At 24, Alicia Chew is already a seasoned Internet expert.
A native of Northern Virginia, Chew launched her first website when she was just 10 years old and specialized in web and graphic design in high school. Many websites later, Chew decided to launch her first fashion-oriented website – River City Chic – while she was a communications student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
Now graduated and back in the DC metro area, Chew has transformed River City Chic into AliciaTenise.com and, in turn, has become one of the area’s leading fashion bloggers.
We talked to her about her style inspirations, her must-have products, and what’s next for her site.
Photo: Lisa Chiu
Q: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your style?
A: A lot of the style bloggers I read have influenced my style. These are women who are doing it themselves – they don’t have stylists and they don’t have a team helping them out. They showcase their own style and it’s very inspiring.
Q: What are some of your must-have products?
For hair, it’s Garnier Fructis leave-in conditioner. It’s very important for me because I have dry hair.
For skincare, I love Dermalogica Conditioning Body Wash. I have people graze up on my arm and they ask, ‘What’s going on?’ And I say, ‘I know, I know!’ That’s how soft it makes my skin feel (laughs). It has a very light lavender scent, which is great because I don’t like things that have too much fragrance.
For my face, I use Benefit Cosmetics’ Triple Performing Facial Emulsion, which has SPF 15 in it. Although I don’t get sunburns, it’s still very important to me to wear something that has at least SPF 15. It’s an all-year product for me.
Q: How did growing up in this area influence you?
A: My mom took me to Tyson’s all the time, which was great because it meant that I always had a lot of options to choose from. My style was definitely more conservative before I started college, because that was a bit more prominent in this area when I was growing up.
Now, I’ve had the chance to live in three different cities – Philadelphia, New York, and Richmond. Each has a very distinct style. I’d say, today, my style is a mix of elements from these cities mixed in with what I’d consider to be the classic DC style I grew up with.
Q: What are some of your wardrobe staples?
A: A lot of my staples are for the fall, which is really my favorite time for fashion. I don’t like the colder weather, but I love the clothes that come with it!
I bought my first pair of Frye boots last fall and I can’t wait to wear them again. They’re cognac-colored riding boots and they have a classic style that just matches with everything. As soon as it hits 60, I’m putting them on! (laughs)
I also have a leather jacket from Free People. It’s metallic brown with hints of gold, which sounds really gaudy, but it totally works. It’s a combination you don’t see often and it’s a great variation on a black leather jacket.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced starting out?
A: It was very difficult to juggle the website with life in general. I’m rarely home, so when I am at home, I really have to crack down and work on my blog. I was also working in a full-time position doing marketing and event planning, which often included nights and weekends, so it was tough to find time.
I recently decided to leave my full-time position for a part-time position that will allow me to focus more on developing my blog further. I’ll be able to introduce more content – like food, which is a huge part of my life – and shoot it very well.
Q: What’s next for your blog?
A: I love DC and I love DC fashion – it’s a community that’s growing and exploding. So I’m really looking to expand my collaborations, especially with local brands and businesses, to showcase what’s happening here.
I’m also working with a friend on another venture, which we’re hoping to have up and running in a year or so. We think it’ll be something people in DC will really enjoy!