Stitching Dreams: An Exclusive Conversation with Nava Rose on Fashion, DIY Magic, and Sustainable Style

In the vibrant realm where creativity meets craftsmanship, Nava Rose stands as a beacon of ingenuity. Hailing from the sun-kissed landscapes of Los Angeles, Nava Rose has carved a niche as a fashion and DIY content creator, inspiring a global audience to embrace their unique style with a sustainable twist. From sewing tutorials that breathe life into the fabric to outfit idea videos that spark the imagination, Nava Rose is on a mission to ignite creativity and champion the cause of sustainability in the world of fashion.

Rooted in the rich tapestry of her Californian upbringing, Nava’s journey unfolds against the backdrop of Orange County, where her childhood was infused with the eclectic mix of Filipino heritage and a mother who dared to venture into the world of interior design. The convergence of her cultural roots and exposure to the art of sewing from an early age laid the foundation for Nava’s distinct creative persona.

Embarking on her creative odyssey, Nava Rose seamlessly weaves the threads of her personal style with a passion for sustainability. In a world where fashion trends flicker like city lights, she advocates for the timeless art of thrift flipping, transforming discarded garments into unique masterpieces. Her commitment to sustainable practices finds its roots in a childhood shaped by a scarcity mindset, sparking a journey towards a low-waste lifestyle.

Beyond the stitches and threads, Nava’s world extends to diverse realms. A connoisseur of diverse styles, from the vibrant streets of Tokyo to the timeless elegance of Britney Spears and the Spice Girls, she draws inspiration from the kaleidoscope of global fashion. Yet, her creativity isn’t confined to clothing; it spills into the realm of home decor, where her living space mirrors the kaleidoscopic diversity of her wardrobe.

As a seasoned content creator, Nava Rose has transcended platforms, capturing the attention of over 7 million followers across various channels. From the reels of TikTok, where she orchestrates short-form symphonies of style, to the grand stages of The Ellen Degeneres Show, Nava’s influence reverberates globally. Collaborating with Pearly on a customized at-home bubble tea kit and gracing the red carpet as a fashion correspondent for the Fantastic Beasts World Premiere, her journey continues to evolve.

Join us as we delve into the mind of Nava Rose, exploring the intricacies of her creative process, the stories behind her iconic DIY projects, and the profound impact of sustainability on her artistic vision. In this interview, Nava Rose unveils the stitches of her life, where every thread tells a tale of innovation, resilience, and the transformative power of creative expression.

Before we dive into the interview, Can you introduce yourself to our readers, especially the UK audience?

Hi! My name is Nava Rose. I am a fashion and DIY content creator from Los Angeles. I teach people how to make cool clothes through sewing tutorials and create outfit idea videos in hopes of inspiring my followers to express their creativity through their own style. I started my journey as a creator passionate about fashion but have recently found a new purpose in the importance of sustainability within fashion.

Can you share a bit about your background and upbringing? Where are you originally from, and how do you think your upbringing has influenced your perspective on fashion and sustainability?

I am a California girl, born and raised! I grew up in OC (Orange County, south of Los Angeles). It’s a known fact that most Filipinos have a career in the medical field; however, my mom was the only child out of 7 to foray into a creative field, as an interior designer. I believe that truly moulded me to be the creative person I am today. I think what is also special about my upbringing is that I am a 3rd generation seamstress, so I’ve always been around the art of sewing. We didn’t grow up in a household that was wealthy, nor did we have a lot of disposable income. I believe having that scarcity mindset eventually led me to adopt a sustainable and low-waste lifestyle.

Beyond your work in fashion and sustainability, what are some of your favourite hobbies or activities? How do you like to spend your leisure time when you’re not creating or designing?

This is kind of a tough question because even during my leisure time, I’m somehow creating or designing haha. Recently, I’ve picked up pool/billiards as a new sport and have been completely obsessed with it. Other than that, I would say a couple of my favourite activities are watching anime and hanging out with my loved ones.

Do you have a favourite travel destination that holds a special place in your heart? How does travel inspire or influence your creativity and fashion choices?

Japan has always been a travel destination that I love. I admire the fashion, culture, food, and how they create art from every aspect of it. Wherever I go in the world, I’m constantly observing how people dress. I find it fascinating how people around the world can have such different styles from one city to the next. However, there’s always one common denominator – I’m drawn to people who are a bit more innovative or confident with their style. I’ll take notes on the street style I see in different cities/countries and try to incorporate that level of style confidence back home.

Are you a food enthusiast, and if so, do you have a favourite cuisine or dish? How does your personal taste in food align with or influence your sense of style?

I wouldn’t say I’m a food enthusiast, I just really enjoy food. I’m really easy to please – I can eat $1 street food or super expensive sushi. To me, the price doesn’t indicate if I’ll enjoy it or not. As long as it tastes good, I’ll love it. I guess you can say that’s where food and fashion align for me. I can style an expensive designer bag with a $1 dress that I thrifted. As long as the outfit slays, I’m happy.

Can you walk us through a typical day in your life? What does your daily routine look like, and how do you balance your creative work with personal time?

The first thing I try to do is knock out any personal tasks on my list (like feeding my pets, a little meditation, and a workout). I jump right into glam (mostly done by myself unless it’s an event or shoot day) and start the content creation. I’ve had a few side projects pop up this quarter, so I’ve had to divide up my work time with planning, content creating, shooting, etc. I work until 8-9 pm, eat dinner, and be in bed by 11 pm. I have to say, trying to balance a healthy work and personal life is something I’m still learning to do. Nowadays, I limit the number of dates I go on or only allow myself a limited number of work/friend events per month. If I don’t do this, I’ll say yes to everything, and my life will be chaotic haha.

Who are some of your fashion icons or influencers that have inspired your own style? How do you incorporate their influence into your unique approach to fashion?

I’m a ‘90s baby, so Britney Spears and the Spice Girls basically raised me and influenced my fashion sense. Currently, my favourite fashion influencers have been wardrobe stylists and fashion designers (a few are @aureta, @dorian.who, @melovemealot). In the world of style and sustainability, my biggest influence would be Sami Miro (@samimiro). Their confidence and dedication to pushing societal norms are so refreshing and inspiring to me. I also love Sami Miro’s story and her passion for creating a zero-waste collection because that is exactly what I’m working towards as well.

Your creative flair extends to fashion, but does it also influence your approach to home decor? What are some of your favourite elements or themes in your living space?

My home is a perfect representation of how indecisive my wardrobe is! I have three main fashion styles – super pink x c*nty (idk if this word is allowed lol), vintage x girly, and dark x moody. Currently, my home is split into these three aesthetics, and each one couldn’t be more different. Every section of the home has a completely different vibe from the next.

You started your journey as a thrift flipper and evolved into a creator passionate about sustainable fashion. What prompted this shift, and how has your commitment to the environment influenced your creative process?

I would see a lot of new clothes constantly being produced by these large fast fashion companies, but some of these styles were simply recycled trends – nothing novel or unique. Plus, some of these styles could easily be found in a thrift store. I started digging and found how many perfectly fine clothes were being discarded just because of the rapid turnover of clothing trends, particularly since it was negatively affecting the quality of life in other countries.

I definitely had to switch up a lot of practices with my newfound commitment to the environment to ensure they aligned with my values. I am trying to only thrift-flip damaged goods, stop shopping from fast fashion brands, and cut down on the overconsumption of clothes for my wardrobe.

Known for incorporating your personal style into various aspects of your content, from dance to DIY projects, how would you describe your creative process when coming up with new outfit ideas or DIY projects? And how do you ensure your personal style shines through in each creation?

Ideas pop into my head at random times throughout the day, so I have an ongoing list of ideas for my outfit videos or DIY projects. My creative process depends on what I feel like wearing that day, and I will typically create my entire outfit off of one key piece. I might be styling anything from a rainbow leather jacket to an elephant bag. I enjoy outfits that are pretty extra, fun, and slightly obnoxious to the general public. If I ever feel like my outfit is giving me “boredom,” I’ll just add a bunch of last-minute accessories or a statement jacket, and that usually does the trick.

Since the beginning of your YouTube journey in 2013, you’ve gained over 7 million followers across platforms. How do you maintain a strong connection with your audience, and what do you believe sets your content apart in the DIY fashion space?

Over the years, I’ve created a community of followers who share the same interests as me by posting content that I genuinely enjoy. I love listening to my fans and reading their comments to better understand what content they want to see from me. My fans share really fun ideas, so I believe giving your audience content that they request is a great way to maintain a strong relationship. It’s like having a little collaboration with your fans!

More recently, I would say my dedication to sustainability in the DIY fashion space is what sets my content apart. I’m actively seeking new ways to inspire others to think about the Earth when it comes to DIY and fashion. There aren’t many fashion heads in the content creator world that speak about sustainability, so I hope we can inspire and work towards that.

Drawing inspiration from popular movies and music groups, you create iconic looks that resonate with a diverse audience. Can you share a specific instance where a particular movie or music group greatly inspired one of your favourite creations?

I am such a huuuuge BTS fan. When I first became a fan back in 2017, I had 0 friends who listened to BTS; I had no community. I then turned to YouTube to create BTS content because it was something I was passionate about and figured there were at least people on the internet who also were BTS fans. That’s how a huge part of my audience grew, and for that, I’m so thankful. I created many BTS-related content that have been some of my most viral and most cherished.

Your presence on TikTok has garnered a loyal following through short-form content. How do you adapt your content for different platforms, and what role do platforms like TikTok play in reaching and engaging with your audience?

I’ve learned that my audience on each social platform is different, so I’ll try to repost content depending on whether I think it would resonate more with that particular audience. For example, I’ll repost my TikTok videos on YouTube shorts if they have anything to do with sewing/DIY, dancing, outfits, etc. For Instagram Reels, I’ll mainly repost outfit idea videos. I’ve been meaning to repost without these restrictions, but for some reason I can’t let go of the aesthetics of it.

TikTok is my largest platform, so I use that as my main source to see what my following likes. I get the most engagement there and can receive feedback quickly on which video or concept does well. It’s so important to utilize tools like Comment, Reply, or Stitch to engage with your audience.

Being featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show and having your digital series, Nava on the Fly, must have been exciting experiences. Could you share a memorable moment from working on the series and collaborating with talents like Martha Stewart and Madison Fisher?

Let me just say that Martha Stewart basically raised me in the DIY world. She was all I would ever watch on TV when I was a kid and was so inspired by her creations. There was a moment when she was judging one of the art pieces and made a funny light-hearted joke. I remembered how much I admired her even more in that moment because she just seemed so down to earth – and she’s Martha freaking Stewart.

Congratulations on your recent partnership with Pearly to create a customized, at-home bubble tea kit. What inspired this collaboration, and how do you envision this product aligning with your brand and resonating with your audience?

Thank you! First of all, I loooove boba and second, I loved the idea of making boba yourself. As you know, I’m a DIY enthusiast, so I enjoy creating with my hands. This at-home product you can create at the comfort of your home sounded like it would be a perfect fit for my audience. A large part of my following loves to create, so I hope they will enjoy this as much as I do. Just like a DIY project, you get the satisfaction of admiring something that you created, and in this case, it’s a cup of boba!

Upcycling upscale fashion pieces and showcasing DIY skills have been central to your content. How do you approach the process of transforming items, and what advice would you give to someone looking to start their journey in upcycling and DIY fashion?

I do a lot of planning when I transform an item. I understand that you only get one chance when it comes to cutting up a one-of-a-kind piece. I’ve learned to plan out every step of the DIY process so that it doesn’t leave room for error – or at least minimizes the number of mistakes that happen.

One of my favourite tips for anyone who is a beginner in upcycling is to take off little pieces at a time. A big mistake that people make (and even me to this day) is cutting too much off on the first try. Try to cut off little by little. Remember, you can always take fabric away, but you can never add it back!

Upcycling has been a significant part of your creative journey. Can you share what inspired you to take on the challenge of making an outfit out of a fake Louis Vuitton bag? Was there a specific goal or message behind that particular DIY project?

I love the monogram Louis Vuitton print, and one day I just thought, “What if I transformed this into an outfit?” I truly just saw it as a challenge because there was something about the idea of creating cool outfits from unconventional items that I found fascinating. I would never cut up a brand new, fake Louis Vuitton bag again because it does not align with my sustainable practices now. However, the reason why I chose cutting up a fake over an authentic one was that I was SO scared of trying to take on this challenge, and I was not about to do it with a new Louis Vuitton bag, let alone could afford it at the time haha.

With your extensive experience in upcycling and creating unique pieces, what would you say is the most special or sentimental item in your closet? Is there a particular piece that holds a special memory or significance for you?

The two pieces that mean a lot to me are actually the upcycled Louis Vuitton bag outfit and a dress I made completely from gift wrapping paper for the Ellen Degeneres contest.

The gift-wrapping dress was one of the first projects I created solely from non-fabric materials and represents how hard work and dedication to the craft can result in something greater than you can ever expect. I submitted my entry in the very last hour before the deadline, and although I didn’t win 1st place, they liked my entry so much that they decided to give me my own show.

The Louis Vuitton bag outfit is very significant to me because I truly feel it’s what put me on the map as a DIY fashion creator in the influencer space. Many people started recognizing me for that outfit, and it did go viral on many platforms.

TikTok has become a platform where you share short-form content showcasing your outfits and creativity. Can you walk us through your process for creating TikToks? How do you come up with ideas, and what goes into the planning and execution of your short-form content? Among the TikToks you’ve created, do you have a favourite that stands out to you? What made it special or memorable? Additionally, could you share an example of a TikTok or DIY project that took the longest to complete, and what challenges or rewards did you experience during that process?

The first step for me is planning and pulling all of my outfits. My idea for an outfit video will either be based on a current moment (Met Gala, seasonal outfits, pop culture, etc.) or something that my followers are requesting to see. This can take up to 3-4 hours because of how indecisive I am when it comes to picking an outfit. From there, I’ll pick a trending sound that I feel can fit with showcasing outfits and start shooting! I’m pretty simple with my outfit videos and just stick to my tripod and in-app shooting because I don’t have a lot of extra time to add cool editing effects haha.

To this day, one of my favourites is the Harry Potter Outfits TikTok that I created, where I put together outfits based on some iconic Harry Potter characters. It was just so fun to create, especially because I’m a big Harry Potter fan. This was one of the many HPtok (Harry Potter Tok) videos I created that I believe led me to being their fashion correspondent for the Fantastic Beasts World Premiere in London in 2022. One of the most memorable experiences as a content creator thus far.

One of the longest DIY projects (and still not completed) was this avant-garde top that was inspired by a futuristic, cyber theme. The top was made out of EVA foam (a material I had never worked with prior) and it took many hours trying to figure out how to mold and work with the material. This was supposed to be a two-piece set, and I think I spent a total of 40+ hours on the top alone (I still, to this day, haven’t finished the bottom). I wore the top to a festival this year and got SO many compliments. It was a piece I’ve never created before, and the fact that I completed such a challenging piece was rewarding in itself. One of the most rewarding moments as a DIY creator, however, is being able to tell people “Yes, I made that” and knowing that the piece is unique and your own.

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