Sofia Richie is one of those cool girls of legendary lineage and mysterious influence – of whom you hear around town as being “super chill” and “down to earth” and “not about all that stuff” (cue universally understood eye-roll at Tinseltown in general). And indeed, she’s all of those things. Professional, curious, calm and considered. She wanted to know about the designers I was styling her in – particularly new graduate, Panayota Theodore. She understood lighting. She was composed beyond her 18 years, and went against everything the adult world says she and her generation ought to be. We pumped out this editorial story for Vogue China’s VogueMe in a few hours one sunny afternoon, and conducted the below phone call from our cars on opposite sides of the planet between meetings.
A pleasure, SR. Much respect.
SR: Hey girl. How are you?
MZ: Hey how’s everything going – are you back in LA?
SR: I’m back in LA – just went and viewed a house with a friend, so if I sound crackly let me know because I’m basically on a mountain. I just got back from New York for the Met Ball.
MZ: You looked awesome – did you have a rad time?
SR: Such a great time. I was there with Topshop. It was so much fun. Such a cool group of people.
MZ: And now back in town for work?
SR: Yep – I’m not working on anything super specific at the moment. I’m just shooting a lot.
MZ: When we were shooting, I was thinking about how your family must know everything about entertainment from all angles. But, do you reckon that’s been helpful for you with your fashion work? Obviously both your dad and your sister are fully across the music and television space, but do you think they understand what you do?
SR: My family in particular is really involved in everything that I do and they all have a solid opinion on what I do, and I go to them for almost everything. Are yours the opposite?
MZ: [laughs] My family literally have no idea what I do. My dad thinks I have a shop, and every time I get on a plane, Mum’s like “have a nice holiday, honey”. Meanwhile, I’m literally on a plane every week.
SR: [laughs] I’m not sure if outsiders necessarily understand, but I know my family does. I feel like they have a good understanding of what I want and what my aspirations are.
MZ: It’s kind of better that way.
SR: Yeah, for sure.
MZ: In terms of your aspirations are you more focused on building your personal brand, or would you rather be on the other side of the camera?
SR: I feel like the bulk of the work I want to do will be very much behind the scenes, but at the end of the day I want to showcase my work and be the face of it, and own it in a public space, even if a lot of the hardest work goes unseen.
MZ: As an extension of you, right? So it’s genuine.
SR: Yeah, exactly.
MZ: And definitely fashion?
SR: I do want to be more on the fashion side. Design.
MZ: Your own label?
SR For sure, I want to have my own thing going that I can put all my energy into. My own label some day is a main goal for me.
MZ: Would you ever seek out work experience in magazines, or maybe working for another designer?
SR: I’m sure I’ll eventually work on something cool with another designer, rather than for another designer, but I’m honestly just really keen to work doing my own thing. I really want to have my own creative headspace, where I can do what I want, and I don’t have anyone telling me what they think is correct for my brand. You know what I’m saying?
MZ: For sure. I guess there’s this looming paradigm shift in that the world changed so quickly because of the Internet, and suddenly we so much access to all this information online that maybe our parents didn’t.
SR: 100%. And just not being trapped by some old school way of doing things. Older people always think young people don’t know what’s up.
MZ: Yeah – like for every generation coming through their late teens and twenties, the older generations are always “Oh, the youths, they’re so irresponsible, they’re so wild, we don’t like what unconventional things they’re doing” but somehow, their misbehaviour ends up shapes culture eventually. Do you think our generation is different though? Is it a bit more of the Wild West?
SR: I feel like the world has evolved so much in the past ten years with so much new technology and new things coming out every two seconds, that change the way we think. But, that’s just our generation – it’s what we grow up with, even if it’s kind of
freaky. I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing. Like, on the one hand, it’s really intelligent and stimulating and it helps us grow, but maybe kids are getting trapped in that social media mess really early, and growing up too fast. I don’t really know.
MZ: Then on the other hand, being in young in a lot of career paths really works against you too.
See our full conversation at Vogue China (or download the Vogue Me App)
MODEL // Sofia Richie
PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING // Margaret Zhang
HAIR & MAKE UP // Jessica Cook
ASSIST // Weston James Palmer