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Fashion's OG Insider and IYKYK Superstar Artür Vandeburen Spills the Tea !
NCO 083

N: Hey Artür! It's so great to have you here. You've been a long-time friend of the Newlife community so we're really proud to interview you. Can you tell us about your early experiences in fashion? What kind of jobs did you have in your first three years? I think it's always interesting to explore the expectations versus reality aspect for people in the fashion industry.

A: Yeah, it's funny how I got into fashion. I basically started when I was just a kid. My parents divorced, and my sister and I were sent to Chicago.

At that time, I felt like nobody on Facebook would care about what I had to say or think. So, I started a blog because Instagram was still limited back then. I would write about my daily life, even though I was young. It was like my sister and I were adult chroniclers, sharing our little adventures. I would talk about finding a Louis Vuitton x Takashi Murakami piece or buying a new bag, stuff like that. I was really into fashion shows and fashion weeks, and I found ways to get my reviews to the right people. I just kept writing and writing, and eventually, clients started noticing me.

Then Instagram blew up, and probably also because of my age, my profile stood out. I became sort of an influencer, which back then was called being Insta-Famous :).

It was the early days of the influencer market we see today. We would go to stores and take pictures, wearing ripped jeans, Tiffany necklaces, Chanel, you know, all those things.

N: That's so cool. It's amazing how you started at such a young age. Many people in creative industries expect to have that one big break, that defining moment that changes everything. But in reality, it's often about consistency and showing up. Your journey, starting so young, is a great example of that. What do you think about the whole "big break" concept? Was there one moment that you consider pivotal to your success?

A: Honestly, I'm not even sure if I would call myself successful. I tend to be hard on myself. I guess I'm comfortable in the sense that I can do what I want to do.

N: Yeah, I totally get that. In other professions, success is often defined by how much money you make or the position you hold. But in fashion, it's not that straightforward. Just being able to support yourself and pursue your passion in fashion is already a success. It puts you in the top 10% of people in this field.

A: Yeah, exactly. I like the adventure of carving my own path. To be successful, you need to know what sets you apart from others.

Sometimes I wonder why I get invited to things. Is it for what I do or who I am? I LIVE for fashion, you know? I love the looks, the energy, everything about it. Nowadays, it feels like people have forgotten that. They do the job, but they don't truly live for it, you know what I mean?

N: Totally. What, in your opinion, makes a good magazine?

A: A good magazine is all about the readers. It knows what the readers want to see. There are so many magazines out there that may be popular but don't really connect with the readers. To me, authenticity is key.

If I didn't go to the show or if I wouldn't buy it for myself, it won't be featured.

N: That's a great point. Fashion being authentic to your lifestyle reminds me of the impact of the pandemic. There were two different dynamics during that time. On one hand, there was a big focus on technology, the Metaverse, and virtual shows. On the other hand, the pandemic made us realize that fashion only makes sense if it fits our lifestyle and serves a purpose. When that was taken away, the meaning of clothing almost faded a bit. How do you see fashion changing after the pandemic?

A: I think during the first year after things reopened, people were trying to readjust and get back to normal. But fast forward a year, and it's like they went back to who they were before. It's almost like nothing ever happened, or maybe things got even worse. There are just too many shows and too much stuff. I believe the world of fashion needed a break, and COVID provided that break.

A lot of things shifted during the pandemic. The rise of TikTok and content creators wouldn't have happened without COVID. Magazines couldn't do much during that time because there wasn't any money to be made.

Content creators ended up doing what magazines should have been doing, selling the fantasy.

N: Yeah, it's definitely been an interesting time. There's a lot of pent-up energy and change happening. Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on the relationship between FOMO and content creation? Social media often drives FOMO and creates unrealistic expectations. But at the same time, we're seeing more "realistic" content that addresses the challenges of life, like rent prices, visas, unemployment, and all the unglamorous stuff. The algorithm seems to promote both the glamorous facade and the unfiltered truth. For example, right now, rent prices in Paris are out of control, I have no idea how a young person starting out in fashion could afford it..

A: Oh, absolutely. Moving to Paris is a big decision. People who want to go there see it an investment, a way to fast-track their careers because there are more jobs and opportunities. But more opportunities also mean more competition. When I started, I made sure I could afford to work in fashion. It's one of those industries, along with art, where you really have to consider if you can afford it. It's not like engineering or tech or other fields where affordability isn't an issue. It's actually a very serious decision.

N: Let's wrap up by talking about success. Not in terms of money, but in terms of personal happiness and fulfillment. How has that evolved for you over the years? Maybe ten years ago, you had certain expectations of what would make you happy. Now, looking back, what brings you happiness and what are you proud of?

A: I've realized recently that many people in the fashion industry lose sight of true happiness.

Instead of becoming better human beings, they focus solely on becoming better professionals.

Their happiness is tied to their professional success. But as a human being, you may not be fully satisfied. I've been thinking a lot.. I've actually been discussing this with my friends.

How much do you work towards being satisfied, and how much do you work towards being happy? Because those are two completely different things.

N: 100%. It's like your professional achievements can bring satisfaction, but personal happiness is a separate matter.

A: Exactly! The fashion industry's demanding schedule leaves little time for self-reflection and personal growth. It's all about the next project, the next invoice, the next opportunity. You hardly have the time to say, "I want to enjoy myself."

Lately, I've been learning to take breaks, pause, and just breathe.

All images courtesy of Artür and BAFP Medias

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