From unearthing which major designers source their fabrics from factories with unfair child labor practices overseas to revealing which clothing brands are only featuring size double zero Caucasian models in their ads, we rely heavily on fashion journalists to break some of the most pressing news stories around the world. To highlight the importance and gravity of fashion journalism — and to show our appreciation for its impact on people everywhere — TOP Fashion is recognizing significant reporters with our Top Fashion Journalists Awards.
Aside from covering the latest trends and what’s hot on the runways, fashion journalism covers a range of issues including working conditions, fair trade, sustainable production, environmental impact, and representation of ethnic diversity and plus sizes. From unearthing which major designers source their fabrics from factories with unfair child labor practices overseas to revealing which clothing brands are only featuring size double zero Caucasian models in their ads, we rely heavily on fashion journalists to break some of the most pressing news stories around the world. To highlight the importance and gravity of fashion journalism — and to show our appreciation for its impact on people everywhere — TOP Fashion is recognizing significant reporters with our Top Fashion Journalists Awards.
Throughout our selection process for the Top Fashion Journalists Awards, we first ruminated on “Fashion” as a subject. Even in its most simplistic definition, the concept reaches far and wide. Fashion is influenced by pop culture, seasonal weather, affordability, corporate social responsibility, inclusion, and representation… and branches into manufacturing, advertising, policy, and of course, business. Our list assembles reporters that reflect this expansiveness. As we sought to represent a diverse definition of fashion, journalistic merit criteria guided our selection. We identified writers who excel at demystifying fashion complexities, who produce unyielding articles that insert their personal narratives and analysis into their stories, and who lead the way as dedicated industry leaders. We started by scouring major publications to find their most influential, respected writers in the industry. We also used analytic tools to discover which writers have the widest reach. And, naturally, we nominated journalists known for breaking major news and trends in their respective realms of fashion news coverage. The result: the Top Fashion Journalist Awards, composing of stylish, competent reporters across digital, print, and broadcast mediums who cover everything from high fashion to bargain retail store steals.
With her frank, witty style, fashion journalist Lisa Armstrong has led The Daily Telegraph’s print and digital fashion team since 2011. Formerly fashion editor of The Times, Armstrong started out as a fashion writer for Elle UK and British Vogue, where she eventually became fashion features editor. She has also written for British Vogue, American Harper’s Bazaar, The Sunday Times and The Financial Times, and authored four books. She’s the inaugural winner of the British Press Awards Fashion Journalist of The Year. Armstrong earned a degree in English and French Literature from Bristol University, going on to study journalism at City University London. In 2011 she was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Arts London and in 2018 named Fashion Journalist of the Year by the British National Press Awards.
Given the diversity of Armstrong’s coverage from the hottest runway trends at Paris Fashion Week, to the season’s most chic color palates and patterns, a signature story that tells her true journalistic style more than any other would have to be her June 2019 personal essay “From ponchos to flares, 10 fashion trends I used to hate but don’t anymore.” It offers a deep analysis of the evolution of each fashion trend– both in the real world and in regards to her personal style– and provides a look at the hottest designers and styles showcasing each of the items currently.
Her articles, sharply observant and accessible, often have a dash of self-deprecation and cheek, but Armstrong treats her subjects seriously and isn’t afraid to tackle controversy. her insightful show reviews and interviews are tinged with edgy frankness that’s fresh and unique.
Robin Givhan is The Washington Post’s fashion critic. She writes about fashion as a business, as a cultural institution, and as pure pleasure. In 2006, she won a Pulitzer Prize for fashion criticism. She also happens to be the only writer ever to win it in this field. She is also the author of a book entitled “The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History.” In addition to The Post, Givhan has worked at Newsweek, Daily Beast, Vogue Magazine, and the Detroit Free Press. During her most recent tenure at The Post, in addition to fashion, Givhan covered Michelle Obama during the first year of the Barack Obama administration.
On the heels of Paris Fashion Week, Givhan wrote an absolutely illuminating article entitled, “Fashion commits many sins. It’s trying to redeem itself.” She hits the nail on the head with the article’s overarching theme exploring the challenging times the fashion industry is facing as consumers are seeing more clearly the ways in which they have been misdirected and manipulated. Citing Forever 21’s bankruptcy, the rise of online shopping, and increasing concern over the effects of disposable “fast fashion” on the environment, she uses the opportunity to launch a timely conversation about how the industry has to figure out how to appeal to the next generation of consumers.
One of the smartest fashion critics around the world, Givhan’s articles explore the intersection between economics, culture, politics, and the aesthetics of clothes. She has been at The Washington Post for so long that it became home to her, and her creativity and boldness only intensified as her tenure at the prestigious publication has grown.
As Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s BAZAAR, British-born journalist Glenda Bailey has garnered international acclaim for her vision. Appointed to the role in 2001, she had previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the U.S. edition of Marie Claire since 1996. The established editor has received a number of industry accolades throughout her illustrious career, including several ASME awards and in 2008, an MBE in recognition of her services in journalism and fashion. While serving at the helm of Marie Claire, Bailey was also presented with two successive awards as “Women’s Magazine Editor of the Year” and “Editor’s Editor of the Year,” along with several consumer magazine awards and recognition from Amnesty International for her dedicated coverage of human rights affairs.
As the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Bailey of course pens each monthly issue’s “Editor’s Letter.” In one of the magazine’s most authentic, ahead-of-the-times Editor’s Letters perhaps ever– “Let’s Talk About Shooting Unretouched”– Bailey discusses how the photographs throughout the particular issue were all purposefully absent of retouching. In a time when transparency and authenticity are valued more than ever, it seems fitting that she wanted to shine the light on her magazine’s unorthodox yet highly admirable approach to high fashion photography— all in the spirit of celebrating the spirit of women in their most natural state.
Combining high fashion with intelligent in-depth features, her editorial approach and signature style has colored the fabric of one of the most prominent fashion publications in the world. Throughout her career, Bailey has always sought to feature stories of women whose pioneering work captivates and inspires her readers.
Vanessa Friedman was named the fashion director and chief fashion critic for The New York Times in March 2014. In this role, she leads global fashion coverage for both The New York Times and International New York Times. Before joining the paper, Friedman was the inaugural fashion editor of the Financial Times, beginning in 2003. Along with editing the Style pages and the Luxury360 vertical, she wrote a weekly column for the Saturday FT and created the FT’s annual Business of Luxury conference. Previously, she was the fashion features director for InStyle UK, from 2000 to 2002. Before that, she worked as a Fashion Correspondent for the FT, as an Arts Contributor at The Economist, and was the European Editor at American Elle. In addition she contributed regularly to Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Entertainment Weekly. She was the recipient of the 2012 Front Page Award for fashion writing, as well as the 2013 Fashion Monitor Journalist of the Year award.
“What does Black Friday even mean anymore?” is a penetrating and a thorough, yet widely relatable and down-to-earth, article penned by Friedman in her trademark writing style. From a history lesson on how the “holiday” first started and got its name, to its global expansion into other countries as yet another shopping holiday, and it’s eventual drowning out in the sea of countless other consumer-driven retail sale days and deals. “Essentially we have created a world of limited editions and sales, with very little in between, when it should be the sale itself that is of limited edition,” as she eloquently puts it.
Vanessa Friedman has always been popular for her frank and honest writings. She is one of the top fashion journalists in the world. People have always fallen in love with the way she writes. Her style is so artistic that you believe what she writes about is a masterpiece rather than a clothing piece. Vanessa Friedman is more than just a fashion writer and director. She also has a great passion for history, politics, and different forms of art.
Laura Brown is the Australian-born journalist and editor at the helm of InStyle magazine. Prior to InStyle, Brown was features, special projects and executive director of Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked for 11 years after moving to New York in 2001. At Bazaar, she produced over 100 covers. Taking over from former InStyle editor Ariel Foxman in 2016, Brown acknowledged the influence of the magazine in her first few months in the role. Growing up in Sydney, Brown studied journalism at Charles Sturt University. For two years, she was a production editor at now-defunct Australian magazine Mode, before moving to London for two years, where she was an international correspondent for Harper’s Bazaar Australia. Upon relocating to the US, she worked at Details and W magazine before joining Harper’s Bazaar.
Brown has written dozens of cover stories for InStyle magazine over the years, and one of the recent feature articles that showcases her expertise when it comes to fashion journalism was titled “Everyone in fashion has their eyes on Elle Fanning.” The Q&A type story blends entertainment, pop culture, and fashion to create the perfect cocktail of easy, enjoyable reading.
Known for her down-to-earth perspective and sense of humor, Brown has engaged audiences of millions with her candid celebrity interviews and fantastical editorial shoots. The Australian is an unabashed supporter of women and isn’t the type to shy away from an uncomfortable situation. Curious about how this funny, down-to-earth and unpretentious person got to where she is in an industry full of people who want to be seen as serious, elite and perfect? Read her articles, which are brightly colored with clever commentary and editorial ingenuity, and you’ll find out.
Christina Binkley writes about the business of fashion and culture and is a frequent contributor to Vogue Business. She has also starred as the main contributor to The Wall Street Journal and WSJ. Magazine. Formerly a staff writer and columnist for this newspaper, and a frequent on-air commentator, she is the author of the New York Times bestseller Winner Takes All. She has critiqued fashion runways from New York to Milan and Paris, and often takes readers behind fashion’s velvet curtains, with frequent forays into the arts and entertainment and the many quirky characters who set the pace for popular culture.
Championing her ability to blur the lines between fashion and culture, Binkley’s article “Is the Gown Dead? An Awards-Season Debate” takes a look at the shifting cultural norms surrounding dress attire worn by A-list celebs at award ceremonies and galas today versus several decades ago. She pinpoints specific pop culture moments that can be framed as distinct pivot points in the gradual shift away from floor length gowns and formal tuxedos, and into more risqué free-spirited outfits adorned by the majority of attendees now.
She has critiqued fashion runways from New York to Milan and Paris, and often takes readers behind fashion’s velvet curtains, with frequent forays into the arts and entertainment and the many quirky characters who set the pace for popular culture.
Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves. Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. Although she’s always loved fashion, her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales. However, she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK. Her favorite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and traveling the world to attend events and fashion shows.
A perfect showing of her informative style and trend pieces, Goldstone’s story “When in doubt, the little black dress is always on point” is a must-read– even for those who think they already know everything there is to possibly know about little black dresses (or LBDs, as she calls them). From how to dress them up or down for any occasion, when to wear them and when to go with something flashier, to the latest little black trends on the scene, the article covers the topic from A to Z with a perfect blend of simplicity yet complexity.
Her articles are more useful than anything else, pointing readers towards the ultimate fashion go-to ensembles that help them look great whatever their occasion, body shape, or stylistic preferences.
Nina Garcia is the editor-in-chief of ELLE and has been a judge on “Project Runway” since it launched in 2004. Beyond her notable work in over twenty years within magazines, she also entertains an adoring global fan-base and an active following, making her an elite authority on fashion. As such, she serves as a style expert on programs including Today, Good Morning America, The View, CNN and more, and has been a celebrity red carpet correspondent for programs like ABC’s Oscar telecast. She’s written four New York Times bestselling books on style and has received numerous accolades including the Fashion Group International’s prestigious Oracle Award, the Hispanic Federation’s Individual Achievement Award, the Oliver Scholars’ Program Champion of Educational Excellence Award and The Daily’s Magazine of the Year Award.
“A Personal Choice: The reason I am getting a preventive double mastectomy” was a gripping, unfiltered, and profoundly brave personal essay written by Nina in late 2019. This signature story gives more of a glimpse into her life behind the glossy magazine pages than any third person narrative ever could, and it also shows you just how committed she is to using fashion journalism as a vehicle to tell stories that she’s passionate about and inspire others with.
From personal essays to in-depth interviews with the latest taste-makers, her favorite looks of the month and hottest outfit stapes for every season, to heavier stories like the evolution of designer handbags and their impact on the fashion industry, Garcia sprinkles personality and vulnerability throughout all of her articles. There’s a certain human connection she’s able to make with the reader, regardless of the topic, and she has a trusted voice in fashion journalism that you know you can instantly trust.
Laura Lajiness is the senior editor of POPSUGAR Fashion and also serves as a freelance writer and editor covering fashion, accessories, and fine jewelry. Lajiness has been known to write personal essays about the occasional beauty conundrum, too. Her work can be seen across various outlets, including ELLE, InStyle, Glamour, Brides, Refinery 29, Well+Good, and Barneys New York among other titles and brands. Previously she was the senior fashion editor at The Zoe Report, with additional experience as a copywriter and fashion publicist (including an internship at ELLE upon graduating college). Among her favorite topics: unique handbag brands, undiscovered jewelry labels, and midi dresses
Whether you’re new to the size-inclusive fashion game or a seasoned pro, Lajiness covers all bases in her trend piece entitled “Six size-inclusive brands on our love list right now.” It’s clear that she did her homework before writing the story because it includes literally every fashion essential that a girl of any size or shape could ever want or need to know– from voluminous blouses and feminine midi dresses for pear-shaped bodies; nubby winter jackets and utilitarian bottoms that are perfect for short waists; luxuriously versatile knits you can repeatedly layer or style as the focal point of an outfit; and stretchy jeans that look and feel as luxe as styles from premium denim brands.
Lajiness tends to cover a story or trend piece from all of a consumers’ key points of concern. Is it affordable? Is it trendy and stylish? Is it sustainably produced? These questions and more are answered in almost any piece she writes, and she often inserts her own stylistic preferences into the mix as well to give the reader an inside perspective at her fashion views.
Christene Barberich is the global editor-in-chief & co-founder of the Webby award-winning lifestyle media company, Refinery29, which reaches 225 million women worldwide every month. She is also the New York Times best-selling author of Style Stalking. Prior to co-founding Refinery29 in 2005, she held posts at Gourmet Magazine, The Daily, The New Yorker, and was the founding editor of the ASME-winning CITY magazine. Her fashion and design writing has appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, New York Magazine, Dwell, Amuse, and Elle Decoration among other titles. In 2014, she was named one of Ad Age’s top 20 Media Mavens of the year, and in 2016 she was named one of Folio’s Top Women In Media for Industry Leadership. In addition to her editorial and new media work, she is a frequent industry speaker and has provided brand consulting and/or content for a mix of fashion and lifestyle clients, including American Eagle, Nine West, Prada Beauté, Nike, Yves Saint Laurent Fragrance, and others.
She may produce a far larger quantity of celebrity style, fashion, shopping, street style, and trend stories than anything else; however, don’t let Barberich fool you…. Her introspective analysis on life and culture (and yes, fashion) are also highly indicative of her personal brand and the lifestyle content she has come to be known and loved for. She’s also happy to share her own experiences if it means someone else reading them may be able to identify and benefit from knowing they are not alone. Case in point: the personal essay she penned about her experience going through five miscarriages.
For tips on how to live a stylish, well-rounded life, look no further than Barberich’s original articles. She is a “big picture” fashion journalist, with the utmost attention to the smallest details, which is an essential characteristic needed in excellent coverage stories. Her voice is consistent and prominent throughout everything she writes, and she leads her readers through her stories every step of the way. While always having her pulse on the latest trends and points of interest that would enrich her readers’ lives, she never forgets to give her articles that personal touch to make them feel more human and meaningful.