Thursday, 31 March 2011

Jennifer Gampell

I came across Jennifer Gampell's name four years ago while searching for tips on living as a freelancer. I loved her piece on how she came to be a writer. Many months later I saw her on the cover of a Bangkok magazine with that terrific smile and funky clothes and jewellery.

I wrote to her complimenting her style. We finally met at a pool party one winter in Bangkok, which means swimming weather. While all of us had our swimsuits on, Jennifer wore a black dress and a pair of black high Camper boots. A friendship developed and we finally got to do a quick photo session last week. Here's her Q&A:

What are you wearing?

-2nd-hand Lee rider jean jacket from the Sanpakoi market in Chiang Mai, Thailand
-2nd-hand fuzzy black scarf from one of the many charity shops on Putney High Street, London
-2nd-hand sleeveless black top from a one-time Sunday street market in a Belgian village
-2nd-hand tiger print skirt cum top from a store that sells ridiculously cheap used American clothes at one of the MRT underground shops at Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
-2nd-hand black Canada North boots from Chatuchak Market, Bangkok
-2nd-hand 90s plastic earrings from an MRT underground shop at Chatuchak
-1st-hand black churidars from a western-style department store Mumbai, India
-1st-hand glasses from a shop near Gare Montparnasse, Paris, France

Define your style.
An idiosyncratic and eye-catching mix of other people's castoffs.

How does your work influence your style?
I've been self-employed for 21 years so thankfully I can wear what I choose.

Where/Who do you look for (to for) inspiration?
I ignore trends and really can't describe the gut feeling that leads me to wear what I do on any given day. I love the intuitive "aha" moment when I know intuitively a certain combination works. My only constraint is lack of space. Every new purchase means I need to get rid of something already hanging in my closet. Again, intuition tells me which item to keep for 15 years and which to pass on to friends after two weeks!

Where do you shop?
For the past 40 years I've trolled for second-hand clothes all over the world: at garage sales and thrift stores in the San Francisco bay area, charity shops in the U.K. and markets anywhere I encounter them. Zeroing in on even one interesting item amidst so many piles or racks of assorted clothes and accessories produces an addictive high that beats any drug or drink I ever imbibed in my wild and crazy youth.