‘Clothing can show your personality, accentuate your body, make you feel something’: An interview with BU fashion blogger Caitlin Harper
‘My sister has a pair of Crocs and I want to disown her’
Caitlin Harper took fashion into her own hands by starting her blog, Beatnik Bold about a year ago. Her blog has grown quickly in that time and as she further explores her love for clothing and style, she’s excited to see where it will go next.
When did you first begin your interest in fashion?
I probably had two starts to fashion. One was when I was really young. I was the kid that would take trash bags and make different outfits with them and design my friend’s outfits too. Me and Kelly, my partner, have been friends since we’ve been six and we used to play dress up and put on fashion shows all of the time. I was a little diva growing up. Besides that, my second love of clothing came when I realized that clothing was my second skin, the one I got to choose and when I was at a point of low self-esteem, I realized by looking better that I could feel better too.
When did you realize you were a ‘beatnik’?
The word “beatnik” came when I realized I wanted an off-beat fashion blog, different from what is out there right now. I remembered learning about beatniks, which were the hippies that came before the hippies. They had opinions and things they wanted to change in the world and I related to that. It’s a powerful term that was used in the beginnings of the feminist movement even before the hippie generation and there’s something attractive about how they were different than the set style of the hippies that I really came to relate with.
How do you look at the fashion world now and where it’s moving?
Fashion is becoming more of a thoughtful art form. I’m working for a start-up right now called Paradaeze, that does transformative clothing. So, it can be worn in multiple ways which is more of a bang-for-your-buck sort of deal. Another thing would be more environmentally safe fabrics, which is really important. The thing I’m most proud of right now in the fashion industry is how it’s moving to making people have more confidence through clothing. There’s so much more body positivity in the industry now and that’s what fashion is all about for me, how you can feel the best about yourself. Clothing can show your personality, it can accentuate your body, and it can make you feel something and it’s a really cool thing to see happening in the industry right now.
What would you change about it what are your really into or against?
I’m always into denim, I’m always wearing some kind of denim on me. I’m really into stripes for the summer. I also love the graphic tees with important and meaningful sayings on them. I think it’s awesome to wear what you’re thinking on your body. I don’t like to say I’m really against anything in particular because it’s all personal preference. However, my sister has a pair of Crocs and I want to disown her. That’s my only complaint right now.
Is there anything you would never wear or tell anyone to wear?
Definitely Crocs. I would wear most things to be honest. As my personality grows or changes, my style does the same thing so who knows what I’ll end up wearing six months from now. Except Crocs, never Crocs.
What trends do you think should stay in the past?
I love vintage clothing and I love to go thrifting because when something is older it means most people don’t have it. But, when I go in there and see those Gap ugly sweaters, I’m like, those can just stay away. When I see thrifters head to those sections of the store, I just think those belong in the past.
How did you evolve from a personal love of fashion to creating Beatnik Bold?
I think the first thing is that I grew up a lot and it was through clothing. When I figure something out for myself I want to share it with others and help them in the same way that I helped myself. I grew up so much stylistically and as a person from sharing my love of fashion and reaching people and helping them feel confident like I started to when I developed my sense of style and who I am.
How has your blog helped your fashion sense develop?
More than anything else, it helped my confidence. I no longer get nervous about what people think about my outfit which has allowed me to expand my style and what I’m comfortable wearing. A lot of people ask me if they can pull something off and that question shouldn’t exist. You should ask, “how do I feel in this.” Because if you feel comfortable then you can be your best self. So, I think I am more confident making bolder choices since the blog started.
Can you tell me about your partner Kelly from New Jersey?
Kelly is my best friend since we were young. She’s always been creative and has been my inspiration. She’s very productive and driven. She always drives my creativity into being something. She’s in LA this summer with two fashion internships and I am so proud of her. She inspires me to work harder and make my ideas into something real. It’s also so fun to do what you love with someone you love. When one of us is busy, the other one picks up the slack which keeps us on track.
You have a lot of models on your website other than you and Kelly; how do you choose who you want to be featured on your website?
I choose my models based on who I want to make feel beautiful. The ones that I want to make feel beautiful are the people who make me feel beautiful. I love the inside of a person and then taking that and displaying it on the outside. I use people that I love and care about and I take a lot of candids too to show their personalities. I love showing my friends how beautiful they are.
How do you decide what to wear each day? Can you give any tips to people who want to change their style but are too nervous to make the leap?
My day-to-day outfit has been described as a costume. But I dress how I want to feel not how I’m feeling. This has really helped me turn a bad day into a great day. To switch up your own style, go out on that fashion risk and start by layering. Don’t just use two pieces to your outfit. Add a cool scarf or a cool choker to make it more unique than how you saw it on a hanger.
What is your favorite article of clothing in your closet and why?
Right now, a leather, fringe jacket from the Garment District. It’s from the 80s I think from the shoulder pads. I put it on and I instantly feel badass, and that’s how you should feel with any clothing you put on.