Thursday, March 8, 2012

Things I learned from visiting writer Dana Thomas

Dana Thomas is super interesting. The Paris-based fashion writer has spent the past two months in Savannah doing research for her new book about Galliano and McQueen, and yesterday she spoke about her already published book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster at the SCAD Museum of Art. I'm going to read Deluxe over spring break when I have time to breathe, and I look forward to reading Thomas' new book when it comes out.

As a writer, I try to gain as much insight as I can from successful writers so that I can do what I love and hopefully profit from it. These are a few things I learned from Thomas that I think are valuable to my career -- and yours, if you're planning on writing for a living. Here they are:

  • Without the mainstream media, new media wouldn't exist
  • When conducting interviews, use a notebook -- sometimes there's no time to tape record and then transcribe
  • Video record face-to-face interviews if you have more time (if you're working on a feature article or book)
  • Email interviews suck -- try for a face-to-face interview first, if not a phone interview is okay
  • Do fact check through email
  • Check everything 3 times and always read a printout before finalizing
  • Know your Libel Laws
  • Back in the day, Madonna would only answer questions through fax (unimportant, but interesting nonetheless)
  • Everyone in the fashion industry knows to call Giorgio Armani, "Mr. Armani" -- but it's okay to call Tom Ford, "Tom" (unimportant unless you want to work in the fashion industry, or if you happen to come across either of these men at a party)
  • Fashion is about the "art of creation" (I know this, but it's nice to hear it explained to people who might have a hard time understanding this concept, or who think "fashion is superficial" and stupid)
  • Ferragamo's autobiography is amazing (just added it to my list of must-reads)
*Image borrowed from the author's Facebook page

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