1. How did you hear about the Reef Junior Stylist Contest?
Actually, it was my dear friend and fellow dream chaser Lauren Hill who brought it to my attention. She has watched my passion for styling progress from its earliest stages and has always been an advocate for my ambitiousness. She happened to be on the Reef website and saw the contest and shot me an email saying "you have to do this!!"
2. What made you decide to enter?
I have a blog called Gypsea Love (gypsealove.blogspot.com), its an expression of surf, art, travel and fashion and one of my favorite parts is styling outfits and setting up photoshoots. When I saw the contest I thought, what a great excuse to feature Reef on the blog! And when I saw the prize, I thought, Oh my God, what a dream opportunity! I knew I had to win :)
3. Where do you look to (or who do you look to) for fashion inspiration?
Everyday Women inspire me the most. The beauty of fashion is that its a channel for self expression with major transformative properties. Clothes can change our mood or help reflect whatever image we choose to portray that day in that moment. I love a good fashion mag just as much as the next girl but having street swag and being bold enough to rock a look unique to your personal style takes courage and intuition. I love seeing women fearless in their independence and it encourages me to do the same - follow my own path and never apologize for it.
4. How would you describe your personal style?
Boho Chic with a sophisticated edge. I love to juxtapose my most worn-in favorites with the more expensive pieces in my closet. There's something about being comfortable in your own skin and then adding the "dress up" element that feels fun and special. I love to cross trends and genres and break molds and be unexpected.
5. It looks like you come from a surfing background? How did you get your start surfing?
I was actually kind of a late bloomer by most standards. I grew up surfing in Virginia Beach but was kind of jaded by the tourist/ECSC scene so I never really enjoyed it. It wasn't until high school when I was working as a beach lifeguard and taking trips to the Outerbanks, NC that I felt that intimate, spiritual connection with the ocean that changed my life forever. I realized that I wanted nothing more than to cultivate that connection in every way possible. From that point forward I was surfing every day and I've been lucky enough to travel the world and be exposed to so many different breaks, people, and cultures that have expanded my horizons in ways I never imagined. Surfing has become a part of me rather than something I do, its in my DNA. I will always be Gypsea wandering the Earth in search of that most epic experience.
6. Where is your favorite place to surf?
The Outerbanks of North Carolina has some of my favorite sandbars to surf in the whole world. On the right hurricane swell, you can surf empty lineups with pumping waves, bikini clad and a smile for days. The sunsets over the Sound are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen and often times it's hard to believe you're really on the East Coast of the U.S.!
7. What is your favorite place to travel? (Or where have you always wanted to go?)
This is such a tough question for me! Every place I've ever traveled is my favorite for totally different reasons. I score amazing waves every time I go to California, and the history of longboard culture is so dense it seeps into your pours with the saltwater. I've lived in both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica for amazing periods of my life, and every time I go back I fall even more in love with the people. As far as tradition and indigenous culture, Peru takes the cake with ancient ruins at every backdrop that would make anyone's head spin. Hawaii is somewhere I've only been once but was one of the most magical places I've ever traveled and I know when I return I will stay for good. But the trip I can't get off my mind right now is Byron Bay, Australia. The waves are dreamy and the fashion/art scene is so rich and conducive with my style… I think if I went I may never come back!
8. What are your favorite places to shop?
I'm a big online shopper…right now I am super inspired by brands who test the limits of traditional surf apparel and strive to do something conceptually different. I'm obsessed with Tallow Gallery out of Byron Bay who has designed wetsuits with Vampire Collars and Motorcycle Jacket toppers that have been recently featured in Vogue. Alex Knost's line for RVCA pushes the boundaries of classic androgyny in a way that makes me want to buy every piece of his collection. Reef's experimentation with texture, print, and silhouette in their flats is incredibly refreshing to see in the surf shops as well. And of course there are the non-surf brands like Spell & Gypsy Collective whose use of worldly prints, fringe and crochet with a 1970's revival create a free spirited, bohemian aesthetic that make me froth at the mouth. I also happen to live in an amazing town surrounded by artists, shapers and friends who are incredibly talented. Bella Beach Jewels by Brittany Smith are some of the most gorgeous, hand crafted, ocean inspired jewels I've seen come out of Florida. The leather bag creations by Lisa Autrey for Peaceful Mind and the floral head pieces by the Conservatorie Floral Boutique are all to die for and are future collaboration ideas for my blog. Not to mention how Peninsula Holding Company's use of dynamic fabric in-lays in their surfboard designs show how synonymously fashion and surfing have truly evolved.
9. What are your favorite new trends for the spring?
My background in graphic design plus my affinity for the 60's/70's make me a sucker for bold colors and graphic prints. I'm obsessed with the bright florals I'm seeing on the runways that, in my world, are ultimately an homage to the aloha shirt :) Collage of texture and neon shades also get me super excited as well as use of sheer, featherweight fabrics for a veiled effect. I think trends are great for inspiration but they should never limit you. Ultimately the most important trends to follow are those set by your intuition!
10. Name a few things every fashionista has! (aka: name a few things you can't live without!)
Whatever is in her closet that makes her smile! For me its my insane bikini collection, anything with fringe, bellbottoms, kimonos, cut-off denim shorts, crochet tops, vintage tees, maxi skirts, platforms wedges, long necklaces and rings with ocean elements and gemstones, and of course..my Reef slippers!!