Media Spotlight on Jessica Bumpus, contributing editor at The Week: Fashion
By Phoebe-Jane Boyd
10 Nov 2020
From fashion cupboards to hammocks in the Amazon – freelancing in fashion journalism has taken Jessica Bumpus to some unpredictable places. We catch up with Jess as she settles in as contributing editor at The Week: Fashion to find out what kind of assignments she loves to get stuck into, what got her into fashion originally and which trends she’s hoping to see make a comeback.
led you to a career in fashion journalism?
I always wanted to
be an author as a child and also loved fashion. At some point I realised there
was such a job as a fashion journalist and that was it. I studied Art, History
and English Language for my A-levels and applied to London College of Fashion
for its Fashion Promotion course, specialising in Journalism. At the time it
was really the only one around as all the others were geared towards fashion
design. I did loads of work experience per my teachers’ advice which meant I
ended up in a lot of fashion cupboards, realised I hated packing and compiling
credits and made sure to focus more on the writing side. When I graduated, I
went back to Conde Nast Brides – a placement I had done in my second year – as
a fashion assistant for three months before going to Conde Nast online. Right
place, right time, it was expanding and within a year of graduating I had a job
working across all the websites – including Vogue, to which I was promoted
Fashion Features Editor to not long after.
highlights you’re most proud of so far?
A lot of it has been for The Week: Fashion, for whom I had been freelancing already. I went to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil for a story on Veja, the sustainable footwear brand, and slept in a hammock. It was an incredible experience. I interviewed the actress Tara Reid for NYLON earlier this year which was quite a fun nostalgic Noughties moment. Darren Criss for Hunger a few years back when he did The Assassination of Gianni Versace was a favourite. And then I have been lucky enough to interview Karl Lagerfeld several times and make a short film in the Chanel atelier when he created the ballet costumes for Apollo. The dancers performed across the CC-emblazoned carpet.
How has your
work had to change during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve been freelance full-time for the past five years so in many ways it hasn’t changed because I already worked at home. Of course, at the beginning stories got cancelled owing to travel bans, etc., but I managed to pick up other gigs along the way, which was good.
trends/gimmicks you’re not a fan of?
Red trousers on men. Also: red trousers, generally.
A fashion trend
you’d like to see make a comeback?
Asymmetric necklines on sweatshirts – that was a great early Noughties one.
freelancer, what kind of content commissions do you love to tackle?
As a freelancer
you tend to have more time (supposedly) to investigate and fully research a
story, whereas on-staff you’re bogged down with admin. So, I guess anything I
can get lost in and suddenly become a weird Mastermind-style specialist subject
Is the fashion
industry is doing enough to be inclusive in 2020?
Fashion Council has launched a lot of new initiatives and schemes this
Who are your
own fashion/style icons?
depending on my mood and where I am.
would you give to someone wanting to break into fashion journalism?