This Fashionable Brooklynite Nails The Active (Life)Style

While we’d like to think we’ve got this whole adult thing down pat, we have to admit: Juggling a full-time job, staying fit, and finding time for both friends and hobbies sometimes seems near impossible. But, not so, says Camilla Mayer, cofounder of creative agency and style blog Open Haus Collective. While her high-powered position places her at the helm of digital strategy and content creation for fashion clients, her off-duty lifestyle plays just as big a role. She spends after-hours biking around her Bushwick 'hood, hitting up the occasional warehouse party with her girls, and, despite her techy role, writing in her journal on a daily basis. (Yes, with pen and paper.)
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So, we tagged along for an action-packed day in Mayer's life to see how her fast-paced job and free time go hand in hand. One secret she was happy to spill? How she wears her versatile lululemon gear both in the gym and out, effortlessly incorporating her favorite sleek sports bra and running tights into three unique outfits throughout her day. Ahead, get this fashion phenom's play-by-play and lifestyle advice — and master her laid-back, athletic style while you're at it.
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9 a.m.: Rise & Ride

As a newly minted entrepreneur, we can imagine your work schedule is pretty hectic. How do you start your day on a stress-free note?
“I’m not really a morning person — I love my sleep. Ideally, if I can, I like to wake up, make coffee, and sit in bed for a while listening to a podcast. That gets my mind going. I also like to journal. Trying to make money to survive but also being creative is somewhat of a balance, so I think gathering thoughts is really helpful.”

Sounds like a great way to ease into the day. You aren't one to rush out the door and slump into a subway seat, are you?
“No, I grew up biking. When I moved to Brooklyn, I had this cute vintage bike with a little basket, but it was so old that the brake actually fell out while I was riding it, so I ended up chucking it. It was really sad — it was a good bike. This bike is a Huffy that my sister gifted to me. It’s a cruiser, which isn’t good for the city, but I’ll use it to bike to the coffee shop or to run errands and get groceries.”

But, riding in the city can be pretty nerve-racking.
“Not as much in Brooklyn. Here, bike riding is actually enjoyable. I’ll bike from Bushwick to Williamsburg. During the day, it’s a great way to get out.”

DKNY shirt dress, model's own sunglasses.
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So, once your workday gets going, what do you tackle first?
"My business partner Karina De Jesus and I generally start our day together and then head out for meetings. Because it's just the two of us and we juggle so much, our days are really long and always different. But, without fail, I run out to a local coffee shop for some fuel and some quiet time. This time really helps me get focused for the day and reminds me of the bigger picture of what Karina and I are trying to accomplish. Every day is a hustle, and that keeps me on my toes."

After working in the fashion industry for years, what ultimately prompted you to go out on your own?
"Starting my own company was never a dream of mine — it sort of happened out of circumstance. Karina and I came to similar places in our lives where we both lost our jobs unexpectedly at the same time. Frustrated with the job market and always working for someone else, we decided that if we're going to begin anything, right now is the time to do it — while we're young and without much to lose. Now, we work out of a spare room in our apartment in Bushwick — it's our main place to work and source inspiration. It's small and humble, but it's our own, and we couldn't be more excited or proud."
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Hey, you've gotta start somewhere! It must feel so rewarding to work for your own passions. Have you always been passionate about fashion?
“I actually studied fine art before picking fashion — I wanted to be a painter. But, being an artist, you go into a studio and are alone for six hours a day, and that was just something I couldn’t do. I realized that the way I loved to escape was through fashion magazines. I didn’t think it was an actual career until my sister said 'Hey, if you wanna do that, you can do it.’ So, I researched the best fashion schools and decided to transfer to the Fashion Institute of Technology, where I studied fashion forecasting, trend forecasting, and textile design.”

At what point did you realize you could merge your interests in fashion and digital?
“Tumblr launched my first year at FIT. The idea and concept of microblogging was still a new thing, and I actually developed my first blog on there. I realized as a young college student that the Internet was so big and that there was room for so much more — instead of creating content on a large scale at, say, Harper’s Bazaar, I could do it in smaller ways for a brand or a smaller online publication. So, that’s what transpired after graduation.”
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As fashion folk, we know that work dress codes can be very loose and open to interpretation. Do you have certain no-fail pieces that work in any scenario?
"Being in the fashion industry, there are huge allowances in one's wardrobe. This sports bra that I'm wearing here looks like a luxury piece you would find in a lingerie shop. You can wear it as a crop top, which is what I’ve been doing, with a high-waist skirt and a nice button-down. I’ve Instagrammed myself in this sports bra a million times. I live in it.”
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2 p.m.: Midday Stroll

Since you're always on the go, do you ever feel like you have to sacrifice style?
“Compromising style in order to be active can be really frustrating. I love lululemon’s stuff because you can retain your fashionable lifestyle — these pieces can easily be incorporated into an outfit to go to a bar or a restaurant. They’re minimal, sleek, and really chic.”

We heard you have an epic playlist for when you're trekking through the city.
"Yes, I listen to music on my SoundCloud app. It puts me in this great mood for work. DJs like Sri Rao, Lloydski, and Pablo Nouvelle are doing things right."

Sandro skirt.
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Besides great music, what other tricks do you have for maintaining an active, energetic lifestyle with such a high-intensity career?
"On a personal level, making sure I'm happy and whole enables me to push harder and do more in my industry. Juggling so much is not for the faint of heart, and taking care of yourself is the secret to doing more. I love hitting the gym or riding my bike to help clear my mind."

And, running around the city all day?
"Yes. Being in fashion and a blogger, I'm constantly running around. I have meetings all over the city that keep me constantly in motion, both mentally and physically."
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A big part of your job (and your former education at FIT) is keeping up with and forecasting trends — how do trends affect your decisions for your clients in the digital space?
"Trends are a huge part of our job. Not only because we work in fashion and there are obvious trends in the industry, but even more importantly how these trends translate over digital. The Internet, especially social media, ebbs and weaves with its owns trends that are always changing. Having an awareness of that and being able to create content and strategy accordingly is the foundation of what we do."
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So, would you say practicality or mastering trends is most important to you when you're planning an outfit?
"Like most New Yorkers, I'm thinking about comfort and whether this outfit is going to last me through the day."

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What's your secret for styling relaxed pieces into such fashion-forward looks?
"Pairing sporty pieces like a hoodie and a free-flowing skirt is cute, and this look is able to pass into evening activities, too. You can include one or two trends in your outfit to really elevate the look. It's about wearing something paired together that's notable."
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6 p.m.: Post-Work Cool Down

Once it's time to clock out, what's next?
“I usually meet up with my friends. I really love the house music scene in Brooklyn and go to a lot of parties in Bushwick. If you’ve watched HBO's Girls or even Glee, they show the characters going to these warehouse parties — that’s actually a real thing. Having clothing that’s actually danceable is important, so I just keep on my lululemon sports bra and it's awesome. It holds everything in.”

Count us in for next time. Bushwick is so up-and-coming. What do you love most about it?
“I love Bushwick. It’s really different than any sort of place I’ve ever lived. Bushwick actually creates culture, and anyone that I meet there is usually a creative of some sort — they’re working at ad agencies, fashion houses, magazines. So, anytime you go out to a bar or a restaurant, you’re meeting the most unique and interesting people; I love that. It’s really inspiring on a visual basis and on a one-on-one basis.”

Helmut Lang dress, Topshop sandals.
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Do you have any go-to spots?
“I love Roberta’s Pizza in Williamsburg. It’s my favorite pizza of all time — even better than Chicago pizza, which is so hard to admit, but it’s delicious. Mominette is also really cute. It’s a little French restaurant that has a good brunch. My friends and I go there a lot in the winter because it’s ultra cozy, but when it’s warm, they have an awesome backyard and live jazz music during the week.”
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When Roberta's (one of our faves, too) or late-night dancing isn't on the docket for the evening, do you ever take a breather and just wind down?
“I do love being at home, which is weird for a New Yorker. I think that’s another thing I’ve decided — having a good apartment really increases the longevity of living in New York. You have to be able to get away, and my apartment is very much that.”
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You mentioned that going to the gym is also very cathartic for you.
“I try to go at least three days a week after work. I’m not super disciplined about my workouts — I think working out should be fun — so I try to run on the treadmill for about 20 minutes then lift weights for another 20 minutes. I switch it up every day and don’t have a regimen."
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Whether you're keeping your night low-key or going big, how do you amp up your look after hours?
“When you live an active lifestyle, a great way to jazz up your outfit is through jewelry. I love anything from delicate pieces to chunky pieces. It’s the little details that really make your outfit pop.”
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Since your job requires you to be so creative, where do you find inspiration outside of work?
“I’m always going to events, galleries, and museums, which is inspiring in itself. But, when I do get stuck, I’m inspired by my core circle, meaning my really close friends. We’ve known each other for a long time, and they really keep me grounded by reminding me who I am and telling me to keep pursuing something even when I don’t feel inspired. I think fear keeps us from creating, and knowing who you are really helps.”
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