Helen McDermott, photographed by Stefanie Carthy
Fashion journalist Helen McDermott has what most people would call a pretty covetable job. Working with Colin McDowell's magazine Distill, she files through gorgeous photographs, goes to her pick of parties and (when she's lucky) bumps into male D&G models. Helen gives The Fash Pack a look at the inner workings of one of the mag world's freshest titles.
So what's it like to do your job?
Broadly my job is to search out the most inspiring fashion editorial from around the world. This could be from US Vogue or a tiny 'zine produced in a back bedroom in Venezuela. Once we get them into the office, the team here at Distill will make a 'first edit' of the most brilliant shoots, and then arrange for our Editorial Board of global creatives, (including Donatella Versace, Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana and Giles Deacon) to see them and make a final decision on what will go in the magazine.
While this is going on I'll also be finding and writing stories for the 'tearsheets' section of the magazine - which features the coolest new events, exhibitions, launches and happenings that are relevant to the creative community around the world.
What's the best part of your job?
I get invited to lots of parties which is nice, and of course fashion week feels very glamorous, but the best part is the people I work with. Between them they have edited or published some of the UKs biggest magazines, so working so closely with them is a real privilege. It's also really encouraging to get feedback from our readers, people from all over the world who love Distill as much as we do!
Who's the best person you've gotten to meet?
Harold Tillman is amazing. He came to our last party and was totally charming. David Gandy (the D&G model) was there too and is heartbreakingly gorgeous. (Obviously neither compared to the brilliant Jill Hilbrenner). [Ed. note: Flattery, and connections to David Gandy, will get you everywhere.]
Have you found any great new mags because of working for Distill?
So many! Hercules from Spain, S magazine from Denmark, The Room from Hungary, Blank from Panama and Brutus from Japan are some of my favourites. I also love David Downton's magazine Pourqouis Pas?, which is like a standard glossy but with illustrations instead of photographs.
What's it like to work with Colin McDowell?
It's a treat. At first it was really intimidating, I did Fashion Journalism at Uni and we studied his work! In our first meeting I don't think I said a word! But he is one of the most charming people I've ever worked with, and whenever he comes into the office it really perks everyone up. His enthusiasm really is contagious. His fashion knowledge is encyclopedic and his sense of humour is wicked.