#WHOARETHEY: Chloé Manigo
Chloe is a force to be reckoned with, and a walking dictionary of everything there is to know from A-Z in the fashion industry. Chloe is a freelance fashion writer, editor, and "creator of #content". A Cambridge, Massachusetts native living and working in Boston, bringing Phoebe Philo's work and more to this East Coast city's streets.
Where are you from,
and where do you reside currently?
I’m from Boston, I relocated to New York City while I was in college and moved back to Cambridge three years ago. I still commute back and forth for freelance work every once in a while. Looking forward to moving again after “FOURTEN” is launched to Copenhagen, London, or Los Angeles.
What kind of work do you do?
I’ve worked in the fashion industry for many years and have been blessed with various opportunities in Publishing, PR & Marketing, Production, Styling, Wholesale, and Retail. In an industry that’s constantly changing, it’s important to be able to do multiple things. You’re constantly learning, it keeps you brushed up on your skills, and creatively you never feel like you’re being put in a box.
How did you initially begin exploring this area? What motivates and inspires you to produce the work that you do?
My father is a tailor and has also worked in the fashion industry for many years. My mother was also interested in the fashion industry and wanted to be a Buyer. Her expensive taste and amazing personal style have been a major influence. When I was younger I was always fascinated with clothing, books, and fashion magazines. I’d say I was a perfectionist at making mood boards and conceptualizing ideas early on. I don’t have the patience to ever draw, sew, or be a designer but I knew I had an eye and wanted to work in the industry. When I got my first gig ever working in PR for Bridal designer Anne Bowen during Bridal Fashion Week in New York. One opportunity led to the next, and while at Teen Vogue I started a fashion blog called “Walking in Heels” which has since then been re launched as the Chicest Degree.
Consistently being inspired has its up and downs. I try to keep myself surrounded by other creative individuals who also throw themselves into their work. It’s very motivating to see those you admire start new endeavors and fully commit to finishing them. Reading and having thought provoking conversations and listening to people from different cultures and walks of life tell their stories stimulates my mind and gets those creative juices flowing. That’s why I like getting freelance work done in coffee shops, or anywhere I can have random conversations with strangers. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the past two years is the importance of taking care of your mental health. In order to be the best and produce quality work, you must be grounded, your mind needs to be clear, and the energy around has to be positive.
How would you describe your style, how have you built up a wardrobe that compliments your personality and challenges the societal expectation of looking feminine?
I would describe my personal style as “Chic,” its effortless sophistication at its finest. I have such an appreciation and love for uniforms and disdain for basics thanks to Phoebe Philo. I’m a minimalist, and over the years I’ve learned that less is more. The most important qualities of an outfit when I get dressed are – comfort, style and intention with a no fuss approach. I like to combine essentials with that special tailored blazer, leather biker or overcoat, a unique pair of shoes and statement accessories. Usually I wear a variation of the same thing on a daily basis.
In the past I struggled with being confident in my sartorial choices. The societal expectation of looking feminine, influenced certain things I purchased to go out in when I’d hangout with friends that worked in the nightlife. I went through a phase and thought I had to wear things that were skintight and showed my body. I’d go out and feel uncomfortable in these looks because it wasn’t true to my actual personal style. I’ve become more comfortable with what I exude instead of what I’m showing outwardly. What makes someone sexy is their aura, personality, and the way they carry themselves. I feel the sexiest when I’m in an oversize tee and Levi’s.
People are so multifaceted, and you should explore all parts of yourself. My personality is very bold, and with that being said. I’m very straightforward, aggressive, and I know what I like or dislike immediately. I gravitate towards interesting pattern combinations and oversized silhouettes that truly define masculine femininity. That’s why I buy into brands such as Celine, Jacquemus, The Row, Dries Van Noten, Acne Studios, Balenciaga, and JW Anderson.
Any interesting moments throughout your career where you have been met with opposition for being a women in the creative industry, or care to comment on this in general?
Black women aren’t celebrated enough in the fashion industry.
I’ve always strived to be an example for other women of color. I want it to be known that our ideas matter and there is space for us to create. Through the creative work I produce and every freelance job I take, I have to work even harder to knock down those doors and push those boundaries to succeed. The industry is artic, you have to get through so many icebergs. It’s very cruel, yet it can also be very exciting. Knowing all of this and after going through many challenging experiences, I can’t see myself working in any other industry. That’s why FOURTEN is such an important endeavor for the culture. It’ll contribute to making fashion easier to navigate through.
Moving forward I’d like to see women in general work together and support each other. Especially in any male dominated professional environment. The creative industry needs more women photographers, writers, editors, artists, designers, and business owners. Two ideas are always better than one and when we work together, we can achieve anything.
What are you working on right now?
The goal has always been to launch a print magazine. With the aim to provide content that connects the worlds of fashion, beauty, art, and lifestyle. As time goes by one matures – tastes and preferences don’t change much but they thankfully do evolve and “FOURTEN” is exactly that – a continuum of everything my readers have experienced thus far on the Chicest Degree.
I, personally, have been longing for a magazine that responds to my needs as a modern woman – the type that is equally visually engaging, and yet it provides content that enhances me as a creative. I want to create a bi-annual go to guide for those who live a tasteful curated lifestyle. The images will make you feel something, and the journalism will get you thinking again.
Somewhere in our digital age we’ve started to mindlessly consume images and suddenly we miss out on important parts of our day liking and scrolling, without getting anything back. The most sensitive of us can notice the void that follows – the restless devouring feeling of not knowing what to do without our phones, social media platforms, or not being able to fully disconnect. Simultaneously the content of digital platforms and print magazines started falling short of anything meaningful.
With all that in mind, “FOURTEN” will be the problem-solving magazine to the current shift in the publishing industry. The time spent reading it will become a meaningful experience, and easy to engage issue after issue. Anytime and anywhere.
Print isn’t dead, it’s just not done right
Who motivated you to get into the passions you're involved in now?
Cathy Horyn was one of the reasons I wanted to pursue a career in publishing. I’ve learned a lot just by reading all of her stellar runway reviews while at The New York Times where she had the highly noted blog “On The Runway,” Vanity Fair, and now “The Cut” at New York Magazine. Horyn taught me how to develop a voice as a writer, but most importantly, how to be fearless and opinionated while writing solid lengthy critiques of fashion by breaking down what’s happening.
Cathy Horyn is brilliant and one of the best critics to ever critique. I’m also extremely thankful for Journalists such as Joan Didion, Vanessa Friedman, Suzy Menkes, Leandra Medine, and Editors like Stella Bugbee, Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt, Christine Centenera, and the late Franca Sozzani. These women inspire me, and I couldn’t think of a better roundup