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Oyster's Words: Alyx Gorman

Since we started to expand on the fashion section, we have decided to approach everyone who we respect within the industry – the people who young fashionistas far and wide say they want to be when they grow up. Since the new edition of Oyster came out yesterday and since I (and a few of the other lovely writers on this site) have a vested interest in it, we’re starting this one with a Miss Alyx Gorman. Rising up through the ranks to her recent appointment of Associate Editor at the ripe little age of 21, Alyx has become the urban myth for fashion writers everywhere. It would be easy to hate her if she wasn’t so damn adorable (and talented, might I add). With the plethora of blogs lately, fashion writers are certainly not a minority, but ones who can actually write definitely are. Alyx is smart, mature and more than anything else, she knows her shit. So read our fill in the blank with one of our favourite style mavens and then go out and buy the magazine (at a newsagency near you).


Hi, my name is Alyx Gorman
And I work at Oyster Magazine.
My job entails pulling together and writing certain sections of the magazine and supervising our online activities
Which really means I spend all day sending emails and bossing about interns and then have to wake up at 6am to get the writing sides of my job done, because it’s too hard to do at work.
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I knew I wanted to be a writer when
I realized my horrific allergy problems and burgeoning hatred of animals meant that my previous career goal – to become a vet – was probably not suitable anymore. I’ll sound like an arsehole for saying this, but being a writer isn’t something I realized I wanted to do, it has just been something I always did, except now instead of short stories about my pets, or homoerotic Harry Potter fanfiction, I write about dresses.
And I couldn’t do anything else because I’m not as good at anything else. If I was, I’d be doing a stand up comedy burlesque show at a gay bar in San Francisco instead of filling this out.
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I chose to write fashion because writing about something as visual as fashion is both easy and satisfying. Fashion can be described with precision and flair at the same time. Plus the whole industry is full of freaks, and freaks are interesting.
But the hardest part about starting out was I started out writing an anonymous(ish), venomous street style blog in a small town. The death threats weren’t awesome. Actually who am I kidding. They were awesome.
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I got my break when Paul Bui, my old boss decided to hire me as an intern because I’d written flattering style reviews of him on A Chic T so many times. Never underestimate the power of flattery.
But it wasn’t until I started doing the fashion pages of local street press 3D World
That I realized I could make a go of this whole fashion writer thing as more than just a hobby
And now I am.
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My favourite thing about what I do is the constant exposure to beauty. It’s lovely to spend all day writing pleasantries about pretty things. And then in the evenings you get to go out and be a pretty thing yourself, surrounded by even more gorgeousness. Is it world changing? No. Is it fun? What do you think?
But sometimes the smallness of this industry, and how conservative it can be starts to get to me
And that makes me want to rip my hair out.
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What annoys me the most about my industry is that it is an industry. Fashion would be so much more amazing if we didn’t ever have to worry about making money, appealing to a broad audience or attempting accessibility.
But on the plus side, there’s still space for the avant-garde, and when you see it, it gives you tingles.
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If I wasn’t writing I’d be unemployed. I literally cannot think of an occupation I could do that didn’t involve writing in some capacity. If I wasn’t in fashion I’d probably be an academic, but that’s just as – if not more – writerly than what I do now.
With an even worse addiction to television than I have now. If I wasn’t writing I would just move to the US, and start stalking Josh Schwartz full time. That would be my job, I would be a professional stalker.
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I like Sydney because you don’t have many options in Australia, and fewer still if you like big cities and want to work in magazines. Also because too many of my ex boyfriends moved to Melbourne, so it was off the cards.
But I do want to live in Stockholm, or Amsterdam. Somewhere continental with progressive politics, blondes and bitter winters.
Because I like huge coats and welfare states.
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I unwind by listening to podcasts and audio books while I potter about.
And this can be less socially satisfying than say, leaving the house
But hey. Whatever.
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My advice to aspiring writers is
to honestly and seriously appraise how good you are, and how easy you find writing. Because if it’s hard for you, you shouldn’t be doing it. Always get people who know what they’re talking about and will be brutally honest to go over your work.
And don’t be a princess about criticism, it’s the only thing that will make you better as a writer. Just suck up your hurt feelings and take it on board.
And always force yourself to do things even if you don’t want to. It’s good for you.
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I dream of one day writing a novel that crosses Shaun of the Dead with The Devil Wears Prada, having it adapted into a film, making a vast amount of money from it and becoming a proper socialite.
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My all-time favourite writers are Evelyn Waugh, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, China Meiville and Richard Lawson (Gawker’s entertainment writer). I love the gays sick.
And my favourite designers are Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Viktor and Rolfe and Hussein Chalayan.
And my favourite alcoholic beverage is a gin and tonic when I’m behaving. Things that are sour and have at least 3 different kinds of spirit in them when I’m not.
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You know, when you think about fashion, you usually tend to think of these terribly cold, glamorous girls. The sort who picked on you in high school, who drive very expensive cars and aren’t too bright.
I kind of am not like that at all, no one in fashion is. It’s actually a really geeky industry, in order to get anywhere you have to be a total nerd. You have to be obsessive about the details, about the history, and about what’s happening next. Watching the shows on ShowStudio, or looking at them on style.com is akin to trawling the internet for spoilers about your favourite movie series or comic book. People don’t realize this.
And then they get entirely unrealistic expectations. This idea is particularly prominent in Australia, and it means that people who should be making, or buying, or writing about clothes don’t, and people who shouldn’t be try, and then get disappointed.
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I wonder about how the iPad is going to change my job. It’s kind of a sucky toy right now, but with a few tweeks I think it could save print. Well, not print because things won’t be printed, but everything that goes along with print, like the carefully crafted pages and long form feature articles. I think I’ll feel secure in my profession the day they make a tablet you can use in the bath and roll up in your hand bag, and that day is coming.
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Another thing you should know about me
is I prefer salty, fatty foods to sweets. If ever you want to ingratiate yourself with me, bring me a bag of chips, not chocolate.
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My parting words are
probably not going to be very effective.
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fill-in-the-blank: Seema Duggal
words: Alyx Gorman

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