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Editorial style guide

Article structure

  • Titles: aim for a maxim of 60 characters. If using a quote in the title, use single quotation marks

  • Article length: Ideally between 200-500 words for a non-feature article or 500-1,500 words for a feature article.

  • H2 (or subheader): Include H2s for featured articles. The longer the article, the more H2s you should include.


For most articles, we can publish to all English speaking countries to expand our reach. So: UK,IE,IN,NZ,CA,COM. Exceptions to this would be if the news is hyper-local (a small brand opening a store somewhere) or news about a company that only operates in one market.

When publishing to UK, please always add IE as well.

Uploading to EXEC

EXEC news is corporate news usually found on a company’s Investor Relations page. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • All trading updates
  • All acquisitions/stake sales
  • All investments
  • All exec hires or exits
  • Anything else published to a company’s Investor Relations page

Because of the way FashionUnited was set up, uploading EXEC news is a little more tricky than regular news, but once you get the hang of it it can be done just as quickly.

The Editorial cheat sheet explains how we do it.


Please use double quotation marks for all quotes except for A) If it’s in a headline or H2 and B) For quotes within quotes. For these two exceptions, single quotation marks should be used here.

For anything that is not a quotation, for example, the names of collections, programmes, initiatives, exhibitions etc., single quotations should be used.

Quotation marks are formatted in different documents, so sometimes can appear as “” and other times as "". Please be consistent with the ones you use.

Quotation marks are not needed in a Q&A style interview. You can simply use H2 for the questions being asked and the paragraphs in between for the answers - the context of the introduction of the article should make it clear who is speaking.


Remember to always include the source of your news in an article, whether that be a rival publication, social media post, press release, press conference etc.

Please try to avoid referencing rival publications unless they have an exclusive story and/or you can’t find any more information by searching online or contacting the brand.

Please add your sources, such as the press release or link to another news publication, to your Trello card. This makes it easier for our other countries to pick up the news story, and also helps in the future if a brand asks us to change incorrect information, by allowing us to see exactly what the editor was using as a source.

Dates and numbers

Dates should be written in the following format April 10 2014, not 10 April 2014. No ordinal numbers so July 1 not July 1st; March 3, not March 3rd.

If the day you are writing about is in the current week, you can just use the day of the week. Eg: “…Nike announced on Monday”. If in the same year you can omit the year (because it’s already implied). So “In March…”

Write numbers 1-10 as digits, then numbers above that as numbers. So 9, 10, eleven, twelve, thirteen etc. The exception is units of measurement (5 kilograms and 9 kilometres), percentages (6 percent) and in titles (5 spring-summer 2021 trends).

Numbers over 1000 should have a comma, so 4,500, not 4500; 150,000, not 150000.

Try to round to the second decimal place, so 5.29 billion euros not 5,289 million euros. Convert thousands of millions to billions, so 5.29 billion euros not 5,289 million euros.

If a specific time is used, rather than just ‘“on Monday”, for example, include the timezone as we have a global audience. For example, “at 9pm GMT”.

Fashion seasons

In the body of the text please first use format spring/summer 2022 (no capitals), and then afterwards you can use abbreviated SS22 format. You can write either autumn/winter 2021 or fall/winter 2021 (US news should lean towards the former and UK news towards the latter)

For metakeys, we use FW22 and never AW22.


All percentages are written in figures (not %) Eg: 1 percent, not 1%

Other abbreviated terms should be written out Eg: Square feet (not sq ft), euros (not €), dollars (not $), pounds (not £), 400 euros (not Euro 400). For currency like Swedish kroner (SEK) and Swiss francs (CHF), first write out the words with the abbreviation in brackets. Thereafter you can use either the words or abbreviations.

When writing dollars in an article, we assume it is US dollars. If using any other type of dollar (Canadian/Australian etc.), specify the first time which type of dollar it is. You can then just write ‘dollar’ thereafter.

Also, note that currencies aren’t capitalised.

Brand/retailer/group names

At the beginning of the article (or at least once somewhere in the article) use the company’s full name, eg: VF Corporation, Yoox Net-a-Porter, British Fashion Council immediately followed by its abbreviation in brackets (VF Corp, YNAP, BFC). From then on, you can just use the abbreviation.

We almost never use full capitalised names for brands, even though many write their own names like that. Even most acronyms (Asos, Cos, Adidas) we do not capitalise. The exception to this is when the acronym is spelling out a name (LVMH, SMCP)

Although we usually write ‘and’ instead of &, if it appears in a name of a company and therefore is part of their trademark, then it is kept the same (Marks & Spencer, Ralph & Russo)

Brands/companies and groups are always singular. So “LVMH has decided” not “LVMH have decided”; “H&M launches” not “H&M launch”


In line with a growing number of news platforms, we are now capitalising the “b” in the term “Black” when referring to people of African descent. We already do this for other proper pronouns like Asian, Hispanic, Latino, African American and Native American. The lowercase “black” just refers just to colour, not people.

Job titles

Job titles should not be capitalised. So “creative director”, not “Creative Director”; “chief financial officer”, not “Chief Financial Officer”.

Exceptions are for acronyms so ‘CEO’, not ‘ceo”; “CFO” not “cfo”.

For SEO and readability reasons, try to alternate between terms like “CEO” and “chief executive officer” in an article if the term is repeated often. Writing the full title out is particularly relevant if there are multiple C-level changes discussed in one article.

Country names

In articles, please write “UK” and “US” not “U.K” and “U.S.”

Photo credits

Write credit as “Image: _____” In the space, add the company you’ve received the photo from eg: “Image: Nike”. If you got it from social media, include that too eg: “Image: Nike, Facebook”.

Add more info to photo credit if it makes things clearer, for example, if it is of a particular collection/event/person and you want to make that clear eg: “Image: Nike CEO John Donahoe, courtesy of Nike”.

Reporting on sustainability and avoiding greenwashing

As sustainability plays an increasingly important role in the fashion industry, we have to be careful to report on fashion companies’ actions and pledges accurately and objectively. If not, we risk simply repeating and amplifying their greenwashing.

Below are some things to look out for when reading companies’ sustainability claims, and how to be more critical about them:

Vegan fashion: Just because something doesn’t use animal-derived materials doesn’t mean it is more sustainable. Is it made up of harmful plastic-based materials, for example? Is it a product that would not normally include animal-derived materials anyway, and so ‘vegan’ is being added as a superfluous buzzword?

Biodegradable fashion: A brand saying something is simply ‘biodegradable’ is very vague. Technically, just about everything is biodegradable. How long does it take to biodegrade? Does it release harmful micro-plastics into the environment when it does? Has the company measured the biodegradability itself or has it been verified by a third-party company?

Recycled fashion: Saying something is simply recycled, or contains recycled materials, is very vague. What composition of a particular item is recycled? What is it recycled from? Is it verified by the Global Recycled Standard (GRS)?

Context, context, context:

When covering sustainability in general, a good way to cover news without amplifying greenwashing efforts by a company is to simply provide more context. For example, you might report that a fast-fashion brand has released a ‘sustainable’ or ‘conscious’ collection, but you can also mention that this likely only comprises a tiny fraction of their complete range, and you might also mention that the company has a poor history of churning out a lot of fashion and being a big part of the problem.


Fashion companies lend support to their sustainability claims when backing them up with certification. Some of the main sustainability certificates include Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), B Corp, Bluesign, Canopy, Cradle to Cradle (C2C), Ecocert, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Peta, Fairtrade International, Global Recycle Standard (GRS), Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC), and Oeko-Tex.

Note: While having certification is a positive sign, the process can also be expensive, so a lack of certification, especially for smaller brands with tighter budgets, might not necessarily equate to greenwashing.

Low hanging fruit:

Be sceptical of ‘easy wins’ for fashion brands when it comes to sustainability actions. Sustainable packaging is an example of something we are seeing brands of all sizes introduce. Sure, it’s a small positive, but it will hardly offset the damage they are causing.

Similarly, many brands are announcing carbon offsetting initiatives at their headquarters. While a step in the right direction, their headquarters are often a tiny fraction of the energy emissions created across their entire supply chain.

While we can cover this news, mentioning that their efforts only mark a minor benefit in the grand scheme of things paints a more accurate and honest picture for our readers.

Vague, flowery language:

Brands love to use flowery phrases like “earth-friendly”, “saving the planet”, “protecting the environment”, “natural”, “eco”, “eco-friendly”, “organic”, “green”, “our most sustainable collection to date”. Without context these statements could mean anything, so we should be sceptical about what they actually mean by them. Do they qualify any of those statements by saying why they use those adjectives? If not, we can leave it out. Where possible, try to use the words “more sustainable” rather than “sustainable” if their claim isn’t objectively verifiable.

When in doubt, use quotation marks:

If brands use language or claims that they don’t back up, but you still think it is important to use in the article, then it is a good idea to use quotation marks to make it clear that FashionUnited is not stating their claims as fact, but simply quoting them. Quotation marks used in this way put the burden of pressure on the brand and can even imply some degree of scepticism about the claim in the article.

Claims such as a “100 percent sustainable collection” and “our most sustainable collection to date” mean nothing without context. In the first example, we don’t know what the company’s definition of “sustainable” really is. For the second example, being the “most sustainable collection to date” still doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sustainable. By including speech marks we are making it clear that those are their words, and haven’t been verified by FashionUnited.

Asking companies for more information:

To avoid simply copying brands’ ambiguous sustainability claims we should ask follow up questions. If companies offer limited information, or don’t provide further clarification, mention that in the article.


Please use a max of five metakeys per article.

We are really trying to tidy up metakeys, which means making sure we are not adding unnecessary ones, and making sure the ones we do use are correct.

We have created a list later in this style guide to highlight some of the most used metakeys. If unsure what a metakey should be (eg. sustainability or sustainable fashion?), please check this document. If it’s not there and you think it’s an important one, please flag it to Huw so it can be added to the document.

We currently have many superfluous metakeys, so please ask yourself if it’s really necessary before adding. For example, names of people are interesting if it’s a big figure in the industry who is likely to come up several times in our articles (eg. Big designer or CEO). But if it’s a celebrity doing a one-off collab or a new board member, a whole tag page isn’t necessary.

Style Guidelines - FashionUnited’s Voice

Please keep in mind that you are writing for FashionUnited and its readers, so your tone of voice within your articles should be neutral and not overly biased (unless writing an opinion piece, which should be made clear it is such).

We do not include links to third-party pages - this also applies to appeals for donations, charitable campaigns, etc.

Remember that the content we publish should reflect what our readers (industry insiders and professionals - not consumers) want to read and what they need to know.

We are not a PR agency and do not write over-the-top marketing pieces for brands and designers, no matter how much we may like them (or dislike them).

Be extra careful in this day and age about the word ‘sustainable’ and what that means. A brand’s ‘most sustainable collection to date’ is not necessarily sustainable at all. If they make these claims, make it clear that this is what they are saying, or justify why it is actually sustainable.

Choose your words carefully when writing and avoid using overly descriptive adjectives or ‘colourful language.’ Although you may want to use many expressive terms when writing about a collection/style/individual etc keep in mind it needs to fit within FashionUnited overall tone of voice.

Stick to conveying the relevant facts and information within your articles and try not to go off too much of a tangent. Remember to remain with your subject matter.

Although it may be tempting to write in a particular manner for your individual country, keep in mind FashionUnited has a wider audience on all its platforms.

Spelling differences between US and UK are not too important, as we have an international audience, but if a story is about a US brand, then it makes sense to use US spelling. The most important thing is to be consistent within an article.

When writing Opinion pieces try to make sure that your viewpoints are constructive and not overly negative or positive. (Good example: D&G: When a fashion statement goes wrong)

Feel free to inject more of yourself and your personal writing style in Opinion articles, but try to keep in mind that the article’s tone of voice should still be in line with FashionUnited’s tone of voice. It should not be overly casually or too business-focused, but still convey your thoughts and opinions in a clear, cohesive manner.

When writing a personal or opinion piece you may be tempted to use the word ‘I’. Please try to use this sparingly and only when relevant to the article in question. Try not to use ‘I’ to share your thoughts eg ‘I think H&M sucks’ but use it when sharing an anecdote or story that is relevant to the article and helps the reader relate or understand your point of view better.

When writing Interviews choose carefully what information or quotes need to be included and what can be left out. Feel free to edit certain quotes to an extent for your article, but do not rewrite what others have said to suit your purposes as the content must remain true to the speaker.

Vocabulary/common spelling mistakes

FashionUnited not Fashion United or FU
London-based not London based
FashionUnited not Fashion United
Line-up not lineup
Brick and mortar not brick-and-mortar
High street not high-street or High Street
Direct-to-consumer not direct to consumer or Direct To Consumer
Trade show not tradeshow or trade-show
Trade fair not tradefair or trade-fair
Covid-19 not COVID-19
E-commerce not ecommerce or eCommerce
Fast fashion not fast-fashion
Second-hand fashion or pre-loved not secondhand fashion or second hand fashion
Womenswear/menswear/kidswear not women’s wear/men’s wear kid’s wear
Omnichannel not omni-channel Buy now, pay later or BNPL not buy-now-pay-later Click and collect not click-and-collect or click & collect (Not to be confused with Collect+ - this is a brand)
Prêt-à-porter not pret-a-porter
Ready-to-wear not ready to wear or RTW
EBITDA not ebitda dollar, euro, pound not Dollar, Euro, Pound Marks & Spencer not Marks and Spencer or Marks & Spencers or M&S Asos not ASOS Dr Martens not Dr. Martens Lands’ End not Land’s End Adidas **not ** adidas Allsaints not All Saints ISawItFirst not I Saw It First Foot Locker not FootLocker Missguided not Miss Guided Pull & Bear not Pull&Bear or Pull and Bear ThredUp not Thred Up JD Sports not JD Sport Sports Direct not Sport Direct Frasers Group not Fraser Group Loungewear not lounge wear Officewear *not *office wear Ralph & Russo not Ralph and Russo Brick and click not Brick-and-click E-tail not etail Flash sale not flash-sale Pop-up not Pop up Square metre not sqm
Square foot not sqft
Billion not bn Million not mn Percentage points not ptts And not & Point-of-sale not point of sale Showroom not show room T-shirt not t shirt Gen Z not Gen-Z 90s not 90’s
1990s not 1990’s
Resale not re-sale
Lifestyle not life style Hanger not hangar Harrods not Harrod’s Sainsbury’s not Sainsburys Boots not Boot’s Clarks not Clark’s
Year-on-year Colourway Millennial
Baby boomer On-trend

Common Metakeys


Fast fashion


High street
Retail park
Store opening
Pop-up (not pop-up store)
Social shopping
Mobile shopping
Buy now pay later


Athleisure Activewear
Second-hand Bridal Beauty


Sustainable fashion
Recycled fashion
Circular fashion
Second-hand fashion

Fashion seasons:

SS22, FW22 and not spring/summer 2022, fall/winter 2022. ALWAYS use FW22 and not AW22 (even though you can write autumn/winter in articles, we just want to keep metakeys to one page).

Fashion Weeks:

General metakeys = Fashion week, Catwalk season, womenswearcatwalkseason,menswear, Couture week, Resort

London Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week
Milan Fashion Week

For specific fashion weeks please do not add the year.


Digital fashion


Next gen materials Influencer Labels to watch
Coronavirus (not Covid-19)
Workers rights
Supply Chain
Trends Fashion education
African fashion