“The kid who was always up to something”, Irine Lily Phillip had an adventurous childhood; playing with friends, “living wild in not-so-wild spaces, making things with my hands, and hoarding books in the school library,” as she puts it. From an early age, literature caught her attention and inspired her to learn more, but her other hobbies also kept her busy. From then on, her curiosity turned into a love of stories and she tried her hand at writing her own thoughts in numerous journal entries. In her adult life, looking back on her thoughts, this was the first indication of Irene’s current career path.
At a young age, however, her bookworm tendencies didn’t mean she was tied to literature; Irine loved sports, music, dance and the arts too. “You could put me on a track and challenge me to a sprint, or throw me on a football field and tell me to go long,” she says, while reflecting on her hopes of being part of a group. girls with his friends. With her varied interests, Irine credits the “multicultural community” she grew up in, as it shaped her ability to “learn to appreciate the differences and similarities in everything.” As a South Asian growing up in Dubai in the 90s, multiculturalism certainly impacted his worldview and influenced his way of looking at things.
With her interest in the arts, it’s no surprise that Irine studied fashion design and technology, beginning her creative career as a textile designer at a fashion house and clothing company. It was from then that an editor approached her about making a feature film and she began her writing journey, creating an article for a magazine. “This experience reinforced what my English teachers told me in school: ‘start writing’. From there, I joined a fashion e-commerce company which was the formal, full-time leap into creating, writing and producing content,” says Irene.
During her time in textiles, Irine worked on her first project, “the design of a bed linen line, which fortunately turned out to be profitable for the company I was working with”. But it was at Marie Claire that the aspiring editor wrote her first fashion article: “The task required me to use my design/styling abilities to come up with a look and curate a collection in partnership with a designers, and styling a dish. take pictures with a photographer in the day, take everything back to the store and start writing this piece. Throughout the process, her writing and fashion background was in perfect balance to allow her to conceptualize and retain her writing during what she describes as “an invigorating experience”.
During these early experiences, Irine made sure to make a good impression: “Being nice is just as important as being good at your job,” she says, reflecting on the most useful lesson she’s learned so far. now. As someone who continues to learn and grow from each task, she says her skills are always “a work in progress.” Because of this, she spends her time listing, reading, and subscribing to anything that catches her eye, spreading her hobbies far and wide. Within the industry, being a sponge is perhaps the easiest way to not only stay fresh on new aspects of craftsmanship, but also allow growth to take place at a much faster rate, which is the path that Irene has chosen.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to work on projects of all shapes and sizes, but one that’s particularly meaningful and fulfilling to me is a campaign we did for Energizer Japan,” Irene says. Perhaps the most significant campaign she has worked on, this particular location was part of efforts to both raise awareness and increase sales for Energizer Lights during Japan’s disaster season. She says, “We focused on manga as the best approach to attract our target audience there. So began the process of developing my story with my assistant creative director and my art team. The result was a seven-chapter digital manga called “Let There Be Light”, which was translated into Japanese and featured Mr. Energizer and his friends. Part of what made this significant is that as a result, the brand became the second most trusted brand in the region, “and increased its market share to 17%, with over 200,000 readers and a reach over 20 million.
As part of her work, Irene hopes to have the opportunity “to do something new and possibly change perceptions”. She reflects on the people she has met who have a natural ability to see things “and know what needs to be done”, which she aspires to achieve one day. However, part of what makes the industry challenging is the obstacles many of us face – and for Irene, that tends to be the uninspired feeling that comes from things going wrong. “I believe I’m hard working and mostly thorough in my approach to most things that are close to my heart, so I sometimes tend to chicken out when my efforts don’t pay off,” she says, but also recognizes how much learning from this process has ultimately made her better at what she does.
Creatives do what they do for love, and that’s what really inspires Irene in her day-to-day life. She admires Dan Nelken, Liz Fosslien and Eddie Shleyner as “people I jot down daily for creative and personal inspiration.” This is especially true when it comes to justifying one’s particular word choices or running up against the criteria of being “native English speakers”. Irene explains her frustration with this, “in most cases this only means editors from certain countries/regions”, not only that, but the layers and layers of internal approvals on top of that camera mean that the editing ends by being “undervalued and overlooked.
Alleviating these frustrations through exercise, cooking and travelling, Irene releases all stress by allowing herself to relax. “I cook whenever I can. Dance as much as possible. Train at least five days a week. Read and watch television as much as possible. Learn languages. Food. Music. Dance. Traveling. Languages. All the things I’ve loved since I was little,” and all the things she continues to do. Some of her favorite cooks are “Padma Lakshmi, Anthony Bourdain, Joanne Lee Molinaro (aka The Korean Vegan) and Kylie Kwong”. And you can often find her watching content creators and artists such as Karen Cheng, Arimura Taishi, and Sarah Andersen, to name a few.
With many inspirations and hobbies, Irene says, “There are many things I want to do, places I would like to be, people I would like to meet. That’s how I tell myself there’s more to come and go. Also… food.