Angela Koh, Market Editor, T Magazine
Where are you from, and how did you end up in New York?
I grew up in Southeast Portland until I was 9, and then I moved to Clackamas, did elementary, middle, and high school, and moved to New York at 17.
Did you always want to be here?
I came to New York my senior year to visit FIT and Parsons and a few other design schools, and I attended a Teen Vogue seminar with guest speaker Philip Lim. Not to sound cliché, but that is the rst time I felt like I belonged somewhere ever.
Did you always know you wanted to go into fashion?
In high school, I was drawn to interior design. It was fun, but it still wasn’t it. I remember having this obsession with reading designer biographies. Marc Jacobs was the kid that knitted in his grandmother’s basement, and maybe I resonated with that. I’m just this kid reading my Vogue in Clackamas, Oregon.
I started subscribing to Vogue and Teen Vogue and Elle. I would read them front to back.
How did you decide on FIT?
I wanted to go to New York for sure. I decided on FIT because I wanted to be a magazine editor and I thought that you needed a fashion degree to work for a fashion magazine, which is completely not true.
I wouldn’t say it’s a regret, but I wish I went to a liberal arts school to have that college experience. On the plus side, I was able to be in the city for four years while my parents paid for my rent so I was able to intern, which is what got me to where I am today. Also, I think FIT was much more understanding when I said I couldn’t show up because I had a styling job or internship.
Where and when did you start interning?
I was picked to be the fashion intern for W my second year. I was the closet intern, picking up and dropping o samples. I think you’re the one that told me about Ed2010.com. I found the listing there. I emailed them and I remember going on my interview and being so nervous. I interviewed with Garrett Munce, who’s now the editor for GQ, and when he told me I got the job I was screaming. In terms of labor, W was the most intense because that’s when Camilla Nickerson and Alex White were there. They’re very old school, but I honestly loved it. It was the most exciting.
Where’d you go after W?
I interned for six months in the beauty department at Harper’s Bazaar just to explore other parts of the magazine. I learned a lot, but it didn’t excite me as much, so I went back to looking for a fashion internship, and that’s when I got an internship at Elle. Kristen Shirley interviewed me.
The whole time I thought I was going to be the closet intern, but she said, “I’m Kate Lanphear’s assistant, so you’ll be her intern.” And I was like, “Excuse me?”
That’s kind of when everything started for me because Kate became my mentor. It was my third internship, I was a junior in college interning three days a week, going to school two days a week, from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M., and then working retail at Christopher Fischer Saturdays and Sundays.
What is Kate Lanphear like?
She’s so kind. Nowadays I feel like there are a lot of people that are just as nice, but back then, that’s when I had just got o of W, and at Harper’s Bazaar, it was different.
On the very first day of my internship, Kristen introduced me to her, and Kate was like, “Hi, so nice to meet you!” I was like, “Oh my God. I am a peasant, don’t talk to me.”
I do remember the rst time she noticed me. I was literally cutting out pieces of paper and tacking it onto the board, and Kristen said, “We’re both OCD, it has to be perfect.” So I was very carefully slic- ing, my back was to the door, and Kate’s hand grabs me and she says, “Wow, I love your attention to detail.” I became the “board girl.”
We also had good chemistry. When you’re a stylist, your assistant is really important. It’s not just about how hard they work but it’s about the energy. It felt really natural when I was on set with her. Then she started to hire me for her ad jobs, or if Kristen was ever out I always stepped in, traveled with her, got really good experi- ence through that, and then I graduated.
When there was an opening for an accessories assistant at Elle, she recommended me for that job. I worked at Elle for a year and then Kate moved to T and she brought me along with her.
READ THE STORY IN ITS ENTIRETY IN OUR ISSUE.