Sasha Wilkins, aka Liberty London Girl, is not your run-of-the-mill blogger. With experience at the top of mastheads in London and New York for titles such as the Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast Traveller, her insight and industry know-how makes her blog a must-read. With a successful social media consultancy and partnerships with brands such as Mercedes Benz, she has become the envy of career-bloggers everywhere. A vigilant advocate for bloggers rights in the industry, she sat down with tFS to talk about her Devil Wears Prada start, fashion week, and blogging as a career.
The Fashion Spot: How did you get started in fashion?
Sasha Wilkins: I started as Nicholas Coleridge’s second assistant at Conde Nast. I had the Devil Wears Prada role, my friends who started out as Conde Nast assistants called us muffin carriers because that’s what we did. We got muffins and coffee and we handled press clippings and that’s what I did for a year. It’s actually exactly the same way in the movie when they say you can get a job anywhere, and they said that to me. "If you decide magazines are for you, we know magazines, publishers, and advertisers," but Conde Nast Traveller launched and they kind of gave me to Traveller and that’s where I stayed for four years before I went into online journalism in 2001.
tFS: At the start of Liberty London Girl (LLG) you often wrote about your personal life, was there a turning point when you started to edit that type of content out?
SW: I have been going back through my archives because people love that stuff but I can’t do it anymore because I’d like a boyfriend one day [laughs]. I’m very careful about what I write. I think people probably think they know more about me than they actually do. I don’t write about what I’m doing or where I’m going in advance. I do have a couple of semi-stalkers.
tFS: There was a bit of controversy recently surrounding the LLG intern program, can you tell me a bit about that?
SW: Someone had a go at me [for hiring unpaid interns] but here’s the thing, because of the growth of media and the growth of editors as superstars and visual access to a world that no one knew about before, ten zillion people want to work in it but there are actually less jobs because magazines are now folding. I only hire interns that don’t have any connections. And I do pay them a stipend and their expenses. I had a comment on my intern post from a girl who has a chemistry degree and thought she couldn’t apply for my internship; if you have core skills, they’re translatable. Just because you don’t work in fashion doesn’t mean you don’t know about it.
tFS: Especially in London, bloggers have been taking over fashion week; what are your thoughts on the new hierarchy?
SW: I don’t really think bloggers belong in the front row. Blogger entitlement is a very tricky issue because journalists and editors get upset because they have spent eight years getting to that point and then see bloggers coming up and sitting in the front row. There are definitely some bloggers at fashion week who are very noisy and very angry about having seats, but if I was a PR person, I wouldn’t be giving them seats. If you’re reviewing a show based on whether you would wear it or not, you shouldn’t be at that show. If you don’t understand that there is a runway collection and a selling collection you shouldn’t be at the show; it makes me really cross.
tFS: What type of blog would you like to see more of?
SW: I like windows into other people’s worlds, which is why I get bored with the 10-photos-of-the-same-outfit personal style blogs. I don’t see what they bring to the party.
tFS: What is the major difference between working as a traditional journalist and a blogger?
SW: I love the blogging community and I love that it’s a community. I’ve worked in the industry for a long time and there is no community there. Bloggers talk and chat and leave comments. Just look at the Independent Fashion Bloggers’ site, I think Jennine is an absolute genius; I love her. I’m evangelical about blogging, that’s why I love The Fashion Spot. I like the fact that we’re all in one big spider's web of linked content.
All photos from LibertyLondonGirl.com.