Kristin Prim, Teenage Editor: A tFS Exclusive Interview

Our rapid modern times have resulted in an influx of children succeeding our generation of adults in a cyber-wonderland  mystique.

Whether we are utilizing online social networking sites for the sake of professional expansion or personal pastime interests, the possibilities seem endless. In the past few years, with the advent of MySpace and Blogger, fashion has thrown us more than a few Internet ‘It girls’.

Bloggers have become higher profile, landing front row seats at both the uptown tents, and downtown at Milk Studios for New York Fashion Week, with VIP party invites included. Such entities have spawned much controversy and intrigue within the confines of the industry. Competition has been turned up a notch, and unfiltered information is on the rise, questioning quantity vs. quality.

Among our many new aged wonder-kids is a blossoming sixteen-year-old editor, who has had her own glossy magazine since she was fourteen years of age.

Her name is Kristin Prim, and she is the editor-in-chief of Prim Magazine. Prim seems to have something a bit more unique than the run-of-the-mill quasi-adolescent blogger – she possesses something perspicacious to the age-old It girl, with striking beauty, and a stylishness beyond her years.

At 3 pm, when school lets out, Prim goes straight to work. This entails holding meetings with her business partner – who is close to her age – alongside a staff that ranges from sixteen to thirty-one years of age. There are models to cast and book, photographers to consider for editorial layouts, from the U.S. or Europe.  

For inspiration, our young editrix houses an archive of over 300 fashion magazines, including vintage tomes from the 80’s and 90’s. Prim collaborates with high-end famed industry types in all areas, and works very closely in every division of her glossy, from art direction to intellect.

When I asked if she ever got intimidated by key industry players like Kate Lanphear at a party, or someone like the vociferous Kelly Cutrone in a meeting, Prim tells me she learned to fight her battles very early on, which has built self confidence, and that she enjoys working with Cutrone’s People’s Revolution firm on a regular basis.

Prim is everything you would want her to be – wise beyond her years, in-tune with the current times, and educated at length about fashion history. When speaking to the uber-friendly editor, I was relieved that she can giggle like a teen one minute, and leap into the mature attitude that surpasses many adults in the next.

Even more refreshing and surprising in this tale of a teen climbing the fashion ranks is the fact that her background includes no ties to fashion – she attends Catholic school, her father is a pharmacist, and her mother a housewife. While Prim is the first to admit she has received a great amount of financial backing, she is definitely the very root of all that it has accomplished.

So how does a teenager who lives 20 minutes outside of Manhattan create an internationally distributed fashion glossy in a time when print feels nearly dead?

The phenomena started as an online publication, with attention to brands like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters – a foreign aesthetic from what the Prim brand has come to currently represent.

Prim took a liking to commenting on the Teen Vogue website, and her ideas caught the eye of Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley. Astley then sought out the young fashionista to be featured in Teen Vogue as blogger of the moment. Then came French Glamour. From then on, other magazines caught wind of Prim, and eagerly ran mentions of her and her magazine. Soon the advertisers and backers came out to play – designer Jeremy Scott sought Prim out, and a feature collaboration came about soon after.

With the Summer 2010 issue of Prim pending, the editor gave me a hint of what to expect: an interview with a major high-end designing duo and an editorial with a popular DJ/model, all topped with a cover of a certain edgy heiress who has been known to storm the runways.

Here are some questions Kristin Prim took the time to answer between editing and homework.

The Fashion Spot: Does your position at Prim entail lots of travel at this point? If so, tell us a bit about that.

Kristin Prim: It does, but I cannot partake in much of it at the moment. Since I am still in high school and need to be there most of the time, I rely on staff members to visit the showrooms, shows, and meetings in Paris, Milan, Stockholm, and London. In a year, I’ll be able to go for myself a lot more often. Short trips for press are fine, but I cannot stay there at length – however, never say never.

tFS: How do you come up with new ideas each season for Prim? Tell us about your inspiration process for all the content that goes into the glossy.

KP: Usually I start with a strong word which emotes a specific style, and I build around that. Last edition, it was "fearless" and the next issue’s word is "truth."

tFS: Name top 3 fave fashion personalities.

KP: Nicolas Ghesquiere, John Galliano, and Riccardo Tisci, three of my favorite designers.

tFS: What has been your favorite fashion moment thus far?

KP: There have been so many non-Prim and rather personal favorite fashion moments that it would be difficult to pick just one. I think the most exciting thing that has happened to Prim would be hitting our 500,000th returning reader mark.

tFS: Do you think that the year you finish high school you will be attending the European shows?

KP: Definitely! It kills to turn down so many amazing European show and party invitations, but they will definitely be attended the day after I graduate from high school.

tFS: With the economy being what it is, I am very curious as to how you would predict what direction retail will take over the course of the next 5 years. How do you think luxury brands will survive our times? Give us a few of your fashion premonitions.

KP: I feel that in any economy people still crave luxury. There is no doubt that the luxury industry is in difficulty, however there are people who would rather skip on a few outings to afford that pair of Louboutins. I don’t think that unless the economy becomes absolutely terrible, and another catastrophic depression hits, will there be a steep decline in the luxury industry.

tFS: You and I have talked about our addiction to fashion sites like Fashionista.com and Refinery29. Are you an avid commenter on any of them? What are your top 5 fashion sites you visit daily?

KP: No comments, actually! I am one of the read and runs. Daily I like to visit Refinery29, The Cut, Fashionista, Fashion Indie, and Style.com.

tFS: We also talked about all the controversy going on in the industry right now with children and unknowns coming into the picture. I think that there is a place for everyone, but maybe a little more room needs to be made for modern advances. What is your overall take on being a minor in the fashion industry right now?

KP: I believe that creative vision should have the power to reign supreme over age. Of course, anyone new to the industry lacks the experience of the veterans, but I do feel everyone needs a voice, and deserves haivng their voice to be heard.

tFS: What are you listening to on your iPod currently?

KP: Tons of Hole, Crystal Castles, GaGa, Sleigh Bells, and Tegan & Sara.

tSF: How do you see yourself 5 years from now with Prim, and youself in general?

KP: Hopefully where I am now, only better. Things can always be pushed further.

tFS: Any final words of wisdom?

KP: Never be too intimidated to push boundaries.