“The most important thing as a writer is to not pigeonhole yourself into an outlet because you’ll make your career avenue really narrow.“
Alumni Update: Sara Iravani
Sara Iravani is no stranger to ambition, and since graduating with an MFA in Journalism in 2013 she has put that ambition to the test with an array of creative jobs. Her latest career move: Taking on the role of Chief Copywriter at Stella & Dot. Iravani also contributes regularly to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper’s Style Section, and has had her work published in SOMA Magazine, SF Gate, and Refinery29.
We sat down with the alumna to discuss her experience, work, and how Australia played factor in her decision to get a master’s in fashion journalism.
JESSICA QUINN: Congratulations on your promotion!
SARA IRAVANI: Thank you! To take on a senior role at a company like Stella & Dot was definitely a big jump for me. They just launched two new brands, so for one creative team to juggle three different brands that have three different voices and three different marketing strategies, it’s pretty crazy!
JQ: As Stella & Dot’s Chief Copywriter, what are your key responsibilities?
SI: One of the big things is maintaining brand voice and how to elevate the voice and brand through copy.
JQ: You started your career as a marketing assistant…
SI: Yeah, I’ve had very sporadic life choices. I graduated from college and moved to Australia with my best friend because she said, “Hey my cousin is this fashion designer and she has this line.” I thought that’d be cool to get a job, so she hooked me up and I was down there working. It was an eight-person team and was just a really good way to get my hands dirty. I got to do a lot of things under the brand manager like, start a blog, take pictures, and do social media.
JQ: How does that experience as a marketing assistant translate into what you’re doing now?
SI: Copywriting has a lot to do with marketing a product, so starting out in marketing helped a lot. Also I was there when Australia was sort of breaking out into the internet and seeing how blogging, tech writing, and making videos was really important for branding.
JQ: Your undergraduate degree is in textile and clothing. What made you want to continue your schooling with a Master’s in Fashion Journalism at the Academy of Art University?
SI: I didn’t know what I wanted to do with textiles and clothing, but I knew that I liked fashion and I was interested in talking about things. I was like, okay I’m interested in all these things that I’m doing in Australia and I think this will benefit me in the long run. Media was changing when I was going to go to grad school and I wanted to be in the middle of that. I wanted to be a black belt in media.
I liked the journalism program because it wasn’t just straight writing – it was like, if you wanted to do graphic design, you could do graphic design, or you could do styling. I think all those things are super important if you [want] be a writer.
JQ: How do these degrees intersect in your career now?
SI: Textile and clothing was an art science degree, it was one part the chemical composition of fabric and design, one part business and marketing, and one part sociology of clothing. Being able to talk about clothing and understand where people are making clothes and under the fabric industry and the clothing industry gave me a good background when I got to Academy of Art University. I had already worked for a brand, I already knew about production, so it wasn’t hard for me to talk about clothing for an article.
JQ: Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
SI: When I was younger, I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do, but I loved reading, loved talking about world and current events, and I loved clothing. Once I opened my eyes a little bit, I was like, “Okay I want to write for a brand or a label, I want to manage the communication aspect.”
JQ: What is your advice for students and recent graduates who are trying to get their work published for the first time?
SI: Reach out to people. Don’t be scared to go on LinkedIn and [research] people that you are like, “I want to be that person.” Take people out to coffee and pick their brain about how they got somewhere. Be hungry, hit up an editor and see if they need freelancers! Doing things like that make you confident enough to just email people on the spot and be like, “Hey, are you in need of any kind of [help]?”