Mama Duet Meets…. Karen Arthur
I am very excited to introduce this new series where I find out how mothers in the industry balance it all.
Karen was highly recommended but to be honest she was already one of the incredible women I had in mind. I feel like she is a friend in my head. She is a writer, speaker, stylist, sewing genius, model and did I mention a mother!
Her honest yet raw view on life and what she shares is so captivating! Her style is a mixture of prints, colour and confidence. Karen encourages us all to “wear your happy!”. I am truly grateful to share this with you all and go check out Karen’s pages.
Enjoy and thank me later.
I thought there was no better place to start than with WEARYOURHAPPY. We’ve just come out of lockdown, and personally, I noticed during quarantine that my outfit choices impacted my mood. I started out – like most of us did, wearing ‘home clothes’ and I realised it was getting me down, so I started dressing up – lots of colour, earrings, even perfume. Soon after, I saw WEARYOURHAPPY and realised that it wasn’t just me that felt this way. Why do you think our clothes affect our mood so much?
Our clothing can reflect how we feel. Certain colours can make us feel better. Sometimes we don’t even understand why. But clothing holds memories too so it stands to reason that garments from happy occasions might also cheer us up.
I noticed that once I’d dressed up, I also started cooking more – new recipes, and felt more motivated to work on Baby Duet. Did you find that the energy you received from WEARYOURHAPPY extended into other areas of your life?
Absolutely. It’s not a magic pill mind. During lockdown, like you, I made daily conscious efforts to dress as if I was leaving my home. It helped to motivate me to keep going.
Whenever I see your page – or read something you’ve contributed to – it evokes joy. What’s your secret to maintaining this?
Being honest. I don’t always write about joy but I am inherently a joyful person so it stands to reason that this is how I show up on my page.
You’re a veteran of the game – how has the fashion industry changed over that time? Is there anything that’s become more apparent over the last few years for you, since starting REDDSKIN?
I guess the importance of having some kind of presence on social media whilst at the same time remaining as authentic as possible. Well that works for me anyway. I may be a veteran but in real terms I was a teacher for 4 x as long as I’ve been a fashion creative. This year has seen a massive shift towards sustainability and conscious shopping choices – choosing brands whose values you align with. It is well overdue.
You recently shared what you thought was one of the hardest things about parenting (not stepping in). I’m yet to get there; my two are four and nine – what would you say to the mums who will be experiencing this for the first time soon?
I think not stepping in and taking over and allowing your children starts earlier than some might think. But how will they learn if we don’t let them make mistakes? It gets a bit harder as they grow into adults. My childrens healthy boundaries keep me in my place though!
I’ve noticed during quarantine you launched a campaign to share stories of Black women with menopause in the UK – due to the lack of information existing currently. What kind of reaction have you received to Menopause whilst Black? Have people within the community been willing to share their stories?
I love how you’ve phrased this as launching a campaign. What I actually did was have a massive rant online about the lack of diversity in the media around menopause! Hah! No one had thought of googling the term and clicking images. It seemed so obvious to me. The response has been nothing short of amazing. It’s like a lot of people across cultures are opening their eyes. Almost definitely triggered by Black Lives Matter but that was what also drove me to finally speak up. I’d had enough. I am interviewing for my first podcast which will launch (there’s that word again!) this month! Excited to share our stories (and more than a little nervous!)
Before I saw this campaign, this is information that I – like a lot of people – thought already existed. For the women that aren’t there yet – how have you been able to communicate with them?
Not being silent. Talking about it all the time with people from all ages, not just women already entering menopause. The topic of menopause is a global conversation that crosses generations and genders.
What is your go to feel good colour?
Orange! And for an extra boost orange and pink combined!
What are some of your favourite small brands?
I have loads. Two new ones – a family run business @Heythatismeshop and @heysareta has started a gift card shop. I love @dorcascreates for her pins and stationery and @halcyonnaturalsuk for their luxury wellness candles. My skincare go to is wife and husband team @earthtoearthorganics. Is that enough?
Who inspires your style?
There’s no particular person. I am drawn to women who dress for themselves and dress boldly or colourfully. @blendandboutique style is epic. I love @brokedirtyblonde and her bling, @mumsthatslay and her confidence and @irrelevant_styling and @style.shifter for new ways to wear old things. Ultimately I dress how I feel and am often inspired by the day and my desired mood.
Karen Arthur. October 2020.
All images courtesy of Karen Arthur’s Instagram: @thekarenarthur