Condé Nast China hosts Career talk by Michelle Ye from Vogue China
We are no longer a magazine, we are a media platform”. Michelle Ye, Marketing Director of Vogue China.
Earlier this month, Condé Nast Center of Fashion & Design, the education and media platform behind famous fashion titles like Vogue, GQ and Self invited 20 people, to meet and listen to Michelle Ye, the marketing director at Vogue China, discuss her experience in the fashion industry.
Alongside Michelle Ye sat Dominique Simard, Director of Fashion Education at Condé Nast China. Only two years after the first education institution opened in London, Condé Nast announced their newest location in Shanghai, China. Launching in the fall of 2015 next to the renowned K11 building on HuaHuai Road.
“ Although Condé Nast UK may be the creative center of Condé Nast´s global operations, Condé Nast China is the Mobile lab”. Michelle cited at the event. “Because in China we have the largest number of mobile users. As person working in the fashion industry, you really need to think digital”.
With market trends in the fashion industry constantly changing, magazines such as Vogue work with several platforms to satisfying the needs and preferences of their ever-increasing readership base. No longer just a print magazine, the world-renowned publication is now distributed over various channels of digital communication. “Before when Dior came to us, we used to be a landlord. They told us what they wanted, we gave them the place, but today we are more like a business consultant, so when Dior comes to us, we advise them in where their content would fit and to whom it would speak to” Michelle Explains.
Today, Vogue China, like many others, desires candidates that possess the ability to think outside the box. “You have to really be creative, and use that creativity to your advantage, because today so many apps revolve around one source.” Michelle explains. “. In Vogue China you generally want people that are creative that are creative and can be creative with us”.
Condé Nast Center of Fashion & Design China will offer courses ranging from advanced fashion design to digital marketing. Their aim is to bring together some of the brightest and most ambitious people in China and help them to pursue their dream job in the fashion industry.
This is something that Michelle feels strongly about. She further elaborates; “To get to where you want to be, you have to work hard in any industry. You need to enjoy teamwork. You have to be positive, hard working, and very creative. You have to constantly think positive, because there are so many deadlines, so many designers and so many brands that want something from you every day. The fashion industry is no longer 1 or 20 magazines. There are so many platforms. At Vogue we have 8 different platforms. We have Weibo, WeChat, the Vogue Website, mobile version of the website, iPad, Vogue Mini, and more. All the different platforms give you different content. We are no longer a magazine, we are a media platform. So you have to be eager to learn and be flexible, as you will be working on all the media platforms”.
Hard work is the keyword according to Michelle, and those are the students that Condé Nast China is looking to educate. “Hard work. I think in any industry, is how you can steadily move upwards.”
Origionally graduating with a major in programming from Fudan University in Shanghai, she soon realized that marketing and fashion were her main areas of interest. Starting her career in IT, she has since moved to marketing, advertising, Customer Relations Management (CRM) and event organization.
“After CRM I was the producer of fashion events and then I ended up as a marketing person at Vogue”. She explains. “These paths seem to be random, but you can see that each steps contributes to who I am today.”
Success in the fashion industry requires both hard work and tough skin. Movies like The Devil Wears Prada give the impression that the fashion industry is a cruel and cold place to survive. But it´s not all true. “I don’t know why people talk about this world of surviving. Outsiders look at us like divas, but I think this industry that we create is all about beauty and creation. You need to feel that you need to work hard to not just survive, but more about the feeling that you fulfill your happiness”. The marketing director of Vogue China explains.
“I like that there are so many challenges everyday, you get to learn something everyday. However success doesn´t come without compromise. You don´t sleep a lot because there´s alot because of parties and fashion shows. So you need to take care of your body and this is hard, but I think you should do what you love, and pursue what makes you happy.”
Today in a country as large as China with such a large fashion conscious crowd, only a few designers have managed to establish their brand locally and internationally. However, the market is constantly changing and the demand from Chinese consumers for independent domestic designer brands is rapidly growing. According to Michelle. “Chinese consumers are changing. Today Chinese consumers are more focused on creating styles, where you buy one bag from one brand, your dress from another and then your friend or even your mother might have designed your jewelry. Today they are more advanced. They know good fabric especially in the 2nd tier cities. They travel much more than before. Today they’ve switched to independent designers, so that´s why we have to really bring in new designers into the market”.
Whilst not all consumers in China have warmed up to this new vision of following individual designers, we believe that Chinese consumers will continue to become more fashion conscious and develop their own unique taste and desires. The new courses offered by Condé Nast Center of Fashion & Design aim to identify and cultivate the brightest young designers in China and provide them with the skills neccesary to survive in the ultra competitive fashion industry.
Visit the Condé Nast China website here to know more about their courses