In Conversation: Daphne and Mari of Radical Chic

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In Conversation: Daphne and Mari of Radical Chic

Daphne and Mari Radical Chic


Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and how you two met.

Daphne: I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, but have lived in London for over 15 years.  I am a registered Nurse by profession, but currently juggling nursing and exploring my creative side as the other half of Radical.  

Mari and I met 10 years ago.  We always laugh every time someone asks how we met.  We met at work.  Mari hated me initially.  I was annoying to be frank.  I asked her repeatedly if her hair was real and often teased her about using work time to chat with her boyfriend on Google chat (yes we are that old).  

It also didn’t help our job was somewhat strange and tedious.  We worked in a Call Centre for a calling card company (I did say we are old).  We used to connect prisoners to their friends and family via telephone.  Interesting conversations at times as you can imagine.    

Mari: I was born in Tallinn, Estonia and moved to London almost 10 years ago. I’ve done all kinds of jobs – dental nursing, call centres, bar work and office Admin. I always knew those jobs were a temporary solution, so I've tried cultivating the creative side of me. I now work as a freelance photographer, with a bit of Admin temping on the side.

I met Daphne when we were working in a call centre. She was the ‘new girl’ and I was asked to show her the ropes. I found her annoying at first, mostly because I was always on Gmail chat with my boyfriend and she wouldn’t leave me alone or get the hint. She asked about 100 questions per minute. I can’t remember the exact moment we ‘clicked’ but am really glad we did.



What inspired the idea for Radical Chic?

Photography, travel, London, female empowerment and all things vintage and pre-loved. 

Daphne: We spent a lot of time wandering the streets of London taking pictures.  Mari would always give me a theme to go for, I would dress up and we would go around shooting and having fun.  I have always loved Mari’s photography and she liked my fashion stye so we complemented each other well.  One day Mari came up with the fantastic idea of collaborating our ideas and start a business, and Radical was born.   


Mari: Daphne and I have always had this great synergy, I love taking photos and she a natural at posing. I always admired her unique style and her ridiculously photogenic face.

One day it just dawned on me that with my photography and her style, we could do something fun and creative together. I didn’t know what exactly or how, but I felt compelled to combine our passions. I messaged Daphne and she was instantly in! 

We met up for our first business meeting couple of days later and have been persistent with it ever since. We keep psyching each other up because we both agree that it’s absolutely vital to have delusions and to dream big. Most of our Watsapp conversations are signed off with #delusions. 


In its essence what is Radical Chic all about? 

Radical Chic is all about collaborating with other women and supporting each other’s work. It's ideas that make the world go around, not money.  There’s never been a better time for a woman to be the boss of her own life and celebrate her uniqueness. Us, ladies, are breaking barriers and changing the rules. Radical Chic celebrates ALL women, no matter what their race, nationality, job title or size. We love how women are getting more and more confident and entrepreneurial. We're taking the old mantra: "Another talented female is a threat”, and replacing it with: "When women support each other, amazing things can happen."


Your visuals are amazing, how do you get inspired?

Daphne: My inspiration is largely my grandmother.  She was very stylish and knew how to play around with fabrics, textures and all things stylish, mixing contemporary with old and traditional Zimbabwean styles. My other inspirations include travel, other women around me, and historical icons like Eartha Kitt, Dorothy Dandridge and Audrey Hepburn.    


Mari: My inspiration is a collection of all the movies, TV shows, exhibitions and Pinterest content I’ve ever seen. I don’t consciously seek out inspiration, but I must say Pinterest and Instagram have opened my eyes to different styles and ideas. But in terms of aesthetics and style, some of my favourites are Alfred Hitchcock, Edward Hopper and Vivian Maier.  


Who does what as part of your team?

Daphne: I am responsible for sourcing our clothes, Etsy shop and modelling our collections.  

Mari: I do all the photography and look after the social media side of things.



We love preloved items here, from furniture to fashion it can be an eco-friendly, mindful and creative way to stay stylish. 

Was this a factor in choosing to sell pre-loved?

Yes, definitely. It's more fun to find one off pieces, you never know what you'll end up taking home. Daphne is our style guru. Her ability to spot and mix unique items is at the centre of our brand identity.


Although its very exciting. It's also pretty intense setting up a business, what do you do to relax/switch off?

Daphne: Pilates, spending time in book shops, baking and memes.  I have no shame, I love memes and short funny videos.  

Mari: Spending time at home with my partner and our super cute dog, Melvin. Everything to do with film and cinematography. I also love walking, it’s a great way to sort out my thoughts. 


We're excited to see more from Radical Chic, what can we expect in the coming months?

We have recently launched our Etsy shop called Radical Butiko (Butiko meaning ‘Shop’ in the Esperanto language). We sell pre-loved clothes. We’ll be adding new pieces every week and other vintage bits and bobs. 

We also are doing our first pop up shop on the 20th Nov at Queens Park Community Market. We’ll be selling pre-loved clothes and bags. 

Long term plans include a website and a blog where we’ll be featuring women who have something to say, who do something unique and who make change happen. Basically it's all about kick-ass ladies as there are so many of them among us. 



Where to find Radical Chic

Etsy - Radical Butiko

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