career karma – Andrew Sardone

andrewsardoneIt seems like a million years ago now, but once upon a time, no one knew about fashion bloggers – we had just begun to get to know each other.  Little did we know our little trend was being watched by a few perceptive journalists.

One of them was Andrew Sardone, style editor at NOW Magazine, Toronto’s free “alt” weekly.  He invited five of us to participate in a futuristic-styled photo shoot way back in February 2007.  We were so excited to dress up and pose!  I think I picked up a million copies of NOW that week.

Andrew is always open to everything new and stylish in Toronto to keep his section fresh.  In addition to featuring the personal style of creative city people, checking out all the shops for new cool stuff, NOW also holds fashion design competitions and sponsors events.

He also took a chance on me, and gave me my first editorial job.

Besides his day job, Andrew volunteers as the head of the creative committee for Buy Design, writes for other publications, and works on communications for his boyfriend, menswear designer Philip Sparks.

Andrew is great at asking questions, he rarely talks about himself.  Now I get to satisfy my curiousity and ask him a few questions!

How did you become a style editor and fashion writer?

I grew up on the usual diet of Fashion Television and Fashion File. I used to design clothes on a Judy in my aunt’s basement using fabric scraps and buttons that I would pin to the form. I studied journalism at Ryerson. I designed and sold a line of handbags. I ran a little collective shop that sold all Canadian designers. When the job at NOW came up, those experiences all added up to me being qualified for it.

What do you like better, styling or writing?  Why?

I’m learning to like styling as I do it more. A lot of young stylists think styling means throwing a pair of thick framed glasses, ten bangles and a fedora on a model. I’m learning that, more often than not, styling means realizing a look doesn’t need to be junked up to have a point of view.

But I definitely love my job for the writing and being able to tell a story in a smart way before anyone else.

What are your favourite magazines and websites?

The only other fashion writer I read regularly is Cathy Horyn at the New York Times. It’s an obvious choice but I like the tone of her columns and envy how well she connects with her readers. Right now, I like The Selby, Designerman and Jak & Jil. I’ll always remember the good ol’ days when Tommy Ton photographed gaudy gowns on socialites at Forest Hill garden parties.

Magazine-wise, it’s Monocle despite my dislike of Tyler Brûlé’s affectations.

What is the greatest misconception about your career?  The greatest challenge?  The greatest reward?

A great misconception is that fashion journalists are unapproachable. There are some who are but the good ones are curious, social and desperate to have an interesting conversation in a sea of air kisses.

My greatest challenge is beauty reporting. Coming at that industry as a man means my skepticism is maxed.

It’s neat watching stories we tell get picked up by other outlets and hearing that business has boomed for people and products we cover but the greatest reward of my job is being part of our fashion and design community. Covering the international style beat would have more cachet but I love boosting Toronto’s designers, retailers, writers, stylists, photographers and other personalities and hearing about their growth and success first hand.

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