Renata Certo-Ware, Fashion Anthropologist

As a Fashion Anthropologist, I put to use my degree in Anthropology from Boston University (how many people can say they actually use their degree??) by applying it to one of the most fascinating aspects of culture - one that transcends race, creed, and social strata: The Art of Adornment!

Fashion is culture, after all! Worldwide, no matter who you are, what you do, or what you look like, fashion touches all of us in one way or another - daily, or more often.

My background in the field really informs my eye as a blogger and stylist, as well as my inner eye as a writer. I naturally tend to see through a specifically cultural lens, beyond pretty things and Pretty Young Things, to the reasons behind why we love what we love and why we choose to present and adorn ourselves as we do.

So what does a Fashion Anthropologist do, exactly?

Basically, I live, eat, breath, and think fashion.

Some of what I do daily in my role in the industry: Brand Management, Marketing and PR, Research, User Experience, Blogging, Styling, Photoshoot Production, and Journalism.

I approach each as an anthropologist, and I use what I know and perceive about human nature, social patterns, and cultural practices. I'm constantly assessing what makes us tick as humans, and what doesn't. As much as fashion is a huge personal and individual reflection of self, no Fashion Plate is an island, and patterns emerge that reflect the community at large, even up to the most elite sectors of the industry.

What and how do clothing, accessories, and trends communicate? How is one group of industry members (or outsiders) different from or similar to another? How do members of one group respond to fashion, trends, and shopping versus members of another group? How about on the individual level? Why? - What is programmed into the societal norms that informs that subconscious decision? And, looking at the history of fashion, what is in store for us in the future?

And yes, there are other Fashion Anthropologists out there. The most famous? Why, Bill Cunningham, of course!


I keep my money where I can see it - hanging in my closet, or stamped in my passport, and I am wholly dedicated to the pursuit of all things Beautiful, even if only fleetingly so.

My historical muses are Cleopatra and Elsa Schiaparelli. My Modern-Day muse is Monica Belluci.

My favorite designers are Wes Gordon for something special, Cynthia Rowley for something neoprene, Reed Krakoff for delicious structure, Proenza Schouler for color shock, Helmut Lang for drapey dresses and separates, and Giuseppe Zanotti for shoes. I always love learning about new brands, too, and fall in love hard and fast.

I'm addicted to traveling - Find me headed to visit family in Mexico, Istanbul, and Sicily, or else I'm up and down the East Coast between my headquarters in Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. My favorite thing about traveling to new places is the scent of "different air". That's how you know you've gone somewhere.

My specialty in the kitchen: Chicken Tikka Masala. 

My fragrance: J'adore Dior

I tear out magazine pages that I find inspiring. I keep them all in a giant folder (ok, it's really more like a big box) and refer back to it for styling projects. There are pages from Seventeen, NY Times Magazine, Teen Vogue, Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, Vogue India, Vogue Paris, Vogue Turkey, Vogue Italia, a Saks catalog that I found in a restaurant in 2003 starring Ana Beatriz Baros, and tons of Italian gossip mags. 

My favorite fashion models are Elisa Sednaoui, Bianca Balti, Ana Beatriz Baros, Constance Jablonski, Sigrid Agren,  and Natasha Poly.

I speak Italian.

I hate designer sunglasses! I really do! Never understood the hype. Plastic is plastic, mes amis!

I’ve been involved in the fashion industry in some way since I can remember - from spending entire afternoons in my grandmother's dress shop as a young girl, to getting in trouble for sketching croquis over my class notes in elementary school and taking internships with local designers when I got my drivers license.