CLOSETTOUR is maintained by Jenni Avins, who has spent a good deal of her life and career wondering what to wear.
Armed with an undergraduate degree in Global Studies, an outrageous year in South America, and a deep appreciation for all things fashion-related, Jenni moved to New York in 2003 to start studying how clothing makes it way to the market.
First she learned about logistics at Casabella, a housewares design company, where she landed containers in New Jersey and helped develop a collection for Cynthia Rowley‘s Target line. Then, she pounded the pavement of New York City’s garment district as a design and production assistant for luxury womenswear designer Cynthia Rose, who makes the vast majority of her collection in Manhattan.
While working for Cynthia in 2005, Jenni read an article about Bono and Ali Hewson’s clothing line, Edun, committed to carrying “the stories of the people who make our clothes,” and thought, that’s for me. She wrote to Mrs. Hewson and told her as much, but as one might imagine, Bono’s wife is not an easy lady to get in touch with. Jenni kept at it, eventually ambushing Rogan Gregory, then Edun’s design director, in his Tribeca showroom. At the time, Edun was but a side project for Gregory and his team, already well underway on their Rogan and (organic) Loomstate lines.
But they kept in touch with Jenni, and when the time came to form a team for Edun, they asked her to bring her Spanish-language skills to manage the production of their tee shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters, made mostly in Peru. She happily obliged.
On Edun’s behalf, Jenni worked with factories, printing houses, and yarn mills throughout Peru and Madagascar. She took notes all the while, not just about the concrete details of production, but about the people and places she met along the way.
Some of these notes made their way into magazines, and after a year and a half, Jenni’s desire to make stories overtook her desire to make clothing, and she decided to pursue a graduate degree in journalism. After a few months at her brother-in-law’s merino (yes, like the sweaters) sheep farm in New Zealand, and a summer spent as a design consultant–shopping Brazil’s markets on a handbag designer’s behalf, Jenni began classes at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism–just across the street from her old office in the garment district.
In addition to writing about herself in the third person, Jenni also writes about art, travel, food, and fashion for publications like Dossier, Vanity Fair.com, and New York Magazine. She was voted Best Dressed by her high school senior class, and more recently, was awarded a McCormick Foundation grant from Jeff Jarvis‘ Entrepreneurial Journalism Class, to pursue long-form multimedia stories that unlock the wonder in what we wear.
CLOSETTOUR is the culmination of all these experiences, a place where Jenni trains her curious eye (and newly minted multimedia training) on our collective closets; to serve as your tour guide, to voraciously travel, try on, investigate, and document, all in the name of figuring out WHAT TO WEAR.
Please leave your comments or get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org!