She’s the chief executive and fashion director of London-based TANK magazine, editor-in-chief of digital magazine Because, creative consultant and designer for several brands, and trendsetter to her 201k followers on Instagram. It’s perhaps safe to say that Caroline Issa deserves the title as the ‘golden girl of fashion’. When she’s not busy playing businesswoman, Caroline can be found radiating pure sunshine on Instagram where she shares vibrant and trendy looks, which is also why it comes as no surprise that she’s garnered such a large following of people who are inspired by her success and sense of style.
But before you think she’s done it all, think again. Caroline is currently debuting a collection in collaboration with demi-fine jewellery specialist — Monica Vinader. The line features a good amount of natural pastel-esque gemstones in the form of demure earrings, exquisite necklaces and lovely charm bracelets that offer little pops of colour when styled with any outfit, making it the perfect range of multihued accessories to compliment Caroline’s aesthetic. Besides giving us an insight into her life, Caroline also delves into how she and Vinader channelled their shared love for all things kaleidoscopic into creating ethereal pieces for the collection.
Tell us a bit about the collaboration. What was the partnership like and how did you work with the creative team to create the pieces?
What a dream collaboration! It was my first time creating jewellery pieces, and to get to do it with a longtime friend like Monica was a real blessing. I’ve worked with her on her brand for several years now so I have much respect for the unique approach she takes into instilling joy, self-confidence and absolutely incredible hand-made production for each and every one of her products. During the creative process, Monica’s team sat down with us in front of a pile of raw gemstones, and it became clear very quickly that the magic of these colourful stones were going to lead our way!
Tell us about the way you went about creating this collection. Why was the decision made to use very specific stones with particular energies?
The colour and vibrancy of certain stones naturally attracted Monica and I into picking them up, as it made us want to leverage their amazing properties together. The ‘juicy-ness’ and intense colours of the gems were made for my favourite type of earrings — large, statement cocktail pieces that you can wear with a white t-shirt and jeans, or with an amazing evening dress for formal events, charm bracelets that reminded me of my favourites from my childhood jewellery box, or even little gemstones that hang off beautiful chains that you can layer. Such pieces in the capsule collection are all the things I’ll be wearing everyday just to have a bit of luxury and colour in my life.
Are you a spiritual person? How has that changed the way you think or influenced decisions in your life?
I’d like to think I’m a spiritual person, though that definition is certainly different for everyone. I think knowing that life and history is bigger than one’s self helps to put everything into perspective on a daily basis.
You wear so many hats! Tell us how you keep it all together!
Do I keep it all together? I’m not so sure! (smiles) But I love everything that I do — from running a magazine, to working with a creative team on a consulting project, to dreaming up a marketing and brand campaign strategy for a fashion client, to hosting events. When you’re doing what you love, I think it’s much easier to not feel so overwhelmed, even when you’re constantly busy running a business.
How have you managed to pivot a professional start at a place like Boots into the career you have today?
I am grateful for starting my career profession as a strategy management consultant, where I was able to delve deeply into retail, consumer goods, banking and high street industries, and in a way, it gave me solid grounding for the fundamentals of what it takes to make a successful business. It meant that when I joined TANK, I could appreciate what was needed to go into making a business that would stand the test of time. It’s now 17 years later for me and 21 for the TANK brand, and I’m still living and implementing those business fundamentals.
Coming from a magazine, is it difficult to divorce your personal style from your editorial eye?
No, I think that it’s such a wonderful position to be in. Editorial makes you dream, makes us inspired and makes me want to experiment more. My personal style is probably a more day-to-day, realistic interpretation of my editorial dreams. I run around all day, so my flats replace those incredible sky high Saint Laurent platform heels I’d normally shoot. I love that balance!
When you’re getting dressed, how does jewellery factor into your outfit? Do you ever start with it and build an outfit around it?
Jewellery is such icing on the cake for any outfit, and I use it to enhance my outfit and my mood. It’s also highly personal; so much of my jewellery have personal significance and memory attached to it. Actually, I think that all of my jewellery does, so I really embrace wearing it! I play with it and change it up, though I certainly have favourite pieces that probably get more daily wear.
Which is your favourite piece in the collection and how would you wear it?
My cocktail earrings! Big, statement earrings. I’d wear them with a dress, tuxedo or just a plain, oversized white blouse with pressed trousers. Super versatile!
What makes a great, street snap-worthy outfit in your opinion?
Any outfit that makes you feel confident. You’ll have a great big smile on!
What are the building blocks to a great jewellery wardrobe?
I think pieces that you can wear everyday, even if they’re statement, are important. Also, those amazing precious pieces that you only take out once in a while and are great for special occasions. It’s fun to play with jewellery daily.
Tell our readers a bit about your heritage! How did the different cultures influence your personal sense of style?
I’m grateful to have a mom who lived in Singapore because it meant that I got to visit every summer growing up! My Dad is half-Iranian and half-Lebanese, so factoring that into my own childhood in multi-cultural Canada makes me feel very lucky as all those cultures helped to inform and make me a very curious person!
We read, too, that you have family in Singapore! Has coming back and visiting family as a child influenced you as an adult?
I do! I absolutely adore Singapore, and I even lived there between 2000 and 2001 before I made the big move to London. I gained about 15 pounds from the incredible food I delved into and am grateful for that time. My tastebuds always miss Singapore!