Inside the wardrobe of Melbourne model, Dechen Grenfell



“Your style doesn’t just have to be defined or digestible, it just has to feel right for you.”

We know personal style is a journey (I’m looking at you Tumblr years) so we launched a new series Hey I like your style!, Delve into the fashion psyche of our favorite creatives. We talk about the good, the bad and the year 2007.

While the internet made ours fashion icons Feeling closer than ever, even the most effortless of outfits came out of a closet with some (well-dressed) skeletons. Clickable product tags, photo archives, and lives captured in 30-second clips just don’t tell the whole story.

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These are the stories behind the wardrobes that show how we create our own personal style. There’s a brilliance behind the way we express ourselves, and at FJ we know that every outfit has a story.

This week we take a step inside Melbourne’s model Dechen Grenfell’s wardrobe. A rising star on the global modeling scene, Dechen’s style behind the scenes is a more subdued, elegant take on the experimental outfits she wears on camera. While her circa-2010 wardrobe could best be described as “Disneycore,” Dechen’s contemporary style is a high-low mix of subversive basics and second-hand statement pieces. Take a look at her style evolution below.

Who are you and what do you like to wear?

My name is Dechen, I’m from Melbourne and I’m a model. I like to wear lots of muted colors and casual clothes, and every now and then just something that I find silly or funny.

How did your style develop? Do you feel like you’ve gained confidence in the way you dress?

My style development began – like many others my age – strongly influenced by the wild Disney styling of the late 2000s and early 2010s. I loved fashion as a kid and nothing drew me in more than neon colors, sequins, over layers and knee high Converse. As I got into my teens my style became a lot more demure and I kind of lost the confidence to wear whatever I wanted.

Growing up has meant learning again to enjoy fashion like I did as a kid and to prioritize something that feels good over looking good. I think this mentality helps gain confidence in your personal style – it’s not that serious, and it’s okay if it’s superficial.

Personal style is a journey. Ever felt like you had to fit into a certain fashion box?

Definitely, especially now with the internet. It feels like we’re constantly exposed to a huge amount of different styles and subgenres in fashion. It’s great to have so many sources of inspiration and culture, but I think it’s important not to feel committed to a particular style. Instead of this, [you should] just as you like. Your style doesn’t just have to be defined or digestible, it just has to feel right for you.

Take us back to those awkward teenage years. Do you regret fashion?

There was a period in elementary school where I wore a fedora almost every day (I blame the success of that Jason Derulo album). I definitely have no regrets though – I felt so good at the time and that’s really all that matters.

What are the most expensive and cheapest items in your closet?

To be honest, I don’t spend much on clothes – almost everything I buy is second hand. But my love for Eytys shoes is my downfall, and the latest addition to my growing collection is quite possibly the most expensive I’ve bought [yet]. The cheapest would probably be a $2 savings cap or any hand-me-downs from loved ones.

What is the most significant fashion item you own?

I have so many pieces that have very special memories. To name a few: some jewelry gifts, my boyfriend’s shirts, a sheepskin vest from Tibet, finds from a vintage shop in New York, anything I stole from my mother…sometimes it’s just something I bought or on one day i felt really happy and it instantly becomes very special to me.

What’s in your shopping cart right now?

A selection of questionable Depop finds and a few loads on Ssense I’ll never buy.

What fashion item are you saving up for right now?

Nothing special, but I think spring is the time to invest in a new pair of sunglasses. I’m also long overdue for some new basics, which I always think are worth a bit of money if they’re of good quality and last forever.

What clothes do you wear again and again?

Black pants and black boots – I love how they look with pretty much everything. They always save me when I have hard-to-style pieces. I also wear my rings almost every day!

Who are your favorite local designers?

There are so many incredibly talented local designers but some of my favorites would be Cameron Studio, Strateas Carlucci, Aaizel, Emily Watson… the list could go on.

See more of Dechen’s killer looks here.

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