What It's Really Like to Be Fired from Vogue

The original version of this article appeared on Levo. 

Though being an editor at Vogue was pretty much what every heroine in the '90s and early aughts romcoms aspired to do, it may not be all it is cracked up to be. In a new very revealing interview with British Vogue's longtime fashion director Lucinda Chambers, she spoke about her recent firing with annual academic fashion journal Vestoj. And she didn't hold back--so much so, in fact, that the interview had to be temporarily removed from Vestoj's website.

But Chambers should really be commended for being so forthright about what it is like to be suddenly as well as shockingly fired when you are at the top of your career. Though it was announced in May that was she stepping down from her role after 30 years, she told Vestoj that she was in fact fired by British Vogue's new editor in chief, Edward Enninful.

"A month and a half ago I was fired from Vogue. I phoned my lawyer; she asked me what I wanted to do about it. I told her I wanted to write a letter to my colleagues to tell them that Edward [Enninful] decided to let me go. And to say how proud I am to have worked at Vogue for as long as I did, to thank them for being such brilliant colleagues. My lawyer said sure, but don’t tell HR. They wouldn’t have wanted me to send it."

She also got super real about what its like working on editorials that you have absolutely no passion about and very little respect for as they are purely for advertisers.

"You’re not allowed to fail in fashion – especially in this age of social media, when everything is about leading a successful, amazing life. Nobody today is allowed to fail, instead the prospect causes anxiety and terror. But why can’t we celebrate failure? After all, it helps us grow and develop. I’m not ashamed of what happened to me. If my shoots were really crappy… Oh I know they weren’t all good – some were crappy. The June cover with Alexa Chung in a stupid Michael Kors T-shirt is crap. He’s a big advertiser so I knew why I had to do it. I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, and I did it anyway. Ok, whatever. But there were others… There were others that were great."

While Condé Nast wasn't impressed--the media company released a statement claiming it's "usual for an incoming editor to make some changes to the team"--others took to Twitter to commend Chambers' honesty

As for Chambers, she has a vision for "useful and aspirational" fashion magazines of the future:

"[I]n fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying. I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see."

Honesty, failure, and useful. Now that would make for an interesting magazine.

photo credit: Puma/Smith House Photography