Lucinda Chambers was fired from British Vogue after spending 25 years as its fashion director. She was extremely candid in a conversation with the editor of fashion criticism magazine, Vestoj, so candid that she criticized her former employer and revealed what working for the magazine was really like.
She spoke about the superficiality of working with designers, maintaining a false façade, the pressure put on designers and why she no longer reads Vogue.
For example, when styling a Vogue cover, it’s often more of a marketing ploy and the designer’s name than the editor’s taste.
“The June cover with Alexa Chung in a stupid Michael Kors T-shirt is crap. He’s a big advertiser so I knew why I had to do it. I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, and I did it anyway,” she said.
She also said that employees who look the part and get the job, often aren’t the best employees. “But in fashion you can go far if you look fantastic and confident—no one wants to be the one to say ‘… but they’re crap,’” she said.
In addition, Chambers believes that the fashion industry is causing its own demise because designers are pressured to have everything from business acumen to talent to social media presences.
“Big companies demand so much more from their designers—we’ve seen the casualties. It’s really hard. Those designers are going to have drink problems, they’re going to have drug problems. They’re going to have nervous breakdowns.”
One of the final, most powerful statements Chambers made was, “There are very few fashion magazines that make you feel empowered…..Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years.”
Speaking out against the company, like Chambers did, is considered harmful to the publication’s reputation, and can result in a defamation lawsuit, said the Fashion Law.
When working for such prominent companies like Conde Nast, employees, especially those in positions of power, are required to sign non-disclosure agreements, stating that they will not take actions that could harm the company in any way.
Most people, however, don’t speak out, because they are afraid of being sued. “Arguably, the industry is only hurting itself with these overwhelming attempts to limit the spread of any unseemly information,” said The Fashion Law.
Legal action has not been taken against Chambers, but the Vestoj article has been amended upon the request of Edward Enninful, the current Vogue editor responsible for firing Chambers. A editor’s note at the top of the article reads: “Following the original publication of this article, we’ve been contacted by lawyers on behalf of Conde Nast Limited and Edward Enninful OBE and have been requested to amend the interview. This request has now been granted.”