“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life
I’ve always loved the word Fashionista, even though it is not young any more and has been totally overdone now.
How about Narcissista Fashionista? A little ugly I feel but in some cases, unfortunately does have a ring of honesty about it?
This article is not your conventional article about one’s love of fashion, although the author is most certainly a lover of not only fashion, but the industry itself. Perhaps I am one of the greatest lovers of fashion of all time. Every now and again I feel the need to express something that is really bothering me. Something I believe is affecting us all on some level.
As a woman who loves fashion, and wears it with pride and excitement I appreciate it as an art form. I revere the designers whose souls bleed passion and despair, and very often, blood, because they are so in love with their chosen trade. Business people they are often not, without the obvious trials and tribulations of learning, but without doubt, human fountains of talent and commitment to the industry they adore. That in itself captures my personal respect and dedication. And my desire to support them and become their complimentary PR company.
As a small child, I changed my outfits multiple times in a day. Why? Because I could.
I have no idea why I have always been so drawn to fashion. I was a little girl who loved colour, pattern, looking pretty and the very feel of a different fabric on my skin. Not to mention the obvious attention that I received from people around me when they noticed that I had created a gorgeously cute and colourful outfit which provided a visual spectacle. Remember of course, I was only five years old, so the scenario was a simple one.
As I became older, my love of fashion matured and grew with me. I realised that it was the key to one’s individuality and the express permission we give ourselves to authentically adorn the world with our chosen cloth.
Once upon a time, the concept of such was a given. The world of fashion and our chosen favourite fashion designers allowed us to explore the idea of individualism fully. We revelled in the idea of being happy with the way we looked and improving upon it. We did not feel the need to look twenty-five for our entire lives. We were not worried that if we had a line on our face that we might, and probably would be, put out to pasture. We knew that wisdom and life experience counted for something, and that when the journey of our lives started to show on our faces, it was something to be proud of. We did not spend money that we didn’t have on botox, injectibles, or augmentation of body parts that we did not need or could easily afford. I am not totally against these procedures, but I do believe that too much work can make us look like aliens to ourselves and others. We did not always obsess about all the hidden parts of ourselves, that no one even really sees or even wants to see, years ago. Correct me if I am wrong, but it almost seems like we have become totally obsessed with the parts of ourselves which are quite private. It seems normal to me now that nearly every second person sports at least one tattoo, piercing or very often both.
The value system and the things that we placed importance upon did not demand the spring of eternal youth, as it does now. Colouring our hair, colouring in our skin like colouring books, and creating hairless bodies and landscaping private pieces of ourselves so that we may be more acceptable to others, has almost become a full time occupation outside of our working lives.
No. We concentrated more fully on being the best we could be by developing ourselves, not changing our appearance.
When our culture, our society and our lives were culturally healthier than they are today, we used fashion to provide us with the vehicle we needed to develop our self confidence and underpin our creative expression of self through the unique canvas that God graciously gifted us.
Our desire to dress and our enjoyment of such created important growth and sustainability of local and global fashion industries. This growth provided ongoing opportunity for our wonderful creative minds to freely design, as individuals, and dare I say, created thousands of jobs. It afforded an atmosphere where confident designers could be inspired, driven by their own passion and be encouraged to create without the tsunami of suffocation caused by the commercial pressure to succeed and the current unsatisfactory model of mass fashion consciousness.
We were not stuck in the gridlock of limited choice and the destructive habit of purchasing fast, furious collections of fashion that flood our shopping malls at all too regular intervals.
We are continuously fed these sub-quality lines of fashion by the likes of fashion giants and seem happy to justify or just ignore the damage to our local industry, because they are cheap and feed our constant need for newness and crude consumerism. But that is the problem. The greedily take up the most prominent spaces in our shopping malls and steal our annual fashion spend.
The question is why?
Why have we forgotten our own? Why don’t we support our own breed of wonderful, unique, individual designers who used to have the courage to open stores and bravely show their collections every season?
I have the answer for you. It was because they knew that we would support them.
Sadly that is not the case any more. We can’t be bothered. Our fashion economy has become homogenised, crippled, and quite frankly pretty uninteresting. I believe that part of the problem is that we are expected to be happy wearing some or much of this limited offering and therefore are also expected, by-and-large, to be happy looking like everybody else.
To finish this article on a high note however, I am very pleased to report however that my recent visit to Melbourne Fashion Festival inspired me. I saw many wonderful collections, and witnessed much wonderful emerging talent. Young designers will full hearts and great enthusiasm for the industry they love.
Looks like the rules might just be starting to change … Hallelujah!
I am in the process of gearing myself up for Melbourne Fashion Week. During my usual reconnaissance of scouring interesting fashion food in the lead up, I was fascinated by the street label simply know as ASSK, and quite simply blown away by the photography surrounding their Autumn/Winter 2015 and Spring/Summer 2016 campaigns.
Of course my first question was how the name was birthed.
ASSK is an anagram of the designers initials. Sarah Schofield and Agatha Kowalewski. The girls have been living in Paris working in the fashion industry for a few years. Sarah was working at Louis Vuitton, and Agatha was working as a stylist when they started ASSK in 2013. Their business and studio are based there and they have press offices in Paris and in NY.
Both girls are originally from Australia, and Melbourne especially has remained really important to ASSK.
They sell through Distal Phalanx in Melbourne, and have a really strong base there.
They are really excited to be back home and showing in the Discovery Runway at VAMFF.
Their label has been heavily influenced by technology and internet culture.
The internet has always played a big part in the ASSK brand. Agatha and Sarah first connected on the internet and worked with Melbourne artist Oliver van der Lugt over the internet for two years before they met.
Their first four collections were sold via the internet over look books to people they didn’t know. In places they had never visited.
This interconnectivity through technology has been very important to them.
On the topic of inspiration, they are always interested in current pop culture and movements about the future. They are never interested in looking back at the past.
They are inspired by sub-cultures, and their new ability to form online. Once the emergence of sub-cultures was quite localised. Like the Punk movement in London. They now celebrate disparate individuals across the world meeting and connecting over shared interests and beliefs.
Interestingly, their garments are made in Poland close to Wroclaw. This is where Agatha’s family comes from.
They also make some sublimation garments in China. Although expensive, it serves a good purpose as it allows us to have access to top quality machinery. For their customer, this means “super detailed effects”.
I simply cannot wait to see what this label comes up with on the Runway at VAMFF. Any wonder these two girls are enjoying the sweet smell of success.
Do you feel that art & fashion belong together on the Runway?
Yes. I definitely believe that there are strong links between fashion and art on and off the runway.
I think that the more recent trend for designers to show in presentations rather than traditional runway gives a chance for people to be free and creative. To lean closer to an immersive experience or performance art.
Do you believe that editorial or social media gives your label the most beneficial exposure?
Editorial and social media are two very different things.
Editorial exposure can be quite hard to get. Often clothing goes out on a lot of shoots, but that doesn’t mean it will make it onto the model. Or that the image will be visible in a magazine. Hopefully, the stylist will let you know about the photo, but often it is represented in poor taste (like a caucasian model with cornrows) and you can’t publicise it.
But when it does come together and a beautiful image is featured in a great magazine, it’s awesome!
Traditional editorial press is still important to become known by top stylists, photographers and editors.
Social media is great for gaining new fans and having a direct line to them.
It allows the opportunity to strengthen the brands image and reach people all over the world with ease. It provides a way of knowing who buys the clothes and how they style them. Our fans are really creative and create a lot of great content for us – they tag us in everything!
What is your view of the way young women dress today? Do you feel that some of them tend to dress the same?
I think the way young people dress today is great, and while there is often local or global trends, I wouldn’t say that people dress the same.
Today there is more freedom than ever before for young people to be whoever they identify as and dress how they like.
I think that the internet has allowed more freedom as well. Connecting to different communities online makes us open to ideas and have access to different clothing.
We devoured issues of ‘The Face’ which were often months out of date by the time they reached Australia. now you have much more There is much greater access to visuals and clothing now.
Would you describe your label as street style?
Yes. We would identify as ‘street style’. As the brand has developed it has become more ready-to-wear rather than just simple t-shirts and hoodies.
Why do you think it is so hard for emerging designers to get off the ground in Australia?
I think that it is for two reasons.
Firstly, most of the emerging designers in Australia launch their brand on graduating university.
I think to increase your likely hood of success you first need to gain a good level of industry experience, strong industry connections and have a solid amount of money saved.
Secondly, I think that many people are following the same pattern that other older Australian designers have followed and failed with.
They graduate, launch a brand with little experience, have the overheads of a studio before selling anything, and they focus on the local market for years believing they need to make it here before trying overseas.
The fashion industry has changed dramatically over the past five years. Having an international presence is very important. Adhering to a strong brand vision.
Trying to flood a small commercial pool means the reliance on the strength of one market or one currency.
Do you believe that the Runway is an essential tool to show a fashion collection?
I believe that within the first two years a designer needs public presentation of their work. It doesn’t have to take the form of runway, but it is important for press and buyers. It is a way to solidify a vision through all the aspects … invitation to music to casting.
It often becomes a springboard for new ideas to continue with in the future.
Photography | Christelle de Castro Models | Chadwicks
What are your thoughts regarding ethical and sustainable practices?
I think that brands should absolutely try and work within the highest ethical and sustainable practices, both in their production and in their everyday studio life.
Where would you like to see your label in five years?
We don’t know! We have had a great time and great success, but being a small brand is very hard. Especially because we never set out to have a brand, it was a creative project which snowballed in popularity and grew too quickly.
We are currently working on a plan to have better balance in the company. We need more time to be creative and less time wading through emails. Ideally the brand would become a more manageable collaborative project again, working with artists and creatives. We would release small capsule collections outside of the fashion calendar.
Do you believe that the difficult times in Australian fashion can be solved by collaborative efforts to help one another?
I believe that people working collaboratively is very important, not only for projects but in the sharing of information. It can be really hard to start out and nobody wants to be seen as struggling in a small competitive fashion industry.
Sometimes the most generous thing you can give is the truth.
Do you think fashion industries outside of Australia enjoy more connectivity and a more cohesive culture?
Not necessarily. I think that each industry and each country/city has its pros and cons.
London is great because of the support offered to young designers, but it’s living costs have become insane.
Paris has amazing fashion houses and history, but it is a very hard place to assimilate into and run a small business.
New York has an amazing young scene with artists and energy, but the work pace is intense and the city is still dominated by big commercial business.
Everywhere has its good and bad side. Australia has great advantages. People shouldn’t get bogged down by feeling that we are missing out.
Photography | Christelle de Castro Models | Chadwicks
Who are your favourite Australian and international fashion designers?
In Australia I love Maticevski. He creates beautiful clothing and I admire his success.
Internationally, I love Raf Simons for Dior, especially the couture – I love almost all Haute Couture!
Agatha and I both love Vetements. We are friends with many of their collaborators and their energy has changed Paris. I feel ver hopeful for what Demna Gvasalia will now do at Balenciaga.
I also love Hood By Air. I would not buy any of their clothes however, I think what they have achieved is incredible. They started from nothing and have actually changed fashion and created a certain culture – not many designers can say that.
Their brand identity is so strong and individual. Their presentations are some of the best I have ever seen.
What is your view of social media as a platform for the exposure of fashion?
I think social media is great, it has definitely influenced the way that we communicate with people. Through Instagram we have a direct line with our fans and customers all over the world. We have made friends, met collaborators and connected with people, which would otherwise have been impossible with the old media.
What do you believe is the impact of “fast fashion” on a label such as yours?
I don’t know if fast fashion has an impact on our brand. We learnt early on that our customer likes individual pieces and the crazier the better!
We don’t need to worry about relying on selling basics, and our designs often have complicated prints and small details that you don’t find in mass-market clothing.
I think it’s really bad when mass-market blatantly rips off young designers. Their accelerated supply chain allows for quicker in-store product placement, but I think customers are becoming more aware. The internet has made it possible to call-out ‘the copiers’.
We have had a few copies and there is counterfeit ASSK out there, but it’s not at the point where it affects our bottom line or brand image. We laugh it off and keep going.
Photography | Christelle de Castro Models | Chadwicks
What would you regard as the ultimate success for your label?
The dream would be for ASSK to release several small capsule collections each year in collaboration with different artists and designers. To stay true to our ideals and creativity.
Our personal dreams are to have the time to return to our individual careers. Mine as a creative consultant for emerging brands, and working as a designer inside a luxury fashion house in Paris again. Agatha’s … working in the nutrition and fitness industry.
My husband recently showed me a video he thought would interest me. … what an understatement!!!
I loved it!
And I’m pretty sure you will too. With over five million views already, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks it hilarious. To all the wonderful Instagram Husbands out there, I’d like to thank you, for lots and lots of laughs.
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate you and love you … our Instagram lives would not be the same without you!
I was so intrigued and fascinated by the way the video was produced, I just had to find out who was behind it’s creation.
Michelle and Jeff Houghton, a married couple from Springfield, Missouri in America’s mid west, are the ingenious creative minds who birthed the concept. They are parents to their little boy, Elias and Michelle is also a counsellor and an artist.
Her Instagram husband, Jeff, is a comedian and talk show host. Jeff creates a syndicated show called The Mystery Hour, which is what Instagram Husband was written and produced for. Michelle also writes and performs for the show.
“we thrive on keeping things interesting and are driven by a desire to connect with others and chase after our dreams. I am an avid Instagrammer and I love tacos, philosophical conversations, indie music, podcasts, and creative expression”.
Their Instagram account is the “official account bringing support, comport, & praise to all you human selfie-sticks out there …”
It is truly brilliant and hilarious. Quite simply, I’m hooked!
I hope you love this piece as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.
I absolutely love what you are doing … how did you start Instagram Husband?
Jeff, my husband, came up with the Instagram Husband concept and wanted to do it as a video for his show, The Mystery Hour. He thought of it last summer, after having a lot of experiences where taking a pretty photo got in the way of experiencing the moment in both our lives and the lives of our friends.
Is Instagram Husband a collaboration, as often I see many things that are posted by different people?
In some ways, yes, it was a collaboration, in other ways no. We have a group of writers who write for The Mystery Hour and we collaborated on the video for that entity. The idea of Instagram Husband was Jeff’s and everyone who was involved was doing it for the show.
How has Instagram changed your life?
I have a lot of good friends who I have met through Instagram, actually, which is the greatest impact it has had on my life.When I find a new Instagrammer from my area who has similar taste, I follow them and then start commenting on their posts out of mutual respect and admiration. Often that has lead to online friendships which have lead to hanging out in real life. Some of my closest friendships started that way over the last five years. Instagram has also enhanced my connections with my friends because we have access to knowing what is going on in each other’s lives. It starts conversations about things we otherwise wouldn’t know about, and I love that.
Do you feel we have created a problem of “oversharing” on social media in general? Do you feel that Instagram specifically has created an aspect of “oversharing” in our life?
I think we do have a bit of “oversharing” going on in our culture, but I don’t think it is unique to Instagram. I am a counsellor and work primarily with adolescents. To them it’s not Instagram, it’s Snap Chat. For others, it’s Facebook. Regardless the medium, we do go to ridiculous lengths to provide interesting and appealing content related to our lives. I think we are going to look back in 50 years at this time period and see a lot of good things that have come from social media, but we will also recognise a lot of mistakes we have made culturally with regards to our obsession with it. We cannot learn those lessons until we go through them, however. I do see a lot of individuals online who go to extremes to get “likes” and ultimately gain validation from that, which creates a culture of comparison, and as Theodore Roosevelt said …
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Are you addicted to social media?
You know, it sort of depends on what lens I am looking through to say whether or not I am “addicted” to social media. There have definitely been times in my life where I have spent more time on it than others. Also, compared to some people who are rarely online, I am definitely addicted, and yet compared to those who very obviously check their phones every few minutes, I am definitely not. I probably check my Instagram and Facebook feed a few times a day, but I don’t let myself get sucked down the rabbit hole of spending a chunk of time there as much as I used to. I really enjoy photography and curating a space which exudes my asthetic, so Instagram tends to be my “addiction” more than other mediums of social media.
Do you believe that people lead “fake” lives through Instagram, as is often suggested?
I have a hard time saying what is “fake” and what is “real”– with social media, because I truly see a movement toward people sharing the rawness and realness of their lives online. This is probably in response to all the curated lives we are seeing others live through the social media lens. I think it takes a real balance to share authentically what is happening in your life online, because you don’t want to make things “too” pretty or you are not relatable, and yet you also don’t want to over-share your struggles or the not-so-pretty side of things, because if you’re doing that all the time it can come across as humble-bragging, which is equally off-putting. In the end, I think we all want people to see the best in us. It just happens to be on a different platform and a different level with social media.
What was your motivation for starting “Instagram Husband”.
We started Instagram Husband because we thought it was a funny concept. We really enjoy making people laugh, and Jeff has a knack for coming up with relatable concepts to do that. It just so happened that this video connected with a lot of people.
What do you feel are the main differences between Facebook and Instagram and are you fan of both platforms?
I like both Instagram and Facebook. I tend to lean towards using Instagram more because I am such a fan of art and photography, and I follow a lot of people who use Instagram to showcase their work in both genres. I like Facebook to hear about what is going on with family and friends.
What do you see as the positives of Instagram. And, the negatives?
Instagram positives: good photography, platform for people to connect, photos often convey concepts in an easily-deliverable way where people connect to an image, community, and inspiration. Instagram negatives: tends to lead us to compare ourselves with others (just as all social media platforms do), FOMO– personally I have a hard time seeing vacation pictures of other people or people around the world in beautiful places if I’m spending my hours at work feeling uninspired and unmotivated.
What is your opinion of buying followers and likes?
I don’t really know anyone, (well, at least to my knowledge) who “buys” followers and likes– to me it seems like another marketing ploy mostly for businesses or brands wanting to seem culturally relevant. I would be very suspicious of individual people who do that for personal accounts but I haven’t really dealt with it.
What is your view of people who share a difficult personal moment on the Instagram platform?
I sort of answered this in #7, but I’ll add to it by saying this– I heard a podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong among other books about shame and vulnerability. She asked her about sharing personal stories in what she writes. What she had to say about it really resonated with me. She said that she never publicly shares a personal story that she has not already fully processed. Her rule of thumb being that if her healing is contingent upon what others say about that story, then she should not share it. She says she’s shared her story before she was ready, and learned a lot of lessons from that. When you share a difficult story before you have healed, it is not giving and generous to the people hearing it, and can actually be abusive to yourself. Attempting to gain deep healing from a wound in a public arena is just not the way to go about working out your issues– that is what close friends and therapy is for.
She missed another job interview today because the light was “just perfect”
“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world”.
– Brene Brown, in her podcast, Big Magic
Do you believe that social media is responsible for people having poor interpersonal and social skills in real life?
People throughout the ages have had poor social and interpersonal skills in real life, so I don’t think social media is to blame. In my career as a counsellor I work with a lot of people who have poor social skills, and there isn’t one specific set of circumstances that lead them to be that way. Some have manipulative or abusive upbringings, some have disorders like Autism where social interaction doesn’t come as easily, and some are just downright introverted, which is fine, but is not always valued in our culture. I know some very inward people who are also successful bloggers or Instagrammers. Just because they are less likely to wow someone in person than online does not mean that blogging is what caused them to be introverts. Blogging, social media, and writing may just be the platform they feel the most comfortable socialising on.
Do you believe that Instagram amounts to modern day narcissism?
I think Instagram can portray a sense of narcissism, yes, but I also believe most people don’t go out and create Instagram accounts because they want validation and “likes”, and thus are essentially narcissistic. I think to some extent we all want positive social interactions, and naturally that is a healthy thing. When someone spends an inordinate amount of time curating a space online that looks nothing like their real life in the hopes of gaining followers and likes, however, that crosses the bounds of healthy living.
What is your view of Instagram advertising. Do you feel that it is effective?
Every form of advertising is effective if it gets people to buy things.
What has been your personal response to Instagram Husband?
My personal response to Instagram Husband? Wow, there’s a lot in this one question. I’ll start by saying that I have been a supporter of my husbands show since he started it in a crappy basement of an improv theatre 10 years ago. It has been his dream to consistently showcase his talents of writing, acting, hosting, and performing on a large scale, and Instagram Husband got him, as the creator, a lot of the attention he deserved because the video was such a big hit. My biggest response to it therefore is just sheer happiness. Mostly because of the story of our struggle. For him to be doing what he loves in a very obscure way.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun posting the Instagram photos on our @ig.husband account, and have had a great time connecting with people all across the world who relate to the video through that, through interviews, and with people reaching out after they saw it. It’s weird that so many of us have had this phenomenon in our lives– asking our husbands (or wives or girlfriends or friends or sisters or whatever) to take our photos so we can later post them– and we didn’t have a term for it up until this point.
Do you enjoy your food less when you are always wanting to photograph it in it’s untouched state first?
Heck no! I enjoy it MORE! I love anything that is well presented, and especially food! It’s fun to snap a picture of it before it’s all gobbled up. Obviously the line of “we used to eat our food, now we just take pictures of it…” is a comedian’s take on prolonging eating things when we are taking pictures of it– but I promise I would never sacrifice tasting food for a photo!
Do you feel a certain pressure to constantly find new and interesting material to post?
Yeah, to be honest, sometimes I do. If it’s been a few days since I last posted a picture, I start to think about what I should post, or why I didn’t post. To me, snapping an iPhone picture of a scene or a person or a thing that happened during the day is a way to look at it with a focused lens– to not miss the beauty of that moment. If I am just going through the motions of my days and I don’t stop to REALLY look at my surroundings, I notice because I generally don’t have any pictures from that time. Now, of course, it CAN go the other way, where you take so many dang pictures that you miss the moment entirely, but I do think there is some balance. There is always something beautiful right in front of you, you just have to take a moment to really see it. I just happen to do that sometimes with snapping a photo of it.
Is your husband generally interested in Instagram?
He’s so-so about it. He definitely doesn’t spend much time on it– a lot of his pictures are of our son or of something funny he sees and wants to share.
“Vacations make the best Instagram posts…”
– Michelle Houghton
What do you think of the selfie?
I have so many mixed feelings about the selfie!! I have only recently upped my selfie game, realizing that people who follow you like to see YOU, but before that I mostly felt self-gratuitous and weird about taking them. It was when I read an article somewhere about how selfies actually promote people LIKING themselves (gasp!) when I started to see the logic in how it could be a good thing. We’re often so down on how we look or who we are. I don’t think its a bad thing if you like the way your face looks in a particular light to take your own darn photo.
Do you believe we are over the selfie and the duck face?
I am so over duck face. I’ve always been over it. That and women standing with their hand on their hip and their butt curved out. WHO STANDS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!?!?!
For people who are looking for followers, what is your advice of increasing one’s following on Instagram?
Offer something unique, special, genuine, and worth following.
How often do you personally post to Instagram?
I post to Instagram about once a day or every other day. It depends on what is going on in my life at the moment and how busy I am.
Do you believe that posting to Instagram at a certain time is important? Why?
I never really took the time to think about what time of day to post to Instagram for maximum exposure until I started curating the @ig.husband account — then I asked my friend who curates a famous blog about timing, and she gave me some tips. If you want to reach your audience, you need to think about when they are going to be online. So yes, I think it is important. Is it the be-all-and-end-all? No.
What is next for Instagram Husband?
There are some things in the works for what is coming next, but at this point we can’t share what that is. For now, we’re just trying to focus on putting out quality work with The Mystery Hour, and are having a ton of fun doing it!
Where do you see yourselves in five years from now.
I HAVE NO IDEA! As an artist, I just started selling my artwork online and in local venues, so I am hoping to get more exposure with it and incorporate it more into my life. I also LOVE counselling, I am planning on starting a private practice and other ventures where I share my expertise on a community platform. While all that is going on, The Mystery Hour is also a huge part of my life, and I hope that my husband and I continue to work together on the show or in some capacity to put out comedy to the world. Jeff is so incredibly talented and I LOVE working with him in that arena.
What is your greatest dream?
My greatest dream would be for Jeff and I to both be simultaneously employed doing what we love. “Chase your dreams” has practically been the motto in my house for a long time, but it has not come without sacrifices. More than anything I want us both to be happy creating unique things to contribute to the world, and to do it while providing for our family.
What is your favourite food, country, and fashion designer?
Food- tacos. Hands down.
Country- Croatia. I visited there last summer and FELL IN LOVE.
Fashion designer?? Hmmmm… to be honest I’ve never been able to afford designer labels, but if I would name a few that speak to me I would say Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Rachel Comey. I tend to shop H&M, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Need Supply, and Madewell the most.
Have you ever visited Australia? Do you intend to?
I haven’t, but its definitely on the bucket list. I’ve heard that it’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and I’ve never met an Aussie I didn’t like.
Lastly, what subject do you believe makes the best Instagram post?
Anna Whitehouse “This photo took 15 minutes of her standing in front of that wall with the kiddo writhing like Gollum to get out of her grasp. It took 45 more minutes just for the little one to stop snot-crying”.
Good dressing is often about “not overthinking it”.
I was recently in Melbourne where I met an editorial stylist who captured my interest and attention. Clearly someone who was interested in fashion herself as she was beautifully dressed.
I could see in an instant that styling was probably her game.
We chatted about the importance of offering the concept of styling in any capacity and making it available to anyone, from the individual to what’s required for photographic shoots.
I mentioned to her that whilst I have worked as a stylist for many years now, and have styled more women and men than I can actually remember, I sometimes feel that I need one myself! A kind of “stylist for a stylist” if you like.
We lose perspective on ourselves sometimes. It’s normal. We get very used to our own bodies, our own proportions, our faces and our adopted styles. Sometimes, a stylist can bring a new perspective to the way we present ourselves to the world and I think as you become older and as you pass through different stages in your life, it becomes a necessity, not a luxury.
It’s a way of visiting ourselves, as the outsider, the person who can objectively assess, tweek and improve our appearance, presentation and therefore others perception, in subtle and consequently effective ways.
I asked Cat to explain her work and her perspectives derived from her experiences as a Melbourne stylist.
How do you define your work as a freelance stylist?
At this point in my career I have developed a certain creative process, I am at the start of most projects putting forth a vision or idea, organising the team and essentially bringing the ideas to life. So in many ways I work as a creative/art director who happens to also style the fashion in each project. It is the job of the stylist to envision every single aspect, not just the clothing.
With whom do you work?
I work with a number of other creatives. Photographers, designers, make up artists, magazine editors etc. Along with modelling agencies/models and clothing stores.
Photography/Styling: Karlstrom Creatives Makeup: Chris Chisato Arai
Tick Tock Tick Tock … who’ll be next for the chopping block?
Why is it that an industry with so much talent and so much promise, essentially, does not function as it should?
I am referring to the Australian fashion industry … well, at least part of it.
Recently, I launched a new online platform called Label Ministry. Its purpose, amongst other things is to provide much needed support and exposure to all Australian fashion designers, both emerging and established. This platform provides a stage to showcase the talent and aspirations of our amazing designers and to connect them on a personal level with the fashionistas of the world, and their fashion consumer audience to access a greater level of global exposure, recognition, success and profitability.
In addition to this, the platform is open also to all creative teams who work in Australian fashion, be they models, photographers, stylists and so on.
Photography & Styling: Karlstrom Creatives MUA/Hair: Chisato Chris Arai
I am really excited to bring you this interview with Chisato Chris Arai, a Japanese makeup artist who is based in Sydney.
Chisato travels far and wide with her work, namely New York, Paris and Milan fashion weeks every year in addition to her local work in and around Sydney.
With a background in fine arts and formal training for hair and makeup from Hollywood, her phenomenal talent is highly sort after and it is not hard to see why. She has loved makeup since she was young and her work was literally born of a childhood dream. Enormously passionate about her career, she says she will live and breathe it forever!
Her current work revolves around many diverse projects which include editorials, commercials, film and fashion runways.
Your inner beauty shows on the outside, so be the most beautiful you! You must take care of both your inner and outer beauty.
What inspired you to become makeup artist?
I have always had a passion for visual art, particularly in make up artistry, even as a kid. I was inspired by and copied the make up of classic Hollywood actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe.
Do you travel the world from one fashion week you to another?
Yes! I’m very fortunate each year to be able to make attend fashion weeks in New York, Milan and Paris.
Shopping for clothes and shoes is one of her favourite things to do. She is constantly buying new items and says about herself, that she “just can’t get enough”.
Who are the people from whom you take inspiration and whom do you most admire within your industry?
I take inspiration from Cara Delevingne. I also admire Jennifer Hawkins for her achievement in winning Miss Universe and being able to branch into other areas of the industry through having her own brand of swimwear – COZI by Jennifer Hawkins.
Less is more – always. But let’s make this clear: I don’t mean less clothing…
and, as Karl Lagerfeld said, “If you’re not willing to have an ongoing dialogue with fashion, get another job.”
The Prep Guy and The Lady like Leopard at the House of Mackage show in Canada
What is the philosophy behind your work?
Everything and anything fashion! With my blog The Lady-like Leopard I hope to bring people together through fashion and give people an inside perspective to what the fashion industry is all about.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I first studied fashion design in Canada and then journalism at Macley College in Sydney. I wanted to combine my two areas of study and so starting a fashion blog seemed like a natural thing to do. Well, that and I’ve been obsessed with working for a fashion magazine since I was a kid so this is like my own little magazine.
Who are the people from whom you take inspiration and whom do you most admire within your industry?
I admire anyone who is willing to put in endless hours of hard work to achieve their goals and dreams. I’ve met people who start a fashion blog and then quit because it’s “too much work”. You have to be prepared for that. I love the photos that Sydney Fashion Blogger takes and JetSet Justine’s style.