Noelle’s Fierce Self Styling
SFUnzipped is pleased unveil our second Blogger Spotlight, our new bimonthly Wednesday feature exploring and celebrating fashion and personal style bloggers from across the Bay Area.
This week, we have catch up with Noelle Bonner, founder of the blog Fashion FiXxation, and a fierce vlogger from the East Bay. Born to Ghanian parents, Noelle lends a refreshing voice to the fashion blogging sphere as she places particular importance and emphasis on the need torecognizethe African fashion Industry.
NM: Tell us in a couple of words about your inspiration and the beginning of Fashion FiXxation. The blog started off initially as a personal venture, right? How did you go from personal blogger to attendee of New York Fashion Week?
NB: Initially I started Fashion FiXxation as a way to stay connected to the fashion industry while working in San Francisco. But very quickly it turned into something so much more than just a creative outlet for me.
I was lucky enough to get a job two weeks after graduating from college with one of the top crisis PR firms in the country. I was thrilled because it was an opportunity to get some real-world PR experience, and work for incredibly talented and respected PR executives. But after some time, the passion and excitement for the work I was doing had completely gone. Mainly because I realized I had acquired all these PR skills but no longer was excited about the clients with whom I was working. On top of that, I had allowed myself to give up on the one thing that had always brought joy and inspiration into my life: fashion. So, I started my fashion blog as a means to remain up to date on the fashion industry.
As soon as my first posts went up and I received the overwhelming support of family, friends and strangers. â¦ I felt that passion and excitement that had been missing re-enter my life. Sharing my thoughts on designers, styles, beauty, trends, models, social issues within the fashion industry especially pertaining to African fashion, etc.; and receiving validation from strangers through their comments and words of encouragement left me invigorated. It was a burst of fire into my life, and a glorious a-ha moment!
Representing Ghana at the TWELV Magazine party in a design by the D. Piper Twins
NM: You have a lot of different categories that cover a wide range of topics. What sets you apart from other bloggers?
NB: If I were to just put up pictures of me posing in outfits, I would leave way too much unsaid. Fashion for me is so much more than the clothes I wear on a daily basis. I have worked really hard to distinguishmyself from other bloggers by giving my readers a multitude of categories of interest to choose from.
I love the fact that on my blog a reader will find a piece detailed coverage of my daily outfits to events on a trip to my family's native Accra, Ghana; a story on Chinese model Liu Wen and the hardships Asian and other ethnic models face in the industry; a post on how to get Rihanna's neo-punk look at an affordable price; and one of my personal favorites The Larger Implications Behind Burberry's Use of African Fabric, which delves into big=name designerstaking snippets of African culture when its trendy, rebranding it tribal and effectively disenfranchising the many African designers who truly appreciate African fabrics, understand their history, and create incredibly artful masterpieces. I want my site to represent not only my genuine interest in putting clothes together and mixing elements from various style genres; but also function as a platform to discuss some of the harsh realities of the industry.
NM: You also run a great vlog, The Belle Noelle. Can you tell us a bit about that?
NB: I have family all over the world (mainly London and Ghana) and it started off as a way to help my fabulous twentysomething female cousins expand their makeup looks beyond basic black eyeliner and mascara. I figured the best way to do it was through the mega vlog site, YouTube. It really started as a way to teach my loved ones different looks, to not be afraid of color and most of all to experiment.
I also felt it was important for anyone that viewed my videos to understand that no matter what skin color you have, as long as you have the right technique, a good brush and MAC makeup (there are lots of other amazing brands, I'm just a MAC freak), you can do anything with makeup. Don't allow any salesperson to pigeonhole you into wearing just one color, or tell you a particular color best for your skin tone. If they say any of those things to you, walk out because they're not strong enough makeup artists to recognize the endless possibilities with makeup on your face!
NM: Inspiring and empowering, I'll be sure to bear that in mind next time I saunter through the cosmetics hall! What pushed you into blogging as opposed to other routes?
NB: Blogging has been the best outlet, because it has allowed me to infuse my personality in my posts. I find that blogging is a more personal platform that allows followers to get to know me and learn to trust my opinion. This intimacy is incredibly important for building a name or brand because there are so many websites all reporting on the same or similar topics.
NM: You've gotten greatopportunities(such as covering NYFW!) while building up your business and your image as a fierce fashionista, how do you make sure you are in the right place at the right time? What advice would you give to fledgling fashion bloggers?
NB: I got the opportunity to attend shows through working for TWELV Magazine. My latest venture, I function asthe PR director for the magazine startup.
At Lincoln Center for the F/W 2012 collections.
I wasn't officially covering NYFW this February for anyone other than my blog fans. I was so excited to finally be in Lincoln Center and in the middle of all the action that I couldn't help but blog about my daily outfits, events and the overall festivities.
I do believe in life timing is everything. But I believe even more that when you have a goal or passion for something, you go after it with razor focus and don't shy away from exhausting yourself to achieve that goal. Then, you take a second to recognize any remaining distractions or people in your life that are not helping to advance you toward that goal, you fine-tune that focus even more, and then work twice as hard.
This being said, I there's still so much that I want to achieve and to get there I know I have to work extremely hard, believe in the process and take comfort in the fact that intrinsically I feel I'm on the right track.
NM: Do you have a couple of quick words on the magazine?
NB: It's a high-fashion magazine headed by renowned stylist Hissa Igarashi and set to launch this coming May, which we are very excited about. Keep your eyes peeled as we promise to become the new manual for what is hip in fashion, music, art and culture worldwide. Oh, and did I mention 12% of ad sales will go to charity!
NM: This being said, blogging isn't all fun and games right? What is the biggest challenge you face with online fashion blogging and why?
NB: The biggest challenge I face isn't so much the blogging, but staying on top of all the social media to support my site and bring in new followers. My Twitter game needs help! I am the first one to admit it! I'm on Facebook as well, so it's just a matter of keeping it fresh and regular.
NM: Back to the fashion perks, what have been your favorite events or appearances?
Pictured with Edwing D'Angelo and Margaux Whitney from the dynamic viola and violin duo Charly and Margaux at his S/S 2012 collection
NB: I planned a party for TWELV during NYFW (with just three weeks to do it and virtually no budget), so that has definitely been one of my favorite events. I was thrilled to have my first event in NYC go so well.
Another great event I attended was in Ghana this December for the editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani. Held at one of Accra's best Italian restaurants Bella Roma. Ghana's fashion elite like Aisha Obuobi of Christie Brown and Belinda Baidoo, a Ghanaian supermodel, all came out to meet the famous editor. Ms. Sozzani's son, Francesco Carrozzini, who shoots for many of the top fashion magazines, was also there. She gave a short speech about how inspired she was by the Ghanaian fashion industry, and how Italian Vogue would definitely be an ally to Ghanaians and all Africans in the future.
NM: And to get a little more personal with The Belle Noelle, how would you describe your personal style? What are your favorite brand?
NB: The thing I love most about fashion is that it allows me to express many aspects of my personality. I don't have one style; I like to tap into many different ways of dressing. Some days I feel like a total tomboy and wear sagging skinny jeans (shoutout to my Cali boys), an oxford and scuffed boots or sneakers. Other days I feel like a diva and rock a tight mini dress, sky-high heels, vintage jewelry and a vibrant lip color. And other times the boho in me comes out and I throw on lots of beaded bracelets, a long flowing skirt, minnetonkas and comfortable sweater. It all just depends on how I feel that day.
In general the brands I wear most are BCBG, BCBG and more BCBG with splashes of French Connection, American apparel, HM, Sam Edelman, and Rachel by-Rachel Roy.
NM: Where should we expect to be seeing Miss. Noelle Bonner in years to come? What are the next steps you'll be taking in your ever-expanding empire?
NB: [laughs] I wouldn't say that I have an empire yet by any means, but I definitely plan on continuing to build my brand and take advantage of opportunities that come my way. I am always looking for advertisers on my blog, I am excited about the work that is being done at TWELV Magazineand I also want to start functioning as a PR consultant to designers and/or fashion related ventures both in the US and in Ghana.
In the future I want to have my own fashion PR company comprised of incredibly talented designersfrom all over the world that are lookingto become powerhouses in international markets.
I plan on paying particular attention to African designers that to date have not received the due recognition for their talent for a multitude of reasons. Issues of access to product, product availability, lack of management, failing to fall in line with international buyers schedules, lack of representation at important fashion events including fashion weeks, celebrity placement, etcâ¦I plan to become the bridge that providesthe necessary supportand helps solve those issues.
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