Image courtesy of @andreiachanel
Front row with Andreia Chanel
The next interviewee for FRM is our second international guest for the publication – fully based in Lisbon (Portugal) with an eclectic creative style dispersed along various outputs, such as fashion styling, art direction, creative direction & more. Andreia, better known as 'Andreia Chanel' (for obvious reasons) is a multitalented creative hyphenate who is well-versed in different facets of fashion, as well as creative director of her own handmade crochet bag brand, 'A Chanel's Bag' (again, for obvious reasons).
Styling by @andreiachanel
I discovered Andreia months ago over Instagram and what really stuck out to me was her styling work. The imagination & wonder which she manages to inject into all of her creative projects amazes me. From her usage of pop culture references, understanding of colour, texture & layering, set design, choice of photographers & more – I feel that Andreia produces work of an excellent standard and is destined to receive her due global recognition as the star which she has always been.
There is a poignant poetry which acts as a silver thread within all of her work, regardless of medium. Someone who views themselves as accountable to the Youth, and someone I consider to be a martyr for relentlessly promoting youth-culture in order to progress creative economies all around. For the release of her latest edition of "glow in the dark bags", she had the following to say regarding her work and the inspirations surrounding the brand:
Reborn. Reshape. Reconnect.
What do you do with what the world has made of you?
I've found a place to bury my rights and wrongs, my memories of how it should have been and the reality of how it is. A bed of sorrow. An arrow shot over a ruined body. I've loved and I've lost. But now? I am running into thrive and conquer.
Outgrown. Outlive. Outcome.
In darkness, I've met my worst enemy and she had my face. But there is a light that never goes out. Mine is creativity.
Glo(win)g in the dark
My personal catharsis: a bag metamorphosed into a phoenix, a bird that dies but is reborn from its own ashes. The dark as my own ashes, the green as my own salvation – creativity allowed me to create my own world. A boat in rough seas can be scary and, at the same time, it can lull.
This drop it's about having the world collapsing inside you – but realising that anything that in the darkness glows, in the darkness can grow.
Enjoy this conversation with AC, as she narrates the journey of her life – warts and all. From her aunt acting as the inspiration for her brand, using the gift of creativity to cope with life's hardships, her introduction to South African culture through The New Originals (TNO) & BROKE's cross-collaboration, and more, this interview has something for everyone.
Would you mind introducing yourself and including a short description of what you do?
AC: My name is Andreia. I am mostly known by the name 'Chanel' – based on my passion for fashion. Ever since I discovered that fashion is what excites me, I realised how much power it holds. The power to create, to perceive things in different ways, as well as to change people's ways of perceiving themselves.
Besides Fashion, I’ve taken a course in Marketing Management so that I could improve my skills & incorporate them with fashion. I've done digital marketing communication strategies for small brands and I'm currently doing some art direction and styling for some brands. To me – the key to success is teamwork; we become better when we listen to others and allow them inspire us, and in return, inspire them. It gets us out of our comfort zone – where knowledge lives.
I am always thirsty to know more, to be better, and to do more. Creativity is the fuel that I use to feed me in whatever I am working on.
Photography by @masimmo
So I see from your Instagram bio that you are a stylist, casting & creative director. Could you break this down for us? Which one comes first?
AC: Well... to be honest, first of all I am an art director. This is because I have always been creating my own projects & editorials. Styling came with my passion of being a model – before I didn't like to show my face when I used to do modeling jobs, and many times I did my own styling. My path has always been very funny & I am very grateful. I am grateful for all the people who came into my life; I have always been surrounded by people who were photographers, had brands, were models... and that made my path richer. But I have discovered that I really love casting, because I live in a country where I think casting is super badly done, for a multi-cultural country such as Portugal.
Where did your first interaction with South African culture come about? To me, you seem very familiar with the place already!
AC: The brand which made this happen was The New Originals. It was through them that I got to know the 'BROKE' brand – and then I got to know people who were related to that brand. And the funniest thing about this was that afterwards, a stylist from Cape Town introduced me to my dear photographer, Sandra, who came to Lisbon & ended up working on two jobs with me.
And a secret? This year I'm going to South Africa hehe.
Your styling is insanely good. That's actually what caught my attention first – I just love how you melt colour, materials, dress codes & references all into this pot of creativity and create your own unique visual code. What inspires your styling work? AC: Well... many people may not believe it but my role models are the kids in my hood. They inspire me so much. I am a person who loves to do editorials and I love to try new things, and I have two designer friends who already know what I look like & they purposely send me pieces they have for me to work on. I've already received a few messages saying: "Come on Andreia, do your magic." and being some form of role model is also forms part of my intuition – without it I wouldn't do the work I do. When we believe in ourselves, even if we think we don't – we find our power and what we are able to do. It's inside of us already.
You're a creative polymath – so massively exposed to various creative spaces within the industry. What has been some of your favourite styling work thus far & why? AC: I don't think I have one – because every time I do have one, I think it could always be better. So I don't have my favorite yet; although I am satisfied with my work, it's not where I want it to be yet.
Now with your practice as a creative director for 'A Chanel's Bag' – a handmade crochet bag brand correct. Tell us more about this. I know you recently released a line of new bags? AC: This all started because my aunt made me a bag. Man... my aunt is amazing first of all. And people started asking me where my bag was from, and my business sense (yes it exists and it's very accurate haha) kicked in. It all started this way and the best thing about it is that it happened at the right time – because with my project I can always be creating new things. I'm a person who really has to be creating all the time, it makes me feel alive. In 2022, I created my own brand of bags with the help of my aunt. I was in charge of the concept and she helped me produce them. This is all about fashion & family.
I always enjoy hearing your honest opinion on nuanced topics relating to the fashion industry – so what are your personal feelings towards the global fashion industry right now? Considering pretty controversial moves such as Pharrel to LV, and more. AC: Regarding this subject, what really made me think wasn't whether or not Pharrell is good option for LV – but rather the problem (reality) for us young creatives and whether we will be able to achieve our ultimate goals one day? Or do we have to be celebrities first in order to ever reach that level?
We spend our lives reading those quotes that Virgil only got to be what he was at 30... like Rick Owens... so I think that's the only thing that makes us still maintain some faith in this fashion industry hahaha. *laughing for not crying*
Is there any advice you've picked up within your career which you could impart to any young emerging multi-talented creatives (stylists and more, like yourself) attempting to make a name for themselves within the local/global industry? AC: Well, throughout my career I have found that we need two things: making it happen & networking. Remember, you don´t need to know everyone but the right person. Also make sure that people want to know more about you and your work. Drake once said:
“Nobody lookin' out for nobody Maybe we should try and help somebody or be somebody Instead of bein' somebody that makes the news So everybody can tweet about it” – '6pm In New York', and I felt that.
The best advice I can give is: make it, make it happen, create projects, try your best to get along with people within the field. Study, experiment, BUT JUST DO IT.
What are you looking forward to most in 2023?
AC: In 2023 I want to meet more people, travel more, work more, create more projects, and just focus more on myself and my work. Because at the end of the day, that's who matters – ourselves. Ultimately, we are the ones who make it happen.