ALICE CATHERINE ABOUT HER LOVE OF VINTAGE, PARIS-INSPIRED STYLE AND THE FUTURE OF THE BLOGGING.
In one of your blog posts, you described your style as Parisian inspired and vintage influenced. Where does the aspiration for a similar image of the 50ies and 60ies come from?
I guess I had a love for old things since I was very little - I spent a lot of time in the Lake district growing up, my Grandparents had a huge Victorian house full of really amazing antique pieces. I was just fascinated that everything had a story behind it and every unique thing added character to the house. I think it's important to take an interest in what's already available - that's why I love vintage and time gone by in general. In a world full of fast fashion, sometimes it can be sickly and overwhelming, it feels good to shop vintage and recycle a little bit of history somehow.
Do you have icons of style that you inspire the most?
Bowie - mainly because he was just so unapologetically himself, and this inspired and continues to inspire so many others to do the same. Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy, too - they just emulate that effortless tomboy vibe that I'm forever chasing. I guess most people I admire in some way have this perfect balance between masculine and feminine, I find it so interesting...
Why do you think the mass market is so affected by a vintage style this season? Is the Vintage trend a counter-trend to digitization? Understood as a contrast to the ever faster and digitized life?
I think people are becoming more conscious about the way they shop - particularly when it comes to fast fashion and waste. I've always loved vintage because I feel like it's a great way to recycle trends, whilst also investing in pieces that not everyone you know will own. It's definitely nostalgic for me - we live in a world that's constantly obsessing over 'new in' and what the latest gadget is, sometimes it's nice to take inspiration from what we already have. I like to look back through the years and pick out outfits that I identify with and style them in a new way that feels like my own - everything usually comes back around again anyway, and I think that's why vintage will always have a strong market.
What does it mean for you to be feminine? Or what in general is femininity? Could you please describe it in three words?
I don't concentrate on feeling feminine really. I feel my best when I just feel good, whatever that might entail. Sometimes it's jeans and a baggy jumper, other times it's a little A-line skirt and platform heels - I just focus on feeling my most confident, that's usually when I feel my most powerful. Granted, I'm very drawn to stereotypical 'masculine attire', but that's not something I focus on when I shop, or put my outfits together each day. I kind of think the lines have just become completely blurred for me at this point - It's just as simple as dressing for my mood each day.
Do you think it's old-fashioned for women to express a feminine style?
Not at all, I admire all different kinds of women for all different reasons. It's lovely to watch a really graceful woman wander around in a dress and heels, but it's also pleasing to see girls with short hair, flat chests, and Doc Martens. I think the focus of society should be not to champion one unobtainable standard of beauty - I'm content in the fact that I choose my role models well, and I hope this translates to my daughter if I'm ever lucky enough to have one. It's important to talk about all different kinds of women - that way we understand that it's okay to take a little something from everyone and create a look that's entirely your own. It really doesn't matter where your focus lies on the scale of masculine/feminine dressing, so long as it makes you feel like you.
Let's talk about bloggers and blogging in general. I think in the beginning no one has thought that being a blogger will become a profession, let alone a profession that is really well paid. Exactly this commercial part of this story killed the individuality. The top influencers mostly promote products of the big brands. For the beginners, it looks like a standard of blogging to present certain products. In order to reach this standard, they just copy the style. As a result, all the bloggers are looking similar: they are wearing the same products, eating the same food, choosing the same journey destinations and so on. And now most of the people are bored and massively miss the individuality.
What do you think about this game and how it will look in the near future from your perspective?
I agree with you in the sense that a lot of content that's churned out onto our feeds tends to look the same - I don't think this is always the blogger's fault, though. Sometimes brands have a really specific idea of what they want, and it makes it impossible for you to add any kind of creative stamp on the work. We also have to remember that a lot of these bloggers are young women just trying to make a living - or maybe they need a new laptop or have to pay photography fees. It's unfair to always slate how bland content might have become - I still think there are lots and lots of people trying to do things differently, and it will definitely be interesting to see how the industry develops. I say no to way more than I say yes to - I normally know from the first email whether it's something that feels organic to me. I just try and stick to what I'm doing and not focus on everyone else – there are so many amazing bloggers that I love and respect, but sometimes scrolling through every blog you admire is the worst thing you can do for your own creativity. Suddenly you feel like you should be doing what everyone else is doing and you get caught up in a numbers game - that's not real life, and you just have to hope that people respect that you're trying to do something different.
Once Instagram was great. Since a new Instagram algorithm was adopted, it changed a lot. Now the algorithm decides what could be interesting for you and what not. As a result, large accounts are getting bigger and little ones are disappearing from the screen for the long term because they have no chance against the high likes and follower numbers of, for example, major brands. How long will it take to get people bored by less interaction on Instagram?
I feel like every time I log onto Twitter someone is moaning about this - It's really disheartening a lot of people, and I've definitely felt the blow in the last few months. My following has been a bit of a standstill for some time now which does sometimes worry me, but I really never got into blogging to earn money from it. I never even knew that you could - as cliche as it sounds, I'm just riding the wave until it ends. If I have to move onto a new career in the future then that's just the way it has to be - I think it's dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to blogging, it's definitely not a safe bet. What it does give you, are transferable skills for so many other opportunities within the fashion industry - I love the idea of working for a magazine someday or maybe creating my own vintage brand.
Today everything is branded. Everything has a logo. Slapping a logo on a T-shirt is the next evolution of this. It also allows customers the chance to buy into the cachet of the brand at an entry-level price point.
Why do you think people need to identify themselves with one or another brand?
I guess it makes them feel part of something maybe on an unconscious level - like buying a Chanel bag automatically makes you a part of some elite club that is celebrated for some reason. I do admire designer things, but I don't invest in pieces that are heavily branded, I almost feel like they can look a bit tacky sometimes (which sounds crazy) but my mum always said that money can't buy taste, and that's something I definitely agree with. Having all the money in the world doesn't make you better than anyone else, it doesn't make your wardrobe any more special, and it certainly doesn't guarantee personal style.
I know that Literature is your big passion. In your Literature Chats Videos, you really inspire people to read books. Why do you think most people are lazy to read nowadays?
I think it's just because people glamourize being busy all the time .- it's as though if we aren't burning ourselves out then we somehow aren't working hard enough. We get caught up in modern life, endless social media platforms and endless standards that we are trying to compete with. The rat race of it all just becomes a bit ridiculous - we need to realize we are only human, it's okay to allow ourselves a couple of hours each evening to switch off and focus on something we enjoy. Books are the best way of escapism because each brain will interpret a narrative in a slightly different way - we all have different conceptual systems, and we should all tap into them more often.
What do you wish we could change in 2018 in our society?
I think more of the right people need to be in power, diversity needs to be celebrated more, and we need to work harder to make the world a more understanding and supportive place. Even if that's just from our little corners of the internet...
Text: Alesya Orlova