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Among the cries of protest that content creators are churning out near-identical Instagram posts, it’s refreshing to see the pastel dream that is Jess Cheng’s (@thestylecat) feed. She’s a Senior Creative at fashion giant ASOS and a relatively new Londoner. Acutely on trend and full of sparky conversation, the blonde Canadian talks to The Haute Heel about her style and what it’s like to work for one of the world’s biggest fashion retailers. Oh, and what she’d like to ask her cats.
1. You moved to London from Toronto, what was that like?
The main reason is my British boyfriend! Career wise, there are a lot of brands and opportunities in the creative industry that aren’t in Toronto.
2. Tell us about your style, how has it evolved?
My personal style has definitely gone through a bit of an evolution throughout the years. Ever since I started working at ASOS, it has become more playful and bright because I’m constantly surrounded by the latest trendy clothing. I’m a bit all over the map, but I like mixing my staple basics with a pop of fun for a ‘casual cool’ outfit.
My Instagram feed is a reflection of my style, and I’m constantly trying to aesthetically represent what feels most ‘me’ at the moment. I love direct sunlight and interesting shadow play. I don’t like photos that look too perfect or set up.
[…] I try to avoid cliche ‘instagrammable’ locations, I try to shoot in places people wouldn’t necessarily deem good or pretty.
3. How do you juggle a full time job while engaging with your community?
Taking 1 hour a day to engage and post. I try to post between three to five times a week and I’ll keep I’ll keep one day on the weekend free to shoot some content.
4. As an influencer but also working in creative for a brand, how does social media affect the direction?
We are always looking ahead to see what may become trending on social and try to adopt them in our own ASOS way, such as our new AR filters. We post a lot of user generated content (UGC) and keep an eye on what the top influencers are wearing. Working for such a huge brand with over 9 million Instagram followers, the audience is very wide and tends to prefer more relatable and topical content.
5. What’s your favourite podcast?
I’ve only gotten into podcasts in the last few months or so, my favourite one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I listen to The Skinny Confidential which is by a blogger/entrepreneur called Lauryn Evarts Bosstick. I find all her episodes super interesting, she and guest co-hosts covers a wide range of topics from skincare to self-help.
6. If you’re showing a friend around London, what are your three must visit places?
I always take them around Broadway Market and Mare Street Market, I go there most weekends for coffee. There are lots of cool, weird vintage stores and a rooftop bar Netil 360. I try to give the London experience without being too touristy. We’ll go to Soho because there are so many good eats and there’s great energy and vibes there on a Friday or Saturday night. Then maybe a museum or gallery, probably the Victoria and Albert museum.
7. What would you ask your cat?
I was a dog person before I got two cats, I’m just an animal lover in general. I guess I would ask if I could do anything to make them happier? More importantly, I’d ask, “who do you love more: me or my boyfriend?”
8. What are your favourite brands to shop? Do you have any tips for girls with your body type to shop online?
This is obvious because I work there, but I would say ASOS, I look at the new-ins every single day. Like, I have an addiction. As for shopping for my body type, (which is very skinny), I know I’m always the smallest size possible – I’m a UK size 4. Fit is everything, so I like to pair oversized and fitted pieces together to create a more interesting shape.
9. Tell us about your hair, is it hard to dye Asian hair and how often do you maintain it?
I’m not the best example of someone who’s hair is in pristine health. I’ve been blonde on and off for a few years and when I go into a salon, I’ve never been happy a single time with what someone’s done for me. They always think it’s a one-time bleach job and it’s not. I often do my own roots and I’ll get my boyfriend to help me do the back, I know how much bleach it takes because I know what my [hair’s] breaking point is.
[…] For recovery, I like Ouai’s treatment mask (£49.99) and their supplements (£26) and Bleach London’s powder bleach (£8) and Reincarnation Mask (£7.50). I do a coconut oil mask all over once a week. As for colour, if you’re already blonde doing colour is super easy. I sometimes use Lunar Tides, it’s like vegan hair dye. But I will try anything!
10. What are some of your milestones you’re looking towards?
Short term, I’m hoping to get to 10k by the end of the year. As for work, I feel like I’m already in a dream job for me, ASOS was one of my dream brands to work for when I moved here and it’s quite surreal for me. I’d like to work on more creative side projects outside of work and social media to develop my own style. It sounds so boring but right now I really want to buy a house, decorate it however I want, and film Youtube videos in it.
Check out Jess’s Instagram @thestylecat! Who should we interview next? Let us know here.