Industry Interviews

Georgina Safe
Journalist

March 01, 2015

What is your current position and title? 

Freelance writer and editor.

Describe your role 

My role involves writing features, profiles and news stories for magazines and newspapers. I also do some more commercial work with brands.

What inspired you to become a writer? 

I was studying law at Adelaide University when I was elected to edit the student newspaper for a year with two friends. It changed my life. I just loved the thrill of sourcing and writing stories, meeting fascinating people from all walks of life, and keeping some very strange working hours. I was hooked.

How did you get your break in the fashion industry? 

I was the Melbourne arts editor for the Australian Newspaper when Edwina McCann, now the editor of Vogue Australia, was fashion editor at The Australian. There were quite a few interesting Melbourne designers emerging at that time, and a real cross pollination between the arts and fashion scenes in Melbourne, so Edwina asked me to write a couple of things for her and it went from there.

How has the industry changed since you first started? 

Digital. Digital. Digital. The impact of the internet has been a game changer for the local industry, for both retailers with the arrival of global e-tailers, and traditional journalism with the impact of blogs, Twitter, Instagram and online fashion journalism websites.

Georgina Safe Parlour X Industry Interview

Early on in your career, did anybody particularly inspire or influence you? 

Edwina McCann gave me a lot of good advice and I was fortunate enough to work with Marion Hume throughout one Australian fashion week some years ago. I also learned a lot about discipline, accuracy and filing to deadlines through 20 years of working at The Australian Newspaper and the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

If you hadn’t become a writer what other career path would you have chosen? 

If I hadn’t been a lawyer, I would have liked to have been a veterinarian.

You’ve previously worked for The Australian covering the visual and performing arts. Do you have a passion for the creative arts? 

I adore the creative arts, and it’s a sphere I gain immense inspiration in terms of ideas and generally having the bravery and passion to follow your dreams. However, I found covering the visual and performing arts could sometimes be difficult in terms of artists feeling beholden to government grants or funding bodies and therefore not truly speaking their minds. What I love about the fashion industry is that it blends that creative element with commerce. It’s a mix of big business and, at its best, pure artistry, that is incredibly intoxicating.

What has been your greatest career achievement to date? 

The most satisfying part of my job has been giving back. Lecturing fashion students about how to engage with the media, assisting designer friends with contacts, media strategy and positioning in the market place. There’s a stereotype that fashion people are superficial and vacuous. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are among the friendliest, most supportive and smartest people I have met. It’s an incredibly tough industry, so you don’t last long if you don’t have integrity and intelligence.

What has been the most important lesson you have learned professionally? 

I wouldn’t say it’s a lesson, but as a writer your word is everything. Skip the short term gain in favour of long term relationship building and gaining lasting respect and confidence.

What does style mean to you? 

True style is not about trends or a cookie cutter approach. It’s an expression of true self through clothing that should be effortless and unforced.

How would you describe your look? 

Almost anti-fashion. I gravitate toward classic, boyish dressing. Button down shirts, trousers, flats and cashmere v-necks. That’s my wardrobe really.

How does the future look for the Australian Fashion industry? 

Challenging, but in a good way. We’ve been through such a period of change that has truly sorted the wheat from the chaff. Many designers have gone out of business but the ones that remain have fundamentally recalibrated their businesses to fit the new marketplace. There are new opportunities too. For example, Australian designers should be actively pursuing China, where new wealth a decade ago saw a blatant appetite for logos and luxury behemoths emerge. That consumer has evolved into a more sophisticated and educated fashion devotee, who is interested in discovering more niche brands with a point of difference. Multi label boutiques are springing up all across China, and there is a real opportunity here for Australian designers to snare a share of that incredibly lucrative market.

Who are your favourite designers and why? 

In Australia, Toni Maticevski for marching to the beat of his own drum and producing incredibly beautiful clothes. Overseas, Rei Kawakubo for consistently challenging the very idea of fashion, and Miuccia Prada and Consuela Castiglioni for original view points and their passion for the arts.

What is your view on social media? 

It’s a necessity, but it should also be a necessity that it’s quality content too. Sadly, it often isn’t.

How has social media affected print media? 

Fundamentally. Social media is a wonderful tool for traditional journalists to promote their stories, but journalism has also evolved to often consider social media potential first and foremost when planning news coverage.

What is your next chapter in life? 

Some forms of journalism can be negative and narcissistic. I would like to try to give back a little more and celebrate what is positive about our industry.

You can find Georgina on Instagram @georginasafe

Georgina Safe Parlour X Industry Interview

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