Behind the Brand
Theophilia Collection founder/designer, Demi Johnson shares her fashion journey and 5 tips to developing your Personal Style.
My Fashion Journey
My first fashion memory was attending my next door neighbour’s birthday party dressed in a floral satin blouse,a pair of cream high waist pleated culottes and patent leather buckle brogues, I was 8 years old at the time. Even then my wardrobe was filled with velvet dresses and elegant co-ords. I have my mother to thank for introducing me to fine clothing because; it ultimately started my journey with fashion and the art of garment making.
Like most of us, I went through many “fashion phases” while growing up. At one point I insisted on only wearing broken jeans and even, (I hate to admit), wearing my jeans inside out! From bell bottoms and midriffs to boldly branded t-shirts I wore it all in an attempt to stay “on trend”. It would take another 10 years for me to finally start developing my personal style and fashion identity. With the birth of Theophilia Collection it became apparent that I would have to be sure of my own personal style and who I was in order to authentically capture the Theophilia Woman in the way I design and create.
Over time, the way I design has evolved as I have evolved. Getting to know myself and becoming intentional about my life shifted my focus to the essential things like: mind, body and spiritual well-being, career and life goals and healthy relationships. As an almost natural progression I found that my wardrobe needs and wants started to change. Knowing who I was or at least who I was becoming meant that, on the inside, I didn’t need external validation and on the outside, I became confident in my own body and what I chose to clothe it with.
You could say I am inspired by the lived experience of an entrepreneur or the demanding lifestyle of a modern woman. Days spent pursuing career goals; running errands, staying active and then maintaining a healthy social life require garments that serve your lifestyle well. While I practice a minimal design approach which sees most of our garments made up of basic shapes, it is quite intentional on my part that our collections provide comfort and mobility while still being effortlessly elegant and timeless additions to your wardrobe. The simplicity of our designs allow the wearer the freedom to explore the possibilities of the garment using their own personal style as a guide. Below, I share how I came into my personal style and my tips on how you can develop yours.
My 5 tips to developing your personal style
1. Get to know yourself, and then dress up as her, for her!
You’ll never be completely confident in your clothes until you’re confident in yourself. For too long we’ve used clothing as a way to hide or change what we look like when instead we’re meant to use it as a form of expressing our most authentic selves. Being yourself is the very essence of style.
2. Physically, what are you most comfortable and confident in?
Find out what colours you love and which fabrics you prefer. Are you more comfortable in fitted garments or do you prefer over-sized pieces? There’s no right or wrong answer when you’re dressing for you.
3. What does your lifestyle require?
An easy way to start developing your personal style is to categorize your wardrobe into the different spheres you move around in. I’ve simplified mine to these 3: Work, Casual, Occasion. For each category identify the types of garments you would need in the fabrics that would be most suited. Eg. A woman working at a law firm wouldn’t need spandex garments in her work category but, a dance instructor would. Garments like jeans or a classic white shirt may overlap between categories.
4. What message, if any, do you want to send with your personal style?
While I do believe that people will interpret the way you dress through their own lenses either way, I find it important that at least you know what message you want to send. Personally, I have different fashion moods or characters I draw from when I choose my outfits. There’s quirky and playful, elegant and even business formal. They’re all part of who I am, just different aspects that I choose to communicate depending on the setting. Decide what yours is and then live it with steely conviction.
5. It’s meant to be fun!
Once you’ve done all the nitty gritty work you’ll find that both shopping and getting dressed will become less stressful and more enjoyable. If ever you start to feel anxious about a shopping trip or planning your next event outfit I urge you to revisit the above questions. Remember, it’s okay for your personal style to evolve as you evolve.
Once you’ve established your personal style, Theophilia Collection would love to become part of your forever wardrobe.