The Duo Behind Fashion Tech Connects Shares Their Strategy for Tackling the Issue of Inclusion in the Industry
Read all about their new partnership with Coveteur.
Buyers, editors, designers—these are often the buzzier job titles of the fashion industry, the ones that little girls and boys write on the slot for “dream job” in elementary school. But for every buyer, there is an e-commerce specialist coordinating the site, for every editor, a data analyst managing traffic statistics. These behind-the-scenes roles are high-power jobs that, as the digital sphere continues to expand, will evolve exponentially over time. They are also rarely filled by women of color.
That’s where Stephanie Horton and Stacie Henderson come in. The two fashion industry veterans have stacked résumés, to say the least. Horton’s includes stints at Vogue, The New York Times, Alexander Wang, and Google. After a stint in consumer goods followed by an MBA, Stacie Henderson then shifted into fashion, working in marketing across multiple continents at companies including Ferragamo, Versace, and The Communications Store. Horton worked in tech positions disguised by companies known for their fashion like Farfetch and Shopbop, while Henderson watched firsthand as the whole marketing sector unprecedentedly shifted into the digital sphere.
Bonding over mutual interests (and mutual concerns), the two became fast friends and decided to launch Fashion Tech Connects. Founded in response to the overwhelming lack of racial diversity in the industry—one that is based heavily on connections, creating significant barriers to entry—the program focuses on placing young women of color at the college age in tech-focused internships within the fashion industry.
While they both have incredible careers, they began with internships that got their feet in the door. “I think it was a major part of building my confidence, at least in the workplace, and having that feeling like You know what, I really belong here and it's not a fluke. I have the skills to be here,” says Horton.
“These internships will help prepare for those roles that will be needed even more in the future,” adds Henderson. As part of this, we at Coveteur are extremely proud to join forces with the incredibly powerful duo behind FTC to offer multiple internship and fellowship opportunities (applications available here).
How do you start your days?
Stephanie Horton: “Workout—Tracey Anderson or yoga. Also, a quick read of BOF, WWD, NYT, FT, WSJ, and South China Morning Post so that I am armed with any new info I may need to react to immediately."
Stacie Henderson: “I start with a quick read of industry newspapers and answer any emails from the Italian office.
“I typically work out six days a week. I usually run or do an online boot camp, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of meditation. I then like to listen to a podcast (I’m obsessed with the School of Greatness and Harvard Business Review Ideacast). I prepare breakfast for the kids, make sure they are all set for school. Since our HQ is in Italy, I try to do a day or two with early-morning calls with the team.”
Are you back in the office, or working remotely from home?
Henderson: “Both. I am in the office a couple of days a week.”
What are the most critical things needed for creativity and to survive a workday?
Horton: “Creating things to break up the monotony. My new in-home garden has allowed me to focus on trying different herbs to grow. Also, being able to switch gears and work on Fashion Tech Connects breaks up the day.”
Henderson: “Select times to respond to email. Dedicating time to think about long-term projects/industry friction points. When I was working 100 percent remote, I would sometimes go for a run (even for a mile) if I was stuck with trying to solve a problem or get my creative juices going.”
How do you foresee this time impacting your industry?
Horton: “This time is forcing all industries to evolve in ways that will be in place long after the pandemic/these crises have passed, but I think the result will be better offers and services for customers.”
Henderson: “It is allowing companies to really understand and listen to who their consumers are. It is also allowing companies to be bolder and try new things they might have not previously considered. Lastly, it has pushed companies to work faster and realize how much they can accomplish in a short period of time.”
Tell us a little bit about your style right now. What’s your go-to uniform?
Horton: “Relaxed but still try to get dressed. Lots of sweater dresses and knit separates.”
Are there any beauty products essential to your day-to-day?
Horton: “Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum.”
Henderson: “YES, I love Clinique’s nude lipsticks. I never wore nude lipsticks until I tried theirs and finally am a believer. Dr. Ingleton launched an incredible line of products last year. I love the moisturizer and the serum. One Ocean has this amazing cleanser (Purifying Ocean Mist Cleanser) that I use daily. Lastly, I started to use Trestique’s Essential Mix and really like their products. Easy to use and perfect for touch-ups right before a Zoom call.”
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Horton: “A glass of wine and lots of candles.”
Henderson: “I love to eat dinner with my family without screens or the TV on. Just turn on Apple Music’s pure jazz and talk. Well, at least we try.”
Photos: Courtesy of Stephanie Horton and Stacie Henderson
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