This post originally appeared on the blog MakingManhattan.com.
By Austen Tosone
I stood outside of NYLON’s office in SoHo with a bag of stuff from my desk in one hand and a severance package in the other, as one thought played over and over in my head: What the hell just happened? NYLON, my favorite magazine growing up, had just folded in the middle of fashion week with no notice. And I was let go, along with some of the most hardworking, creative and passionate people I’ve ever met.
I first stepped foot in the NYLON offices my junior year of college when I interviewed for an editorial intern position. I got it. I returned again right before graduation to interview for the editorial assistant role. I got that, too. My hard work paid off and at the beginning of 2017, I was promoted to assistant editor. Uttering the words, “I’m an editor at NYLON,” for the first time gave me goosebumps. I was on top of the freaking world. I had my dream job at my dream publication at age 22. And losing it all hurt like hell.
I felt like I’d been punched in the gut, betrayed by something I poured time and love into. The worst part was that I never saw it coming. We were planning on re-launching NYLON Guys as a quarterly publication in 2018. We’d recently hired new, full-time print staffers. There were no red flags or signs of trouble until the day the magazine shuttered. I felt dread when I realized I was locked out of my NYLON email account and that the work we’d begun for the November issue would never see the light of day.
I let myself feel shock, disappointment, anger and defeat for a few days. The truth was, it was still fashion week, and I still had my tickets. And even though all I wanted to do was drink wine, watch Netflix and not talk to anyone, I put on my pleated culottes and blush pink mules and got my butt to as many shows. I figured I could at least cover them for my blog. I even reached out to other bloggers I knew to ask if I could attend any shows they couldn’t make. That often meant standing room-only tickets instead of a coveted seat, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be there, to be a part of the fashion world and to forget for a second how awful I felt.
Throughout fashion week, I brought my laptop along to the shows, working out of cafes and editing my resume and cover letter. I reached out to former supervisors, publishers’ HR departments, people I interned with, and editors who worked at publications that I liked. The goal was to let as many people as I could know that I was looking for work — full-time, freelance, anything. During my month of unemployment, I felt like I worked harder than I did when I was working full-time. I was constantly working on job applications, networking and my blog from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. And when I wasn’t working on those things, I was thinking about them. When you don’t go to an office every day, it can be hard to find where work begins and ends. In the end, my hard work — and some exceptional luck — paid off. Interview magazine — a place I was super interested in working at — happened to be hiring a position that aligned with what I had been doing before.
As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I sent over my resume and cover letter and scheduled a meeting with an editor at Interview, who then set up a meeting for me with the Editor-in-Chief. A few days later, exactly two weeks after NYLON folded, I got a call. I got it.
The major takeaway from this experience? The publishing world is completely unpredictable, but you can prepare and protect yourself. Save every word you write, backup your contacts, and keep that resume up-to-date. As tumultuous as the industry can be, the incredible experiences you can get out of it makes it all seem worth it somehow.
Let’s face it, as far comebacks go, mine happened pretty quickly and I know I owe a lot of that to incredibly lucky timing. What will take time is accepting that something I love vanished right in front of me almost like a darker version of the “bippity boppity boo” spell. That crazy, quirky, perfect-in-its-own-way magazine meant the world to me, but I know I’ll find the same passion again, and use it to motivate me in my current job and whatever comes next.
Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.