Candice Huffine's First Luxury Handbag Was Stolen 3 Days After She Bought It
When it comes to modeling, Candice Huffine isn’t new to this, but true to this. The model, DAY/WON activewear brand owner, and body positive activist began her foray into the fashion world at just 15-years-old.
“My first job was a Sears catalog and I didn’t spend my first paycheck because I was 15 years old, so it went straight to an account to save and thankfully so,” she tells InStyle. “And at the time to be honest, the industry for a curvy model was very new and young, and I wasn’t sure there was longevity. I didn’t know that I was really going to have a lifelong career doing this as my sole job.”
Catalog work overseas and for Jump Magazine was just the start of Huffine’s career, which now includes walking the runway for Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano, and Cushnie; campaigns for Good American, Fossil, Ann Taylor, and Swarovski; and editorial spreads for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Germany, and Cosmopolitan.
During New York Fashion Week in February, Huffine used the time when she wasn’t sauntering down the catwalk to participate in conversations that addressed the industry’s continued need for increased representation. One of the most sobering discussions she participated in was a part of the season’s NYFW: The Talks programming — an incredibly honest chat titled “From Casting to Campaign” between herself, fellow model Precious Lee, IMG Models SVP David Cunningham, Good American co-founder Emma Grede, and Teen Vogue fashion features editor Jessica Andrews.
“It’s not like we’re having this conversation too much,” Huffine emphasizes. “I’ll never be at a point when I think we’re finished having this conversation. This continuously needs to be talked about. I come from the school that more is more is more when it comes to this.” Huffine says there will always be someone who is being reached for the first time when hearing about inclusivity, and that it’s incredibly important to continue empowering and encouraging people in the industry who are fighting every day to make it a more diverse and safer space.
“It will continue to be very important until everyone is fully appreciated and celebrated. We still have a ways to go. We have to keep talking, implementing that change, waving that flag, and shouting from the rooftops. It means everything.”
Here, we continue the conversation with Huffine about inclusivity, as well as going deep about money, becoming a business owner, her shopping habits, and more.
On what she wants from the fashion industry in 2019… "I’m always frustrated with the misconceptions and myths that are placed on women — specifically on curvy women. I would like the industry and society as a whole to stop marginalizing, labeling, and assuming that they know who these women are. And that there should only be one type of woman who is worthy. There’s so much that plays into that. Speaking specifically as a curvy model, we’ve always been misunderstood and misrepresented because, from a fashion aspect, they think the curvy woman isn’t into high-fashion or things as simple as showing her arms. If we switch and jump to the health and wellness side of things, they think that the curvy woman isn’t active. That she’s not out there crushing marathons.
"Well I hate to tell you — you guys are wrong about everything. Not even that I hate to tell you: sorry not sorry. I’m here to tell you everyone’s been wrong about everything, because there are these labels and these limits that have been placed on us unnecessarily. I’m tired of industries defining who this woman is when what we need to do is just let her be who she is and celebrate that. Women are doing that on a day-to-day basis in society, so it’s really about brands catching up to that. We’re celebrating and living our truth every day. This is me: Take it or leave it. And it’s time brands catch up with the way women feel now and the way they want to be seen. That is the change that’s happening now and that’s the shift we’re feeling. That’s going be a truly beautiful thing because then we’ll really be represented properly.”
On learning (and unlearning) how to deal with money… "I have two distinct memories from my childhood about money. One is my dad being extremely regimented and balancing checkbooks on Saturday mornings. He would sit and write every detail down. And then the stark opposite of that was my mom who was very free with money. And not that we had a lot of it. But I feel that she wanted to do the things she wanted to do and didn’t want to worry about money right then. She didn’t want it to stress her out. So, I had two complete opposite views of how you’re supposed to do things. I was asking myself, 'Which way should I be?' Because my mom was having the time of her life, and we all lived in the same house — my parents were married. I would say that I got a bit of both, which taking some tips from my mom’s side of things, I had to unlearn.”
On the horror of paying her taxes for the first time... "I sat in my accountant’s office the first time I ever paid taxes on my own and I sat there crying because guess what? I didn’t have money to pay those taxes because I didn’t save it properly. I wasn’t balancing anything right. I was living in New York, having the time of my life. Which is cut to mom’s way of life, which meant I never really budgeted or prepared myself for the future, which was dad’s side of things. I had to learn it all a little bit on my own once I dealt with the harsh reality of living in New York City. But that was a real eye-opening moment and no one tells you that when you’re younger.
"In the modeling industry you’re self-employed so you don’t get taxes withheld. Saving is a huge necessity and part of the business as well. It’s your own responsibility and because no one really tells you, your money truths come to light very fast. While I was learning about parallelograms in school — that I was never going to use again — I wish I was also taught to budget for my life as a young adult.”
On her first big purchase and her approach to shopping… "I’m a really good saver, but I think that’s just because the priority of the things I want require that. I don’t necessarily want a closet full of handbags. I would love to own an apartment instead. It is the way it is just based on my wants and needs. One of the first big purchases I made was a Marc Jacobs purse and it literally got stolen three days later. And I said to myself then, it’s too stressful for me to be walking around with price tags essentially hanging off of me. I don’t need that just to feel like I belong here. Trust me: I love a nice thing and I love to treat myself as a milestone and celebratory moment. But for the most part, I do like to keep my money in one place, so I can go after those big goals that I have.”
On transitioning from model to business owner… "Making and creating something of my own was really exciting and I was very ready for this moment. With my experience in the fashion industry and knowing even just as a consumer what I wanted and the things I know that women want, it was such an exciting responsibility for me to take on. To be in the driver’s seat and know I was going to be able to give that to her. For example, DAY/WON is a fully size-inclusive activewear line from size 0 to 32. And that was the most exciting thing for me. I feel like I’m finally in charge of what I said should be done and what I always wanted, so there’s a lot of excitement and pride in that."
"Being founder and CEO, I learned immediately all of the inner workings of what’s behind the scenes of a business and things that are your strengths and your weaknesses, which you can’t be too proud to acknowledge. I realized that I might run a great Instagram game on my own personal account, but I don’t know how to run a business’s account. You can’t be afraid to ask for help. I have an amazing partner who stands by my side and knows how to just get it done and not overthink things, which I have the tendency to do. It’s been an incredible learning experience and I’m very, very grateful for now being on this side of things. Now I see what it takes, if this is your mission and your passion, what it takes to fully commit to that and see it through to the final product. And it can be done. Including everyone and representing everyone can be done, should be done, and is well-received. And we’re just getting started.”