7 minute read

Interview with Alicia de Mello

You might see Alicia de Mello roaming around Los Angeles — interning for Cloud Hunter Co., styling and creating for Shop Suki, or filming YouTube videos for her lifestyle channel, Alicia Claire. Nonetheless, Alicia's amazing eye for style and love for sustainable fashion has cultivated a lasting passion for creating: working with ethical fashion companies, creating YouTube lookbooks, and making a name for herself in the creative industry — all at the age of 21. Take a look at our interview with Alicia to learn more about her work, personal style, and journey into the creative industry of Los Angeles:
photography by TIA LIU @tea.ahfeaturing ALICIA DE MELLO @aliciademellointerview by ANN LEMONNIER

Just looking at your Instagram feed, it’s clear you have a pronounced aesthetic. Do you ever feel tied to this image/unable to branch out into/experiment with other styles?

No, I wouldn’t say tied to it. At least, I don’t feel any negative pressures to post within the aesthetic. I actually just enjoy taking photos, and the aesthetic is very much ​me, ​and always evolving with me​. ​I really do love Instagram and sharing my photos, so maybe the only pressure I feel is whether or not I’m posting enough. But that’s by my own overthinking.

What pushed you to want to get involved in sustainable fashion?

I think that the world is a beautiful place with beautiful people that deserves to be protected. I’ve always been socially aware of how certain things impact others, and fashion is definitely not immune to that. I just came across a few sustainable brands and realized how much better for the environment it was. The consequences of fast fashion is not only damaging to the environment, but also the people who are working for those brands. Often they’re mistreated and underpaid, and that’s something I can’t really find myself supporting.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to develop a more defined personal style?

Don’t try to be someone else. I know there’s so many trendy styles, minimal or otherwise, but it’s really about finding what makes you feel the most confident. For me, I like a lot of different styles, but I’ve found a really balanced middle ground between everything that I like. Which makes my style more personal.

What would you say your top brands are at the moment?

Lately, I’m really into brands like La Causa, and Whimsy + Row for just everyday outfits. Both brands make their pieces in Los Angeles and focus on ethical production. Girlfriend Collective is my favorite place to get workout/yoga gear because they make their pieces out of recycled plastic and they turn it into the softest polyester. And also, the Reformation, always.

What inspired you to originally start your YouTube channel? Do you believe you have the same mentality towards being a YouTuber now that you’ve found success within it?

I remember watching videos and saying “Oh, I really want to do that.” When I started, I was centered around fashion and beauty, but as my channel grows, I want to do something a little more meaningful with it. Fashion and beauty really gave my channel a certain amount of exposure, and I’ll never stop making videos involving fashion or beauty, but I want my YouTube to be a true extension of myself. YouTube can be so beneficial in that way, and I really want to be as transparent as possible with my subscribers.

How do you believe your style has evolved?

I used to be really emo in middle school and then I moved on to wearing Free People in my hippie stage. Then I wore exclusively J.Crew at my Catholic high school. My style has really grown with me, and with my environment. I feel that I finally mastered my personal style, but who knows?

What is your process before filming a video for your channel?

There is no process. I wish I was kidding. I’m so flustered all the time that I just get in a mood and film. If I’m filming a haul or a favorites, then I’ll gather everything I’m going to show. Every so often I’ll look at my channel and decide what types of videos I need to film next, and write them down on the notes app.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Any celebrity style crushes?

I love both Alexa Chung’s street and red carpet style. I also really love Camille Rowe. I think Camille’s everyday style is perfect.

photography by TIA LIU @tea.ah featuring ALICIA DE MELLO @aliciademello

What is a Shop Suki shoot like? Do you prefer going into a shoot with a vision already in mind or experiment?

It’s super relaxed! I usually like to see the type of girl we’re shooting before I make any decisions on how to shoot or style her. Photos always turn out the best when the models are comfortable with what they’re wearing, so I like to build around the personalities and vibes of the models. Shop Suki has a really laid back vintage vibe which is nice because it can compliment a lot of people’s style.

Do you ever feel self conscious before filming a video? What advice would you give to others who are apprehensive to start YouTube channels due to doubts about themselves?

I don’t feel self conscious when I’m filming, but I do while I’m in editing. After watching so much footage, I start picking up on my talking habits that someone might comment on after I publish the video. But I post anyway because I know I’m probably being way too hard on myself. So my advice is to not overthink it and don’t be critical of yourself.

photography by TIA LIU @tea.ah featuring ALICIA DE MELLO @aliciademello

Do you feel as though the persona you display yourself as online differs from who you really are?

Actually, no. Or at least I don’t think so. I really try to be myself. I guess the only difference is that I think I come across as a little more outgoing on camera than I am in person. I’m quite an introvert.

What’s your favorite trend of summer 2018 so far?

Midi dresses. Does that count? I don’t know if that’s considered a trend but I really love midi dresses for summer. I can’t have enough of them.

What are your future plans/aspirations for your YouTube channel?

I want it to be a space where people feel they have an outlet. I want people to be able to feel like we’re friends and I’m sharing little parts of my life with them. In the long run, I really want to make my channel an extension of who I am. It just comes down to creating content that’s both unique and true to me.

When do you feel the most confident?

I feel most confident when I’m fully content with myself- when I’ve accomplished something. Which can honestly be anything, from editing a video to taking good content photos, or just putting on a nice outfit to go out. I feel the best when I feel put together.

How does your environment affect your work?

I think environment has really big influence on how people function. Personally, I like when my environment motivates me to stay focused on one thing at a time. But I work best in one of two places. Either my own space, at home in my room, or at café with my earbuds in. I either like it very peaceful or very lively. Both these environments give me my alone time in different ways, which makes me work my best.

How do you balance college, being creative direction at Shop Suki, and your YouTube channel?

Barely! I barely balance it. It’s a lot, but what helps is to focus on one thing at a time. If I have a lot of studying and school work to do, I won’t film or go into work. My bosses are really understanding of my schedule and are really great with giving me my own time.

What has been your go-to outfit lately?

Linen pants and a T-shirt with some slides. It is so easy and comfortable for summer.

How have you been transitioning your style into summer?

I wear pretty much the same things, I think. The weather doesn’t change drastically in Los Angeles. I wear less sweaters, obviously. I like wearing dresses in summer so that has been fun to incorporate into my wardrobe.

What makes you feel the most empowered?

Other women. Seeing women succeeding makes me feel so great and so optimistic.

KEEP UP WITH ALICIA: Instagram/Twitter: @aliciademello