conversations with bianca

The Fabulous La Carmina: Adventurer, Alt. Style Queen, Coolhunter & Philanthropist

La Carmina is truly an inspiration! A self-made woman named as one of the world’s top fashion bloggers. She’s a best-selling author, designer (collaborating with Swarovski + more), travel and pop culture journalist (AOL/Huffington Post), TV host (Travel Channel, Food Network, CNN), ‘Coolhunter’ running a trend and fashion consulting company, philanthropist, graduate of Yale Law School and mama to Scottish Fold cat Basil Farrow. La Carmina is also one of the loveliest people I have met—very down-to-earth, gracious, creative, imaginative, hardworking and driven. Her style draws inspiration from ‘Goth, cyber, Lolita, Steampunk and other alt fashion’ and is held together by ‘curiosity and courage’ in her individual style, irrespective of what others might think.

You once commented “I think the essence of underground fashion is freedom and DIY creativity…” I wanted to ask if you’re always been creative?

LA CARMINA: Yes. I remember that in elementary school everyone had to sit in a circle and say their name and have a word that went with their name that started with the first letter of their name. You might be ‘beautiful Bianca’ or something like that, I was always ‘creative Carmen’ [laughs]. I love to draw and I loved to dress-up and do little fantasy world things as a child, in a way I never really grew out of that.

You’ve always embrace the doing-it-yourself idea?

LC: Absolutely! I love getting my hands dirty in art and fashion projects from the time I was very young. I find it a lot more rewarding that way. I was never much for going out there and buying pre-made stuff, I love the whole do-it-yourself aesthetic.

When you were younger you played piano as well as studying music history and composition; do you have any musical aspirations?

LC: I am surrounded by music all the time. I always work with Sebastiano Serafini (pictured below) who is in a band. I love seeing Visual Kei and Jrock concerts but I think especially in Japan in the Gothic scene there is a strong connection between music and fashion and the whole subculture. It’s all one entity, there isn’t a separation. In that sense I feel my work, while it’s not performing or composing music, it’s still so closely integrated with music. On my blog I post a Song of The Day. I interview band members and we do collaborations in all sorts of ways. I feel that my work is deeply connected to music.

That’s how I feel too. All the things that I do are very connected to music and at the bottom line, it’s all creativity.

LC: Exactly. Just like you I feel my strongest work is in writing and journalism and not so much the performative aspect of music, even though I studied it growing up. I’m not going to delude myself, I’m not a world class pianist, or not the greatest singer/performer out there. I do just love to do it for myself.

I think it’s important for people to realise that you can participate and you can be a part of music or creative communities without being a musician or an artist as such, doing interviews, making zines, internet shows, putting on events etc. are all complimentary and contribute to making communities and getting word out about artists. Good interviews should complement the art and tell more of the story.

LC: I think it’s very freeing these days because of the internet. I remember in the past if you wanted to do music, you had to invest in expensive equipment, training for film producing and what not. Now all these friends I have do it themselves on their laptops. The work that they create is phenomenal.

I admire that you are self-taught in a lot of the things that you do. You taught yourself video editing programs by watching tutorials online etc.

LC: Yeah, I feel like in a way I need to keep up because, as you know, things in this world move so quickly. In order to keep your head above water I felt it was important for me to get on the social networks, know video editing, try to learn as much as possible; to not get overwhelmed by it all and to have a good sense of what is possible.

As you were saying you think it’s important to constantly be improving your skills, knowledge and self; what are some things you’ve been working on improving lately?

LC: I’ve found that I like to be outside lots. This year my goal is not to be in front of the computer as much. I don’t want to be the girl that is twittering non-stop. It’s been incredibly freeing to do things outside the usual work zone. For example, I’ve been to Italy twice recently, so I’ve been learning Italian. Something that really has no connection to my work in Japanese subculture and fashion but I found it such a great way to break outside the mould and do something that’s not directly connected but will in some way have influences to my work.

You went to Italy for an event that was in connection to you being named one of the most influential style bloggers in the world for 2011 and 2012?

LC: Yeah they flew me in to this amazing event called Luisaviaroma’s Firenze4Ever (featured below) where they bring in all the top fashion bloggers and we’re all allowed to play dress-up in the boutiques and try on the designer clothes, model them and style them. It is such a great opportunity!

What did it mean to you being named one of the top fashion bloggers in the world?

LC: The best part was being able to meet the other bloggers there because when you are looking at people from afar on a computer screen it’s hard to know what everyone is like in person. Meeting these top bloggers in person I think you see that everyone has this sense of hard work and connection. It was nice. Blogging is such a new field and it can be really alienating so it’s nice to have fellow people out there that are sharing the same experiences as you are.

In regards to your work, what are you currently focused on?

LC: Right now I’m focusing on TV hosting and TV presenting. It’s so much fun. I’ve had quite a few adventures so far in hosting TV shows in Tokyo and worldwide, places like Wisconsin and Mexico (pictured below). This year a couple of my programs that I filmed last year will be airing. There’s something on the FoodNetwork that is coming out in spring called, World’s Weirdest Restaurants. I go around to the strangest restaurants in Japan and get to explore these underground worlds like the Alice In Wonderland café or a restaurant that’s decorated like a giant cathedral! I just love how Japan goes all out to create fantasy worlds in a restaurant of all places.

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