24/Cefinn - Flora Macdonald Johnston

Kicking off London Fashion Week, we sat down (remotely) with The Financial Times’ Flora Macdonald Johnston and had a chat about career, learnings from 2020, mood boosting fashion and her thoughts on Cefinn - plus her at-home styling of our latest Spring 21 collection.

Flora Macdonald Johnston Editor Financial Times sitting on sofa
Who would you say has most helped to inspire and shape your life and work as it is today?

This is a tough question, influence comes in many forms. I have been lucky enough to always have been surrounded by strong women from my mother, to my friends, work associates and my bosses. This has definitely shaped me in terms of my mindset and values. I naturally gravitate to strong personalities.

If you could, what piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Success and career are not linear and they do not define you.

What did 2020 mean for you both professionally and personally?

Before the pandemic hit, my world span at 1,000mph, I never had the time to realise how much I was pushing myself. Last year made me pause and reevaluate what made me happy and also made me figure out a healthier work/life balance. I’m not someone who can sit still, but now I think I have the ability to shut off when I need to.

What has helped to make you smile and keep positive?

My friends, family and getting back into long distance running. When I run my mind lets go, it is one of the few times I experience true calm. I often think of it as my meditation time.

Flora Macdonald Johnston Editor Financial Times at home
What was your first job?

My first real job was at British Vogue, I worked on the beauty desk - but what I really wanted was to be on the fashion features team. Each day I used to walk over to the online features desk and pitch ideas, I was relentless.

What advice would you give to women who would like a career in journalism?

Find your niche and your voice. What stories give you a buzz? Is it feminist driven content? Is it cultural trends? Follow editors you admire on social media and read, read, READ.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Speaking to young brands and creatives. Being given access to the inner sanctum of so many designers is truly amazing - and a humbling experience.

What has been a career highlight for you so far?

In 2019 I launched a new branch of the Financial Times called FT Next Gen, which focuses on Gen Z / Millennial driven content with a digital focus. This year, I will be launching a YouTube series and a podcast for it where I speak to fashion creatives, tech entrepreneurs, young CEO’s and TikTok influencers ahead of our digital festival on the 28th October.

Flora Macdonald Johnston Editor Financial Times against fireplace
What have you learnt from 2020, that you are happy to bring into 2021?

If 2020 taught us all anything, it is that life changes quickly. I feel I am able to adapt better now, and I also let go of negativity quicker. I take far more enjoyment in the small pleasures in life.

How can we boost our mood with clothing? How can we ‘up’ our style game while working at home?

Clothing is the quickest way to change your emotional state. Think colour, pattern and texture. Pops of colour like a fuchsia shirt under a navy jumper will instantly elevate a normal day look and add a little ‘joie de vivre’.

For work Zoom calls, adorn roll neck tops with interesting jewellery. Statement earrings or necklaces. Hairbands too are a great and simple way to add colour and keep your hair in check. Do not shy away from fun prints. I like to layer and colour clash mine, wear a printed silk shirt over a printed trouser or skirt. Clothing should be fun after all.

My top tip for when feeling a little low and sluggish - reach for the cashmere - or your cosiet jumper. Being comfortable is the best selfcare.

What is your favourite item from your Cefinn edit?

The Terence Wide Leg Trouser in Cream Camo Jacquard is chic and comfortable. I chose to wear mine with white trainers for a minimal look.

I also love the cut and colour of the Salone Asymmetric Peplum Maxi Skirt. The emerald green adds a fantastic dash of colour and due to its length - it is extremely versatile. Pair with a smart jumper when on a call, or a hoodie when relaxing. If you want to add a little edge, style it with some chunky black boots.

Flora Macdonald Johnston Editor Financial Times streetstyle walking
Three words you would use to describe your style?

Bold, colourful, ever-changing.

Three words you would use to describe Cefinn?

Versatile, clean cut, ageless.

Styling by Flora Macdonald Johnston @floramjohnston
Photography by Theo McIness @theomcinnes