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This Calgary Life sat down with two local millennial Instagrammers and friends who have organically reached over 37,000 followers in only a few months (since January 2016). They shared what makes their fashion feeds popular, giving us a glimpse into the world of #flatlay and #creepers, and talk about working with brands.

Most of us Instagram for our families and friends. Sharing a favourite restaurant plate, posting our holiday pics, and capturing a night out with a few selfies. On the other side, are the professionals, where an every day person can become a trendsetter and brand ambassador.

Young, fashion forward, and independent, 25 year-old Reese and 22 year-old Jen, have Instagram feeds that focus on fashion and lifestyle. Their contemporary style has a street edge, but with a feminine sophistication. Their feeds aren’t pouty selfies, these young women are serious about fashion with inspiring posts.

What’s your day job?

Reese: I work in the oil and gas industry. Outside of work, I often travel to New York, where my fiancé lives.

Jen: I’m a student and am studying psychology.

When do you Instagram?

Reese: Whenever I’m not doing my day job, from when I wake up until I go to bed. This includes planning my posts, photographing for the week ahead, answering questions from my followers, liking other posts and following others. I’m my own business manager too, which includes dealing with the contracts that come in from brands.

Jen: It’s easily a full-time job. I also have a private Instagram account which I use for planning. But the hard work pays off, we don’t buy our followers or likes.

Are you collaborating with brands and designers?

Reese: Yes, brands will reach out and send us pieces to wear in a post. If it fits with my style, I’ll work with them on a contract. I have pieces that come in from Australia, New York, and LA. We also recently worked with Nordstrom here in Calgary for a fashion shoot, along with Ania Boniecka.

Jen: I also reach out to designers I follow and work with lifestyle brands. Instragram partnerships are nascent here, in LA, there are some cafes and restaurants that will do an meal exchange for an Instagram post.

What have you learned that works and doesn’t work on Instagram?

Reese: I did a ton of research before I began. Be consistent in your posts. Lighting is everything. We shoot mostly in alleys as background. Interact with your followers.

Jen: Having a theme is really important. Mine is monochrome. I do mostly fashion, but have some lifestyle and food posts too.

What do you love wearing now?

Reese: My favourite shoes are Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti. I wear what looks good on me, it’s important to keep true to your own style. Sometimes I also do a Flatlay to change up my posts.

Jen: I like wearing street style, edgy, urban. Some of my favourite pieces right now are Madewell jeans, MOTHER jeans at Club Monaco, anything by Acne at Gravity Pope. I’m really into Creepers too.

Explain Flatlay and Creepers for us normcore people.

Jen: Creepers are thick rubber soled shoes, which have resurfaced from the early 90’s again. I like to pair mine with culottes or slip dresses.

Reese: Flatlay is the technique when you lay all the pieces down and photograph from above. It’s an editorial method you see in magazines a lot. I did a Flatlay for a recent Holt Renfrew competition and we won $2,000!

That’s awesome! What do you plan to purchase?

Reese: We’re going to split the prize. I’ll get some shoes.

Jen: I’m looking at a Chloe bag.

What else is on your wishlist?

Reese: I’m lusting over a YSL cuff and of course an Hermes Birkin bag. I love the Fendi fur monster charms and the Stella McCartney creepers.

Jen: For me, Acne creepers, Celine bag, Comme des Garcon, YSL…I have so many!

For more of Reese and Jen’s looks, you can follow them on Instagram @nguyen1q and @jenegoescu.

They also shared some of their favourite places to shop:

Favourite retail shops in Calgary

Online favourites


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