Coder and model Lyndsey Scott showcases the ever lowering barriers between the worlds of fashion and technology, having created iTunes available apps and walked for the likes of Calvin Klein. We spoke to the 29 year old about her twin careers, how technology has helped her fashion career, and breaking the mould.
Culturally worlds apart, fashion and technology have never enjoyed a particularly close relationship. Until now. Earlier this month Apple made their third big fashion hire in Tag Heuer’s Patrick Pruniaux (the previous two coming from Burberry and YSL). Catwalk star and The Face judge Coco Rocha has a guest column in PCMag, while Grace Choi’s Mink looks set to revolutionise the beauty industry with a 3-D make-up printer.
But no one represents this crossing of paths quite like 29 year old Lyndsey Scott. A Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret model who has created and programmed two apps available on iTunes in her down-time from the runway, she is literally the woman with one well-heeled foot in fashion and the other in technology.
It’s these twin careers that have sprung Lyndsey into the spotlight of late (CNN, the BBC, and Good Morning America are among those that have shared her story) but her double life hasn’t always been so celebrated. In 2009 Lyndsey became the first African American model to win an exclusive contract with Calvin Klein) but she explains ‘Other than my current modelling agency, they’ve generally wanted to simplify my story – say I'm several years younger than I am and because of that, I wasn't able to talk much about my life experiences.’
In 2014, it’s a totally different story, Lyndsey, who has been shot for the likes of Vogue Italia, has become something of an advocate for coding ‘This year companies like Google and Apple have really taken to me because they want to encourage diversity in tech, and the media have realised there's a growing interest in computer science.’
Here at Farfetch we love to embrace new thinking, so we got Lyndsey’s inside story on her route to success and revolutionising the fashion industry with her technological know-how…
From calculator to catwalk
Lyndsey graduated from the prestigious liberal arts college Amherst with a double major in Theatre and Computer Science, but her technological interest started long before that, ‘I first started coding on my TI-89 graphing calculator when I was about 12, although I didn't think of it as programming at the time’ she says, ‘I looked through the book of documentation it came with and realised I could make games on my own.’ And it was her love of theatre that led to a glittering catwalk career, ‘After graduating, I started acting and signed with a modelling agency – modelling is a lot like acting and I love transforming into different characters.’
On breaking the mould
‘Generally, I think that women, people of colour, and anyone else who doesn't fit the traditional mould of a computer programmer often has to prove themselves to be taken seriously’ explains Lyndsey. But she’s never doubted that she has something to contribute to the programming community, ‘With coding at least, I'm super knowledgeable and I can prove myself fairly quickly. I'm even one of the top 2% coders on the popular programming site Stack Overflow this year because I like to help other programmers with their code.’
Her own fashion revolution
Handily, Lyndsey’s first commercial app was inspired by her day job, ‘With iPort, I wanted a way to show off my (modelling) work in a convenient and beautiful format – where I could drag and drop images to edit my book. I wanted to be able to flip through it like a traditional portfolio.’ As well as models, the app has also been a hit with artists and architects, but Lyndsey has even bigger plans, ‘I've recently incorporated video into the app, so I hope to market it a bit more before this upcoming show season -imagine having the casting directors flip through a model's book and actually see clips of her or him walking in fashion shows! I think apps like iPort are the future of the fashion industry.’
The balancing act
You might think walking for the likes of Louis Vuitton and Prada while devising apps with names like ‘Code Made Cool’ might be something of a time struggle, but Lyndsey can’t imagine life without either, ‘I still love acting and modelling and with coding, since I plan on using technology for the foreseeable future, I couldn't possibly stop wanting to create it!’
On her style
Models are notorious for their off-duty cool look that’s elevated by being a fashion insider, and Lyndsey’s own wardrobe rules seem to follow that pattern,‘I definitely own a lot of Helmut Lang and Alexander Wang right now. In general, I tend to be drawn to dark colours and edgier styles, but I also like to lighten things up a bit with softer fabric choices.’
Words: Hollie Moat. Photography: Thomas Giddings. Styling: Sarah Cobb. Hair and make-up: Sarah Appleby.