Author Apologises For Inventing The Word 'Fashionista': What's In Our Grazia Glossary?

18 April 2013 by

'Fashionista' is one of the most overused words in the media these days, but who knew the term has been around for 20 years? According to author Stephen Fried, he coined the phrase in 1993 when writing a biography of the late Gia Carangi, the supermodel who Angelina Jolie portrayed in a 1998 HBO film, which won her a Golden Globe. Apparently Fried thought of 'Fashionista' as a way of describing the groups of characters that Gia came into contact with in the fashion industry.

The writer told The Atlantic, “There was no simple way to refer to all the people at a sitting for a magazine photo or print ad. I got tired of listing photographers, fashion editors, art directors, hairstylists, makeup artists, all their assistants, and models as the small army of people who descended on the scene.” So in order to get around the issue he came up with 'Fashionista' - "Since I was re-reading a lot of the newspapers and magazines from the period of Gia's supernova career in the late '70s and early '80s, and remembering a lot of coverage of Sandanistas (and a lot of "–ista" jokes among my mag writer friends), I just decided to try it."

Although the word appeared four times in the book, it wasn't a runway runaway success, with one New York Times book reviewer criticising Fried for making up "corny labels". The writer has had the last laugh though as 'Fashionista' was introduced into the OED in 1999 with the definition: “a person employed in the creation or promotion of high fashion, such as a designer, photographer, model, fashion writer, etc. Also: a devotee of the fashion industry; a wearer of high-fashion clothing.” Nowadays it's become part of our everyday language, the title of a US website and even Donatella Versace was once quoted as saying “I am a fashionista and proud of it.”

Unfortunately for Fried he never copyrighted the word so forfeited being "fabulously wealthy by now".

On that note, it's time to take a look at some of Grazia's own fashion phrases. Scroll through the gallery of terms below and tweet us your own with #GraziaGlossary.


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