GROUP CHAT: FINDING YOUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY

February 21, 2018

 

Couturesque is made up of writers and contributors from all around the world - fashion students, interns, and enthusiasts whose varied backgrounds and experiences make us what we are.  This month, we're focusing on Community at Couturesque, and so we turned to our team to talk about how community factors into our creative lives - whether that's about growing up in the suburbs, attending university, moving abroad, or staying put.  The common thread?  No one can do it alone.  Find your team and be there for each other.

 

 

 

Tia Elisabeth, @tia.elisabeth

Who are you? My name is Tia and I am the Editor in Chief and founder of Couturesque.

 

How old are you? 19.

 

Where are you based? New York, but I’m spending my 2017/18 school year abroad in Europe - London and Florence, specifically.


Where are you from? A suburb of Toronto, Canada.

 

When (and where) did you first become interested in fashion?  I had always loved clothes and style but never saw it as a career until early in high school, probably thanks to the Internet and people who I admired at the time, like Alexa Chung and Eva Chen.

 

Did you ever feel the desire to be somewhere else? Absolutely.  Growing up in the suburbs was quite sterile and style was all about expensive brand names and looking very cookie-cutter, you know?  Like there was hardly even thrifting.  I spent a lot of time in Toronto trying to find cool vintage stores, finessing my way into Toronto Fashion Week, and interning for a cool brand, Kastor & Pollux, that I had found online and who I really idolised.  I also held a fascination with London for a long time, and after I visited for the first time in 2015, New York as well.  Although Toronto has a really creative arts scene for stuff like film and music, the fashion crowd is really insular and I found so many people to be really dismissive or territorial, versus senior staff in other cities like New York who would do informational Skype calls with me and answer my emails and such.

 

Did you go to college/post-secondary and how did location factor into that decision?  I came to NYU for college which has been the best decision I ever made.  I love it so much - my program and being in the city.  I only applied to schools in major cities because I knew I wanted to intern and go to fashion week and do shoots and meet like-minded people.

 

What is the creative community in your current city like? Speaking to the New York community, I would say that it varies quite a bit - probably due to the scale, of course.  Some people have been absolutely lovely and have given up a lot of time to have coffee with me or do interviews, take me on as an intern, etc.  The young people here too are so cool because everyone who moves to New York goes there with some kind of ambition and dream that they want to make a reality and you can’t achieve anything without collaboration; it is so inspiring to be surrounded by such unique brave souls.  That being said, there are a lot of people who are more motivated by commercial success or title than by actually making anything meaningful, and being such a capitalist epicentre, there is a lot of “playing it safe” which can sometimes create an unwillingness to take risks or give other people the time of day; I’ve had some really negative, frankly traumatic, experiences with quite negative, entitled coworkers while I was interning.  In a kind of backwards way, though, those poor encounters taught me the importance of seeking out and surrounding yourself with good people, and I’d like to think that there are much more of these types out there than the mean ones.  When I lived in London in the fall of 2017, I found that community to be really built on collaboration and extending opportunities and time to young people and was so touched by the really established stylists and editors who took chances on me.

 

How do you see the Internet playing a role in digital and IRL community building? It is vital!!! People always talk about having to know people in fashion to make it, and I think that that is true, but with the Internet, you can get to know them - it doesn’t have to be a pre-existing relationship.  I’m not suggesting harassing people in Instagram comments or being obsessive or anything, but a friendly professional email or mutual follow can go a long way to make you feel included.  In terms of not just professional networks, but friendships, I owe social media SO much… I met one of my close friends in New York through fashion blogging when we were both in high school and then we both moved to the city and planned to meet up at a book signing for this poet on Instagram that we followed, and while I was there, I met a bunch of girls who went to my school and who are now some of my best friends in the whole world.  Thanks, Internet.

 

How important do you feel having a supportive network - local or online - is for you and your work?

So important.  Even though I am an introvert and I like to work independently, it is really empowering to feel as though you are a part of something.  It’s nice to have people whom you can vent to, cry with, cheer for, and celebrate with; it makes experiences more palpable and real.  

 

 

 

Clio Reynolds, @clioreynolds

Who are you? I’m Clio Reynolds and I’m a fashion contributor here at Couturesque. I usually find myself writing fashion based articles as well as doing research for the fashion team at Couturesque.

 

How old are you? Currently 18, turning 19 in September..

 

Where are you based? Toronto.


Where are you from? I grew up in Oakville, which finds itself situated in the Greater Toronto Area.

 

When (and where) did you first become interested in fashion?  I feel as though I’ve always been interested in fashion but I didn’t truly understand that it could be a career path until the midst of my high school career. There weren’t many opportunities present so I had to work with what I had. Offering to write a fashion column with my school paper was what drove my interest with fashion journalism which is what pushed me to looking outside of Oakville for other opportunities (which lead me to the Couturesque family).

 

Did you ever feel the desire to be somewhere else? All the time. I have a constant aspiration to travel and experience new places. New destinations brings new inspiration.

 

Did you go to college/post-secondary and how did location factor into that decision?  Currently I’m studying fashion communications at Ryerson University in Toronto. Although I would have loved to adventure outside of Canada for my post-secondary career I do believe Toronto is a great city to be based out of. The university itself is located in the center of the city therefore as students we have endless possibilities surrounding us. If Ryerson had been located in a smaller town in Canada I don’t believe I would be able to get the same experience that I’m getting now.

 

What is the creative community in your current city like? It was strange making the jump from a small community that in a way lacked a strong passion for fashion to the most populated city in Canada that is constantly exuding creativity. There are so many different groups of young innovative people throughout the city that it’s easy to find yourself fitting in somewhere; but one thing that is evident is that everyone is accepting and supportive of one another.
 

How do you see the Internet playing a role in digital and IRL community building? The Internet leads to connection. It’s what lead me to, and allows me to work with the Couturesque team from all around the globe and it also is what allowed me to connect with other students from my program before classes had even started. The Internet is now definitely a strong tool in community building.

 

How important do you feel having a supportive network - local or online - is for you and your work?

Although solo time is surely important as well, having a healthy and supportive, community around you is always necessary. It allows you to have people to lean on, people to bounce ideas off of and other creatives to work with. Surrounding yourself with others also allows you to grow and learn from other’s experiences. I believe having a supportive community surrounding you is one of the most important things you can have.

 

 

 

Xenia Klein, @xeniatheklein

Who are you? I’m Xenia Klein and I’m the Fashion Features Editor here at Couturesque.

 

How old are you? 22 years young.

 

Where are you based? I’m lucky enough to live London, one of the best cities in the world. I moved here for university almost four years ago and then never left, this place is home.


Where are you from? I’m originally from a small suburb near the port city Southampton in the south of England. It’s not the most fascinating of places but the Titanic did sail from there so technically (and totally not fictitious) Jack Dawson has been there.

 

When (and where) did you first become interested in fashion?  I first found my interest in fashion when I was about 15 and started taking textiles classes at school. I just discovered this love for looking through magazines, creating mood boards and sketchbooks and it just took off from there. I don’t think I ever expected to continue on with it and move away to university to pursue it. Fashion opportunities in my town growing up were limited. I went to the best school for art and textiles and so we would put on fashion shows and photoshoots and the locals would come to see us.

 

Did you ever feel the desire to be somewhere else? For as long as I can remember I always dreamed of moving to London. It was my biggest goal growing up so to have achieved it is such an amazing feeling. It takes a lot of guts to up and move and even more guts to stay after university when everyone moves home, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Did you go to college/post-secondary and how did location factor into that decision?  I attended London College of Fashion where I studied fashion marketing. Personally, I was only ever going to attend university if it was in London. I saw no point in moving anywhere else because London is the place for me.

 

What is the creative community in your current city like? London has one of the most incredible creative communities. It just seems as though everyone has a creative side. Creativity is in the air here. All the museums and galleries are free, there are so many club nights and parties and everyone knows everyone. London is a surprisingly small little world but I love it.
 

How do you see the Internet playing a role in digital and IRL community building? I see the internet as both a blessing and curse. I love that it opens me up to the world, without it I would never have had the opportunity to join a team like Couturesque and meet the amazing people who come along with it. The internet has given me so many creative outlets over the years through blogging, writing and Instagram and has allowed me to find opportunities and be discovered for opportunities. But it does also keep me in the house for days on the end and cause me to do nothing productive. Also social media anxiety is REAL! I think a healthy balance definitely needs to be found in order to build the best community possible.

 

How important do you feel having a supportive network - local or online - is for you and your work?

Since entering the big bad real adult world I have discovered the simple truth that support networks are vital. This world can be lonely and at times brutal but if you have people around you who love you, respect you and support you then it makes life so much richer. It is easier to get through the hard times and it’s the people around me who inspire me creatively. People are important.

 

 

 

Taylor Warner, @taylor_eboni

Who are you? My name is Taylor and I am the PR and Marketing Director at Couturesque​.

 

How old are you? I'm 21.

 

Where are you based? New York.


Where are you from? I am from Maryland.

 

When (and where) did you first become interested in fashion?  I think I first became interested in fashion when my mom started letting me dress myself, lol. And I watched a lot of TV and movies so I loved seeing how other people dressed. I wasn’t aware I could actually work in the industry until I started reading Teen Vogue at 10. There weren’t any opportunities; DC is primarily government and tech jobs.

 

Did you ever feel the desire to be somewhere else? Ever since I was young I’ve been drawn to NYC; I’ve always wanted to live here, so when it came down to looking for colleges I knew this is where I wanted to be. I also knew I wanted to spend time in Europe and experience life there, how the culture is different, and how the people are influenced. My sophomore year of college I studied abroad in Rome, Paris, and Seville. That semester definitely changed my outlook on everything from fashion to how I manage my time.

 

Did you go to college/post-secondary and how did location factor into that decision?  I am currently a Senior at St. John's University. Location was very important to me. I wanted to be somewhere with opportunities in the fashion industry.
 

How do you see the Internet playing a role in digital and IRL community building? The Internet is interesting because you can find people you have so much in common with.  I’ve met a few people from Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. I think it’s a good tool to have; social media is universal so having friends based all around the world is common.

 

How important do you feel having a supportive network - local or online - is for you and your work?

I believe a supportive network is very important, having people you can rely on and talk with will definitely help you in life. You can bounce ideas off of each other and create together; it’s a beautiful thing. It’s also important because having connections is key, if you’re interested in an opportunity and you have a friend who can help you get it then you’re already ahead of anyone else who is also going after that opportunity.

 

 

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