New-York based Tyler McCall is the editor of Fashionista.com, a trusted source of fashion news, criticism and career advice with a readership of more than 2.5 million people. Before a distinguished career history at U.S titles Teen Vogue, Vogue Runway and WWD, Tyler would religiously leave comments on the site while an undergrad at the University of Florida.
As one of the most influential voices covering fashion, Tyler frequents fashion weeks around the world, often catching up with director Eva Galambos in Sydney or Paris. Most recently, Tyler joined us in our fourth segment of PX Talks.
Can you tell us about your starting point at FASHIONISTA.com and your prior experiences?
Yes! I’ll try and give the short version. I was living in Alabama with my ex, where I was selling granite countertops and dreaming of working as a fashion writer, when I reached out to a bunch of places I wanted to work. One of them was Fashionista, and the editorial director recognised me from the comments section — I was truly a regular back then! I started writing small pieces from Alabama and after a few months, moved to New York and never looked back.
As editor, what’s involved in your working week (or day)?
There really isn’t a typical work week, which is what I love about the job. Right now, resort season is in full swing, so I’m spending parts of my days running to appointments to see what’s coming up, then heading back to my desk to edit stories from freelancers or work on my own pieces. My favourite days are the ones where I get to sit down and interview people who are leaders in the industry. It feels like getting a mini course in fashion!
How important is perseverance in an industry like yours?
I think it’s more important than ever. It’s challenging all around, but fashion and media have both been faced with hardships in recent years, and you have to really love what you do to stick with it sometimes. Not to mention the hard hours during fashion month!
FASHIONISTA.com occupies an incredibly prominent position in the fashion media landscape. What are some of the challenges and opportunities associated with this?
The biggest challenge is knowing that our voice comes with a lot of responsibility. We always want to be sure we’re providing a platform for voices and perspectives different from our own, but I also think that’s one of our biggest opportunities. We’ve always been digital-first, so we’re able to react quickly to all the biggest news and trends in the industry.
What has been the most rewarding milestone of your career?
Honestly, my first Paris Fashion Week was huge. I went to grad school in Paris and while I was living there, I would go and stand outside the shows just watching all the people I respected and followed so much go in and come out. I’d see Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman [well-known photographers] taking street style photos and feel in awe to be present on the scene. To get to be a part of that crowd felt deeply rewarding.
You have been a return visitor to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Australia for several years now. What do you love about Australian designers and talent?
Well, first of all, I’ve had nothing but lovely experiences with everyone I’ve met each time I’ve been in Sydney. It seems like one of the benefits of being in a tight-knit circle like Sydney is that everyone supports one another. There’s also a lightness to Australian design that just makes you want to wear whatever you’re seeing right away. Maybe it’s because you guys have access to such lovely beaches!
In your recent talk segment with Eva Galambos, Dion Lee and Kit Willow, you touched on the changing idea of fashion week. What are your personal thoughts on the future of the global fashion week calendar/circuit?
We’re in such an exciting time, because so much is changing at once, but that obviously feels a little scary to everyone soon. I do think the fashion show format and fashion weeks are still relevant, but I think it works differently for different people. Brands and companies are going to need to experiment and be fearless when it comes to thinking up new ways to show off their lines.
How do you personally approach social media?
I don’t take it too seriously! I think when it becomes this pressure-filled thing, it isn’t fun anymore, and that defeats the purpose. I don’t take myself super seriously and I want my social media to reflect who I really am.
How would you describe the FASHIONISTA.com personality in three words?
Ooh, this is hard! Here’s what I think, personally: respectful, curious, fun.
What advice would you offer to someone hoping to emulate your career path?
Write! Just start writing, whether it’s long Instagram captions or for your own blog, just start writing. The more you do it, the more natural it feels. And read everything that remotely interests you. It’s a good way to develop a language so that when you do get a writing gig, you have a background of knowledge to draw upon.
Personally, I think a great journalist is someone who is receptive to feedback and who is always looking to learn. No one ever gets something 100 percent right.
What is your vision of success?
I’ll feel successful as long as I get to continue growing in a field I love while also staying true to myself and being kind to everyone along the way. That’s my biggest priority. I don’t think it matters how cool your job is if you aren’t a nice person!