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GINA PRINCIPATO // co-founder

Twitter / Instagram

Where did you grow up?  
Most of my memories are from New Jersey, though I was actually born in Washington DC and spent years 0 to 12 in Maryland. It was tough to move at such a critical age. I can still remember my parents coming into my room and telling me and my brother that we were moving to New Jersey. Looking back, learning how to fit into a new school’s style—whether that was clothing, sports, social, etc—really shaped me. It certainly gave me the confidence to continue to move throughout my life…from New Jersey, then to Boston for college, to Philly for business school, to London for work and now, finally (!), to New York.

What brought you to New York?  
It took me 10 years to move to New York. I had grand plans to move here after college, but with very little money and the promise of very little more money in PR, I stayed put in Boston for a couple of years. Many years later and a fabulous few years in London, I knew I couldn’t live anywhere but New York. I wanted the energy and fun, the diversity of people, and the proximity to the fashion industry. I moved here a year ago after landing a job at American Express.

Day job?  
Day-to-day I work in a very entrepreneurial part of American Express’ small business team where I’m building and managing a number of print, live and digital communications channels. I came into a team that was growing really quickly, so it has been really similar to launching Avantūr!  These crazy, chaotic roles are my favorite kind—I like lots of white space and building new things, and fortunately I have enough broad business, strategy and leadership experience to help me find my way.

Describe your personal style.  
Minimalist but always with a bit of edge, my wardrobe revolves around solid colors, mostly black, grey, navy and white. I love well-tailored, interestingly shaped clothing. When I lived in London I discovered by Malene Birger, and her collections have been an inspiration ever since. Big chunky jewelry is also a go-to, pointy toe flats and boots…I’m generally a late adopter (or non-adopter!) of fashion trends unless they already align with my personal style. I’m drawn to blazers and jackets of all varieties, and I love interesting, modern suits. Nothing too corporate or put together but still sharp.

Introvert or extrovert?  
Borderline both! I love making new friends, mixing and mingling and learning about peoples’ lives, but I do need alone time to recharge.

Favorite designers?  
Oh, so many! I actually wear Maylene Birger, Helmut Lang and Vince, but the aspiration is for Stella McCartney (unique daywear), Isabel Marant (edgy, great jackets), Celine (wow!) and Calvin Klein (minimalist extraordinaire).

What's your Avantūr inspiration (#AvanturInspo)?Thinking big picture, #AvanturInspo to me is all about trying new things, being adventurous but not reckless. It's about designing your own world and being a creator rather than living in someone else’s and being a “maintainer.” Be bold or go home.

 Favorite place to travel? 
Anywhere I haven’t been before.

Passions other than fashion and design. 
I knit, I do yoga, I play tennis, I dance, I explore, I learn. I’m also on the board of the Center for Art in Wood, an amazing museum/gallery dedicated to art in the medium of wood.

Describe your best mistake.  
Mistakes…who makes mistakes?! You can only make mistakes if you think you know what the right decision is, and there is never a “right,” only shades of gray. Make the best decision with the information you have at that moment, and move forward.

WEI TSAY // co-founder

Instagram / Twitter 

Where did you grow up? 
I was born in Lexington, North Carolina but bounced around between a few cities within the state before moving to Charlotte. 

What brought you to New York? 
Most New York transplants would probably say that they have always dreamed of living in New York. After my first visit to New York, I was very 'meh' about the city. But after college, I realized that I wanted a career in media & advertising, so I knew NYC was the place I needed to be. After a short pitstop in Philadelphia, I made my way to New York to really focus on my career.

Day job? 
I'm the founder of a social and digital marketing consulting practice, Apologue. Currently, we've signed with Sigerson Morrison and Marc Fisher but always looking to take on new clients.

Describe your personal style. 
My personal style is always changing. I tend to dress with my mood. You'll usually find me in neutral colors like black, navy, and gray.

Introvert or extrovert? 
I tend to go back and forth between the two. Personality tests peg me as an extrovert, but I usually feel more introverted.

Favorite designers? 
I really admire what Joseph Altuzarra, Stella McCartney, and Carolina Herrera have done lately. Altuzarra really plays up the role of femininity, and I love the way Stella McCartney and Carolina Herrera incorporate shapes and bold patterns.

What's your Avantūr inspiration (#AvanturInspo)
For me it's really the desire of the unexpected in life. There was a time when I was so complacent and bored with life. I had to challenge myself to change my mindset and recalibrate. I remember being 21 and thinking, "What have I done with my life? What experiences and accomplishments am I most proud of?" Avantūr is symbolic of adventure and a willingness to change... it's really my mantra for the way I live life.  

Favorite place to travel? 
Gina beat me to the punch! But yes, it's the place that I've never been. I want to discover everything indigenous to every city I visit.

Passions other than fashion and design. 
Fitness and photography... and anything I haven't tried before. 

Describe your best mistake. 
Oh, so many. Although, a mistake isn't really a mistake unless you let it sit. I'm a firm believer that you can will your way to change. One example was my first job after college. I took the job for all the wrong reasons, and in an industry I had no interest in. But since I was there, I made the most of it and challenged myself to learn as much as I could. Had I not taken the job, I never would have met Gina.