Tell Me Everything: Fashion Visionary Sarah Slutsky Dishes on Fashion tech, styling the stars, and what keeps her going

By Rachel Kibbe

 

To say fashion power house Sarah Slutsky has her hands in many pots is an understatement. Whether she's styling Emma Watson for the red carpet or working with a tech start-up Cinemetique to bring touch screen video technology to fashion, Sarah's on the cutting edge of the fashion industry. 

Cinemetique was named one of the most innovative companies of 2015 in video by Fast Company and HELPSY is all about the future of fashion. There are many parallels between fashion tech and ethical fashion, in fact mass market ethical fashion will depend on technological advancements, whether it's eventually printing our own clothes with 3D digital technology, creating new compostable materials, or recycling textiles through innovative technology. Sarah also has a big place in her heart for projects for social good, so basically Sarah is a bonafide #HELPSYbae. We had to know what makes this chic tick. 

Tell us about what you’re doing professionally right now. We know it’s A LOT.
I am the Director of Brands and Partnerships at Cinematique, a platform that utilizes proprietary “Touchable” technology to track items in video.  I am also a stylist.  I have a few amazing clients and take on editorial projects. I love collaborating with brands that focus on positive social impact.  I’m really excited about future projects with some up and coming designers that focus on fair trade and sustainability
How do you balance it all?! (or don’t you? I don’t. I’m writing these questions wearing no pants at 3pm on a Sunday because weekends are for work (?)  
I try to do things that make me happy and take on projects I believe in. It’s not always easy, but it helps to feel passionate about what I’m working on. I’m also lucky to love the people I work for and with.  
At the same time, I do believe making time for friends and family is crucial to success. Time away helps you be your best self. While, I sometimes have to make the choice to stay at my desk and get the job done— it’s a priority that I make time for the people and activities that make New York City so special.  I’m really lucky to be surrounded by a great group of talented friends, with a wonderful support network that motivates me to keep going. 
If you could change 3 things about the fashion industry, what would they be?
1. Something I talk about often with friends is the cycle of fashion.  The longevity of clothes in a persons wardrobe is constantly on my mind, but also the frequency of seasons.
I love listening to designer’s talk about their inspiration and the process of sourcing ideas, materials, collaborators, etc (the endless possibility to be creative is the reason I am in love with fashion). But, I sometimes fear that the current pace of the fashion cycles 1. results in more throwaway fashion and 2. pressures designers to constantly deliver.
2. I would love to contribute to the accessibility of fashion.  All who want to participate in fashion should feel invited, be it an expression of self or a place to work.
3. The impact fashion has on the environment.  We can’t be perfect all the time, but understanding how materials and waste impact the earth (and us who live here ;-) ) can helps us make better decisions.  It’s about mindfulness.  I’ve been trying to hold myself accountable for my purchases.  Do I really need this?  Or is there something I already have that I can style in a similar way.  I love the romance of dressing and playing with clothes, but I’m trying to make purchases that are meaningful and will have a long life in my closet.  I believe if we can all throw away a little less, we can have a big impact.
We have talked about parallels between the fashion tech and ethical fashion worlds, and the hurdles we both face.  Could you talk to us a little about that? What are your hurdles?
Neither fashion tech or ethical fashion are brand new, but the shift from novelty to integration of both into daily dialogue and practice is just beginning.  We are educating people with the hope that they will adopt new norms and behaviors.  
In both instances we are talking about longevity.  Technology and ethical fashion both have the potential to extend the life of fashion.  For me at Cinematique, I’m trying to help brands understand that touchable video is more than just a one-time experience. 
When people watch videos, they should expect to be able to learn more and find product that they like. Cinematique’s Touchable technology provides this opportunity. I’m really excited that touchable video and ethical fashion are gaining so much traction and really becoming a part of the conversation.  
My dream come true?  Ethical fashion brands educating their consumers and allowing them to shop through touchable video!
What’s your favorite neighborhood coffee spot?  Just because I’m a coffee addict and want to know, personally :) 
Café Regular in Park Slope where I get a double cappuccino every. single. day.  At the office, my assistant Grace and I take brainstorming trips to Little Cupcake Bakeshop for dirty chai lattes (and by lattes we mean cupcakes #bringbackthelemoncupake).
If you could wear a “fashion uniform” (like that chic, have you read about her?) what would it be?
The thing is, I dress according to my mood and agenda for the day.  I have a lot of fun trying new things and playing with fashion. The one consistency is that I think about whether or not I would wear something in 20 years and, if the answer is no, I try again. (Also… high-waisted forever :-) )


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