The Swelle Life is an eclectic mix of high-fashion, emerging talent, art and of course, life in Paris!
Check it out for yourself here.
Q. Tell me a bit about yourself.
A. I'm Canadian and have been living in England for the past 3.5 years with my husband and three year-old daughter. My formal background is marketing/advertising, and website content development. But writing about fashion is what I really love to do, it's the only thing I can do every single day without losing my mind and I'm looking to develop opportunities with it. I'm living in Paris until late April and I've just taken in some fashion week shows which has made me even more of a romantic when it comes to fashion.
Q. Where did your interest in fashion come from?
A. I've always loved clothes but it's really been in the last 10 years or so that I've been following the collections closely, and within the last 5 years it's become a focal point of my day. The fast pace of the industry and the massive number of designers both established and up-and-coming make for endless indulgences and inspirations - there's always so much to adore, to learn from and to explore.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration for your blogs?
A. I find there's never a shortage of inspiration, whether it be fashion, art, design, or just something exceptionally funny which I will include once in a while as well - humour is a big part of my life and who doesn't want to have a laugh?I like to feature highlights from the fashion weeks and profile independent designers or artists as with my Designer Series (http://www.theswellelife.com/swelle_life/designer-series-fashion-jewelry/) - at the moment I'm following the progress of a very talented knitwear student called Cynthia F. from Central Saint Martins. I do include a bit of fashion news but most of it is covered on so many other blogs so I report what news is relevant to my focus - anything French, anything funny (Karl Lagerfeld has his own category for that reason alone) or if it there are great visuals, then I'll cover it. There's a bit of street style, and I also like to do interviews as well, I'm interested in revealing what's behind the end-product - what prompted the designer or artist to create it and most fascinating to me, and hopefully others - how they did it.
I like to add a personal element to my writing, if you read my blog regularly you'll know there are some goofy stories here and there.
Q. What it is about the blogging medium that appeals to you?
A. I think it's the most important means of communication today. Anyone can share their views, their stories, their work with the world from their own home and the potential for networks amongst the online publishers presents all kinds of opportunities we wouldn't otherwise have. Designers see my reviews of their collections and send me messages (many do Google themselves!), I can discover a young talent and share their work with the world - it benefits so many. The sharing aspect is exponential, the chain reaction where blogs cover each other can go on indefinitely with one post alone. It's an exceptionally valuable media tool and it's still so young, who knows where we'll be able to take it?
Q. What publications/blogs do you most rely on?
A. Online, I keep up with WWD.com for news and a bit with Style.com for coverage of the collections (I love to compare what the fashion editors say about the shows); I read Fashion 156 (http://fashion156.dsvr.co.uk/blog/) which covers a great range of interesting fashion topics; Knit Kicks (http://knitkicks.blogspot.com/) by knitwear designer Jen Jarvis, for the best in creative knit; Fred Butler Style (http://www.fredbutlterstyle.com/) for my dose of colour and an instant pick-me-up; Style Bubble (http://www.stylebubble.co.uk/) to get a view into what's happening outside of the mainstream and for Susie's refreshingly creative approach to dressing; A View to (http://aviewto.blogspot.com/) for beautiful photographs; Wendy Brandes Jewelry (http://wbjewelry.blogspot.com/) for her great personality and wit; and Showstudio.com - it's UK fashion photographer Nick Knight's website and the projects featured, especially the film, are just stunning. And of course I enjoy reading T-shirts and Tails regularly as well!
I like to round it out with Sweet Paul (http://www.sweetpaul.typepad.com/) for his mouth-watering food styling and recipes, The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/) which is always a good laugh, Boing-Boing (http://www.boingboing.net/) for the cerebral as well as the oddball stuff, and the blogs of young fashion lovers - I think it's important to support the smart ones - such as On How to Be Oh So Lovely (http://www.howtobeohsolovely.com/) by a 14 year-old who also writes for And Speaking of Pink (http://andspeakingofpink.com/), a fantastic online community for girls 13-21 aspiring to be designers. It's an excellent resource so if you find yourself in that category, it's well worth joining. I also read a random bunch of street-style blogs, as well as vintage - I like Lulu's vintage (http://www.lulusvintage.com/).
As far as print goes, I have a subscription to British Vogue and really I look forward to the editorial spreads by Tim Walker and Nick Knight; I did get Amelia's Magazine which I absolutely adore, but now that she's decided to end on her 10th issue I keep up on the website and look forward to the upcoming online publications; I also have a subscription to Let Them Eat Cake and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the premiere issue of Love (I don't think it's available in Paris). And there's my weekly Grazia for light and easy fashion fun. Beyond that I pick up a smattering of titles here and there when I see particularly beautiful editorial but I don't really have an affinity for some of the mags that are staples for other fashion lovers, sometimes I find them edgy for edgy's sake, rather than actually saying something - they just don't talk to me, I guess. I love to read books about fashion more than anything - from industry issues to the history to vintage, but to keep this answer from turning into a novel you can find my current reads in the sidebar of my blog!
Q. How do you think fashion has been affected in the current economic climate?
A. Well, it seems there are two schools of thought from the designers in how to deal with it - keep things minimal, stark and more serious in these dark times or celebrate beauty and colour in these dark times, maybe with a little humour. In the end I think it's all the same - we see that split every season.It has affected whether some can show or not, and we've seen collection pieces limited and shown via presentation or video. At least there's an alternative to the pricey shows but when all is said and done, the clothes are the clothes.The worst part is how many companies have had to shut down and the number of jobs that are being lost.
Q. What is your biggest fashion peeve?
A. Dropped crotch trousers! I think even the models look awful in them! Although, BCBG Max Axria's slightly dropped grey silk jumpsuit for Spring 09 is gorgeous, it's more of a luxe cover-all than a tribute to MC Hammer.
Q. Who would be on your best-dressed list?
A. I love Lou Doillon's style, as well as how Vanessa Paradis and Clémence Poesy put themselves together, and the hair - long and easy. The French just know, it's effortless, not fussy, and it's always about the woman shining through, not the shell of the clothes. I tend to get annoyed with the Hollywood celeb adoration as they have stylists, designers lining up to dress them and all the money in the world. And still, so many go so very wrong!