10/18/2018News

Entrepreneurs Say the Right Clothes Help Them ‘Demand Respect’

by Nate Howell

For talent manager Erica Manganaro, fashion is something that fuels her career and influences the way she approaches work.

“It’s a personal choice and my form of art,” says Manganaro, who recruits and trains talent for experiential marketing campaigns. “There is no question that fashion is a self-expression of confidence, attitude, and personality. There is something about dressing up that empowers me to work harder, be unapologetic, and demand respect.”

Manganaro usually makes sure that the talent her company provides is well dressed. The Staffed executive is now showcasing her own personal style through a fashion photo shoot, part of a recently launched collaboration between WeWork and Rent the Runway. The e-commerce platform lets women rent designer clothing and accessories for a fraction of what it would cost to buy. They can shop online or in one of the brand’s store.

Erica Manganaro - WeWork - Rent the RunwayErica Manganaro: "There is something about dressing up that empowers me to work harder, be unapologetic, and demand respect.”

Mangano, who works from WeWork 379 West Broadway, says fashion directly impacts the branding decisions made by her agency.

“Many of the brands we work with are luxury or fashion brands,” she says. “When we’re casting events, knowledge of fashion helps me pair people’s personal style with the brands they already connect with.”

Manganaro is one of 10 WeWork members across the country being featured in the photo shoot, which showcases clothing available through Rent the Runway. WeWork members like Manganaro show off how they create a look of their own.

“Personally, it doesn't matter if it's a designer piece or from a random boutique,” says Mangano. “The art for me comes in with how each item is put together—mixing street style with business and finding new ways to wear any item to make it work.”

Stefanie Pessis Weil - WeWork - Rent the RunwayStefanie Pessis Weil: “I think a person’s specific sense of style represents who they are.”

WeWork and Rent the Runway are partnering in several ways. WeWork is installing Rent the Runway drop-off boxes at locations in six cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. That will make it easier for Rent the Runway subscribers and WeWork members to return their items.

WeWork members will also enjoy pop-up shops in several locations, allowing them to browse the latest fashions and even take some home by using the self-checkout technology on the Rent the Runway app. WeWork members will receive discounted Rent the Runway memberships.

WeWork CFO Artie Minson says that the partnership is one more way the company is moving into retail. He explains that WeMRKT, WeWork’s new retail stores tucked inside many of its locations, is all about promoting members.

Olivia June - WeWork - Rent the RunwayOlivia June: "We need to feel confident in our appearance and know that it's enhancing and not distracting from the meaningful work we're doing."

"We will offer our member companies an entirely unique channel of distribution for their products and goods, and we’re excited to be able to help them in this way,” he says.

Another WeWork member showing off her personal style is Giving Tree Associates cofounder Stefanie Pessis Weil, who also views fashion as critical to her company’s strategy. Her Chicago-based business helps nonprofits plan their growth strategies.

“I think a person’s specific sense of style represents who they are,” says Weil, a member at WeWork 220 North Green Street in Chicago. “A splash of color, a fun shoe, or a great accessory reflects my individual personality. We believe that how we are dressed is part of the package of why our clients hire us.”

Jennifer Charles - WeWork - Rent the RunwayJennifer Charles: “Crafting the right look is essential in my industry.”

Manganaro and Weil spent a day in front of the camera at WeWork 205 Hudson Street in New York. Olivia June, founder of VINA, an app that connects women in 158 countries, had her own shoot at LA’s WeWork Pacific Design Center. That’s also where she has her office.

“As the data shows, women in tech face a lot of bias,” she says. “We need to feel confident in our appearance and know that it's enhancing and not distracting from the meaningful work we're doing.“

All the women were asked to participate in the photo shoot not only because of their love for fashion, but also for their success as women balancing complex professional and personal lives.

Jennifer Charles, executive director at Building Blocks Resolutions in LA, is a Rent the Runway subscriber who uses fashion to empower herself in her work with others.

“Crafting the right look is essential in my industry,” says Charles, who works from WeWork Gas Tower. “I have to make my clients at home, but also project an air that I am an expert in this field. The vast choices at Rent the Runway make those decisions easier.”

Charles, whose company provides in-home therapy for children with autism, says clothing helps her impact those who she’s working with.

“It helps me to feel more confident,” she says. “It also affects the way people see me, which I then project back to them.”