October 31st, 2011
Breaking into Fashion, Fashion Bomb Exclusive, Fashion News
How to Break into Fashion: Teen Vogue Accessories Director Shiona Turini
By Claire

Today we have another fabulous addition to our “Breaking into Fashion” series with Teen Vogue accessories director Shiona Turini:

Born and raised in Bermuda, the Hampton University graduate has been a style connoisseur since her days of bucking the dress code at her uber conservative high school (she insisted on wearing cuffed high-waisted wide legged pants instead of the required skirts). Now at the helm of the accessories department at Teen Vogue, she gives readers the chance to ogle everything from Prada to Payless in her vibrant spreads. She took a few moments out of her schedule to tell you guys a bit about her story and how you, too, can one day catapult to the upper echelons of a national magazine.

Though Shiona always had a flair for style, she didn’t pursue fashion as a career until after college. She says, “I graduated with absolutely NO fashion experience – not one internship. So, when I [finished my studies] and moved to New York, I interned at Yves Saint Laurent in the PR Department. I was there for almost a year as a full time intern but freelanced often at KCD (during the shows and when publicists would travel to Europe). Finally, a position opened up and I was hired at Yves Saint Laurent as the PR Assistant.”

She continues, “At YSL I covered womens, mens, and celebrity, and I was there for almost 3 years. I knew I needed to make a move to grow, and was looking into positions at other fashion houses when the Accessories Director at W Magazine contacted me to see if I was interested in an Accessories Editor position. I’d never worked at a magazine before and I had never even entertained the thought – but it ended up being a great move for me. “

“At W, I handled the shoe and bag and belt markets so I was definitely well versed in luxury accessories. At Teen Vogue, I still handle the shoe and bag markets, but I oversee the entire accessories department which includes myself, an amazing editor, and an assistant.”

A typical day for Turini starts with a 4-10 mile run (she’s currently training for the New York City Marathon), followed by market appointments, showroom visits, and product pulls. She says, “My job is like a constant treasure hunt – looking for the best pieces for each shoot while also making sure I’m always searching for something fresh and new.” In the evening, she heads out for previews or parties, all the while keeping her twitter followers engaged with her Shoe of the Day tweets and instagrams of instances from her fabulous life.

Shiona showcasing a pair of hot Louis Vuitton Sandals

A stellar career demands stellar style, so Shiona pumps up her everyday wardrobe with a few key must haves. She says, “[My mantra is] HEELS HEELS AND MORE HEELS. I’m a shoe girl, always have been. I truly don’t think you can ever have too many pairs of shoes. Unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by the F/W shoes so plan to revitalize my current shoe wardrobe. But, I did love the Vuitton Mary Janes from F/W and am currently obsessed with a pair of suede and snakeskin Balenciaga sandals.”

She adds, “I am also really partial to the statement bag, why be safe, when you can go with a bold print? Proenza Schouler has an adorable ikat printed PS1 in blue. Cold weather obviously means some outwear, and since sometimes, that’s the only part of your outfit that people will see, I say splurge on something special. I have a great sleeveless cape that I can’t get enough of from DKNY, and my Burberry leather jacket is in heavy rotation already. And bracelets are always a must have for me – I typically skip all other jewelry so I can go crazy with the wrists.”

“My right side might be permanently weighed down by the stack on my wrist. In general, I’m always wearing pieces from Eddie Borgo, Fenton Fallon and two gold bangles my mother gave me when I was 16.” Hot!

In terms of advice to you up and comers, Shiona emphasizes having thick skin–and an outgoing personality. She says, “I have always been a really tough person and a go getter. I am definitely not shy. I think that this has really helped me in my career. Sometimes, you need to be pushy in fashion and sometimes you have to accept the fact that you’re going to get pushed around. Maintaining a balance between these two extremes is really the only way I know how to handle my job.

She continues, “This industry, and the job market in general, is pretty tough. You need to be resilient and try not to take anything personally. “

In conclusion, she says, “Stay strong! If you are confident that fashion is for you, stick with it. Make good contacts and great impressions and something amazing will happen for you. Also, be prepared for the demanding nature of this business. It is easy to be distracted by the glitz and glamour of fashion, but it’s no joke. Everyone works really hard to get to where they are, so don’t underestimate the lengths it takes to land a “dream job.” Don’t be in such a rush to get the perfect job. My career is a departure from where I started, but I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way. Learn everything you can and always be willing to work very hard no matter what.” Wise words, indeed.

Shiona with friend Taylor Tomasi Hill

For more insight into Shiona’s chic world, follow her on Twitter @Shionat and also be sure to peruse her work in the pages of Teen Vogue and online at www.teenvogue.com.
What do you think of our latest Breaking into Fashion interview?

**A lot of you had follow up questions for Ms. Shiona, and she was kind enough to answer!
Whitney said, “I’m a college graduate with no fashion experience but looking to break into the industry. What I wanted to know is how did she keep herself financially afloat while interning at YSL and freelancing for KCD? Also, how was she able to land those opportunities in the beginning w/o the fashion experience?”
Shiona replied, “It’s a pretty long story but I DID have internship experience in travel PR and was offered a job (which I turned down) at a great agency. Even though the Travel PR Rep thought I was crazy for turning down the position, she introduced me to the PR Manager at YSL, and I did a project on her as part of my graduation requirements while at Hampton University. To get the YSL internship I more or less harassed the PR manager… But in a nice way of course! She told me ‘no’ a few times, but I was persistent without being annoying. To be honest I showed up even after she told me the internship program was full. I wouldn’t recommend that at all, but it worked for me at that time. “

“…Since I always knew I wanted to move to NY, I made sure I set an internship start date a few months after graduation. During that time I SAVED every single penny and worked a few jobs – in a dentist office, baby sitting, data entry – no job was too small. I knew that I would need all the money I could get in order to stay afloat in NY, so I lived at home and just worked and saved for about 4 months. When I got to NY I spent some time sleeping on friend couches, walked EVERYWHERE – did whatever I could to make my money last. Thankfully, my parents helped me out with necessities, but there were times I couldn’t even pay the $2 fee for the train (I once hopped it, got a ticket, and basically begged the police officer to have some pity on an unpaid intern. He clearly didn’t care!). It was tough, but those days were some of my favorite memories in NYC. The amazing thing about the city is that you can have a champagne lifestyle on a coca cola budget. “

“A lot of interns are unpaid, and have to work part time in retail etc to be able to intern in fashion. You have to find what works for you. There are also a lot of dorm style housing that are safe and affordable right in the city. You have to sacrifice and save, but it’s worth it in the end. If you really want it, you just have to find ways to make it happen. “
Hope that helps!

Picture Credits: Images 1 & 4, Phil Oh for Vogue.com. Images 2 & 3, Tommy Ton for Style.com. Images 5, 7, 8, and 9 Guerre for Guerrisms.com. Image 10, Parlour Magazine. Image 11, Tamu McPherson for Grazia.it.

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64 Responses to “How to Break into Fashion: Teen Vogue Accessories Director Shiona Turini”

  1. Martinique_Fr says:

    She’s FABULOUS! I’m gonna need her to send me her entire wardrobe ASAP! … I applaud her success.

  2. DeeBrown says:

    I love the way she can accessorize And put any type of pattern and color together and make it work!!!!

  3. Alexis says:

    Definitely an inspiration for someone like myself who is looking to get into the fashion industry.

  4. why says:

    Go Shiona! So proud of a fellow Hamptonian! Such a sweet person!

  5. Jihan says:

    yes, yes YES! Those LV mask shoes are giving me heart palpitations in the best of ways. This was great!

  6. Lyn says:

    This is such great advice and an amazing look into her life. She’s great!

  7. She’s fabulous. I especially loved her last bit of wisdom: “Sometimes, you need to be pushy in fashion and sometimes you have to accept the fact that you’re going to get pushed around. Maintaining a balance between these two extremes is really the only way.” Couldn’t have been said at a better time.

  8. Marsha D says:

    *clapping* Love this! She is giving me life in every pic…..great advice.

  9. Brenda says:

    Great story and she has such great style. Need info from picture #1, 3, 4 & 5 and Houndstooth organizer (I’m such a lover of anything black & white).

  10. KlosetLover says:

    I love her so much, i could cry!

  11. Whitney says:

    This is my favorite “How to Break into Fashion” profile to date! Similar to Shiona I’m a college graduate with no fashion experience but looking to break into the industry. What I wanted to know is how did she keep herself financially afloat while interning at YSL and freelancing for KCD? Also, how was she able to land those opportunities in the beginning w/o the fashion experience?

  12. Tia says:

    LOVE this post!! BERMUDA’s finest!! xx

  13. Franny says:

    Love it Claire!

  14. Fatimah says:

    Really beautiful woman!

  15. Nicole says:

    Love everything about this lil sista here, werk honey!!!

  16. loverly says:

    This was really good!! I love seeing fellow Hamptonians doing wonderful things.

  17. AliciaNicole says:

    I commened her on her wardrobe,and her sucess. She is so well dressed and inspiring.

  18. Leslie says:

    Awesome! Go Hampton Grad!!! I’m a pirate too!

  19. Mona L says:

    Great read.

  20. Tam says:

    Claire….Do you have any info/details about the leather jacket she is wearing in the first pic. I have been looking for something similar (cost friendly..lol)!!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Congrats to Shiona, I remember working with her at a fashion show at Hampton U back in the day, so happy to see her making a name for herself in the fashion world, wishing her continued success …. *rock the blue and white*

  22. Shakira says:

    Great story! However, I have the same questions posted by Whitney.

    Similar to Shiona I have no professional fashion experience but looking to break into the industry. What I wanted to know is how did she keep herself financially afloat while interning at YSL and freelancing for KCD? Also, how was she able to land those opportunities in the beginning w/o the fashion experience?

  23. Frankie says:

    Shi, as always, I’m sooo proud of you and your many accomplishments! This was such a great & personable article that shows the reader your great personality! Keep shining my island girl chasing her big city dreams!

  24. Dobe says:

    Great style, and a great read!

  25. Terysa says:

    Love it, thanks for this Claire. OMG her bracelets!!!

  26. Crystal says:

    She is beautiful and has phenomenal style.

  27. Now this is style!! I don’t expect all the Bombshells of the Day to look like this, but I would love to see some like this more often! I didn’t know who she was when i say that color blocked picture of her floating around! She has great style!!

  28. Mingas says:

    Am definitely following her on twitter now. I absolutely looved her style. I’m loving this blog every day a little bit more. Thanks for this, Claire!!


  29. Patrice says:

    Very great profile! Awesome photos, great quotations and an amazing subject. Young women, especially of color, really need these features to learn that there are women that look just like them not only in the industry but thriving in it too. TFB needs to make a coffee table book ASAP I’m not even into fashion and I would SO cop that :)
    Keep up the great work Claire and team!

  30. kris says:

    she’s my favorite!

  31. Miss Rina says:

    I love everything about her style. HOT

  32. Alexis says:

    I’m so glad you did another Breaking into fashion post. Can you do more please?

  33. TicaPica says:

    this is fantastic insight for just about any career, not just in fashion. it’s good to see that she has a strong sense of integrity and respect for her job, as opposed to just living a certain lifestyle; one thing i’m curios to know is if Shiona speaks a second language?

  34. Grace says:

    She’s beautiful with impeccable style and work ethic. What more can you ask for?! Congrats on your success!

  35. Great interview! Love seeing people of color in the fashion industry, especially young women working hard and succeeding! Thanks for featuring her!

  36. Amanda E. says:

    Loves it! Loves her! Loves you! :)

  37. yeyo says:

    Beautiful girl with an AMAZING style!

  38. McKenzie says:

    I needed this today, it’s easy to get discouraged amd this article just lit a fire under me. Thanks FBD!

  39. Reb says:

    I interned at Conde Nast this summer (I’m a senior in college now.) Basically, if you want to be able to make it financially, magazines offer no support, not even for housing. If your parents can’t prop you up (which most can’t) and you don’t have savings, you probably have to work another job (which is what I did)….it’s not the easiest thing, tbh.

  40. Hope Morgan says:

    Not only is Shiona one of the best dressed in fashion she is EXTREMELY nice in person!

  41. siyam says:

    I agree. I wish I saw more bombshells like this. Shiona isawesome inspiration and I’m glad that while her advice is pretty specific to the fashion industry, it can be used in any industry if you’re a young woman on the comeup. Fab article!

  42. Nice style but I hate label whores! Folks keep throwing money away…..I hope they have some saved for what is next….when ish gets real!

  43. krystel says:

    throughly enjoyed this post…great work guys..truly inspiring!

  44. Michelle says:

    This fluff piece was not very helpful. “You have to be strong blabla”. DUH! I love the idea but…

  45. Mona L says:

    s/o to Michelle for keeping it real

  46. Lili says:

    Super adorable! I love seeing women of color work hard to get where they got! She is doing such a fabulous job! :)

  47. Shawn says:

    She has amazing style! Very helpful information! Thanks for sharing

  48. This was a great article and it’s nice to see more women of color in the industry. It’s hard to get in and when you do — take advantage of the opportunity.

  49. Roxy says:

    What an inspiring young lady! fabulous and driven- will definately follow her on twitter

  50. Mingas says:

    So nice for her to answer! I guess I’m not in time but I’ll try and get her attn on twitter. I am a young fashion designer in africa, who would love to have an opportunity to intern for a year or even less in america. I know “that’s the dream” but you know its sad to love fashion this much and not be able to find a way to pursue the dream…

    Anywho, great work, Claire!!

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