The Big Quiet's Chantal Stafford-Abbott Visits New York Market



Last month we had the pleasure of hosting The Big Quiet's Chantal Stafford-Abbott here at The Brand Assembly Square during our first-ever #SQries Wellness Day!

As a power-player in both fashion and wellness Chantal shared so much valuable insight while leading an enlightening (and much needed) meditation session for our attendees. So you can imagine how grateful we were to have Chantal return to the Square this month for New York market. During our catch up Chantal excitedly perused the collections from our inspiring roster of designers (a few of whom she was able to reconnect with since first arriving in the city!) and she also reminisced on last month's event. She even remarked, "The Wellness Day at Brand Assembly was great. I was super excited to be able to lead everyone in a meditation, answer some questions and chat a bit about my own experience in the fashion world." 

Today we're bringing you our full conversation with Chantal who kindly outlined a recap of some of the key points she shared with our #SQries attendees, her experiences during fashion month and what she's assembling daily in fashion, wellness and everything in between. 

Please introduce yourself!

Hi! I'm Chantal and my motto is, "Meditate, move and create!" I'm interested in the human condition, in exploring the mind and body through mindful practices. I think it stems from struggling with my understanding of existentialism and mortality. Like what's the point of this whole thing anyway? In any case, practicing and learning more about meditation has been such an incredible journey! I got involved with The Big Quiet where thousands of New Yorkers gather to celebrate meditation and modern culture every few months at landmark areas in the city. I also became a facilitator for the Medi Club Circles (the more intimate version of The Big Quiet) which are weekly small gatherings of people within the community that share a meditation followed by group discussions around topics that are important to us or things that we are going through. Along with mindfulness, I am passionate about movement. From basketball to group workouts, yoga and outdoor adventures, I love it all. Movement inspires my creativity which manifests itself mostly through film photography and making up raps and songs for my friends' birthdays.

Between modeling and The Big Quiet talk to us about your career and current projects. How have all of your endeavors inspired you to maintain a healthy approach to fashion?

Modeling is keeping me pretty busy at the moment and I am so grateful for that. It's been a beautiful and challenging journey. Consequently, traveling and demanding long hours at work has definitely motivated me to find a healthy mind and body balance. Discovering little projects to work on and communities to get involved with has helped me to have more fun. Not that fashion isn't fun (ahem) but finding fulfilling experiences and diving into creativity has paid off. I started a little website/Instagram featuring New Yorkers and what they do for fun besides work. I'm also getting back into portrait and landscape photography.  

We loved having you here last month during our first ever Wellness Day. Can you recap some of the talking points you made during the meditation session?

The Wellness Day at Brand Assembly was great. I was super excited to be able to lead everyone in a meditation, answer some questions and chat a bit about my own experience in the fashion world. A few people had never meditated before and were curious about the process and about how to keep consistency with their practice. I personally meditate for 20 minutes every morning and then add another 20 minutes in the afternoon if I can. It's been helpful for me to keep on reminding myself that no meditation is good or bad, it just is. That cheesy sentence has been useful in keeping my practice, even when I'm struggling or experiencing unpleasant sensations. 

During your visit at New York market were there any brands that jumped out at you? 

I bumped into an old friend at the STROM booth and had a chance to catch up with him and check out the collection. I LOVE those jeans. 

As the excitement of fashion month dies down the craziness of market continues! With this in mind can you share any experiences on how you’ve been able to use meditation in the past during this busy time of year?

Fashion week is an exceptionally mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting time. Everyone seems to get snappy and moody, including myself. To be honest, I've had a really hard time in the past dealing with the pressure of staying thin and booking good shows. I always found comfort in befriending fellow models and being open about the challenges we're going through together as opposed to keeping my distance for the sake of competition. Something I learned through mindful practice is that nothing is permanent. No matter how tired or annoyed I am I know it will pass. No matter how excited and exhilarated I feel, that too will pass. It's all good. 

What are your tips for busy fashion professionals who are looking to establish more health and productivity in their day-to-day?

Have more fun! We so often forget the value of having fun and getting back in touch with our playful side. I recently went to Camp Grounded a summer camp for adults. We had no phones or computers, couldn't talk about work and even had fake names! Sitting around the camp fire, zip lining and swimming made me so happy and I felt re-energized coming back to NY. Weekends away helps us disconnect and relax, consequently feeling more focused and productive when we return to our busy work schedules. Meditating daily also helps massively with productivity!

What do you assemble daily? 

I always write a gratefulness list during my morning routine and set an intention for the day. Most importantly I try to find humor in everything I do. It helps me feel light and not worry so much about the silly things. 

Keep up with Chantal on social media @chantalstaffabb and follow us @brandassembly as we prepare for our upcoming show in LA!