By Matthew Whitelock
Special to The Toronto Sun
Publishing is a fast-paced, exciting industry with lots of opportunity for growth and movement. Publishing in the fields of beauty and fashion carries a mystique of glamour that appeals to many who have decided make this domain their area of expertise.
The road to success in beauty and fashion publishing is not predetermined. There are many routes one can take, from a specialized college degree to a specialized internship. Normally, it's a combination of both.
For Tracey Ho Lung, Elizabeth Cabral and Ying Chu, the path has been an exciting and fulfilling one. Their stories parallel each other, and each has landed a lucrative spot within The Women's Group of Rogers Publishing, which includes such landmark magazines as Flare and Chatelaine and Glow.
Tracey Ho Lung has always been artistically inclined, with an innate sense of fashion and style. She knew early on that she didn't want to create, preferring rather to offer her unique insight and commentary on artists already in the market.
She chose Ryerson University for her education, where she took fashion merchandising and communication. She was impressed by the broadness and scope of the program, and particularly by the range of the courses it offered.
"It gave me perspective on the world of fashion," Ho Lung recalls. "It helped me identify my key interests, and ultimately to figure out what exactly I wanted to be doing."
Part of the program was a required 600 hours of work study. After much thought and research, Ho Lung attained an internship at Flare magazine, where she assisted in the fashion editorial department for the better part of three years.
After establishing a considerable profile, she was offered a position right out of school at Fashion magazine, rapidly progressing from assistant fashion editor to marketing editor. When she heard of the launch of Canada's premier beauty and health magazine Glow, she knew she wanted a hand in it. Her experience and enthusiasm won her the title of fashion and beauty editor at Glow, a position she holds today.
While at Ryerson, Ho Lung met Elizabeth Cabral, who was also enrolled in the fashion marketing program. With a clear vision of her life goals since high school, Cabral maintains Ryerson was integral in helping her to realize them.
Until her degree there, she believed she could only employ her artistic strengths in advertising and marketing. An internship at the Calvin Klein showroom in Toronto gave her vital networking opportunities, but ultimately she wasn't happy in sales.
Ultimately, she landed an internship in the editorial department of Flare magazine, and loved it. Today, she calls Chatelaine her home, where she holds the reputable position of fashion editor.
"I enjoy the fast pace of the editorial department," Cabral says. "It allows me to have a hand in many different things at once, and has really helped me expand my knowledge base."
Enter Ying Chu, the third in this trio of dynamic women. Also a Ryerson grad, Chu used her work study to explore two facets of the business. First, she assisted in the buying office of the prestigious Holt Renfrew department store.
At the same time, she began an internship with Flare, where she remained for two years.
It was here that Chu developed a love of fashion editorial, assisting in research, writing and photo shoots. Like her cohorts, Chu easily found full-time work right out of school, hired on at Flare as associate beauty editor.
She remains with the publication to this day, and has worked her way up to the senior position of fashion director.
Chu maintains that her work study was a key component of her education.
"A lot of people don't take advantage of their interning opportunities," Chu says. "You have to choose carefully, discover what's right for you. I found that many people threw their work hours away at unchallenging positions."
Ying Chu, Elizabeth Cabral and Tracey Ho Lung are living proof that, with education, experience and aptitude, a great career in the fashion industry is a reasonable and attainable goal.
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