COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Lauren Alexis Fisher, former Harper’s Bazaar market editor
The pressure to get the “dream job” can oftentimes tune us out from the rest of the world. By constantly chasing new heights, we leave pieces of ourselves and let our work consume us to the point where we actually become what we do. That’s why it’s so important to separate yourself from your work persona and be as dedicated to the development of that other part of you, as you are to your career. For most of us, achieving this balance has been a constant struggle, as it takes a lot of self reflection to even be able to acknowledge that you’re doing something wrong. It’s something all of us have to deal with at a certain point in our lives and our next cool face is no exception.
“We place so much weight on the idea of a “dream job” that we let it absorb ourselves completely and become the only thing that defines us.”
With extensive experience in the fashion industry, the impressive Lauren Alexis Fisher has worked her way up from being an assistant digital editor/producer to fashion market editor for Harper’s Bazaar, but at the height of her career in 2019 she did something quite unexpected as she decided to take a step back from the fashion industry to reset and recharge. Working alongside awe-inspiring women like Olivia Fleming and Maxine Bedat, Lauren delved into the world of sustainability which prompted her to start seeing the industry with a different set of eyes. This eventually led her to start exploring this omnipresent issue in the fashion industry in more depth and turned her into the advocate that she is today, talking, supporting and educating an entire generation of fashionable women on emerging sustainable fashion brands and pressing social issues. Today her work looks very different from what it used to be, as she’s more dedicated than ever to work on projects that bring new talent and points of view to the forefront of the industry. For this instalment of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir, we talk with her about her career journey, what made her take this drastic step and her thoughts on digital fashion.
Who is Lauren Alexis Fisher?
I’m a freelance fashion editor, writer, and digital consultant living in New York. I’m very much a creative person and always in search of new ways to fuel my purpose. Work identity aside, I’m someone who loves to spend time with family and friends, travel, eat, drink, laugh and encourage those around me to do the same!
What’s your morning routine like?
I’d love to say that I wake up at 6 AM everyday to meditate and do yoga with a glass of hot lemon-infused water, but that’s not me so I’ll keep it real. :) I’m in a serious relationship with my snooze button and it takes me a bit to actually wake up. I start my morning by checking emails, Twitter, Instagram, and texts from bed — a bad habit I formed as a digital news editor, but I still like to be fully tuned into what’s happening in the world — for better or worse. My quarantine work-from-home routine is to make my morning iced coffee and get energized for the day with a good playlist — ’70s disco if I really want to get energized, Jhene Aiko or Maggie Rogers if I’m feeling more mellow.
You’re currently working as a freelancer, consulting for fashion brands and creating digital content, but prior to that you were working as an intern for Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan and College Fashionista and were also Harper’s BAZAAR.com’s market editor. How did you make that leap and how all of these past experiences differ from what you’re doing today in terms of creative freedom and collaborating with brands?
I interned a ton in college — and I made sure to try out a variety of different positions in the fashion industry to see what I liked best. After interning in styling, PR, and social media, I figured out that working in digital and social media was what I was most passionate about. My final internship, which was a full-time senior co-op that I had to do at LIM College, was as a digital intern at Harper’s BAZAAR. I worked really hard and at the end, I was lucky enough to be offered a full-time freelance position at BAZAAR — it was my dream position and I was so, so grateful. I worked my way up from assistant digital editor/producer to fashion market editor over the years.
I left BAZAAR in December 2019 and took a couple months away from fashion to reset. Obviously I didn’t realize that a global pandemic was about to change the world and industry as we knew it, so my first few months as a freelancer have been anything but normal. It’s a different experience in so many ways, but ultimately my mission and purpose is still the same: to make the fashion industry a better, more inclusive, and less serious space for everyone to be part of. I’ve been able to work with a lot of small, emerging brands and I’m hoping to do more of that to help bring new talent and points of view to the forefront of the industry.
Three things you wish you knew before starting out…
1.Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s peak. In fact, don’t compare yourself or your work to anyone at all. I put so much pressure on myself at the start of my career. I expected to be at the same level of people I idolized in the industry who had been working for a decade or two longer than me — that is extremely unrealistic and not good for your mental health. You are your own person, you have your own journey. Focus on that instead of where you think you’re supposed to be. Plus, you lose out on all the unique things that make you who you are if you spend your time aspiring to someone else.
2. Relax, you’re doing amazing sweetie. Don’t let yourself fall victim to Imposter Syndrome. If you’re working hard, treating people well, and trying to make your industry a better place then you deserve to be exactly where you are.
3. You are not your job title. This is one I’m still learning. We place so much weight on the idea of a “dream job” that we let it absorb ourselves completely and become the only thing that defines us. You have to remain a full person outside of work, otherwise you lose all the things you need to bring a good perspective and point-of-view to your role. Find time to clock out and separate yourself from who you are at the office. It’s so important for your mental health — and it will actually make you better at your job in the long run.
You’re advocating for sustainability and transparency, opening doors for brands, especially emerging and small ones like Bastet Noir. Do you remember the particular moment in time or a particular event that pushed you to become an advocate for sustainable fashion?
While I was an editor at BAZAAR, I began learning about sustainability and why it was so important — but I will admit I was a little late in fully grasping its importance. Our digital features director at the time, Olivia Fleming, was really instrumental in teaching me about sustainability and introduced me to Maxine Bedat, the founder of The New Standard Institute. After working with Maxine on a few stories, I took the time and effort to educate myself about the importance of sustainability in fashion. It was really eye-opening.
With everything that’s been going on with the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement, you’ve been so vocal on social media particularly about the BLM and have been using your platform for educating your followers. How important do you think it is to speak about these issues? How are you dealing with the whole situation and what organizations are you supporting at the moment?
I think everyone has a responsibility to speak out when they see injustice happening. Sharing education and resources on social media regarding Black Lives Matters and the current coronavirus pandemic is the bare minimum all of us should be doing. But it’s important not to fall into performative activism and only share black squares on Instagram, you’ve got to put in the work beyond your social media feeds. Educate yourself, read books on anti racism, support organizations that are doing the work, watch documentaries and movies sharing Black stories, follow activists and Black voices who will expand your point-of-view. I still have a lot of work to do, but for now I’m educating myself further on these topics and my own privilege while supporting organizations like the ACLU, 15 Percent Pledge, Change, and Equal Justice Initiative.
We were listening to an interview of you where something you said really resonated with us. You said “There’s this need to connect with people on a meaningful level and digital can do that.” How do you feel about digital fashion being the next big trend in the industry?
Digital-first fashion is the future of the industry. Some have been slower to accept this concept, but if you look back at the last five years of fashion- everything meaningful and memorable was meaningful and memorable because of how it was shared or consumed on the internet. For so long, the fashion industry was only for a small, elitist group of people. Now, thanks to social media, we can all have a seat at the table and a voice. That’s a really powerful thing and it’s already created change in the fashion industry — from raising important conversations about inclusivity and diversity to holding brands and designers accountable.
Biggest failure/setback in life and what you’ve learnt from it?
I try not to view anything as a “failure,” every mistake is a learning lesson and shapes your journey in some way. I think the biggest learning lesson for me so far has been to stop comparing my career and my journey to other people’s. It’s especially easy to feel like you’re not doing enough when you see the highlights of everyone else’s lives and work on Instagram. But when you start measuring your own accomplishments against the accomplishments of others, you lose the joy in carving out your own story.
There are so many women I look to, both of past and present, to feel inspired by, but the one speech that always sticks out most to me is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2012 Ted Talk “We Should All Be Feminists.” I was in college at the time and I remember feeling fully awakened by her words. This was before Beyonce sampled a portion of this speech on “Flawless” and long before the same phrase was co-opted by many fashion brands on T-shirts. I had always identified as a feminist, but I could never really put into words exactly what feminism meant and why I felt so strongly about women’s empowerment until I heard this speech. I was 20 years old and it really served as the catalyst to me becoming more awake and aware as a woman. I still go back and listen to it sometimes.
What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
I love a dramatic sleeve moment, so I’ve got my eye on the Ori dress. And you can never go wrong with a timeless little black dress, so the Thale dressobviously has my vote.
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