The Fashion Journalism Scene: 2002 Versus 2012

Hannah Yakobi is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist. Throughout her career, she has written for the National Post, OK! Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen, Canwest newspaper network and dozens of publications around the world. Currently, she is the Editor-in-Chief of FAJO Magazine, a Canadian publication with staff in Canada, U.S. and U.K.

Ten years ago, the fashion scene was a peculiar sight.

I would submit my articles on a floppy disc or send them via e-mail to the editor while patiently waiting for the dial-up connection to kick in. Because the Internet was so slow, I only checked my e-mail three or four times a day. Often, I would get the editorial comments on a printed copy, filled with notes. It almost felt like getting back an assignment from your high school teacher.

Fast forward two years, and my new found love for photojournalism was born. At that point, I shot all photos on film and every picture had to be carefully planned – I literally had to listen to my camera, all the sounds it made and the speed at which it functioned. If anything was even a tiny bit slower (or louder) than normal, I knew that I had to fine tune things immediately or risk messing up the entire shoot. I also travelled with about three rolls of film with me at any given time and had no idea what my photos looked like until a trip to the photo developers the day after. And then the excitement of seeing those pictures was incredible.


Attending events was a whole different story. The hostess at every venue would carefully examine me, ask for my ID and business card, then study those carefully, cross my name off the list, and hand me a bulky media pass.

Those were the days when print media flourished. I wrote and shot for 14 magazines at one point, and everybody I knew read at least two newspapers…daily. The main sources of information were newspapers and television, while radio was the key music and entertainment provider.

Back to the future, and we are now in 2012.

Articles are submitted via e-mail, with a touch of a button. All reporters send me their stories electronically and I never hand them anything back on paper – frankly, printing stuff is unheard of. If my, or their, computer connection freezes, panic ensues as the deadlines cannot be missed. All members of my team check their e-mails frequently, and by that I mean practically every five minutes.

Film negatives are non-existent and everything is digitized. You can take about a dozen photos in a matter of seconds with a single press of a button. Cameras have a megapixel resolution in a double-digit range and all photos can be viewed immediately. When taking a picture of a model on the catwalk, you can send it out, simultaneously, onto your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tumblr and another half a dozen social media accounts. You can also take about 2,000 photos per event that will all be stored on a two inch-wide memory card.

Attending fashion shows? That’s a whole different ball game. When I was at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York a month ago, I had a small pass that took me to all runway presentations. Sure, I had to show my ID to get this pass, but it was so smooth and easy afterwards. The pass had a QR code and all I had to do was scan it to get my tickets to the shows I was attending. I didn’t need to bring anything else with me and Tweeted photos in real time from my iPhone – naturally, in true 2012 style.

The fashion industry has changed. Everything is instantaneous, the convergence of media is undeniable and all content has moved into an online environment. Quality journalism is now available at your fingertips, no matter where you are. The fashion industry continues to evolve.

Makes me wonder what this story would look like in 10 years…