Hi, my name is Dhani Mau and I'm a 28-year-old adult who still works at the place she interned in college — a place that turns 10 freaking years old this week. And here, I'll attempt to explain why. More specifically, why I will continue to do so from across the country, starting next month.
Working at Fashionista was quite literally a dream job for me. I started reading the site while attending school in New York, back when Faran Krentcil was the editor. I thought everything about it was sooo cool: the casual, witty tone; the fun graphics; the juicy, insider-y gossip about an industry I was obsessed with. I interned for a fashion PR company called Maguire Steele, ultimately coming to the conclusion that my quiet, easygoing, passive temperament was not well-suited for the PR hustle. My boss Megan asked what else I was interested in, and I said I wanted to try something that involved writing. So, when then-Fashionista editor Lauren Sherman came in for a press appointment, Megan introduced us. I had written for a tiny fashion website that no longer exists, so I had a few clips to show her, but was still nervous I wouldn't get the internship — mostly because I thought Fashionista was so smart and cool and figured no one would think I was smart and cool!
I started shortly after Britt Aboutaleb left, and for a while there, the entire team was me, Lauren and occasionally another intern — like Cheryl! Leah Chernikoff came on board soon after. Needless to say, if you're a longtime reader of this site or have seen the amazing things they're doing at Business of Fashion and Elle.com, respectively, I couldn't have asked for better people to work for and learn from. They're both super-smart, hard-working and have high standards, but also hilarious and kind and real and open to any weird idea I might have. After dipping out briefly to intern for Britt at Elle.com (at Lauren's recommendation), Lauren and Leah offered me a job; it would be the first time that more than two people were on the masthead. It was a lot of work — it wouldn't be unusual for me to write five posts in one day — but so, so, so much fun. There was no pressure to meet traffic goals or competition from other sites covering the same things. Most companies didn't take us that seriously because we only existed online, so we essentially just wrote whatever we wanted and were free to be as silly as we felt like being.
A lot has obviously happened between then and now — traffic grew tremendously and we were able to hire more people, move into an office that has windows, and most companies have realized the importance of digital publications, for instance. At some point along the way, I ended up being one of the people in charge, managing a staff of 10 (!). That's still tiny by industry standards, and all of our plates are more than full, but there's something special about Fashionista that makes you want to work hard and stick around. I think it's a combination of the amazing, talented, intelligent women we tend to employ (present staff very much included) and the freedom we allow ourselves to be honest, have fun and not take things too seriously, while still holding ourselves to high standards. Oh, and the fact that you guys — our readers — are the absolute best.
Now, in our 10th year, we're getting even bigger — geographically, at least — and I'm moving on. My byline isn't going anywhere (hopefully you'll even see more of it!), but my body is going to Los Angeles, where I will become Fashionista's first West Coast editor.
I decided to make the move before we found out six designers would be showing there instead of the other fashion capitals this season, but that only affirmed our need for a more permanent presence in LA. The city is home to some of the biggest, most influential names in fashion — from Tom Ford and Hedi Slimane, to the best stylists and costume designers in the game, to the celebrities whose red carpet style and sporadic fashion projects we cover extensively, to, well, the Kardashians and Jenners. After struggling to cover countless store openings, fashion shows and other events targeting the LA market, we realized it made a lot of sense to officially open up shop in La La Land.
I'll still be heavily involved in the brand full-time, writing more and covering the growth of LA's fashion industry, as well as planning our next "How to Make It in Fashion" conference and other fun projects. Meanwhile, Alyssa will hold down the fort as our editor-in-chief here in New York.
Not that you asked me, but I think Fashionista's 10th year will be a great one (even if 2017 might suck in other ways), so stay tuned. And hit me up if you wanna hang in LA! I need friends.