Interview: Shamie Chirimuuta
Shamie Chirimuuta is a blogger with a love for fashion. I was lucky enough to interview Shamie about her fashion and career plans.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you? Tell us a little bit about your background.
Hi! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I am very well.
Alongside studying for a Masters in English Literature, I blog about fashion and personal style. I am interested in the ways in which fashion, art and photography can inform our understanding of culture, politics and philosophy. After years of documenting my style on Instagram, I expanded my platform and now run a website that explores these ideas further.
Describe your style.
Happy. I'm a happy dresser! I like to inject a little sunshine into each outfit, be that with colour, an interesting print or some texture. It's fun and bold and apparently, I don’t know what casual is.
When did you start getting into fashion?
It's something I've always been interested in. It seems almost intrinsic to my nature. As a young child, I was adamant about dressing myself, but it was probably during my teenage years that I understood its value. Fashion makes me feel a certain way. It's one of the ways in which I express myself. That creative freedom is so important to me.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I shop rather broadly, but on the high-street I will always begin with Zara. Also, the ASOS site is always in my tabs.
Although I get a lot of inspiration from big brand stores, I try not to purchase much from fast fashion retailers. I prefer to take that inspiration and find similar but unique pieces in independent and sustainable stores, as well as vintage and second-hand retailers. If there is a specific branded item I am after, I will do my best to find it from a reseller. I think it is important to be conscious of the industries you pay into, so I'm working on cutting back my fast fashion consumption.
What inspired you to get into vintage fashion?
Shopping more responsibly has reignited my love of vintage clothing. It is something I have always been drawn to. There is such a diversity of items, which I find encourages me to try new styles and get more creative. I love the unique cuts and prints – and knowing that you are essentially recycling makes it that much more special.
Do you think it is an important aspect to make your own clothing?
Oh yes! What better way is there to present your style than making a garment yourself? There is also much comfort in knowing that you didn’t contribute to any exploitation. My mother and grandmother both have a talent for dressmaking. My sewing machine is unfortunately collecting dust at the moment, but I hope to improve my skills in the future.
Do you have any tips for anyone shopping in vintage and charity shops?
Patience is key! I find that taking my time perusing is always beneficial in the end. Gems are always hidden! I also think you have to use a little more imagination when vintage and charity shopping. Even the most beautiful items can look uninviting on an old hanger, but it's about how you style them, not how they look in the store.
Why do you think charity shops are an important place to shop for clothes?
Certainly. As I mentioned before, charity shops are a great alternative to big brand retailers. Purchasing second-hand is more sustainable, and instead of paying into an industry that is exploitative, your money is going to a great cause. There are so many fantastic charities to choose from on the British high-street.
Your style is very unique and wonderful; how do you go about styling different clothes?
Thank you so much! I try to keep my outfits proportionally 'balanced', with my signature look being a belted waist. Focussing on balance allows me to play around with different textures, patterns and colours while maintaining a cohesive look. For example, I would pair a monochrome print with a bold colour, or pair an intricate silk piece with heavy denim.
How did you go about finding your own style?
Having the freedom to dress myself from a young age definitely helped develop my style quite early. Being unafraid to try new and different pieces is so important! I feel you need to experiment in order to refine.
Have you always been into fashion?
Since I could open my own dresser.
What new pieces have you picked up for this winter and spring that we haven’t seen on your Instagram yet?
I actually haven't begun my winter wardrobe update! Is that terrible? Its October!
I do have a new beautiful bag that hasn’t yet been featured. It’s a dusty pink that goes so well with my winter knits. I adore creams and pinks in winter!
What are some of your current fashion obsessions?
Shiny shoes. Specifically, shiny loafers. Silver ones. Oh, and red-to-toe.
What are your favourite pieces of clothing?
I have a beautiful silk blazer that is possibly the love of my life. It is a royal blue with gorgeous chrysanthemum illustrations over it. Another favourite is my baby pink biker jacket. Its fitted, lined with faux-shearling, and is the best jacket in the world. Nobody can convince me otherwise.
What could you not live without?
That coat, which also happens to be my warmest. Also, an environment in which I feel safe and comfortable expressing my style so freely.
Do you have any career plans?
Big, big plans! They are top secret!
Do you have a favourite fashion magazine?
Dazed and i-D are endlessly inspiring! During my teenage years, I adored Vogue and Company, but as my style evolved, along with social media, I found myself increasingly gravitating towards online publications and outlets.
Who was your first style icon?
Solange Knowles. This was my quickest answer.
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
It really allows me to archive my looks with great creative freedom. Not only is it a kind of digital portfolio, but it’s a hub of inspiration. I feel I could spend the whole day admiring the work of talented creatives on Instagram and Twitter. There is also something special about feeling part of such a big, vibrant and inclusive community. The diversity of people and styles online is so uplifting; there is room for everybody, and that’s beautiful.
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram?
Lots more fashion photography that I hope will be thought-provoking and engaging. I also hope to share some collaborative work in the future.
Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Instagram?
Don't let fear suffocate you. Go boldly! Posting consistently will also help you find your feet.
What’s the best piece of creative advice you’ve ever been given?
Done is better than perfect.
You can follow Shamie on her Instagram ‘@chi.shamiso’ and her website ‘http://chishamiso.com’. Her website is full of interesting articles and fashion posts.