Interview

Danielle Prescod

05.06.13

Danielle Prescod is the fashion editor of online luxury retailer Moda Operandi. The native New Yorker has interned at Nylon and at Teen Vogue, where she worked closely with current Creative Director of Moda Operandi, Taylor Tomasi Hill. After graduating from NYU, Prescod went on to become a market assistant at Interview, and later reunited with Tomasi Hill while working as an accessories market assistant back at Teen Vogue. In her current role at Moda Operandi, Prescod manages creative concepts for the site, styles for shoots and trunk shows, curates the site’s boutique section and writes for Moda’s magazine.

Interview

Moda Operandi is sponsoring Punk, the upcoming exhibition at the Met, seems like it was named for you. In what way have you been contributing?

That makes me laugh! Do I seem punk-y? I think maybe my Twitter voice is a little more badass than I am in reality. I talk a big game, but I’m such a cowardly lion I think in most situations. But for Moda, the Punk exhibition and co-sponsorship of the Met has been really exciting. It has been months and months of work and preparation. For me, the best part has been seeing how the exclusive designer collections have come to life. Most recently, I was on set for two days shooting the lookbook of all of the capsule pieces created for Moda Operandi. That was probably one of the most fun shoots we’ve had. I’m definitely getting into the punk spirit and have been wearing clip-on piercings out places–method styling. Taylor came up with an amazing concept though and we’ve all worked so hard on this and the results are amazing. I think the launch is going to be a proud moment for everyone.

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is something I’ve never really been able to define. I think that my style icons are vast and broad, from pre-teen skateboarders to Preetma Singh. I’m forever lingering creepily outside the Supreme store to catalog everyone’s outfit and make sure that I can replicate it in some sort of unique form later. But as I am getting older, I think there is a pressure to be more sophisticated. Since I started working at Moda Operandi, I own more dresses than I ever have before. I’m always attracted to colors and prints and I think that my wardrobe has always been a reflection of that. I like black just as much as the next fashion girl, but I am also really unafraid to wear things that are kind of loud and in your face. I also think that I am finally learning to dress for my body and wear things that flatter me and that I feel comfortable in. That’s probably one of the hardest things about learning to let go of my skater-boy aesthetic because if its one thing that prepubescent boys don’t have, its hips.

Can you tell us about your hair routine?

My first rule about my hair is to touch it as little as possible. That is for two reasons, the first being that once I get it right, I don’t want to mess it up again and the second being, it just takes way too long to do to begin with. I wash it once a week and when I can, I have my mom comb it out for me. I am not a patient person and I get angry and frustrated doing my own hair. Usually on Sundays, I spend about 3 hours re-curling each little curl until my arms are numb or I just don’t care anymore. I usually have to give it a little touch up by Wednesday. If I am going out, I douse it in anti-frizz serum and curl, curl, curl. My friends will be able to get off of the elevator to my apartment and know that I am doing my hair because they can smell it. I bet my neighbors just think I am the worst cook.

Have you been at Moda since they launched? What is it about the company that you identify with most?

I came to Moda Operandi about 9 months after the launch. I love working at a website because I had only ever worked for various publication houses of different size. The pace at which we work was an adjustment for me since everything needs to happen so quickly, way faster than at any magazine I had ever worked at. I think because of this and because Moda Operandi is a start up, the team mentality is really strong.

How is the role of fashion editor at Moda different than a traditional magazine?

Well, I think that we all wear a lot of hats at Moda Operandi. One thing that makes my job different than a fashion editor at print magazine is that at the end of the day, we are charged with the added challenge of making a sale in addition to making sure that something looks beautiful. When I would work on stories at magazines, the focus was on the overall look of the editorial, but now my concern is whether or not someone will be inspired to make a purchase. At Moda Operandi, this comes across in everything that we do from buying, to styling to merchandising. I think that is an important distinction and it has been really interesting to work somewhere where you can monitor customer responses so quickly.

You and Taylor Tomasi Hill have been working together since your early days at Teen Vogue. What makes the two of you get on so well? Has she been a sort of mentor for you?

Yes, Taylor grew me from a little baby intern spud. I can’t believe she is not sick of me yet. She probably is, but hides it well. I can’t explain it, but there is something about Taylor and I together that just works. I think that must be what it’s like when you are with a boyfriend or girlfriend and it is “meant to be”. I wouldn’t know though, for certain, I mean since I’ve been single for 5 years. Taylor is definitely my mentor and she is the hardest working person I know. She is an amazing role model and she is really supportive of me, which I think is something really refreshing in such a competitive industry.

Did you expect the site to grow as quickly as it did?

I don’t know what my expectations were for Moda Operandi when I first started working here. I guess I didn’t know what to expect. The good thing about the Internet though is that it is really unpredictable and the sky is the limit. At one point, Facebook must have been the same size as Moda Operandi is now and they might have said, “Wow, look how successful we are. This must be it,” but then they grew even more and more. I am sure that is in the future for Moda.

How has your role changed amidst changes at the company?

My role has definitely changed because we have grown very quickly and a lot of roles needed to be filled. I spend a lot of time styling on set both for boutique and trunk shows and this even includes teaching the models the right poses: from how they stand to how they hold their hands. I also spend a lot of time merchandising the site and making sure that everything looks good together from a visual standpoint. We have a new feature that allows us to create “editorial stores,” so I also spend time thinking about themes for those and then merchandising them together. I would say my job has really transformed from when I was managing Taylor’s schedule and working on our magazine.

What are new offices like?

The new offices are amazing. It’s very open; we are all on one floor. Our warehouse, studio space, and offices are all in one location, so it makes everything very convenient. The space is really huge and it even allows us to have a private salon where VIP customers can come and try on clothes from our boutique.

As a native New Yorker, what do you appreciate most about Tribeca?

Being downtown is really nice, except during the day the competition for food is fierce! Getting lunch quickly is never easy. Other than that, I think the energy is great downtown, and it doesn’t hurt to be a stone’s throw away for after-work plans!

Are you going to be at the Met Gala? What are you going to wear?

I am going this year. I am wearing ¬†Theyskens Theory. I feel so lucky–I still can’t believe it. I thought it would be years and years and years and years before I got to see the Met gala. I’m going to be on my absolute best behavior too, because could you imagine being banned for life for too many Instagrams or something equally humiliating?

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