Earlier this week I caught up with Ali Fleming, the founder of the culture blog The Bonafide Bedfellows to talk all things culture/art/design and alike.
What sparked the idea behind The Bonafide Bedfellows and when did it start?
I started TBB in mid-2012. It was around this time that I was freelancing for a couple of online publications. I became a little disgruntled with different things and thought, ‘I can do this on my own, and probably with better results’. And so I started brainstorming different ideas.
I’m a bit of culture vulture, so exploring all aspects across fashion, art, design, music and photography seemed as good a place to start as any. Being able to fuse various aspects of the creative industries, as well as give a voice to up-and-comers like myself, became the basis of what TBB is about.
How do you choose your features for the site?
Sometimes they fall in my lap, whether it is an independent artist shooting me an email, or perhaps a PR team plugging a great new client. Sometimes I seek them out myself.
The title The Bonafide Bedfellows was about creating the idea that we never get into bed with someone (metaphorically of course), unless it’s in good faith. So basically we don’t profile people unless we feel it’s the right fit for the site.
Is it just you running the show?
Initially, it was just me and my partner Rich (he is a graphic designer by trade and so, the start-up process was a lot easier in terms of branding and web design). About eight months in, good friend and professional photographer Vassi, came on board. Often, my brother Josh accompanies me to appointments and meetings - he thinks quite differently to me, so it’s always good to get his opinion on things. And lastly, because I was NEVER (yeah, I’ll blame my teachers) taught proper grammar, I often ask my mum to read through my work and make sure I’m dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. Quite the collaboration in fact!
Where did you find your style in writing?
Probably years and years of reading magazines and culture publications. I have a casual writing style, but with a serious undertone. I always want to tell a meaningful story, but I’m also not a political website, so I want it to be feel approachable for a wider-audience.
You recently travelled to New York and posted some editions from there. Did you find there is a culture gap when it comes to creativity?
Not so much a gap, but just a different way of doing things. I got the sense that in New York if you fall behind, you get left behind. And so, people work bloody hard to get ahead. I think this generates a very competitive, but also a very successful, diverse and interesting culture of creativity.
In saying that, there is this really exciting generation of 20 to 30 year olds, who are ferociously talented and driven in Australia. I notice it in Sydney (because I live and work here), and I think it’s this culture that keeps so many of us going. There is this absolute necessity to make things happen for ourselves and I’m so glad that that has become a growing culture in Australia. Yes, we will always be told we are the generation that wants everything “now” – but hey, if we work for it and channel it toward a greater good (to raise awareness and create conversation), then I think why not?
Who would you love to do a feature on if you could get anyone?
It sounds obvious, because I’m sure lots of people would flag her as the “one” they’d want to interview, but Lorde is right up there at the top of my list. What an intriguing and exciting journey she has had over the past couple of years.
You show a lot of workspaces and feature a lot of homes on your other blog vauxlair where do you do the bulk of your writing?
I created a “workspace” of sorts. It’s really just a scattering of magazines, notebooks, pictures and books that once resembled a desk, with my laptop nestled away under all of it. I work full-time, so during the week that’s where my focus is and then on the weekends, I switch my brain back to TBB and just relax into it – either at my “desk” (if you can indeed call it that), in the park or on the couch.
What blogs/magazines do you like to read to keep inspired?
In terms of magazines, I purchase Vanity Fair (US), Dazed and Confused, Inside Out, Vogue Australia and Harper’s (Australia) on a regular basis. Online I tend to read a mix of design-based blogs – Creative Review, B&T, Australia Infront – as well as some good interior and fashion based websites – The Selby, Interiorlist, Citizens of the World, Valentine NYC, Garance Doré. That’s probably a good round up of my favourites.
Any advice for aspiring writers/bloggers?
Just put yourself out there and do it. Find a voice, inject your personality and run with it. If it doesn’t work the first time, tweak it a bit here and there. All creative platforms, I think, take a lot of hard work and can sometimes feel a bit tricky. I’ve certainly had ups and downs since starting, but if you feel passionate enough about it, keep going. It will pay off. Also read, read, read - get to know what else is out there, what you’re up against and the style of writing you enjoy. It will make it a lot easier to determine your own path from there.
Check out The Bonafide Bedfellows: