Fashion Poet Annie Vazquez Talks Industry, Summer Looks and 4/20 Makeup
Three years ago, Annie Vazquez got a call from her inner self that prompted a jump into the ether of self-employment. Combining a background in teaching and freelance journalism with a keen eye for fashion trends, she has slowly built herself up into one of the leading voices in South Florida concerning the fashion industry. She’s a regular contributor to numerous publications, is part of the seminar/tutorial circuit and her consultation services are sought out by the leading houses of fashion as well as style-savvy companies that require that touch of élan.
We had a chance to catch up with The Fashion Poet recently to discuss her rise and some style touches for the coming months.
Tuff Gnarl: I think I have a pretty good idea as to where the “poet” in the Fashion Poet comes from, but could you give us an idea as to who you were before becoming South Florida’s preeminent authority on beauty and fashion?
Annie Vazquez: Before I became the “The Fashion Poet” three years ago, I was a freelance journalist and an English teacher to middle school students.
And you’ve worked hard to get where you are. How nervous where you when you first made the decision to forge into your current career?
I was very nervous. I didn’t know much about blogging and I was afraid to fail, but times were tough. Magazines and newspapers weren’t really buying local stories when the recession hit… and if they were, they were paying us peanuts. So after toiling with the idea for a few months and a big push from one of my besties, Maria A, I nose-dived. Sometimes, you just gotta jump, you know. We aren’t made to fail ever.
You’ve been an inspirational beacon to those who have ever wondered about starting anew. You’ve also been a speaker on the subject a few times and at prestigious institutions. How has your experience in fashion blogging shaped Annie Vazquez, motivational speaker?
I get a lot of emails for people looking for advice on how to break into the industry or how to promote their products; even bloggers asking me for business advice. I answer all of them. The emails that really get me are the ones where people are working a few jobs to pursue their dreams because that was me. I literally worked three jobs. It took me a very long time to get where I am and you know I had to really hustle, I still do. I had a lot of people tell me to just give up or that I should do something else and I thought, no, this makes me happy. One day it’s going to pay off. I believe. I have faith and it’s happened. I like motivating people. At the University of Miami, I had one girl thank me for motivating her a couple of years ago because she is now doing what she loves. My eyes welled up. At the end of the day, we all need positive words and we all need to help each other.
Since you had experience with established journalist venues before devoting yourself completely to blogging, did you find it hard to “break out” and establish yourself as the “it” girl for fashion in South Florida? Any friction early on?
Actually it was the opposite; these publications saw that it was beneficial. Ocean Drive Magazine has been amazing. They hired me to host a party for them and their client 7 for All Mankind and I often write pieces for them. Refinery 29 also hired me when they had their Miami edition. The blog has really opened up doors.
There are many fashionable dogs out there, and for various reasons. I’ve never fully considered pugs to be very fashionable, but rather more like small vacuums who’ll consume anything in their path. How is your pug, Elmo, different and more fashionable than others?
Ha hah ha! Pugs are really popular right now actually. Major brands like Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters are all selling tees with Pugs on them. Elmo actually doesn’t like taking pictures. I have to bribe him with treats and car rides. What Elmo has is a presence. He walks into a room and everyone goes crazy for him and he loves the attention. It’s really awesome. I started infusing him into the blog to give people a little bit of my personal life and people kept asking for more of him. He even went to Mercedes Benz Swim Week last year.
With summer in South Florida almost a year round reality, what would be wardrobe essentials for women to have?
Crop top, midi skirt, gladiator sandals.
And for the gents?
Long shorts (think Pharrell), Birkenstock sandals (they are back on trend big time) and a cool American Apparel tee.
What fashion trends are coming our way and what would be the more cost-effective ways of acquiring the latest looks?
This summer it’s all about floral prints, metallics, all white looks and pops of pastel and citrus tones. The ‘90’s are really big, too. Best way to get these looks is to shop your own closets and just invest in accessories that are trendy so you can mix and match.
I love Goodwill and Red White and Blue Thrift stores for getting cool threads.
You’re an all-around player in the industry: TV, internet, print media, etc. What areas are left out there for you to explore and what are your plans for the foreseeable future?
Well, this summer people will get to see me as a designer. I’m launching my first capsule collection alongside my niece, “The Petite Poet.” So we are really excited. It will be for kids and adults and focused for The Miami girl and woman.
I also recently held my first styling workshop for LVMH cruise line’s employees so I’m excited to do more of those for the corporate world and create some for the general public to attend. I basically teach people how to look thinner, taller, even get bigger boobs with clothes as well as how to style themselves or work as a stylist.
Besides this, I want to finish another documentary and take my talents on the road. I love Miami and the blog has always been Miami-based, but it’s time to grow and expand with other cities and topics. You’ll also be seeing some more controversial posts on the blog. The first one launched yesterday. I decided to do a makeup tutorial for 4/20 while everyone else is doing an Easter makeup one. I’m all about being original and standing out and I think that’s what’s made me stay on top of the game for so long.
Here are a couple of looks for you to try compliments of TheFashionPoet.com:
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