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Girl a la Mode blogger Charlie May’s fashion journey

The British fashion designer and blogger talks about her journey from farm to fashion and her compulsion to share her life online.

TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP ON A FARM IN DEVON. “I was a bit of a tomboy and always roaming around the farm. I never understood how much I loved it until I moved to Bristol and then London. I really enjoy walking in the fields or going to the beach. I feel like ‘alone’ has negative conno­tations, but the feeling of being alone, of being by yourself in an incredible landscape, is very peaceful.”

British label Charlie May, for women who like to make a quiet statement

BEFORE STARTING YOUR EPONYMOUS BRAND, YOU WORKED FOR LABELS SUCH AS THOMAS TAIT AND LOUISE GOLDIN. DESCRIBE THAT EXPERIENCE. “Working with Louise Goldin was amazing. It was a huge learning curve – staying up all night to prepare for a fashion show next morning. We would be working with a stylist and he would just come in and say, ‘No, I don’t like any of it,’ forcing us to recon­figure everything at the last minute. Thomas Tait was completely different. I was one of only two interns, so I learned everything. For the first season, I was doing patterns and toiling. And the second year, I was doing more business-related tasks. I learned how to run a young company and start a business. That helped push me to start my own brand.”

HOW HAS YOUR BLOG, GIRL À LA MODE, CHANGED SINCE IT STARTED IN 2008? “It has been a really interesting journey for the people who follow me, from fashion design student to intern to starting my own label. I offer a real insider view into my daily life, what I’m wearing, what I’m loving, what I’m inspired by, and even health, fitness and travel. It’s very different to have a designer that opens up so much of their life. I’m a compulsive sharer. Anybody can Instagram me, tweet me or Facebook me.”

IF YOU DIDN’T WORK IN FASHION, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? “Photography. Since god knows when, I have been taking pictures on disposable cameras. I recently went home and my mum asked me to sort through all this stuff she had in storage. I had boxes upon boxes of printed-out photographs. This was before digital cameras were invented. My father loved photography. He would have liked to have been a professional photographer but farming was more in the family.”

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY FARM. “Right now my father is teaching my brother and I to cultivate crops, in case we want to carry on with the farm. I have a secret dream to turn the farm into a vineyard, to which my parents are like, ‘Do it now!’”