180: Big in fashion journalism

By Bethany Mullinix

Are all stylists as bananas as Rachel Zoe? What is it like working alongside Anna Wintour or Grace Coddington?

Every writer, stylist, photographer and designer who contributes to the Academy of Art’s 180 Magazine, have the chance to experience it. This is their chance to experience the excitement, and the deadline pressures, of journalism in the real world. It’s their chance to sit in the front row at Fashion Week alongside Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes.

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The idea of 180 Magazine was born in Fall 2008. Taking its name from the original address of the fashion department – 180 New Montgomery Street – the magazine would feature ideas related to the Academy of Art but also those that stemmed from beyond the Academy and delve into the real world.

Over the course of the following semester, students and faculty from all departments – Photography, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Architecture, Fashion – collaborated to produce the first issue of this new fashion magazine. It later debuted at the Academy’s Spring 2009 runway show at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week.

Over the past four years, 180 outdid itself with each new issue, growing in popularity and in size. In Fall 2010, 180 moved away from its original small, square-shaped format to debut its first W Magazinesized issue.  This new format won plaudits from attendees at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and on Fashion’s Night Out, in less than an hour, over 200 issues were cleared out at San Francisco Neiman Marcus. Not only was the size (intentionally) impressive, but the larger format showcased in more detail the beauty of the clothing and photography.


180 Magazine recently released its largest issue to date, just in time for the Academy student fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Manhattan. Fittingly, it totals 180 pages of photography, fashion and heartfelt stories of learning and exploration from all over the world.  This issue beautifully fulfills the magazine’s original mission to serve as an outlet for students to showcase their work and to bring together Academy students from all over the world.

180 Magazine has and continues to open numerous doors for fashion students of the Academy of Art University. The invaluable industry experience gained through working with 180 has led to some high profile internships.

Danielle Wallis, BFA Visual Merchandising major, landed several internships at different fashion offices in New York, including Teen Vogue. She impressed with her professionalism and attention to detail, learned working as a stylist assistant under 180 Creative Director, Michael Carbaugh.

Allie Ramirez, BA Fashion Journalism major, also gained realistic exposure to the industry through 180 Magazine and now uses the thick skin she developed working under Features Editor and Journalism Coordinator for the School of Fashion, Paul Wilner, to roll with the punches at San Francisco fashion magazine, 7×7 where she interns.


Both young women recommend to all aspiring fashion students that they become involved in the industry in any way possible. They say that working for 180 can sometimes seem like a fulltime job, but that it’s worth every penny – and hours of hard work – in the long run. After helping style four issues, Wallis says she sees her experience with the magazine as one of the most, if not the most, valuable experiences of her college career.

As 180 Magazine continues to flourish, the magazine’s Editorial Director Simon Ungless, who also serves as the Academy’s Director of the School of Fashion, hopes to see more Academy students become involved. Plans are in the works to take 180 online, with new apps that will allow students to explore the world of multimedia journalism and incorporate video into their stories.

Both Ungless and Ramirez understand the value of keeping students as the principal contributors to 180. Just as Cathy Horyn didn’t get her big break by writing letters to herself in a diary, there’s nothing that compares to the student’s experience of seeing their first byline in print, and understanding the creative process of writing, styling and photographing work for a glossy publication that will be seen, and hopefully admired, by their peers and fashion role models alike.

You can read and take notes in class all you want said Ramirez, but until you are on set doing the job first-hand, you won’t gain the valuable knowledge needed to work [in the industry].

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Written by Bethany Mullinix

Bethany Mullinix

Bethany is a publicist at SutherlandGold Group is San Francisco where she has had the privilege of working with a wide range of consumer tech and enterprise startups such as Apartment List, Fab.com, Comcast Ventures, CardSpring, and Solar Universe. However, her true love is fashion.

As a child, Bethany would painstakingly design garments for her Barbies, as her father watched in wonderment, questioning his eight-year-old’s taste for micro-mini skirts! Today Bethany channels this love of fashion and design into her writing, taking inspiration for the best and avoiding vapid fashion magazines too easily bent by advertising. Her main goal as a journalist is to make people understand fashion the way she does – as much more than playing dress-up. Above all, fashion makes her feel good and through her writing she hopes to share this feeling with others.

In addition to ModeConnect, Bethany has written for variety of fashion and lifestyle outlets including Fashion School Daily, Paper Pearl and The World According To. She also manages her own online magazine, MOXIE, which she began as part of her M.F.A. Fashion Journalism thesis while at the Academy of Art University. In addition to an MFA, Bethany holds a B.A. in Journalism/PR from Union University in Jackson, Tenn.
You can follow Bethany on twitter at @bethanymullinix