It’s all about authenticity as a woman,” says Red magazine’s editor-in-chief, Sarah Bailey. “As a magazine editor, I always think, ‘Does this ring true for me and other women?’ There’s no point taking something straight from a press release – that’s not going to inspire anyone. I believe in looking to real life for inspiration.
“I started my career on teen magazine Just 17. At the time, there was an incredible sense of community and a real dialogue with the readers that made lots of women become feminists. It was all about girls sticking up for themselves – ‘girl power’, if you like – which is a spirit I’ve taken with me to Red. I get such a buzz from news events and campaigns, it’s a real high – like taking part in our Red Women of the Year Awards or when we blitzed the news channels with our ‘David Cameron, are you a feminist?’ article.
“When people talk about British magazines, I always say that a lot of the clichés aren’t true. But in New York? It’s a different story – the glamour and giant egos that you read about really do exist,”
says Bailey about her stint at US glossy Harper’s Bazaar. “How the job came about was serendipitous. I literally bumped into the editor, Glenda Bailey, at a Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week and that’s basically how it started. It was really exciting, like something out of a novel. I’ve learned so much from Glenda; she’s definitely my mentor.
“When packing for the catwalk shows, I’ve discovered that a big clutch bag is my solution because it can take you from a busy day of shows straight to evening cocktails. I also try and take as many ‘wow’ coats as I can. Coats are my weakness, which is a problem during fashion week, as you can only pack so many! My favourite designers are Miuccia Prada and Dries Van Noten, and I’m really interested in Raf Simons’ incredible career – his work is amazing.
“I definitely have a non-precious approach to dressing and don’t believe in leaving things to moulder away in your closet or saving them for parties. I like to wear special pieces for every day, so it might be pairing a boyish cashmere sweater or an Audrey Hepburn-esque turtleneck with an extravagant skirt and shoes that make me smile – then I feel ready to take on the world.
“My week is all about running around town and being in the office, so my weekend is very much an antidote to that. I spend a lot of time marching purposefully across Hampstead Heath with my two little boys, or not so purposefully if they’re in control, and I love going to the theatre or the movies, or even just reading a book at home. Editing a magazine is an intense job and it’s always a challenge when you’re a working parent, but I really try to create a culture at Red where people feel that they can leave their desk at the end of the day and have plenty of time with their loved ones. Family is at the core of Red’s philosophy.”