Edwina McCann (1990)
Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Australia
Edwina McCann has been the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia since 2012 and is responsible for the Vogue brand across print, digital and social media platforms. She took on her first role at Vogue Australia 20 years earlier as an unpaid fashion assistant, soon after securing a permanent position and remaining with the organisation for the next seven years. After Vogue, her career continued on an upwards trajectory with roles at The Australian, WISH and Grazia before joining Harper’s Bazaar Australia in her first editorship position. Reflecting on the early years of her career, Edwina appreciates how unique it was for someone in her current position to be trained by Vogue and how it provided a strong foundation for a career in fashion.
“The business environment has changed a lot since I began working”, says Edwina, “the media landscape has evolved and it is important to evolve with it. It is an exciting time to be managing the Vogue brand”, she says. One of her biggest successes has been understanding how to embrace this change and transforming an organisation with a number of revenue streams amidst the social media/digital age. Not surprisingly, Wenona’s school motto, Ut Prosim, that I may serve, has continued to keep her grounded and focused throughout this transition, “the Vogue brand comes first, I serve the brand.” She fondly remembers her time at Wenona as a period in her life full of growth, learning and endless opportunity, “Wenona instilled a sense of belonging and strength in the collective but at the same time was able to celebrate individualism.”
Edwina acknowledges there is now a “greater push for flexible working hours and the importance of employees achieving the right work-life balance”. She firmly believes work is more productive when there is the right work-life balance, which is a concept close to her heart as a working mother of twin girls, “we need to look after women who wish to remain/reenter the workforce after having children. It can be tough working and managing a young family and I wish we could address this for more women. Childcare needs to be more flexible to accommodate working women.”
Edwina advises that students and alumnae who have an interest in fashion and are considering entering the fashion industry need to remain open minded about the careers available to them, “the industry has changed and now offers a number of rewarding careers for women”. She recommends thinking broadly and researching the opportunities, “there is a desire for women who have a passion for fashion to become involved in subcategories, for example technology… only a small percentage can be stylists/designers.”
In 2014 Edwina was named in the Business of Fashion 500, a professional index of the people shaping the global fashion industry and in 2015, was topped B&T’s list of the 30 Most Powerful Women in Australian Media. She has spearheaded the creation of the Australian Fashion Chamber to nurture and promote Australia’s fashion design community and acts as its chairperson. She is passionate about her role on the Gold Committee, which raises funds for the Sydney Children’s Hospital and also joined the UTS Business School Advisory Board in 2014.