When I came across The Girl Who Cried Look in a Facebook group called Fashion of Colour my heart did a sort of shimmy that could be described as the love child of the jitterbug and the moonwalk. Can you almost picture how excited I was? I was immediately drawn to the striking way in which their collages were curated. Not only were the visuals absolutely beautiful, the project as a whole has a new innovative element to it that has the potential to take the fashion industry by storm. I caught up with the curators of the site and asked them to indulge further into the fabrics of their passion project.
Check it out:
Divya Prabhakar, 24, she/her
Nitin Iyer, 24, he/him
What’s the story behind The Girl Who Cried Look and where did it all start?
D: I have always loved shopping but I started curating my style senior year of college. I was taking more control over my diet and exercise and gaining confidence as a result, but also, was tired of feeling like I had to navigate around physical attributes that were not going to change — skin color, bust size, height, etc.
I wanted to cultivate a style that fit me, not me trying to fit into other people’s looks – and once I started wearing clothes I felt good in, people started to notice and compliment me, leading me to get even bolder. As I kept curating this style, I found it really difficult to track down the items I saw in outfits online or that I liked (let alone at places I could afford, fresh out of college).
The Girl Who Cried Look is the culmination of these efforts – we want to give you an outfit inspiration collage, commentary to help you understand the fashion decisions being made in the outfit, and always includes direct sources where you can find all of the items (with as many deals as we can find for you).
N: While I won’t claim to be as interested in fashion as Divya, it’s always been something I’ve appreciated as an art form. In high school, I remember watching Project Runway with my mom as she used to follow the show. I enjoyed forming a perspective on the finished pieces the designers would produce.
As it relates to this project, I am excited to be working on learning how to grow a base of readers who we can provide valuable advice to. There are so many parts to running a successful site / newsletter and it’s so much harder than you think, even when you expect it to be difficult.
On a daily basis what are your go-to references for inspiration?
D: I make the collages so I am constantly looking for clothes to inspire me. Instagram — for both e-commerce stores and style. Pinterest, Snapchat, lookbook.nu, celebrity styles (Rihanna for life), magazines, and some style vloggers as well. I’ve lived in both India and the US throughout my life, and have been able to build up background knowledge of American and Indian styles as well as how to fuse them together, and have a great circle of friends from all over the world I can draw inspiration from as well – getting a chance to watch outfits and styles shift in real time, with real people.
What is your creative process-like?
D: Every newsletter’s collage starts with a vibe. A vibe to me is a specific situation I have encountered or struggled with, and needed an outfit for in the past. With that in mind, I find source materials to use for the collage and then start a deeper search for items online that work together and mesh well with the vibe we’re solving for. I usually sit down and start cropping things in Photoshop — sometimes it happens in one go. Sometimes I need to return to it after a day or so because things aren’t working together. I always know something is wrong with a collage when I send a draft to Nitin and I see the grey text bubble bouncing for more than 10 seconds. That means he is trying to find a nice way to this collage ain’t shit.
N: One thing I like to look for is how we can make the background imagery work to further emphasize the pieces in the outfit. The backgrounds really have to convey the emotion and attitude that the outfit should make the wearer feel. Sometimes we find what works immediately, and other times it takes a lot of back and forth before we are setting the right tone – we want you to feel the vibe even before you read it.
What does art/creativity and the ability to express yourself through this medium mean to you?
D: Creating this fashion and art online is liberating, from both a cost and creativity perspective. Fashion has a well-earned reputation for being a world where the price can quickly add up – being able to use collages not only allows us to offer more holistic interpretation of outfits, but helps us do so without having to buy every item we want to feature. Removing this constraint allows us to really stretch our minds, both in terms of individual items, and how they can come together in new or unexpected ways. At the same time, it helps us get further outside the box vs. the traditional approach to modeling (a single model for each outfit) – something we think gives the reader a fresh perspective when looking at our collages, or for outfits more broadly.
Another part I value about this project is the digital art aspect – a lot of fashion bloggers are women and have to put their physical beings and identities on the Internet. They endure great negativity and pressure regarding their physical appearances, just to follow their dreams. Through this medium, I am able to retain a separation from The Girl and simultaneously be a part of a fashion blogging team, which means a lot to me as a woman.
Where do you see yourself and your art in the future?
D: I have been quite interested by the feminism within the “raw self” phenomena that has become popular in American pop culture — celebrities on Snapchat; TV shows like Girls, Insecure, and Broad City; YouTube influencers, etc. There is a push to be unapologetically self-indulgent and not have everything figured out – a space for self-expression earned through the hard and selfless work of generations of women before us. But is the current encouragement of “feeling yourself” and raw expression feminist or not? How can we use this space more effectively? I would like to explore these ideas more in my future work.
N: As I think of future iterations of these collages, I think the next step is some level of interactivity to allow readers / viewers to further immerse themselves into what it would be like for them to wear the outfit. What’s most interesting to me is how to communicate the “Vibe” section we include more directly through the outfit / model itself. Ideally there’s a world where the reader / viewer immediately understands our intent without even needing words for description.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt thus far, as a creative?
D: This project has taught me more about art as a collaborative process and the practical implementation of an artistic idea. Working with Nitin has showed me how invaluable it is to find a person to work with who you trust to critique your work honestly, has a creative eye, and can help you see the bigger picture when you get too bogged down. Thinking beyond this project, having that second person and perspective in the development of a platform for sharing has been invaluable – finding those types of people is a great use of time and energy in any creative, collaborative effort.
N: I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in this process is that in the creative process there is no right or wrong answer, which makes coming to consensus sometimes a bit more challenging. In the other parts of running the site, either the code works or it does not, but with developing each collage, suggestions and criticisms are not black and white, but always a shade of grey. Navigating that process continues to be a learning experience of how to create the best content but also moving quickly.
Submissions from other creatives wanting to share and get their work out onto the interweb through this little platform are welcome. Submissions can be sent through to firstname.lastname@example.org
View more of their work on their site:
Love and Light,