Introducing Ebony, Free People’s Assistant Web Art Director and in-house style expert… we bet you’ll be as smitten with her as we are.
This post comes from our Junior Art Director, Stephanie!
Describe your position at Free People.
I am the Assistant Web Art Director and my job is to concept and orchestrate the web sets every day. I work with a photographer, digital tech, and stylist to carry out each collection daily. I’m responsible for providing hair and makeup direction as well as the overall vibe and mood. I assist the stylist to make sure the collection looks cohesive, brand appropriate, and stylistically pushing the brand forward.
As a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a ballerina! I was a professional ballet dancer for 18 years, then I decided to give it up and study fashion. My mom was a bit like “where did this come from?!” since I was always in dance school. As a kid I was always into acting, dancing, and performing. I guess I am still somewhat of a performer since I present and showcase things in a visual way. But ballet was always my dream!
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part is collaborating with so many different teams. It’s great to work with such different types of people with the same end goal. I work with the graphics team, merchandising, buyers, numerical people, everyone! As a creative person I love working with such different minds. The great thing about Free People is that everyone touches the product no matter what department you are in.
What is the hardest part?
My favorite part is also the hardest part! It is sometimes difficult to work with so many different people and try to make sure everyone is on the same page. It can be challenging at times but communication is key. We work in such a fast paced environment but we have to keep up and push everything forward with so much product. We launch hundreds of products every week so its tough to keep abreast on what’s current and push the product offering forward to engage all of our international FP customers. The more communication, the more everyone can be on the same page.
What are some misconceptions about your job?
That it’s always very glamorous! It is not! There are long hours and a lot of work behind everything. When we showcase a lookbook or collection, it always looks so visually great but there’s a lot that goes into it. Sometimes there are last minute products, sometimes you have to push forward a message or pull it back, or something you originally concepted is totally different when the product arrives. People often think we just put clothing on models and make them look pretty but there is really a business to protect and styles to stand by. At the end of the day we are a business that sells product so it’s really not just about prettiness, there’s so much that goes into it to make it work.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would like to say it’s quite polished. I tend to stick to black, white, and an overall neutral palette. I’m still in a London mindset so I’m always wearing black. I don’t embrace summer very well because I’m not used to having a real summer! I just use my jeans and my shirt as my summer uniform. Fall is my favorite time of year for sure so I’m excited for it to get a bit colder. I like investment pieces that work no matter what. Obviously we all buy into trends but I tend to buy things I just love no matter what. I make sure it fits into my closet because it’s quite edited!
Where have you lived and how have those places affected your personal style?
Prior to being in Philadelphia I was in London! Since the seasons aren’t very true in London, I definitely learned how to layer. I wear comfortable boots and shoes and always carry an umbrella. I also layer just incase there is freakish weather (you can always take something off or add something on). There’s such great street style in London and every area is completely different so you can’t help but be inspired. It makes you always want to shop so coming to Philly was nice because I could have a curated wardrobe. London is such an exciting place that you get involved in street culture and festivals and parties. You just want to be involved in it all.
I lived in New York in 2005. I was very inspired by street style there too. I was a lot younger and just starting out so I was eager to pick up on different trends…didn’t necessarily have the financial backing for those kind of things haha…so I would be creative with thrift store finds! But I love that every part of New York is so different and you’re excited by what real people are wearing.
What is the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up?
FaceTime my mum! Every morning without fail!
What piece in your closet can you not live without?
My Acne leather jacket. I bought it in Philly when I first moved…its kind of battered now since I’ve worn it through everything. But it’s definitely my go-to piece.
What styling trick should every girl know?
Always wear the right undies for your clothes! Also – always carry a mini lint roller and safety pins just in case!