Passion for fashion

One day, he’s bringing coffee, food and outfits to models as they prepare to strike a pose for a photo shoot. Another day, he’s calling businesses to discuss advertisements and arrangements. On top of that, he’s spending hours each week to arrange posts for the perfect feed. Senior Jake Burrola is on top of all these tasks as the social media coordinator for Fashioned, a non-profit fashion magazine.

Burrola first began at the magazine as an intern in June 2019 but received a promotion as he began to take on more responsibilities. One of his main tasks is to design and caption posts on the magazine’s Instagram, @fashionedmag. The posts include photos of models adorned in a spectrum of clothing, as well as inspirational quotes and words of encouragement on pastel pink backgrounds, otherwise known as “pinkies”.

His time spent working on the magazine’s social media has taught him what draws people’s interest the most. For example, he has discovered that much of the engagement with Instagram posts is with the pinkies rather than the pictures of models.

“I had to learn how to talk about [fashion shows] and make captions that would rivet people and make them want to press ‘read more’. I’m learning so much about trends, which is mind-blowing,” Burrola said.

Although he only takes on a small portion of the work at Fashioned, Burrola dedicates a large amount of time toward planning out posts and making sure that the magazine keeps up an eye-catching brand.

“Doing social media right now is very time-consuming. Every time I have a free moment, I grab my laptop, and I power on to Trello, [an organization application]. It doesn’t end. You always need more posts and every day is a day that you need to plan for,” Burrola said.

His efforts go beyond the title of his position, extending to work behind the scenes. At photoshoots, he’s one of the first people to arrive, setting up the equipment for the shoot and bringing models what they need.

“I hope to gain more experiences like that. Not only behind the scenes work, but fieldwork. So learning how to interact with people—I’m not talking to our cover girl the same way I’m going to talk to my editor-in-chief,” Burrola said.

Burrola also participates in group meetings among Fashioned’s staff, during which he proposes and discusses ideas. In addition, he often offers suggestions during photoshoots to the models and the rest of the team.

“I notice the entire shot, not just the model. I’m focused more on the extra things and not really the big things. I’m very detail-oriented as a person,” Burrola said.

The internship wasn’t something that Burrola initially set out to do; he began searching for internships around April 2019 when he was conversing with his freshman world history teacher about his interest in the fashion industry. When she mentioned taking up internships at magazines, it piqued his attention, yet he was still unsure about the prospect. Pondering on the idea, he directed his concerns to his cousin, who gave him the suggestion to join Fashioned. As the editor-in-chief, she opened up unique opportunities that differ from having a traditional boss.

“I love [working with my cousin]. She’s a great leader, and I’m learning so much from her seeing how she communicates what she wants, her vision, being inclusive and hearing ideas,” Burrola said. “It’s a non-profit, so everyone has to want to be there. You can’t treat your staff [poorly]. I’ve learned not to say, ‘We’re not doing this’. With having a traditional boss, I would benefit more [in other aspects], but I wouldn’t trade her for the world.”

While Burrola has only been working at the magazine for a few months, his fascination with the fashion industry originates from his childhood. While his mom would go to work, he would spend time with his grandmother, who influenced his enthusiasm for the subject. Since his grandmother grew up with less access to nicer things, she would take advantage of the opportunities she had to get them, which in turn rubbed off on Burrola from the time he spent with her.

“[My grandmother] always had a passion for nicer things, so I grew an appreciation for that,” Burrola said. “When I was younger, I was the only guy that would read Vogue or Bazaar and really had an interest in fashion. It really wasn’t until around the seventh grade when I fully embraced my love for fashion.”

Since Fashioned is piloted by a staff of about 20 people and is only just beginning to move to print after focusing on online publishing for the past three years, there is much more engagement within the organization. By working with a smaller staff, Burrola is able to get more involved in the production stages and get such a firsthand look at all the dedication put into complete photoshoots and put together a final product.

“I’m still gaining knowledge and learning from what they are seeing and what they need. It still blows my mind how real and established this is. That’s what makes a side project different from actually doing this,” Burrola said.

As a non-profit, Fashioned prioritizes content over consumerism. While the magazine contrasts considerably from the typical upscale fashion coverage, Burrola’s time at Fashioned has been just as valuable, even providing him with experiences that he might not have had at a large corporation.

“I mean, I could’ve been interning at [a large corporation],” Burrola said. “But I’m actually being a part of a team and learning so much more than I believe ever being part of a bigger, more established company [would have offered].”

Burrola’s involvement in the fashion industry doesn’t stop here. He has plans to further pursue fashion, potentially seeking a career in it one day.

“I don’t want to be a designer. I’m not that creative, but I definitely want to be in the world [of fashion]. I love math, so I want to do something with numbers—maybe marketing. But I definitely want to be part of the magazine scene,” Burrola said.

While Burrola does expect to stay at Fashioned for quite some time, he also has aspirations to venture beyond and explore new environments.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if I ended up continuing at Fashioned. However, I do want to venture out to places like New York and work at a magazine there and have that magazine go, ‘I need you to do work in our Paris branch,’ and work over there,” Burrola said. “I have a lot of dreams on my horizons, but it’s a great opportunity for me to say I worked at Fashioned magazine, especially seeing its growth.”

By Natalie Cheng, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Jake Burrola