Frédérique – or Freddie, as she is known by her sizeable online following – is a woman unleashed. London stole the Parisian’s heart five years ago when she worked as a digital strategist in the fashion industry. She has since lent her skills to blogging, styling and has now added confidence consulting to her bow. But this ball of energy wasn’t always so outgoing. She chats to Khoollect about her journey of self exploration and why she aims to empower women through style and confidence.
Meet Freddie Harrel
What’s a day in the life of Freddie Harrel?
My day starts at night! I don’t really sleep well so I usually wake up around 3am, check my emails and go back to sleep. Depending on my appointments, I could be meeting with people about partnerships or brand collaborations over coffee in the morning. Wednesday to Friday, I’m editing or shooting videos. I’m about to start a new business (stay tuned!) so I’ve been doing a lot of research, which means I’m homebound a fair bit at the moment.
At lunchtime, I Skype my freelancer buddies, and in the evenings I go out with friends. I’m not a going-out-for-dinner type of person – I wish I could be, but I’m not much of a foodie – I’m French but I’m such a fraud! At night, I try to catch a movie with my husband – and best friend – Tom, and we talk about our days over a glass of wine.
What do you like most about your job?
That I get to be my own person and don’t have just one role. A friend once told me that I’m never going to be happy working for someone. In fashion and brands, confidence is not really something you can talk about. I didn’t want to be the person that women envy and think “oh i want to be like that girl I scroll through” because it’s bullshit; I have have worries just like every girl.
I want to steer away from the fashion blogger label because I don’t relate to it anymore. You’re so instrumentalised in everything and now I’m even approached by annoying brands that encourage women to be a cliche; the tea that gives you a flat tummy, or the product that gives you a flowery-scented vagina. I want to be able to love life without my body or appearance having too too much of an impact.
Tell us about your She Unleashed workshops …
I wanted to do these workshops to give women confidence. I believe we are made up of several characters; you’re a spectrum of different people. You feel like you have to fit in a box and sometimes you forget to look out of that box. In the workshops, I show how you’re every woman you need to be and style is just as a weapon to channel these characters.
Women are powerful and can do anything, and I want to see more momentum in that. You’re never alone even when you think you are and when you’re a team of different people you can’t let them down.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
I guess it’s coming out of myself. When I was younger I was an insecure, depressed little thing and I felt guilty to exist. The fact that I’m sitting here talking to you is my biggest achievement. I’m very open about my whole story. I hated my job, spent a lot of life trying to please people and had panic attacks at night. But I started therapy and to talk aloud about yourself is like a monologue, where you’re digging and approaching yourself as a different person.
By the way, you have a knack for interiors – where do you find your inspiration from?
Tom and I used to live in a converted orphanage in Brixton, so I’ve always liked a big window, wooden floors and light. I’m not English, so I don’t believe in carpet everywhere. The decor here is a mix of us and everything we like. Tom really likes quirky antique things, and I like to mash colours together – that’s why I have African prints and frames everywhere.
We bought the piano from Gumtree for around £170; for the price of a coffee table you can have something distinctive in your flat. We went on our honeymoon in Bali and also had some furniture shipped from there. That’s why I burn incense because in my head I’m still there …
Best Kept Secrets
I khoollect a few …
Trainers, scarves and faux fur coats.
What’s your most treasured possession?
A pair of shorts that I’ve named Tony. It’s the fabric.
Favourite song or album to give you a confidence boost?
Beyoncé – Sweet dreams.
Your number one fashion tip?
Dont over think it.
Your favourite outfit that really speaks ‘Freddie’?
Red corduroy dungarees. When I wear them I feel invincible.
Who’s your #khoollectcrush?
Hannah Bronfman. She has strong ethics and is a gym freak. And she makes it look good.
Where do you call home?
London. Home is where Tom is.
What do you love most about it?
London is where I get to be completely me and it’s where I found myself. It’s open minded, cosmopolitan and much more common to see successful Black and Asian women here.
Your favourite places for coffee?
Picking up favourite fashion pieces?
& Other Stories and Topshop.
Ideal lazy Sunday?
Wake up late, stumble to Brixton and have breakfast. Then a walk down Southbank and grab food in Covent Garden. If the weather’s bad, it’s box sets under a throw!
Where you find your calm?
With music and a glass of red wine.
Activity you do when you need a boost?
Music and dance therapy. I sing in front of the mirror and I like to laugh. And I like to leave positive sticky notes around the place.
Best options for a night out?
The cosy pubs. I’m still a bit Parisian at heart and like hanging out at friends’ places. I like pyjama parties and making cocktails– my favourite combinations are an Eastern Standard with lime, mint and cucumber; and gin and grapefruit.
Best green park or garden space?
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