New York Fashion Week is well on its way and the Twitterverse is flooded with buzz from the runways. For 22-year-old Jessica Chu, it’s actually her job to attend shows and tweet about fashion week. We got in touch with Jessica and made her dish on her fabulous job as industry paper Women’s Wear Daily’s official New York Fashion Week tweeter and social media apprentice.
So tell us a little bit about your background — Where are you from? What did you study in college?
I grew up in a little town called Montville in Northern New Jersey, which is now known as the same town where Teresa from Real Housewives of NJ lives. I went to Lehigh University and studied supply chain management (like purchasing/merchandising). I was originally a finance major until my junior year, when I started taking my first real upper-level finance class and I hated it. After a lot of thought, I changed my major because [supply chain management] was more “specific” and geared toward what (at that time) I had planned for my career. Oh, and I have a double minor in journalism and mass communication. I have interned at Cookie, Lucky, Seventeen and Bergdorf Goodman.
What was your career ambition when you were in college? Did you always want to work in fashion?
I only applied to colleges that had good business schools. I knew that’s what I wanted to major in from the start. I wanted to be an investment banker freshmen and sophomore years at Lehigh. I know, it’s hilarious. But over the summer of my sophomore year, I was at home, not really doing much. I’ve always liked fashion and I guess the possibility of interning at a magazine seemed really cool, so I just randomly sent my resume to a bunch of fashion assistants with a short, sweet cover letter explaining, “Hey, I’m interested in this field and will work really hard. I want to learn.” Got a couple interviews and started interning at Cookie. I was, at the time, obsessed with fashion blogs. I think every girl wants to work with fashion—let’s be honest. But, the thing with my parents—my mom said, “Wouldn’t you rather be the girl buying all the clothes, instead of the girl trying to sell it?”—it really struck a chord with me because it did make sense. If I got a “legit” job, I wouldn’t care about how much money clothes and handbags were—I could just shop and buy all of these things and “enjoy” fashion as just a consumer. I think my mother really stressed the importance of materialistic things when I was growing up. “If you do well, you can buy all these things and go on all these trips.”
I don’t know what my ideal career position is. I think right now, I’m open to everything and anything. It just has to be a right fit. I want to learn and I want to work in fashion. I just want to be really, really good at what I’m doing.
After graduating, how did you land this coveted role as WWD’s official fashion week tweeter?
[I] saw it on Twitter, sent in my resume and went in for two interviews. I also had to take a quick “quiz” — basically read an article and say how I would tweet the article.
What skills do you think helped you land this role?
I’ve been twittering since forever and blogging and I already had a good sense of how to shorten editorial sentences so it can fit. I think you have to really like this stuff to actually do it. Other skills are being able to utilize twitter and all this social media to your advantage. I wouldn’t have found the job if I didn’t actually follow her [WWD editor] and see her tweet.
What does your position entail?
I’m in charge of the Twitter account for all of fashion week and making sure everything is getting covered. There’s a lot more stress and emphasis for New York but I’m also going to cover London, Paris, etc. It’s all about getting everything up (pictures, content, reviews) before the other heavy hitters do.
Who are your favorite designers?
Phoebe Philo when she was at Chloé. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler. Mulleavy sisters for Rodarte.
How do you think tweeting/blogging/social media has changed the fashion industry?
It’s made it more accessible if anything. We’re tweeting shows now and you can live stream Marc Jacobs. I think it’s all about getting it to the people as it comes—that second. In addition, I think Twitter has allowed people to connect more with their favorite companies and brands. There’s a voice for everyone and companies are starting to realize that they can connect and build a positive customer brand with Twitter.If anything, it’s made people really well aware of their presence. I know when I just got to WWD, it was a mad house—I was getting @ replies from all the “big guns” and I thought, it’s a pretty supportive community and Twitter allows for this to happen…but personally, you can network and, even in my case, get a job from it!