Wash U Grad-Turned-NYC Editor Talks St. Louis, Style And Early Success

 In Style

As an editor, writer, artist and all-around fashion aficionado, it is safe to say that Chantal Strasburger lives and breathes all things beautiful and stylish. Chantal began pursuing her passions here in St. Louis where she studied fashion design at Washington University, founded Armour Magazine and interned for local designer Emily Koplar. Ahead, Chantal describes how her experiences in St. Louis set the course for her eventual move to NYC, providing tips along the way for those aspiring to a successful career in fashion.

Photo by Ali Truwit.

Photo courtesy of C. Strasburger.

ALIVE: How did your education and experience in St. Louis inform you about fashion? How did it help you get a job in the field?
CS: What was most beneficial in finding a job post-college was actually the fact that Wash U wasn’t just a fashion design program. The fashion program is small, so there was a huge portion of the campus that didn’t have a focus on fashion which provided the perfect opportunity to get that conversation started—and that’s where Armour comes in.

My two cofounders, Felicia Podberesky and Jacob Lenard, and I realized that creating a style magazine that focused on Wash U’s culture and St. Louis’s influences wasn’t something that had been done, and I think that’s why it was so well-received. The three of us were able to create a publication that made students think about fashion and their own personal style, and in the beginning that involved us acting as Editor in Chiefs, writers, designers, photographers, treasurers, and the PR team—any and every role involved in putting together a magazine.

Armour went from a passion project to a possible career path, and with all that experience under my belt, I was able to send out issues of Armour to places I wanted to work. These hard copies proved that I had gone one step further than the average applicant who “loves reading magazines,” to one who actually created one. I landed my first internship at Nylon Magazine in New York City with the help of a contact from the Sam Fox career center, and a rather heavy envelope that arrived to their office with every issue of Armour we had produced.

ALIVE: When you started Armour, what were the most challenging and most rewarding aspects? Do you still read it?
CS: The biggest challenge was getting the Armour team together. After figuring out logistics and funding, and articulating our mission, asking fellow students to take on another project on top of their all-nighters in studio was no easy feat. But as we began to prove that we were serious about what we were doing, our friends realized what a great opportunity it was … and really stepped up to the plate.

The most rewarding aspect by far, though, is seeing how far Armour has come. It’s practically unrecognizable now from our first issues, because it has grown and matured and really pushed the boundaries of student publications. The Armour staff has not only quadrupled in size since we graduated, but also taken on branding, social media and hosting events on and off campus. I think it’s safe to say I’m Armour’s #1 fan. I feel like a proud mother, and yes, I often wear my Armour sweater around Brooklyn as if it’s just another indie mag on the shelf.

ALIVE: Do you have any advice to a student aspiring to work for a fashion magazine someday?
CS: Start something that’s yours! Whether it’s an indie zine or a blog or just a very articulate and introspective Instagram account, have something you can show people that will immediately give them a sense of who you are and what your voice is.It will not only keep you on your toes and improve your own writing, but it will show your future bosses that you live and breathe the subject matter, and that it’s not just an interest you list on your resume.

You may be miles away from New York City, but with the magic of social media, there’s no excuse not to be as connected as your NYU and Parsons peers. Consume as much media as you can, follow creatives in the industry on every platform, and stay up to date with what’s happening in the world, because it’s always changing.


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