Carla Rockmore became famous on the Internet by sharing fashion tips. Here’s how her mission expanded

For some, when your mom gets an account on your favorite social media platform, it can be a sign that it’s time to look for a new place. But not if your mom is Carla Rockmore.

The Dallas-based jewelry designer exploded as a multi-platform fashion influencer during the pandemic. She models colorful and adventurous outfits and shares other tips from her stylish two-story closet.

Recently, her daughter Ivy has started joining her mom on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, among other places online. The Texas Standard spoke with them. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been slightly edited for clarity.

Texas Standard: Carla, you’ve been tagged as the real-life Carrie Bradshaw, the main character from “Sex and the City.” Is it a popular character that you find you agree with the most or not so much?

Carla: Well, I mean between her and Iris Apfel, if we put them both in a blender, everything would be fine.

Ivy, if you could choose who the covers compare you to, who would you choose?

Ivy: Oh my God. That’s a tough question, because there are a lot of people I aspire to. But I really like Jules Vaughn’s outfits from “Euphoria”.

Carla, I read that women over 50 were especially excited to see you as a voice in fashion. Who have you found as an audience for your videos?

Carla: Well, you know, the best part of this whole social media experience for me is that I ended up being part of a family. And I have followers on various platforms from 13 all the way up to 75. So I can’t say there is one specific one. Each age group follows me on a different platform.

Why did you get into this video platform in the first place?

Carla: Well, to tell you the truth, it was COVID. At the end of the day, I was stuck in the house without my materials or metals or stones or all the things that occupied me creatively. And I have to do things.

Obviously you have to create things and share them.

Carla: I suppose. I’ve been sharing it with a few friends in Canada on YouTube because I haven’t really had much of a social media presence before.

You say Canada. Aren’t you in Dallas?

Carla: Yeah, but originally we were Canadian and all my girlfriends were locked up there saying, “Please make me laugh because we’re really sad here.” And so I started making these YouTube videos, and they ran smoothly for about a year. I didn’t know any other platform to put them on until Ivy said, “You know, mom, maybe we should put you on TikTok.” So in about one weekend I went from 91 followers to 250,000.

So, Ivy, you’re to blame for this?

Ivy: (Laughs) In a way. But it’s all her doing.

Stripes will saturate spring and summer silhouettes, and this Depop discovery confirmed all striped frames! I found this La Ligne winner with tags, in my size. And it’s the exact same blue color as my vintage snakeskin belt. Isn’t life grand sometimes? ♬ original sound – Carla Rockmore

Now as a mother, Carla, can you tell us about the decision to share Ivy’s story and bring her on camera with you?

Carla: You know, I think part of my responsibility, because I have such a large following at this point, is to help in any way I can – any other family that might have a child in transition, with the ups and downs, the ins and outs and the good that it can come from experience. The more people embrace the trans community, the easier it is, I think. And so at the end of the day, I guess I’m being selfish and I’m doing it for her – for Ivy.

Ivy, how eager were you to get involved in what your mom is doing?

Ivy: I think I was very excited. I also think that my mindset probably changed when I first decided to transition publicly, about six or seven months ago at this point. When that happened, [my Mom] he really embraced me with open arms. And so after that, I feel like I was even more cheerful and ready to show myself to the world on the platform that she herself helped create.

What kind of answers did you get and what was the experience like?

Ivy: Honestly, the experience was mostly positive, which was great to see. I’m a pretty avid user of social media myself, so like during my childhood, I followed influencers or like trans or LGBT creators. And so constantly seeing individual people’s responses was really validating for me, because you know, there are ups and downs in this experience. But sometimes when I’m having bad looking days, it’s really nice to see positive comments, especially on YouTube, TikTok or Instagram, which makes the platform feel like home.

What about the fashion side of it? I mean, that must be a lot of fun.

Ivy: It’s a lot of fun, I must say. It’s really exciting just to dive into our closet and, you know, do a series of “family fashion finds”—or even like go up to her before school and say, “does this work?” And if not, you know, they’ll give me a sweater or shoes or whatever, because we can kind of exchange it.

How much of a fashion and makeup model is your mother?

Ivy: One of the biggest if not the biggest. I think sometimes we have, you know, maybe a little different style taste. But it, as well as institutional knowledge and fashion itself, are so, so useful. And also the fact that she exudes confidence in her wardrobe. You know, that’s her happy place too. In a way, it allows me to feel more confident, not only in myself, but also in the way I express my gender through clothing.

Carla, what is your background? How long have you been involved in fashion?

Carla: Oh, God. I’ve been a clothing designer all my adult life, and I did that for about 20 years, and then I turned it into jewelry design. When my kids came along, I couldn’t go to Asia regularly to look at clothes. That’s how it kind of rolled out.

And yes, I have always understood that I can express myself without words through my wardrobe. I think there’s a parallel between Carrie [of “Sex and the City”] and I manifested: We both understand the power of non-verbal communication. And, you know, I’m a bit of a chameleon in that way. I can gravitate towards a very minimalistic, clean look one day, then put on full ruffles and bows the next. I will not put myself in a box. It’s the way I express myself.

Carla, it’s probably fair to say that your closet doesn’t look like most of our listeners’ closets. What would you like to share with the average Texan about fashion?

Carla: I think what I would like to say is that you have to listen to your gut. And the best way to do that is to, if you’re interested in fashion, look at what’s happening down the catwalk—but don’t use it as a doctrine. Instead, use your own, you know, weather vane. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t force yourself to wear it just because you think everyone else is wearing it. If you really like something, I let every woman buy the same pair of pants in 10 colors, if that makes you feel good.

Ivy, as you continue to explore fashion, what do you think we can expect from you that is a little different from your mom?

Ivy: That’s a really good question. I think, honestly, my mom knows more about styling than I do. So I’m just at a stage where I’m figuring out, you know, what really suits me in terms of my personal style. I think I’m just exploring more and hopefully will see my style evolve into a more defined aesthetic, if that makes sense, over the next few years. But honestly, my mom is just a real role model and proves that you don’t really need to define yourself by one particular thing. You know, you can wear patterns one day and only solid colors the next.

Carla: Yes. And you know what else, Ivy? You never stop growing, so you never have to feel pressured to have a defined style.

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