The lady with a lot to say and a Solid Gold Soul
Q. You have a distinctive style, which appears to combine elements of 1950’s Rockabilly and early Hip Hop style. Can you tell me a bit more about your taste and how this translates in your life?
A. Yes your right, my style has developed from two extremes, Hip Hop and Rockabilly, closer to Psychobilly as I identified with the UK punk elements to that. I would say now my style is a combination of the two with a bit of Chola, naturally this influences my taste and lifestyle. I would say for me it’s always style over fashion. I guess you could say my style is a Latino punk pin up meets hip hop.
Q. So what’s your background, are you a Londoner born and bred, do you come from a creative education?
A. I’m from North Devon by the sea, and always wanted to be in a big city. I left school and home at 16 and was all about working and getting money and did a fair bit of partying. At 23/24 I went and did an Art & Design access course and then went to Uni to study Fashion Media & Promotion at Brighton.
Q. How did Missfit come about? Great name combining Miss – Fit and Misfit….
Missfit offers something different to what’s already out there, how would you describe MissFit?
A. MissFit was my grad project in 2010 for which I was nominated for a creative journalism award. Issue 3 is due to be released as online mag and blog. MissFit fills the gap between fashion and music fro women. Most mainstream magazines are aimed at one or the other, I don’t want to hear about how I can loose 5 pounds in a week on some stupid diet, that’s not empowering and how fashion ‘icons’ such as pop girl bands dress doesn’t interest me. MissFit offers substance and style for creative women, covering a variety of areas for those who don’t fit into the mainstream.
Q. Imagery, styling and visual aesthetics seems to be an important part of your world (as it is to other creative’s) and your strong visual voice appears to be reaching out to empower young (15 – 25 yr olds), how important to you is creating a balance between empowerment and over sexualisation?
A. There is lots of things out there that you wouldn’t want kids to see, but it’s up to the parents to protect them from anything harmful. I believe the key how the shoot is executed. It should have a point; have references to what’s important to that artist/stylist/photographer. The details need to be on point and most of all the model should feel comfortable with what they are doing. The shoot that caused the biggest reaction was the one that I modelled in. I felt comfortable with what I was doing; to the un-trained eye they would not see all the cultural references behind the shoot which gives it integrity.
Q. In relation to the last question how do you feel about the image likes of Azealia Banks portrays?
A. Azealia is a pure rule breaker; she has attitude and something to say. It would be great to style her. The likes of Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and her predecessors lead the way for an overtly sexy appearance and attitude, it is what it is.
Q. Tattoos are a big commitment; does it concern you that you may regret them later in life? Do you worry that it may be an issue for employment?
A. Yeah I have a few tattoos and one of them I getting covered but I wouldn’t say I regret them, I can tell you when and where I was for them, Its unlikely I’d do a job where I wouldn’t be able to have tattoos. I would like to have my knuckles done but there is still some stigma for men and especially girls who have them done. (We talk about if we got married how that would play out with tattoos) Amber simply states, trust me if I’m coming up the aisle in a dress the last thing you going to be looking at is my tattoos and whoever I’ll marry will like them as part of me anyway.
Q. ‘Teddy Girl’ I’m guessing is a nickname, how did that come about?
A. The name was given to me by someone I know, a pro-skater and it just kind of stuck, I think mainly because of my hair.
Q. Your currently working with Dope Chef, can you tell me more about that how did it come about?
A. Dope Chef was via an open interview process and I was offered the job. My role isn’t totally defined as yet I work on a lot of the imaging and blog content and model in the shoots. What appeals to me about the brand is that it’s a culturally based British streetwear brand that is authentic to what I identify with.
Q. What makes you happy?
A. Good; friends, company, music, food and sex.
Q. What are your long term goals, creatively or personally?
A. Getting MissFit issue 3 out and there may well be be my own clothing range Solid Gold Soul in the pipe line.
Q. What’s on the horizon that we don’t know about, or is it a secret?
A. Well there’s the work I’m doing with Dope Chef, and I’ve styled the cover for Shystie’s Gold Dust 2, also for the next issue of MissFit I have some great interviews from some Hip Hop heavy weights which are really exciting.
Gold Dust: Vol2 cover styled by Amber Upton assisted by Lucy Ansa-Addo
Q. How do you balance your creative side with the day to day financial ties of life?
A. Yes of course it’s hard, I’ll do what needs to be done but mainly you’ve just go to hustle hard.
Q. Any advice you’d give someone starting out in a creative industry?
A. Maybe think twice it’s difficult. Be prepared to work f**king hard, you be true to who you are and remember what is unique about you which you will also use a selling point. Do everything with your heart and soul and enjoy yourself.
Amber Upton the sanest girl you’ll ever meet but the craziest girl you’ll ever know. Thank you for your time and a great interview, look forward to catching you soon x