SUBCULTURED Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Cofie, on fashion internships, being a #girlboss, and embracing your individuality.
Initially, I manage to tell Rebecca, my friend, and as the Editor-in-Chief of SUBCULTURED, also my boss, the wrong room. In fact, the wrong half of the building we’re due to meet in. When I eventually find her she’s smiling at me in black culottes, obligatory Adidas superstars, and a matching white puffa jacket. We sit down in what my colleagues have dubbed ‘the quiet room’ in my shared office, and begin chatting about Rebecca’s role as an Editor-in-Chief of her own creation.
Rebecca exudes energy and enthusiasm, particularly about being what she calls a ‘girl boss’, a term Sophia Amoroso coined. ‘I think it’s to do with feminism, particularly in the work place where most managerial roles are filled by males. It’s a movement going against that stereotype- women don’t have to be housewives, they can run the show’. She talks from experience at the head of a student publication, about what it takes to be a girl boss, citing both confidence, but also the ability to listen and work well with others, comparing it to her experience in retail (think: part time job at Morrison’s), she says ‘you have to feel people’s energy and adapt to that to get the best work out of them’.
I ask about how she first became interested in fashion, and how she worked her way to becoming my own boss, and she replies giving me a list of the many paid and unpaid fashion internships she did during her gap year between college and university; after completing her photography A-level. Worth noting is the variety of work she did, from working with Harper’s Bazaar during London Fashion Week, to interning at a smaller start-up company, Vecchio Vintage. Throughout all this, what did she learn? ‘You have to persevere, you can’t give up, and to follow your gut instinct. Be grateful and work hard, but know when you need to take a break from it’.
Rebecca describes her personal style as different and unique, and emphasises the importance of ‘wearing what you want’. London, the city she grew up in, has been a big influence on her confidence in clothes ‘living in London gives you the opportunity to evolve your personal style, no one looks at you on the street or judges you, it feels more liberal’. I ask how moving to the University of Surrey has influenced what she wears, ‘I think it might have made me less experimental- only because I’m dressing for lectures not LFW! I also have less money-it’s so good to have statement pieces, so you can wear a plain, comfortable outfit but a cool coat every day and still look somewhat fashionable.’
Home is where the heart is however, and Rebecca talks about how shooting street style on internships, and seeing cool and crazy London fashion has influenced the messages she tries to put across in her clothes. When I ask what that message is, she says ‘to be different, at the end of the day I don’t care what other people think, and their opinion doesn’t really matter- don’t be afraid to wear what you want’. Tying into this idea of being ‘different’ is Rebecca’s degree, she studies Liberal Arts and Sciences, and is one of about 10 students in her entire year group. I ask about how studying such a unique degree programme influences her day-to-day life, ‘It encourages you to be different and know that that’s not a bad thing. There’s definitely still a separation between my degree and the mag, obviously a degree is academic writing and skills, but I think it has helped with my confidence.’
So where does the Editor-in-Chief of SUBCULTURED see herself going from here? ‘I’m open to what I do as long as it’s creative, so maybe marketing, or working for a creative agency. Something which encourages me to be creative, independent and free.’ Rebecca just turned 21, and is currently embarking on her placement year as a Global Content Intern for MATCHESFASHION.COM in their head offices at The Shard, continuing a long and likely successful career as a #girlboss.
Interview and text by Katt Skippon
Picture research by Donna Darafshian; featured image taken from http://www.sastylefyle.co.za/monday-motivation-for-the-girlboss/
Special thanks to Rebecca Cofie.