We speak with Tia Elisabeth, the Editor in chief for Couturesque
At the age of 15, Tia Elisabeth founded Couturesque. Couturesque is a digital magazine for young, fashion creatives. It’s a great source for both industry news and style articles. I consider it must-read for people seriously thinking about getting into this industry. They’re currently relaunching their Beauty section - which Tia is head of.
We spoke with Tia and asked her a few questions:
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you discover your passion for fashion? Did you have any formal fashion or media education?
“I’m still in school, so most of my training has been self-taught or absorbed from watching other people. My love of fashion has been inherent from a very young age however, and I would say that I’m a bit of a “style extrovert” with my own wardrobe. I’ve also always enjoyed writing, and so the marriage of these two passions seemed quite natural to me in some ways.”
Starting a magazine at a young age must have been incredibly challenging. What led you to decide to start Couturesque? And what was your aim behind creating Couturesque?
“I started the site when I was 15, so as much as I researched relentlessly to learn the in’s and out’s of digital journalism, I was still very much learning on the go. We had no budget, which made it hard to find staff, although the team that we have ended up with is seriously the best, so I wouldn’t change that. Ultimately what drove me to start Couturesque were my own needs as a reader – I felt like this demographic of smart, ambitious young people who were serious about the fashion industry were being ignored, and that this was a group that I belonged to as well. Publications for teens always seem to talk down to them, and don’t present the social and cultural aspects of fashion that are so crucial for future industry leaders to understand. There’s this stereotype that fashion people aren’t particularly smart, and I’d like to think that Couturesque disproves this myth.”
What are your influences? Are there any particular publications, or fashionistas that you draw inspiration from?
“While Couturesque is quite individual in it’s aesthetic and voice, we definitely turn to other writers and magazines with a similar readership for inspiration - for example, we see ourselves aligning well with readers who like i-D, Russh, or Nylon. On a personal note, there are so many fashion journalists and stylists who I look up to – in particular, Eva Chen, Bay Garnett, Sara Moonves, Laura Brown, Nathalie Atkinson… I’m fans of these women not just for their work, but also for their approachable, down-to-earth attitudes. I’d love to walk in their footsteps someday!”
Social media seems to be a huge influence in the fashion industry at the moment, with Instagram essentially creating supermodels such as Gigi Hadid. What are your thoughts on the current generation of social media celebrities?
“As someone who really does love using Instagram, I think it’s a great visual medium of telling your personal story and a lot of people do it really well. I know that magazines and brands are increasingly scouting for hires through social media, and I think it’s a brilliant way of putting yourself out there for those kinds of opportunities. That being said, I don’t like the idea of people having entire careers based on social media notoriety – some bloggers make up to $20,000 per sponsored Instagram post, which is roughly a year’s worth of college tuition for the average person. I don’t see how it’s fulfilling (or frankly, fair) to have a career like that, so while social media can do lots to support brands and influencers, it shouldn’t be the only thing that someone has going for them. Sidenote: I think Gigi Hadid is great - this is a general assessment, not a comment on her specifically!”
In your recent article on ‘The Power of Teenage Girls Fashion’ you mentioned there’s a shift in fashion which originally targeted wealthy housewives, which is now targeting a younger teen audience. In an already very saturated industry, do you think this change is good? Will it force designers to focus on issues and themes that appeal to a younger audience?
“I’d like to think that it will, however while teens have become the primary consumers of fashion media, ads, etc., the money still comes from an older demographic. Brands listen to where the business is coming from, but the growing voice of young people on social media and blogs can have an effect on these patrons as well. It will be interesting to see what relationship brands and consumers have as our current young people grow up and become the new buyers.”
Younger people hold a lot of power and influence over economical and political affairs - making it extremely important to stay educated on world news. What are your thoughts on publications like i-D or Vice trying to inform teens on current affairs?
“I love it! I have so much respect for these establishments. No matter what age you are, you should have an interest in current affairs, whether social, economic, or political. It’s true that young people are saturated with media and pop culture from Twitter and Instagram, and so the fact that organizations like Vice are finding ways to break through the noise and push a progressive agenda is so crucial, I think. We’re trying to do it too, although all of our articles are still based on fashion in some way.”
Anna Wintour recently gave some tough advice to fashion students at Central Saint Martins, what advice would you give to people thinking about going into this industry?
“Anna’s advice really resonated with me, and while I still feel like I’m trying to make in the industry too right now, I would add that anyone pursuing fashion should not underestimate the value of education – not just a fashion education, but learning and academia as a whole. Successful designers, PRs, and editors are always thinking critically and analytically. Collections are often based on references from history or culture, and an understanding of these concepts is invaluable to anyone involved in fashion – whether you’re the designer, communicating to buyers and the press, or a journalist putting together a story. You have to be able to analyze, read, understand, and communicate, on top of all the creative stuff.”
Let’s talk more about you, how would you describe your style? How do you go about choosing an outfit for a night out?
“I love the 60’s and 70’s – Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy, and Brigitte Bardot would all be icons of mine from this era. Taking classic references and adding contemporary elements is probably a good summation of my style. I wear a lot of denim, mini dresses, and turtlenecks.”
Finally, where do you hope to see yourself and Couturesque in the next few years?
“I’m really hoping to see us expand our editorial side of things – more photoshoots, more video content, and more work with artists, brands, and designers. I love fashion weeks and I think it would be exciting to explore some international ones – like MBFWA in Sydney! Hopefully, we will continue being true to our values and inspiring more ambitious young people interested in fashion.”
Visit Couturesque to find out the latest industry news and styling tips.
Nook reveals their new AW15 collection this September! Image courtesy of nooklondon.com
It seems it is officially no longer summer, which means the arrival of a raft of new autumn/winter designs. For Nook London the new season means a new look; they have exciting plans for a re-brand and a new website. In the meantime, we’ve been treated to a sneak peak at their new season’s lighting collection.
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We’ve enjoyed following the upcycling journey of The Rag and Bone Man over the past few years. Creative British upcycling designer Paul Firbank launched The Rag and Bone Man at design show Tent London in 2011. His debut that year was so successful that he had sold all of his pieces within 3 days. The Rag and Bone Man will be returning to Tent Londonthis September (24th – 27th) and we can’t wait…
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