Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheereen AK.
Sheereen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started my fashion Instagram account back in 2012 while I was attending FIDM. Initially, the account was a hobby, to share my favorite trends and daily looks. My dream was to start my own clothing line after finishing school, but back then I never imagined it would turn into a full-time job.
I completed my studies in Apparel Manufacturing Management and Fashion Retail Management, and right after graduating in 2014, I began working on my business plan. By early 2015, I had started my own contemporary high-end womenswear line based in Los Angeles. I produced two successful collections, but then my husband’s work moved us to New York. I didn’t have the resources I needed there to keep things going, so I had to put my business on hold. It hurt me, of course, because the business was my baby. It was just starting to really bloom and I suddenly had to put it on pause, but I didn’t have a choice and did what had to be done.
Around that time, I started using my old Instagram account again, this time as an outlet to share my style expertise in everything from fashion design to blogging. Luckily, since I had used the account for quite a while, I had about 11,000 followers already. I began posting and writing consistently again. I was doing creative direction and consulting for fashion brands, writing about my favorite products, and sharing my experience in the industry. I also started a blog called Catwalk Snaps, hoping to share my love of fashion and inspire my followers. I wanted to encourage them to create their own unique wardrobes and distinct, natural looks – to just be themselves.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I can’t say it’s been a smooth road, especially transitioning from owning and running my fashion brand business to blogging and moving into the creative direction space being a fashion consultant. One of the biggest struggles for me has been to make sure I stay as authentic as possible. I constantly remind myself to be me and not pretend to be someone I’m not. In this industry, because you’re working with brands, you have to keep up a certain image. Sometimes they even send photos showing exactly what they expect from you. I don’t necessarily like to follow trends, so that can be difficult.
I’ve always believed in natural beauty and being your own muse. I prefer to set trends and inspire people with who I really am and what I stand for. In doing that, I hope I’m sending the message that it’s best to figure out what styles work best for your looks and the type of person you are, versus following someone and trying to replicate their look. Luckily, I’ve been able to do that with my account. I don’t follow specific trends, but I do keep my feed cohesive yet natural and relevant to my lifestyle.
The blogging/influencer industry has unfortunately changed so much over the years. While there are many beautiful, natural-looking influencers with very unique styles, there are also many who look identical to some of the more well-known influencers. I have never gotten that. Why not be yourself? Instead of being influenced by all the Photoshop and plastic surgery out there, keep your natural face, body, and style. We already have a lot of unnecessary plastic surgeries, fillers, and Photoshopped images and do not need more of it. Why not start a new trend based on who you are and what you stand for? Show the world your real beauty and unique style, and teach people that there is nothing wrong with being yourself.
My advice for all the young women just starting this journey is: Be your own muse. Keep things natural and use the content on this platform in a positive way. Boost your own confidence, find your own strengths, push yourself to do better every day, and know that we are all unique in our own ways. Also, don’t expect anything to happen overnight. It’s all a matter of putting time and effort into your own brand, so keep doing your best and the rest will come.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I’m a fashion brand consultant and digital creator, and I mainly do consulting and creative direction for fashion brands. I have over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry and I also have my Instagram account where I feature fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands that I collaborate with. I’m mostly known for being a natural beauty advocate. I am not a big fan of unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Instead, I believe in maintaining a natural yet unique look with high-quality beauty products.
I care about what I’m recommending to my audience and am very honest, so I don’t work with brands if I don’t like their products or if I don’t truly believe in them. I’m very selective with brands I’m going to collaborate with, and especially when it comes to the history of a brand. I put 100% into every project I work on, using my talent and knowledge in creative direction and business marketing to plan the most effective campaigns for the brands I work with.
What sets me apart is that not only do I have two degrees in the fashion industry, but I also have the knowledge and experience necessary for running a fashion brand. This is very helpful when working with companies because I can share my knowledge and brainstorm ideas that worked really well for my business in the past. I also didn’t become a fashion blogger/influencer overnight, nor did I quit a 9-5 job to become one just because it seemed like an easy way to make money and get free stuff. I’ve been in the fashion industry for many years and this is where it has taken me. With the very saturated industry of Instagram influencers, I think it’s very important to offer something that sets you apart from the majority.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
The most important piece of advice I can give to a young woman just starting her career is to take your time and really figure out what you want to bring to the industry. What sets you apart and how you can share that with the world. Be confident and never doubt yourself or give up on your dreams. Set your goals and standards high, and push yourself to the fullest to achieve what you really want in life. Nothing is impossible and everything happens for a reason. We all have moments where we might think we can’t do it, but the most important thing is to keep going and never stop trying.
Here’s an example that proves that: I always had a wish list of a few brands I wanted to work with, and I made sure to feature their products the most on my platform. One of them was CHANEL, and last year around this time I was selected as their Fall/Winter 2018 ambassador. I worked with them on a few campaigns and it was truly a dream come true. I believed in myself and worked hard to make that happen. There is enough room for all of us to shine in this industry. It’s just a matter of believing in yourself and never giving up.