"I really relished the challenge of starting up a brand new section at The Sydney Morning Herald and Amanda Wilson is very committed to growing fashion coverage at The Sydney Morning Herald and hopefully we can really define what fashion in Sydney is and for readers, whether they work in the industry or are simply passionate about fashion, explain how it ticks and how it works... I feel that fashion is increasingly becoming a stronger part of the front of the book as editors realise there's a very strong business component to the industry, as well as the froth and bubble of a pretty girl on page three. And perhaps that's a sign of the maturation of the industry in Australia...I really feel there's strong ground here to move forward and that there are stories worth taking seriously."
- New Sydney Morning Herald fashion editor, the humble Georgina Safe, talks to James Manning of Mediaweek and Brendan Wood, Mediaweek podcast.
And on reporting for The Australian v The Herald:
"The main attraction with The Sydney Morning Herald is having the two designated pages rather than one that was appearing in The Australian. And by virtue being a national newspaper and needing to cover off every other state...by virtue of that brief, [fashion] couldn't be covered as fulsomely, certainly in Sydney at least. So it's really that remit to get stuck into this town a little bit more in terms of the way fashion works. But having said that, we don't want to be overly Sydney-centric. We're connected to the world these days and it's very important for our readers to know what the international fashion trends are, how they can adapt those to living in Sydney, what international fashion brands might be coming here; so it's a combination of those two things."
Fighting with fashion mags over exclusives? Nope.
"The kind of story that a Vogue or Harper's BAZAAR is after, and their market, is quite different to what a newspaper is after. Of course, there's always times when big interviews become available, or large opportunities, and we'll all be in there fighting; but there's usually a way to roll out a schedule of newspaper coverage and then with the glossies to follow. Of course, everyone loves their exclusives. But we try in fashion to all get along."
And on the front row at Fashion Week:
"Newspapers and, indeed, magazines do get the recognition that they're due. And I shouldn't use the word 'recognition': our value in taking up those front-row seats is we're put there with the view that we're going to deliver column inches and media dollars for the designers who have got their clothes coming down the catwalk...The designers will also factor in a sprinkling of celebrities to ensure that shots from their front row from their show get in the papers the next day. So it's mostly media, a few celebs, and, of course, very importantly all of the buyers that go to Fashion Week that place the orders for the collections that are shown on the runway. So I guess it's a mix of those three. And, you know, nowadays you've got a whole bunch of bloggers that have sort of emerged on the scene in recent years and more often than not they're trying to blag their way into a front-row seat after having been outside the venue photographing everyone walking in. So that's actually created an issue for designers when they are doing their seating plans in terms of where those bloggers fit in; the digital landscape is really changing the way people look at their seating. But hopefully this year they'll still find me a pew."
On bloggers v newspapers v magazines:
"There are some incredibly respected bloggers out there; there are a lot of incredibly average ones as well, but most certainly there are some very insightful writers... At the end of the day, that's where you come back to the quantity versus quality argument. It's all very well to sit there and just, you know, spew out a stream-of-consciousness response to watching clothes parade along. But really I think the strength of newspapers and magazines is being able to provide analysis and definitive reviews and very reflective reviews of those collections and there will never be a substitute for that."
On fashion PR:
"The fashion PR industry, I suppose, is like any other PR industry, or any other industry, for that matter...you've got your good eggs and you've got your not good eggs, and obviously that goes for the journos as well. But the best fashion PRs in Australia are incredibly hard-working and professional and, most importantly, really know the brand they represent inside out and will pitch a story according to a particular publication and particular label. There are some very respected fashion PRs here."
On wearing black, "the fashion editor's uniform", and being low-profile:
"I'm of the opinion that no one should really be terribly interested in what I'm wearing or what I'm doing. It's my job is to be interested in what other people are doing. It would be a very sad day if someone turned up to Australian Fashion Week and wondered what Georgina Safe was wearing in the front row."
Listen to the full Mediaweek podcast here.
Fashion Police is Safe
Essential Style out at SMH
Girl With a Satchel