Indie Muse | Designer Natalie Live
Q: Your blog, The Tiny Closet, emphasizes being stylish and having an aesthetic while maintaining a close that is smaller than most, what are staples you believe every woman should own in their tiny closet?
Natalie Live: I actually don't believe there are staples that every woman should have in their closet. The staples in my closet would be unheard of in another woman's closet so it would be silly for me to tell her to buy it when it really only just works for me. Yes, we're all women, we all like to look good when we leave our houses and we all follow a similar, universal fashion forecast. So in many ways we are similar. But when it comes to style and personal interests in clothing ourselves, I think the media makes us think we're more similar than we actually are. By stepping away from the rules, the fashion forecasts, the trends and just focusing on myself and what I love to see myself in, my closet has become a unique mix that reflects only me. So I'm into self-exploration and finding independently what works for oneself, what doesn't, and building one's own closet from there.
Q: What do you believe is the golden rule of personal style?
NL: Self possession is a first and foremost. You have to be intensely aware of your likes and dislikes in order to have an acute personal style. And to be that aware, you have to know yourself. Some people are born with acute personal style. They just know what works for themselves and what doesn't. Most others practice, practice, practice.
Q: How has your own personal style grown over the years? If any, what were some things you may have worn then that you wouldn't even consider now?
NL: I used to be very attached to trend during high school and college. I wore all the new "it" things and it was fun. Lots of tight clothing and high heels. I wouldn't wear it now only because it's just not comfortable. My only regret is that it didn't reflect my individuality. I think I always knew in the back of my mind what I really liked to wear but I was much too embarassed to wear it and also I didn't want to waste my young years wearing clothing fit for a much older woman. I wanted to attract boys my age and be a hottie! I didn't think I could do that by wearing huge gypsy pants and oversize tees. Which is what I wear now. My taste was well past my age and still is. I am only now seeing my true style materialize.
Q: What was the inspiration behind creating The Tiny Closet Collection?
NL: I began sewing because I knew I had very expensive taste and couldn't afford the type of clothing I really admired. Making it was a fraction of the cost and it was just for my own benefit. I began designing after I got the hang of sewing it myself. What motivated me to create a line of clothing was my readers. I've received so many emails from women who like the clothes I make and want to wear them. It was incredibly flattering but also empowering that women want to be more comfortable and elegant and see my designs as that. So since I like making clothes anyway, and I love the process involved in designing and creating, I wondered why I hadn't thought of creating a clothing line sooner.
Q: At what age did you realize your talent for sewing?
NL: A few months ago. I'd sewn a few things here and there when I was younger but it wasn't until I began showing newer items on my blog that I realized the clothes were worth wearing. I am definitely not talented but I did find a way to make sewing work for me.
Q: You radiate such positivity in your photographs, through your words, what motivates that positivity?
NL: Thank you! That's great to know! When I first started blogging, I was not such a happy camper so I made it a rule for myself to not be negative when I blogged. To only see the great things in my life and focus my blog on that. I needed to be positive for myself and keep having fun. It got to the point where I was excited to blog and share. Plus, I love fashion and I love Theo, my husband who likes fashion too so those continue to be big motivators.
Q: What does being a woman mean to you?
NL: Don't really think about it much. I am consumed in the meanings of being me. I think the closest I've ever gotten to pondering what being a woman means to me is when I was first considering the possibility of marriage and how important I realized it was to know where I stand as a woman. Knowing my "place", which is a great place to be but to really know it is even better. But since being a woman is just frankly the hand I was dealt when I was born and gender is getting more and more blurred, I am more interested in the meaning of being me. I think individual capacity transcends gender, wouldn't you agree?
Being black used to mean I had to hide it.
Q: What does being black mean to you?
NL: It has meant so many things. This is a huge question but I will sum it up because at the end of the day, I am me and the color of my skin, while it has helped shape me, it doesn't define me. So! The many meanings: being black used to mean I had to hide it. I had all white friends and I didn't like standing out. It used to mean I was different. And because I was mixed, I was different among black people as much as I was different among non-black people.
Now, especially with natural hair, being black means I am automatically intriguing, compelling, loud - even if I am the quietest person in the room - and intimidating. It means I can easily receive attention, I can't fade into the background or have a quiet lunch to myself. It means that people love that I am black and stare at me. It also means that I see the world very differently than someone who is not black, merely through my daily interactions with people.
Now, being black means I am intriguing, compelling, loud...and intimidating.
Q: You've recently turned 30 - happy belated birthday by the way - what are some of the most important lessons you learned during your 20s?
NL: Thank you! Hmmm, important lessons - my 20s was a decade of lessons, oy:
- It's your life. Follow your heart.
- Form a close relationship with your intuition. The more you listen, the more it will talk.
- Accept your family for better or for worse and move forward.
- Blame has nothing to do with solution.
- Grudges drag you down. Figure out how to let them go.
- Surround yourself around people that love you when you're only yourself.
- Men will always end up doing what they want to do, regardless of their words. Actions are key.
- Explore your interests thoroughly.
- Don't rush to decide anything.
- Learn to be a friend.
- Failure is never the end.
Q: As a creator, what inspires you?
NL: I am constantly inspired by the French, photography, different aesthetics, women walking on the street, films and music.
Q: What are your words to live by?
NL: To thine own self be true.
Thank you so much Natalie for your authenticity, your light, and your words. You are truly an inspiration to live what you love and to never stop practicing, practicing, practicing.
Originally posted 8/1/13