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How Away Founder Jen Rubio Dresses for Work and Play

How Away Founder Jen Rubio Dresses for Work and Play 1

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Jen Rubio says she’s not a fashion person, but her closet—filled with elegant pieces from The Row, Dior, and Proenza Schouler—tells a different story. The Away cofounder doesn’t dress to make a statement on the street, however; she is an aesthete with a love of architecture and Carl Auböck who appreciates the artistry behind the clothes. “I’ve talked to a lot of friends about trying to use fashion as self-expression. They’re really into trends and what’s going on, and that’s just never resonated with me,” she said on the phone from Away’s New York offices. “I’m interested in how good design makes me feel.”

This focus on craft is reflected in Away’s core philosophy. The brand’s ubiquitous suitcases are now found in airports around the globe, thanks to their thoughtful construction and affordable price point. Additionally, the minimal design and wide range of color options echo Rubio’s personal taste and affinity for investment pieces. She carefully considers each purchase and gravitates toward styles that will last for decades. “Even when I first moved to New York and I had no money, I would find myself saving up for things,” says Rubio. “When we were first starting the company and I was eating ramen and sleeping on [Away cofounder] Steph [Korey]’s couch, I still wore quality pieces that I loved. It was just that I had two outfits and I alternated them!”

These days, Rubio has a lot more options but remains averse to the clutter that comes with holding onto excess. “I’m quick to get rid of things,” she admits. “My little sister has an amazing closet [filled with] everything I’ve ever loved before!” As an online entrepreneur with a love of brick-and-mortar shopping, Rubio also makes sure to bring home something special from each new destination. “I love for every piece to have a story,” she adds.

Here, the jet-setting founder shares five tips to packing like a pro and shopping everywhere from Madrid to Marrakech.

Plan to shop around each unique destination.
I basically only shop when I travel. On every PR trip, I come back with bags. One reason is that I travel a lot to Europe for work, and a lot of the investment pieces I have my eye on are cheaper in Europe. I’m the tax-free queen! When I’m home, I’m a total homebody, and I’m either stuck working or with friends, so I don’t really shop when I’m in New York.

One of the big things that I love about shopping is the experience. In Madrid, it’s so architecturally interesting, and I feel like all the things that I’m excited about, like design and architecture and art, are all present in those stores and fully integrated into my travel.

Photographed by Daniela Spector

Aquazzura + Sabine Getty Crystal-Embellished Suede And PVC Mules

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Find the physical shops of your favorite online stores.
One thing I’ve started to do over the last year is I shop on 1stdibs, and then if I find like, home goods or furniture or something, I’ll make a note of who the seller is, and then the next time I’m in that city I go to their in-person store. That’s how I find myself in antique and vintage shops around the world. Those stores don’t always get a lot of PR; they’re not in every travel guide. I’ve found so many great things that way.

Photographed by Daniela Spector

Marques’Almeida Striped Ribbed Pullover

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Tibi Pleat-Detail Leather Midi Skirt

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Laura Lombardi Curve Hoop Earrings

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Only buy pieces you’d take on the road.
Because I travel so much, I only buy stuff that I can go [travel] with. When people are like, ‘How do you pack?’ I’m like, I just take the stuff in my closet, and I put it in my suitcase. There is an anxiety people get around packing, it is like, how do I choose what to bring? Which of my things do I bring with me? I rarely buy stuff that I wouldn’t travel with. So my wardrobe on the road is my whole wardrobe at home, and it’s a big comfort thing. I gravitate toward comfortable clothes, neutral colors, pieces that really go well with each other, and having that mind-set of only buy what you can pack has helped me curate things.

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