Fash talk

The fashion world has a language unto itself, but our junior fashion editor is here to decode it all for you.

Want to know what it’s really like working for a magazine’s fashion team? First things first you need to learn the lingo. This is where I come in, below is an explanation of all the weird and wonderful phrases we use on a daily basis…

Appointments: Not to the doctor or dentist, this is a stylist’s scheduled time with Fashion PRs and brands to check out new collections and to “pull” product for a shoot. (See, pull below.)

Call In: The process by which a stylist requests items to be sent in for a photo shoot. All items then go into The Cupboard. (See, The Cupboard.)

The Cupboard: The Fashion Cupboard: it is literally a cupboard in the fashion department that has racks and shelving, as well as desk to package and write up returns (see returns explained below). This is where everything that has come in as options for all of our shoots goes. Everyone has a designated section so there is no fighting over product. Sometimes everything doesn’t fit into The Cupboard so we have moveable racks behind our desks too.

Credits/Captions: The vital stats: these include what the item is, how much it costs, the brand and stockist details. Everything we shoot is credited with all this info in the magazine. E.g. Top, $49.95, Sportsgirl, (

First: This means having a first option on a model, studio, photographer or hair and makeup artist. This is important because if you have a second option you might have to change your whole shoot around as the person you want may not be available.

Pull: To pull something means to choose it at an appointment or from a look book and ask for it to be sent into The Cupboard, so you can potentially use it for a shoot.

Go See: This is when an agency will send a model or new hair and makeup artist into our office to see a member of the Fashion Team. They will show us their portfolio and we will look at what work they have done in the past. If we like it, we’ll use them.

Look Book: A brand’s bible, featuring all their pieces for the season. Each brand will send us their look book each season as a hard cop or on email. We often pick things to use in shoots from the look books.

Main Fashion: The biggest fashion shoots in a magazine are called main fashions, they are usually six or eight pages long. They contain full bleed (whole page) images of styled models. These can be shot on location or in studio. Cosmo normally has three main fashions in each issue.

Returns: This is the process where samples and products that come in as options for shoots are sent back to the PR agencies and brands. This takes place in the cupboard. Everything that comes in is sent back out.

Run Through: This is when we show the fashion director and then the magazine’s editor our stories/pages that have been styled up. This always happens before we shoot (because once something is shot you can’t change it). Every fashion item that goes into the magazine is approved by the fashion director and the editor.

Story: Not of the book kind, but in reference to a fashion shoot. E.g. “I’ve just shot my story for April issue.”