10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Alexandra Shulman’

The former British journalist, Alexandra Shulman captivates a large audience through her compelling stories and deep insights into the fashion world. Even though she is widely known, there are many things about Shulman’s life that remain humble secrets to the public eye. In this article, we delve into some lesser-known facts about Shulman herself – unfolding her journey and experiences that go beyond her fame.

1. Her Early Years

Alexandra Shulman was born on November 13, 1957 in London, England. Her mother was a film critic while her father was a theater critic. She attended several prestigious schools, including St Paul’s Girls’ School in London and Sussex University where she studied social anthropology.

Despite growing up around the arts and glamor, Shulman’s childhood was shockingly ordinary. She once mentioned in an interview with The Guardian that she was not close with her parents’ famous friends and lived quite a normal life.

2. She Started Her Career in Music Journalism

Before plunging into the fashion industry, Shulman began her career as a music journalist. She wrote for publications like Over21 and attempted to secure a job at the NME, but was turned down. It was only later that she found her true calling in fashion journalism.

She then went on to work for several noteworthy publications including The Sunday Telegraph and British GQ, shaping her vision before becoming the editor-in-chief of British Vogue in 1992.

3. Longest-Serving Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue

Alexandra Shulman holds the record for being the longest-serving editor-in-chief of British Vogue, serving from 1992 to 2017. Under her direction, the magazine’s circulation increased significantly, reaching a diverse and global audience. Her innate understanding of what the readers wanted, combined with her eye for detail and her dedication, ensured the magazine’s success during her tenure.

During her leadership, she made some bold choices, including putting Adele, Helena Bonham Carter, and the Duchess of Cambridge on the cover, challenging traditional notions of model body types and beauty standards in fashion publishing.

4. She Authored Several Books

Besides her successful career in fashion journalism, Alexandra Shulman is also an accomplished author. Her first novels, ‘Can We Still Be Friends’ and ‘The Parrots’, were hugely successful. She has also written two non-fiction books – ‘Inside Vogue: A Diary of My 100th Year’ and ‘Clothes… And Other Things That Matter’.

As an author, she won acclaim for her writing style and the raw and honest portrayal of her characters. These works not only show a different side of Shulman but also prove that her literary prowess extends beyond fashion journalism.

5. She Inspired the Amazon Series ‘The Collection’

Shulman’s influence goes beyond print and has even made its way into television production. ‘The Collection’, an Amazon series set in the post-World War II Paris fashion scene, was inspired by a documentary Shulman made about Christian Dior in the 90s.

She was invited to be a consultant on the show, adding an authentic element to the storytelling and utilizing her vast knowledge of the fashion industry to create a highly engaging series.

6. She Advocates for Realistic Beauty Standards

As an editor, Shulman wasn’t afraid to challenge the industry’s standards of beauty. In 2009, she wrote to several prominent designers expressing her concern about the diminishing sample sizes and the unrealistic body standards this perpetuates.

Her efforts in this regard have been lauded by many, and she stands as an inspiration to all those striving for a more inclusive and diverse representation in the fashion industry.

7. She Was Awarded the OBE

In recognition of her services to the fashion industry, Shulman was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2005. The honour signifies her significant contribution to fashion journalism during her time at Vogue.

This prestigious honour is among several accolades that Shulman has received over her long and distinguished career.

8. She Transitioned to Freelance Work

After her long and successful tenure at British Vogue, Shulman decided to adopt a freelance lifestyle. This career move allowed her to juggle various ventures, ranging from consulting to authoring, and even to occasionally working as a stylist for editorials and celebrity photoshoots.

Embracing the freelance lifestyle also gave her the flexibility to pursue projects that sincerely interest her, allowing her to continuously shape the fashion industry in her unique way.

9. Her Signature Style

Shulman is known for her effortlessly chic style. Simple and elegant, she avoids overly extravagant fashion trends, instead opting for minimalistic and timeless pieces that suit her personality.

Often spotted wearing tailored blazers, classic dresses, and statement shoes, Shulman certainly understands and embodies her personal style philosophy.

10. She has a Son

Despite her hectic career, Shulman has never compromised on her personal life. She has a son, Sam Adler, from her previous marriage with journalist Paul Spike.

She often shares how motherhood has shaped her, instilling in her the belief in having a life outside of work, thus balancing her successful career with a wholesome personal life.

Useful Links:

Alexandra Shulman’s Vogue Profile
Alexandra Shulman’s Amazon Author Profile
BBC News – Alexandra Shulman steps down as Editor of Vogue
Harper’s Bazaar – Alexandra Shulman steps down as Editor of Vogue