Former fashion editor of Indulgence Magazine, Icy Ling has been proactively engaging with the Australian fashion industry over the past 10 years. Recently starting her new venture - IC& Co - an online platform that aims to connect Australian fashion industry to Chinese audience and delivering the latest fashion, beauty & lifestyle content. Parlour X speaks with Icy about her career, passion about for her career & beauty.
In your own words, how would you describe what you do?
I think most people would refer me as a blogger, digital content creator or influencer @icybutterfly. This is correct, however I am also now the founder of IC&Co which is a luxury fashion & beauty media platform.
If you weren’t in your current role / position, what is a job you would love to do for a day?
I would love to be an illustrator or a chef. I think this comes from the Cancerian in me – a home person who loves art and food. I draw, whether that be sketching, watercolour or even with an iPad. For hours, I used to sit & create art. I also enjoy cooking Chinese food. Ideally, I would like to sip champagne, paint in my studio & then cook delicious food.
When I look around my home, almost everything is branded, an impact of the work I've been doing over several years. I'm starting to try and pull myself out of this (being very brand focused) and decorate my home with a more unembellished style, however still with a touch of luxury! Fashion illustrations and beautiful bone china or porcelain plates to serve dumplings... To me, this is still luxurious but a more authentic way of living. Plus, painting and cooking are not to be rushed, you do need to slow down to be able to master them. We should all learn how to slow down nowadays!
You have your own company, IC&Co – have you always been an entrepreneurial person?
I've always been a creative person, it has been a personal goal of mine throughout my life to keep this up. I want to be remembered and create pieces that will touch and inspire people, and help them wherever I can. Whatever I do, I have always questioned whether it was valuable. This was a big topic of conversation within my family growing up. I always reflect on what I have learned or the gifts I've received along the way, and compare this to what I've given back to the community. Now I am at an age where I'm thinking about not only my own future, but also the lives of other people around me, various communities, the environment... I feel obligated to do so. Even with small steps, I have to make a start.
Coming back to your question, becoming an entrepreneur was not a part of my plan. Within the Australian Chinese community, there's a group of people who also have a passion for luxury fashion, something Parlour X Director Eva and myself share. I didn't see anybody looking after this niche market in the way I would. I decided to do something for the community and bring elements I believe are essential to the forefront. The 'Co' in IC&Co also means to connect, communicate and collaborate.
Coming from China but having lived in Australia for so long, I want to be able to contribute to both cultures (I wanted to be an ambassador when I was a child!) I see both the friendships and the tensions, appreciations and shocks. I'm aiming to build a bridge between the two cultures.
What advice do you have for someone who also wants to start their own business or launch their own company?
Self-management is critical. I always believe in the role-model effect, and always setting a higher personal goal before I put high expectation on others. Never lower the standard. This is also part of IC&Co’s DNA.
I also believe in under-promise and over-deliver. It helps to build and strengthen trust with others.
Another keyword is ‘measurement’. Especially working in this industry, we can easily fall into a ‘luxury bubble’. Yes we talk high-fashion, we are dream-makers, we create desires, not everything we work with is quantitative. But our business plans have to be measurable, so that you don’t fall off track.
Your Instagram Feed is a tantalising combination of amazing outfits, luxury skincare and delicious food – what does an average day in your life look like off Instagram?
I'm glad you've asked this question! I've always aimed to be authentic on social media. I would hate to meet a follower or client and have them say "she looks different from her social media". It is so tiring to put on a facade in front of the camera, and can present long term obstacles in growing your following. No one can survive just pretending.
Outside of my work life, I love being comfortable in sweaters, hoodies, shorts and sneakers. Although they may have designer labels, I value quality and functionality. I try to put on a bit of makeup when I go out, or at least a pair of coloured contact lenses or mascara - even if I'm just going to the grocery shop, I want to be presentable! When I speak about 'self management', this is a part of it. A girl should always look after her image.
Honestly, I am quite lazy with skincare. I have a 14 step skincare routine for when I go out, but when I'm at home I only put on a sleeping mask or hydration mask that doesn't require washing off. Since I was in my early 20s, I've been drinking a lot of beauty supplements, collagen drinks etc.
I love fragrances and display different bottles all around my home. I wear fragrance 24/7 to make myself a happier person, a scent is part of my look.
I do put a lot of effort into looking after my hair, simply because my long hair is part of my iconic social media look.
If we were to take a look inside your beauty cupboard, are there any products you couldn’t live without?
I would say cleansers and fragrances. I have oily-combination skin, meaning an effective cleanser is an integral part of my skincare routine. I vary my skincare routine based on how long I plan to spend outdoors, how heavy I'm wearing makeup, and how dry the weather is. I think we have to be smart about what we use on our skin.
As I said, fragrance is part of my everyday life. I don’t feel 100% if I don’t wear a fragrance. Yes, we WEAR a fragrance, not just spray or smell. I don't wear a fragrance to show off or please another person. A scent is a part of my identity, and will continue to grow with me.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you discover new ideas?
Art, music, a good book and the people around me.
I am so lucky that my parents have always taken me to art galleries, exhibitions, concerts and the opera and ballet when I was a child. They still encourage me to read daily. We all lead a busy life, but we should always make time to enjoy art, listen to music and take time to read – even just 20 minutes. The internet always us to always be connected, we can turn on classical music while taking a bath. We can look online at what's showing in museums inaccessible to us because of distance, and to view the works of art and learn the stories behind the artists. Sometimes I will just search for famous quotes. You will be surprised how much more we can learn using technology in a constructive way.
And people inspire me all the time. At one show during Fashion Week, Eva styled a gorgeous yellow outfit and I was amazed. This inspired me to wear a yellow look to meet a friend from interstate the next week and brought (literally) a ray of sunshine to the reunion. I love to look at beautiful people and objects, and to think about what has made them so striking, and then apply that to myself and my own life.
How would you describe your personal style? (fashion)
It’s hard to define. I want to be elegant and chic, but I also want to be spontaneous and cute. Wearing black and white is my favourite, but I also enjoy wearing colour. I love wearing shorts, but also long dresses.
Fashion is fun! We should all trying having fun in the way we dress by trying out different styles. Gabrielle Chanel said "A girl should be two things: Classy & Fabulous." That is how I aim to present myself everyday.
Would you say your personal style has been consistent over the years, or is it always evolving and changing? (fashion)
Yes and no. It’s very philosophical.
We don’t have to change, but the world around us is consistently changing. A person’s style should work for themselves. What’s actually changing is not the style, but the person themselves.
I rarely throw away my clothes. Sometimes I pick outfits I purchased a decade ago, and I still enjoy it. But what’s different is ‘me’, I know where to put my hands now if there are no pockets. I tell better stories in that same dress. I smile more. I pose better at the media wall. People wouldn’t even have a clue I am wearing something more than 10 years old. But what is more important is that I am bettering myself in the outfit. It is me who is making that look more outstanding overtime, giving 'soul' to how I present myself.
What are your favourite brands at Parlour X?
Lanvin, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Chloé, Mugler and MM6. It's so hard to chose! I think I am more collection driven. For some brands I love certain collections, for others I enjoy their reinterpretations of classic designs.
Are there any particular pieces from Parlour X in your wish list at the moment?
The Nina Ricci Contrast Dresses, especially the check print piece - so classy! Paco Rabanne has so many beautiful dresses too. I am dress-hunting at the moment. The Chloé Woody Logo Slides are also on my list. I still can’t decide on which colour to get!
What do you have coming up that you’re excited for or looking forward to?
My Website is now ready and I have been running small campaigns with different brands. I am also thinking of rebuild my personal blog (I've one since 2003, but have since made it private). Stay tuned.