What comes to your mind when you think of “fashion”?
Beauty? Clothing? Magazines? Models? Famous People? Exclusion? Racism? Body Shaming? Labor exploitation?
Every woman who wears clothes has a relationship with a fashion, even it is rejection, evasion or criticism. Thais, a content creator, entrepreneur and mother, sees the complexity of this relationship in her work as a personal stylist.
“It’s changing, at a snail’s pace, but fashion is designed for 0.5% (of the population): for skinny people, for tall people, for those who have money to spend, for those that can work in high heels, for whites.” Nonetheless, her work has shown here that fundamentally, “people are very human. When it comes to details there are differences, (but) everyone wants to feel beautiful, to be seen, to fully express themselves.”
Thais started in the film industry and worked her way to up to the position of assistant art director. Despite her success, she did not feel happy.
“I love working, but it reached a point that I was doing a lot more of what I didn’t like than what I did— bad films, boring publicity, things I didn’t believe in—just to have one rewarding job a year. This wore me down. I was making great money, was in a comfortable situation, had made a “name” for myself, but (ultimately) I said “people, I don’t want this life.” So I left.”
She never went back, even though she did not know what the next step would be.
“I always had a relationship with a fashion (but) I thought it was futile.”
After starting a blog and taking a one-month course on fashion history at MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art), she took a course to become a personal stylist. When she realized that it was a way of using fashion to value a person’s essence, not simply to impose a list of rigid and exclusive rules, she finally embraced her passion as a profession.
“That’s when it clicked. From there on out it was very easy for me. I started working in a way that I do very spontaneously. I study a lot, I research a lot, but it’s very intuitive for me. I really think my talent is fashion.”
Her intuition guides what she posts publicly, and how to endure the double pressure of being a mother and an entrepreneur.
“I say that I don’t have a professional life, and a personal life. I am not an individual, and a legal entity. I’m one person. I just don’t post things that disrespect the other. And, in fact, I write the things that I believe in, what I feel like writing. I try to use my life and my experience to fight for things that I believe.”
“I really believe that we need to talk about career and motherhood. I have a lot of followers who are moms, so I use this niche that follows me so that I can support the right of women to be mothers and to have a successful career. When you become a mother, you become a public domain. Maternity was a slap in the face, (seeing) the reality of sexism and being a mother and working. There isn’t a single time that I go out at night—or if I’m on the street when it’s dark—that someone doesn’t turn to me, without even saying hello, and says “Where’s Miguel (her son)?” I struggle with this . The resistance is much greater after becoming a mother. Everyone says “you’re working too hard” (and) “but, you’re not going to let your career go?”
Women are especially susceptible to hate on the internet.
Thais does not face this kind of abuse, but as a public figure, she knows how to handle the demands and criticisms.
“I have very nice followers, they are very engaged, they are very supportive, they are the best followers in the world that I could have, so I receive few criticisms. What hurts me is when someone criticizes my character. It has only happened once. I took it very badly and I said that I would never again talk about awards ceremony fashion (the moment that generated the criticism), but this year I’m going to do it again because I love it (video, in Portuguese, here). I’ll do it, knowing what I could face. I’m not very afraid of that. People criticize me, I’ll be devastated and tomorrow I’ll get up and do it again. I suffer a lot and recover quickly.”
Thais is one of the few people with the courage to speak openly about her privileges, without detracting from her achievements, and actively invest her energy to thinking about how to contribute to making fashion more accessible.
“In comparison to the world, I’m doing great. There are a lot of women who suffer much more than me. Besides, I’m in a predominantly female industry. But yes, (I face sexism). Still, I’m in a very privileged situation. I’d like to give a professional style consulting course to train style consultants in communities so that there aren’t only style consultants who can afford to pay a fortune for a training course. When I say I want to do this, people say: is it volunteer work? My idea is not that I’m doing a favor for people. My idea is an exchange, you teach me some things, I teach some things. It’s one of my goals for this year.”
Thais has several videos without narration (so no Portuguese necessary) that give quick personal styling tips: Jean Shirt (Camisa Jeans). 3 Ways to Wear Sequins (Paetê). 4 Ways to Use a Scarf (Lenço).