For names like Anna Wintour, Graydon Carter, Glenda Bailey, Stephen Gan, and Carine Roitfeld who have become synonymous with the publications they head, it is hard to think that they must have started somewhere else-and to think in more junior positions. If we are to learn a thing or two from these legends in fashion publishing, it is that there is no one way to make it to the top.
Anna Wintour | Vogue
With her signature bob and undemonstrative demeanor, Anna Wintour’s journey to head American Vogue began in England. The English editor started her editorial career assisting the fashion department of Harper’s & Queen. She would move on to become a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar in New York then to Viva and Savvy magazine as well. In 1981, Wintour accepted at job at New York magazine, but returned to England in 1986 to head British Vogue. Her next stint was at Home and Garden magazine until in 1988, Conde Nast appointed her Editor-in-Chief of Vogue.
Glenda Bailey | Harper’s Bazaar
British-born editor, Glenda Bailey studied fashion design at Kingston University. Her first magazine job was with Honey until the publishers moved her on to Folio magazine, a quarterly fashion magazine. In 1988, Bailey would move on to lead the launch of Marie Claire in the UK. In 1996, she took the role of Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire here in the US, until in 2001 she was made head of Harper’s Bazaar.
Graydon Carter | Vanity Fair
In 1973, Graydon Carter founded The Canadian Review which grew to become the third largest circulating publication in Canada. In the early 1980s, Carter moved to New York from Canada and began working for Time and then Life. He became the editor of the New York Observer before being tapped as Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair in 1992.
Carine Roitfeld | CR Fashion Book, Formerly of Vogue Paris
Carine Roitfeld stepped into fashion as a model. Her branch into the editorial world began at French Elle as a stylist where she stayed for 15 years. Upon meeting photographer Mario Testino, Roitfeld began to style for advertisements, and for both French and American Vogue. She would most notably team up with Tom Ford to create iconic images for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2001, Conde Nast hired Roitfeld as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris. She stayed for 10 years until she moved on to found her own magazine, CR Fashion Book. In 2012, Roitfeld was named global fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar.
Emmanuelle Alt | Vogue Paris
At just 17 years old, Emmanuelle Alt began her career at French Elle as a beauty assistant. In 1993, Alt became Editor-in-Chief of 20 Ans until she moved on to head Mixte magazine. In 2000, Alt was plucked from Mixte by then Editor-in-Chief Carine Roitfeld and assumed the role of fashion editor for Vogue Paris. Alt rose to fashion director until she became Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris in 2011 after Roitfeld’s departure.
Stephen Gan | V Magazine
A heavy influence in the fashion industry, Stephen Gan holds many titles including Editor-in-Chief of V Magazine and VMAN and he is the creative director of Harper’s Bazaar and CR Fashion Book. Gan began as a junior fashion editor at Details after graduating from Parsons New School of Design. He landed the position per a recommendation to the editor by famed New York Times photographer, Bill Cunningham. After founding Visionaire, a limited edition quarterly magazine, Gan birthed it’s little sister V Magazine in 1999. He is responsible for creatively directing several advertisements as well including ads for Dior and Michael Kors.
Stefano Tonchi | W
Stefano Tonchi began his career in Italy serving as editor and art director for Westuff magazine, predecessor to Emporio Armani Magazine. He moved on to L’Uomo Vogue in 1987 where by 1994 he was the fashion director. Conde Nast then tapped him as creative director of Self before Tonchi moved on to work as creative director for J.Crew. Later he would become fashion creative director of Esquire. In 2004, Tonchi created T, the style magazine that runs in The New York Times. After his stint as creator and Editor-in-Chief of T, Tonchi moved on to W magazine where he is now Editor-in-Chief.
Cindi Leive | Glamour
Starting as an editorial assistant for Glamour, Cindi Leive earned the title of deputy editor by the time she departed the magazine eleven years later. She was appointed Editor-in-Chief of Self until in 2001 she returned to become Editor-in-Chief of Glamour.
Robbie Myers | Elle
Robbie Myers began her editorial career as an assistant at Rolling Stone after graduating from Colorado State University on a diving scholarship. She moved on to work for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine until she landed at Seventeen as first an articles editor then managing editor. Myers was then hired at a couple of more magazines, InStyle and Elle, as a senior editor before leaving to join former Vogue editor Grace Mirabella’s publication Mirabella. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Mirabella until leaving in 2000 to become Editor-in-Chief of Elle.
Anne Fulenwider | Marie Claire
After graduating from Harvard University, Anne Fulenwider took a job working for Ralph Lauren’s son, David Lauren who founded a lifestyle publication, Swing. Following, she worked at The Paris Review and went on to become a senior editor at Vanity Fair. Hearst then hired her at Marie Claire where she became executive editor before being hired by Conde Nast as Editor-in-Chief of Brides. in 2012, Fulenwider returned to Marie Claire as Editor-in-Chief.
Amy Astley | Teen Vogue
Amy Astley began her editorial career as an assistant at House & Garden. She worked there for four years until becoming beauty editor of Vogue in 1993. She rose to beauty director at Vogue until in 2003 Anna Wintour appointed Astley founding editor of Teen Vogue where she still holds the title of Editor-in-Chief.
Eva Chen | Formerly of Lucky
Now Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, Eva Chen was Editor-in-Chief of Lucky. While a premed student and member of the track and field team at Johns Hopkins University, she interned one semester at Harper’s Bazaar. With no luck finding a position at a magazine straight out of college, Chen worked at a law firm. Early in her editorial career she worked as a fashion assistant at Lucky until she moved on to Teen Vogue. She became the beauty director at Teen Vogue until in 2013 she was appointed Editor-in-Chief of Lucky.