STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – FOLLOW RACHEL – PHOTOS BY KAREN HERNANDEZ FOR THE STYLE LINE
In a riveting (video) letter to
our individuality, Rachel Nguyen said, “Even more now our world has become so homogeneous that a singular screen becomes an estranged mirror to see everything at once. With these kinds of challenges, it’s becoming harder and harder to hang on to your sense of self and aspirations. If for a moment you lose your tracking, it’s OK. It’s normal. But I want to remind you it’s not impossible to overcome.”
These comforting words coupled with Rachel’s thoughtful approach to creativity and effortless sense of style are the pillars in which our featured interviewee has become synonymous with. While Rachel’s online alias That’s Chic started as a fashion blog in the industry’s early days, she has slowly (and intentionally) transformed the once fashion-heavy hub into a portal for authenticity – namely via her YouTube channel of the same name.
Through lifestyle-led product videos to open-diary reflections, Rachel has achieved an incredible feat within the digital landscape by remaining true to herself while establishing a distinct look and feel to her work. And as she looks to the next phases of iteration she told us this in our interview below, “I’m trying to think of a creative way to build a platform into something bigger than myself – a place to have conversations, whatever that might be.”
Enter today’s story with Rachel, who kindly invited us into her chic Los Angeles home for a closer look into her world. During our visit, Rachel gave us a tour and chatted more about her thoughts on making anywhere feel like home, life and style in LA, and why everyone should embrace their creative side. Discover the full conversation below, featuring exclusive photos from our time together captured by Karen Hernandez for The Style Line.
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“Every damn person in this world is creative if they allow themselves to be. Being creative is problem-solving. It’s looking at a scenario and making it better; it’s repurposing information; it’s finding stronger ways to communicate.”
I’m Rachel, living in sunny
LA somewhere in my twenties. Hah, I hate to say, but the bucket list of things I value are probably in the same compass as many of the thousands of creative ladies in LA: friends, activity, lovers, and family.
We’ve gotten a glimpse at your truly creative world via your incredible YouTube and social media channels. Why do you think it’s important to “open the door” so to speak, to your world and how do you think this enhances your personal style?
To really answer this question, I’d have to tell you first what style means to me. Many define it as the way you can put together outfits and how one wears the clothes, etc. Great style to me is how you carry yourself in life – it’s everything from the way you hold a surfboard to the way you repurpose a scarf. It’s being cool and calm in all your actions. Extending That’s Chic into a YouTube channel was kinda a rebellion from traditional fashion blogging to show that not everything has to be so damn serious haha. Sure there are many ways I share myself with the world, but I think it’s the attitude I carry that resonates with people. It’s kinda like that ah-hah moment for a viewer that maybe lived their life with a little more structure and encouraging them to think outside of that box.
With the above question in mind, would you say you’ve made a conscious effort to also keep certain elements of your life/home private?
To some extent. Obviously, my love and family life are close and dear and while I’m okay exploiting the shit out of my life, I always try to keep other’s privacy in mind. They’re part of my narrative but don’t always want to be in the light, and that’s totally okay with me. Thankfully I enjoy it being all about me!
It seems that much of your work is centered around travel. How have you learned to make anywhere you feel like home?
Travel oddly enough is something I’ve only just started getting to do more in my twenties, so I’m so wide-eyed everywhere I go for that new experience. If I’m away from home for a while tho, I definitely bring a huge check-in luggage to bring my entire full-size skincare. After all, home is where your skincare routine is.
What are your thoughts on the synergy between fashion and interior style and do you feel you have a similar approach to both your wardrobe and interior preferences?
I guess I always try to have one thing that’s different, and I’m all for the high-low life. Most of my consumeristic habits stem from up-cycling. We make so much junk now because everything is sooo quickly produced and tossed that I try to find special pieces through consignment.
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“Great style to me is how you carry yourself in life – it’s everything from the way you hold a surfboard to the way you repurpose a scarf. It’s being cool and calm in all your actions.”
Talk to us about a few of your go-to LA-based independent (clothing) designers. If you could choose any three to design interiors who would you want to furnish your home and why?
Future Perfect has the most beautiful pieces. I’ve started to invest in furniture and like the items you wear, it really does elevate a room beyond. So while they have really expensive pieces, a splurge could very much be worth it. Also, I can’t think of any particular designers. I like what I like, and too often do brands have either no focus or too particularly trendy. Best to pick the best out of all these worlds to make something your own.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
I wish people would stop looking to me for answers, actually.
How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role do you hope your creative endeavors play in this?
Ah, I love this question because I just came from a huge conference put on by the creative conglomerate, Adobe. One of my favorite things I learned (well I already knew this, but never knew how to verbalize it) was the difference between creativity and design. Many clump both concepts into the same idea thus announcing themselves uncreative because they can’t design (be it painting, illustrating, photo-taking, whatever). Ugh, that fucking kills me.
Every damn person in this world is creative if they allow themselves to be. Being creative is problem-solving. It’s looking at a scenario and making it better; it’s repurposing information; it’s finding stronger ways to communicate. If everyone can realize that they’re creative, we’d be way further along as far as innovations. I’m trying to think of a creative way to build a platform into something bigger than myself – a place to have conversations, whatever that might be.
How would you advise the next generation to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
Tell yourself you are the brightest, creative human.