Award-winning journalist and brand consultant, Constance C.R. White’s new book, “How To Slay: Inspiration From The Queens and Kings of Black Style,” offers a lavishly illustrated overview of African-American style through the 20th century, focusing on the last 35 years.
Gazelle: How did you get into the fashion business?
White: I applied for a job at Women’s Wear Daily, got it, and once I started working there as a trainee, I was hooked. It was a great opportunity to learn and to work with wonderful colleagues and bosses.
Gazelle: What is the biggest challenge you have experienced as a woman in fashion and media?
White: In fashion, you can see how male designers are given more help, support and acknowledgement than women, and that’s frustrating. Even though I am not a designer, I feel for them. In media there is a bit more parity among men and women in fashion, but outside of fashion, there is less equality. Your boss of bosses is much more likely to be male.
Gazelle: You have reinvented yourself several times throughout your career. What keeps you going?
White:I really love fashion. I’m really curious about what’s next and what makes people tick, and that constantly spurs me forward to learn and do more.
Gazelle: What inspired the book?
White: The book was birthed from the idea that the contributions of African-Americans to our style and fashion would make a beautiful coffee table book. I also want to share information.
Gazelle: What are you hoping people get from it?
White: First, I hope people put “Hot To Slay” on their coffee tables and enjoy it. I believe in the power of beauty in all its forms, and it’s a beautiful book. Secondly, I hope people get a sense of the history and our shared history and culture at a time when there’s so much divisiveness.
Gazelle: How would you describe your personal style?
White: Minimal classic with an avant-garde twist.
Gazelle: First celebrity you worked with?
White:Rita Marley or LL Cool J
Gazelle: Favorite restaurant anywhere in the world?
White:That’s hard. I have a few, including Asiate, Le Grainne and Paris restaurants are so good.
Gazelle: Favorite City?
Gazelle: Must-have style item?
White:A black V-neck T-shirt
Gazelle: Biggest trend this season?
“How to Slay: Inspiration from the Queens and Kings of Black Style” is available at amazon.com.