Interviews

Conversation with Jamaican Fashion Blogger, Natalia Oh!

Written by Xavier Murphy

Natalie Outar is the founder and voice behind the popular Jamaican fashion and lifestyle blog, Natalia Oh!. The blog exploded onto the fashion-blog scene in August 2012 and won the Jamaica Blog Awards for the Best Beauty and Fashion Blog in 2012. The blog is a representation of what real women face in the world of fashion: understanding how to dress for their body types, understanding the do’s and don’ts of fashion while staying on a budget. Natalie lives in Mandeville, Jamaica and is the proud single mother of two adorable boys. Recently, she took time out of her busy schedule to give us some insight on her style, the fashion trends she loves, and how she became a natural at modeling. Keep reading for the scoop on Natalia Oh!…

What inspired you to create Natalia Oh?

Well it really was simple- I was sharing tips on Instagram using DIY projects, outfit of the day (OOTD) posts, budget saving tips and I was being encouraged to start a blog by my followers. I was then asked by The Jamaica Gleaner to produce some DIY projects for their readers and I figured I needed an online reference where readers could turn to for more steps on the processes. That really was how the whole Natalia Oh! began.

When did you first fall in love with fashion?
From I was a little girl I was designing my own clothes and re-designing my mother’s clothes and belts into things for myself. I remember reading her Bride’s and People magazines for the fashion and the beauty tips. My mother was always a stylish woman, who I think I inherited her style principles from.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is pretty much classic chic with a trendy twist. I stick to what works for my body and I don’t chase trends. I think that’s a big mistake that women make.

Describe your fashion mission?
I really don’t have a mission, the whole Natalia Oh! Brand began because it has always been a dream of mine to launch a clothing line, so I figured if I’m going to blog I might as well start building the brand Natalia Oh! If my blog stood for anything it would be that women should love their bodies, figure out how to dress for their body types and should not go crazy chasing trends and trying to dress like everyone else. Be yourself.

Your blog is incredibly successful and was named by the Jamaica Blog Awards the Best Beauty and Fashion Blog of 2012. Has its popularity taken you by surprise?
The popularity of my blog was a little surprising at first, but whatever I do, I do it with all my heart, so I researched a lot about fashion blogging and applied all that I learned. The fact that it has maintained a significant following is due to the fact that I worked hard to establish my name with quality posts; I think quality is better than quantity. I found a voice that women could connect with; I am a single mother who is on a budget, while trying to look fashionable. My readers love my honesty and my openness.

What makes you a successful blogger?
Well, to be honest, the true measure of success with a blog is measured by hits (visitors) and by posts, so in that regard some would consider me unsuccessful. I don’t blog as regularly as I should and though when I do post I get high numbers of hits on the blog I don’t consider that to be my measure of success. What I consider to be success is that through this blog, I have garnered the respect from renowned writers, websites and other fashionistas internationally who consider my work to be impressive. I use the best photos I have and I try to keep my outfits unique and something others have never seen anywhere else. I always try to inspire others in whatever I write, and through the blog I have gained the platform to showcase other phenomenal women in Jamaica with my series Beyond Beauty in the Jamaica Gleaner.

What’s your take on Jamaican style?
Jamaican style is very broad; it is hard to define it in one genre as Jamaica is such an interesting place with different ethnicities and backgrounds thus making it a wide range. There is a group of women who dress for ease, comfort, for the weather and who make an effort to avoid trends- this can be defined as bohemian chic. Then there is the bold and daring demographic who gravitate to bright colours and embrace their womanly curves by dressing sexy- this demographic is usually on top of the trends.  

Which designers do you love right now?
I love local designer Lubica for her excellent finish and her easy and comfortable styles. I also love Bahamian designer Theodore Elliot (past winner of Mission Catwalk) for his mastery in print mixing and his classic ladylike silhouettes.

What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more of us wore?
That’s a tricky question, and too broad as everyone’s lifestyle is different. I do believe that every woman needs a quality pair of slacks in their wardrobes. The right pair should be tailored to fit your body type, made in a high quality fabric, and tailored to the right length based on the preferred heel type. Dress slacks can go from the office to dinner meetings with minor changes.

Anything we should look out for from you in the coming weeks/months/year?
Well, I have so many things that I am working on but I have learned from past experiences that I should not talk about things until they happen- but I would say to everyone to please stay tuned 😉

You seem to be a natural in front of the camera, are you venturing more into modeling on the runway?
Haha, modeling? No way! I’m five feet tall and I have no hopes of becoming a model. I know how to get my photos shot so that I seem taller for my blog posts and I am becoming more natural in front of the video camera thanks to repeated appearances on live TV being on Smile Jamaica. But again, I am not a model, never considered myself one and I never will. I take my hat off to real models and I respect their talent and art form.

A phrase you use far too often?
‘At the end of the day’… yeah I use that one a lot. To me it means there is always a bigger picture at hand; one we should all be aware of.  

What food brings your comfort when you are disappointed?
I wouldn’t say which food I eat when I’m disappointed, because I don’t advocate emotional eating or drinking. I do like to drink when I want to unwind or celebrate an event or occasion, but not disappointed. I do love to drink a good glass of South African red, or a glass of Woodford Reserve bourbon- neat. I believe that disappointment can only be fixed through prayer- not food or drinking.   

What other fashion blogs would you recommend?
I am a huge fan of www.ktrstyle.com she runs a good blog, and it’s probably the only blog I read now, because I don’t have the time to read. She is now a highly respected designer, with the likes of Sherri Shepard wearing her pieces on The View. KTR began as a blogger and she set the bar in fashion blogging to me and she inspires me that through blogging one can launch a successful career. Her high quality photos are shot by her husband and her writing is real and unpretentious- that to me is good blogging. Of course, blogging genius www.manrepeller.com is always a good read as she is a good writer and her style of humour and satire holds the reader. She understands fashion and the history of it which makes it easy to learn about up-and-coming international designers and trends.

In a nutshell, your philosophy is?
Just be yourself, some will love you and some won’t and at the end of the day if you’re being yourself it will bring you the most happiness. Don’t be too hard on yourself as we all make mistakes and life is about getting back up and moving forward one step at a time.

 

Follow and keep updated with “Natalia Oh” at the following sites:

Blog:  nataliaoh.com

Facebook: nataliaoh
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalia-Oh/

Twitter: @imajumaican  
https://twitter.com/imajumaican

About the author

Xavier Murphy