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Op-ed Fashion Reporting

An op-ed is a news article or blog post typically published by newspapers, magazines, and the like which expresses the opinions of a named author usually not affiliated with the publication's editorial board.   In addition to written publications, they can be broadcast via television, radio, podcasts, etc.  Op-eds are different from both editorials (opinion pieces submitted by editorial board members) and letters to the editor (opinion pieces submitted by readers).  The term op-ed was originally short for "opposite the editorial page".  Letter it was appropriately thought of as an "opinion editorial".  According to Merriam-Webster, “an essay in a newspaper or magazine that gives the opinion of the writer and that is written by someone who is not employed by the newspaper or magazine".

A fashion op-ed is an article, broadcast, or video that offers a particular opinion about clothing, footwear, or accessories but was not written by the owner or employees of the media outlet promoting the piece.

Do you have an interesting opinion to share about the apparel industry? If you can express your thoughts clearly and persuasively in an op-ed article, you may reach millions of people, sway hearts, change minds and perhaps even reshape public policy.  In the process, you may also earn recognition for yourself, your company, or your educational institution.  If you wish to get published you can most likely find a resource to publish your work for the world to see.  For those of you that are professional are simply looking to express your thoughts, Apparel Search excepts op-ed news articles if you wish to provide your writing for review.  If you submission meets our standards, we can possibly publish your work on one of our fashion news resources or the fashion blog.  Simply write a professional journal article, and submit it for review with a request for publication.

What criteria is helpful when developing a fashion op-ed news article?

Tell readers why they should care.  

Offer specific recommendations.  An op-ed is not a news story that simply describes a situation; it is your opinion.  If you point out a problem, explain how to improve matters.

Showing is better than discussing.  Fashionistas remember colorful details better than dry facts. When writing an op-ed article, look for great examples that will bring your argument to life.

Embrace your personal voice. The best of these examples will come from your own experience.  Writers tend to avoid first-person exposition in professional journals, which rarely begin with phrases like “You won't believe what I found when I was shopping last week." When it comes to op-eds, however, you should embrace your own voice whenever possible. If you are a designer, describe the plight of one of your projects.  For example, illustrate how one of your fabric suppliers shipped your fabric two months later than originally promised. And then tell us how this made you feel personally.  Help us learn from your experience by explaining what went wrong and what you and your suppliers could have done better.

Use short sentences and paragraphs. Look at some op-ed articles and count the number of words per sentence. You’ll probably find the sentences to be quite short. You should use the same style, relying mainly on simple declarative sentences. Cut long paragraphs into two or more shorter ones.

Use the active voice. Don't write: “It is hoped that the fashion industry will …" Instead, say “I hope the fashion industry will …" Active voice is nearly always better than passive voice. It’s easier to read, and it leaves no doubt about who is doing the hoping, recommending or other action.

Acknowledge the other side. People writing op-ed articles sometimes make the mistake of piling on one reason after another why they’re right and their opponents are wrong.  You will appear more credible, and almost certainly more humble and appealing, if you take the time to acknowledge the ways in which opponents to an argument are right regarding certain aspects.

We suggest you make your ending a winner.  Open with a good argument, but make sure to end in spectacular fashion (no pun intended).  Relax and have fun.  Lighten up, have some fun and try to entertain the reader as much as you are trying to convince them that your recommendations are the absolute best.  Newspaper editors often despair of weighty articles which are often referenced in the trade as “thumb suckers".  Editors are eager to find an academic writer who chooses examples from E! as well as from pundits and textile engineers.  Sometimes a quote from the fashion police is worth its weight in gold.

Offer graphics. Until recently, newspaper op-ed pages rarely accepted graphics or photos to accompany op-ed article submissions. This tradition is now changing, especially as publications move online. Specially for a fashion op-ed, the use of graphics is a fabulous idea.  If you have a terrific illustration, photo, video or other asset that might accompany your article, definitely alert the editor when you send in your article for review. 

How to submit an article. Almost all newspapers and commentary sites now post guidelines about how they prefer to receive op-ed submissions. In general, they provide an e-mail address where you can submit the article electronically.  Always be sure to include your contact information, and say whether you have a photo of yourself available and if you would like the article to link back to your personal profile or website.  In regard to submitting news to Apparel Search, you can find our contact e-mail address from the “contact us" page link at the bottom of this page.  When submitting your writing, you should indicate that you would like for us to review for publication on Apparel Search.  Confirm that we have approval to post for you.

Are you a fashion journalist with the primarily responsibility of reporting on the latest fashion designs or trends?  Maybe you want to sink your teeth into something a bit more extraordinary.  If you are as opinionated as I am, but you don’t want to express your thoughts in a sharp way fearing that it may get you fired at your current place of employment, you are welcome to submit an anonymous article.  As long as you enjoy writing about fashion, you are welcome to submit your thoughts.

Call to op-ed authors.  Submit your thoughts to Apparel Search.  We would like to hear what you are thinking.  And we would like to help you get your message heard.


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