TheSkimm co-founder Carly Zakin on encouraging millennial women to vote

We are all works in progress. Even the successful women you see owning it on Instagram faced stumbling blocks along the way and continue to work hard to stay at the top of their game. In this series, we’re sitting down with the people who inspire us to find out: How’d they do it? And what is success really like? This is “Getting There.”

Every morning, millions of subscribers wake up to theSkimm, a daily newsletter that summarizes the most important topics of the day into a concise list. Since its development in 2012, the newsletter has grown exponentially.

Steered by co-founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, the newsletter has also developed several election-related initiatives aimed at getting millennial women to turn out to vote.

Zakin spoke to TMRW about what the journey has been like so far and what she expects for the future.

For more like this, follow TMRW on Instagram at @tmrwxtoday.

TMRW: Where did the idea for theSkimm come from? What was the starting point?

Carly Zakin: My co-founder Danielle (Weisberg) and I actually used to work at NBC. We loved what we did, and we lived and breathed news, but we saw our friends were not engaging with and interacting with what we were actually producing, and that there is a way to reach them. We also saw that — and it’s funny to say this now, because this was in 2012 — but at the time we thought there was so much noise. Today, that’s obviously amplified. But at the time it just felt so noisy and there was just so much to kind of clear through the weeds every day.

What we wanted to do was really simplify that and make it easier to get up to speed and know what was going on, and really that’s how our mission was born. We say we make it easier to live smarter. We wanted to meet our audience where she is. We knew the way to get her was first thing in the morning, in her inbox, and so we started the daily Skimm, an email that was meant to be a part of her daily routine. And obviously it took off like wildfire.

Related: “This was my opportunity to connect and I had nothing to lose.”

How do you decide what to feature in the newsletter?

Danielle and I used to swap stories where we would be at a group dinner with family or friends and we’d see who dropped out of conversations when. The idea was that in an era of hyperpersonalizatoin, we never wanted to close off ourselves or our friends with one type of story, whether it’s international or sports or financial or political news.

It’s always the best part of our day and our teams’ day to select the stories. We ask “What’s the most important thing going on today, and what’s coming up tomorrow?” Nobody should ever feel caught off-guard about something that’s going on.

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Carly Cushnie shutters iconic namesake fashion label

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After 12 years in the business, designer Carly Cushnie is shuttering her namesake ready-to-wear fashion label amid the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I couldn’t hold on any longer. I make clothes for people to go out and enjoy their lives in. I don’t make loungewear,” Cushnie explained to Vogue. “I didn’t have the ability to just suddenly switch and entirely change what my brand does. That takes a great expense, to change the direction of a brand. Whether it’s the category or the price point, it’s a big undertaking and I wasn’t able to do it,”

Dubbed by The New York Times as a “fashion label that broke barriers,” Cushnie quickly became one of the most popular Black-owned brands in American fashion today. Known for sleek and minimal sexy silhouettes created to empower women with ease and elegance, Cushnie’s designs were popular among celebrities like Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez and Blake Lively.

The brand initially entered the fashion scene in 2008 under the name Cushnie et Ochs. When co-founder Michelle Ochs split from the business in 2018, Carly Cushnie continued to lead the brand as both design head and CEO under the name Cushnie.

The brand quickly became a permanent fixture in the New York Fashion Week scene. At its height, Cushnie was available at more than 100 retailers worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Shopbop and Bergdorf Goodman.

Thanks to the brand’s retail partners, some pieces from Cushnie are still available online. Shop them below so your closet can include a major piece of fashion history.

Shop: Cushnie Shawl Collar Jacket, $1,795

Shop: Cushnie High Waisted Pants with Slight Flare Leg, $950

Shop: Cushnie High Waisted Asymmetrical Hemmed Skirt, $850

Shop: Cushnie Fringed Open Knit-Paneled Sweater, $215 (Orig. $500)

Shop: Cushnie Stretch-Crepe Peplum Midi Dress, $1,650

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Carly Cushnie Sadly Closes Her Namesake Label

Carly Cushnie is closing her namesake label after 12 years due to business struggles during the coronavirus pandemic. Cushnie originally partnered with Michelle Ochs on the brand when it was called Cushnie et Ochs, but the duo parted ways in 2018. Cushnie’s DNA always remained strong — it was a label we looked to (and many celebrities tapped) for dress wear and events. Unfortunately, as Carly Cushnie noted to Vogue, “I make clothes for people to go out and enjoy their lives in. I don’t make loungewear. I didn’t have the ability to just suddenly switch and entirely change what my brand does. That takes a great expense, to change the direction of a brand. Whether it’s the category or the price point, it’s a big undertaking and I wasn’t able to do it.”

Cushnie’s powerful letter to the fashion community has sparked a more important conversation surrounding the support of the industry, which was lacking from the start. “One of the great ironies of the fashion industry is that while it caters to and profits from women, it has never felt like an industry that supports them. This is especially true for women of color,” she writes. Though she mentions her accomplishments — she has had the honor of dressing the likes of Michelle Obama and Beyoncé, was appointed a board member of the CFDA, and was one of the first Black female designers to collab with Target — and they are hugely indicative of her creativity and her talent, she is just one person fighting a bigger battle for more representation in her sphere.

“It would have been better had there been more support for female designers and women of color in the industry.”

“While added support during this time has been nice, it would have been better had there been more support for female designers and women of color in the industry before everyone started to support Black-owned brands so visibly over the last few months,” Cushnie told Vogue, while touching on the surge in brand recognition she has experienced with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cushnie signed off her message to the fashion industry with a positive note: “The desire to set an example for young women of color has always been a driving force in my career, and I am confident and hopeful that the distance I have traveled will help to pave the way for the next generation of diverse talent. As one of the few Black female designers to achieve this level of success, I am both humbled and empowered by the undeniable mark that I have made.

We have no doubt that Cushnie herself will go on to see more success in the industry, wherever her path takes her, but we will certainly miss her looks on the runway and the red carpet. She is one of the only designers, in my opinion, who has managed to successfully meet sex appeal with smooth sophistication. Scroll down to

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Carly Cushnie Is Shutting Down Her Fashion Brand

Photo credit: Theo Wargo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Theo Wargo – Getty Images

From Town & Country

Since the start of the pandemic in March, the fashion industry has been devastated in more ways than one. Cushnie, the beloved fashion brand known for its sleek, demure designs, is the latest victim to succumb to COVID-19’s damaging affects. Today, designer Carly Cushnie announced that she’s been forced to shut down operations for good.

In a note released early Thursday morning on Instagram, Cushnie explained that “while my brand has persevered through unending headwinds, the effects of COVID-19 have hurt my business beyond repair, and it is with great sadness that I share Cushnie will be closing its doors.” The designer first launched Cushnie as Cushnie et Ochs with her former business partner Michelle Ochs in 2008. Cushnie went solo in 2018 when her partner left the company and dropped the “et Ochs” from the name. What followed were more bold, sensual designs, and even more celebrity fans, including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra, Halle Berry, and that Rihanna dress moment. Most recently, Cushnie was tapped to join fellow labels Lisa Marie Fernandez and LoveShackFancy for Target’s Designer Dress Collection, giving Target customers designer threads at an accessible price point.

In the note, Cushnie lists her other accomplishments, from dressing the aforementioned celebrities to joining the Board of Directors of the CFDA. But she recognized that all of her feats couldn’t insulate her from the fashion industry’s deeply-embedded prejudices against women. “One of the great ironies of the fashion industry is that while it caters to and profits from women, it has never felt like an industry that supports them,” she wrote.

Cushnie ended on a hopeful note, implying that while her brand might be shutting down, “my passion for design has never been stronger.” She added: “I recognize the power of my presence and will continue to fight for the causes and values I believe in, and will always continue to create.”

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Carly Pearce Has a Life-Changing Beauty Secret Weapon That’s Available at Any Drugstore

As it has for most people in the world, the past year has brought a lot of change for country singer Carly Pearce. In September 2019, her close friend and frequent collaborator Michael James Ryan Busbee died of brain cancer. (“I will forever feel a hole in my heart for him, but am so grateful that he got to be such a pivotal part of my story,” she wrote for Good Morning America recently.) Then, after spending months of the pandemic splitting her time between Nashville and her parent’s home in Alabama, Pearce and husband Michael Ray filed for divorce.

But there’s been positive change too. For one, a very cute puppy named June has been added to her family. And Pearce has found new and exciting ways to challenge herself creatively. It’s been paying off—the singer is nominated for four CMA Awards, the ceremony of which airs on November 11. 

This week she debuted a highly entertaining music video for her song “Next Girl.” In it Pearce stars alongside her best friend Sarah Ames as they encounter a series of cringe-worthy men and bad pickup lines. “I wanted to test my acting skills, more than I have any past videos,” she tells me over the phone. “I’m playing in a slew of different roles at a bar, going through scenarios girls encounter sometimes. The other girl in the video is my real-life best friend, so [it was fun] to bring in a few elements of what we deal with when we go out.” 

Watch the video for yourself, below:

So what else is Pearce excited about these days? Quite a bit! Find out her beauty secret weapon, the last thing she bought, and more in our latest installment of Your Fave’s Faves.

The last thing I bought

My CMA Awards dress! I’m very excited because I’m nominated four times this year. I can’t reveal too much about the dress, but I am doing a bold color. I’m styling myself, along with my mom, because everything’s so weird right now anyway and I wanted to push myself, colorwise, to go out of my comfort zone. I definitely am somebody who likes neutrals and things like that, so I wanted to do something different.

Allister Ann

The comfiest bra I own

I don’t really put on real bras anymore—does anyone?—so I just wear a lot of bralettes. But Calvin Klein makes the softest sports bra, if anybody ever wanted to know that. It’s your typical T-shirt sports bra, but it’s awesome. I wear it more for comfort and travel and everyday—it’s a little too nonsupportive for a workout. But it’s so soft!

Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, Lingerie, Underwear, Human, Person, and Bra

The last book I read

Lysa TerKeurst has this book called It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, and it changed my perspective on life. I’ve had a lot of struggles this year, and the book’s about understanding that when we go through things—it doesn’t have to be necessarily bad—it’s just prepping us for something better to come

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