She is one of the most-followed Australian influencers on social media. Now, Rozalia Russian has sparked a near-frenzy after releasing her first clothing line … and it sold out in minutes.
Russian's capsule collection for Atoir – dubbed "Apparel by Rozalia" – became available for preorder last night, and completely sold out on the brand's official site in less than 20 minutes.
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The unisex range of tonal trackies, trenches and tanks – among other WFH loungewear basics – was released to pre-purchase, with shipping expected by the end of June, according to Atoir (the line was also available via other retailers, including Myer and Stylerunner).
Russian's followers flooded her social media feed, suggesting the site crashed due to the high demand.
In the lucrative world of Instagram, influencers make a living by sharing sponsored posts (AKA #ads) that brands pay for, often featuring clothes they've received at no charge. Yep, the technical term is "gifting" and it's when a company gives an influencer items in exchange for promotion to the followers on their feed.
However, that's not a model followed by Russian, who – for the most part – says she purchases what she wears.
"Majority of the time, if a brand reaches out to my management team [for gifting], I don't accept," Russian said.
"It's a lot easier for everyone to go out and support the brand. I'm no more special than anyone else, why should they be gifting me a dress?
"And I am too embarrassed to ask a brand, 'Oh hey, I've seen this dress, can I have it?'"
Russian – who has 253,000 followers on Instagram – said she felt compelled to pay her way to support Australian designers.
"I have met the designers, once you know these people on a personal level, you understand they have bills to pay, staff to pay," Melbourne-based Russian said.
"If everyone is accepting free things all the time, how are they supposed to support the business?"
The mother-of-two also backed the Australian fashion industry during its recent tough time by working at "no charge" for some of her clients during the Covid-19 retail downturn.
"A lot of the creatives that I work with took a massive hit, instantly," she said. "I was trying to do my bit to keep everyone going. If I could support someone in a small way, I just tried.
"If I could help a brand by doing a photo shoot for free, and promoting their range, then I did."
While juggling motherhood with WFH, Russian kept busy during lockdown by designing her first capsule collection for Atoir, dubbed "Apparel by Rozalia", which she overhauled when the strict coronavirus lockdown was enforced.
"Initially, I had all the styles done by January and it was more of a wardrobe. NYC vibe – basics, like a great pair of denim jeans, a shirt, a blazer," she said, referring to Christine Cenetera's influential brand Wardrobe. NYC.
"And then coronavirus hit, so I called the team and said, you know what? We need to put a pause on this collection – it's not the right time to be releasing suiting and dresses," Russian added, citing the off-duty outfits of Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner as her design inspo.
"I had this idea of doing a loungewear collection instead. I was trying to find a good tracksuit to WFH in and there was nothing that stood out to me.
"In about five weeks, I redesigned the entire collection – sampling, had it all made, and here it is."
Featuring a trench, trackies and tank, along with other WFH wardrobe essentials (including a hoodie and collared sweater, naturally) it's no wonder the first release of Apparel by Rozalia sold out on pre-order, just like almost everything Russian posts about on Instagram.
She has a policy to only promote what she wears and uses in her real life, not just for show on social media.
"I work long term with brands – so everything that I post about are things I actually wear and products that I use," Russian said.
Case in point? The Mecca Cosmetica lip gloss that completely sold out after she wore it.
"My makeup artist used a Mecca lip gloss on me – it was called 'Gloss Boss' in the shade 'cool it' and it sold out four times over online," Russian explained.
"Camilla and Marc I am a huge fan of. I have this one jacket called the 'Ruth' jacket and it sold out instantly. It's been on pre-order and re-cut a number of times, and keeps on selling out.
"Brands like Camilla and Marc don't pay me to post about their clothing – I genuinely love the brand.
"That's why the audience trust me, it's not false advertising. They see that, 'Oh, she actually wears that leather jacket. She wears that lip gloss'."