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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Breaking into Fashion: Constance White

Happy Thursday Fashion Bombers!
Next in our 'Breaking into Fashion' series is none other than eBay Style Director...
...Constance White!
In charge of forecasting trends, promoting eBay’s Fashion offerings to consumers and advising eBay on fashion-related strategy, Constance is one of the country’s most respected fashion experts and frequently appears as a commentator on the 'Today' show and 'Entertainment Tonight.'
You might not know this, but Constance actually started her career in publishing, holding posts as a style reporter at The New York Times, executive fashion editor at Elle, and associate sportswear editor at Women's Wear Daily. She also wrote "Style Noir,"(1998) arguably the most comprehensive fashion book on the history of black designers, models, and trends (secret, I used it as a source for my Black History Month series--it's a must read!).
She was kind enough to interview with The Fashion Bomb and tell all you aspiring journalists how to get your Manolo Blahnik in the door!
She says, "The advice starts off the same for everyone: get a degree, read everything you can about fashion, and intern! Interning is learning and networking and it is an unbeatable combination! This may include working with a designer, working at a newspaper or magazine or working in retail."
Can't afford to take on a non-paying internship? "Look around for college programs that will help you afford a non-paying internship," she advises, " If you’re older, work at a retail fashion store or work for money at night or on the weekends to allow you to work for free during the day (even if it’s just for a summer)."
If you want to distinguish yourself, "Working at Women's Wear Daily and doing well there is one way," she says, " Some others include breaking stories at a newspaper...you can also embrace and make a name in celebrity style, which is a relatively new route, and also work for someone or somewhere that is well regarded."
For women of color, she has this pointed piece of advice, "Get out of your comfort zone or discomfort zone – and meet all kinds of people. Don’t allow yourself to be defined in a straight jacket. Related to this is – be aware of how you dress, how you wear your hair. What’s fashionable to your friends or immediate circle may not be “fashionable” in the job you aspire to."

Sound advice!
If you want to keep track of Constance, check out her blog on E-Bay ( http://blogs.ebay.com/constance.white). And I had to ask. Any plans on updating 'Style Noir'? "I may write another book," she says, "only when I can pause and scratch my nose."
Looking forward to it!
Smootches!
Fashion, News, and What Nots
*I'm working on 'Breaking into Fashion' requests for event planners, photographers, makeup artists, and hair stylists. Anything missing? And if you're looking to become a buyer, stylist, publicist, and more read the Breaking into Fashion Archive here.
*Thanks to Muse Magazine and Steal Style for pics!
*So the cover of Vogue's April issue already has tongues wagging. Can you tell why?
Click to EnlargeI can see the point, but are we going to take issue with everything? Robin Givhan of the Washington Post says, "The whole LeBron thing really comes down to … maybe Vogue should have more people of color on their cover, male and female...Maybe then they won’t be so scrutinized when they do put a person of color on their cover.” Good point, but devil's advocate: Can we deny the blatant consistency with historical images? Did Vogue consult anyone before going with this cover? Should we assume that they really don't know better? If not, why? These are intelligent people here. Read more in this article. [ABC News]
*Thanks to Coutorture for the shout out!

8 comments:

Safera said...

Constance White is beautiful, sophisticated and exudes confidence. I love her hair and her fashion sense thanks for featuring her Claire.

Girl-Woman said...

Constance is beautiful, as well as your post.

Anonymous said...

Where was Andre Leon Tally when the cover photo for Vogue was being decided?

Wadami said...

I can't believe they are trying to make this Vogue cover thing a race issue... not cool!

This is such a fun cover, a bit cliche...but nowhere near racist!!

Anonymous said...

I'm torn--really.
Not everything is about race, but then again everything is about race. Perhaps the cover director had this image in his head, subconsciously, that might've been totally innocent. THEN AGAIN, in this age when we can't elect a President without discussing race, I feel that everyone needs to be more sensitive about images and what they signify.

a photo historian said...

Givhan's comment makes no sense. Black rappers put out a constant stream of questionable images of black women in videos and thinking people scrutinize them all--it's the overall lack of balance in representation that is the issue. It has nothing to do with whether Vogue puts more people of color on their covers but rather with how each individual image communicates. It's a cliche, but truly, if you don't know your past you don't know your future.

Charlé said...

I love Constance White! Have for a while now. Thanks for this post!

As for that cover... We cannot underestimate the power of an image. We also cannot excuse the wherewithal of the team behind producing such an image. These people are creators of popular culture. They are well aware of American history and the atrocities of racism. Their ivy league educations and their degrees in marketing, publishing, art & design, etc. have exposed them to media representation and art history. That cover is not a product of coincidence. It is intentional and deliberate. I am beyond disappointed.

hills said...

yeah, i'm offended. wintour knows but probably assumed that our collective "offense" wouldn't result in any great fanfare so she said forget it. someone break out the uncle ben's, aunt jemima and venus hottentot and let's really get this thing cracking...the image also reminds me of the charles barkely ESPN magazine (?) cover with him in torn robes and chains like he was breaking free from slavery. no thanks.

www.parlourmagazine.com