Rebel, Rebel

Meet Carly, the fashion rebel. If you invite her to a party requiring a dress code, she won’t follow it.

Carly Coughlin wearing a denim jacket

Don’t expect Carly to abide by any fashion rules you impose on her. Uniforms & dress codes will be ignored because she needs the freedom to express herself through her clothing in order to feel confident & comfortable.

This fashion rebel cannot conform. She’s tried. In high school, she was often called to the principal’s office for not following the school uniform. She’d wear the school colors, but could never bring herself to wear the polo shirt and khaki pants. She’d improvise with different types of clothes, but it never satisfied school leaders. She’s even been written up at one of her jobs for her fashion choices.

Carly didn’t get in trouble for dressing inappropriately, she got in trouble because she couldn’t follow someone else’s rules.


“When someone tells me what to wear, it takes away my power. I want autonomy over my own body.”

Carly grew up poor in Philadelphia where she only had her brain and her body to represent herself. Everyone knows that just isn’t enough in high school. When you grow up without the advantage of a clothing allowance, it can be difficult to find ways to present yourself so you’re not solely judged on your economic situation. Carly turned to fashion to escape being labeled as a “poor” kid.

She started working when she was 14 so she could afford new Nikes & Guess jeans. Clothes and shoes were her prized possessions and that’s when her interest in style & fashion began.

Carly moved on to college where she graduated with a degree in psychology and art history. Recently, she attained her B.S. in Computer Science while working full time at Target, where she currently works, and brings her rebellious style with her everyday.

“Poverty isn’t who you are, you’re just born into it”

Carly has great style, and she’s a very interesting person. Whenever I interact with her, it’s always a delightful experience. I wanted to get to know her even better, so I sat with her and talked about more important matters.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
How successful I am, where I’ll live and retire.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?
Yes, traveling to Peru by myself and I just booked it for September! It’s my first time out of the country. I also want to go to Tulum. Peru is a graduation gift to myself. I’m excited about the history, architecture and fabrics.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Right now, my education & my half marathons.


What do you value most in a friendship?
Passion and real conversations. Being able to talk about anything emotionally and laughing. Get deep and laugh in the same conversation!

What is your most treasured memory?
I have a lot of good memories. One that stands out is going to New York with my Aunt & Uncle. They would take me shopping, to dinners & plays. They were like my second parents. We would go every couple of months by train or car. We’d spend hours just walking around the city. They would tell me: “This is how you should be treated in life.”


What is your most terrible memory?
I have a lot!

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?
I wouldn’t. I try to live everyday like it’s my last. I always show up warm and loving. I’m always reflecting to make sure my interactions are what I meant them to be.

What does friendship mean to you?
Love. Being able to be totally vulnerable. I can’t really explain it. It’s more of a feeling.

How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
It’s gotten stronger. We’re super close now. I had to go through a period of time where I had to analyze her so I could understand why she was the way she was. Having done so has made me more empathetic and allowed me to be close to her.

What has been an embarrassing moment in your life?
It was the first day at a new school. My teacher scolded me for writing an incorrect word. I didn’t hear him and when he saw that I confused the word “reading” for “greeting” he yelled at me.

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
As a kid I cried a lot. I could cry on demand. My family gave me a lot of crap about it so it makes it hard for me to cry as an adult. I cried by myself about 2 weeks ago.

Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
My baby brother. He lives far away and we’re so close that when I think about that possibility, I get really sad.

When did you last sing to yourself?
This morning getting dressed. I sing everyday. I always have music playing so I sing along.


Would you want to be famous? In what way?
Depends on what I’m famous for. CEO of Google? Yeah. Celebrity? No.

How do you create your look? Where do you shop?
It’s important to mix old and new for me to keep it unique. I try to buy my jewelry from local jewelers. Earrings are from There There Collective and my rings are from local native jewelers. I buy them mostly at pop up sales. Besides buying vintage, some of the places I usually shop are:  ASOS, Zara, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Bona Drag and ShopBop.