Communications and cultural studies student by day, fashionista blogger by night
At the age of 13, Sandrine Vaillancourt started a personal project, and kept it a secret for a few months. Today, that project is far from a secret.
When Vaillancourt started her blog, “I am Sandrine”, it was simply a hobby. Now, at age 19, the communications and cultural studies major has 2,000 views per article, and major fashion brands knocking on her door, wanting to collaborate with her.
Vaillancourt first got into blogging when her mentor, Audrée Archambault, a Montreal-based blogger, encouraged her to write a teen column on Archambault’s blog, “Elle M.” “She really inspired me and introduced me to everyone [in the industry],” said Vaillancourt.
Vaillancourt decided to start her own fashion blog, and most of her friends were doing the same. However, unlike most of her friends, she was able to keep hers going longer than a month. Over time, her blog evolved from being French, to bilingual, to strictly English, as most of her readers are anglophone.
This pastime of hers became life-changing. “I was already into fashion but never showed my outfits on the blog. I just posted pictures of the clothes I liked. I was too shy at the time, especially because I was so young,” said Vaillancourt. The more “I Am Sandrine”’s audience expanded, the more her confidence and communication skills grew. Today, she is often invited to a variety of events where she is surrounded by people in the fashion and blogging industry. Vaillancourt said it was “intimidating but also inspiring” at first. She was now part of the world she had been looking in on for years.
Her expanding network of contacts in the Montreal fashion industry introduced her to new friends, as well as new collaboration opportunities. Today, she teams up with Montreal designers like Noemiah and Mimi Hammer. Vaillancourt said these collaborations are not only good for her blog’s content, but also a great way to promote the local economy.
The blog has helped her improve her editing and design skills, but Vaillancourt said it has also helped her grow as an individual. She said the experience has taught her how to say no to certain projects and collaborations, especially to brands that don’t fit her vision. The blogger describes her style as a mix between Scandinavian fashion and Kate Middleton’s style, as it is minimalistic, but with delicate detailing.
Over the years, the fashionista has worked with big names like Lole, Aritzia, Coach and Nars. The content of her blog varies from tips on how to wear frills, to more personal diary-like entries. Her guideline for organizing her thoughts is that there is no guideline. She recently wrote an article titled “I’m Not Apologizing Anymore,” in which she discussed learning not to apologize for being herself, or for her style. “It’s my blog so I don’t have to please anyone,” said Vaillancourt. Even when Vaillancourt was mocked at times by fellow students in high school, she kept her head up, following what she wanted to do, and talking about the things that she enjoys.
Her story comes full circle with a young girl who was inspired by Vaillancourt to start a blog of her own. “She’s been reading my blog since the beginning and asked me to give her tips on starting her own blog a couple of years later,” said Vaillancourt. “It’s also really nice to recognize familiar usernames from Instagram that have been with me for the past six years.”