Q&A with Reese Herrick-Editor-in-Chief of CHAOS Magazine

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

 I have known Reese Herrick, Editor-in-Chief of CHAOS magazine, for a couple of years; although, we've never formally met, I have always had great admiration for her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to her craft .  I reached out to Reese in hopes of running a feature on her San Francisco based digital indie fashion and arts publication because I admire her honesty, tenacity and non-conformist attitude.  As a seasoned Stylist and Art Director, she has a distinct eye for discovering raw talent and exposing it through beautifully photographed fashion editorials shot by talented photographers from around the globe.  It was extremely insightful to hear Reese's take on the evolution of the fashion industry as well as the triumphs and difficulties of running a fashion enterprise.

I hope you enjoy our Q&A and if you're on the prowl for some exclusive duds, visit
CHAOS's new shop!

 You are a young fashion entrepreneur with deep roots in the industry.  How did you conceive of the idea for CHAOS Magazine nearly 4 years ago?

CHAOS did not start out with the idea of actually starting a full-on publication. I never sat down and said, "I'm starting a magazine". CHAOS was just a project that evolved on its own into what it is now. 

CHAOS Magazine's mission is to expose emerging talent, whether it be a band, photographer, or model.  How do you determine someone's marketability? 

To be completely honest with you, it's very simple. What goes into CHAOS is what I like. With our fashion editorials and fashion articles, It's just a gut feeling I have when I see a particular photographer's work or a model's unique appearance. Everything in CHAOS is handpicked. In the other divisions, it is the same thing: hand selection by my editors, and final approval by me.

Can you touch on some of the difficulties as well as the advantages of running an independent fashion publication?

Difficulties, there are many. This business is not easy and it can consume your life. I run a remote staff, which, alone, is difficult. It is much easier when you can walk into another room and speak to your editors. However, when one Editor is in New York, and another in Los Angeles, you have to learn to adapt, meaning I  depend on conference calls and email for communication. You have to be dedicated, patient, and frankly, a workaholic. The plus side of it all is that we have no set of rules to follow, and we do what we want. There is a lot of creative freedom that allows me to use our brand as a testing ground. There is no right or wrong. Trial and error. You get to find out things on your own. Mistakes are inevitable, but that comes with the territory, and it is all a part of the game.

How do you source talent, including: writers, models, stylists, and photographers?

You just gotta know where to look, and having connections in the industry doesn't hurt, either. ;)

CHAOS recently debuted an online shop where fans of the site can shop for the items seen on the models in the editorials.  Why did you decide to add an e-commerce feature to the site?

I've seen many editorials in other magazines where I have really wanted to buy something the model is wearing, but couldn't find it anywhere. This is something we wanted to change, and although we are only offering some of the items seen in our in-house editorials in the shop, we hope to eventually expand on that with other designers we showcase and represent in our fashion editorials. The CHAOS Shop is another way we are bringing the CHAOS vibe and mentality to our fans. The CHAOS Shop features hand-picked clothing and accessories targeted for the "typical" CHAOS Girl. The CHAOS Girl is a culmination of many things. She is edgy yet sophisticated, sweet yet a rebel, and she knows what she wants and how to get it. The CHAOS Girl is also independent, fashionable and always perusing for what is next and what is different.  Our girl is the girl who marches to the beat of her own drum. 

What advice would you give someone trying to independently navigate the fashion tech industry, specifically how to build an audience and ensure reader loyalty?

It's about content, and knowing what to write and when to write it. You need to really understand your demographic and settle on a focus. You cannot be all over the place, so focus on something and nail it. Find out what people want to know more about and provide it. Dig into analytics and other metric-driven tools to maximize your potential. That is a must.  

You've been in the industry for a significant period of time. How have you seen it evolve, from a professional prospective?  

I've seen the industry change into being completely celebrity-focused, and I find that reality quite sad. The fashion industry used to be about the designers and the models. Now, it is all about what celebrity we can get in a certain designer's dress to get more publicity. Fashion models are out of jobs because celebrities are taking their covers, as well as their campaigns. I feel that the core foundation of the fashion industry has lost focus, something I wish they would get back. Fashion should be about the clothing, not who is wearing it. A great designer's craftsmanship should speak words without having an A-list celebrity strutting around in it, creating a cloud for the less-than-stellar garment.


  1. This is my first visit to your blog! But I admire the precious time and effort you put into it,especially into interesting articles you share here. Thankyou very much and keep up the good work.
    Designer clothing

  2. Thank you Brian. I appreciate your kind words. I do try to make it intriguing and I am extremely glad that you enjoy the editorial pieces. They are my favorite as well! :)


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