#WHOARETHEY: Evan Petto
Digital marketer, designer clothing & consignment expert. Monday through Friday, Evan works for a food-focused media company as their Digital Content Director. On the weekends, Evan works at Castanet, a high-end consignment store in Boston.
Where has your life and career taken you?
I grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts before relocating to Boston for college. After college I spent some time in Chicago working in music publicity before coming back to Boston and settling in to where I am now.
What type of work do you do, how did you find your way into the work you are doing?
Monday through Friday I work for a food-focused media company here in Boston as their Digital Content Director. I was referred to this position, somebody knew somebody and put me in touch with the then Digital Director, who I really credit for shaping me into who I am work-wise today. I worked under her for a year until being promoted into my current position when she decided to leave the company.
We produce a television show, a bi-monthly magazine, and weekly podcast. Myself and my team are responsible for anything content-related regarding our website, e-commerce, social media, etc from creation to final implementation. I've been there for a little over two years now—I work with a fantastic team and I'm constantly inspired by all the work we put out.
On the weekends, I work at Castanet, a high-end consignment store here in Boston. I don't have an official title, but I always like to say that I'm the gatekeeper. I'm coming up on my three-year mark soon.
(All this to say yes, sometimes I work seven days a week.)
Talk about how you started working at Castanet, and really why you wanted to start working there in the first place?
I was originally a customer of Castanet during its first incarnation; The Closet. I wandered in one day and was just so taken aback by the quality of clothes that lined the racks. As someone who had a strong interest in fashion but didn’t necessarily have the funds to purchase it, The Closet was my first taste of the opportunity to own a high-end designer piece without cleaning out my entire bank account.
Around two years after I first started shopping there, I was informed that the owner was retiring and they’d be opening up under a different name a few floors above. I sent a cold email to Cassie (the owner) and asked if she needed any assistance in staffing for the new store. I started a few weeks later and have been there practically every Saturday (and some Sundays) since.
In this age of how we consume media, it seems that everyone can consider themselves a fashion expert. It’s so easy to see a design on the runway in real time, and social media is quick to offer its critiques. With you, the roots of fashion as a true art form run deep, and your knowledge is vast. When did your relationship with fashion start, and what does it mean to you as you grow older?
My fashion education really began through my family. My grandmother was a giant influence on me growing up; that's where I was introduced to the classes—Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada. My aunt on my father's side has worked in fashion in Boston and Miami for practically all her life and I credit her for introducing me to the more conceptual side of fashion—Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, Ann Demeulemeester, all that stuff.
I've never had any formal education in fashion—I can't sew, I'm no designer, so my relationship with fashion has always first and foremost been an emotional one. I truly cannot think of anything more exciting than putting an outfit together in the morning; it's the message that I send to the world without saying a word.
It could be anything from a t-shirt and jeans to a suit—I genuinely love constructing a look. From how it fits on my body, to seeing how the colors or fabrics clash, nitpicking at it and fine-tuning it until I finally have achieve the look I desire.
What figures, artists, etc, have inspired and shaped you to find your niche and discover originality as a creative person?
Minimalism has played a big role in my pursuits as a creative person—it defines the way I live my life, the way I dress, everything. My style is quite simple. I’m a very routine-oriented person, deviating from that isn’t my favorite thing. I think it’s the type-A in me.
In the past I dealt with a lot of self-confidence issues regarding how I dressed—every day brought on its own little identity crisis. In the age of social media it's so easy to taken away by someone else's ideal of beauty and the way they dress.
As anyone who knows me can tell, I take a lot of my inspiration from Phoebe Philo and her time at the helm of Céline—she taught me the power in dressing for myself. Once I eliminated that external noise from my life, I found my confidence when it came to fashion.
And really, anyone who is bold enough to be 100% themselves is somebody I admire. Being a part of the LGBT+ community I’m constantly surrounded by some of the most inspiring writers, creators, and image-makers be it face-to-face or through social media.
What’s a goal (or several goals) you have for the direction you want to grow your work in?
I’d love to work on the operations side of things for a fashion brand—e-commerce, marketing, public relations. In my wildest dreams I’d open my own womenswear boutique.
I want to grow my work in a very organic way. I'm a huge perfectionist and the last thing I want is to put out a project that's half-assed or not done to my exact specifications. It may mean that I may need to take a lot longer than most people, but I'm adamant that in whatever I do, my work needs to be something meaningful—a finished project that I'm proud to put out into the world (Here's that type-A I mentioned before).
You’ve explored and tried out a diverse few areas of business since you entered the professional world. What advice do you have for people just starting out, or for those who might want to transition into a new type of creative profession?
Try everything, really. If you have a passion for something, go for it. I've never had any formal education or experience in art, fashion, or many things I’ve pursued—they’ve all started out as passions of mine. I've managed to network so much and meet people I admire in so many different fields just be never defining myself to one path.
Seek out influential people in your area and talk to them, email them, reach out to them on social media. People are nice! When I wanted to break into the art world, I walked into galleries and asked the manager how they got their start. Send cold emails, direct messages, whatever you have to do to get someone's attention. Just be respectful, of course.
What are you reading, working on, listening to, etc. right now?
I'm currently working on expanding my personal styling endeavors—in the midst of creating a personal website and drawing people in through that. I just genuinely love helping people get dressed. If people would let me tag along shopping with them all day, I would be the happiest person.
I'm also listening to a lot of Sade right now, that I can't really explain. Maybe it's the weather?
Anything else you'd like to say?