You need a cool head to work in digital, but you need nerves of steel if you’re heading up the world’s leading fashion website. Lauren Milligan is in the driving seat of Vogue Online as their News Editor, quite literally breaking fashion news every, single, day. She’s a well respected industry expert, with a little black book of celebrities, fashion designers and PRs (of course) but when you meet her she’s a very cool, down-to-earth girl who you could quite easily go shopping with. The very nice thing about Ms Milligan is that she is just flipping talented, she didn’t just wake up in Conde Nast one day, she’s worked very hard to get where she has and the path has not always been obvious yet she is proof of the ethics that hard work will pay off. She is also a modern day multi-tasker and she is putting her fashion talent to good use by joining with her sister to launch the achingly cool label Deetz. Here, in my series of ‘Getting Naked With‘ interviews, I give you Lauren Milligan.
NakedPRGirl: You’re originally from Scotland – how did you come to live and work in London? What do you like about being here?
Lauren Milligan: I love London. I came here to intern after I graduated because I just wanted to work at Vogue. I really didn’t have a plan B. I moved here permanently when I was working with AllSaints – going from store manager in Glasgow to website manager in head office – and it’s never occurred to me to leave. I love everything about London – I’m one of those annoying people – even the bad stuff. I love how big life is here. It makes me feel like I could do absolutely anything I want.
NakedPRGirl: Before you became Fashion News Editor of Vogue, you told Miss Vogue that you had the ‘world’s most eclectic CV’ having had jobs in PR, creative director and web manager – did those help you get where you are today?
Lauren Milligan: Definitely, of course. Anyone trying to get a job in fashion without having worked in retail is insane. I tell interns all the time that the best thing they can do is get a part-time job in a shop and pay attention. Working with customers and gaining an understanding of all aspects of the business of fashion – logistics, merchandising, visuals, buying, design – I just couldn’t write about fashion in the way I do without having worked in retail.
NakedPRGirl: Have you always been into writing? Where is your favourite place to be creative and write? Can we expect Lauren Milligan the Novel?
Lauren Milligan: Yes, I was the most embarrassing child; writing poetry when I was six. I just loved words and knowing what they meant. Showing off and feeling clever mostly. My four-year-old says, “Absolutely out of the question,” so I think it’s genetic. I don’t need to be somewhere quiet to be creative. I just put my headphones on and go. I have written a novel, called And They All Lived. On my iPhone. Hopefully it will be available soon. We’re having discussions.
NakedPRGirl: What’s the most memorable moment from your time at Vogue? Does any interview or celebrity stand out who you’ve met?
Lauren Milligan: Writing the big breaking news stories, like when Galliano was arrested or when McQueen died, that definitely stays in your mind. That moment – such fear and adrenaline, wanting to write it beautifully but also have it live before anyone else – is why I do my job. I’m definitely a news editor first and fashion journalist second. There are surreal moments – like going backstage at Victoria’s Secret or sitting front row at couture – that make you think, ‘Why am I getting paid to do something this fun?’ but obviously we do work hard too.
NakedPRGirl: You’ve been working at Vogue online for a few years now, what changes have you seen in digital and social media?
Lauren Milligan: It’s huge in the six years I’ve been there. When I started we didn’t even have Twitter. We just sent a story out into the ether and hoped people would Google it. Seems a bit crazy now! Social media does influence our job from the ground up and, although I still write financial or structural fashion stories that won’t necessarily do well on social, I might find myself writing a short fun story that I can think of an interesting way to social. “Which supermodel is scared of kittens?” – that sort of thing just wouldn’t have worked back then.
NakedPRGirl: On top of your day job, you’ve also recently started the clothing label Deetz with your designer sister Amy Currie, how did you come to launch it?
Lauren Milligan: She’s just an amazingly talented print designer who consults for lots of other brands and I thought that between us we could do something incredible. We launched at a time when fashion was very serious – thanks Phoebe – and I felt there was a niche in the market for fun and print and colour. We’re mid-market and accessible, specialising in hand-drawn printed pieces made in London, and the response has been pretty incredible.
NakedPRGirl: You’ve had amazing success so far –how do you feel when you see fashionistas wearing your clothes? What’s the USP for Deetz?
Lauren Milligan: The first season the collection sold out in Harvey Nichols but we didn’t bump into anyone wearing it, even though we scoured the streets of London! But since then we have seen a few people and it’s a lovely feeling. We tell them how clever and stylish and beautiful they are. I’ll never get tired of that. The USP is uniqueness. Our customers aren’t looking for trends or whims. They fall in love with Amy’s clever drawings like they would a piece of art. They’re looking for a forever dress, not a one-night stand.
NakedPRGirl: What is your favourite social channel?
Lauren Milligan: I should say Twitter or Facebook because we can link from them to read something on Vogue or buy something on Deetz, but in my own life I only use Instagram. I’ve never even had a Facebook or Twitter account. And I’ve never tried smoking. Or watched Star Wars.
NakedPRGirl: Do you find your experience at Vogue helps your work with Deetz and vice versa?
Lauren Milligan: Definitely. The only pointless day is a day you don’t learn something new.
NakedPRGirl: What advice would you give to others just starting out in the industry?
NakedPRGirl: You must have a jam packed diary for every Fashion Week – which show do you most look forward to and what’s your failsafe fashion tips for the week?
Lauren Milligan: I’m very lucky in that I’m pretty tied to the news desk incase something cataclysmic happens so my presence at the shows isn’t mandatory. That said, I do love them. I’m a big Christopher Kane girl (Scottish Mafia) but generally I just love LFW. From Meadham Kirchhoff to Jasper Conran, I just love to sit down and be immersed for six minutes in someone else’s vision. Even if I don’t like you collection, I find that inspiring.
NakedPRGirl: What would be your dream brand/people to work with?
Lauren Milligan: Gisele because I’m in love with her. Karl Lagerfeld because I think he’s probably a genius and even if he just sat there I’d probably learn something. Sheryl Sandberg, Sophia Amoruso and Alexandra Shulman. And maybe we’d do a Deetz collaboration with Topshop or Target. What we could learn about consumers from the data would get me high.
NakedPRGirl: How has your personal style developed over the years? What defines your look?
Lauren Milligan: Oh I just like things that make my stomach flip. I’m not getting up in the morning for a great navy cashmere jumper. Yawn. Dresses, colour, shoes, bags, sparkles! I mostly wear jeans and a fun Deetz sweat or silk tee, or I wear a lot of vintage. The thought that I’d go through a day and no one would give me that “what is she wearing?” look on the tube makes me very sad.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or a mantra that you live by?
Lauren Milligan: Not really. Just Do It? That’s taken, right? Same 24 Hours As Beyoncé? Basically anything that says, “Don’t be lazy, stop complaining, get off your arse, no one but you will make it happen, etc etc.” Just aggressive and life-affirming. That’s the general gist.
NakedPRGirl: What’s next?
Lauren Milligan: My personal goals are small and my business goals are big. I want my children to be happy, polite, ambitious, caring. I want to keep on laughing at my husband till I nearly pee myself every day. The usual stuff. With Deetz, I basically want us to be Dolce & Gabbana in ten years. World renowned, internationally respected, worn in every country in the world. Nothing much 😉