I really don't think you can get true inspiration on the laptop. Be out there and explore the world, says Cloudy Zakrocki, executive editor online of German Interview Magazine. Envelope met Cloudy in Berlin during Berlin Fashion Week and talked about her job, her style and where to go out in the Berlin.
Your quote is "you think you know me, but you have no idea". So who are you? That sentence kept following me since I started working in the fashion industry and somehow I still like it. I think as the fashion business is so superficial sometimes, it keeps reminding me that followers and people you meet randomly don't really know you the way your family and close friends do. So, who am I? Cloudy Zakrocki, turned 29 this June 17th, I am the Executive Editor Online at German INTERVIEW Magazine, live in Berlin and love to live my life to the fullest.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in the Black Forest, that's the part of Germany in that little south-western corner to France and Switzerland. My hometown is called Lahr, very cute, very idyllic and I couldn't think of a better place to grow up as a child. My parents are from Poland though, so that explains my last name and my cravings for heavy, greasy food.
Did you have any style icons back then? Well, I was born in 1986, so obviously I loved the late 90s and the early 00s and watched MTV basically 24/7. That's why all my icons, came from the music industry. Gwen Stefani was one of my biggest icons, I always wanted to be like her and actually dressed up like her during a carnival. When I grew up I hung out with boys a lot and was a huge hip hop fan, so Aaliyah was also part of the cool women to watch. And Madonna.
What is the first thing you do in the morning? When my boyfriend is staying at my place or I am at his, I press the snooze button on my iPhone and make full use of every second that is left to cuddle. When I wake up by myself, I love to check Instagram – partly because pretty pictures are a nice way to start the day, partly because in my job I have to be up to date all the time and pick out the topics we want to write about on INTERVIEW.
How many hours a day are you online? Well, as my job is online, basically all the time I am at the office, so eight to ten hours per day. As my friends mostly don't work in the online journalism field they remind me to keep away from my phone on the weekends and in the evenings, which is very important for me. There used to be a time when I was online 24/7 – and this killed basically everything. The interaction with my friends and most of all my inner inspiration. When you have a high-frequenced job like I do, you need time for yourself, with your friends and family and time offline to be able to hold up the high workload for a longer time.
How did you end up in Interview magazine? That was actually a very unexpected thing. I was working for the German blog LesMads.de before and in March 2014 my boyfriend and I were invited to Marrakesh for a birthday party. While I was there a friend of mine wrote me an email about good surf spots in Marocco, but I didn' read the email until I got home. So I replied and asked her if she knew any new job offers in Berlin – I don't even know why I asked her at all, it was an instinct. As coincidence wanted it: they were looking for someone to re-organzie the whole online section at INTERVIEW. I had my first job interview for the magazine that same day, a week later I was already sitting in the office.
Your highlights in your carrier? Definitely to see that INTERVIEW online is going so well, that the readers like what we are doing and of course all the places I've travelled to for my job and the people I met. I did so many interviews in my life already, I can't even list all of them up. One of the most interesting people I ever interviewed was Andreja Pejic, the transgender model. Back in the days Andreja was still Andrej, I had a ten minutes interview slot with her but we got along so well we kept talking through the whole lunch break. A truly inspiring personality that has so much more to offer, such a vivid and amazing mind that I am actually sometimes sad she is always only reduced to modeling and the questions according to the job. When it comes to traveling there were also so many amazing places I was able to visit, I can't even name them all. Mykonos with Louis Vuitton was an amazing experience, New York is always a good idea, the head quarters of Nike in Portland were mind-blowing and another trip took me to Lapland in Finland, 200km north of the arctic circle. It was fucking freezing but when I stood there in the snow and saw the beautiful landscape I just thought, I am so lucky to work with what I do.
What inspires you? My parents inspire me, as they took many tough roads to be in Germany and be where they are now. They always make me feel loved and tought me all the vaules one needs to have as a human being and I am very grateful for that. My friends inspire me, all of them are so amazing with their own personality and so many of them do so many great things every day, I am really, really proud of them and feel blessed to have them in my life. Otherwise, actually travelling, music and art inspires me the most. Nothing makes you start thinking about basically everything in life as much as travelling does, nothing stirs your inner emotional world as much as art and music. And I love to dance. I used to dance myself for ages and so everytime I see a dance performance it triggers the weirdest emotional mix inside my body.
Where do you look for inspiration? In life. As cheesy at it may sound. I really don't think you can get true inspiration on the laptop, looking at Instagram and Pinterest and what not. Be out there, explore the world, keep your eyes open and find beauty even in the little things. That's my key to inspiration.
Who do you follow on instagram? Mostly friends. I figured I can't handle to follow too many people so I try to be somewhere around 500 followings all the time. Otherwise I follow inspiring fashion people like Yasmin Sewell, who actually is even more inspiring in person then on Instagram and random people who live in nice places like Australia, where I used to live myself.
What webpages do you visit? I love Dazed and Confused online, actually I hardly read any blogs any more, I just don't have the time for it. I have a list of 50 webpages that I open every morning at work to see what is going on in fashion, music, art, design, literature and all the other fields somehow relevant for popculture nowaydays. So that's actually a lot of reading each day.
What is style to you? Style to me is to express who you are through your clothes. Style is something personal that only works if it comes from inside and if you are not afraid of what other people say.
What is a keeper in you wardrobe? Leather jackets. I have a collection of 18 leather jackets allready, and I love black skinny jeans and boots. I am more into the Rock'n'Roll style then Scandinavian minimalism, for example. And hats. There is no Cloudy without hats.
From where do you get your daily style inspiration? From movies and the streets in Berlin. Sometimes I have a phase when I don't feel like getting dressed at all, then it's important to have a uniform. Mine is – as you can already figure out – leather jacket, skinny jeans and boots.
Which key items do you go for this season? As much as I am into the Rock'n'Roll style, I love the 70s and I've been a huge fan since I was a little child and probably always will be. So I am actually happy about the big 70s hype that is going on at the moment as there are so many nice clothes and shoes to buy. Key items are lace up flats like Aquazzura introduced to the fashion world, a simple A-line skirt in jeans or suede, and round sunglasses. I love jewellery and think that when it comes to jewellery; more is more.
Whats the next big thing? I think the 70s will continue and then it'll move to the 60s. Why wouldn't we want to look like Twiggy?
Dress up or dress down? Neither nor. It depends on the person and the style and the message of the outfit and the actual mood of that day. I love people who don't have any fear and just dress up like crazy and don't give a damn about what others say. Also I love people who know how do dress down a certain key piece and make it fun for daily life.
Vintage or new buys? Although I just bought my dream bag new recently – the Givenchy obsedia bag – I would have to say vintage. I've always been a lover of vintage shopping and this hasn't changed. The thought that nice and good clothes don't simply get thrown away but have a second life is very valuable, especially in the consumption orientated world we live in now. Also you can find amazing pieces in vintage stores that no one else has, with good quality and an amazing price tag. Jackpot!
Skinny jeans or boyfriends? Skinny! Although boyfriend jeans are more comfy at the office. Still, there is nothing easier for your wardrobe than skinny jeans. Always a great choice.
How is it living in Berlin? Berlin became by home. I moved from the Black Forest to Heidelberg for my studies, went to Australia for a while in between and when I came back I actually wanted nothing more than leave everything in Germany behind and move to Australia. Then I found Berlin. And it was love at first sight. Berlin is a very raw and at the same time easy city, I like that. People are not as work driven as in all the other metropoles and life is still more imporatant than how much you earn. This can be on the other hand frustrating as well, because a lot of people get lost in the city, partying and somehow ten years passed and they didn't achieve anything. I think when you are comfortable in who you are, Berlin is the best city on earth right now. I am glad though I didn't move here when I was 20, otherwise I would have never finished my studies and be one of those lost cases now as well. So in general, Berlin life is fun, it's rough, it's real.
Where do you take your coffee? I don't drink coffee very often as I am more of the tea person, but I love a good flat white at Melbourne Canteen in Neukölln. I live just above the café and on the weekends you see me very often sitting there having my flat white and the best Eggs Benedict in town.
Where do you eat? Eggs Benedict at Melbourne Canteen, the newly opened up restaurant Beuster in Neukölln is a secret gem and I can only recommend dinner there one day. Always a great idea is Parker Bowles! It's owned by a friend of mine and the food there is amazing, maybe because he is the biggest foodie on earth. Also great about Parker Bowles in Kreuzberg is the club next door, Prince Charles so it's an all-in-all evening and night experience. Another restaurant I love is Crackers, which actually turned from Cookies club to a restaurant only recently. Cookies was open for the past 20 years and one of the first clubs in Berlin. Now it's a restaurant and the food there is amazing. Oh and for the French experience: Themroc on Torstrasse in Mitte.
Where do you shop? I love the designer vintage shops The Good Store in Neukölln where I always find the best pieces in Mitte. Otherwise I shop when I travel or on Ebay.
Where do you go out? To Prince Charles, the club next to the Parker Bowles restaurant, or to Kater Blau in summer or to some of those many, many open air parties in summer. As I am getting older I already have 15 years of partying behind me. So sometimes my friends and I will just have drinks till 3 o'clock at night and then don't even go out to clubs any more. Partying in Berlin is huge and so clubs open at Midnight and parties go on till the next afternoon. Therefore being home at 3 is kind of early.
Where would you book your stay if you should have a night on hotel in Berlin? I really like the Michelberger Hotel, as every room is different and the experience is always nice. Also Soho House is always a good option if you want to be in the middle of the city.
What is the next big thing? Travel more, seize every second of life, find more free time for myself, calm down when it comes to work and being online, and who knows what the future will bring!
What trends do you believe in? Obvioulsy it's always better to invest in personal classics, like in my case leather jackets, skinny jeans or in general a good trenchcoat, striped shirt, a nice bag and a pair of great shoes than to invest in trends. So I must say I like the trend that is coming up more and more in the fashion world where every woman is beautiful the way she is and with the body she has. Bodyshaming, if towards skinny or plump people, is a very bad thing that ruins the self esteem, peoples characters and should be stopped. So I hope the trend that we have to love our self for what we are won't die.