Philly Writer Apologizes for Inventing the Word “Fashionista”

Stephen Fried, former editor of this magazine, has apologized to the world. For it was him, who in 1993, invented the word “fashionista.” Though the term is now often deployed to refer to any reasonably fashionable person, or any person at all connected in the fashion world, or barbies, Fried had a more specific meaning in mind. It first appeared in his 1993 book Thing of Beauty, about the infamous rise and fall of Philly-bred supermodel Gia Carangi.

There was no simple way to refer to all the people at a sitting for a magazine photo or print ad. I got tired of listing photographers, fashion editors, art directors, hairstylists, makeup artists, all their assistants, and models as the small army of people who descended on the scene.

By 1999, it appeared in the OED, and was being dissected in the New York Times Magazine. Then it received its official christening, when Donatella Versace used the term to describe herself. Read the original Philly Mag piece on which the book was based, published back in the ’80s, when riffing off “Sandinista” was a thing. [The Atlantic]