Many of you are probably familiar with or have at least heard of fashion blogs like Fashionista.com or Hypebeast.com. At WashU, we have our very own Angela (Angie) Chen, founder and writer of Pandaphilia.com! HC WashU got the chance to sit down with Angie and ask a few questions about how her blog started and where it’s heading.
Name: Angela Chen
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio. Currently living in San Diego, CA.
Favorite Magazine: Vogue
Activities: drawing, watching animal documentaries & Chuck, Give Thanks Give Back
Self-Description: Nerdy & Dorky
HC: How did you get the idea to start your blog, pandaphilia.com?
AC: Well actually, my boyfriend and I decided to start on a project together where we both had our own personal blog to just write about college life and that’s where Pandaphilia started. Eventually, I got more interested in girly things when I started reading other blogs, and that’s when I started experimenting with makeup. Last summer, I got into fashion so I’ve been full on blogging about fashion for over a year now.
HC: Where did you get your inspiration for posts like “Outfits of the Day” (OOTD) and “Face of the Day” (FOTD)?
AC: After reading other makeup and fashion blogs, I made it a personal project to dress better. I play with the clothes in my closet and make it a little art project every single day and a part of my daily lifestyle. I draw inspiration from magazines as well, but mostly from online style blogs.
HC: Why the name Pandaphilia?
AC: Many people ask me this! I really liked pandas at the time, absolutely crazy. I have a collection of about 40 pandas, and I love them all. It’s totally irrelevant to fashion, but yup!
HC: Can you tell us about what your website has gone through in terms of growth in publicity with product reviews, giveaways, etc?
AC: For product reviews, companies will just contact me and ask me to give a review of their product. If I don’t like something, I’ll be honest and say why – I don’t bash the product but I will give details as to why I don’t like it. Giveaways are easy, because they’re great publicity for me and the company is sponsoring. They just tell me the specifications and I post it, my readers enter, and I pick a winner with a random number generator. For other forms of sponsorship, I’ve recently been contacted by ALIVE Saint Louis magazine to cover Saint Louis Fashion Week. It was really exciting because I got a media badge and everything. I got to go behind the scenes and take lots of pictures of the runway show, and it was amazing! I also have an article on WikiFashion and got featured on College Fashion, and was featured in a book called Style Yourself. It’s on sale at Barnes and Noble! I was wearing the nerdiest outfit, I don’t know why they chose that one but they did and it was crazy. I think it was being in the book that was the start of recognition, and getting contacted by ALIVE magazine was the most major thing. I think it’s just slowly building a network with all the blogs I read because now, I have friends all over the world just through blogging.
HC: Can you tell us a little about the Saint Louis Fashion Week show?
AC: So from the fashion show, it seems that sequins are really hot. Basically, incorporating them into your day or work outfit and having easy transitions from day to night. I saw equestrian hats coming back, a little tweed, the British vibe. There was also menswear, ranging from what you wear to a Cardinals game to suits. Faux fur is also hot. Fall is just the best season. I’ll be writing a post on my blog about my experiences soon too (check it out! www.pandaphilia.com).
HC: What is your go-to outfit and what would you never be caught dead wearing?
AC: My go-to outfit is some sort of comfy sweater and a fun skirt or shorts, with oxford flats. I would like to wear high heels around campus all day, but it hurts! I would never be caught dead wearing real fur. And also, never just leggings with no shirt or skirt over it, with your butt hanging out. I think that’s just vile. My number one no-no, sorry to anyone who does wear that…
HC: Where do you see yourself in the future with pandaphilia.com and your own fashion aspirations?
AC: I’m nervous with transitioning to medical school. I know a famous blog called Pretty Shiny Sparkly and the writer is a full time medical student and still blogs every single day, so it can be done. But I don’t know if I have that kind of time dedication. Right now, fashion blogging is just ingrained into my work day because it doesn’t take that long to snap a picture and write something about it. I don’t think I would make a career out of this though, because I feel like art and the passion might just go away if it becomes work. But I do think the art and entertainment part of it, the hobby, will last me a lifetime.
HC: Is there anything else you would like HerCampus readers to know about you, or do you have anything to say to them?
AC: I want to say, have confidence in your dreams and who you can become. Two years ago when I was starting out, I had to struggle every single day: “I’m a science geek, I’m a nerdy girl, I don’t how to put on makeup! I don’t know any of this, I feel so fake and materialistic.” It’s taken a long time to transition and learn that that’s not how you go about this. You can have two different sides of you and still be one person, and you’ll just be more wholesome all around. Don’t feel stressed out if you have polar opposite sides to your personality, that’s perfectly fine. It’s what makes people interesting.