Who Coined The Term ‘Fashionista’?


We’re all familiar with the term ‘fashionista’. A fashionista is a girl who’s up to date with all of the latest on trend looks of the moment, and pulls them off flawlessly. I’ve known of this term for as long as I can remember, but who actually coined it?

Apparently, author Stephen Fried. The author, who isn’t necessarily, well, ‘well-known’ per say, apparently is upset that he’s responsible for creating this term in the first place.

In an Atlantic article titled ‘I Apologize for Inventing the Word ‘Fashionista’ 20 Years Ago,’ Fried writes:

“Twenty years ago, I apparently changed language forever. I published a book that unleashed upon an unsuspecting public a single word of terrifying power and controversy. That word is ‘fashionista.’”

The word ‘fashionista’ first appeared in a Fried book throughout his 1993 biography of the late Gia Carangi, Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia.

“There was no simple way to refer to all the people at a sitting for a magazine photo or print ad,” explains Fried. “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.”

The word didn’t immediately catch on. After all, it only appeared in the book four times. It even caused a bit of controversy when New York Times book reviewer Carol Kramer said that the book “bitch-slapped me for ‘fashionista,’ saying ‘he makes up corny labels, too.”

Eventually, the word did catch on and was inducted into the OED in 1999, prompting a front page New York Times article in which industry insiders explained what the word meant.

The word was solidified when Donatella Versace was quoted in saying “I am a fashionistas and proud of it.” The official definition eventually came to read: “a person employed in the creation or promotion of high fashion, such as a designer, photographer, model, fashion writer, etc. Also: a devotee of the fashion industry; a wearer of high-fashion clothing.”

Very cool history, what do you think?

Ally Batista | Elite.

Twitter: @allybatista

Photo Credit: Getty Images