Pretending to be a farmer with a backyard full of chickens is not something you would necessarily think an editor in chief of a fashion publication would say she would one day want as a part of her life. However, that’s exactly the type of person Kat Collings from Who What Wear is — a down-to-earth fashionista who wouldn’t mind throwing on a pair of vintage overalls to gather a few fresh eggs for breakfast.
For the past five years, Collings has made a name for herself in the fashion digital editorial space. Starting out as an intern at Who What Wear, Collings breathed new life into every position she’s ever had with her out-of-the-box thinking and impressive work ethic. Now, as the EIC of WWW, Collings is taking the reins of the fashion site to push the boundaries of what online publications can achieve — and, honestly, if the past five years of her career are any indicators of what she’s capable of, then we can’t wait to see what she has in store. Meet the stylish mother of chickens, Kat Collings.
Mt. Shasta, CA.
Designer you could wear for the rest of your life:
A book you’re currently obsessing over:
If you could compare your style to a tv show or movie, what would it be:
I have no idea!
LA bar for a girls’ night out:
#5 on your bucket list:
If I had a bucket list, #5 would probably be to have chickens. I love fresh eggs and would enjoy pretending I’m a farmer of sorts.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the fashion/editorial industry.
I went to college at UCLA, which in retrospect, proved useful for being able to take on internships all throughout college. I believe I did eight in total! If I had gone to college in a more rural setting, I would have had to figure out how to pay for an apartment for the summer in Los Angeles or New York to take on a fashion internship. Not to say it can’t be done—just ask our Editorial Director, Bobby Schuessler, who went to school in Wisconsin and interned in NYC. Through internships, I learned what I loved (fashion editorial) and what I didn’t love (PR). They were also crucial for forging the connections that are so important for landing a job. Studies say 70%-85% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections. Those numbers don’t lie!
While you’re the Editor In Chief at Who What Wear now, you began your journey by getting hired as an intern for them back in 2010 before working for other companies. What would you say was the one skill (whether it’s technical, mental, etc) that you believe really propelled your career forward?
Dedication. If you care a lot, it manifests itself in multiple ways. You stay late to work on the project, because you care about impressing your boss. You say yes to the industry party invite, even if you’re an introvert, because you care about growing your connections, and so on. Although, caring too much can have its downsides.
While the fashion publication market can feel a little saturated now, how do you make sure the content on Who What Wear stays fresh and new? What do you look for in pitches or ideas to stand above the rest?
It’s a collective effort. Since we only focus on fashion, compared to a lot of our competitors who cover broader categories, it’s even more important to dig deep creatively to find fresh ways to talk about a limited scope of topics. I always appreciate pitches that find new ways to frame titles or go outside the box tapping unusual experts. The team is constantly on the hunt for new trends, and oftentimes we’re covering microtrends just as they emerge. We’re also innovating in terms of new layouts and formatting to find fresh ways to tell stories. The never-ending redesign is not a joke!
Who/what do you believe has the greatest influence on your style? Does it change based on the season?
Is “the Internet” too broad? Joking aside, I find a lot of inspiration from street style, people I meet through my job, and vintage fashion photographs (@sculptin__in__time is my fave). Lately, I’m interested in deeply personal style, those people who have a signature look that is hard to copy and can’t be purchased.
Working in the editorial/fashion industry can feel intimidating and daunting, how do you overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk. Are there any tricks or tips you’d love to share?
A power pose before a presentation is truly very helpful. I also regularly tell myself “nothing matters.” I say it half in jest, but for those of us who care a little too much about every little thing, it can be a powerful reminder that life goes on, even in times of self-doubt or high stress.
Even though the digital editorial industry is thriving, print is still struggling to stay afloat. In your personal opinion, are there any changes you hope to see in the industry in the near future? And as EIC, how are you trying to change the conversation in that direction?
I hope to see the industry embrace digital even further, though it’s come a long way even in the past few years. As EIC of Who What Wear, I count myself as an ambassador of the digital movement. It’s my job to show the power of our digital footprint and help push the boundaries of what online publications can achieve.
While failures make us grow as individuals, what failure would you say made you grow the most?
It’s hard to pick one standout, but when it does happen, I’ve found it’s always best to own it and move forward.
Tell us one thing people may not know about you?
My hometown has a grand total of three stoplights!
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
In digital, five years is like twenty! I hope I am working for Clique/Who What Wear and have those chickens.
Any advice for future boss babes, especially those wanting to enter into the fashion/editorial industry?
Wait for the right opportunity. Taking a job can be the difference of an entire career trajectory. When I first applied for a job at Who What Wear, I turned in my application too late and they already hired someone. I did freelance projects for a year until the role opened up again. I got it the second time!
Written by Raven Ishak
Photography via Chealse LeoGrande