Life as a Runway: How Etsy Employees Dress for the Office

by admin February 23, 2017 at 12:14 am

life as a runway

Imagine if you worked at the world’s largest stoop sale: How would you dress? That is the daily conundrum confronted by the young staff at Etsy’s loft headquarters in Dumbo, Brooklyn. On a recent Tuesday, amid a sea of handmade furniture, folksy artworks and vertical gardens irrigated by rainwater captured on the roof, eight Etsy employees showed us how they create their looks.

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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Kelsey Taylor Hunt

Age 30

Occupation Fashion merchandising manager

That is an enormous hat that you are wearing indoors.

I recently got it from an Etsy seller named Behida Dolic. She also has a shop up in Hudson where me and my husband have a house. She custom made it for me knowing I love black and white. 

Your phone case, which is large and pink, is just ridiculous.

It is secondhand. I got it on the RealReal. I saw it come through my feed and I could not stop laughing.  It’s fulfilling all my childhood Barbie dreams. And I can always find it in my purse.

Is this your everyday outfit?

My husband and I have worked here for a long time and our closets are either local designers in New York, or interesting shops we come across when we travel, or head-to-toe Etsy. Even my lipstick and deodorant is from Etsy.

That sounds borderline insufferable. 

We are so Etsy it’s insane. We drank the Kool-Aid.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Jennifer Hsieh

Age 26

Occupation Project and production manager

Lets talk about your jacket. It’s part varsity jacket, part Sailor Moon.

When I was younger I really liked Sailor Moon. I really liked the emphasis on being bored.

Are you bored here?

No, I appreciated the humor. It’s from Lazy Oaf. They’re known for having very eccentric style.

What have you layered underneath it?

It’s just a regular, striped boatneck shirt, from Gap.

And you’ve got crispy jeans on.

These are from Levi’s. One of my favorite labels for jeans because they’re super reliable and last for years.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Omar Ahmed

Age 24

Occupation Security engineer

It’s your job to keep the hackers out?

I keep the hackers out. And I do all the hacking as well.

You’ve got long hair.

I decided to stop cutting my hair a year and a half ago. It turned out that every man on my dad’s side of the family has had this type of phase.

Did they also dye it?

They did not. This was my sister’s idea. I get a lot of really positive comments on the subway, which is unusual. I’m not used to people talking to me. People will say it’s beautiful or ask if it’s natural or if they can touch it. It took some getting used to, but I almost always let people touch it.

That’s generous of you.

It’s like getting petted. It’s my only chance to be a puppy.

Those shoes. They’re reflective.

I had my eye on these shoes for a really long time. They were a limited release by Raf Simons, about four years ago. I found them secondhand on Grailed.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Dayna Isom Johnson

Age 32

Occupation Trend expert

What’s trending?

Oh so much. Tassel earrings. For spring, transparent fabrics and pattern mixing.

Tell me about those tassel earrings.

They’re from Etsy. Right now, I want it to feel like everything I picked up was from a different place, without actually traveling there. Looking very worldly, but cheating. These are Morocco.

Is that a jumpsuit, with cutouts?

It is. I like to buy clothes that I can wear year-round, and figure out how to layer and make it multipurpose. In the summer I’ll rock this with a little back out. In the winter, I’ve layered it with a cute little turtleneck and I’m good to go. It’s Zara.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Shadi Jurdi

Age 27

Occupation Staff editor

The neckerchief is very big right now.

This neckpiece is vintage. It’s from this really cool store down the street. I throw it on when I want to spice it up every now and again.

How did you learn to tie it?

I don’t even know if I’m tying it properly. I just did what I thought would look best.

I thought your pin was from the Salvation Army, but it says “Satanic Army.”

A Christmas present from my best friend, because I wear black all the time. It was a joke that I’m a witch.

How many witches are there at Etsy?

That’s a great question. There’s actually an email group that’s witches@Etsy. They’re definitely here.

Your boots look hand painted.

They are. They’re Margiela from their H&M collaboration a few years back.


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Etsy’s work area in Brooklyn.
CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Arpan Podduturi

Age 34

Occupation Project director

You’ve combined white with off-white. That’s not easy.

The jacket is from Snow Peak, they’re a Japanese  label that just opened up a store in SoHo.  I liked how rough it was, and the big pockets. It feels like a painter’s jacket.

You’ve got it on top of a classic white oxford, which you wear kind of wrinkled.

It’s just a J. Crew oxford. I like the slim fit. I buy from the factory. It’s a lot cheaper and I feel like the quality is just as good.

Where are your black jeans from?

Rag & Bone.

Are you loyal to Rag & Bone for denim?

I’m more loyal to a tailor. I like the stretch in these.  


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Brigette Muller

Age 29

Occupation: Social media specialist

Your job sounds very millennial and made-up.

Yeah, it is. It’s the best.

That dress. It’s blousy and flowing but you’ve given it some shape.

It’s from & Other Stories. If I could describe my style in one word it would be “feminine.” I’ve always been a dress and a skirt person. Anything that makes me feel like a goddess.  And when I tried this on, I was like, “I’m down.”

It’s ethereal.  Are you Athena or Aphrodite?

I think I’m my own type of goddess.

Your belt, it ties the whole thing together.

I love that, as you noted, it can transform the whole shape of an outfit. This is great because it’s stretchy, but hard metal on top.

And it’s gold, which is appropriate for a god.

Yes.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Elizabeth Carter

Age 27

Occupation Workplace operations specialist

Tell me about your look.

This is probably the most colorful I will ever be. I usually prefer to wear all black.

If we went back to your desk right now and turned on your Spotify, would Slayer be playing?

Probably, yeah.

And do you always prefer a higher waist jean?

They fit me a little better and it’s easier to tuck in the shirts. These are from Nordstrom rack. I’m not afraid of a sale.

What about your necklace?

This piece is from a store in Williamsburg called Species by the Thousands. It’s just a small, dainty piece. I don’t think I’ve taken it off a single day since I bought it three years ago.

And there’s a little pentagram on it. Hail Satan?

Um, yeah. This is a nice way to keep it professional but also stay true to myself.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Aaron Rodriguez

Age 25

Occupation Copywriter

You have a large amount of patches on your jean jacket.

So many. It all started with this pink pony patch. I paid $3 for it. I wanted more of them. I had to find a jacket to sew all these things on to.  

Where did you get the jacket?

Buffalo Exchange in Brooklyn. It’s Diesel. I wanted something that looked a little vintage, a little classic, not brand-new. It fit me surprisingly well because I’m a string bean.

I thought you were wearing a vintage tee and then I got closer and saw that it’s Carly Rae Jepsen.

I got this at her show at Webster Hall last year. Her album’s amazing. I could talk about her forever. Her music is so legitimately good.

What about this Dolly Pin?

That’s my tribute to Dolly Parton. Personal hero, as she is too pretty much every gay man on the planet. She’s flamboyant and fun and sparkles and glitter and that sums me up perfectly.


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CreditTawni Bannister for The New York Times

Randy Hunt

Age 34

Occupation Vice president for design

You look like a design monk.  

O.K., I’ll take that.

Tell me about this tunic.

It’s from an Etsy designer in Tel Aviv. This was something my wife had made for me with this crazy detail in the seam.  I like stuff that’s super minimal, comfortable and flexible and somehow rides a line between casual and dressed up.

Those are some pink sneakers.

They’re pink right now. They’ll age. They’re Hender Scheme, and they’re crafted like a pair of dress shoes.  The soles are leather as well.

Nice bag.

This is Miss Twiggy Smalls. The bag is from an Etsy seller named Love Thy Beast. It has a cutout for her face so she can look around while you’re in the subway.  


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