Amy Odell On Buzzfeed's New Women's Space, 'Shift,' and How It Will Be Different From The Cut, Jezebel and The Hairpin

While at the helm of New York Magazine's fashion blog, The Cut, Amy Odell developed one of the most distinctive (and by that we mean hilarious, biting, sharp) voices in fashion writing. So when she announced, early last month, she was finally leaving The Cut after four years for Buzzfeed, we've been wondering just what Odell's acid tongue would bring to a site we know best for aggregating photos of cats who fell asleep sitting up (which, aww! obvs, we love). "It's smart news and features for women," Odell says of Buzzfeed's new vertical, Shift, which launches today. Odell will edit the vertical, while former Gawker and Rolling Stone scribe Doree Shafrir will head things up as executive editor. Jezebel's Anna North and The Jane Dough's Hillary Reinsberg are also on board. But how will Shift be different from other sites that bill themselves similarly, like North's former employer Jezebel or The Hairpin? And how will Odell cover fashion in this new space?
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Leah Chernikoff
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While at the helm of New York Magazine's fashion blog, The Cut, Amy Odell developed one of the most distinctive (and by that we mean hilarious, biting, sharp) voices in fashion writing. So when she announced, early last month, she was finally leaving The Cut after four years for Buzzfeed, we've been wondering just what Odell's acid tongue would bring to a site we know best for aggregating photos of cats who fell asleep sitting up (which, aww! obvs, we love). "It's smart news and features for women," Odell says of Buzzfeed's new vertical, Shift, which launches today. Odell will edit the vertical, while former Gawker and Rolling Stone scribe Doree Shafrir will head things up as executive editor. Jezebel's Anna North and The Jane Dough's Hillary Reinsberg are also on board. But how will Shift be different from other sites that bill themselves similarly, like North's former employer Jezebel or The Hairpin? And how will Odell cover fashion in this new space?
Photo: Melissa Hom

Photo: Melissa Hom

While at the helm of New York Magazine's fashion blog, The Cut, Amy Odell developed one of the most distinctive (and by that we mean hilarious, biting, sharp) voices in fashion writing. So when she announced, early last month, she was finally leaving The Cut after four years for Buzzfeed, we've been wondering just what Odell's acid tongue would bring to a site we know best for aggregating photos of cats who fell asleep sitting up (which, aww! obvs, we love).

"It's smart news and features for women," Odell says of Buzzfeed's new vertical, Shift, which launches today. Odell will edit the vertical, while former Gawker and Rolling Stone scribe Doree Shafrir will head things up as executive editor. Jezebel's Anna North and The Jane Dough's Hillary Reinsberg are also on board.

But how will Shift be different from other sites that bill themselves similarly, like North's former employer Jezebel or The Hairpin? "I feel like women's media, especially Jezebel and The Hairpin which I read and I love, has identified the issues facing us as women," Odell said. "We don't want to just highlight that they're out there and that they exist but we want to move past them. We'll do that through interviews with very successful woman--whether it's the CEO of a successful fashion company or a senator and find out how they got there and what it's like. There aren't that many women out there in positions of power and we want to talk to the ones who are to find out how they got there so we can be like them too." Odell reiterates that Shift will not follow an aggregation model or solely spout opinion. The idea, rather, is to create original content that's prime for sharing on various social media platforms and that will, hopefully, go viral.

But what we really wanted to know, of course, is if Odell will still cover fashion over at Shift, and how she'll do it.

The logo for Shift

The logo for Shift

"I think that people will find that the site still has my voice that I established on The Cut," Odell told us. "In terms of fashion related content we're not going to be recommending that people buy designer clothing to be cool--that's not advice that most people can use. 'Go out and buy a Celine bag?' Well, no one can afford to buy a Celine bag or people don't know what Celine is and don't really care."

As for what she won't miss about covering fashion? "I won't miss being so deeply ingrained in the nitty gritty things happening in the industry," Odell said. "We won't cover the fashion industry the way The Cut covers it. This isn't a fashion news blog, this is more of a generalist women's interest section. So we won't be saying 'Rag & Bone took their PR in-house."

She confirmed that the site will do some runway, shopping and style coverage but in a "unique" way. There will also be a weekly fashion mailbag feature where Odell will answer readers' fashion and style questions.

Other features to look forward to? Odell is particularly psyched for the the rotating advice column, "99 Problems," which will feature a different notable woman each week. First up, however, is not exactly a woman, but a pig. Yes, they've wrangled Miss Piggy for the inaugural column. Sample advice?

Dear Miss Piggy, I am interviewing for my dream job next week, and I have no idea what to wear! Given the nature of the company, I believe I will have freedom to be more creative with my outfit than your standard business casual, but am afraid of crossing the line and coming across as too flashy. What do you suggest I wear? When you hire people, how much do you notice their outfits? -Aspiring Chief Outfit Officer

Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous! If it’s feathers, diamonds, rubies, bubbles, go for it! After all, who wants to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate the essence of your you-ness! At least that’s the way I’ve always approached job interviews, and it works for moi! (Of course, it helps to be a black belt in karate, just in case you run into resistance.) As for whether I notice what people I’m hiring are wearing: Of course! And as long as they’re not wearing the same outfit as moi, it’s all good! - Miss Piggy

We also like the sound of the weekly anonymous career confessional series, this week featuring a Wall St. recruiter.

All in all, it sounds like a promising new space and a good (maybe better?) fit for Odell. "I would say my primary interest as a writer is the intersection of feminism and pop culture and covering fashion for four years for New York allowed me to explore some of that," Odell said, "but I think I'll be able to explore it in a much deeper way and in a way that's more meaningful to me personally on this site."