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Marching to the Beat of Their Own Drums—Two Fashionistas in Philanthropy

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

NCG's Director of Member Engagement Phuong Quach once again interviews two NCG members who are each putting their best fashion foot forward. Learn what Gwyneth Tripp and Cedric Brown have to say about their personal approaches to fashion.

Happy Spring! The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and it is time to put away the winter layers. Once again this year, I’m happy to highlight 2 fashionistas in Philanthropy. 

Blue Shield of California Foundation Grants and Contracts Manager Gwyneth Tripp and Kapor Center for Social Impact  Cedric Brown  Chief of Community Engagement and Philanthropy, have both paved their own unique fashion paths. Their styles are personal, colorful, and add a bit more excitement to any room they enter. 

I asked them about their fashion and the inspiration behind it.  Here’s my interview with both Gwyneth and Cedric:

Q&A with Gwyneth Tripp

Q: In 3 words, how would you describe your style?

Playful, soft, and chaotic.

Q: Where (or who) to do you look to for fashion inspiration?

Fabric stores, abstract expressionist paintings, the patterns in my living room, cooking shows, spices, Star Trek, and lately In Style magazine for a pulse check (because it started showing up in my mail box).

Q: What is an absolute essential fashion item for women?  Why? 

Long scarves! They bring an all-black outfit to life, take a combination of patterns up a notch, and it’s like wearing a mini blanket. I also love that I can take them off and become incognito if the rest of my outfit allows it.

Q: Outside of work, you’re an artist.  Tell us a bit about your art and how that might influence your fashion style.

I’m mostly drawing these days–and movement and velocity are what’s compelling me. This literally translates to an obsession with pumas and crazy patterned leggings, and more abstractly to earrings that jangle, patterns that collide, and long scarves that have a life of their own.

Q: Where do you go for shopping bargains?

My secrets! JC Penny and New York and Company are my go-to's and I love consignment stores–Sola Lucy is a long-time favorite in West Berkeley and Knimble in Oakland a new one. Serrahna in Oakland for scarves and their discount rack. And anywhere for big earrings–I swap out the ear hooks for gold ;).

Q&A with Cedric Brown

Q: In 3 words, how would you describe your style?

Colorfully composed casual

Q: Where (or who) to do you look to for fashion inspiration?

I think my youngest brother, C.L. Brown, a writer for ESPN, is the coolest cat around. Although our styles are different, I always learn something from his hip-but-grown look.

Q:  What is an absolute essential item for men?  Why?

I believe it's essential to have at least one outfit that makes you look and feel like a boss, however that's interpreted. For me, it's usually my standard getup of khakis, a bright tailored shirt (with the right neckline), a bangin' vest, and my ever-present cap cocked to the left. And maybe my 1975 leather jacket.

Q: You’re an incredibly busy person, how do you find time to shop? And what’s your secret to keeping your look fresh?

I don't consider myself a fashion head and find shopping tedious, so it only happens in periodic bursts. I frequent the same places: UniqLo, Express, American Apparel, and the occasional venture into Macy's or a vintage/used store (I used to shop there more frequently when I was younger). Having a proclivity for brighter color definitely helps me, and buying a number of the same item in different colors helps, too. I'm from the Garanimals generation; that's how I learned to shop and dress!

Q:  What do you think is the most common fashion mistake among men? Or, more specifically, among men in Bay Area?

Wearing too much blah gray or baggy polyester.  I'm also "meh" about this techie trend of having the same look—literally—every day. But who am I to judge? Rock what you like.

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