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American Express and Elle link for future fashion talent

LONDON - American Express is teaming up with Hachette-owned fashion glossy Elle to launch a national search to find the next generation of style journalists, to coincide with the magazine's 18th birthday.

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The seven-month In Your Dreams programme aims to find a team of eight aspiring fashion journalists, including a writer, stylist, illustrator and a photographer, whose dream is to work in the fashion business.

The search will be launched in the October issue of Elle, the birthday edition, and will be backed by a marketing campaign including mailings to the cream of colleges that provide relevant courses, a website providing information on the competition and a PR campaign.

The October issue will feature an entry form, which needs to be completed and accompanied by two pieces of recent work that best illustrate the skills required for working on a fashion magazine.

The birthday issue will also sees the publication of celebrity portraits taken by former model Helena Christensen, including shots of Robbie Williams, Sadie Frost, Bono, DJ Goldie and 60s singer Marianne Faithful.

The portraits are published in Elle ahead of Christensen's first exhibition at the Proud Gallery in Camden, which is being sponsored by Levi's 501.

In the American Express competition, the winning team will be announced in December. Their work will be judged by American Express, Elle and a panel of fashion gurus including international fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

The prize will be to produce a 34-page Elle spin-off called Future Elle. Sarah Bailey, editor of Elle, said the drive was in line with the title's commitment to publishing new talent.

"Throughout Elle UK's 18-year history, the magazine has showcased fresh, spirited fashion, art, photography, pop culture and writing. Handing the pages of Elle over to a group of talented graphics, fashion and journalism students and asking them to come up with their own version of the magazine is something else entirely," she said.

The competition, created jointly by Hachette and American Express, was inspired by the credit card's current "Long Live Dreams" brand campaign and is the latest example of how the company is helping turn individuals' dreams into reality.

The brand is also sponsoring The Independent American Express Fashion Photography Competition; The American Express Franklin Memorial Expedition; The American Express Long Live Dreams Competition with The Daily Telegraph; and the Channel 4 TV programme 'No Going Back'.

Kathryn Whitton, American Express director of brand and communications, said: "Both companies share a commitment to developing and nurturing new talent and we are confident that In Your Dreams will provide the opportunity and platform for aspiring writers, stylists and illustrators to make their dreams a reality."

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