Updated: Jul 30, 2020
This interview is particularly important to me as Tara was one of the first fashion influencers I ever followed back in 2016/2017. This was around the time I became more seriously interested in fashion and I was hugely influenced by her outfits. I still have a lot of clothes that I bought just because I liked how she styled them, so to get the chance to interview her was a little milestone for me. For those of you who don't know of her, Tara is a 22 year old fashion content creator/freelancer from Sydney. She mostly posts on Instagram (@tarachandra_) but she also has a Youtube channel (Tara Chandra) where she posts haul videos, lookbooks, vlogs etc. I interviewed Tara to find out her inspirations; favourite collaborations; views on important issues like sustainability in fashion; and to ask for any advice she'd give to young people looking to get into fashion content creating.
Firstly, how would you describe your personal style and what/who are your biggest style inspirations?
My style is definitely all over the place! It’s hard because I don’t think I fit into just one type of style. I like to pick and mix from streetwear and what’s trending, and I mix these with a vintage element.
I don’t have a specific person that I go to for style inspiration, but I’m definitely inspired by colours and people I follow on social media.
One thing I’ve always loved about your style is that you wear loads of accessories, necklaces, chains etc. What would be your advice for complimenting your outfit with accessories without overdoing it?
I think overdoing it is what you should be aiming for! I love being over the top and pushing the boundaries between just right and too many. But one thing that I always make sure of is that there are layers, each chain should be at a different level than the others. You need to see each and every necklace in it’s full glory!
Do you find it difficult to constantly think of new outfits? How do you overcome times when you feel creatively drained?
Definitely. I either wait it out or force myself to put something together. A lot of the times I’ll make a fit focused on a piece I haven’t worn in a while and see where I can go from there – working with complimentary colours and prints.
What is your all-time favourite brand collaboration + why?
I’ve had SO many that I love! I talk about my work with Converse a lot because they provided me with an experience along with a collaboration. I was one of the first 6 people in Converse X. From there we did a bunch of social campaigns, they flew me to London to attend the One Star Hotel and we did a billboard campaign. This experience was a major turning point and an ‘I did that’ moment for me. Travelling and working with a brand I have loved since I was a kid felt like an achievement and proved that the past 5 years (at the time) of posting on social media had meant something.
You’ve done a lot of side projects, I think my favourite concept was your Easy Mag. Could you describe what it is and what it aims to do? I know it took a long time to produce but would you consider making another edition/making it more of a regular thing?
Thank you! Easy Mag was made to showcase upcoming and established creatives. I aimed to create a magazine that explored the face and brain behind creatives, provide an insight into the creative industry and share the words of some crowd favourites. With 160 pages, over 20 creatives and 30 contributors, Easy Mag featured singers, rappers, producers, painters, digital artists, graphic designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, clothing designers, freelancers and more. I spoke to creatives including Gus Dapperton, Tkay Maidza, Mallrat, Flex Mami (Lillian Ahenkan), Rowi Singh, Chlobocop and more. Easy Mag Issue 3 was a solo project that took me two years to ideate, curate, create and produce. I loved the process and the outcome, but I don’t see myself creating another issue in the near future. In saying that, you never know. I do what I feel like doing and sometimes that includes starting fresh on old projects.
Sustainability is becoming a more talked about issue in fashion, do you feel that it’s important for fashion influencers to discuss this/lead by example?
The growing understanding of sustainability, environmental and social ethics in the fashion industry is so amazing to see! However, I think there is a lot of hypocrisy in what I stand for and what my actions are. It’s widely known how destructive the fashion industry is towards the environment and people, and by doing what I do I acknowledge that I’m a large player in that destruction.
It’s easy for me to just say yes, fashion influencers should discuss sustainability and lead by example, because in a perfect world that’s how it should be. But sustainability in fashion is cyclical. It’s simple supply and demand – corporations respond to consumer demands. Corporations have the ability to change if consumers change and vice versa – it’s about who will take the first step out of this pattern. There is currently a lot of privilege that comes with sustainable fashion especially in terms of time and money. I think influencers have a duty to lead by example, but consumers have a duty to be conscious consumers as well. If corporations take the first step to having more environmentally and socially sustainable practices, sustainable fashion will be more normalised. Obviously, this isn’t the reality, so consumers must take as many steps as they can to make sustainable and ethical choices. For me personally, on one hand, this is my job. On the other, is my personal gain over the environment and other people worth it?
Following on from this your @secondtimenew page is a great example of sustainable fashion consumption + I love the concept, could you briefly summarise what it is?
Second Time New was created in 2017 alongside my two high school friends as a vintage and second-hand clothing store. We aim to reduce the growing consumption of fast fashion, whilst hoping to promote the social and environmental benefits of shopping second-hand by giving a second life to clothing.
You’ve always been very vocal about social justice issues, do you feel that influencers have a responsibility to use their platform for good?
I think this stems off my response to influencers talking about sustainable fashion. In an ideal world, yes, influencers have a responsibility. But in reality, a lot of people are individualistic and simply don’t care about issues that don’t directly affect them. I think if you have the means to speak out and you genuinely care then that should be enough to use a platform for good – regardless of whether you are an influencer or not. A lot of people say they would do ‘this’ and ‘that’ if they had followers. But I think directly educating the people in your life is often-times more beneficial than an influencer posting resources but with no interaction with viewers. In saying that, influencers should use their platform where they can. Awareness is important and you might be the only person that someone follows who is talking about a specific issue.
More recently you’ve got into digital illustration, what advice do you have for beginners in terms of programs, equipment etc.?
Yes! I currently use an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and the app Procreate. Procreate is $15 but has no in-app purchases. Procreate is really great as it has so many options. But if you want to try out digital illustrations, I would recommend the free app, Adobe Sketch.
What are your aspirations? I saw that you have plans to get into social media managing + marketing, do you think that the experience you’ve gained through fashion influencing plays into these fields?
I never set long term goals for myself, because my passions and what I want out of life are constantly changing. However, in the short term, 2020 was meant to be focused on getting a job, ideally in social media and marketing as you mentioned! Obviously with COVID, it’s been difficult so I’ve just been applying for jobs when I see them. I do have an internship lined up for September with a pretty big tech company which should be a nice change of pace.
I definitely think my work in fashion and content creation has provided me with experience that not many other people have. My portfolio is 100% my freelance work, and I have seven years of work to show on there! Freelancing definitely goes hand in hand with my in-house and agency experience which has helped me score some interviews.
Finally, what advice would you give to people looking to get into fashion influencing e.g. regularity of content, how to grow your following, secure brand collaborations etc.
I think posting regularly is the best tip I could give. Post because you want to and not because you want to be an influencer or get free things. Everything comes with time, and few people blow up overnight. Find accounts similar to yours and make friends. Help each other out over time. The way collaborations work on Instagram has changed so much over time. @influencerpaygap is a great way to gage the type of collaborations and rates you should have based on your number of followers/ engagement! And lastly, be yourself online.
Hopefully that was interesting for anyone looking to get into content creation or just curious about how it works. Tara's advice to be consistent is something I've heard from a lot of other big content creators, so if that's your dream then definitely keep that in mind and don't give up, as she says - no one will be successful overnight. I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, feel free to comment/DM your thoughts and let me know who I should interview next.
Main instagram: @tarachandra_
Art instagram: @tarachandra_art
Second hand clothing instagram: @secondtimenew
Youtube: Tara Chandra