Recently The Canberra Centre hosted the second in a series of style workshops, this time with Talisa Sutton, founder and editor of the hugely successful fashion and lifestyle blog Badlands. As well as running her own business, Talisa has worked with Elle Magazine, Vogue and many Australian fashion labels.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Talisa in between Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) and a trip to Hong Kong to find out a little bit more about her and what is in store for those attending this weekend’s workshop.
Emma: After working for a print publication, what made you decide to go freelance?
Talisa: I’d say I’ve always worked freelance in a way. It allows you to be your own boss and take charge in what you want to focus on.
I really enjoy having a mixed bag of talents and being able to use all of them with varying clients. Working freelance sees me travelling the world and doing what I love. I lived in Canberra years ago and I’m excited to come back and host a workshop at Canberra Centre. I’m also jetting off to Hong Kong this weekend for a shoot. You never know where your next adventure may be – and that’s the fun part!
E: As your own boss how do you structure your day and stay motivated?
T: I think routine plays a big part in keeping structure and motivation as your own boss.
Even though no day looks the same I make sure I take time to in the morning to go through my emails, have a coffee and look through established and emerging designers and bloggers that keep me inspired.
In the fashion and digital world you’re always looking to improve and expand and that keeps you motivated to always do better.
E: What advice would you offer other creatives looking to go freelance?
T: My best advice would be to find what your unique angle is, what makes you stand out from the rest and you can be an expert in.
Creating your own content is important and keeping consistency in your style and communication.
Time management and organisation is probably the biggest challenge for most freelancers. I’m lucky to be working with my husband so there is a support network for times when the blog is very busy or I’m travelling.
Keeping a schedule and trying to stick to a routine of getting up and into things by 9am is a big help when you’re starting out!
E: How did Badlands come to be?
T: I love creating! I’m a visual person so my tiny apartment was filled with what inspires me – illustrations, books, magazines, collages, you name it!
I started Badlands to take my inspirations online. I love documenting my favourite editorials, films, photography, fashion, architecture and art.
I named Badlands after my favourite film. I have always loved film, art and fashion and given how special this film was to me, and that it’s such an icon, it seemed like the perfect choice of name!
E: You have a strong, unified aesthetic across all aspects of Badlands from the look of the site to each piece of content. What informs your style as a graphic designer and content producer?
T: Thank you! I think my style has evolved quite organically over time, and I’m lucky that with my graphics background, I can translate my personal style throughout all aspects of the blog. I have a very particular look that I like when it comes to design, it’s quite minimal and I like things to be desaturated, a slightly more monochrome palette with a hint of colour every now and then, much like how I dress. I also edit all my photos in Lightroom to have a consistent look across the lighting, colour balance and contrast.
E: What was your highlight of MBFWA this year?
T: A true highlight for me was the Albus Lumen presentation. The pieces were all my favourite aspects of fashion – easy, wearable and understated – I could easily see myself wearing their collection.
E: Your entire wardrobe for the week tied together impeccably. How do you approach dressing both generally and for fashion events?
T: I like to keep things simple and minimal but love to wear statement pieces to contrast my wardrobe essentials.
If I have a busy day ahead I always wear the perfect heel height for running around. For day 2 and 4 of Fashion Week I wore the Gucci loafer – it was the best shoe to run around between shows.
I believe in investing in statement pieces like a leather jacket, black blazer, classic black pumps and a classic grey coat.
Recently I invested in an Isabel Marant blazer in Paris – you can never go wrong with a well-tailored black jacket!
E: What do you love about Australian fashion? Which designers do you particularly enjoy wearing.
T: I love that Australian fashion is easy going – it’s not comparable to anywhere else in the world as we’re defined by our unique environment, culture and weather.
If I’m looking for statement pieces or evening wear I love Dion Lee and Ellery. For everyday wear, Camilla & Marc and Bassike are my go to designers. They’re always experimenting with incredible silhouettes and new detailing.
E: You regularly travel for work, how do you approach packing?
T: My approach is to pack for the climate and pack statement pieces to pair with simple and easy to wear outfits.
For my recent trip to Europe I wore my IRO leather jacket everywhere and paired it with a classic white t-shirt (plus thermals if it was freezing), jeans and sneakers for a day of exploring.
A great leather jacket for traveling is warm, wind proof and comfortable, but it also instantly elevates every outfit, which is great when you’re wearing a slightly different version of t-shirt and jeans most days!
If you do ever find yourself thinking, can I really justify another pair of jeans, I’m here to tell you – yes you can!
If living out of a suitcase for so long has taught me anything, it’s that you can always do with another clean white tee, a perfectly soft pair of denim (I love old worn-in favourites for plane and train travel) or a classic pair of white sneakers (they do get dirty pretty quickly after-all!).
Maybe you don’t need more than one leather jacket, unless you want to introduce a different colour or fit, but it’s definitely a key piece worth investing in.
E: What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?
T: I feel very lucky as my career is always rewarding! Getting to travel for work has been pretty spectacular! Last September I attended New Zealand and New York fashion week and I’m just about to head off to Hong Kong for a shoot.
Also coming on board for the re-launch of ELLE in Australia was a great opportunity, I worked in the art department and was able to learn and grow so much as a designer.
E: How would you like to see your business expand?
T: There are quite a few things in the works for the blog. My husband and I are working on an exciting new project together which we’ll be launching very soon!
Style Masterclass with Talisa Sutton
Saturday 4 June, 2016 12pm
Canberra Centre, Level 1 adjacent to Country Road