What The Devil Wears Prada Exposes About Careers in Fashion

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

June 26, 2006

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The Devil Wears Prada is a tell-all about one lowly editorial assistant's experience at a publication similar to Vogue. One former fashion writer says it looks a lot like the real world of clothing designers and fashion editors.

A Career in Fashion, Not Journalism

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The recently released film The Devil Wears Prada is renewing interest in the book of the same name written by former fashion editorial assistant Lauren Weisberger. The book details the trials of Andy, who Weisberger portrays as an earnest, hardworking aspiring writer looking to break into the field of serious journalism.

In accepting a job as a fashion editorial assistant, Andy takes a sharp detour on her path to a career in journalism. Instead of writing hi-falutin' cultural critiques, she fetches lunch and carries out a variety of other gopher-like duties for her demanding boss, fashion editor Miranda Priestly. Miranda, incidentally, is thought to be loosely based on the real Vogue fashion editor, Anna Wintour.

But how close is the world of fashion--or at least the world of fashion publishing--to Weisberger's work of fiction that is informed by her own experience during her short career in fashion as an editorial assistant to the iconic Anna Wintour?

A Clothing Design Tell-all Rings True to Some

Perhaps we can never know for certain how true Weisberger's account is, but there are some who think her book does resemble many careers in fashion, or at least the culture among those who work in the highest echelons of the clothing design industry.

Former fashion writer Ginia Bellafante says that the recent film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada doesn't "bow to the cliché that all fashion people are airheads." She goes on to write that fashion people's passion for clothing design and desire to meet the approval of others of greater standing in the industry is strong, and accurately depicted in the film.

Fashion School Students

What you'll find in Weisberger's gossip-filled narrative is probably nothing you haven't heard before, or perhaps will encounter during your summer internship working backstage at a runway show. It may, however, provide some talking points for you and your fashion school peers to consider as you make your way from fashion school to clothing design mogul.


About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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