Mandy Shadforth is the creative genius behind the world-renowned fashion blog, Oracle Fox. Her rad style and eye for what looks good, every single time, has quickly elevated her to one of the most respected fashion bloggers on the web planet. Tilly's caught up with Mandy to chat about Oracle Fox, fashion, her incredible paintings, love of surfing, personal style and the new Oracle Fox x Billabong Collaboration. Read on!
Hey Mandy, what’s new with you? Well this year has really started with a bang! I came back from my trip to Hawaii thinking that I could cruise on into the year but came home to a bunch of emails and ideas for exciting projects so it's full steam ahead!
So let’s start from scratch. How did you become interested in fashion? I have always loved fashion, and in my earlier years even worked in the industry. Fashion for me is about being confident to wear whatever you like, and experiment.
What made you decide to start your now world-renowned blog, Oracle Fox?
I started my blog as a form of art inspiration. As an artist I was always on the hunt for inspiring images for my art projects, which I used to squirrel away in various notebooks and computer files. I started Oracle Fox in August 2010 as a means of artistic expression. It also allowed me to share some of my interesting finds with others, at the same time making my own artistic processes more interactive.
Is there any significance to the name, Oracle Fox? Ahhh, I'm often asked this question. I've never revealed to anyone what Oracle Fox means and it's still a bit of an enigma. All that I can say is that I loved using the word Oracle when it comes to fashion and trends and the Fox aspect is something that you'd probably never expect.
How did Oracle Fox begin to pick up so much buzz? What was your reaction to all the attention? I don't know exactly how it all happened but within maybe 3 months of me starting I really started to notice and be surprised by the number of people visiting my blog. I think I was very lucky and was featured on a few of my favourite blogs that are quite big and it went from there.
You’re an amazing painter as well. How did you get into painting? Is it weird being known now as Mandy Shadforth, the fine artist and fashion blogger? Hehe... this is funny, I suppose I've always been an artist so it's definitely not weird being known as Mandy Shadforth the artist. Where I live my name in a way has become part of my trademark so I'm used to it being part of my work life/identity. It was a little weird being known as the blogger when I started but now I see the two as being quite intertwined so I've gotten used to it as times gone by.
Are there any similarities between your sense of personal style and your own fine art aesthetic? I think the thing about being an artist means that you have to be creative and experimental as part of your everyday life and in some ways I think that translates in what I wear as well. Every now and then I like to wear an usual combination just to have fun with it, I think fashion should be fun and not taken too seriously.
How would you describe your own style? Hmmm.. this is a hard one! I suppose I like to wear a lot of Australian designers so I have quite a contemporary Australian look but then there's the rock edge that I've always been influenced by so I'll often throw some really heavy metal jewellery over the top of a beautiful dress or outfit.
I’ve heard you love surfing? What about riding waves appeals to you? How often do you surf? I learned to surf when I was a junior in high school and I've been addicted ever since! From the first few really good waves that I ever caught nothing compares with the sense of pure freedom and beauty that you experience when you're on the face of a really nice wave. I'm also a big nature lover so being in the water surrounded by dolphins, fish and the occasional shark is somewhere where I feel most comfortable. When the conditions are good I surf every morning before hitting the office to work on Oracle Fox, it definitely makes you a happy person and the daily issues that you face seem so much smaller when you've had a good morning surf.
Do you think there’s any creative link between fashion and surfing? Well...when you're in the water and there's just you and the ocean and you're happy and really enjoying what you're doing you have the freedom to try new moves, travel to new places and evolve hopefully into a better surfer. I think in some ways fashion can have appeal, when you're having fun with wearing different things or working with someone on a design for a tshirt and you're really enjoying it you create something beautiful and evolve as a creator as a whole.
How did your fashion blogging evolve into your creating your own DIY clothing designs? I've been lucky enough to have amazing designers approach me and encourage me to create beautiful illustrations for the lines. It's been lot's of fun and it's always better working with others when it comes to creative concepts..you know what they say.."two heads are better than one!".
You’re personal designs are so rad. What inspires them? Why thank you *blush*, I've always been drawn to photorealism which is painting in a very realistic way. The last series that I completed was painted in this way but I with the inspirational element of mythology. I researched ancient Egypt and the meaning behind different lucky charms, it was lot's of fun and when you really look into the artworks you get a real feel for nature and the mystic.
How did your collaboration with Billabong come about? The team from Billabong had been following my blog along with other blogs that inspired them and after a certain amount of time felt as though my aesthetic would fit the direction in which they wanted to take this latest Spring Summer season. I was blown away one morning when I had a message in my inbox from Billabong and it all started from there.
What inspired your designs in the Billabong collection? We drew a lot of inspiration from some of my artwork as well as incorporating elements of the lifestyle here where I live in Queensland.
A lot of the designs seem to reflect nature and the earth as a whole. Where do you think your connection to Mother Nature stems from? This connection is probably a little bit sub-conscious as well as intentional as Mother Nature plays a bit part in my life. I don't live in the city and surround myself in holidays in places like Byron Bay and Bali where one of the biggest reasons for visiting is the nature itself. I think I might be a little bit of a hippy deep down inside.
What are some upcoming trends you’re seeing right now in women’s fashion? Excitingly enough this summer colour is a big thing and one of my favourite colours is orange. It's fun to mix one bright piece like a plain tank or brightly coloured friendship band with an everyday outfit.
Thanks for doing this interview, Mandy. What’s on the horizon for you? This year is going to be so much fun! I have lot's of fun projects lined up already! I'll hopefully getting creative again and working on more artworks. I also have some exciting projects that I can't mention just yet so stay tuned to Oracle Fox to find out more over the next few months.
Visit the Oracle Fox Blog HERE and Get the new Billabong x Oracle Fox Collaboration today at Tilly's!