When I heard that this editor-of-the-moment wore ELOQUII to her interview with Anna Wintour, I had a double take. Samhita is the epitome of an in-charge woman and felt the most confident in one of our dresses - one that matched her new Gucci handbag, she added smiling. See her fully empowered radiance revealed on set during our Spotlight shoot.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay on Fashion & Feminism
One NYC-based editor and author makes her move to a white-hot title in hopes that she can cement her life’s work of elevating diverse and disenfranchised voices. Hear how she goes forth with equal doses grit and glamour.
You might not know from editor Samhita’s portfolio that fashion is a huge part of her life. For the last decade, she’s written extensively about the cultural moments and identity politics that are shaping society. Now, she’s taking that conversation to the ultimate media company, Condé Nast. This all aligns with her 40th birthday, a year when she seems to be hitting her stride – both professionally, as Teen Vogue’s newest Executive Editor and with a forthcoming book in progress, and personally,as she moves into her first “big-girl apartment” and prioritizes a stronger sense of self-care.
Balance doesn’t always come easy to the highly motivated. “The work is what’s giving me energy,” says Samhita, who takes our call between last-minute meetings on her Summer Friday. She promises to evaluate her habits this year, so she can maintain a level of rigor in the career she’s created and loves. It’s an important task given her calling: to create a space where diverse, disenfranchised voices can be safe, heard and elevated. Her passion is what drives her to invest completely in the magazine’s on-the-pulse stories. It’s also why the first thing she does at home at 7:00am each day is read the news and make sure they have the right coverage going live, hence the July 2018 feature “I am America” with Muslim model Halima Aden wearing her hijab. “Teen Vogue is really in an exciting place right now. We are very much the voice of a generation. It’s super woke, messy, and complicated. It’s a sounding board for all the different anxieties and the things that our readers are excited about and the things that have been top of mind for them. No outlet has given space to empower these young people,” says the engaged editor.
Her passion for cultural expressions is also what fosters her appreciation for fashion.
She knows fashion is another way to showcase identity, politics and subculture. That’s why she had purple hair in her Riot Grrrl days, her own looks in her rave days, and sheer tops as a streetwear look now. While Samhita’s look has evolved, it’s always been unapologetic. This summer, you’ll find her in the downtown office in mostly 70s-glamour looks with hip-hop touches. Think: a flowy dress with a mule or bodysuits, high-waisted pants and platform sneakers. “I have my way but I incorporate modern elements,” she reinforces. “Fashion is a huge part of my life and has been for a while. At Teen Vogue, feminism and fashion are not in tension with each other.”
This was the sentiment she represented in her interview with Condé Nast’s Artistic Director Anna Wintour. Samhita knew the unsaid rules going in: nothing in Anna’s long-rumored least favorite color — black. Instead, why not an ELOQUII dress and matching Gucci handbag? “I wanted something flattering and I wanted to represent a brand that I felt was doing something new,” recalls Samhita, who clearly impressed at the one-on-one.
She’s rolling with a multitude of changes since taking the job. A new team to mentor. A new apartment with an elevator and a gym. A new decade.
Like all aspects of her life, she took on her 40th birthday this year in style. For example, she co-hosted the gala afterparty for the Ms. Foundation, a nonprofit foundation building women's collective power for social, economic and reproductive justice. Her friend encouraged her to do it by saying, “Dancing with Gloria Steinem is your party!” She takes the organization’s mission to heart and tries to empower people in every role she’s had at Mic, Feministing.com, and her other outlets. “I have navigated a lot of spaces that were competitive, or toxic or lacking mentorship and I have always stuck to what I believed was right. I never take shortcuts or play games. I sit in my integrity. I always try to be really compassionate and integrate other people’s feedback,” says Samhita. This explains why people respect her and look to her unique voice on pressing issues. It’s no wonder her team has labeled her “auntie” for her sage advice. And it’s no wonder she’s got a new place to call her own and a new seat at the table.
What was your first ELOQUII purchase?
A 70s-style, flutter-sleeve dress for my Teen Vogue interview.
Who are your style icons?
Rihanna because she doesn’t care and she flaunts her body
Nadia Aboulhosn (designer/blogger), she’s gorgeous
Nicolette Mason and Gabi Fresh who I look up to
Name a look you’ve felt your best in.
A gorgeous evening-wear gown on the night I turned 40
What’s the style palette?
Earth tones. Oranges, deep reds, and turquoises.
What trends are you rocking this season?
The platform sneaker. I wear it with a blue wide-leg ELOQUII pant that flares and flutters.