At Paradox, we believe in acknowledging and celebrating women and their achievements. This series, titled Paradox Muse, features hardworking, creative and self-made women who inspire us to accomplish our goals while living life in a meaningful and fulfilling way. Just as these women have motivated us to become the best versions of ourselves, we hope they inspire you as well.
People working in the fashion industry are often mistaken to be cold-hearted and overly demanding, like Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. Although it may be true that the industry can be a cut-throat business, not everyone working in fashion is callous and cruel.
Julie Pelipas, the fashion director of Vogue Ukraine, is the complete opposite of the typical fashion stereotypes. Through her platform, she inspires women around the world to stay true to themselves and do what makes them feel comfortable.
Even as a young adult, Julie had an eye for design and communication. As a college student, she studied journalism and pursued a career in publishing. Living in Kiev, Ukraine, she never considered working in the fashion industry, especially because it was nearly nonexistent in her country at the time. But when a few modeling agencies sprang up in Kiev, she got involved styling for photoshoots.
When Harper’s Bazaar launched in Ukraine in 2008, Julie was hired as an editor. At Harper’s, she advocated for introducing her country to the fashion industry and successfully led the first fashion photoshoot in Ukraine. A day after being promoted to senior fashion editor, Julie announced that she was pregnant and would be taking a two-year break in preparations for her motherhood. Though many of her colleagues did not agree with her bold decision — especially because her career was beginning to take off — she stood by her decision knowing that she did not want the rush of time in getting adjusted to motherhood.
When she returned to the workforce in 2011, Vogue was preparing to launch in Ukraine, and she was asked to join the team. She has been with Vogue ever since!
As a true thrift-flip queen who has spent years upcycling vintage suits, Julie is now preparing to launch Bettter, a tailoring label, this month. Her first collection, ‘oo drop’, will feature 46 looks — all upcycled and eco-friendly. Keep a lookout for her launch to get your hands on her one-of-a-kind, tailored suits!
According to Julie, many women in Ukraine have not yet learned to support each other. The competitive spirit is very strong, which leads to women working against one another. She hopes to teach and mentor more women in her country to help them understand the value of sisterhood and embrace female empowerment.
A few of her life mottos she values are to always be honest, never harm others and promote equality. She believes that justice will be served to those who deserve it. “What goes around, truly comes around. I’m constantly trying to convey these principles to my children,” she said in an interview. She openly advocates for others to do the same.
Julie is also an ambassador for No More Plastic, which is a non-profit organization that aims to protect and restore the oceans against plastic pollution. During her day-to-day life, she actively works to limit plastic use and spreads this mentality to those around her.
During her college days, Julie enjoyed recreating and upcycling second-hand clothes she found at local vintage stores. She mostly bought men’s clothes and tailored them to fit her body. This was the first time she began wearing suits and fell in love with it. “I clearly remember the first time I wore a suit. I felt so comfortable, confident and powerful. I felt like me,” she said in an interview with Net-a-Porter. Now, she is obsessed with suits and loves that they are appropriate for any occasion with a few accessory changes. Julie often completes her signature look by throwing on a big pair of sunglasses.
Styling tip: There are so many ways to style suits! For all our boss babes looking for a fierce, yet professional, office look, try styling a well-tailored suit with a simple blouse. For those going on a “night out” with the gals, try styling your suit with a camisole paired with bold, statement earrings.
Any time Julie steps out of her house, her outfits are always screaming CHIC! Her style — being effortless and minimal — has a perfect blend of incorporating classic, timeless pieces while staying on-trend. Even when wearing a pink floral dress, she makes sure to revamp the outfit by throwing on a blazer or leather jacket for extraoomph.
Styling tip: When recreating Julie’s looks, less is more! If you want to emphasize your waist, try adding a belt on top of your coats or jackets. For colder days, match your favorite dress with a classic turtleneck.
• Floral Dress: ASOS’s Dark Pink Tiered Midaxi Dress
• Satin Cami Dress: Princess Polly's Zamora Maxi Dress
• Turtleneck Top: Nasty Gal’s What in the Turtleneck Bodysuit
• Leather Jacket: Bershka’s Faux Leather Overshirt with Belt
While prioritizing comfort, Julie likes to coordinate outfits that make her feel good. Having an athletic physique, she believes that baggier clothes — especially menswear — compliment her figure. It’s always important to find clothing that works foryour body and makes you feel great about yourself when you look in the mirror.
Styling tip: Take your proportions into consideration when styling your outfits to give the illusion of longer legs! Try styling high-waisted pants with form-fitting tops, or french tuck your shirts.
• White Cami: Free People’s Hayley Racerback Brami
• Button Up Shirt: Uniqlo’s Premium Linen Long Sleeve Shirt
• Wide Leg Pants: Zara’s Wide Leg Pants
• Strappy Sandals: Lulus’s Simonee Lace Up Heel Sandals
If Julie can make her long-time dream into a reality, you can too! If you liked this article, make sure to check out our profile on style heroine Evangelie Smyrniotaki to learn about her career advice and style. Don’t forget to visit us on Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiration.
(all images from @juliepelipas on Instagram)