Constance White, the ever poised and witty Style Director for eBay, definitely knows a thing or two about fashion and we were beyond thrilled to interview her for this month’s edition of “The Questions.” Read on to get this industry veteran’s take on what’s now, new and next in fashion.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in fashion journalism?
When I graduated from college, my twin loves were music and fashion and I didn’t want to leave NYC, if I could avoid it. I applied to both WWD and Billboard for jobs. WWD called me first, thank goodness, or I might now be writing about Amy Winehouse’s derivative music, instead of her influential eye makeup.
Q: What do you feel has been the key to your success?
Focus, faith in myself, faith in Jah, love of what I do, and being open to assistance, which is another way of saying “humility.”
Q: eBay has revolutionized the way people shop on-line. Tell us a bit about your role as Style Director for the site.
eBay is the most visited fashion site on the Internet, according to NET/Nielsen ratings. What I do is ensure that it continues to remain that way. My job is to remind shoppers looking for great fashion to think about and come to eBay. I do that in a number of ways, including educating the public about shopping on eBay and fashion trends. I also create style content (see our new INsider blog here) for eBay. Further, I recommend and develop strategic alliances (most recently, 7th on Sale) in the area of style. I also serve as eBay’s spokesperson on style and develop TV segments where we showcase great eBay fashion finds.
Q: As an industry veteran do you ever feel like you’ve seen it all? What still excites you about the business?
I don’t ever feel like I’ve seen it all; but I have seen a hell of a lot. I live and breathe by the hope that on any given day, I’m potentially going to see something new. I’m always excited about seeing a new fashion talent develop, whether it’s a designer with a fresh eye or an editor of a magazine who is making pages pop. Now there are so many new and exciting things happening on the Internet, as talent gravitates toward that medium.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
Q: Do you have any personal style heroes or icons?
Love Diana Ross, Nina Simone, Rita Marley, and Tina Chow. I love men who are stylish and take some chances, because men in their suits can be so boring sometimes.
Q: What do you feel is the next big trend in fashion?
If you mean on a macro level, I’m not sure what it will be, but it has to be something futuristic because right now we are in the middle of a huge fashion redux where designers are recycling every era.
Q: Are there any designers, established or emerging, that you are particularly impressed with?
My list, while not complete, includes: Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicolas GhesquiÃ¨re, Alexander McQueen, Stephen Burrows. Proenza Schouler, Jean Colonna, Lola Faturoti. For newer designers, I’m watching Chris Benz and Duro Olowu.
Q: I read a past interview where you said, “There’s still a prejudice and a lack of sophistication about seeing a black person as a gatekeeper of style.” Do you still feel that this is true?
I have four words for you: LeBron James Vogue cover.
Q: What (if anything) do you think can be done to effect the lack of diversity on the runway or in the industry period?
More diversity behind the scenes will help. In addition, as the world goes, so does the fashion industry. As diversity becomes a way of life generally, e.g. a female president or a Black president, it will impact fashion too.
Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for others who want to pursue a career in fashion?
Be focused, network, get advice from everybody, get educated—not only formally, but learn the language of fashion, be open.