Our travel influencer @LaCarmina is back! Her first interview as part of our Travel Influencer Series took us through her journey to become an alternative travel TV host, blogger, and journalist — with a passion for young underground culture!
She is now selling hundreds of items from her unique wardrobe — including clothing that she featured worldwide on her fashion and travel blog! She’s listed hundreds of items including Japanese Gothic Lolita, Pin-Up, Steampunk and alternative styles — on Depop (username lacarmina)
1.) What prompted you to start your blog lacarmina.com?
I’ve always been fascinated by Jpop culture and Harajuku fashion, ever since my childhood trips to Asia with my family. I started my La Carmina blog as a hobby, while I was a student at Yale. I quickly realized that I loved sharing stories and connecting with others worldwide, especially about Japan and travel — and everything grew from there.
2.) How would you describe your travel style?
These days, I’m always traveling with my film team, which ranges from a sleek two-person operation for the videos, to a full crew for travel TV projects. With so many moving parts and filming obligations, we need to travel as efficiently as possible (or, as we joke, “effiche” — since that cuts out syllables)! We spend a lot of time mapping out each day before the trip, from permits to transportation. But don’t get me wrong: we have so much fun, and I think we always end up finding the most creative, surprising, local aspects of each city we visit. “Effiche” for sure, but not stressful or overloaded.
3.) What are your travel essentials? Do you have a “must-have” and a “leave-it-behind” list?
I always bring my iPhone, since social media is a necessity for my travel campaigns and projects. I also take my Sony A7 mirrorless DSLR camera with me (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FRDV06I/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FRDV06I&linkCode=as2&tag=lacarjapfasgo-20&linkId=6C53FLKIZVEAJBSH) — it’s lightweight and takes beautiful quality photos. I leave behind my heaviest shoes and unnecessary accessories, since they take up space and weight in my suitcase. I also rarely bring books or a tablet, since I’m so busy experiencing everything around me.
4.) In which destination do you feel the most “at home” with your style?
Tokyo, Japan remains the city that best matches my style. I’ve long been influenced by Harajuku street fashion, especially Gothic and alternative designers such as h.Naoto, Moi-meme-moitie and Atelier Pierrot. Every time I return to Tokyo, I spend at least a day checking out the unique, cute clothing found only here. (I’m currently selling a lot of my Japanese fashion from over the years, including Jrock and Lolita styles. My shop is here: https://www.depop.com/en/lacarmina)
5.) Which on-the-go beauty products do you use to stay looking fresh on long journeys?
I stick to the basics of drinking lots of water, and wearing sunscreen at all times. Getting a good night’s sleep is also my top beauty weapon. In cold climates, I bring my heavy-duty moisturizer since my skin can get dry quite quickly.
6.) How do you keep your “look” while traveling without your whole wardrobe?
I plan out my clothes well before the journey, and make sure that I have pieces that I can wear for multiple outfits. One stand-out piece — such as an oversize black top with a giant eyeball, or a jacket with a spider on the back — can be the focus for an “outfit of the day,” and the other items can be mixed and matched. This way, I can create a diversity of different looks on the trip, with only one suitcase worth of clothing.
7.) How do fashion and travel go together for you?
I love enhancing a travel story through fashion visuals. When I wear clothing that relates to the destination, I think the images help convey the culture, mood or just plain joy of the experience. For example, I dressed in Indian robes to visit Bali’s temples, wore a dramatic cloak at the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings set in New Zealand, and spread my Gothic fairy wings above the historic architecture of Istanbul. Many readers tell me they had their attention piqued by my style images (taken at the Duomo, Angkor Wat, Petra and more). This has led them to discovering more about each place, and travelling there themselves.
8.) How do you see fashion and travel changing in the coming years?
Personally, I’ve been going for a more pared-down, minimal Gothic aesthetic. I may not longer wear the mountain of hair accessories, petticoats and frills of the past — but by no means am I “toning it down.” I’m quite certain that readers will be excited by my next outfits and destinations (six countries coming up in June-July, which are more off-the-beaten-path). And they’ll certainly be surprised by the next hair incarnation, which will involve rainbow colors, and a very different type of cut that I’ve yet to try!
Many items are rare, such as Harajuku and Hong Kong brands, cute vintage designs, and more. La Carmina’s offering lots of sizes, and she ships worldwide. If you’d like more than one item, she’ll gladly put together a discounted package for you!
For more information, send @LaCarmina an email: [email protected]