Olivia, known to her friends as Liv, tends to roll up in minimalist attire, always impeccably put together. Her style may be boyish but her gentle character establishes an effeminate and graceful impression on those she encounters.
An artist, fashion junkie, and beauty expert, Olivia has a busy schedule and a lot on her mind. But she works hard at everything she does and never lets others get her down, nor influence her creativity, style, or spirit.
Currently a student working and living in London, Olivia commutes to Camberwell College of Arts (part of the London University of the Arts) to study drawing. She may not be entirely sure of her future but anyone who meets her is soon confident in her loyalty, her talent, and her unwavering ability to tune out negativity and look on the bright side, to the future, however undecided it may be.
What inspired you to go into drawing?
I’ve always wanted to be involved in art, mainly focusing on fashion. Ideally, I would’ve done a course that specified in fashion illustration, but Fine Art gives you a lot more freedom to expand your ideas in other areas and mediums. That’s why I chose the drawing course at Camberwell.
Why did you choose Camberwell out of all the London colleges?
I was already studying at London College of Fashion doing a foundation course in Fashion Media and Communications, but I wanted to get back into Fine Art. Camberwell has such a good reputation. It’s laidback and relaxed too, but that actually seems to give you motivation to work harder. It has a lot of great opportunities as well as many talented alumni.
What is the biggest influence on your personal style?
I couldn’t really say for sure, but I get most of my ideas from other people. I do follow trends but I think that your personal style should be about what you like and what you feel comfortable in. I love looking at the trends and what’s in and what’s not, but if something doesn’t suit me or I don’t feel comfortable in it, then I’m not going to wear it. I work at & Other Stories (A Swedish brand, part of the H&M group) and a lot of the clothes and designs there hugely influence my style. I’m always around new trends and get to see the clothes coming in, so that gives me lots of ideas about my own style.
Do you feel pressure to dress in a ‘feminine’ way, or feel your style is affected by feminine ideals in fashion?
I don’t feel any pressure but I do sometimes have moments where I think, ‘maybe I should dress like a girl today’. I occasionally wear skirts and dresses but again, if you don’t feel comfortable in something then you shouldn’t wear it. I was interning at Dodd Clothing and I said to my boss, ‘I think I should start dressing like a girl now’. He said, ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, just dress like a boy’. I don’t think it hinders where I want to go within fashion. A lot of my friends also dress with more masculine influences. I think it’s about how you place yourself as well, so dressing in a feminine way doesn’t necessarily matter.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest obstacle to success in your career?
I haven’t really thought too much about career paths yet. I’m constantly changing my mind about it and I’m also trying to focus on finishing my degree, but the fashion industry is very competitive with a lot of people wanting to get into the same thing, so I think that’s a prominent obstacle. At the end of the day I feel that a lot of it is down to experience and working hard, so as long as I have that under my belt then I think obstacles shouldn’t be too hard to work around.
In what way does fashion influence your work?
My drawing work has always revolved around fashion in some way, although recently I have been trying to expand my ideas and focus more on other interests. That didn’t turn out great though! My dissertation ideas are about the identities of males within fashion, and how fashion can stereotype men in a certain way. Again I’m struggling with ideas for a career path at the moment so my work is more about exploring fashion in an artistic way, and expressing ideas.
Who is the most inspirational woman in your life?
I would have to say my mum. She is so headstrong and she’ll do what she wants to do, even if it doesn’t work out in the end. She also has a great sense of style, and some great clothes. She’s always been proud of me and wants me to do whatever I want to do.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
In five years I HOPE I’ll have a job doing something I love, whether it’s sketching for a designer or designing my own stuff. I have no idea what I’ll end up doing, but I’m pretty determined to get somewhere.
In terms of school, and career, what would you change for any young women following in your footsteps?
I’d say just do whatever you want to do, and make it known to other people. I’ve struggled a lot at uni because of the ideas surrounding my work; tutors aren’t sure about it, people don’t understand it, etc. Just be confident in whatever it is that you want to do, and make sure you’re strong willed because it’s easy to get a little lazy and feel shot down when somebody doesn’t like what you’re doing or gives you a bad mark. Challenge yourself to do other things but make sure that you’re doing what you want and what will work best for you!
Massive thank you to Maddie Spence for interviewing and snapping shots of Liv for us. Witches unite!