Chee Smith lives and breathes fashion. From her years of experience that lead to her position at Cosmopolitan Middle East, her adorable 2-year-old son Riley is following in her footsteps with a real consciousness for style. In an exclusive interview, she talks to us about her favourite brands and shares tips on juggling work and family life.
Do you remember your favourite piece of clothing growing up?
“Fashion was always a big thing in our family, my mum loved dressing my sister and I up and we had so much stuff, that (other than our school uniform) I don’t ever remember wearing the same things twice!”
Do you have a favourite childrenswear brand? If so, what do you love about it?
“It changes as Riley grows. When he was a baby I loved Petit Bateau, their vests, body suits and baby grows are both cute and practical. Now that he’s a toddler, I like to dress him in Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Kenzo– I just love their boys’ collections, even though my bank balance doesn’t!”
How did you start working in fashion?
“While I was studying at the London College of Fashion, I did work experience at the then very successful women’s magazine, more! and basically never left. They offered me the job as a fashion assistant and I stayed for six years working my way up to Deputy Fashion Editor. I eventually did leave and was a freelance fashion stylist for five years before ending up back in magazines here in Dubai, where I am currently the fashion & beauty director at Cosmopolitan Middle East.”
Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping that family/work balance?
“It is very difficult, but the one thing that works for us is that our evenings and weekends are purely family time and as soon as we get home, we immediately switch off from work.”
What is the most challenging part of being a working mother?
“Feeling guilty that you’re not spending all day every day with your child and worrying about all the tiny little things you’re missing out on.”
What has been the most enjoyable aspect of being a mother?
“I love everything about being a mum, but watching Riley grow into such a beautiful, funny and intelligent little boy makes me immensely proud.”
How has having Riley changed you as a person?
“I’m definitely a lot more patient and I’ve learnt to slow down a lot. Before Riley, I never sat still and always had something or other going on. Now I’m just happy spending quality time with my son and that can be doing anything from playing at home to fun days out as a family.”
Your son Riley is a fashionista in the making! How would you describe his personal style?
“Riley already knows what he likes and doesn’t like to wear. He’s very much a boy and likes to get dirty so he’s much more comfortable in cool, casual clothes. Plus, the weather here is always good so shorts and t-shirts are his staples.”
What is Riley’s favourite item of clothing?
“Definitely shoes! It was the first word he said and ever since he’s been obsessed with them. At the moment, his favourite pair are his Nike Air Jordans and he regularly wants to wear them round the house with his pjs. He also loves his Kenzo tiger sweatshirt and roars whenever he wears it.”
Original feature from Childrensalon Lifestyle