Fast Company

I'm a senior staff writer at Fast Company Magazine, where I write about fashion. You can find my stories here.  For pitches, email me at esegran@fastcompany.com. I have also written for The Atlantic, Fortune, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, among other publications, as you’ll find below.

Articles

Magazine Feature: Fashion’s plastic problem is bigger than you can imagine—but this brand is finding new ways to solve it | Fast Company | May 2019 Issue

The fashion industry is awash in carbon-intensive plastics. As a climate crisis looms, upstart apparel brand Everlane is weaning itself off new synthetics entirely. Spoiler: It’s not easy. (Full PDF version here.)

  • I was interviewed on KCRW, the Los Angeles NPR affiliate station, for the show Push Play With Madeleine Brand.

How Disney Grew Its $3 Billion Mickey Mouse Business—By Selling To Adults | Fast Company | April 1, 2019

Apple, Gucci, Kate Spade, Uniqlo, L’Oreal, and Maybelline are just a few of the companies that sell Mickey-branded products to grown-ups. Here’s how Disney made adults fall in love with a cartoon character.

Rent the Runway Is Now A Unicorn | Fast Company | March 21, 2019

With a $125 million investment round, Rent the Runway is now valued at over $1 billion. The female unicorn club just got a little bigger.

Yes, Even Your Pockets Are Sexist. These Startups Are Fighting Back | Fast Company | November 8, 2019

For 300 years, most women’s clothes have lacked functional pockets. Thanks to a group of women-led brands, that’s starting to change.

Stop Buying Crap, And Companies Will Stop Making Crap | Fast Company | July 27, 2018

It's hard to believe that our purchasing decisions have any impact on the fashion industry. But this week, we found out that they do.

  • I was interviewed on CBS News for this story.

 

 

 

Up, Up, and Away: The Luggage Upstart Taking On Industry Giants| Fast Company| July 2, 2018

With $50 million in fresh funding, a magazine, a podcast, and a suite of new products, can Away pivot from hip suitcase maker to a millennial travel platform?

From Armor to Icon: How Women's Suits Became Cool Again| Fast Company| May 30, 2018

Women first wore suits to mirror the men in their male-dominated workplaces. But in the now-casual office, women are redefining the suit in their own image.

High Heels, Invented For The Male Gaze, Get A Feminist Makeover| Fast Company| May 30, 2018

Male designers invented the high heel without considering comfort or walkability. These tech-savvy women are reinventing the iconic shoe for the modern woman.

Two Ex-Googlers Want To Make Bodegas A Thing Of The Past| Fast Company| August 13, 2017

Called Bodega, this startup installs unmanned pantry boxes in apartments, offices, dorms, and gyms. It promises convenience, but also represents competition for many mom-and-pop stores.

 

The Made in America Movement Driven By Innovation, Not Nationalism | Fast Company| May 9, 2017

A new generation of companies is making higher-end clothing, furniture, eyewear, and more in the United States. Can their success lead to a revival of American manufacturing on a larger scale?

Can Obama's Tech Legacy Survive President Trump? | Fast Company| December 7, 2016

Obama built a formidable tech infrastructure in the White House. It's now Trump's to lose. 

The Decline of Premium American Fashion Brands. What Happened, Ralph and Tommy? | Fast Company| August 12, 2016

Once aspirational, companies like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger have lost their luster, while innovative new brands are shining bright. 

Your Guide to Generation Z: The Frugal, Brand-Wary Determined Anti-Millenials  | Fast Company| August 8, 2016

The generation forged during the Great Recession is entering college and the workforce. Here's what companies need to know about them. 

Why Clothing Startups are Returning to American Factories | Fast Company| March 16, 2016

It's no longer (just) about patriotism or marketing. These brands want to create the best, most innovative clothes in the world. 

The Journey from Inmate to Entrepreneur | Fast Company| September 30, 2015

Is entrepreneurship an answer to America's high recidivism rate? Fast Company explores one man's path from prison to self-sufficiency.

The $5 Billion Battle for the American Dinner Plate | Fast Company| June 8, 2015

Investors in startups like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated are wagering hundreds of millions of dollars on the idea that dinnertime is just too hard to manage. As meal-kit startups spring up like so many mushrooms, Fast Company investigates the boxed-meal phenomenon and how it will change the way we eat.

 

Welcome to the Brave New World of the Corporate Sponsored Artist | Fast Company| March 10, 2015

From Amtrak to Facebook, it seems like everyone is launching an artist-in-residence program. But can art and commerce thrive together?

The Fall of the Hipster Brands: Inside the Decline of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters | Racked| March 3, 2015

American Outfitters and American Apparel began to lose their moral grounding just as their target demographic started developing a cohesive sense of personal principles.

As Coworking Spaces Scale, Can They Keep Their Communal Vibe? | The Atlantic| February 27, 2015

The challenge of making an international chain feel like ... not an international chain.

To Attract More Women, Cybersecurity Industry Could Drop Macho Jargon | Christian Science Monitor | February 16, 2015

The cybersecurity industry has a history of hostility toward women. To make the field more welcoming, female security pros recommend moving away from the aggressive language of combat and talking about protecting people instead.

Obama's Former Law Student is Shaping the Nation's Policies on Drones | Fortune | February 4, 2015

Lisa Ellman has been quietly working to craft policy that will make it possible for commercial drones to be flown in the U.S.

How do Nail Polishes Get Their Crazy Names? | Mental Floss | December 26, 2014

We're always fans of a good pun, so we asked Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, artistic director of OPI Nail Polish, to let her in on her team's creative process.. 

Santa Claus is Real | Fast Company | December 12, 2014

Meet the busiest Santa in the world.

How One Woman Got Past the 'No's' and Landed VC Funding | Fortune | November 21, 2014

Female entrepreneurs, take note. 

A Fascinating History of Nail Polish | Mental Floss | December 2014

Bet you didn't know it used to be war paint! (Click for PDF.

For Top Female Scientists, Starting a Family is a Major Setback | Fortune | November 13, 2014

Recipients of the L’Oreal Women in Science award say the $60,000 grant will allow them to overcome the challenges of having children while pursuing cutting edge science research.

The Secret Psychology Behind Selling Beauty Products to Men | Racked | November 11, 2014

Beauty brands are faced with a predicament: they need to produce the beauty products that men desire, while also being careful in their marketing. Research shows that the minute a dude feels emasculated, it's game over. 

Women's Studies Departments Are Failing Feminism | The New Republic | August 8, 2014

By refusing to engage with personal matters, academics are failing a generation. 

New Drama "The Honorable Woman" Portrays a Powerful Woman on the Edge of a Breakdown | Bitch Magazine | July 31, 2014

It is a curious coincidence that so many of the powerful women portrayed on television are on the verge of mental collapse. 

How to Build a Feminist Workplace | Fast Company | July 29, 2014

These companies adapt to the needs of women so that employees aren't required to lean in too far. 

Finding Meaning After Academe | The Chronicle of Higher Education | July 7, 2014

It turns out you can no longer do what you love. Now what?

Can America Learn to Love Misshapen Veggies? | The Atlantic | July 1, 2014

An ex-Trader Joe's exec's plan to reduce food waste and feed the hungry. 

With This Tech, I Thee Wed: How One Couple Created Their Dream Wedding For Under $10,000 | Fast Company | May 28, 2014

The real-life fairy tale of Naa-Sakle Akuete and Kyle Healy. And Apple, Google, AirBnB, and Paperless Post. Spotify, Amazon, TaskRabbit and Instacart. 

Any Mumbai Sunday | Foreign Policy | May 16, 2014

One woman is on a quest to sell American football to India. Is anyone buying?

The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors are Fighting Back | The Atlantic | April 28, 2014

Can a budding labor movement improve the lives of non-tenure faculty - and, in the process, fix higher education? 

The Dangers of Victimizing Ph.D.'s | The Chronicle of Higher Education | April 1, 2014

No one is forcing you to accept low-paid adjunct work. 

What Can You Do With a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway? | The Atlantic | March 31, 2014

The choice to leave academia does not have to mean life as a barista. 

Like It Or Not, Organized Religion Still Has a Role to Play in LGBT Movements | Salon | March 11, 2014

It's time religion entered the 21st century: Why its acceptance of LGBT equality is slow but essential.

In India, Fewer Than Three Percent of Journalists Are Women | Bitch Magazine | December 13, 2013

Female journalists are struggling to assert themselves in an industry that is inhospitable to women.

The Rise of the Islamic Feminists | The Nation | December 5, 2013

Muslim women are fighting for their rights from within Islamic tradition, rather than against it. (Click for PDF.)

What Happens When a Female Model Starts Dressing as a Man  | Salon | November 10, 2013

Elliott Sailors has gotten media criticism and homophobic slurs, but she says she's just expressing her masculine side. 

Malaysian Malaise | Foreign Affairs | October 11, 2013

After months of protests over the results of Malaysia’s contentious election last May, the revolutionary spirit has largely died. Here’s why — and why the calm might not last.

A Yo-Yo Ma Project Brings Together Musicians from Warring Nations | The Atlantic | October 10, 2013

The Silk Road Ensemble seeks to use music as a basis for intercultural understanding. 

Harvard Business School’s First Transgender Student Speaks Out | The Atlantic | October 3, 2013

Though queer identities are finding greater acceptance in America, the trend is uneven: Transgender individuals still find themselves marginalized.

Can Advertising Change India’s Obsession with Fair Skin? | The Atlantic | August 5, 2013

In a country where dark women are referred to as “blacky” at work, one actress takes on a massive skin-bleaching industry.

What the Delhi Rape Trials Mean for India’s Women | The Atlantic | July 25, 2013

The country must prove that it can routinely and effectively prosecute rapists, even when it’s not in the international spotlight.