An interview with... Naomi Mdudu
At her online platform ‘The Lifestyle Edit’, she and a small team put together in-depth interviews, tips and articles on not only fashion, but money, health and beauty too. It’s a one-stop-shop for motivational content – and we love it! Naomi talks to us about getting into the fashion business, fashion pieces she is lusting over, and her personal definition of happiness.
We seriously admire how The Lifestyle Edit empowers and elevates women – what gave you the inspiration to do this?
The Lifestyle Edit was born because I wanted to create a new way of thinking about fashion and lifestyle. I really wanted to create a destination that spoke to all of the lifestyle touch points that my friends and colleagues love. Loving fashion doesn’t mean you don’t love anything else. Actually, the fact that you’re interested in style permeates everything you do, from the places you go out to eat or travel; to the interiors in your home, the fitness classes you attend, your approach to health and exercise and the beauty products you swear by.
I also felt like there wasn’t a place that covered the other areas that are important, like how to get your finances in check and climbing the career ladder. That’s why we speak to women across the industry who all share their stories and the lessons they’ve learned along the way in our interview series. It was always my mission to create a space that celebrated incredible women and that gives readers friendly advice on the tips and tricks they’ve learnt along the way. We’re not about being preachy. My team is full of twenty- and thirty-something year olds trying to figure things out just like our readers.
I use a bit on the lips for an everyday subtle shine.
You are quite the fashion journalist, having worked for amazing publications such as Metro. Can you think of a key moment, e.g. purchasing an item of clothing, that made you realise fashion was for you?
It was never an item of clothing that made me fall in love with fashion – falling in love with a piece is something I think most people experience. For me, it was my mom bought me ELLE magazine. I was barely a teenager at the time; I remember reading it from cover to cover. I fell in love with the drama of the editorials and memorized the key looks from each of the brands and absolutely devoured the features. As cheesy as it sounds, from that moment that I knew that becoming a journalist and working in publishing was what I had to do.
Is there any one particular item in the fashion world you are lusting over at the moment?
I have my eye on so many things, so I honestly would be here forever. But right now, I’m crazy about anything created by Tibi, Ulla Johnson, Rachel Comey, Jenni Kayne and the uber-talented Christine Alcalay.
Where do you see The Lifestyle Edit going? Do you have an end goal for it?
There are so many exciting things in the pipeline for the business. We have a podcast coming this fall, which I’m very excited about. So often we leave our interviews with hours upon hours of transcripts making it impossible to fit all of the gems and words of wisdom into one feature so I’m very excited for our readers to be able to hear those conversations through our podcast.
I believe in each and every story that goes live and am inspired by every brand we profile, every woman we feature and all of the incredibly talented writers and photographers we work with to bring the site together every day. It’s seeing the hard work come together each day that keeps me motivated so as that’s something you’ll continue to see as the site grows and develops.
Do you think being a woman makes it harder to establish yourself in business?
Absolutely not. In fact, I think right now is an incredibly exciting time to be a woman in business. Women are taking leadership positions around the world; there are more support networks for female entrepreneurs that ever before and there’s just a general spirit of optimism and empowerment right now that I find really exciting. Hopefully over the next few years this momentum will have resulted in tangible developments.
What advice would you give to the young woman with little experience who are aspiring to be a successful fashion journalist?
First of all, do your research. I get surprised how many people contact me saying they’re fashion enthusiasts who aren’t up to speed with the key stories and issues in the industry and also the key stakeholders. With the Internet, there’s really no excuses so make first and foremost, make sure to swot up on all there is to know. If a career in fashion journalism is truly right for you, you’d be doing that naturally. A large part of being a journalist stems from having an enquiring mind. If you don’t have that at the beginning, there’s no point.
In a similar vein, it’s important to read as much as possible. Discover writers you love who work in a medium that’s similar to the one you want to get into. Study their style and what it is about their style that resonates with you.
Above all else, practice. One of the best pieces of advice I got from an old boss was to be clear and concise with your writing first, and then bring your angle to the story. Your voice will naturally begin to emerge.
In your Wellness and Living section (of The Lifestyle Edit), there is an article by Susanna Halonen about creating ‘Your Own Definition of Happiness’. What does ‘happiness’ mean to you?
Happiness for me means living authentically on my own terms, surrounded by people I love and doing something that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning, challenges me but also allows me the time and space to grow and nurture interests outside of my job.