AN INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA CANTILLON, CO-FOUNDER + DIRECTOR OF OWNTHELOOK.COM

I have not been able to contain my excitement about this post. Fashion will always be my one true love…ALWAYS. It’s an industry I always knew I was going to be a part of. Olivia and I studied together at The Fashion Retail Academy and I wanted to share with you all her latest venture. When we were at FRA I had such a GIRL CRUSH on Olivia. She had impeccable style and always pushed the boundaries with what she wore. A cross between Malibu Barbie, Cher from Clueless and Elle Woods, Liv was always one of the girls who knew what she wanted and wasn’t going to stop until she got there…

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I have followed her journey from London to Dubai (and back to London) and now she’s here to give us the low down on OWNTHELOOK.COM.

1.  I’ve been seeing lots of super exciting snippets about OWNTHELOOK.COM can you finally tell us more!?

Yes, of course – it’s so exciting to finally be able to share this with everyone! So, OWNTHELOOK.COM is a multi-brand online womenswear platform that caters to fashion-crazed girls just like us. It brings together some of the most coveted and unidentified (but affordable) brands from across the globe that are yet to make waves in the UK market.

The focus of the site is firmly on outfit dressing and not only what to wear, but how to wear it. Each piece is styled up into a trend-led look and as a shopper, you can either purchase the full look in two-quick-clicks or deconstruct the outfit and bag what’s needed. So, say for example we’ve got a look styled up that’s perfect for your Saturday night out, but you’ve already got a killer pair of strappy stilettos just like the ones the model is wearing – you can either bag the full look (it never hurts to have two of anything!) or simply deselect the shoes and checkout with everything but them. It offers a really easy way to shop with all the hard work done for you.

Each look also has a stylist tip on hand to talk about how you can wear the product, what body types the style works best on and style advice on other ways to wear. We have an ‘Ask A Stylist’ feature on site too, so our customers are able to drop us as quick message with any style questions they may have.

It’s so exciting to not only be able to bring new brands to the UK and develop a real ‘Own The Look’ aesthetic but to also deliver a super effortless shopping experience for our girls.

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2. Can you give us a bit of background information on your career and how you’ve got to where you are today?

I started off my fashion journey studying fashion buying and styling at The Fashion Retail Academy. Looking back now, I didn’t know half as much about fashion as I thought I did; all I really knew was how much I loved getting dressed every morning. The daily quest of ‘what to wear today’ was a personal highlight of mine and in hindsight it was also an early indication of what was to come for me.

Fashion school confirmed everything I thought I knew and I made the decision very early on that this was going to be the industry I found myself in. Alongside college, I began interning with weekly title, Star Magazine and after a year they offered me a full-time position as the team’s Junior Fashion Assistant. I was assisting the team on weekly fashion shoots, compiling shopping pages and working on celebrity style features. Talk about a dream job? I was sure I’d found it. I worked my way through the fashion ranks and grew to become the team’s Deputy Fashion Editor within two years – I continued to gain experience outside this and worked on titles such as ELLE Netherlands.

My next job (and chapter of life) was a huge leap of faith. I followed my boyfriend to Dubai and secured a job as a Stylist for HELLO! Magazine Middle East. The early stages of my journey in Dubai were extremely tough – settling into a new country and a new job whilst feeling an everlasting sense of homesickness wasn’t what I’d signed up for. I powered through and was quickly promoted to Fashion Editor where I managed the style section of the title. From there, I moved onto MOJEH Magazine which is a monthly glossy with bundles of edge –  this is where my styling opportunities really grew. I not only got to work with emerging regional designers but international labels including LV, Dior, Chanel & Gucci.

After two years in Dubai I returned to London and began working on my dream.

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3. You’ve had a really successful career in the fashion industry so far…what’s the best tip you would give to anyone starting out?

Be passionate, willing to learn and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Something that followed me throughout my career was a constant drive to succeed. I often treated each company I worked at as if it was my own, giving everything I had to it. I was never one for ‘half doing’ anything and the driving force behind my business now is the passion I have for it.

I kept my ears open and soaked in every bit of advice people were willing to offer. Every job I had taught me something new and without this experience and time learning my craft would have made this venture near impossible. Lastly, don’t be afraid to mess up – I did it enough! The way you learn is by making mistakes and if you can accept that mistakes will happen you’ll be prepared and ready to fix them.

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 I absolutely LOVE your style and always have. Where do you take inspiration from?

My inspiration definitely stems from street style. There is nothing I love more than scrolling through Instagram or Elle.com and checking out what people are wearing! I’m a total sucker and will IMMEDIATELY go and buy things – I mean, buy it now or regret it later, right?

When it comes to my personal style, I always start my outfit with one key focus and work my way up or down from there. I’ll get a great shoe, or a statement blouse (with a ruffle or bell sleeve, of course) and look at what I can pair it with. I believe that if you start with a focus, styling becomes a lot easier and you don’t get lost in a trend war! I also like to take an unconventional approach when putting a look together – texture has become a big part of my wardrobe so in turn, sequins and sneakers are now a go-to-work favourite. I’m not scared of getting it wrong and always buy into the trends. There is no harm in giving anything a go!

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  1. Who are your favourite bloggers or influencers?

I have a huge amount of respect for bloggers and influencers. The way a lot of the girls have created fully fledged brands from their style is something I find really inspiring.

We’re lucky enough to be working with three of my favourite girls for the launch of Own The Look – Hannah Crosskey from A Fashion Fix, Monikh Dale from Tres Monikh and German beauty Nina Suess. These girls optimise the Own The Look aesthetic and we’re hoping to create a real sense of OTL Girl Power. I’m all for girls supporting girls and I’m so excited to have our very own, ‘Own The Look Girl Gang’ on board.

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  1. Name your top three favourite beauty products you cannot live without.

So, I have a confession – I’m totally not a beauty girl! I’m actually really useless when it comes to all things beauty. I’m a make-up-wipe removal kind of girl who definitely doesn’t pay enough attention to keeping my skin in check.

Saying that, I couldn’t be without my Clarins HydraQuench facial moisturiser that I use every morning, and I spend a lot of time with my L’Oreal liquid eyeliner trying to get that effortless wing effect (this is also the reason I’m late for most things!). If I’m feeling dedicated, I’ll use Crème de La Mer’s eye cream just before bed which leaves my peepers feeling super fresh.

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  1. What are you crushing on for SS17?

I’m pretty much crushing on everything that has a ruffle this season. When buying Own The Look’s SS17 collection six months ago, I couldn’t contain my excitement waiting for the season to finally come around. Shape is really key and Spring/Summer sees exaggerated silhouettes with plenty of volume. I’ve really bought into the stripes trend and our hue of the season has to be pink – it’s literally everywhere! I love that this colour has come full circle and that it’s now acceptable to wear top-to-toe pink without a blink of an eye. Well, it is in my book anyway!

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  1. You mix high end and high street SO well. Who are your go to high street stores and your favourite high end designers?

Mixing high end accessories with high street fashion is something I love to do, but If I’m really honest, I’ll forever be a high street girl. My closet is now firmly filled with all things Own The Look, but before this I was a total Zara lover. River Island was my one-stop-shop for shoes and I’d head to H&M when looking for a hidden gem. New Look was my dedicated swimwear spot and Freedom at Topshop was where I got nearly all of my costume jewellery.

But, when it comes to high end, I’m forever on the hunt for a cool shoe or bag. A recent purchase of mine were the Miu Miu patent flatforms which I’ve worn everyday since their addition to my wardrobe – I got them in the Selfridges Boxing Day sale for half price – I just couldn’t say no!

When buying high end, I like to invest in styles I know I’ll get a good CPW (cost per wear) out of. This is how I usually justify the purchase and will often go for flats as I know they’ll be worn more and classic colours such as black / grey / nude.

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  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have such high hopes and dreams for Own The Look, however the only thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be working as hard as I can over the next 5 years to make it as much of a success as possible.

I hope to see our customers coming to us as there one-stop-shop for outfit dressing and to be seen as a community of style for the everyday, fashion-loving girl. I hope to see the company expanding in both brands and in team members and for growing in every aspect to be the only thing on our minds.

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  1. You travel to some truly glamourous destinations…where is the favourite place you have visited so far and what trips do you have planned this year?

My all-time favourite holiday destination has to be Barbados. I’ve been going there since I was such a little girl with my family and it has so many incredible memories for me. It has a real sense of being ‘at home’ when I’m there and I think that’s why I love it so much. The town is always bustling with such incredible, vibrant people and it has some fab shopping spots, too! I’m often found drinking out of a coconut on the beach, toes in the sand, completely at peace.

I’m not travelling too much this year as Own The Look needs all of my focus but I’ll be on a work trip to Vegas in August as we start buying S/S18!

FOLLOW OWNTHELOOK ON INSTAGRAM – @OWNTHELOOK

Liv, a HUGE congratulations on your new venture. You are KILLING it. Can’t wait to see what’s to come for AW17…

My first order is on it’s way and I have a wish list as long as my arm…pastel paint splash jeans, metallic pink biker jackets, cute tees, statement earrings, ALL the pink and ALL the ruffles. GIRLS it’s a DREAM. Shop here.

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PEACE, LOVE + COCONUTS.

 

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3 thoughts on “AN INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA CANTILLON, CO-FOUNDER + DIRECTOR OF OWNTHELOOK.COM

  1. chichiogwe says:

    Fantastic interview! It’s nice to see successful women who are doing their own thing and it really inspires me to be my own #girlboss.

    Like

  2. chichiogwe says:

    I’d definitely like to start building my own empire and this post has made me realise that as long as I work hard and focus on my goals then I can achieve what I want.

    Chichi
    chichi-writes.blogspot.co.uk

    Like

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