Welcome to the first of The Restory Style Series. We will be interviewing women making their mark on London and sharing their stories, their insights, their style notes and anything else fascinating that comes up in conversation. This month we are hearing from Chloe Pierre, a plus-size woman of colour who has a fashion and lifestyle blog that we note is also featuring a lot of new travel posts this year!
Q. What inspired you to start your blog to begin with?
A. It really began as a place to highlight my work in fashion PR. I started using the blog as a place to post my coverage and PR successes. Eventually it grew into covering events, lifestyle and what it is now. This year I’m expanding to include travel and I’m doing a series called #CPTAKES12TRIPS to challenge myself to visit 12 destinations in 2016.
Q. We know you initially balanced your blogging with your day job, like so many bloggers do. Have you been able to shift to full-time blogging yet?
A. Yes! Thankfully in the last 3-6 months I’ve been able to go full time with the blog and pour all of my time and focus into it.
Q. Some people say they were inspired by a style icon or someone they know – what ignited your interest in fashion?
A. Definitely family. My mother has always had a love of both high fashion and high street fashion, which she passed on to me. My great-grandfather was a tailor as well, so fashion is definitely in my blood.
Q. Now that we’ve introduced you to anyone who doesn’t know you, we can get into some of the really important questions. We love that your blog and your style are so body positive. Do you feel there are any unique pressures on you as a curvy woman of colour?
A. Yes, actually, to conform. I think people out there are happy to see someone pushing boundaries a little, but they are not always comfortable to see you push those boundaries too much. There is definitely a market here in the UK for women like me, so people want you to be there, but some people want you to be a bit quiet and polite while doing so. Pleased or grateful to be invited to the party, if you will. I’m finding my own balance with the industry’s different attitudes – it’s an exciting time to be in the fashion realm.
Q. Of your positive feedback, have you heard from girls or women who feel more represented because of you?
A. Definitely. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to thank me for what I’m doing, for representing them in the media and for pushing boundaries of what they’ve seen before. I’ve received quite a few messages from girls I was in school with, who had put on weight since school and were happy to see what I was doing online. I think we live our lives so much in public now. Everyone can see you in an instant via your social feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When there’s nowhere to hide, I think it helps to see people like you who are really out there. I’m a curvy girl and a woman of colour; out here, doing my thing and not conforming to anyone’s idea of what fashion is ‘supposed to be.’ Fashion is for us all.
Q. We love a woman who can speak up boldly about herself! What is one of your favourite things about yourself, and what is one thing you are working on changing?
A. I think I’m loyal and honest – which are the qualities I most value in my friends as well. Something I’m looking to minimise is any tendency towards negativity. It is so easy to slip into negative thoughts; things you would never say to other people! We all deserve better than that.
Q. If you could meet your biggest hero, who would she or he be, and what question would you most like to ask them?
A. Maya Angelou is a recently discovered hero of mine. Her life was mind-blowing. From such a terrible childhood through to an incredibly colourful adult life, I wonder if there is anything she would do differently if she had it to do all over again, or if she would just accept it all as it was?
Q. Maya Angelou was just a sheer force of nature. We’re so lucky that she wrote down so much of her wisdom for us to keep after she left us. Some of her poetry was set to music recently in an album called ‘Caged Bird Songs’ – amazing.
Q. We notice your blog has taken a turn towards travel this year; sounds like you’ve gotten a touch of wanderlust and you love the experience of new places. What has been your favourite destination so far?
A. Gran Canaria was absolutely amazing and I really did love it, but I always feel very much at peace and relaxed in Paris. I think that must be why Audrey Hepburn said “Paris is always a good idea.”
Q. If you’re headed out on a summer trip, what are the things you refuse to be separated from, that you would have in your hand luggage?
A. A pair of Linda Farrow sunglasses, a Lisa Marie Fernandez swimsuit, my favourite white converse trainers, a soft grey marl hoodie, a hankie, nail varnish to match my pedicure in case of any chips, moisturiser, my phone and a good book. Everything else you can work out later!
Q. Do you have a favourite pair of shoes or a bag you most want us to restore for you because you just can’t part with it? What is its story?
A. I have this Prada bag that my mum bought herself years ago but I just borrowed it straight away and used it. This poor bag was taken to festivals and all sorts – the stories it could tell! I’ve totally ruined the lining of it as well. I’ve placed it under my bed in shame, out of sight and out of mind, but that is absolutely the thing I would love The Restory to bring back from the dead.
Q. We can do that for you, no problem. And then would you give the Prada back to your mum?
A. (Laughing) Absolutely not. No way! No, that Prada bag and I are together forever now.
Q. So you know about The Restory and our services, but since client feedback is solid gold, which of our services are most valuable to you?
A. Absolutely the mobile collection and return. You saw me come in for this shoot with this capsule wardrobe in a big suitcase. Yet on the way here I got a call to go to a premiere, and all I can think is that my favourite shoes need new heels put on. My schedule is really challenging as it is, so the idea that someone can come to my flat and pick up a clunky bag of shoes and then redeliver them somewhere else once they are repaired or cleaned is such a massive relief. When we are all this busy, we need safety nets in our lives.
Q. Speaking of everyone needing those safety nets, what does your support network look like? As a young entrepreneur, who are the people who have your back?
A. I would say everyone in my support network can be counted on my two hands. It’s always been my family, my boyfriend, best friends and my chosen family – those who fall out of the friend category because we passed that stage ages ago. I think that’s true for most of us. The people who are our real safety net are probably going to be counted on two hands or even one.
Q. Where do you hope to take Chloe Pierre LDN in the next few years?
A. I’m going to keep the pressure up and keep the brand growing. Obviously I’m creating all sorts of content for my blog as well as writing for Your Coffee Break, but I aspire to add to that list with other publications. I’m a big fan of Refinery29 and WhoWhatWear, and someday I would love to be the Curve Columnist for these sites and Elle UK or Grazia UK. It’s important to dream big, but to also have a vision of the steps that will get you there.
This one’s for you Chloe! Maya Angelou – Harlem Hopscotch
Thanks for such a great interview, your insights and all those glamourous shots…
Special thanks to the Hoxton Hotel for their incredible hospitality in hosting our photo shoot.
Photo credits, Stacy-Jayne Archer and JKG Photography
Interview by Michelle Laven for The Restory