Navaz Batliwalla is the uber cool, fashion insider behind super blog Disneyrollergirl, a place where you'll find insightful articles and cultural observations designed to make you think about the fashion world. Fusing a laid-back cool exterior with a powerhouse of fashion knowledge, Navaz has carved out a new role with Disneyrollergirl now making up part of her creative empire. In our interview; we asked Navaz (pictured below rocking double denim) about her fashion past, present and more importantly, what's in store for the future.
Donna Ida: We love the Disneyrollergirl name, how did you decide what to call your blog?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'It was a complete spur of the moment thing. I had just decided "Yes I'm going to try this blogging thing out!" and I needed a name. I wanted it to be 'rollergirl' as that was my name on a fashion forum I frequented. But that name was taken so I looked around me, clocked all my Mickey Mouse paraphernalia and stuck a 'Disney' in front!'
Donna Ida: Where did you study? How did you get to where you are now? How did you get your big break?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'I studied fashion illustration and promotion at Epsom School of Art & Design. I thought you had to know how to sew to study fashion so i went for the easy option of illustration. But when i graduated, the illustration work wasn't forthcoming. I had an opportunity to do work experience on a magazine so took that, and then grabbed further opportunities along the way until I became a freelance stylist. My first big break was writing to the stylist Caroline Baker (email didn't exist). She didn't need an assistant but asked me to do work experience with her on Good Housekeeping magazine. i agreed because she was a legend and I wanted to learn from her. I got to where I am now by keeping an open mind, looking for the doors (of opportunity… not the exit!), and always over delivering'.
Donna Ida: Your success on the blogging scene has been huge. What advice would you give to fellow bloggers to increase their audience?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'The only thing I can think is only have a blog if you have something to say, because otherwise what's the point? I don't think you should chase fame or money either. Do it for the love of it and the rewards will follow.'
Donna Ida: Have you always been interested in fashion?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'I have always loved clothes and style. I'm a child of the eighties and we had fantastic female and male creative role models who inspired us. I grew up on Madonna and The Clash and Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. I have a nostalgic relationship to fashion which means I'm drawn to things that remind me of a look or a past experience. I rarely follow fashionable trends even though my job means I have to report on them. I'm secretly happiest in jeans and sweatshirts and I don't mean trendy ones!'
Donna Ida: So give us a sneak into your daily life, what is your typical working day?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'I'm either strapped to the computer on copy deadlines (I write freelance for fashion brands and i have a column in Grazia India), or I'm on appointments in town grilling fashion people for their insider secrets, or I'm prepping for a shoot for the blog. The worst thing is fielding 200 emails a day. The best thing is discovering new design talent or going to exhibition previews and calling it work.'
Donna Ida: What do you think is the future of fashion?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'I think we've just come out of a phase where everything was about looking to the past. That was the first decade of the millennium. I think the next decade will be forward-thinking with a focus on original techniques and materials and obviously some clever ways with technology. I think this phase is going to be really exciting.'
Donna Ida: We always seem to be discussing the changing roles of bloggers, especially when it comes to fashion week, where do you stand?
Navaz Batliwalla: 'I think we need to stop labelling bloggers like they're second rate amateurs. Blogging is just another form of media like magazine publishing, newspaper writing or tv reporting. If bloggers can keep their independent point of view and not be seduced by freebies, they can add a valuable voice to the media landscape.'
Donna Ida: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Navaz Batliwalla: Just get on with it
Donna Ida: If you weren’t a blogger, what would you be doing now?
Navaz Batliwalla: I'd be doing the same thing - freelance styling and writing - but have more time to sleep.
Donna Ida: What’s next?
Navaz Batliwalla: I've just launched my professional website (www.navazbatliwalla.com) so now I'm working on updating my styling portfolio and connecting with new photographers. The best thing about being freelance is you never quite know what's next.