Find me at Quartz or: How I learned to stop worrying and work for someone else

by Jenni Avins on September 27, 2014

Day one.


Hi there. I’ve been totally remiss in updating Closettour, which you may know is because I started a new job at Quartz. It’s my first full-time position since I started this site, and began working as a freelancer in 2008. Quartz, if you’re not familiar, is the Atlantic Media’s standalone global business site. I was hired as a lifestyle reporter there, but editors at Quartz encourage reporters to turn their interests into beats. So naturally, a lot of my coverage falls into the category of clothing.

Actually, a lot of it would fit right in here at Closettour, which is part of why I took the job. It’s also why I haven’t been updating this site—many of my posts and ideas have a home now at Quartz. I haven’t quite worked out what that means for Closettour. Should I simply post a link here too? Cross-post? Update this site every month or so with links to my Quartz stories that may be of interest? I’m really not sure, and I’m open to suggestions.

For now, you’ll find a handful (and fraction) of my recent pieces for Quartz listed below. The first one, an interactive exploration of the fashion community on Instagram, is an example of another great reason for going there: the team.

One of my favorite projects here at Closettour was Sweden.closettour, an interactive, multimedia story (created in anticipation of the iPad) about searching for sustainable fashion in Sweden. It allowed me to work with fiercely intelligent, creative, and generous innovators. (Also, fun!) The money for that project, and for the webisode series that followed, came from grant funding I won at the CUNY J-school, which—speaking of sustainability—eventually ran out. People need to get paid, so those independent projects became calling cards that led to our separate freelance jobs and projects. (One of them, Lina Plioplyte’s Advanced Style documentary, opens in New York this weekend!) I loved the teamwork, and the excitement of building something from scratch.

At Quartz, I found a team of similarly curious and talented journalists, designers, and developers equally excited about finding the best ways to tell stories online. It’s energizing to work alongside them and, increasingly, with them on projects like that interactive Instagram map.

I obviously did not make this thing myself.

Also! What did I wear to my first day at Quartz? It was a sunny day in early May, and I wore a midi-length sleeveless dress from Esprit that belonged to my older sister in the nineties. (She may have even worn it to a first day of high school.) It has beetles printed all over it, and in my family we just call it “the bug dress.” On top, I tied a black crepe Steven Alan button-down at my midriff, and on my feet I wore vintage navy and white Ferragamo loafers purchased at Byrd, a consignment shop near my mom’s house in St. Louis. I suck at selfies, so I had a tourist in Union Square take a quick picture on my way to work that morning. (Blurry, above.) I was so excited, and I still am.

Here are some of the things I’ve worked on at Quartz since then:

Explore the hidden patterns of the fashion Instagram universe

Why caring about style doesn’t make you shallow

Gender-bending, torso-triangles, Amish ninjas, and seven other things that made us think at New York Fashion Week

How to build a startup that keeps you going for a lifetime

The woman who may be Brazil’s next president has an unusual beauty hack

A British investment firm owns the Dutch company that printed the Indian design on the African dress for the US vice-president’s wife

Factory safety is improving in Bangladesh—but it still takes three months to get a new fire door

You can find my author archive here.

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