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Spotlight: Writers of ShiftLondon

ShiftLondon Images
ShiftLondon Images

Written by
Jennifer Igiri
Published date
07 October 2019

ShiftLondon is an online magazine run exclusively by students on the BA Fashion Journalism course. We caught up with two of the previous writers, 3rd year students Dominique Bennett and Shanai Charlton-Taylor, to get an insight into the award-winning publication.

Why did you choose to study Fashion Journalism?

SHANAI: Initially when I applied for university, I knew nothing about LCF or that studying a fashion focused course was an option. I always wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry, working for a fashion magazine, but my want to leave London overshadowed my end goals. Instead I studied media and communications at another university, but I felt out of place. It took being in the completely opposite environment to make me realise just how much I personally needed a fashion focused environment if I was going to study.

DOMINIQUE: When you’re little you have all these different ideas of what you want to be when you’re older. When I was around six, I said that I wanted to be a fashion journalist, and since then I’ve know that this is what I want to do.

What has been the highlight of your degree so far?

SHANAI: Last term we had the opportunity to create an online magazine as a group, which gave us the freedom to write in the comfort of our own style, but also expand our creativity as we set our own guidelines.

DOMINIQUE: In first year we made a magazine based on a place in London and my group chose Brixton. In one of the articles I looked at being a black gay man and it is still my favourite thing that I have done during the course.

Are there any particular writers or publications you’re inspired by?

SHANAI: Dazed, i-D, Blanc Magazine

DOMINIQUE: In terms of writing style I really like Esquire magazine. Their tone is what I want my writing to be – its witty and it makes every article interesting.

What would be the dream? What do you hope to achieve after graduating?

DOMINIQUE: For me the dream would be to have my own publication, something that is a mix between Ebony Magazine and i-D. Hopefully after graduating I find a job in journalism or PR and I am able to work towards self-employment.

SHANAI: If I'm being honest I’m not too sure.

Fashion is so broad and I don’t think it’s necessary to limit yourself because of the course you’re studying.

Probably to head up a publication or start my own – a position that gives me a lot of creative control over the overall outcome, especially in terms of the level of diversity.

What issues are you most passionate about in the industry?

SHANAI: Diversity, Tokenism, Cultural Appropriation, Black Masculinity

DOMINIQUE: As a black women equality is very important to me. The industry really needs to work on representation and making sure that black people are given the same opportunities as their white counterparts, and the same can be said for women in the industry.

A lot of the time, the higher up you go in a company the less women you see, and I hope that I can be part of the change in that area.

What do you think is the most important quality needed in a fashion journalist?

SHANAI: Integrity – not just for fashion journalists but all journalists. There's pressure to get news out quickly, there’s a need to be first over the need to be true.

As a news journalist or fashion journalist, we have the responsibility to tell the truth.

DOMINIQUE: I think confidence is the most important part of being a journalist. You have to be able to talk to all different kinds of people. You also need to be confident enough to put yourself and your work out there. Empathy is also really important if you are writing an article about something that doesn’t affect you, or about an issue you don’t fully understand.

When you are interviewing people you need to be able to understand their point of view and why they feel the way they do about certain things.

Can you tell us about your favourite article you’ve written for Shift, and what inspired you to cover that topic?

SHANAI: I wrote an article titled Fashion’s Copycat Problem, tagline We all love cheap thrills but at whose expense? Fast fashion brands are known for selling us items similar to designs that may be out of our price range, which there’s no denying we’ve all at some point bought into. The issue is talked about, we all know that it happens but that’s the end of the story. The article highlights the fact that there are designers out there, whether newly graduates or designers who have spent years trying to get their designs off the ground but simply don’t have the audience reach.

DOMINIQUE: The article I wrote about Cancel Culture was really fun because I got to talk to a therapist and that was a really interesting interview to do. I wanted to cover that topic because it’s a new issue that has come about in the wake of social media and at the time there was a lot of celeb drama going on that inspired me to write the article.