Hannah Rochell is a modern multi-tasker. As Fashion Features Editor at InStyle magazine, she’s committed to delivering inspirational yet practical advice to 30 something women who are looking for catwalk style for real life. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, Hannah has added another significant string to her bow as a writer for her blog En Brogue. The cool, trendy blog focuses on flat shoes, and flat shoes only, born from her love of the wearable footwear. Here, you’ll find an authentic body of work, with a strong brand and solid USP. Yet it is Hannah’s integration of the blog into her working life that has always impressed me, with her love of flats cropping up in Instyle, and her work at Instyle influencing her blog and social channels, proving that these days, there is so much overlapping in this industry. If being a journalist and blogger aren’t enough, she also published her first book recently which features her very own illustrations! I met her at London Fashion Week where we were shooting cool people wearing denim for Donna Ida, we then invited her to be featured on our blog. Smart, talented, cool and hardworking, let’s catch up with Hannah Rochell of En Brogue:
NakedPRGirl: You’re currently Fashion Features Editor of Instyle magazine – how did you get your job in fashion journalism? How did you know this was the career for you?
Hannah Rochell: It sort of happened by accident. I was working in TV production and I did a short course in fashion history at LCF at the weekends just for fun. I’d always loved fashion and I fancied learning more about it. And I LOVED it. When it finished I decided to do another course – this time it was fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins – and my lecturer suggested I give up my job to take up fashion writing as a career. Coincidentally, the TV show I worked on wasn’t re-commissioned so I was about to be out of a job anyway…so I took an internship at Red aged 30 and the rest is history!
NakedPRGirl: You’ve worked for fashion heavy weights Instyle and The Times – how have those experiences shaped your career?
Hannah Rochell: It’s great to have worked for the oldest newspaper in the world! It never failed to impress people when I told them that I worked at The Times. I enjoyed the fast pace of a daily publication and it has been an incredibly helpful experience recently. Working for a monthly magazine was probably a little slower a few years ago, but I get that same fast pace from contributing to InStyle’s website. Added to that, I get to produce beautiful features and interview amazing people; I absolutely love my job.
NakedPRGirl: Instyle aims to be the ‘Ultimate Style Guide’ – how do you go about researching features for your audience?
Hannah Rochell: Luckily for me, I AM my audience! I often read InStyle before I worked there and I’m the same age as many of our readers. If I think my friends would enjoy reading one of my features, I think I’ve got it right.
NakedPRGirl: What’s the feature with the weirdest angle you’ve ever been asked to write?
Hannah Rochell: I enjoy making up weird angles to be honest! I was recently asked to write for the website on the subject of Kylie Jenner spending 40 minutes to put on lipstick. I decided to list 7 other things you could do in 40 minutes instead. It was a much funnier way of covering the story.
NakedPRGirl: Who’s the most memorable person that you’ve interviewed?
Hannah Rochell: It’s got to be Karl Lagerfeld. I only got 5 minutes with him but at the end he made me sit on his desk and pose for a picture with him!
NakedPRGirl: How has life on a magazine changed since the explosion of digital and social media?
Hannah Rochell: Enormously. We’ve all had to embrace it and these days my working day is just as likely to involve shooting and editing a video as it is writing a feature.
NakedPRGirl: What advice would you give to someone trying to get into fashion journalism?
Hannah Rochell: Accept every opportunity because you never know who you might meet. When you get that first foot in the door – and this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised – be polite, punctual and helpful, and have an opinion but only when you’re asked for it! I never forget interns who have made a good impression and I always recommend them on to others. And write a blog! If you have evidence that you can write and are doing it regularly it can only do you good.
NakedPRGirl: You also have your own blog – cleverly titled En Brogue where you look at (beautiful) flat shoes. What made you realise it was your USP and when did you decide to dedicate a blog to it?
Hannah Rochell: I knew I needed to start a blog to further my career but I wasn’t interested in taking pictures of my outfit – and therefore my face! – every day. When I stopped wearing heels I documented what flat shoes I was wearing to London fashion week on a Instagram. It was really popular, so I started the blog the following week.
NakedPRGirl: Do you think your experience at Instyle helps your work with En Brogue and vice versa?
Hannah Rochell: Without a doubt! I’m very lucky that I work for an editor who understands that it’s mutually beneficial. Plus I’ve got her into flats…
NakedPRGirl: Did you carefully consider your brand identity for your blog and social media?
Hannah Rochell: No. I’m lucky it worked out! I knew I had a great name and the rest just fell into place.
NakedPRGirl: Your book was recently published – how did that come about?
Hannah Rochell: I had the idea all worked out and had approached a few publishers without any luck. And then Saltyard approached me out of the blue. We hit it off after one meeting and they offered me a deal within a couple of weeks. I think they’re the perfect match for me – they knew exactly what I wanted to do and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
NakedPRGirl: All the images and illustrations were your own, is art an important part of your brand?
Hannah Rochell: Yes definitely. I’ve always been an amateur illustrator and I think I’ve found my niche! I’d like to expand that side of things.
NakedPRGirl: London Fashion Week is always crazy (in fact – I first met you when we were photographing cool, denim wearing people at Somerset House) – how do you find it? Do you plan beforehand? Do you have late nights writing copy up?
Hannah Rochell: Fashion week is my favourite time of year. I do a week in Milan and a week in Paris as well as London. The days are long and the work is hard but as far as I’m concerned, that’s what it’s all about.
NakedPRGirl: What is your favourite social media channel and why?
Hannah Rochell: I am an Instagram obsessive. You can really get your personality across. I’ve also made new friends through Instagram which is a brilliant added bonus.
NakedPRGirl: Who are your fellow friends and supporters in the industry?
Hannah Rochell: Team InStyle are awesome. I couldn’t wish to work with a nicer bunch. I’m still great friends with Laura Craik, Carolyn Asome and Jane McFarland who I worked with at The Times. And Alex Stedman is a great inspiration – her blog The Frugality was one of my main drivers to start my own blog.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Hannah Rochell: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. You could have guessed that one!
NakedPRGirl: If you could work with a dream brand, who would it be?
Hannah Rochell: I have many…but I’d love to do a collaboration with Grenson.
NakedPRGirl: What’s next?
Hannah Rochell: I can’t tell you yet – but it’s exciting!
Hannah’s new book En Brogue: The Trainers Guide is coming soon. Read Hannah Rochell’s En Brogue Blog. Follow Hannah on Twitter. Follow En Brogue on Twitter and Instagram. Images courtesy of DONNA IDA.