Verge Influencers with Comb: Navaz Batliwalla

Navaz Batliwalla is the mastermind behind the blog Disneyrollergirl. Navaz launched her blog in 2007 as an ‘anonymous fashion insider’ blog whilst employed as a full time fashion director for a magazine in London. Navaz now works as a freelance fashion editor and consultant, using the blog to note all things she sees, hears and thinks whilst going about her daily life. Read what the beautiful Navaz had to say about her style, inspirations and her uber successful blog.

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Could you tell us a little bit about your blog and how you got started?

I started off using my blog, Disneyrollergirl as a brain dump to park thoughts and observations from my work as a fashion editor, and that’s pretty much still how I use it. That was 2007, and I was working full time so I thought it was better to blog anonymously, as I was revealing the inner workings of the industry and thought my bosses might not be pleased! But of course, that was the bit that most of my readers were interested in. I got started by reading mostly American blogs that had an immediate and conversational tone that I liked. That’s what inspired me to do the same. The irony is that as time has gone on, the blog has become more slick and polished because when you work with brands you have to be a bit more professional.

Where do you draw influence from for your blog?

The blog is my persona as a fashion editor, so the inspiration comes from the industry itself. I read a lot and I like to get out and about. I go to exhibitions, trade shows, showrooms, talks, art fairs, antique fairs, all sorts of places where I will learn something new. I’m extremely curious about lots of things, and fashion taps into everything these days, from art to business to emerging markets to beauty, so I like to gen up as much as I can. I also write freelance for other publications so this means I can pitch fresh ideas. I also love doing editorial shoots for the blog so I try to spend as much time in PR showrooms as I can. I’m inspired by visual imagery, because that’s so important for blogs anyway, so I like browsing through the bi-annuals (Acne Paper, The Gentlewoman, Apartmento) as well as spending far too much time on Pinterest. Oh, and I have amassed several huge towers of books and scrapbooks, so I don’t need any encouragement to draw inspiration from those!

What does a day in the life of Navaz look like?

My day is a 24-hour day, as work, rest and play tend to overlap into each other. I’m trying to cut down on email so I will try to get a bit of emailing out of the way first thing and then get away from the computer, doing appointments, meetings and so on in town. Then I will have another session of emails at the end of the day. I tend to write my blog posts in long hand during the day when I have a gap, then I type them up and upload images etc at night.  At the moment though, I’m working on a book so I’m trying to spend whole days at home. That can be solid days of writing (but I start in a local cafe to get my caffeine shot first) and then blogging or admin at night. I will have a couple of evenings where there is a launch or some other event to attend. You have to be visible in this game, but not too much. Luckily for me, I don’t really do the outfit post type blogging so I don’t have to worry about keeping up those sorts of appearances! The best thing about the freelance lifestyle for me is keeping my own hours. I’m very lucky that I can generally avoid the morning commute!
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What celebrities would you consider your style icons?

I don’t follow celebrities. I like classic style, so people like Tilda Swinton, Sofia Coppola and Caroline Issa are the ones who tend to pop up most on my Pinterest.

What are three pieces in your wardrobe you can’t live without?

Levi’s 501 jeans (I get these taken up at the Levi’s store), Church’s shoes, Cos coat. That’s pretty much my staple uniform

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What London shops would you recommend to visitors? 

I much prefer physical stores to online. If you’re going to the King’s Road, head to The Shop At Bluebird, they have a great mix of international brands, fantastic books and luxury beauty bits like Fornasetti candles. I also love Marylebone for a very pleasant fashion and foodie experience. Start at The Conran Shop, then go to Agnes B for basics and then head to Chiltern Street for Mouki Mou, Cire Trudon, Trunk and Sunspel, not forgetting the Monocle Cafe!

What does ‘street style’ mean to you?

I’m a big people watcher, so street style is everywhere, you really can find inspiration in anything. I look for details, so just the way someone has belted their coat or layered their jumper, rather than a whole outfit. I also love looking at old street photography from people like Garry Winogrand and Bruce Davidson, everyone looks amazing in those pictures!
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If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I was born in London so I’m still rather attached to my hometown for the time being. But New York is second best, followed by Mumbai, where my mum lives. I worked there for a couple of months when I helped launch Grazia India and it was challenging but magical at the same time. You definitely never get bored there!
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Can’t get enough of Navaz’s style? Use our favourite fashion app, Comb, to find similar items and to re-vamp your wardrobe. Simply upload a picture of an item of clothing you like and ‘Comb’ it, the app will show you any similar items it finds.

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