Yippie! Paris Fashion Week 2016 has just begun – a celebration of creativity in our favorite city in the whole universe! We are delighted to celebrate by featuring our dynamic Parisian friend Iman – a stunning beauty who knows herself inside and out, is quick as a whip, and empowers confidence in others through her authentic, humorous blog Manigazer. Read on for her thoughtful perspective on fashion, travel, individuality and why life is about cookies galore!
Tell us about growing up in Paris and studying in London!
Growing up in Paris was nice. Paris is active and very rich culturally, there are a million things to see and do – and also eat #letsbereal. But I always had a bit of a weird relationship to it – although I was born and (mostly) raised there, and even though a big part of my family and close friends are there too – I’ve never fully saw it as my home. I do love going back once in a while though!
Studying in London was great – not too far from my mom and brother, but still a nice change from what I knew. I met incredible people there, saw beautiful things (London Fashion Week is no joke), studied a degree I loved – IT & Business. Can’t complain!
You have a very striking, minimalist, yet bold sense of style. How did you develop this aesthetic?
Straight up – experimenting. I try different things, trends, colors, “vibes” – then I keep what I feel best in. As far as I can remember I have always been interested in personal style. I think it came from my direct environment – everyone in my close family is hella stylish and that might be what ignited this interest of mine!
You are hilarious, straightforward, strong and super witty! We love your sense of humor and the way you write. Where does your sense of humor come from and do you have any tips for other bloggers on developing that authentic voice?
Haha thank you so much! I have no clue where it comes from. I write on my blog the way I would chat with a friend – I think that definitely helps remaining authentic and not drifting too much thinking about what people want to read. Also, celebrating what makes you you (in my case, being a little bit of a weirdo) in the way you write helps develop this authentic voice.
You have a background as a model. What is it like to model and creative direct your own shoots?
When I modelled for photographer friends, they would tell me about their vision, their style, and I would interpret and try to impersonate their idea. Now that I’m doing my own shoots, only my outfit and location are set in advance, the rest is completely open. The outcome of the shoot depends on how the outfit makes me feel, the mood I’m in, which composition/lighting effect I feel like trying that day. It’s really fun and empowering to control both ends of the shoot!
You are a very global person and have traveled and lived in many places. How do these places inform who you are and what have you learned from your travels? What part of being West African do you hold dear and how does your heritage inform your style?
My travels convinced me that there is no “one right way”. To live, to dress, to think, whatever you want. That definitely influenced my perspective on style – and is probably why I don’t believe one bit in ‘fashion mandates’ (the do’s and don’t’s, etc). Regarding my West African heritage, I hold dear absolutely all of it. As I grew up in Europe and never lived in Africa, I am grateful that my parents exposed me to this cultural heritage from day one. Being African is a beautiful part of me and I would feel stupid not acknowledging or embracing it. This heritage probably informs my style in two main ways: inspiration – I follow West African style mavens and designers that get my sartorial juices flowing like there’s no tomorrow – and versatility.
Your photography is stunning! What are your tips on capturing a great image?
Thank you very much. 🙂 I’m not a pro, but I would say:
– A good camera (not necessarily expensive, but able to take crisp and clean photos)
– Trying different things (backgrounds, lightings, compositions, etc) to find out what works for you.
Do you have any naughty indulgences?
You mean with food? Plenty. I’ve never been about diets and my life is basically cookie galore.
The Power of Now, Jane Eyre, and Ségou (both books).