Interview with Chris Lavish

Chris, you are a force to reckon with in the fashion industry. Tell me about your way here. You started as a model, am I correct?

Yes I started as a model and studied photography, art history and photojournalism in College. During college I was always the subject that the teacher chose to demonstrate different lighting on so I learned to model very quickly. Prior to that I would only talk about fashion in high school and was named best dressed in my yearbook.

What were specific turning points in your career?

Once I started attending fashion weeks I caught the attention of the street style photographers very fast and soon became one of the familiar faces. I always kept a good relationship with them and in return they showed me lots of love every season. I say the biggest help to my career came from my street shooters because they soon became my PR by always speaking highly of me.

You are the Digital Director for Fashion Week Online, as well as managing numerous other social media accounts, working with brands, not to mention your own influencer collaborations. How do you manage the workload?

The workload is undeniably a lot but I managed to split up the tasks between my assistant and intern. In addition, certain apps such as Google Calendar, Dropbox, and Google Sheets make each project easier to complete. Being a Global Digital Director means you have to deal with clients in all time zones and countries so being healthy was the only way to keep up with everything that needed to be done and that happened with the help of my vegan chef.

Photo by @artshestakov

You are a well known face in New York, and also in Fashion Weeks all over the world. What does that mean for your business? Is it making it easier, or more pressure? Which fashion week is your favourite?

The more people that know you only means there’s more pressure and eyes watching you which motivates me to take everything to the next level. I dont put any boundaries on my fashion creativity and always express myself in full. When going to Milan, London, Paris , Copenhagen , New York and Panama Fashion Week you get to see a lot of rising talent that you wouldn’t normally see. I love all the fashion weeks to be honest but Paris has and will forever have my heart. There is an energy in that city that I haven’t felt anywhere else which is always my favorite trip that I take 4x a year.

The global lockdown has made influencers’ life a little bit more difficult. What was your experience? How did you use this time?

The global lockdown has helped me recenter my soul and business so much and I’m grateful for it. I’ve also advanced lightyears in my yoga practice so I can’t complain, in addition to producing a new perspective on life which will forever have me in a good mood. The lockdown showed us more about us than it showed about what was actually happening in the world. I’m a big believer that what happened happened because it was suppose to happen in order for tomorrow to happen.

How do you think recent events in the USA have impacted the fashion industry? (Covid, BLM)

I believe what happened needed to happen for a reason. We may not know why exactly it happened right now but maybe in 2021 or 2022 it will be clear why 2020 played out the way it did.
The fashion industry got impacted in a way to generate the next stage we were waiting for. Sustainability was on the rise and it continues to grow which is what every industry around the world should strive for as well.

What do you think the future of influencer marketing looks like?

I think the future in general looks bright, if you’re passionate about what you love and can give to the community of your passion you will always be in business. Now that online sales are higher than ever it should be easier for influencers to make money. I believe the future belongs to the effluence rather than the influence in other words those who give the most will forever win in the game of life.

Photo by @rekannyariphotography

Your look is unique to put it mildly. Let’s talk a little bit about your tattoos. When did you have the first one and what was it? Are they all personal to you, with their own story, or more like part of your image, your design? Tell me a bit more about this art on your body

I got my first tattoo at 19 and it was for my older sister when she passed away which was something I will never forget. She was also passionate about the arts so I felt I should continue adding more meaningful pieces which slowly turned to chapters of my life on my body. The few people that I keep close to me know exactly what each tattoo means.

Have you had or have any negative feedback about your look in your career? Could be from the industry or just from the people in general.

I’ve never received negative feedback because I don’t ever put myself in a position to get judged. How I feel about myself is how I view myself, and that is the way life should be. Being at the mercy of other people’s opinion is literally modern day slavery. I recommend yoga for everyone that catches themselves getting emotional frequently. Namaste Calm Forever.

What about your fashion style? You are the only person I know that can wear anything, including a frilly frock, and make it glam. What you think about fashion as in outfits? Do you have a very thought through process to dressing, or you just go with your creativity as it flows?

Getting ready every morning used to be hard because I wasn’t always happy with the first outfit I would wear but as the months and years went by it just started to flow more and more to a point where I can arrange 8 outfits in my head perfectly without opening my closet. It just becomes second nature once you’re in tune with fabrics , colors and the mood you want to give off to the world that day.

As an influencer you work with brands a lot. Do you still look at fashion as a self impression, or something that is part of your job?

I’ve learned to incorporate brands and elevate their designs with my creativity. Most brands can only see so far, I’m the pair of binoculars that help them see towards and past the stars. As you can ask any street style photographer that knows me, it’s a field day when I’m outside, especially during fashion weeks. Brands work with me because I give them that unapologetic fashion week aesthetic that they need.

Photo by @fashionloveconnection

You are quite explicit in your posts about money-talk. Does that advance your business meetings as well? Have you had any specific story or moment in your past, what changed you as a person or changed your strategy in the business? Tell me a little bit about your business mindset.

My posts about money and the management of it has helped me in meetings and mornings. It keeps me focused and sets a blueprint for future business because they know that I know my worth so there’s less negotiating and more projects. If you don’t tell the world your value the world will tell you what you’re worth. Posting about money also helps and motivates other people who feel the same way I feel but are scared to say it out loud. I’m that inner voice in everyone’s head that tells you, you don’t get paid enough to get emotional.

What are your plans for the future? How would you like to influence people?

I would like to be more an effluence of love and inspiration rather than an influence on social.
The only way my career took off was because when I had the least was when I gave the most and that changed the trajectory of my life. It’s hard to understand that giving when you have nothing is more important than giving when you have a lot. Mindsets and perspectives are two things that people should check in order to predict their future.

Finally, what would be your advice to aspiring influencers?

I would recommend stop copying each other because it only hurts your personal branding. As soon as you start looking and talking like someone else you already lost out on 1⁄2 of your potential customers because you’re not being yourself. The hardest part will be find something you’re passionate about and just dive head in first. Post about it day and night and be extremely knowledgeable because when your opportunity shows up you’ll need to be 100% ready in order to see it through .

Interview by Rita Tamas @rita_tamas_promotion

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