Maria King of “What_maria_wears” was originally born in Poland, but she has lived in Australia since the end of 2018. About a year ago, she was laid off from her job due to COVID-19 and she can definitely say that this event was the main driving force for her to start something new and that is when @what_maria_wears began.
As a professionally trained ballet dancer and graduate of Media Education and Journalism, she has always been a highly creative and social person, so creating her Instagram page was exactly what she needed. It gave her an opportunity to share the way she expresses herself through fashion, create content and connect with a lot of amazing women. The amount of support she has received from the community was more than what she expected, and it has been her biggest motivation since. She finds it amazing to see how women can support and inspire each other. After nearly a year she can honestly say that she’s happy with where her platform is heading and she’s incredibly grateful for all the amazing opportunities she was given when it came to collaborating with Australian and overseas fashion and beauty brands. Now she’s ready to grow more and see where it takes her.
Model & Mode Magazine recently caught up with Maria to discuss her journey in the fashion world and here’s what went down:
Where do you usually shop? Are there any hidden gems when it comes to snapping up some awesome designer clothes?
“What_maria_wears” is all about affordable fashion. I specialize in versatile styling and creating low-cost outfits, that look anything but cheap. I believe that fashion is for all of us, no matter what the budget is. I find designer fashion certainly not affordable for the average woman, so I shop anywhere I can find inexpensive fashion. There are plenty of brands like that here in Australia, you just have to have an open mind and do not limit yourself. I am also a huge fan of op shopping so I would definitely recommend those to anyone looking for hidden gems when it comes to fashion. Personally, I reckon half of my closet is second-hand.
What are your top tips when it comes to fashion for the cooler months?
The key to Autumn/Winter fashion for me is layering. There are a few tips and tricks on how to layer clothes and still look stylish. Some of my favourites are to invest in lightweight pieces for the base layer such as cotton blends or merino wool that still keeps you warm. Add thick knit on the top of that, use a coat as the very outer layer and you are ready to go!
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
I think inspiration is everywhere, as general as it sounds but it is true. You can get inspired by people you see on the streets, other fashion content creators, magazines you read, and even with movies you watch. I would not say that people particularly look for inspiration, I think it’s more of that inspiration is around us and it’s just important to be able to see it.
Is it hard to stay fashionable?
My overall goal is not to be fashionable at all. It is to inspire women, help them find their style, stick to it, and “shop” their closet. What I do is focusing on building my personal style and not really focusing on following trends. Of course, there are some trends I love but I always make sure that the items I add to my wardrobe are items I will love and wear for years. I find it very upsetting that some people buy a certain item and wear it once, considering the impact the fashion industry has on our environment.
How do you walk the line between being unique and having commercial appeal?
I set my own goals and boundaries, so I don’t find it hard at all. On my platform, I want to stay transparent and true to myself so I only collaborate with brands that suit my style and brands I believe that my audience would genuinely love. Having so many content creators nowadays, it is important not to compare yourself to others and believe in yourself. I am aware that I am not for everyone, and I am not trying to be. I focus on sharing what I love, and I am happy my audience enjoys it.
Are there any key trends you’ve seen for this year?
Trends come and go and it is impossible to keep up with all of them. I personally focus more on classic and staple pieces when it comes to styling but of course, there are some trends that have caught my attention. Statement sleeves, oversized fits, shoulder-padded pieces are some of my favourites. There are so many interesting ones, but I only go for the ones that suit my preferences.
What do you think about the state of fashion today?
I think there is a lot happening in fashion and I think that is what confuses most people who cannot find their own style. Trends are changing so much, and people are “told” what they should wear but they do not consider many important factors such as their personality, body type, or lifestyle. I would like to see, from us consumers more of a personal approach to fashion. To stop religiously following trends and focusing more on creating your unique style. Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying trendy items, as long as you buy them because you genuinely love them not because you feel you should, or other people wear them.
What are the clothes we can rid our wardrobes of that are considered very ‘last season’?
I do not think that we should add or remove items from our wardrobes based on trends. Why would you get rid of a coat that works for you and your closet only because other people start wearing something different? I personally stick to basic and staple pieces, and I build my style around it. Sometimes I will add a trendy piece because I like it, but it is always something that I am planning on wearing and keeping for a long time. I think people should focus more on building a capsule wardrobe that works for their style and lifestyle instead of following trends.
What fashion advice would you give an emerging fashionista?
I am not sure if I am in a place yet to give advice, but if there is something I have learned that I could share with people who are starting their journey with fashion, it is to stay true to yourself. Do not try to be like everyone else because then there is nothing that makes you different. Fashion is for everyone, but style is something very personal.
The fashion industry has changed so much in the past few years, what is the best advice you would give for staying ahead of the curve?
I am still very new in the fashion industry, so it is hard to say. I think we should treat fashion as a space that has a lot to offer and use it in our own way, the way that works for us. I think it is not necessary to “stay ahead of the curve” because, in my opinion, that is not the point. Fashion should give us joy and freedom to express ourselves through it, not cause headaches and stress to be “the first”, at least from my side, as a consumer and fashion lover.