Pia Arrobio chats to Becca Varcoe

I came across Pia Arrobio’s blog “Fighting the War Against Blowing It” when I was 18. I’d dropped out of studying graphic design at university and struggling with the existential dread that comes with being eighteen and not really knowing what you want to do with your life. Pia’s life seemed to be everything I wanted. She was living in New York, friends with artists and skateboarders and designers and I was living in a cold suburb of Melbourne working my way through my local Blockbuster video aisle by aisle.

But more than that her blog was vulnerable-it was her. She was smart and funny and cool, but she also didn’t really know what she was doing. She missed her mum sometimes. She didn’t know what to do about dudes. She was creative and trying, and that’s all I had then, too.

Our interview last year was cancelled because Pia was flat-chat finishing up at U.S. label Reformation as their Style Director, taking up a position at Alliance Apparel as their Creative Director, and in the beginning stages of launching her own label L.P.A. I wanted to know how you could take amazing photos, end up designing clothes, work in amazing female-headed companies and still be heartbroken and honest and open, so she answered some questions for me.

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BV:   I’ve been following your blog “Fighting the War Against Blowing It” and then your Instagram since I was 19 which is super weird and crazy…how do you feel about having spent so many of your adult formative years living relatively publicly/in a way weird 19 year olds in Australia can follow? 

LPA:   My blog was basically an open journal, and really grew into a platform for my vulnerability. So I used to get emails from people all over the world saying: “That happened to me!” or “I feel the same way I’m happy I’m not alone!” Vulnerability is magic. It connects everyone. The internet is usually used for people to play up their lives, and I mostly wrote about how hard everything was, so for the most part it was a very humbling experience that brought beautiful strangers into my life.

BV:   Why did you move back to LA?

LPA:   Because New York is Disneyland. I didn’t want to wake up pushing 40 living in a shitty apartment, still single with a weird job. Every experience is different, but I know myself, and that’s what would have happened [to me]. I also feel like people in New York get this inflated sense of reality. You forget anything else exists outside of the city.  My family is in LA, my parents are getting older, and I was missing too many Sunday family dinners. It’s important for me to settle my life close to my family. So I came here and I go back to NY often for work and pleasure.

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BV:   What did you study at college? How did you get to where you are now?

LPA:   I studied Design and Management at Parsons. I dropped out to produce photoshoots and cast. Then I got a job at People’s Revolution, which led to four years at Reformation. I left Reformation because I got a job working at Zara in Spain, and when the team from Revolve found out I had left Reformation they convinced me to stay in LA by offering me my own brand. I just followed the universe. I called people and wrote emails and then everything fell in my lap because I was open to it and fully willing to work my ass off. Happy to say it worked- LPA launches August 11th.

BV:   Did you see yourself where you are now, when you were younger? Did you know where you wanted to be? What did you let guide you?

LPA:   I never knew what I wanted to be but I knew I was creative and had a big personality. When I set my mind to something I always made it happen, but I knew I also just had to kind of go with the flow. When you live between NY and LA it’s easy to saturate yourself in a creative community and just kind of let the people you meet guide you.

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BV:   I liked following you, and still do, because you were always quite open about struggling or not knowing what do to, is that a process you feel everyone has to go through?

LPA:   It’s not something people have to go through, it’s something people are going through all the time, everywhere, non-stop. I don’t want to pretend like all this is easy when it’s not. It’s hard work to have functioning relationships and a functioning job or career. In my experience, you get exactly what you deserve, good or bad, so I work hard and make myself better, and because I’m doing that work nothing but wonderful things have been coming my way.

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BV:   Do you have any advice for people who don’t know what direction to move in? Do you have any advice for people who are heartbroken?

LPA:   Direction-wise I would say just do what you like and don’t be a baby about making it happen. Selfies aren’t currency. Be real. Use your hands. Call people. Ask for work. That’s what I did. Write down where you want to be and visualize the life you want.

My heart was broken last year, and the best advice I can give is to feel the feelings, take the advice of the people who know you best, don’t be destructive and use all that energy towards something to better yourself. The most amazing works of art through history, whether a painting or play or poem or song or whatever, all comes from love and heartbreak. So don’t waste it feeling sorry for yourself. I drink wine and watch rom com’s but channel that energy into something productive. My work is the best it’s ever been. You’re not going to die, its fine, someone else is coming.

BV:   Do you have any advice on how to become as cool as you? 

LPA:   This is a ridiculous question and you know it.

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Words: Becca Varcoe (Founding Editor of Funny Ha Ha)

Image Credits: Pia Arrobio

Editing: Bri Lee

 

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