Anita Clarke is one of the most influential and top fashion bloggers in Toronto. Her website, I want - I got is insightful, detailed and incredibly current. The first time I met Anita, I was blown away by the fact that she also holds down a full-time career in IT as a Test Analyst with a large financial institution downtown. She's smart, professional and she knows her stuff. Anita gives us the lowdown on how she manages it all and some of her favourite places in the city.
What made you want to start a blog and how did you discover your love for fashion?
It was a way to record things I found on the Internet I liked in a visual format. It's cliché but I grew up watching Fashion Television. A lot of friends also work in the industry and I find their jobs fascinating.
What are some of the perks of being a blogger?
Access to the other side of the industry and that close-up look.
What is your typical day like?
I'm at my day job from 9 - 5, then I'm usually at an after work event. I go home and work on the site. Then bed usually at some ungodly hour.
What are some of the disadvantages of your job, that maybe we don't think about?
I don't really think of it as a job since I already have a IT career. I don't see the disadvantages besides lack of sleep and a bit of fashion burnout right now as everything has been positive from the onset of I want - I got.
You have a huge following for I Want I Got. How difficult was it to build traffic for your site?
It's something done over time and without a plan. I concentrated on creating content and not on the numbers. I want - I got is 6 years old this June. I can't believe it.
What advice would you give to other bloggers out there hoping to achieve the same thing?
It's about quality posts, volume and time. Keep at it, the hardest part is keeping the momentum going.
Do you think bloggers often get the respect they deserve? How do you think the blogging landscape has changed in the past couple years?
Yes and no. I think they are hurdles to climb still. The number of people with a blog has exploded. Many are mediocre and just repackage posts from legitimate sources. There are a few greats that really show fashion from a different and interesting perspective. Finding them can be hard sometimes. Fashion blogging has definitely changed the retail landscape with retailers collaborating with bloggers in advertising and product design.
Who are some of your favourite Canadian designers?
There are way too many to list and I always forget someone but here we go: Jeremy Laing, Greta Constantine, Krane, Complexgeometries, Juma, Erdem, Mark Fast, Denis Gagnon, Calla Haynes, Line, Mikhael Kale, Evan Biddell, Smythe, Dean Davidson, Dandi Maestre, Jenny Bird, m0851.
What did you study in University/College? Would you have done anything differently?
I have a B.Sc in Kinesiology and a Diploma in Computer Programming & Analysis. I wouldn't change a thing to be honest. I'm a science nerd and I'm glad I focused my studies in those areas. They are completely opposite to the fashion industry and I like that difference.
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto?
I like my local bar The Emmet Ray. I love taking a midweek vacation day and heading to the Toronto island. It makes me feel like I'm not in Toronto. Mostly I like hanging out at home with my cats. I'm out and about so much that home is my favourite place sometimes.
Best place to shop in the city?
I'm a huge fan of Chasse Gardee, Fawn, Rac Boutique, UPC, I Miss You, Stella Luna and Holt Renfrew. I don't get to The Room as much as I would like, but it's fun place to check out some exciting designers.
Tell us about your neighbourhood and what you like best about it.
I live in the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood. It's got everything I need: a large mall, local mom & pop shops and parks. It's walking distance to Queen West and the Ossington strip. My commute to work is around 30 minutes on the subway. It's also pretty quiet.
Where would you go on your dream vacation?
My dream vacation place is Whistler, BC in the winter. I visit there regularly to get my ski fix. I have a hard time planning to go elsewhere on my vacations because it's the place that makes me the happiest. Snow sports, clean air and mountains as far as the eye can see.
What would you tell your 20 year-old self?
Wait till you see what is in store for yourself in your 30s!!!!!!!!!!
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
I don't think it's easy to figure out what to do with your whole life. I'm not sure I have it figured out either. Things change and opportunities come from left field. Do what you love in life and don't sweat the small stuff. My trip to India last year really helped open my eyes to just how lucky I am to be living in Canada.
Check out Anita's site: www.iwantigot.geekigirl.com
Follow her on Twitter: @GeekiGirl
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