Of the many different ways that personality and feeling can be visually expressed, one that we haven't touched on yet on Design Spaces is that of Fashion. What we wear, why and when we wear it and for whom? I was recently fortunate enough to meet Emily High, a blogger and documenter of trends and shifts in the fashion world, and we got into an interesting discussion about the manner in which fashion permeates her explorations. She illustrates and narrates these experiences on her blog RIZZY-ROSE.
I felt like there was a lot to talk about as another blogger for everything visual, and am so happy she agreed to sit down and answer a few questions regarding not just what she's wearing, but how she finds meaning and thoughtfulness in its role in her life.
DS: Tell us about your interest: What inspired you to begin documenting your experiences with fashion?
EH: My inspiration began over three years ago when I attended a Business of Fashion Camp at the University of Cincinnati. Before attending this camp, all I did was read every issue of Vogue and cover the walls of my room with vision boards. I attended the camp because I realized I wanted to share my passion with others and connect with people who share the same love for fashion as I do. Throughout the week, I felt like I was able to get a grasp of what a week working in the fashion industry was like, and I knew that I wanted to continue what I learned at the camp into my daily life. Being surrounded by such a positive environment of cosmopolitan and fashion-conscious teens and instructors led to the inspiration of creating my own fashion blog: Rizzy Rose. Six months after the camp, I created my blog, and at first it was just style tips. However, my blog has since developed into a blog that focuses on local boutiques, shopping ethical brands, and how traveling inspires my sense of style. In the past year, I specifically have focused on what it means to have a purpose in what you wear, regarding fashion sustainability and wearing clothes that support the “Empowered Women Empower Women” movement.
DS: Walk us through a shoot in terms of the relationship between fashion and photography- how do you and your photographer approach the best way to present the clothes when taking your photographs? Do you find the fact that this is going to be presented online to be an influence in the visual way you document these ensembles? Different angles, different lighting etc? Perhaps finding a way to emphasize the potential of the clothes?
EH: I have an interesting mix of the relationship between fashion and photography. Half of my shoots are planned, and the other half come from spontaneous inspirations I have when traveling and excursions I go on in the city or around my hometown back in Ohio. This means that many times I find myself taking my own photos on my iPhone or my friends taking them. Overall I love natural, soft lighting, but I also love to highlight bright colors in my shoot. I always want my shoots to have a happy and colorful vibe to them: think Jenna Rink’s (played by Jennifer Gardner) vision board she presents to Poise on the movie 13 Going on Thirty: personal, raw, and joyful. When creating a post that is aesthetically pleasing online I tend to incorporate a variety of shots in my story: close-ups of a shirt I’m wearing that is the focal point of the story, side profiles, candid shots, etc.
DS: Related to the above question, you have an interesting task of considering not just the aesthetics of the clothes and styles that you're documenting, but also how to present that in an inspiring visual way to people online. How do you coordinate a presentation that frames your photographs in a complementary way, while keeping a streamlined flow for your reader so they maintain interest?
EH: It is important to me that when someone views my blog that they’re not just swiping through a look book; they’re encountering a story that is shown through the eyes of fashion. In order to keep the presentation that frames the photographs in a complimentary way I break up the photos with text describing what I am trying to convey with the photos, and I make sure that my photos are not just me “modeling clothes.” That is not what my blog focuses on. When presenting online, I come up with a cohesive vibe for my story. This includes everything from the title, the tone of the story, and what photos of my ensembles I try to include and what outside shots of my friends and landscapes I also include.
DS: What are your biggest influences when it comes to the way that you bring together different styles? Is there a mix of certain looks that you've found yourself gravitating towards lately?
EH: I have always been very influenced by the style of the 70s. In nearly of all my photoshoot, there is a nod to the 70s, whether it is through my flared jeans, A-line skirts, or my suede boots. However, most recently I have become very into wearing clothes as a platform to represent your personal brand. When I started working at Sadie’s, I began to see how I can stand up for what I believe through my style. I love wearing my t-shirt that says “Strong is the New Pretty.” Not only is it a way for me to express the importance of female empowerment, but many people will compliment me on the shirt, not because it’s “cute” but because they’re giving me a validation of appreciation. If I can encourage others to speak out on what they believe in or let them know that they’re not alone just through what I wear, then my purpose is working.
DS: You and I had an interesting discussion the other day about reaching out to those in the South Orange community who could provide inspiration as strong women in business for a fashion panel. Can you speak more about why it's important to you and your peers to have these women to talk with and commiserate regarding your own personal trajectory?
EH: I believe it is important to bring in a panel of strong women in local business because I want to express to my peers how amazing it that we have so many strong women to look up to in our SOMA community. I bought a canvas tote bag from Sadie’s back in March that has the statement “Woman on a Mission” printed on it. This bag and its message me inspired me to think: “What is my mission as a woman?” I believe this is a question every women should ask themselves. I hope the women I have invited to talk at the panel will be able to give students insight on how their mission as women has led them to the position they are in today. In the words of poet and writer Cleo Wade, “The best thing about girl power is that it turns into woman power,” and the women who are speaking are women who exemplify this perfectly. While female role models in my life include Maya Angelou,
Gina Rodriguez, and Karli Kloss, they also include my mother and my sister. It is important to me that girls of all ages can have not only famous female figures to look up to but also women in their own life they can look up to; women who are poised, ambitious, and who support you and encourage you in all of your endeavors.