Chrissy Walker is the well–dressed Whartonite running the fashion scene at Penn. Although the northeast sucked the color out of the Austin native's wardrobe real quick, she hasn't let college change who she is. When she isn't managing Wharton 101 TA's, you can find Chrissy in a fine arts class or hanging out at the Rag and Bone store in Center City.
Name: Chrissy Walker
Hometown: Austin, TX
Major: Marketing and Management
Activities: Head TA for Wharton 101, CEO of Penn Fashion Week, finance director of The WALK magazine
34th Street Magazine: What was it like growing up in Austin?
Chrissy Walker: Austin is very unique, especially just considering its setting in Texas. It's just a very strange bubble in the state. I think it definitely has a lot to do with why I am the way I am now. It's a huge art–music hub for sure. Because it's such a kooky town—our saying is Keep Austin Weird—Austin really encouraged me to do things because I liked them and not because it was cool. It was nice to be in a space where people wanted you to be strange and wanted you to be very individual. Having your own thing was super super valued and admired.
Street: Have you always been interested in fashion?
CW: Before college, I was pretty introverted growing up. I definitely used clothing as a way of being really expressive because it says a lot about you without you having to be the one to engage and open up the conversation. I think people can learn a lot about others from how they dress themselves. I didn't really think of fashion as a career until I came to Penn, which is interesting because it's kind of contrary to how a lot of Penn career journeys happen. Coming here I found the Wharton Retail Club, the Baker Retail Center, and all these places that proved fashion to be a very real and viable career path: that's when I got more into fashion.
Street: Why did you become a TA for Wharton 101?
CW: I just thought the TAs in my section were the coolest people in the whole world. I was really obsessed, and I was like I need to be their friend, so I applied and I got in. It’s just become my real home at Penn. It's kind of weird because I don't think people think of TAs as being a very tight–knit community, but I feel like specifically the MGMT 101 (now Wharton 101) TAs are really, really tight–knit. We have lineages, we have alumni events every year and all that stuff. They're like my best friends at Penn.
Street: How did you get involved with The WALK magazine?
CW: It was the first thing I applied to freshman year when I got to Penn. I started out as a women's fashion stylist, so you style all the shoots, which is really fun and glamorous. Then, I became an online writer, and then a featured print writer for the actual print publication. Then, I actually remember very clearly, I was at an the info session for Bloomingdale's, I think, sophomore year and I was like “I'm really interested in working here,” and the woman was like “Yeah, you do a lot of stuff in fashion but there's not a lot of quantitative stuff here so maybe try and add more.” I was like “Quantitative things, I don't do anything quantitative!!!” So I panicked and applied to be the finance director of The WALK. It ended up being really fun because it's kind of the opposite of how Wharton functions. In Wharton, there's a big emphasis on finance and numbers. A lot of times in the creative industries, that's not as emphasized, but you definitely need that to be able to do anything. I think being the bridge there was really cool, and it's nice to be on the more black–and–white side of the magazine production.
Street: What was the most fun experience you had as a stylist?
CW: We coordinated a shoot with Intermix, which is a store in Center City, and they just told us to literally go and pick out whatever we wanted for the shoot. We had to bring it back like two days later, but it was this weird shopping spree with no budget and it was the most fun I've ever had. We pulled out all these crazy colorful things like these big fluffy jackets and feathers and whatever else, and to be able to do that with no limit was super fun. The editors also really push you to think outside the box, so it's fun to be able to go to the extremes and wear things you wouldn't usually wear and make an outfit that you think is crazy but looks cool on paper.
Street: What trends do you see for this upcoming season and what are you especially excited to add to your wardrobe?
CW: One thing that Penn did to me (as you can probably tell) is it sucked the color out of my wardrobe very quickly. But there's definitely been a push for more color lately, especially red. I'm very excited to add some more color back into my closet. I think jeans also—like really fun cuts and styles. Now, people are having more fun with jeans and I think that's also very exciting.
Street: What do you do to de–stress?
CW: I taken actually a decent amount of art classes. They are kind of time intensive, but it's such a change of pace from your regular, or at least my regular, courses that I found it very fun to completely challenge my brain in different ways. So I've taken FNAR 264, which is Intro to Graphic Design. I'm in Intro to Photography right now, which is also very fun because it makes you get out of your house and go into the city and actually take pictures.
Street: Do you have any advice for Penn students?
CW: Remember who you are when you come here, because I think this environment can be very forceful in shaping you. Not that it's always bad, but I think it's just a lot of forces that can change who you are, and it's very easy to lose sight of what got you here and why you came here. Repeatedly reminding yourself of who you are when you first arrive here is important—and not to lose sight of that person.
Street: There are two types of people at Penn...
CW: People who wear color and people who don't.
Street: What is your favorite off–campus spot in Philly?
CW: I like hanging out in the Rag and Bone in Center City because it's just a really pretty space.
Street: Are you a dog or a cat person?
CW: Definitely dog.
Street: What is one trend that you hope never ever comes back?
CW: Oh gauchos. Wow. Never, never again.
Street: Do you have a favorite artist?
CW: It’s kind of a cliche, but definitely Beyonce because she compiles art and work ethic in a really cool way.
Street: Go to karaoke song?
What is one question we should have asked you?
CW: What food I would eat for the rest of my life.
Street: And what's the answer?