When our fearless leader Verena hired me to work at Styleite, she told me she wanted me on the team because I was “in fashion, but not of fashion.” Almost two years later, on my final day with the site, I think I finally understand what she meant.
Styleite’s mission from the very beginning has been to do something for everyone — from those who are obsessed with glossy editorials and women’s rights to others who think the intricacies of the legal volleys between fighting fashion companies are the most interesting things in the world. That’s what attracted me to apply to be an intern here, and that’s why I so readily volunteered for tasks like standing across the street from Anna Wintour‘s house when President Obama went to a fundraising dinner there in 2010, to squishing myself into the photographer’s pit during last September’s Diesel Black Gold show after a hurried (and exhilarating) interview with former French Vogue editrix Carine Roitfeld.
Those kinds of opportunities are unparalleled — but so is the freedom this site has given me to say meaningful things about the fashion industry and the world. When other sites started calling Alexander Wang‘s $300+ tank tops “affordable”, I was given a long leash to shoot that notion down. When the Gap changed its iconic logo, I ranted right along with the rest of the Internet until they changed it back. And when Nivea had the audacity to tell Black men to be more civilized and cut their hair, I got more than a little angry — and my indignation turned into one of our most liked and commented posts.
Being in fashion and not of fashion means being able to see past all the pretty fabrics and beautiful people involved in this industry and into the heart of how what they create impacts our world. And while we aren’t exactly developing an alternative to fossil fuels behind the scenes during Fashion Week, we can create just as much change as politicians and scientists and humanitarians. One need look no further than designer Donna Karan and model Coco Rocha‘s efforts to rebuild Haiti, or Diane von Furstenberg‘s continuing efforts to empower women with her brand’s message and expert tailoring, for proof of that. (I like to think that my Black History Month series, which you can read here, fits somewhere in the same vein.)
That’s the side of fashion that I love, and that’s what working with Verena and Julia has given me the license to discover. As sad as I am to leave them, I take solace knowing that they’re going to keep fighting the good fight after I’m gone. It also helps that I’m leaving to be an editor at Fashionologie, a site we’ve always admired for its dedication to the same hard-core fashion enthusiasts who read Styleite, too.
But no matter where I am, I will always be thankful to this place for fostering my talent, for teaching me how the Internet works and, most importantly, for giving people like me a voice in the fashion world.