion journalism. She is revered my many, and feared by many, as her critiques can make or break the youngest or most established of fashion designers.
Undiscovered designers and large, established fashion brands wait with same baited breath to read her words; and that’s only if you’re lucky enough to have garnered her attention in one of her coveted, must-read New York Times articles. She is never far from the front row of many a fashion show come Fashion Week, whether it’s Fashion Week in New York, Milan, Paris or London.
Another authority on the subject of fashion, the website Business of Fashion (BOF) recently named Friedman as one of the most powerful people shaping the $2.4 trillion fashion industry. She joins the list among many other accomplished, big hitters in the world of fashion. She deserves this title just as much as any one else though. Just like the designers and the work she writes about, Friedman worked hard for the respect she has garnered.
A graduate of Princeton, Before The New York Times, she held positions at the Financial Times, InStyle UK, The Economist, and Elle. She has contributed to publications such as Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, among others. Before she arrived at The New York Times, she held the first ever title of fashion editor at the Financial Times, a title she took the helm at for 12 years.
Friedman no doubt has an eye for fashion and a talent of writing beyond measure, but what begs our attention to her work is her ability to think about fashion as something more than clothing. To her, fashion goes beyond the design, fabrics, and fit. It’s about culture, human nature and changes in our society; and how those all are reflected in the clothing we wear over the years. In an interview with New York Magazine’s fashion arm, The Cut, Friedman spoke about this. “Everyone gets up in the morning and they make a decision about what they’re going to put on their bodies. Therefore, it is something that we should look at and think about. “She continued, “Let’s look at this, let’s think about why we’re making these choices, and what they mean, and what they can say to everybody else, and talk about it.”
Vanessa Friedman’s words have been read over and over by millions and millions, whether the reader is a fashion CEO, a budding designer, a fashion lover, or a journalist looking to perfect their own words. She has made a voice for fashion to be heard in a world that sometimes looks upon it in a trivial sense. She has made fashion an important player in the world of journalism and how that very fashion is covered in that realm of journalism.
Vanessa Friedman has made an indelible mark on both journalism and fashion through her voice and words. We look forward to her words in The New York Times and beyond for many years to come.