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I first met Sarah, when she came to one of Laing's events held at my house (and place of work). Obviously stylish and beautifully pulled together, it was her quiet determination, confidence and professionalism that most impressed. A woman with a passion for fashion and magazines, who was prepared to put in the hard yards to make her dream become reality - the ownership and stewardship of one of New Zealand's most iconic magazine titles - Fashion Quarterly.

- Anna Murray, Founder


Congratulations on recently acquiring Fashion Quarterly! What made you want to take ownership of the magazine and work for yourself?

Thank you! It had been my dream to be the editor of Fashion Quarterly, and when I finally got there 2.5 years ago, I realised I wanted more. I wanted to have more say, and more ownership over things like ensuring the brands longevity and all the top line issues that were generally outside my job description as editor.

Which aspects of running a magazine do you find enjoyable, and which do you consider challenging?


My favourite thing to do is to plan what goes into the magazine. As a journalist I love organising what articles we’ll put in, and also what overall theme and shoots we will tackle. I still love writing articles too - but don’t have as much time to do that these days. What’s challenging these days is that it’s not only a magazine - it’s a website, it’s social media, it’s events. We like to meet our audience where they are so we have to diversify, and that is a lot more challenging (and time consuming) than producing one magazine each quarter. On top of that, learning the ‘business side’ of a publication has been eye-opening - I can only describe it as a baptism of fire! 

What's the most important piece of advice you've been given that has actually been useful?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. This has always been my mantra and allows me to keep reminding myself of the bigger picture of what I’m trying to achieve.


Is there a myth about working in the fashion/magazine industry that you want to debunk?

Ha. Yes - that it’s glamorous! I can see from the outside how it appears that way (photo shoots, beauty launches et al.) but there is a lot behind the scenes always going on that nobody sees. The Fashion Quarterly team work so hard, we’re constantly coming up with ideas and working to execute them in an elevated and fresh way - whether that’s for the magazine, digital, social or our events. Sometimes that means working nights or weekends, or having a ‘to do’ list that seemingly never ends. I’ve always thought people that work in the fashion or media industry are particularly hard working because a lot of them are there for the love of the job...


You have a beautiful family and a demanding job. Do you think that work-life balance exists? And if so, how do you maintain this?

I don’t believe a work-life balance exists. I think things are constantly moving and changing and while one day it might feel like you have it all in order and balanced, the next you have a sick kid and you’re trying to rearrange meetings, shoots, and schedules. It’s incredibly challenging for any parent to be working full time - especially if both parents in a household are working full time (which is most people I know!) For me, the only way to make it work is to be flexible and not be tied to traditional 9-5 working hours. I’ll attempt to work these but if something comes up or if I need to take my son to soccer practice at 4pm then I’ll do that and catch up on work later that night or early the next morning. It’s not ideal but it allows me to not feel like I’m missing out on elements of my kids' lives - and helps to assuage that never-ending mum guilt too.

What are some of the most treasured pieces in your wardrobe?

I really love items that are attached to a memory. Last year in Paris I purchased one thing - a pair of beige and black slingbacks from Chanel. Honestly, the cost per wear rule has almost made them my most affordable shoe because I wear them so often, and I think about how wonderful that trip was. I suppose my most treasured pieces in general are all the quality items. I’m a big proponent of quality over quantity. I prefer to invest in pieces that I will hopefully have for a lifetime. Fabrics are important to me too - cashmeres, silks, wools etc. My daughter is five and she often asks if she can have my clothes, shoes and bags when she’s older, and I hope I can pass down some of my more special items to her to love for her lifetime too.


How do you dress for the day ahead?

One thing I learnt from my time in lockdown over covid was that if I don’t like or enjoy my outfit that day, I don’t feel good. So now, even when I ‘m working from home I’ll put on a curated outfit that makes me feel good. Sometimes that’s jeans, a blazer and heels - and other times it’s a dress and sandals. I love anything that is a set - a matching blazer and skirt is my absolute go-to. It minimises the time putting the outfit together and always looks well thought-out.


What do you most admire about Laing as a brand?

Laing is one of those classic labels that you’ll be able to keep in your wardrobe forever. I know that whatever I have from the brand will not only last because it is so well made, but because it’s timeless in its design and will be able to be worn for many years. What also appeals to me is how you can mix and match the range to create a capsule wardrobe - if you select the right items you can layer them on top of one another and actually create a multitude of looks out of just a few pieces. Laing also often has what I like to call ‘twinsets’ - ie) a matching top to a bottom. These are my holy grail for quick power dressing day to day.
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