New York Fashion Week has come to a close, London Fashion Week is just getting started, and the weekend is here. Again, I wish I could have experienced NYFW this season like a few of my fellow bloggers have, but life called me away. No matter. It’s Friday.
Without further ado, make the jump to see my profile on guest contributor to 33 avenue Miquelon, Craig Saint-Lauren.
Name: Craig Held (Saint-Lauren was the surname I gave him when I didn’t know what his actual surname was; will be referred to as Held from this point forward in the profile — Editor)
A Short Description of Yourself: I’m a 22-year-old college student (hopefully, graduating this May!) that enjoys fashion, television and, above all, Britney Jean Spears.
How did you find yourself in fashion?
Held: I originally went to school for music education at a tiny little college in rural Pennsylvania. It was absolutely miserable, and I left after a year. I transferred to Pace University in New York City with a major of American Studies, and everything just clicked. I remember writing an essay for my first writing class at Pace on how I wanted to be a stylist, and my professor was really curious as to why I wasn’t seeing that through.
I loved fashion for as long as I could remember. I used to fawn over my mother’s Fendi bags and my sister’s Barbies, even if they all wished I was playing with my Legos. When I was stuck in Pennsylvania for that year, reading Vogue or Elle would transport me away from the rural prison. Once I moved to New York, I started following a few fashion blogs, and eventually found myself as the intern at Fashion Herald.
What is your life like outside of fashion writing?
Held: I am dreadfully boring for a 22-year-old living in New York City. My life is mostly dominated by school and the newspaper. I’ve never been a fan of going out until 4 in the morning; I’d rather watch Kardashian marathons until the sun rises.
You currently write for your school’s newspaper as well as interned for 34th Street Partnership via the Fashion Herald blog. How have the experiences influenced your writing to date?
Held: I learned so much from my time at Fashion Herald. Tricia (Lewis, editor of Fashion Herald — Ed.) really took me under her wing, and I definitely see her as my wise big sister. She really helped me find my voice when it came to my writing. Until Fashion Herald, I always saw writing as this rigid creature that didn’t warrant any creativity. Tricia gave me free reign to talk about whatever I wanted on the blog, which definitely helped me feel out what worked and what didn’t. Fashion Herald was my first foray into fashion writing; it will always be close to my heart because of the people I met, and the experiences I had.
Writing for the newspaper was a completely different monster. I started writing for the paper because the English department at school offered school credit if you became a staff writer for a semester. My first article was about air pollution in Lower Manhattan, and I was mortified. I knew nothing about pollution outside of watching Erin Brockovich a million times. I had four days to turn the article around, so I spent countless hours researching city council testimonies and health reports about the different types of oil used for heat. I even cold-called the EPA and interviewed one of their in-house experts on heating oils. It was wild. I really had to teach myself the nuances of writing for print, so I would just spend hours reading The New York Times getting style ideas. It must’ve worked because now I’m an editor.Speaking of internships, you interned last summer for Niche Media. Tell us more about the experience.
Held: I had my first taste of the professional fashion world last summer when I interned in the fashion department at Niche Media. They publish Gotham, Hamptons, Ocean Drive, Vegas, and LA Confidential, among others. We had an incredible amount of responsibility as interns as we essentially oversaw the fashion closet for all of these magazines.
Our closet was a tad more hectic than other publications because of Hamptons. As opposed to all the other magazines, which shot fall items in the summer for the September issue, Hamptons is published weekly over the summer. Ultimately, this meant dividing our fashion closet into Spring/Summer looks for Hamptons and Fall/Winter looks for every other magazine. It got a little nightmarish at times, but at least we were always busy.
We were also responsible for all the credits in the magazines. So, whenever a photo shoot would go through, we would have to contact the designer of every single visible piece — this was a nightmare if it was menswear — and format them for the magazine. I remember when the first issue came out with my credits inside. I stole a copy because I could finally tell people my work was professionally published. I would then end the conversation if they inquired more about it.
How does writing for 33 avenue Miquelon compare to your current and previous work?
Held: I like writing for 33 avenue Miquelon because I can really be myself. If I hate a collection, I can hate it. At The Fashion List, I tend to edit myself so I don’t step on anyone’s toes, but I was given free reign here.
I would never trash a designer for the hell of it, but I think that many bloggers have gotten into the habit of kissing an awful lot of PR ass so they get invited next season. I think that’s a load of crap. If you hate something, hate it. A pink tinsel skirt suit is ugly; there is no way around that.What has been your biggest moment since entering the world of fashion writing?
Held: My biggest moment was definitely my first fashion week with Fashion Herald. I moved to New York in the fall of 2008, and used to walk past the Bryant Park tents on my way to work that fall. I was determined to get inside, but I had no idea how. I pursued the internship at Fashion Herald because I live in the 34th Street District, and loved that there was a blog that focused on my neighborhood. I tweeted about interning for her and was hired shortly after my interview.
My first assignment was Bryant Park’s last fashion week, and I could not believe it. My first fashion show ever was the Project Runway finale of season 7. I also went to Irina Shabayeva’s first show after her Project Runway win the season as well as Vera Wang, Badgley Mischka and Elie Tahari. You never forget your first fashion week.
Why do you write?
Held: I was a horrific writer for most of my life. I think the public school system of teaching kids for standardized tests is ruining our youth. The word “writing” used to send shivers down my spine, but my first writing professor at Pace was so kind. We discussed my anxiety about writing with her and she helped me break free of that five-paragraph essay mentality. Once I crossed that obstacle, I couldn’t get enough. I loved writing papers, and even considered an English minor. I changed my mind once I realized that I would have to take literature classes, and I hate reading when it isn’t at my leisure.
Where do you see yourself once you have obtained your undergraduate degree?
Held: As the style director of a major publication or starring in my own reality show. Whichever come first.
What one piece of advice would you offer to our readers regarding:
Style: Stop trying so hard. Your style should just happen naturally. Don’t force anything because then you look dumb.
For example: I look absolutely ridiculous in a suit, so I opt for a khakis or a nice jean when I have to be fancy. That works for me. Although, ideally I would wear a huge shapeless Rick Owens smock every day.
Writing (blogging, journalism et al): Write as much as you can, and for the love of God just be yourself. There’s nothing worse than inauthenticity. People can see through that in a heartbeat.
Life in general: Don’t live your life for anyone else but yourself. I made a lot of bad decisions at my old college because I was living for other people. Once I took my control of my life, I turned things around, and I’m fulfilling my dreams.
Any final words? My religion is Britney Spears.
Photo credits: Wikipedia (title card) and Craig Held.