Members of the invitation-only TheFashionSpot forums are well-known among other fashion lovers for their enthusiastic reactions to new runway collections and fast sharing of new pictures and scans. In our new series, we are spotlighting some of the most outstanding and interesting contributors to the tFS forums and giving a peek inside their offline lives.
One of our most active members in the forums, Kimberley Williams, is best known under her user name visualoptimism. Kimberley turns 21 next week and has been a member for just a year and a half but is already one of the most prominent members thanks to her numerous contributions to the forums and the popularity of her blog. She lives in Perth, Australia and studied Journalism for a while before she decided to study animal care, the one thing she is most passionate about besides fashion.
As a self-proclaimed tomboy, she wasn't interested in fashion when she was younger but got hooked after seeing Natasha Poly on the October 2008 cover of i-D by Emma Summerton, which she says she "fell in love with immediately." She soon went on to start collecting fashion magazines and confesses that her "wallet has definitely shrunk" since then. As an Australian resident, she often shares her scans of Australian fashion magazines in our forums and supports her favorite Australian models, such as Gemma Ward and Abbey Lee Kershaw, in their forum threads. Kimberley follows the careers of many other models and lists Snejana Onopka, Sasha Pivovarova, Daria Werbowy, Lily Donaldson, Guinevere Van Seenus, Mariacarla Boscono, Karen Elson, Naty Chabanenko, and Jessica Stam as her favorites but also adds that she enjoys the work of newer faces Elza Luijendijk, Ava Smith, Kolfinna Kristófersdóttir, Stef van der Laan, Melissa Tammerijn, and Nastya Kusakina. Kimberley rates Hungarian model Eniko Mihalik as one of the strongest editorial models around these days and says that Eniko "seems to be able to portray anything from sexy to innocent and pull it off. Even if you put a paper bag on her she would still probably be able to do something!"
In our interview, Kimberley tells us more about the success of her blog, what she would change about Vogue Paris, and why she is obsessed with tFS.
The Fashion Spot: You have a blog dedicated to editorials in fashion magazines. Tell us more about it.
Kimberley Williams: Well, I had always wanted to start a blog but I never really knew how to go about it or what I wanted to post! Since starting to interact and post more on tFS, I saw that quite a lot of members had wonderful blogs. It actually inspired me to create one of my own. I created a tumblr a while ago and I loved that you can just reblog plenty of pictures without thinking about it. After a while, though, I wanted somewhere that I could post full editorials and in a larger form. That's when I started my blog. I think people might like my blog because I post editorial content from quite a few different magazines. Other than that, I really don't know why! Having a blog is really fun but it takes time to develop as well! It takes quite a lot of work for people to actually want to view your blog every day! Because I am so obsessed with fashion and magazines, it's quite easy to spend a lot of time working and posting on my blog. I think one thing to know is that social networking is key. I noticed a big change when I started posting on Twitter especially. It might seem annoying at first but it's great when models reply to your tweet thanking you for posting!
tFS: And it must be flattering having people like Inez & Vinoodh following your blog. Is the personal interaction with people whose work you admire and having people enjoy your blog your main motivation? Or do you have any aspirations to use the success of your blog and social media pages to delve deeper into fashion publishing or other fashion-related careers someday?
KW: Having people comment on how they enjoy my blog definitely helps me with wanting to continue posting. It also motivates me to keep making little changes to make it more visually appealing. My blog has always been about showing my love of fashion and even learning more about the industry. Having people like Inez and Vinoodh following me was so surprising and really flattering. It's great to know that people within the industry are thankful if I post one of the stories they worked on. It definitely made me think more about having a career in the fashion industry. Obviously, blogs these days are pretty big and I have heard many success stories from certain blogs. I have always wanted to work in the fashion industry, so if my blog helps me to get where I want to, then I would be amazed. I'm not holding my breath though, so until then I will just keep posting what I love and hope people continue to enjoy it!
"New Grace" in Lula S/S 2012, scanned by visualoptimism
tFS: What are some of your favorite magazines and why?
KW: I know I am really going to struggle with this question since I love so many different magazines! I think it has changed a little over the years. I guess when I first started being interested in magazines it would definitely be i-D. Definitely looking back at the issues that I have from around 2008-2009, those are some great issues. Since finding tFS and also starting my blog, it's become a great way to see the contents of magazines that you normally wouldn't be able to see. For instance, Vogue Turkey seems to always have amazing covers and content, Then you have smaller magazines like French or Italian Grazia which I love because they have some great editorials and use wonderful models, I also really enjoy smaller editions of Elle (Sweden, Netherlands, Canada) and the Canadian magazine Flare. Those magazines seem to have really great content from month to month. On the grander scheme of things, I really love British and German Vogue, W, French Numéro, French and Italian Elle. I could actually probably go on forever but I will try and control myself!
tFS: If you could (guest) edit any fashion magazine, which one would it be and why, and what would you change about that particular magazine?
KW: This is probably going to be so cliché, but it would definitely be Vogue Paris. The reason being is I would love to see a variety of different models in some of the editorials. I think everyone realizes that Vogue Paris definitely has favorites when it comes to model choices, which is totally fine. I'm definitely not complaining about seeing Malgosia Bela in every issue. I just have a feeling that if different model choices were made, people would enjoy and see the editorial in a different light. It seems sometimes they just throw a model into an editorial and it could look a lot more effective if a different model was chosen.
tFS: You are a member that contributes a lot of new material to the forums by posting your own scans, extracts from digital magazines and pictures of runway collections. But which threads and forums on tFS do you love browsing for news and new pictures? What are some of your favorite sections and threads on the forums?
KW: I pretty much love all of tFS but I definitely have some favorites that I visit all the time. When I first started tFS, I would go to the magazine and ad campaign threads a lot! Then I realized I was missing out when I browsed the forum properly. One that I like to visit which probably isn't that popular is the Member Support & Feedback section. I like seeing information on why posts where deleted and suggestions other members have. It helps you keep to the rules of the forum and also think about other ideas you may have that are similar to other suggestions.
The Best Avatar thread in The Entertainment Spot is really fun! Especially now since everyone has access to bigger avatars! Some members are seriously awesome at choosing and making avatars. Rumor has it is always fun too. I usually have a look at the Model Behavior thread and Photoshop Disasters, both of those can be a pretty funny read. My two favorites at the moment would probably be ETC's of the Modelling World and the Femmes thread. The first has some cool threads like Runway Mishaps, The Mega Versus Thread, Models on Twitter and loads of others you can post your opinion on. The latter is amazing to find awesome model pictures that aren't posted anywhere else. A lot of people also post magazine scans and online pictures which they have found and aren't posted in the Magazines thread. It's also cool because there are a lot of model street style pictures and information on what jobs models have coming up. Also, I forgot to mention my favorite thread ever which is the Female Model ID thread. I really don't know what I would do without all those amazing model ID-ers! Last but not least, the Designers and Collections thread is amazing to see all the shows from fashion week and resort collections, etc.
Yes, clearly I am tFS obsessed.