Madeleine Goubau graduated from MA Fashion Journalism at London College of Fashion in 2012. Since then, she has gone on to become a fashion journalist in Montreal, Canada. She works for Radio-Canada/CBC as a fashion commentator, as well as teaching Fashion and Communication at the École supérieure de la mode in Montréal.
Madeleine has spent the last two years working on a book project about the most famous fashion designer in Montreal, Marie Saint Pierre.
What was the most important thing you were taught while studying at UAL?
To make contacts and to collaborate. As an MA Fashion Journalism student I was encouraged by my professors to meet with photographers, stylists, hair and make-up artists, graphic designers, models and to build projects with them. We wanted our schoolwork to look 100 % professional. Not only did I enhance my portfolio and learn a lot about project management, but I also made friends all over the world that I am still in contact with.
In addition to networking with other creative students, LCF gave me the opportunity to meet with key actors from the fashion industry. Our professor, Andrew Tucker, would always invite amazing guest speakers to our class. I remember meeting with Penny Martin from The Gentlewoman. She is such an inspiration!
Can you talk us through your journey from graduation to where you are now?
After graduation, I went back to my old job as a TV reporter for the 6 o’clock broadcast news at CBC/Radio-Canada (the Canadian equivalent of BBC). I was covering everything, from national elections, to car crashes. But I really wanted to bring fashion journalism to the newsroom. Since fashion was not a priority for my employer, I had to take baby steps. I started with a weekly collaboration on the radio for a regional station in the small city of Trois-Rivières. It was supposed to last one summer, and I ended up doing it for three years. Nine other regional stations invited me on to their morning shows.
In 2015, I moved to Montreal to start a Ph.D. in fashion and communication. I also decided to quit my full time job at CBC/Radio-Canada to become a freelancer. I wanted to be able to focus only on fashion journalism. I got two main contracts with a national TV show called “Par ici l’été” and a national radio show called “Les éclaireurs”, both as a fashion commentator. I also started to produce branded content for various Canadian fashion houses.
At the moment, my career is a mix of many things! Since January, I have also been teaching fashion and communication to 130 undergraduate students at the École supérieure de la mode in Montreal.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
On the 11th of April, I launch my first book. It is called “Maison Marie Saint Pierre – en 30 tableaux”. It is the true story of one of the most famous Canadian fashion designers and it is beautifully illustrated by the photographer Dominique Malaterre. I have been working on that project for two years and I am very proud of the result. Writing that book put me in touch with so many talented and inspiring people. Once again, it’s all about contacts and collaboration.
What advice would you give to current UAL students who want to be successful Fashion Journalists like you?
I would tell them to find the right balance between boldness and realism. To be successful, you have to think big and dare to bring your ideas to the right people. But you also have to support your dreams while they are taking place. If you want to work on a book project for two years, make sure you have another job on the side that will help you pay the bills. It doesn’t have to be boring! I believe we learn from every experience we undertake. Someone told me once to keep in mind that a 10-year experience takes no less then 10 ten years to acquire. Instant success doesn’t exist.
Also, don’t hesitate to do exciting and interesting things for free. It will pay one day.
What do you think are the differences between the fashion scenes in Canada and in London?
It is so different I don’t even know where to start! I think Canada has a huge potential in terms of fashion, but not in the same way London, Paris, Milan and New York do. Here, it’s all about mixing aesthetic with performance. We want to look amazing even when it is -30 degrees outside. We want to have style even in snowstorms, and we are very good at it! I think there is a reason why the athleisure trend was born in Canada with Lulu Lemon. It’s precisely because it is not a trend for us. It is who we are. Even when we wear a ball gown we want to feel comfortable in it. Canadian fashion is fashion without compromise.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment, my project number 1 is my Ph.D. I’m interested in soft power and public diplomacy through dress and fashion. In a perfect world I would like to become a university professor in a fashion or communication school one day. I also want to keep working in the media and keep informing people about the fashion industry. Lately I have submitted a proposal of a documentary series to a producer. I keep my fingers crossed!
Featured image: Courtesy of Christine Kreiselmaier