Grace Cha is the Head of Brand at Intro, a platform where you can book the world's most in-demand experts and get personalized advice over a video call.
Interview by Brooke Frischer
Grace Cha takes in the view wearing our Striped Dress with Side Twist.
HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH JONATHAN COHEN?
About six years ago, Katherine Ross, my former boss and someone I respect very much in the industry mentioned Jonathan's name as someone to watch. Soon afterwards, she introduced me to Sarah and Jonathan. When I viewed the collection, I fell in love with the original prints, sense of craftsmanship, and amazing details. I've been a fan ever since!
THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS CHANGING AT SUCH A RAPID PACE. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION? ADDITIONALLY, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FUTURE OF FASHION?
The fashion industry's impact on climate change continues to challenge our industry-- the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world just after the oil industry. Since living in San Francisco, I have become more aware of all the innovation happening within the material science world that is changing the conversation around fashion and sustainability. MycoWorks, Bolt Threads, and Diamond Foundry are some of the companies that are leading this space in the Bay Area. It's exciting to imagine the possibilities and future of fashion!
HOW HAS BEING FROM KOREA AND FORMERLY LIVING IN SEOUL, ARGUABLY ONE OF THE GREATEST FASHION CAPITALS IN THE WORLD, INFLUENCED YOUR STYLE?
I think what Koreans do really well is take inspiration from other cultures and mash it up to create something totally original. This is true not only in fashion but also in music, like K-Pop, as well as in other art forms. I find it really fascinating and also take this approach in fashion. I love to mix and match different genres and styles, but since becoming a mom (and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), I have put a big emphasis on comfort. This is one of the reasons why I love Jonathan Cohen! Each piece is so special but also so easy to wear.
Grace's daughter, Penny, in the Prairie Dress from our children's collection available exclusively on The Real Real.
WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT IS SOMETHING YOU SEEM DEEPLY PASSIONATE ABOUT THROUGH BEING A FOUNDING MEMBER OF CHIEF, A NETWORK INTENDED TO PLACE MORE WOMEN IN POSITIONS OF POWER, AND TAKING PART IN THE WIE SUITE'S #2MILLIONMENTORMINUTES CAMPAIGN. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN TO EMPOWER THEMSELVES WITHIN THE CORPORATE WORLD, WHERE MEN TYPICALLY TAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF SPACE?
Finding mentors and communities of women who have paved the road and learning from them have been immensely helpful for me. I think women sometimes tend to not ask for help as they think it's a sign of weakness. My advice is: do not be afraid to ask for advice -- you are not alone. There is power in helping each other and collectively lifting each other up to ultimately change the landscape. I've been fortunate to be working at companies where being a woman was not a disadvantage. In fact, empowering women was a big part of the mission at companies I worked at such as Diane Von Furstenberg! I am lucky to be able to call her a mentor.
HOW DO YOU STRIVE TO EXPAND INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY THROUGH MARKETING?
Ultimately, we want everyone to feel like they can participate in fashion. For so many decades, that was not the case. I see so many brands just using diverse models in campaigns and shows and think that they are addressing this issue. It's not just about showing it on the outside. We have to inherently change the conversation from inside-out. It's also about making sure you are hiring a diverse team and working with agencies and collaborators that can lend different perspectives and voices. But with brands like Universal Standard paving the way, I hope we get to a world where this is no longer something that is discussed. Everyone should feel equal and included.
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE GOING FROM WORKING FOR BIG FASHION BRANDS SUCH AS DVF AND PRADA, WHERE YOU DRESS IN THEIR CLOTHES EVERYDAY, TO WORKING MORE IN TECH, WHERE YOU HAVE MORE CONTROL OVER YOUR STYLE? DO YOU PREFER ONE WAY OVER THE OTHER?
I certainly have more freedom to dress however I want. But since working in tech and through COVID, I feel that I have been lazy in how I look which affects how I feel. Part of the magic of fashion is that when you put on a special look, you feel confident, empowered, beautiful, and ready to take on the world! It's part of your armor, and part of expressing who you are. I love how Madeline Albright would use her pins to communicate messages when meeting foreign dignitaries-- just one example of the power of fashion.
Grace Cha lounges in the Lucid Ranunculus Short Sleeve Dress.
YOU ARE THE HEAD OF BRAND FOR A NEW APP "INTRO," WHICH YOU'VE DESCRIBED AS "MASTERCLASS MEETS FACETIME." HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS NEW VENTURE WILL IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY OF EXCITING RESOURCES SUCH AS MEETING WITH INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS?
It is the first time where you do not have to rely on your "connections" to access incredible experts! It doesn't matter who you are and where you come from, you can now talk to industry mentors for advice or just get professional expertise and services. We have some incredible experts on the platform like Rachel Zoe, Peter Som, Nate Berkus, Heidi Zak (Founder and CEO of ThirdLove), Arianne Phillips (world renowned costume designer and stylist), Amanda Hesser (Founder and CEO of Food52), Daniel Martin (celebrity makeup artist), Nicole Mangrum (celebrity hairstylist), Alexis Ohanian (Co-founder of Reddit), Sami Clarke (celebrity fitness trainer), among others across a variety of categories. We are signing on amazing experts every day!
WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE FUTURE OF "INTRO?"
We imagine a world where everyone has access to anyone! We are building a new type of network where we empower each other to build a better world. We believe that we can truly unlock possibilities with more people having access to greatness.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FASHION AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY OVERLAPPING FURTHER IN THE FUTURE?
Technology will be integrated into everything we do -- in fact, it already has! In fashion, it is already playing a large role in everything from raw materials, production, distribution, commerce, communication and marking, to post purchase and up-cycling. It truly touches from beginning to end.
You can learn more about Intro and book virtual consultation with experts at www.intro.co