Tell us about Dazed Beauty.
I feel incredibly honoured and proud to be Editor of Dazed Beauty. I think it was a necessary (and I don't use that word lightly) new title. I love what we stand for, which is, self-expression, creativity, futurism and people. When we launched, I think what we did was radical and bizarre and left field, and, most of all really fun. Working with creatives like Isamaya Ffrench and Bunny Kinney is a privilege. My aim is for us to continue to push the parameters of what's "beautiful" and make challenging imagery and thoughtful statements. It means a lot to me that our output is so diverse and different. I like the idea that we'll talk about a 14-year-old in Ukraine doing gnarly stuff with contact lenses, current affairs through a beauty lens and also, you know, whoever the new face of YSL beauty is. My favourite thing is when someone tells me "that's so Dazed Beauty" because I think, how incredible, that in under a year we've formed such a distinctive personality.
What is your perception of beauty?
I think working at Dazed Beauty my perception of what's beautiful has been radically rewritten. I'm excited by what we find disgusting or repulsive because usually those things are the most human things, and in traditional beauty imagery the focus is to reject our own corporeality because it rubs up too closely to things that we don't like talking about like; death, birth, disease, our own mortalities... Anti-death rhetoric in mainstream beauty advertising and marketing means that unconsciously we've come to be aroused and excited by bodies and faces that have no trace of a lived existence or future. I'm most excited and interested in beauty that embraces the uncomfortable bits too.
What effect do you think ever-changing technology has had on society's perception of beauty?
This is a conversation we're constantly having at Dazed Beauty. The tech and beauty industries have converged at this really exciting time. Beauty remains so much more democratic a playing field, than say, fashion, because a teenager can use apps to manipulate and transform their appearance from their bedroom, and overnight develop a dedicated following that has more sway than a magazine reviewing a face cream. We live on our mobile phones. AI isn't twenty years away, it's happening now, and it's impacting how we self fashion. I've loved watching this elf ear face filter go viral on Instagram because I think it speaks volumes about where we're at in terms of self-expression, and is a strong indication of where we're headed. The fact that this filter, that superimposes elf ears and a smattering of freckles onto the user, is so popular is indicative of a more alternative and fantasy style of beauty that people are really responding to because it's an image that for most people more closely matches how they feel inside than say, maybe, a 6ft blonde model in a fragrance advert. We now have the tools to realise alternative versions of ourselves. That to me, is exciting, and I predict it will unlock a very diverse and alternative mode of self-fashioning for the next generation that will extend beyond selfies and piercings and contact lenses. We will shapeshift in real-time across species, and genders and ages.
And how has this altered our vision of femininity?
I think as I've alluded to above, we're more open to the different modes of expression than we ever have been. Gender is widely accepted as a construct amongst younger people, and we're having more fun with gender than we have enjoyed previously. There's not a set of attributes that maketh the woman. While as a kid, I had the Wonderbra adverts and Kate Moss, now thanks to Instagram, I can find hundreds and thousands of different iterations of womanhood.
What are your thoughts on the modern-day creative and fashion industry?
I feel really far away from the fashion industry. I guess I'm an insider within London's creative scene, but I wouldn't identify that way. From a distance, they both seem to be being led by young designers and creatives with personal and avant-garde agendas. The reigns are in the hands of the up-and-coming visionaries who are constantly challenging what came before. I feel like the fashion pantheon has been deeply disrupted by the transition of power away from big design houses and patriarch designers into the hands of young designers. That seemed very overdue. It was getting so navel-gazey.
Do you see freedom of identity within the fashion industry?
I do absolutely. I admire young houses like Ekhaus and Telfar, who stand for more than shopping. I feel me when I'm wearing Charlotte Knowles, Ottolinger, Claire Barrow and Alyx as much as I do in a Prada coat or a carboot find.
What's your favourite brand right now?
I'm really into Charlotte Chesnais (I love jewellery). I love Super Yaya. I wear Martine Rose most days because it's so comfy, and I'm a sucker for a Saks Potts Coat, and Prada always. Nothing makes me feel quite as good as a second-hand purchase.