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BIZ CRUSH: Sophie Benson

Apparently meeting creatives via the internet {thanks Instagram!} is becoming a normal thing for me.  Sophie & I crossed paths from a distance in the very same way- through this beloved social network- where the sustainable fashion crowd is flourishing.  Her knack for putting together outfits + writing style drew me in.  Then a conversation about faux vs. recycled leather really got our wheels turning.

 

On her blog she’s explored topics & ideas like, “Giving a Fuck Can Be Exhausting,” and “We’re Having a T-Shirt Epidemic,” where she talks about important issues in the most entertaining way possible.  On top of writing for her own blog, she also works as a freelance writer + stylist AND runs her own Etsy shop, Colours May Vary.

 

Here's more of her backstory & what she's got up her sleeves for the future.

 

 

What kind of kid were you growing up?
I was creative, introverted and sensitive and I had a wild imagination. I was also extremely picky about what I would and wouldn’t wear. Reflecting on that, I must not have changed too much because you could describe me in exactly that way now!

 

How did that affect your path towards writing & styling?

I loved to spend time alone; just me and my imagination. I would paint, draw, write poetry, sculpt and spend hours avidly writing in my diary. That instinct to be creative coupled with a very strong sense of how I wanted to present myself to the world seems, looking back, almost like a direct road towards what I do now.

 

If your story could fit into a 30 second commercial, how would it go down?
It would mirror a 1990s platform-style video game (think Super Mario) but imagined in the style of Camille Walala. As video game Sophie jumped each obstacle and collected each coin and extra life, she’d become bigger, brighter and happier.

 

What ultimately made you decide to do the lovely thing you do?
A need to express myself creatively and a desire to live differently.

 

Editorial piece for WRPD Magazine | Photographed by Emma Pilkington

"Shot in Anglezarke, Lancashire and we had to avoid being chased by sheep and carry our suitcases up hill, over streams and over country gates. It was hard work!"

 

 

What got you interested in slow/ethical fashion?
The trickle through of news stories exposing slave labour was what initially piqued my interest. Of course, it wasn’t new to everyone but it was new to me in my late teens and early twenties after absorbing fashion purely on an aesthetic level up until that point.

 

Who’s positively influenced your path the most?
I’m not sure if I could pin point one person but I drink in stories of determined women in any industry in order to galvanise myself. Everyone from Mindy Kaling and Hilary Clinton to Sylvia Pankhurst has impacted me in a positive way. Even from afar.

 

Favorite part about working for yourself?
I really value both the freedom and the variety I have. And being able to hang out with my cat.

 

Most challenging thing about working for yourself?
Remembering that you’re actually good at what you do is incredibly difficult when you don’t have colleagues around to remind you.
 

Necklace from Sophie's Etsy shop, Colours May Vary, using sustainable & recycled materials

 

How do you get your creative juices flowing?
Now I have to let you into my weird secret! If I can’t think of any ideas, I have to go and get in the shower and I’ll instantly have loads, then have to rush to write them all down afterwards. Maybe I need a waterproof notepad…

 

If you could be a fly on the wall to anyone’s creative space {dead or alive} who would it be?
I’m currently completely in love with Kenesha Sneed’s work, so I’d love to see her artwork and ceramics come to life.

 

Talk about a failure you’ve learned from.
When I was a big younger I definitely allowed people to have too much power and direction over my career. Agents would tell me that something was a ‘dream job’ and even though it didn’t feel like the right thing to do, I’d go along with it out of fear of never working again

 

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in business?
That I’m here doing what I want to do. I’ve felt like giving up a thousand times over but ultimately, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else so I kept swimming against the tide, seeking any kind of island of positivity and progress along the way, until I felt finally that I had my feet on the ground. (I think I’m still paddling in the shallows though.)   

 

Editorial piece for Indie Magazine - Photographed by Lucie Crewdson

"Shot in a cramped basement studio with pretty terrible light but we made it work! Once we chose the shots, I worked them into collages, using both tactile paper and digital layering."

 

 

What do you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?
I wish I knew that a lot people will take advantage of you given the chance. Now I don’t give them that chance.

 

What has been your favorite project to date & how did it come to fruition?
I work between so many different projects it’s difficult to choose one as they often complement each other. But anything that pushes ethical fashion and living kindly into the fore automatically goes on the favourite pile.

 

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or experienced thanks to your career path?
I got to see both Florence and Venice at sunrise before the tourists flooded in which was a privilege.

 

What’s next / What are you most excited about?
The next step is to carry on what I’m doing but to expand my work to bigger and more significant platforms. That prospect in itself is pretty exciting.

 

 

Time of the day you are most productive:

Around 11am and 3pm

 

The app you couldn’t live without:

Twitter

 

Social media outlet you love most:

I flit from Instagram to Twitter and back again

 

Favorite person to follow on this platform:

I love Mississippi Vegan for his Instagram stories

 

Favorite internet radio station at the moment:

BBC 6 Music

 

Favorite category to write about:

Sustainability and fashion. Preferably both together.

 

Go to piece in your wardrobe:

My second hand blue striped shirt

 

One small step anyone can take towards a more sustainable lifestyle:

Stop buying bottled drinks and carry a reusable bottle instead.

See more from Sophie here:  Online | Instagram | Twitter | Etsy

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