Q + A with Abby St. Claire

Abby St. Claire is a woman of many talents! A native of Chicago, she is a graphic designer, content creator and studio artist whose elegant and simple aesthetic has earned her a loyal following on Instagram, and has opened doors to numerous project and collaborations. We caught up with Abby ahead of our meetup event on October 27 where she will be one of our panelists.

Polina Osherov: Your tagline is easy. breezy. Yeezy. Tell us where that came from! We assume you’re a fan of Kanye, but maybe not…? 🙂

Abby St. Claire: Yes! I love Kanye. I think I heard the phrase in passing somewhere and thought, “that is how I will live my life.” I would say it is most definitely my personal brand in three words. I’m really taken with an effortless look and relaxed lifestyle which comes from my love of France and Parisian culture, and why not add Yeezy on top of that? He’s an innovator and generally a ridiculous human being, so that keeps my fun-loving self in check.

PO: What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
ASC: Instagram is the platform with which I have connected best. It is perfect for the types of things that I like to create and display such as photography and art. Other platforms don’t necessarily lend themselves to that. The strong community that exists within Instagram has surprised me over the past year, and I have been able to meet some of my closest friends through it. Being able to feel a part of someone’s creative journey is one of the greatest aspects of the digital age, and I love gathering inspiration from so many formidable tastemakers and artists from all over the world. Some of the most influential users in my feed would have to be Gillian Stevens, Emma Loughridge, and Amanda Jane Jones, and it is great to be able to feel close to others with whom I share similar values and aesthetic. I cannot count the number of times I have stumbled onto an account that has somehow influenced my style or has made me look at art differently, and for that and all the other aforementioned reasons, Instagram is pretty hard to beat.

PO: What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to establish their brand on Instagram?
ASC: Probably taking yourself too seriously and presenting an inauthentic version of yourself. I think it is easy to detect when users are being inauthentic and pretentious. I try to make captions a little less serious and more self-depreciating because in real life I’m a fairly lighthearted person, I love to laugh and joke about which is something that doesn’t always translate naturally with lifestyle photography. People will appreciate an honest account over fluffy words any day. I also make it a point to share things that I am struggling with because it is so easy to assume other people have perfect lives when looking at a curated feed. It is incredibly important to remind others that life sometimes gets in the way of pretty pictures and everything isn’t perfect even if it photographs as such. If you’re being honest with yourself and with your audience, it will go a long way.

PO: What’s the best part about being a creative person living in Chicago?
ASC: There is a great sense of community and collaboration which is really special to have in a bigger city. Being in the Midwest, people are generally kind and supportive of other artistic endeavors, which isn’t always the case in a city like New York and San Francisco. The sense of competition isn’t as strong and I think that is such a wonderful quality that is harder to come by.

PO: Tell us about a current project you’re working on that’s got you all inspired.
ASC: Oh man, I have so many! I recently finished creating a wedding and lifestyle publication for a company in Chicago called Flowers for Dreams. It was pretty incredible to work with great people to create a stunning collection of floral inspiration and lifestyle content. As a young creative, I felt really humbled to be the editor and designer and have a huge amount of trust instilled in me and my abilities.
My friend, Mandy Lancia, and I recently started a platform devoted to creative Chicago women called WITH/ANOTHER. We are able to meet and talk with kickass women and share their inspiring stories with our audience to foster a greater sense of community and support with all the female creatives. We just launched in August and have already received a wonderful response, so it is exciting to think about all the different ways we can grow the Chicago community and support women in the process.