Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to stay tuned.
Lauren Chan is a fashion girl through and through. From her childhood coveting magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan to her career in which she eventually wrote for those same publications years later, something about fashion always drew her in. She moved from Canada to New York after signing on as a model with Ford Models and, with her foot in the industry’s door, hustled to find work as a fashion writer. Eventually, she became the fashion features editor at Glamour magazine, where she had her own column on size inclusivity. While working her way up in the heart of the industry, though, it became more and more apparent that certain aspects of fashion simply weren’t available to her. “It's not much of an exaggeration to say that I didn't have anything to wear,” Chan tells Hillary Kerr in the latest episode of Second Life.
Throughout her years as an editor and model (alongside the likes of Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine), Chan struggled to find well-made quality clothing that looked as good as she and other plus-size women deserved. She remembers the stark contrast between her colleagues' newest-season designer clothing and the poorly made “watered-down, semi-trendy stuff” that was available to her.To add to the disappointment, that clothing often went hand in hand with wardrobe malfunctions like popped buttons and ripped seams. “I knew that better clothing needed to exist,” she says.
After a three-year run at Glamour, Chan left the magazine and embarked on a mission to create high-quality, beautifully tailored workwear pieces for sizes 12 and up, and last year, she launched a brand that's doing just that: Henning. Drawing upon Chan’s personal style, the Henning assortment includes menswear-inspired silhouettes and sleek lines, all made with laser-sharp attention to detail and technical upgrades like reinforced seams to ensure proper fit. “My end goal with my career is to make women who have been excluded by fashion feel equal, capable, commanding, powerful, and included,” says Chan.
Tune in to this week’s episode of Second Life to hear how Chan's personal experiences in the fashion industry led her to create a brand that's centered around inclusivity and empowerment and the many lessons she's learned along the way. And to shop some of our favorite Henning pieces, keep scrolling.