Monki × Selam Fessahaye

Meet Selam Fessahaye. Stylist, costume designer and fashion designer who is making an impact on the global fashion scene. We got the opportunity to ask her about her thoughts on fashion, styling and much more.

Who is Selam?

Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: Complex AF.

Q: How would your friends describe you?
A: I have no idea.

Q: What is your proudest moment?
A: Me finally making a full collection and starting a brand.

Q: What are you insecure about (if you are insecure about anything)?
A: Everything and nothing.

Q: Favourite music to dance to?
A: My friends.

Q: Why do you love Monki?
A: It’s honest, cute and supports women.

On styling

Q: What inspires your creativity?
A: Complexity and contrasts.

Q: How do you feel when you see someone wearing an outfit you’ve styled?
A: Amazing, especially when the person I’ve styled feels great and beautiful in what they are wearing.

Q: You are both a stylist and a fashion designer. What’s the first step of the design process when you’re creating a new fashion piece?
A: The first step varies a lot. Sometimes it’s sourcing or creating fabrics, other times it starts with me grabbing a pen and paper to sketch.

Q: Who would you love to style in the future?
A: Whoever’s got an interesting story to tell.

Q: What’s been your career highlight to date?
A: I have to say my SS19 collection.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I’m not good with plans.

The collection

Q: What do you love about this Monki collection?
A: I love the fact that it’s easy to dress up and dress down in an interesting way.

Q: Favourite piece from the collection?
A: The track suit and the hot pink top.

Advice to your fans

Q: Advice on how to find one’s style?
A: Never mind trends, focus on your own expression. Whatever makes you feel good/beautiful is what you will look the best in and that is how you’ll find and develop your style.

Q: What advice would you give to young people trying to break into the world of fashion and styling?
A: IT’S NOT EASY. Be ready to put the time in, find your style, your strength and go hard. It helps a lot loving what you do otherwise I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Q: If you could talk to the 15-year-old you, what would you say?
A: At this moment I just try to be everything my 15-year old self would want to see. A role model for other 15-year olds that are on the same path as me. Representation matters.

Female empowerment

Q: What does female empowerment mean to you?
A: Everything!

Q: What makes you feel empowered?
A: Honest women around me.

Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?
A: It changes from time to time but Mom, Diana Ross, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot have been with me as forces of inspiration as long as I can remember.

Q: If you could change one thing in the world in the blink of an eye, what would you change?
A: I would want to equalize the division of resources.

 

Thank you! <3

Monki × Chloe Sheppard

We’ve teamed up with Chloe Sheppard who is a young film photographer and visual artist based in London. Chloe created these beautiful photos for us and we couldn’t be more excited about the result.

On styling

Q: What inspires your creativity?
A: Complexity and contrasts.

Q: How do you feel when you see someone wearing an outfit you’ve styled?
A: Amazing, especially when the person I’ve styled feels great and beautiful in what they are wearing.

Q: You are both a stylist and a fashion designer. What’s the first step of the design process when you’re creating a new fashion piece?
A: The first step varies a lot. Sometimes it’s sourcing or creating fabrics, other times it starts with me grabbing a pen and paper to sketch.

Q: Who would you love to style in the future?
A: Whoever’s got an interesting story to tell.

Q: What’s been your career highlight to date?
A: I have to say my SS19 collection.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I’m not good with plans.

What advice would you give to young people trying to break into the world of photography?
To immerse themselves completely in it. When I was a young teenager and realised photography was what I really wanted to do, I would spend all my time on sites like Flickr and Tumblr looking for inspiration and taking photos whenever I had the chance. All the money I made from my part time job, I spent on film and developing. Then when I got to college, I spent all the time I could in the darkrooms there. Trying to break into the world of photography is tough, but if you have a genuine passion for it, and it becomes all that you live and breathe, then that will carry you.

Why do you think the female gaze and working with other girls is so important?
I feel like it’s important because the art that I feel most represented in has always been created by artists that identify as female. For a long time it was made obvious that we weren’t welcome in the industry or that our work wasn’t as valuable, so for it to be such a prominent part of society now is a sign of it changing. It’s important that we work together to make sure other women, who may not necessarily be otherwise, are heard.

Your self-portraits are beautiful. Why do you think so many of us struggle with self-acceptance?
Thank you. I mean there’s a whole load of reasons, and obviously it differs from person to person but I think social media does play a lot into it. It’s too easy to go on Instagram now and scroll past hundreds of photos of ‘perfect’ people and feel lesser about yourself, even though our Instagrams only really show a highlight reel of our lives. Also, advertising doesn’t help, we’re constantly being sold things that would make us more ‘appealing’, so these days it’s so easy to pinpoint flaws, but it’s why representational artwork is so important.

What inspires you and your work?
Photographs from decades ago, old music and films. Other film photographers who are around now and who shoot people that wouldn’t usually be shot in a positive light.

What are your plans for the future?
I don’t have much planned right now. I’m experimenting more with 8mm film, and I’d like to do more moving image stuff throughout the rest of the year. I’m hoping to shoot some more self-portrait series this year too.

Why do you love Monki?
There’s such cute pieces by Monki that I love, and I was so happy that for this shoot they let me cast my own models.

Thank you Chloe!

Check out more of Chloe’s work on her Instagram @eolhcsheppard