IVY COCO: FASHION + LIFESTYLE BLOGGER, BUILDING AN EMPIRE WITH BLACK GIRL MAGIC
As creatives, we all have hobbies and ways of living we genuinely love and hope to transform into our careers someday. For bi-costal style blogger Ivy Coco, it's creative writing and living fearlessly through her fashion sense that she managed to make a career out of. Whether she's in Los Angeles or Philadelphia, Ivy has her mind set on empowering and encouraging people to love + be who they are. With the creation of her blog Ivy Coco, Ivy has been able to inspire young women (especially women of color) who are pursuing similar careers. When discussing the importance of powerful black girls in the blogosphere, she says:
I think this representation matters so much. When I first started looking into YouTube videos and blogging, I didn't see girls that looked like me. Or I'd see young, successful girls like me... But they'd live all the way in London. Then eventually I thought, "Yo, there are really no girls in the United States that I can really look up to who are in my age range."
I just think it's so important, because I want girls from the next generation to be like, "Oh, I can do that too!" Because blogging is hard; it's not a typical career people have done in the past. It's something you have to create yourself and decide, as you go, what you want to do with it. But even though it's challenging, I like the freedom I have to create my own career.
Ivy is just GLOWING with #BlackGirlMagic and she's focused on using her platform to make a difference in the fashion industry. I had the opportunity to meet up with her this past week and learn more about her passions + how she goes about making her Dreams And Real Life Align. Check out our interview below.
Q & A:
victoriadrianna: How did you start blogging? What inspired the creation of your blog?
Ivy Coco: I started blogging my second year of college (I graduated college in three years)... It started out of my deep passion for creative writing, fashion, and photography... A friend told me, "You should start a blog; I think people will like your style." With the power of social media, people just gradually got attached to it and thought it was cool... And then with the current movement of Black Girl Magic that's happening right now, I think that it was all just perfect timing.
V: You went to Syracuse, right? What did you go to school for?
Ivy: Yes, I went to school for Economics and my concentration was Retail Management.
V: What does personal style mean to you?
Ivy: Personal style to me is just you being who you are. Once you know who you are and find your style, you know how to accentuate it with different types of genres. One day I can be a Bohemian pop princess and the next day I can look like a monochromatic, European chic woman... So it's just like, being able to have freedom in your style and express who you are through your clothes — that's what I consider to be a 'personal style' because it reflects more of who you are.
V: What influences your style choices everyday?
Ivy: Definitely the type of mood I'm in. Like, on a day like today when it's gloomy sometimes I'll wear bright things just to brighten up my day... But I love black. I can never go wrong with black! My favorite thing is my black leather jacket.
V: What have been some of your favorite places to travel, and why?
Ivy: Well my father's from France, I'm French as well, so I love going back home to see my family in Paris... But my ultimate favorite place that I've fallen in love with is London. I love London — the people are so perfect! I don't get how people can dress so perfectly and have an amazing accent and still be so nice at the same time. It's amazing.
V: I recently watched a YouTube video of yours where you discussed body image and the challenges you faced when you were younger. Why do you think this is an important topic to bring awareness to for young women?
Ivy: Because as we grow up, girls have this standard right when we pop out the womb; it's pink and blue, pink and blue... Everything is constructed for us since the beginning. Now it's to the point where girls are starting to pick out their wedding dress at like, age 9... And certain things like that show how we're like, put into boxes where we don't know what to do because of what society thinks... And then we have this whole entire body image of now, where girls are worried about having big butts or big boobs instead of just loving themselves for who they are... But, you know, being natural is beautiful! Loving every single flaw that you have and anything that makes you different and unique... Loving that is important. So when you can stray away from societal constructs of what beauty is and then define your own beauty, I think your perception of life and who you are will totally change.
V: I totally agree. I was just talking to my best friend about this the other night. I had a mole above my eyebrow that I used to totally hate and so I got it removed... But now I wish I would have kept it because it made me different... It made me, me.
Ivy: Yeah, totally. I have these very thick eyebrows that people eventually started telling me, "OMG, you need to trademark that!" Whenever you find what makes you unique... You've got to hold on to that. Whether you have a big butt, thick eyebrows, big lips, or whatever... It is who you are.
V: What message do you want to send with your brand? What do you want people to think of when they hear "Ivy Coco?"
Ivy: When people hear 'Ivy Coco,' I want them to be like, "That is a black girl who rocks! That is a woman who loves herself and she has a message to send to young girls." I want to be able to set the tone when it comes down to self-love... Just like how we just talked about the concept and importance of body image... I want to cover all of those things because those are insecurities that girls go through. Girls at a young age go through things such as committing suicide and cutting themselves, often because of body image... So I really want to project that through my style... Because that's how I was able to get through my struggles; it was through my fashion sense! I want people to be able to say, "She's fly, and she's doing her."
V: So, there was a ton of fashion inspiration during the Met Gala (like Claire Danes with the glowing dress!)... What were some of your favorite looks from the red carpet?
Ivy: Yes, that was beautiful! She really does take the cake in regards to garment-wise; the technology of it was definitely perfect for the theme this year. My all-time favorites of the night were Lupita Nyong'o, Zendaya, Solange, and Zoe Saldana! Those were my top four. I blogged about it the other day. Another girl who looked really great was Aja Naomi from 'How to Get Away With Murder' — her hair was like teased to the fullest, and she wore an orange-tangerine dress... She really looked like, 'Coming to America!'
V: Who are some of your favorite fashion icons right now?
Ivy: I don't know if you'd consider them to be, "icons" but they are girls who are on their way up... Like Aleali May; she's a content creator and she's so fly! I love Vashtie, Hannah Broffman... And I really love Zendaya. As far as big celebrity, pop-culture-wise, Zendaya's really killin' it. I also love Solange, Janelle Monae, and Tracee Ellis Ross!
V: Tell me about your brand GeeCVibez — what's the concept behind it, and how did it start? Ivy: Well, I've always had a passion for vintage. Growing up, I was always going into my mom's closet. My friend and I were really into vintage shopping and we've always had an eye for great accessories and clothing. We just kinda like said, "Yo, what if we just start bleaching stuff or if we find really cool vintage garments, we can resell them as-is?!" And so we started distressing, bleaching, and all of that. And I love the story behind it all because we graduated together; we both finished college in three years and now we have self-made jobs... And this is something we really want to do and pursue! We really feel like you can never go wrong with something like a vintage T-shirt; it'll last you forever. We just want everyone to feel very unique.
In the brand name, the "Gee" stands for my friend Regina and the "C" stands for my nickname, Coco... And we have great vibes! So we just put it together, and now we have GeeCVibez. We want everyone who shops with us to have a unique vintage garment that they can only get from us.
V: Yes, I saw some of the pictures of the items (@GeeCVibez) and it looks great! When do you plan to launch it?
Ivy: Thank you! The website should be up in two weeks!
V: If you could give a younger version of yourself career advice, what would it be?
Ivy: I would tell myself to be patient. Things happen for a reason; timing is always perfect. When I was younger, I was always like, "I gotta do this, this, this, and this!" but now I realize that I don't need to. I'd tell myself to take your time, travel the world, and seize every opportunity... Because if you don't take advantage of the little things, the big things aren't going to happen.
V: DARLA Magazine runs as a weekly online publication, and Sundays are when our new articles are published. How would you ideally spend a free Sunday with no responsibilities or obligations?
Ivy: OMG, usually what I do on Sundays is either go to the gym, church, or the flea market early in the morning... So either one of those three to start off. Then, I'd probably cook a really nice dinner and of course, blog!