Interview with Alive Magazine fashion editor, Jill Manoff
Jill Manoff, fashion editor of Alive Magazine, fashion director of St. Louis Fashion Week, and creator and executive director of new fashion blog Corridor40, is very involved in the St. Louis Fashion scene. She works in an industry that demands passion, personal style and creativity. Here’s what she had to say about college trends, working in the business, and fashion in St. Louis:
Student Life: How was this year’s St. Louis Fashion Week?
Jill Manoff: It was great and was really easy this year. This year we were very fine tuned, and now everyone knows the ropes. Unfortunately, we still get no sleep.
SL: When did you first become interested in fashion?
JM: It’s always been in my family. My parents were hippies, and I found pictures of them when they were young. My sister and I are best friends, and we would shop for fun, read magazines and share clothes. I never thought I could do it as a career, especially here in St. Louis.
SL: What inspires you?
JM: The ’70s rocker look and rocker-grunge for sure. Some of my style icons are actually guys in rock: Jimi Hendrix, Axle, even Mary-Kate Olsen. I also look at other fashion bloggers [and] celebrities. [I] am fortunate to be surrounded by such a fabulous fashion crew. I can draw inspiration from any of them.
SL: Who is your favorite designer?
JM: I’m not very loyal, it changes from season to season. I really like Versace from the ’80s—the cutout and bandage dresses. Also, I’m really into Tom Ford and Rick Owens. Their clothes are super hot and edgy. I really like what Alexander Wang is doing now. Everything’s casual-meets-sexy. I’m all about sexy.
SL: If you could be one article of clothing, what would you be and why?
JM: I think I would be a pair of badass Gucci boots. I’m always in boots and black, so it would have to be black, with studs. I have a BeDazzler!
SL: You mentioned a BeDazzler; do you have any strange fashion-related hobbies or obsessions?
JM: Well nobody likes to shop with me! I like to go to Value Village, and I spend hours [she really means hours] in every department. Men’s, little girls, you name it. I’m all about digging and finding treasures, and not about spending a lot of money.
SL: What was your most unfashionable moment?
JM: I’m sure people have their own opinions daily. But in high school I went through this phase where I wore a lot of turtlenecks. I made a look with it. Actually, growing up, I did all of the quirky things.
SL: Where did you go to school? What did you study?
JM: I went to Webster University and double majored in psychology and management. I chose psych because I found it very interesting. My parents suggested I add management so I could have a job after graduation. My majors have nothing to do with my career. I wish I went to school for fashion design.
SL: What do you think are this season’s most wearable trends, especially for young college students?
JM: I would say the leather jacket. It’s definitely a great investment piece and can be worn in so many ways. For going out, I’m really into the over-the-knee boots. I’m also loving jumpsuits and shoulder pads. Lately, however, I’ve been seeing students combine athletic-inspired things with more structured pieces. I like this look as well.
SL: What do you like most about Alive Magazine?
JM: I like that people see it as a source for style advice and fashion tips. Actually, we have more fashion content than any other publication in the Midwest. Also, I like the fact that we have original editorials, local models and local photographers—it’s neat. One time, we ran a large fashion editorial and found a similar shoot in Vogue magazine the week after! This definitely positions us as a credible style source, since we’re on trend.
SL: Describe your typical day as a fashion editor.
JM: It’s crazy! Right now I’m manning three jobs as the fashion editor for Alive, fashion director of St. Louis Fashion Week, and executive director of Corridor40. Thankfully, I can get a lot of work done from home, but every day is very different.
SL: How can college students interested in a career like yours get started?
JM: Don’t be a diva or afraid to start from the bottom rung. Also, be sure to take on internships. Do what you can to get your foot in the door.
SL: Who is your favorite fashion editor from a national publication?
JM: I love Kate Lanphear from ELLE. She is fabulous, and I love her style. (She’s very edgy and wears studs!) I feel like we have this bond, even though I don’t know her personally.
SL: What do you like the most about the fashion industry?
JM: It’s ever-evolving. Jeigh Singleton, fashion design professor from Sam Fox [School of Design & Visual Arts], said, “We have more fun than anybody!” It’s true; I always feel so lucky to be in an industry where I constantly collaborate with other artists.
SL: What do you like the least?
JM: For a long time, fashion was very cliquey, and people were very snobby. Now you can shop anywhere, and it’s cool. Today, people are more open-minded and more accepting of different styles.
SL: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
JM: Honestly, I don’t really know. I want to perfect what I’m doing now. I just want to continue styling and working in fashion. Hopefully the magazine will expand, and I would like to see St. Louis Fashion Week attract more designers and become better respected.
SL: Do you have any advice, fashion- or life-related, for young fashionistas?
JM: As far as fashion goes, take chances. Don’t be too safe. If you know what you love, don’t think you have to move to New York or L.A. You can stay in St. Louis!