If you haven’t already heard of fashion illustrator Meagan Morrison and are motivated by all things color then make sure you head over to this girl’s Instagram page for a happy dose of color therapy. Filled with her loves of fashion and travel, Meagan brings a whole new dimension to the illustrator tag, capturing catwalks and events across Europe, USA and wandering the world over to capture the cultural beauty of destinations including Morocco and Thailand.
Sharing three years of friendship, a love of travel, fashion and all things colorful, with often oceans between us, Meagan is someone I’ve truly admired from the get-go for having the courage to pursue her dreams and find success among them. Having worked in illustration and design for 6 years in New York, Meagan made the challenging decision to break away from the 9-5pm work life and further develop her own artistic brand – Travel Write Draw.
One of the first things she asked me when endeavoring to do this, was what I thought made her different from the rest. I told her, her personality. Not only was her work beautiful but her openness and happy demeanor always shone through in not only her work but her brand. It wasn’t long after this that I met her in New York for Fashion Week and within weeks of establishing herself as a single entity, she had projects lined up with Lucky Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, Calvin Klein, Rebecca Minkoff, Missoni (to name a few), new clients and travel opportunities on the horizon. Instagram found her during the aftermath of Fashion Week and featured her page, opening her audience wider and giving her a greater platform for which to publish her work.
Today, Meagan spends her time doing what she loves and has become one of my beacons of light whilst paving my own path.
I caught up with Meagan between continent hopping to get her thoughts on life since the shift:
You took a leap of faith to break out on your own and start working for yourself. What helped you make this decision?
It was the culmination of many factors and I really just felt it in my gut. The full-time position I had been in for the past 18 months was no longer challenging or inspiring me. Also, I had worked really hard to amp up my social following on Instagram and rekindled my love for my blog. Eventually brands took notice and I had enough client work coming in to feel confident enough to leave. It was that “now-or-never” type of leap and I have not looked back since.
What has been the best adventure/project you have worked on so far?
It is honestly so difficult to choose!! I have had so many wild dreams come true this year, and I feel so incredibly grateful and fortunate. But if I had to pick one, I would say partnering with Conde Nast Traveler and Bermuda Tourism in December. When they originally pitched the project, I was up against a few other bloggers, but once I suggested illustrating my way through the island, they were sold, and that’s how “Drawn to Bermuda” came to be. It was was the first time I was featured in a major publication as a traveling fashion illustrator and CNT has always been an aspirational client of mine from the time I started Travel Write Draw in September 2010. I practically built the blog with them in mind.
Your artwork is always so vibrant with color, are you more drawn to subjects that display this vibrancy?
Absolutely yes. I really can’t help it either. I love to dress in color and print and I love to illustrate it too. It is just so fun for me and my heart races when I see the right combination of color, texture, and shape on a fashion figure.
Do you have any fun summer projects coming up?
I do indeed, and fortunately they all involve travel in one way or another.
What you would tell anyone venturing to take their own leap of faith/next step/chance to chase their passions?
I would say that only you have the answers. Only you know what is right for you. For me it came down to either taking a big risk to live a life I loved, or residing to a life that left me feeling unsatisfied. I couldn’t settle for that. Your happiness is your responsibility so be proactive and go after what you want. It took me 6 years of being in NYC to get to the place I am today. It is always a work in progress so be patient with yourself and reasonable with your expectations. Dream big but start small. Slowly build towards your destination. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so if you’re in it for the long haul, fall in love with the journey, and always, always be grateful for what you have already.
Since the announcement earlier in the year that ELLE magazine will once again return this year to Aussie shores, the fashion industry and fashion loving public have been waiting with bated breath. Now with only days until the official hardcopy launch, I managed to wrangle a few minutes of fashion heavy weight and new ELLE Australia Editor-In-Chief, Justine Cullen’s time to talk about the impending launch and her views on the Perth fashion landscape.
JR: We’ve followed your success as Editor of Shop Til You Drop and now excited to see you the product of your latest endeavor as Editor of ELLE Australia. How daunting was the task of preparing for the upcoming launch of such established worldwide brand?
JC: I’ve dreamed of editing ELLE and was mentally preparing for it for a long time so I was probably more exhilarated than daunted. However, the ELLE brand is so strong in all 43 markets where it currently exists and the attention on this launch has been so enormous that I’d be crazy if I didn’t feel a sense of responsibility to respect the brand and to help it live up to people’s expectations in Australia. Like a lot of Australian women, I’ve always been a fan of the other editions, so I know that if I wasn’t editing it, I’d have a lot of expectations around it as a reader – I don’t want to let anyone down!
JR: How would you describe the ‘personality’ of ELLE Australia and how does it fit amongst the international versions?
JC: It has all the ELLE values we know from the international editions – it’s smart, sexy, energetic, modern, inclusive, friendly, irreverent. Spirited is my favourite word for summing up the ELLE personality. Here in Australia I would also add two words my staff are sick of hearing: surprising and generous. There’s a lot to discover within every page. In terms of where it fits – that’s an interesting question as all the editions of ELLE are a little different. ELLE is always a reflection of its readers lives, it has a relevance to it, which means it can’t be a cookie cutter version of itself just in different languages. For example, the UK is a pure fashion magazine with few features, the US is a slightly more mature read with a lot of lengthy articles. In Australia I’d say we fall somewhere between the two, leaning more towards the UK in terms of model and design, but with a great chunky features well and lifestyle section too.
JR: The ELLE Australia website went live mid-August and since then the content has been an ever evolving fashion source of up to the minute imagery and information. How will ELLE online, as its own entity, tie into the monthly hardcopy editions?
JC: My team are working across the website as well, posting daily as part of their roles. We very much see the website as having a global, faster feel, while the magazine is more of an immersive, reflective experience. None of the content is rehashed between the two mediums but there is a lot of integration – if, for example, we do a story on a new exercise fad, the page might have a web pointer sending people to some workout playlists to download on elle.com.au. They’re different, but work together to create a richer magazine (and by magazine I mean print and digital) experience.
JR: As a fashion heavyweight based in one of Australia’s fashion meccas, what is the general perspective of brands coming out of WA and are we likely to see them grace the pages of ELLE Australia in the future?
JC: Absolutely! ELLE is always a perfect mix of both local and international labels, and the Perth fashion scene is thriving so you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of WA labels in the mag. I love Flannel and of course Kim Ellery is such a personal favourite (and perfect for ELLE). All the buzz around Jaime Lee is very exciting and it’s wonderful that Aurelio Costarella is celebrating thirty years this year. And I have to mention the gorgeous Nicole Trunfio who contributes to ELLE.com.au, appears in our first issue and now designs Trunfio jewels – such beautiful high end jewellery.
HUGE thank you to Justine for taking time out of her hectic pre-launch schedule to do this interview and for giving us some insight into what will certainly be one of my monthly “go to” Fashion Bibles.
The countdown’s on (toooo excited)!
Instagram: @elleaus Twitter: @ELLEaus Facebook: /ELLEaus
A big thanks to Layne and The Renegade Team for sharing with us. Perth Style salutes you both!
For more information about Layne and Aim For the Stars, jump here.
It’s been no secret that here at Perth Style we have been Renegade Collective crusaders from the moment it appeared on the newsstand. This ‘now-cultural’ bible brings together, in one aesthetically articulate space, everything from fashion and beauty, to tech, travel, lifestyle, art, the future (you name it, they deal with it) all from the unique perspective and angle taken by Publisher/Editor Lisa Messenger and the rad Renegade team. With the latest edition having been released earlier in the month, we were given the opportunity to ask Lisa a couple questions of our own about RC and why it rocks our socks! Here’s what she had to say:
PS: Congratulations on such a great second issue and such an impactful entry into the print market! The magazine is punchy, forward and full of imagery and information pertinent to today’s multifaceted lifestyles. That said, what made you decide to incorporate the print component as opposed to purely online – the tact most new and established publications seem to be taking?
LM: Thank you for your gorgeous feedback. In absolutely everything we do I try to go off trend and flip the expected. So, if everyone is going online we’ll do the opposite. Having said that we do have a large and growing online presence. We’re extremely active with our wonderful community across social media and we are in the process of building a more comprehensive website. We’re also on tablet through the Magshop and Zinio apps. Online is certainly a very integrated part of our play moving forward.
PS: Personally I am a big fan of print – I still go to bookstores, I buy physical magazines and have been known to cut out an article or two from the newspaper. Part of what drew me into Renegade Collective was the texture and personality of the magazine. As you move through the pages from insights to story, there is a tactile change from glossy to raw edge, what was the aesthetic decision behind the look and feel of the magazine?
LM: I wanted something really high quality and really gorgeous that just spoke to people. It’s a magazine for creatives and entrepreneurs so we wanted to reflect that in the design. My design girls – Jade and Edie are just fabulous and they come up with great ideas every day. I feel truly blessed.
PS: As a fashion, style, beauty and entertainment blogger, I’m naturally drawn to the respective articles in Renegade Collective. What inspires your choice of brands/designers/creatives profiled and interviewed in the magazine?
LM: The entire mandate of the magazine is that it must be the story behind the story and each story must be inspirational and aspirational. I will NEVER run a story on a brand for brands sake and will never do fashion or beauty just because. The brands have to have intrinsic consumer meaning and the founders have to be willing to be really open and honest and talk through the hard or personal stuff. We want our readers to be inspired, to learn from everything within the magazine and to feel like they too can start a business or succeed in their existing business. Its all about saying that anything is possible and trying to give real life examples of how this plays out.
PS: It’s great to see bloggers such as Zanita Morgan and We The People, have a standout voice within the pages of Renegade Collective, in your eyes, what sets them apart from the pack?
LM: I get so incredibly inspired by bloggers and people who can build their own brands these days. With online truly anything is possible and this has opened up all sorts of opportunities so I love showcasing stories like this to inspire others to do the same. We will definitely be showcasing a lot more people in this space moving forward.
PS: What was the biggest inspiration or ideal behind the creation of Renegade Collective?
LM: Like many of our readers seem to be, I was sick of the salacious gossip and vacuous content that appears in many media. I wanted to do something different. That could inspire and speak to people and give everyone hope and dreams and to show that with a great idea and a good dose of tenacity anything is possible.
You can pick up your own copy of Edition 2 at any leading supermarkets or newsagents but if online is more your style you can subscribe or download the digital copy through Zinio, Magshop on either The App Store or Google Play.
Keep up the great work Lisa!
Mia Freedman… Australian entrepreneur, radio personality, online media trailblazer, publisher and founder of widely successful website Mamamia and now covergirl of newest title on our newsstand, the newly re-branded Renegade Collective. In an honest and informative account of her rise from blogger to household name, Mia talks to The Collective about the experiences and lessons that got her to where she is today. Perth Style was also lucky enough to throw some of our own questions Mia’s way and this is what she had to say:
PS: We loved hearing your candid account of the inception of Mamamia and the ups and downs that go with entrepreneurial endeavours, what did you find was the biggest hurdle you faced when taking the step from blog to a fully fledged business?
Mia: Working with my husband! (lol) Actually the most challenging part was disentangling me from writing 100% of the content to taking the role of editor/publisher. We were worried the audience wouldn’t accept that but it ended up working really well and I was relieved to broaden the site’s appeal and viewpoint to be more than just mine.
PS: With online growing exponentially and media conglomerates moving heavily into the virtual market, what do you believe is the fate of the printed word?
Mia: I think there has never been a more challenging time to work in the media. The biggest obstacle for print is the frequency and ability to respond in a 24 hour news cycle. Those who will survive and flourish will offer something different, something more evergreen.
PS: As bloggers ourselves, we are constantly researching and brainstorming new and innovative ways of engaging our readers through social media. What would be your advice for staying fresh and ahead of the curve?
Be a sponge. Soak up everything from the inside so you can understand what your audience wants. To do that, you have to be your audience. Talk with them not at them.
PS: Mamamia is the go to site for everything concerning women today whether it’s fashion, motherhood, business, entertainment or politics. Do you think the entrepreneurial opportunities for bloggers who wants stick to a niche space are limited by the lack of topical broadness?
Not at all. In many ways, having a niche makes your audience easier to explain to advertisers who often view women in fairly one-dimensional ways. One of the hardest things we’ve had to do is educate advertisers that women don’t see themselves as ‘yummy mummies’ or ‘fashionistas’ or ‘Gen Ys’. The key to online success is to be passionately interested in whatever you’re publishing. You have to live it. And niche bloggers who do it well, are borderline obsessed. That’s a good thing!
(And lastly for our fashion followers)
PS: What staple beauty and fashion piece could you not live without this winter?
Oh, so many! I’ve bought some stretchy, leather-look leggings that I’m going to wear with boots and long tops. And I have about half a dozen pairs of ankle boots on high rotation. For beauty….Sodashi skincare and Ecotan – it’s a totally natural body moisturizer with a hint of fake tan. I’m lathering the stuff on.
Thank you to the amazing Mia for chatting to us (there were many squeals in the PS office when we found out we had the opportunity to interview Mia!) and sharing her insights. Pick up a copy of the Renegade Collective at all major newagencies, supermarkets or subscibe online to read The Reinvention of Mia Freedman – a must for any budding blogger, entrepreneur, mother, online enthusiest or just the general population as whole!
Stay tuned for our interview with the woman and powerhouse behind Renegade Collective – Lisa Messenger – to be up on Perth Style soon!