Behind the Seams: Arketa Fairley, Finding Your Fit at Kontoor
One guiding principal has directed Wrangler® E-commerce Merchandiser Arketa Fairley’s six-year career at Kontoor: “Do what you love.” Exploring many roles in the fashion industry has led to an exciting career for Arketa, and Kontoor’s flexibility has allowed her to pivot, grow and shine. Along the way, she’s been a buyer, replenishment analyst, sales analyst, merchandising associate, and now, an e-commerce merchandiser, where she helped launch the Wrangler ATG™ line. Arketa’s wide-ranging career has touched on many paths that all point back to her love of fashion.
We spoke with Arketa on a sunny afternoon as she worked from her remote office to talk about her career, her passions and her advice for new recruits.
How did you turn your love of fashion into a full-time profession?
I wasn’t one of those people who always knew exactly what I wanted to do, but in college I liked clothes and I liked to shop. Once I started to focus on applying those interests into career opportunities, things started to fall into place. I really enjoy the analytical and business side of the industry.
At some companies, the career path can be very linear and doing something outside of your current scope can be a challenge. At Kontoor, we are encouraged to explore different roles. It demonstrates that you’re learning about yourself, and you’re growing and evolving. I love that I’ve been able to pursue so many different facets of the fashion world all within the same company.
Describe the culture at Kontoor.
We’re bold, yet laid back at the same time. There’s a healthy competition amongst the teams as we bring in new customers on the merchant side. However, we all come to work as one team and all opinions are welcomed. I’m comfortable speaking up because it’s like being part of a family.
You are engaged with different activities at Kontoor. Can you tell us about those activities?
I serve as vice chair of communications for our Diversity Networking Association (DNA), which is an employee resource group at Kontoor. Most recently, I was part of a Juneteenth ceremony that we streamed live to employees. That was the first time we’ve recognized Juneteenth, and I thought it was important to celebrate this day and educate our workforce on its significance. DNA is also working on initiatives related to voter registration, Hispanic Heritage and a new virtual “Coffee with a Co-Worker” series.
Favorite Hobbies Outside of Work
I like to work out, because being healthy is important to me. And I love to cook. I know those two kind of cancel each other out [laughs]. I enjoy cooking and looking at new recipes and spices, and I love making a meal at the end of the day and hearing my family say, “Mom…that was so good!”
What’s in Arketa’s Closet
My favorites are the Wrangler sweatshirts – they are comfortable and cozy. I am proud to wear our logo when I go out.