Why did you decide to attend the Fashion Program at Ryerson?
I knew I was going to attend the Ryerson Fashion program pretty early on. While in middle school, before I knew much about fashion or what I wanted to be, and before I had ever started thinking about my future, my dad, a Ryerson Alumnae, told me about the Fashion program and how he thought it would be the perfect fit for me. I remember he told me that back when he was the editor-in-chief of the Eyeopener, he would be one of the only students on campus over the weekends--save for the fashion students. The main thing he told me about the program was how hard the students worked, but this only made me more interested. By my senior year of high school, I was so confident in my decision, it was the only program I applied for. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in fashion and that Ryerson would be able to give me a well-rounded experience.
Tell us a little bit more about what you do as an Accessories Assistant at Vogue Magazine.
As an Accessories Assistant at Vogue, I help the market editors with daily tasks including taking responsibility of the samples and the closet, creating and organizing trend boards, liaising with PR contacts from around the world, and preparing for and assisting on set for the photoshoots that grace the pages of Vogue. It's a very fast paced environment with always something new and no two days alike.
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today? What led to your interest in pursuing your job and field?
I think what led me to this position as well as what led me to be interested in the editorial world was the internship experiences we were encouraged to pursue throughout the 4 years at Ryerson. Without these internships I would have never been able to gain the experience necessary to get where I am, and it also allowed me to test different opportunities and discover where my interests lie.
If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change about your time at Ryerson Fashion?
If I had the opportunity to redo my time at Ryerson, I probably would try to take even more advantage of the internship program. It is a tough industry once you leave school, and with strict interning laws, it can be difficult to get the experience you need. I think I would have started earlier on in order to broaden the companies that I worked for.
It must be really exciting working at Vogue Magazine. What does a day in the life of Katie Knoll look like?
A day in my life at Vogue isn't as exciting as it may seem. I work very long hours, but there is constantly new things happening around the office, especially when prepping for each of our stories, where we are receiving the best of the best of the season's current accessories. There is of course a lot of administration tasks involved with the job, however each one is a valuable learning experience.
What do you find are the most enjoyable and challenging parts of your job?
The most challenging part of the job is probably the pace. I'm used to working in ever-changing, fast-paced environments but Vogue is another level of speed. It takes a bit of getting used to but being adaptable and working accurately and quickly an incredibly important skill to have. The most exciting part of the job is each month when we get our early issues of the magazine. Seeing the finalized cover and stories within, and all the hard work we put in months prior, is really rewarding.
Do you have an area of expertise or research you want to grow and learn about?
The subject of diversity, especially in today's social and political society, is really important to embrace, understand and learn more about. I'm really glad Ryerson focused so much on the subject and I feel that after graduation and the beginning of my career, fashion in New York City as well as Vogue are really trying to bring more diverse visuals and points of view into the industry.
What is your favorite part about working in the Fashion industry, especially in New York, the fashion capital of the world?
It's true: New York is the city that never sleeps and being here is a constant exciting experience. With many fashion companies either headquartering here or at least having a notable presence, there are a ton of opportunities that just aren't available elsewhere. In comparison to Toronto, the city I spent my entire life in before moving here, New York just feels bigger, with more chances to be involved. The industry is still very tight-knit and the networking opportunities are countless.
What advice would you give a fashion student interested in working with accessories?
Accessories are sort of like a specialization within fashion but entry-level PR or Editorial positions don't require any specific pre-requisites. Passion is obvious if you want to pursue a job in the accessories field and an acute attention to detail is also important, more so than with clothing, and especially within Vogue. The most important advice I can give though, that applies to any position in fashion, is to network and leave an impression at your internships and jobs. Fashion is truly about who you know, as much as it is about talent, and to get your foot in the door to be able to show off your skills, you need to use your contacts and not be afraid to ask for what you want.