Kelsey Roadruck, contributing writer for Ed at Indiana, was a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista last summer. This virtual experience taught Kelsey how to be a standout intern.
A day in the life of a Style Guru was not particularly new to Kelsey. She had interned with CollegeFashionista during summer 2013 as a Style Guru for the weekly “What to Wear” column. This summer, CollegeFashionista added a couple departments to its site, which Kelsey jumped at the chance for. Although reporting on other Fashionistas/os’ collegiate clothing choices was inspirationally fun, Kelsey really enjoyed writing for the new “Style Guru Style” column.
My first Style Guru responsibility was to browse Style.com for a recent runway show or trend. This was perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming task I was responsible for this summer. Reimagining a high fashion look in a realistic manner with an affordable approach sometimes took well over an hour. Trust me, my browser’s bookmarks were worn out by the end of the summer.
Makin’ Macklemore proud, Goodwill and local thrift shops were always my go-to when it came to finding a similar style to the one I had (finally) chosen earlier that morning. Believe it or not, I hate shopping, but something about reviving worn wardrobes is always a rewarding feeling, not to mention cheap. Plus, I knew the chances of another intern photographing the same salvaged style would, more than likely, never happen.
Now for the fun part – styling. Earning a Style Guru position gave me a legitimate reason to experiment with my hair, makeup and new (sort of) clothes. What more could an intern want?
A monthly #FashionTalk typically took place at this time. This is an exclusive networking opportunity for Style Gurus to ask industry professionals questions via Twitter. This summer I was able to tweet in on conversations with Amy Levin and Whitney Port as well as representatives from Trendabl and American Eagle Outfitters. I think the highlight of my entire Style Guru experience was when Whitney Port chose my tweet as one of questions she answered.
After dressing up and fan girl-ing the latest fashion expert, I hit campus for some street style photography. Staying in Bloomington for the summer made finding a beautiful backdrop a piece of cake. Some of my favorite places to showoff my recent runway reimaginings included the south side of Woodburn Hall and in front of the Lilly Library.
There were two types of photographs I had to include in each “Style Guru Style” submission: one vertical, full-body shot and at least one close-up, detail shot. I posed for 30-50 photos per submission so that I had plenty to work with during the editing process. Because CollegeFashionista embraces candid, snapshot-style photos, Style Gurus don’t have to do much editing. I mostly made sure the brightness, sharpness and size of each photograph was adequate in this step.
The next step in the Style Guru process is to write 250-500 words on the look. Because there was a bit of a formula to writing copy for the “Style Guru Style” column, I really had to work hard at developing a specific editorial signature to make my articles stand apart from the other 280+ Style Gurus.
The final step was to format my images and copy in WordPress. After some copying and pasting, tagging and linking, my work was done. I would wait six days to receive edit feedback from Melissa Levin, co-founder of CollegeFashionista. Then I would be rewarded with a published piece after a week or so, which I was required to promote via social media.
Although this seems like quite a lengthy day-in-the-life, the work outlined above is an entire week’s worth of requirements. This summer I chose to set aside a full day to complete the work above, but many Style Gurus spread these responsibilities throughout their weekly schedule.
As a Style Guru I not only gained professional journalism experience and learned more about the fashion industry, but I was also able to network with professionals and to participate in co-company campaigns. These exciting partnerships included Seventeen’s “Guide to Cute Campus Style, From Coast to Coast,” Amazon Fashion’s “30 Days of Denim” and PINK’s “Crazy for Campus.” Being a Style Guru is much more than fashion reporting as long as you exercise effort to stand apart from your large intern class. Style on, Hoosiers.