Charles Manning – Men’s Fashion Market Editor, Nylon, Nylon For Guys
A fashion editor’s life has many perks – invitations to the best fashion shows, discounted designer clothing and mingling with models and celebrities. Just ask Charles Manning, the new men’s fashion market editor at Nylon and Nylon For Guys.
Manning earned a permanent spot on the mastheads of the publications in December 2009, after spending five years as Nylon’s contributing stylist.
“I feel really blessed to have found a job in publishing at this time and I couldn’t have asked for a cooler place to work,” Manning said. “The people I work with at the magazine are fantastic. I feel really supported and appreciated and that’s invaluable.”
Manning’s primary responsibility is to the men’s magazine, Nylon For Guys, which recently increased its frequency to six issues per year. Manning’s main focus is “bringing the magazine to the next level, making the fashion a bit more directional and growing the idea of who the Nylon guy is.” And even though he has covered both men’s and women’s fashion markets, his passion lays with menswear.
“The great thing about men’s fashion is how open the market is,” he said. “With only a handful of men’s magazines in the U.S. that cover fashion, there’s less congestion than in the women’s market. Companies are more excited to work with you and the whole atmosphere is much more laid back and almost communal.”
The challenge is getting men to open up to fashion since they are much less experimental with their wardrobes than women, Manning noted. “I’m not trying to bring the man-skirt into the mainstream, but if I can help guys refine their ideas about what it means for them to dress well, that’s an accomplishment.”
And it’s something Manning is well equipped to do. Prior to joining Nylon full-time, he worked as a freelance market editor and stylist for almost a decade, learning the ropes in an industry with tight deadlines and high expectations.
“Working as a freelance market editor and stylist was brutal. I was working at a very high level, doing market work for everyone from Italian Vogue to Details, styling music videos, commercials, and assisting other stylists on their own editorials and advertising campaigns.”
He also had a brief stint working for David Vandewal, the menswear stylist for Louis Vuitton. “I love the menswear talent in New York but there is nothing like Paris…I love Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Dior Homme, Lanvin. At the same time, I think American designers are often more suited to the American market and to everyday dressing. New York is more real. Paris is a fantasy. I live my life in Phillip Lim and Steven Alan, but maybe I dream in Givenchy.”
When you’re freelance and you’re working with these big clients, everything has to be perfect, because there is zero job security. But it’s good training because it forces you to sharpen up and toughen up,” he added.
With a diverse portfolio and deep passion for fashion, Manning is thrilled to be a part of Nylon. And in a shrinking industry, he feels lucky to have a job. The important thing for him right now, he said, is to be proud of his work and focus on the task ahead.
“Seven years ago, when I first encountered Nylon, it wasn’t like anything I had ever seen before,” he said. “It was young and fun and always incredibly cool.”
In fact, Manning liked the magazine so much he took off a semester from school and interned there five days a week. He then met Aya Kanai, Nylon’s fashion market at editor at the time, who became his mentor and offered guidance, support and a place for him to express himself and grow as a stylist. She later gave him the opportunity to style for the magazine despite his lack of experience.
“The other editors and I spend a lot of time bouncing ideas off of each other and talking about ways to make the magazines better,” he explained. “At the same time, there is a good deal of autonomy, which gives you a real sense of ownership over what you are working on and the magazine as a whole.”
Manning likes to build personal relationships with PR professionals. He values his time tremendously and encourages publicists to do the same.
He said, “The market is crowded and face time makes all the difference.” He continued, “I have a limited amount of time and energy to give.”
Once a foundation has been established, he said, make it easy for him to get the products you are trying to have featured. Send him lookbooks and make the products available.
“I can’t request pieces I haven’t seen and I can’t shoot pieces I don’t have in my possession.”
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