Aje Insider | Meet Fashion Director Lisa Aiken

The New York-based tastemaker on life at Vogue, personal style and how to build a career in fashion.

 

There are few people in fashion who’ve achieved the career heights of Lisa Aiken.

 

Currently the Executive Fashion Director at American Vogue — with past tenures at the likes of Net-A-Porter and Moda Operandi, among others — our newest Aje Insider’s tenacity and taste-making eye is nothing short of inspiring.

 

To learn more about Lisa’s life, style, and career beginnings, we met with the New York-based style maven in Manhattan, where she stepped out in the latest looks from Spring 23 ‘Odyssey’.


Below, continue reading for our conversation with Aje Insider, Lisa Aiken.

 

Lisa Aiken wears the Enigma Denim Midi Dress

 

The Aje Report: Your career in fashion has seen you take the helm of numerous globally respected brands across editorial, retail, buying and marketing. Take us back to the moment your fashion journey began — what inspired you to pursue this path?

 

Lisa: I feel incredibly grateful that I have built a career around something I love, but I can honestly say that I can’t identify the moment when I decided this was the route for me.

 

When I was young, my mum made some of my clothes. She would take me to the haberdashery, and let me choose the Vogue paper pattern, the fabric, the buttons, etc., and I loved having that creativity.

 

Walk us through a typical day in your life as Vogue’s Executive Fashion Director from morning to night. What goes on behind the scenes?

 

As Executive Fashion Director, I oversee Vogue Shopping, so a typical day will likely include: reviewing the story line-up with my team, reviewing the latest deliveries or perhaps a showroom visit with a designer, styling and shooting key pieces, and managing the ecommerce business.

 

It's an incredibly collaborative environment, and we work on so many projects at the same time. No two days are ever the same!

 

What’s something about your job that you think would surprise most people?

 

The amount of time I spend looking at spreadsheets. All of my jobs have been a mix of art and science — or head and heart.

 

“All of my jobs have been a mix of art and science — or head and heart.”

It’s a beautiful day in New York City and your schedule is clear. Describe your perfect day: where would you eat/shop/enjoy/visit?

 

Firstly, a clear schedule…?! That sounds amazing. I live on the waterfront in Brooklyn, so let's start with a morning run along the piers, which has the most incredible view of downtown Manhattan. Then, breakfast on the terrace at Dumbo House before heading into the city.

 

When designing the ‘Odyssey’ collection, Aje Co-founders Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris were inspired by the allure of the grand sojourn. What memories or thoughts come to mind when we evoke…

 

… your dream vacation destination?

 

Provence, France.

 

… the scent of a holiday?

 

If I am in Provence, it will have to be lavender — though I will say Nuxe Body Oil with Neroli immediately takes me there.

 

… your vacation wardrobe must-haves?


Cotton summer dresses, oversized shirts, easy flat sandals, a basket bag and layered gold jewellery.

 

Which pieces from ‘Odyssey’ do you feel drawn to? Where do you see yourself wearing them?

 

I love an easy fit-and-flare summer dress, so the Agatha Knot Waist Midi Dress in white cotton poplin and the Clay Belted Midi Dress in bright pink linen are certainly favourites.

 

I am all about balance, so with such a feminine silhouette, it’s all about dressed-down flats and an undone approach to styling.

 

How would you describe your personal style? What’s your approach to curating a look or wardrobe?

 

I would say that my personal style is just that, incredibly personal! It's hard to articulate, so let's say that I never want to try too hard, but I do really enjoy fashion. Every purchase is an emotional one, something that inspires me.

 

 

 

Lisa wears the Clay Belted Midi Dress

“Every purchase is an emotional one, something that inspires me.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career in the fashion industry today?

 

Explore the different areas of the industry to find the space that feels like the right fit for you; that may be design, styling, marketing, merchandising, or sales — there are so many facets to the industry.

 

And try to be a step ahead. Look at the way the industry is evolving and think about what will come next, as that will most likely fast-track the start of your career.

What is next for Lisa Aiken? What does the future hold for you?

 

Enjoying the ride. I am extremely fortunate to have the career that I have, there is no destination, so it really is about making the most of the experiences along the way.

 

Lastly, some quick-fire questions…

 

… a piece of clothing you’ll never part with?

 

An old Topshop slip skirt I bought as a teenager. It is still the best-fitting slip I have and will only come in hand luggage when I travel.

 

… the best piece of style advice you’ve ever received?

 

Enjoy it.

 

… a look or style you would love to see come back in fashion?

 

Well, I am very happy to see a kitten heel return in 2023.

 

Shop The ‘Odyssey’ Edit by Lisa Aiken

Explore the latest looks from Spring 23 'Odyssey'

Aje Insider: Lisa Aiken

Photographer: Dan Li