Rock your most creative self

18 Jan

Brooklyn blogger and street-style icon Lesley Williams talks about her evolution as a creative cookie

By Amy Schroeder

Lesley Williams at New York Fashion Week, 2010. Photo by Kamau Ware (

Lesley Williams is walking creativity.

Like many other Brooklynites, her skillz aren’t limited to just one job description. She’s a blogger (, zinester (nope, the art isn’t extinct yet), stylist, seamstress, event coordinator, and fashionable lady about town.

Lesley Williams in Time Out New York

When it comes to personal style, she’s like the grownup version of Tavi Gevinson—she coordinates her glasses with her outfits, and she makes getting dressed seem like an interpretive dance. Two of my favorite things about Lesley are that she’s a continual work in progress and she and fiancé Kamau Ware host monthly (or whenever-they-feel-like-it) inspirational brunches for their friends to present photography, business ideas, comedy blogs, etc.

Lesley Williams with blogger Magdalena Olek. Photo by Kamau Ware (

Enough of the chitchat, right? Let’s cut to the visuals. After the photo candy, you’ll find a wee Q&A and Lesley’s tips for being your best creative self.

At the Raul Peñaranda show. Photo by Lesley Williams

Lesley took the photo of her friend Sonya in August 2010, and a similar one from the series is featured in the January 2011 issue of Essence Magazine.

Tavi Gevinson in New York in February 2010. Photo by Lesley Williams

The Spring 2011 issue of Lesley William's zine, Easily Inspired

DIY Business Association: Were you encouraged to be creative from an early age?

Lesley Williams: As an only child, I developed a colorful imagination. I had friends from school and in my neighborhood, but the majority of my playtime was spent alone, making things and taking them apart. When I wasn’t crafting, I immersed myself in the lives of my Barbie dolls and stuffed animals while watching ’40s and ’50s sitcoms on Nick at Night. My parents were supportive of my behavior. They never forced me to engage other children—I think they found my creative alone time amusing.

How do you describe your creativity?

My creativity is very ambiguous. I suppose what makes me creative is my willingness to try and explore newness. Even if I’m unsure of the final destination, I’m always open to new creative jaunts.

What’s your advice for getting out of a creative rut?

A few years ago, I decided to hone in and deeply explore my creativity. As I grow, I find that my creative ruts are slowly vanishing, and the process of creating gets easier. But if I start to feel blocked, I tend to shift my attention elsewhere—this could involve writing a short story, visiting the nearest fabric store, or wearing a pair of shoes that sparkle. Stepping away is the best way for me to overcome the ickiness of creative ruts.

When do you tend to have your most creative moments?

I’m very sensitive to my environment—the physical space that surrounds me has always been vital to my creativity. I tend to cover walls in my workspace with decorative papers, images, and words that make me happy. I love lighting and odd office supplies, too. My most creative moments happen when I’m surrounded by things that I find inspiring and inviting.

What tips for being your most creative self?

1. Start small. Set attainable goals, each week, for your creative life. This could simply involve visiting a thrift shop, making a card, or watching a film.

2. Find accountability. Share your creative interest by maintaining a blog, joining a group, or taking a class. By engaging others in your exploration, you’ll find a support system and, maybe, a few champions of your work.

3. Spend time alone—even if it’s only 30 minutes a week to journal, collage, or stitch.

4. Do it now. If you have a creative impulse, act on it. There’s no better time than the present.

5. Never say or let anyone tell you that you are not creative. “There are moments in all of our lives where we might be stagnant, but we all have the innate urge, ability, and right to create something that did not exist before,” Williams says. “We are all creative in some shape or form.”


9 Responses to “Rock your most creative self”

  1. kamau ware January 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    really well done, DIY. keep up the good work. we love the creative cookie 🙂

  2. Cleo January 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Nice inspiring words and good tips for staying creative!

  3. Cleo January 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    signing up for updates/new posts 🙂

  4. Lisa Williams January 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Great Job I have known Lesley all of my life. Everything you have printed is truth. Lesley keep doing what you do I love you girl.

  5. Jason aka classicbeatz January 21, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    Congrats. Great interview!

  6. Chamese January 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Love Lesley! This is a great post on a beautiful, talented lady who will change the world!

  7. Jamishia January 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    I love the pics Leslo/Kamau! Great piece!

  8. ELEMENTSofFIERCE January 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Thank You for the information. I look forward to “Rocking It With You!”

  9. Meagan Lee January 22, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    I love this post. Definitely inspiring and the tips are awesome.

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