Cliffside Park HS FC President Semarah Lafi talks about the inspiration behind her blog.
Tell us a little about yourself: I am 16, turning 17 on February 21st. I’m the youngest of three, and a diehard animal lover—I have four dogs! I have a strong passion for fashion and just putting different outfits together that express myself. I started Fashion Club this year at my high school, and was surprised by how many people were interested! I usually don’t stick to one type of style when I dress because I feel like you can’t just stick to one particular look; but if I have to pick my signature look, I would say it is edgy. I’m very into the dark textured clothes. I always try to dress monochromatic. Some of my favorite designers are Alexander Wang, Alexander McQueen, Chanel (I love vintage Chanel!), and Fendi. My style inspiration would definitely have to be Kylie Jenner due to fact that her style always changes, but sticks to the edgy theme. She’s very minimalistic with her outfits majority of the time.
“I watched the DEBUT Show on the lobby TV and I was amazed at what the students created. It was breathtaking.”
Tell us about your blog, Styled By Semi (styledbysemi.portfoliobox.net): The name is inspired by an old nickname “Semi Hemmi,” which people always used to have fun saying. So, Styled By Semi was born. My blog is about showing the work I’ve done for different photographers and for photos I’ve taken and styled for the whole shoot. It is also to keep up with my daily life and OOTDs. I also have a section of my blog where I post celebrity style steals because I know that we all love how they dress, but it’s hard to find similar outfits without spending thousands of dollars. My main focus is to show people my outfits and my work, and to show them that you don’t need to buy all high end items to have a great outfit! The best part about being a stylist is that you find new ways to upcycle old clothes and just stick to a budget.
What inspired you to start your blog? I subscribed to this fashion blogger Evelina on YouTube and I always watched her fashion cafe videos; I still do because they are just amazing. I liked the way she would be so passionate about talking about different items of clothes and putting outfits together that express her personality. I started to become more confident in myself and started experimenting with different styles until I finally found one that really made me feel like myself.
I was inspired to to start the blog after I realized that a lot of people in school ask me for fashion advice—I always dress to impress. They ask me to do fun little photoshoots for Instagram, which I have no problem. They also ask me where I get my clothes. I tell them, and then I like to suggest a cheaper alternative. People would always say to me, “You should start a fashion blog because your outfits are so cute! And I need to know where you get them.” So I took the initiative and decided to actually start a blog!
How did you get involved in Fashion Club at your high school? This past summer I visited the FIDM LA campus to meet Matt, an admissions adviser whom I got connected with through FIDM’s website. I was told that starting an official FIDM Fashion Club would really help me grow as a person. Being that I have anxiety, it’s hard for me to actually do things like this. So, I decided to give it a try and bring all the information to my principal. He saw how dedicated I was to start this club, and approved it which really was a surprise! We now have about 20 members in the CPHS Fashion Club, which is honestly amazing because I didn’t realize that this many people would be interested.
What kinds of activities do you do at your Fashion Club meetings? One activity we did was make an activity and fundraiser board. Where everyone wrote down an activity or fundraiser they wanted to see the club do. They get to teach the club the activity if their idea gets selected. We also made storyboards for a photoshoot that we did in the beginning of the year!
What’s your winter style staple? Wow that’s a tough question! But I think it would have to be this winter coat I got two years ago from Missguided! It’s plaid, and has a faux fur collar and faux leather sleeves. It is honestly the most comfy jacket I have ever worn, and it keeps me so warm!!
What upcoming activities do you have planned? We plan on making and selling DIY temporary tattoos for our school for pep rallies and games. We also want to make cute school apparel for all the fashionistas/fashionistos in our school. One activity that I hope we can do is to visit a women’s shelter and give them makeovers, teach them how to dress properly for interviews and just pamper them as a Mother’s Day treat!
Do you have plans to attend FIDM? Yes, I am actually applying for the Junior Advantage Program! When I visited the school, I honestly just fell in love. The LA campus was so peaceful and everyone was super nice. Also, while I was waiting for the tour I was watching the DEBUT Show on the lobby TV and I was amazed at what the students created. It was breathtaking.
What are your career goals? I am hoping to major in Visual Communications and become a stylist, specifically for male athletes because not a lot of people specialize in that. Also Syam, my brother, is an athlete I know how hard it is to dress an athletic body type for formal events!
Anything else you’d like to share? Some little facts about me is that I’m fluent in Italian. I can sing, I am currently in my school musical. Also I am allergic to about 14 different types of food, so I learned how to bake cakes and stuff completely free from gluten, soy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy. I also suffer from severe anxiety, which has also been a struggle on my life because it can completely take over and then I have no control over myself. Starting my blog and being President of FIDM Fashion Club has really tested my anxiety, and is teaching me to overcome some of my fears my anxiety puts on me.
Follow Cliffside Park High School FIDM Fashion Club on Instagram @cphsfashionclub.