Jelena Simeonov, who is best known to her 111k Instagram followers by the name of @jelenasimeonova is not your typical fashion influencer. Apart from the fact that her flamboyant outfits will lure in even the biggest minimalists, she offers a wide range of classic, monochromatic looks that she carries out with utmost grace.
Jelena easily incorporates the latest trends into her existing style in a way that serves as an inspiration to her following. She is immensely successful in sharing not only her clothes, but her visions, so her followers (me included) are able to recreate her outfits with what we already own. However, when we sat down for a conversation, tea and tarte aux fraises, she came off as incredibly down-to-earth.
Not only does this fashion aficionado repeat the core items in her closet, but she also runs an instagram profile @shopj.s.closet where she’s made it possible for her followers to buy her preloved items. I spoke to this dog mom who currently resides in the country that gives style its good name, France, and talked about her beginnings, her thoughts on fashion sustainability and what really matters in the end.
I bet our readers are curious to know a little bit about how you started your fashion influencer career.
I started it almost as everyone else back in the day – it was just for the love of taking pictures in various outfits and occasions. As time went by, I figured out that it could be a career and I rode the wave of working with brands as they were interested in me and my work, and the rest is history.
You’ve recently moved to France. How was the transition and what does moving there mean for your career?
Yes I did, a couple of months ago. I’m still adjusting, learning the language and trying to get used to life here which is quite different than life back home – in Serbia. It’s much easier to work from here as a lot of brands are more interested in working with somebody who is from the EU, especially from France (we all know that France is home for many legendary fashion houses that ever existed). Also, when it comes to content creation there are a lot of beautiful places you can work at – for example Paris, every corner is so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, the inspiration is never ending there.
What would you say are the good and the not-so-good aspects to this job?
The good thing is definitely that you get to work with so many amazing brands and people, travel, meet colleagues who are in the same business and who understand what you are doing. The high point for me is that I get to combine the things I truly love – fashion and photography. The not-so-good side is for sure the fact that there are no fixed working hours, you work 24/7, always thinking of the next idea/inspo, contacting brands and trying to get yourself out there as much as you can – because if you don’t do it nobody else will do it for you. There are a lot of people who are in this business, so it’s crucial to be unique and to have something distinctive
“It’s about trying to get yourself out there as much as you can – because if you don’t do it nobody else will do it for you.”Jelena Simeonov
You have already worked with some big names in the fashion industry. Which collaborations got you the most excited?
Yes, I’m so grateful to every brand that shared my vision and recognized my talent and dedication to my work. Picking just one is hard, but the one that got me saying: “Wow!” When I got the deal, it was definitely my collaboration with Farfetch, as they’re a giant in this business and operate worldwide. Of course, I love every brand that I work with and I always choose with whom I will work as I would never recommend to my community something that I personally don’t agree with or like. Polène Paris and Revolve are also one of my favorite brands to work with, I have been collaborating with them for years now and I have loved every bit of it!
Who is your primary audience and what do you think they enjoy about your profile in particular?
My primary audience are women and I love that (haha) as what I do is for women mainly, so I love when I see that over 90% of my followers are women from all over the world! They enjoy my outfit ideas and how I present them, and I love to be able to inspire people.
“Women all over the world enjoy my outfit ideas and how I present them, and I love to be able to inspire people. “Jelena Simeonov
In what way does being a multicultural and international fashion influencer help you connect with your followers?
To be honest, it can be a little challenging because everytime I want to talk to my audience I always get stuck between “should I speak English so everybody can understand me, or should I speak Serbian as I am Serbian and it is my native language”. In the end, I normally choose English as I personally love to be able to understand what the influencers I follow are saying, so it is important for me that my followers can understand me, too! On the other hand, I love to be able to show my Serbian followers the life here, and when I travel to inspire others to visit some of the places I do, etc.
You are known for selling your clothes and repeating some key items in your outfits. Would you say that the fashion world is going in the direction of eco consciousness?
Yes, I sell or give away a lot of my clothing as I get a lot of clothes from my collaborations with brands and I can’t manage to wear it all haha. In addition, it’s great that some of the clothing I sell is may not be available for purchase anymore, so my followers can get an almost new product for a smaller price and be unique, as not a lot of people will have the same item I love that there are a lot of reselling sites nowadays and I believe that we should all try and buy as consciously as we can.
“I love that there are a lot of reselling sites nowadays and I believe that we should all try and buy as consciously as we can.”Jelena Simeonov
Apart from fashion, you frequently put an emphasis on the importance of mental health on your profile. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on this topic with our readers?
In this crazy fast-paced world of online everything, it seems to me that it is not always easy keeping in mind what is important and what is not. We, people tend to make comparisons, and when we see somebody’s “perfect” life on social media we think that our own life is insufficient. It is a vicious and bad circle that is far from reality.
As I am a social media person I can say that my life is not only what you see on my page – those are just moments or minutes of my day/week/life that I choose to show. There is a whole life happening to me and all of us in the offline world that we don’t share. I love positivity and good vibes on my page, love to inspire people to be better and do better (and dress better haha) so that’s why I love sharing inspirational content as well.
“In this crazy fast-paced world of online everything, it seems to me that it is not always easy keeping in mind what is important and what is not.”Jelena Simeonov
What is the life motto or philosophy you try to live by?
“If it’s not going to matter in 5 years don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it” – love this one. We tend to stress about the little stuff, but the only thing in this life that is truly important is our health – when you have that you have it all!
Does having such a huge following base carry with it certain responsibilities?
Yes it does. You always have to be aware of what you are posting and what you are saying, as people get offended more easily these days. I personally don’t like to talk about certain matters online as I’m not an expert, so I choose not to get involved and keep my personal views that don’t have to do with fashion to myself.
If you hadn’t chosen this path, what would be your other career choice?
Well, I imagine I would probably be doing some corporate job as that is what I graduated from at my University. People will probably not believe me when I say I was studying engineering and management haha but yup, I am very proud of myself for graduating, even though I was not that into it as my love for fashion was stronger.
What are the achievements you are most proud of in both your career and personal life?
12. There are still a lot of things I want to do, this is only the beginning of my career. I can say that I’m proud of myself for staying true to myself, being unique and able to make my way in international fashion, being recognized by a lot of big brands and companies. That is not an easy thing, especially nowadays – and of course for having my big “online family” that supports me and allows me to do what I love!
“I’m proud of myself for staying true to myself, being unique and able to make my way in international fashion, being recognized by a lot of big brands and companies.”Jelena Simeonov
Are there any upcoming collaborations or plans you wish to share with our readers?
Not for now, but I’m looking forward to this new year to do more, have more collaborations and be better than I was in the previous year!
What would you say to people who wish to have a career in the influencer business?
For all of you guys who are interested in or thinking about starting this kind of job, just make sure that it’s something that you really love and are genuinely passionate about. It’s not easy, it’s not a part-time job – it’s a 24/7 time job. There are no days off and you always have to find inspiration for your work, no matter what. Be patient and consistent and, little by little the results will come.