I was introduced to Esther by a mutual friend in media. This stunning woman stands at least 6” above me, but her kind energy overpowered any feelings of inadequacy on my part. She brings her vision of style, beauty and culture to life with online magazine, Cherry Creek Fashion.
Before we discuss Cherry Creek Fashion, I want to take a deep dive back into the archives of where it all began. You started your career in media when you were a teenager in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. How did this passion begin for you?
I have always loved creating content from a blank slate! I remember creating my own books before I was 10 and putting on talent shows with my sister and cousins during family gatherings. I started a television production company with my sister Davina in my teens and we produced television shows, ads, music videos and documentaries. It was a fantastic training ground in production and being responsible for the entire process of creating and distributing content. I also began writing for a newspaper and then a magazine, becoming the Senior Fashion Editor. I started modeling when I was 14, so I have a long history in the industry. After a few years I moved to London to get my Master’s Degree in Fashion Journalism. While I was in London, my sister and I also produced our first short film, The Coming of Org. The film got accepted into the short film corner at the Cannes Film Festival and we went there to screen and promote it.
For anyone not in the know, tell us about Cherry Creek Fashion.
I started Cherry Creek Fashion Magazine in January of 2019 as a niche online publication focusing on the Cherry Creek area in Denver. It has now grown to feature personalities and brands all over the state and soon we will be covering other areas of the US and other countries! I produce ten issues of the magazine a year and Cherry Creek Fashion focuses on inclusive stories, community building and the championing of small businesses. We are storytellers, using fashion as a way of sharing the lives of inspiring personalities and the journeys of brands and businesses.
Before landing in Colorado, you lived in London, San Francisco and New York. Do you feel rooted here, or do you see a new destination in your future?
Denver is now home for me and I feel deeply rooted and connected to the city. I have no plans to move but I will always frequently visit my homeland of Saint Lucia where I grew up. Denver is very community-oriented which is similar to Saint Lucia. It’s wonderful to walk through Cherry Creek and stop every couple of blocks to talk to a friend I see on the street or in their store. This is how I grew up so it feels just like home here.
Speaking of roots, you are deeply connected with the community. Tell us a little about your other endeavors.
I couldn’t do what I do without being deeply connected and involved in my community. One of the first things I did when I started Cherry Creek Fashion, was to join the Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce. This has been invaluable to the success of my business. I serve on the Women’s Committee for the Chamber and I try to support other businesses in any way that I can. I am also on the board of Cherry Arts which not only produces the Cherry Creek Arts Festival but also does very important work in making art more accessible to communities who rarely get a seat at the art table.
How did the pandemic change the way you work?
I am extremely lucky that Cherry Creek Fashion is a digital publication, which means that I can pivot and change very quickly when necessary. I have continued producing issues as usual but we have had to do smaller shoots and use outdoors when we can.
What advice would you give other working mothers who are looking to understand the basic rules of fashion, but continually put themselves on the back burner?
I would say to keep it simple! Get a fashion formula that works for you and then throw in some more dramatic pieces. I wear a lot of skinny pants and button up blouses or v-neck tees. I have a collection of jackets and blazers that I throw on top to keep it interesting. And never chase the trends, wear whatever works for you. If a clothing piece works for me, I buy it in multiple colors and create different outfits from the same look. And you never have to blow your budget! I love designer pieces but I wear a lot of basics from Uniqlo when I work. They have the best tees and fitted cardigans. When you go shopping always plan what you need to buy ahead. Look through your closet and see what basics are missing.
So glad to have Esther Lee Leach in our midst. To learn more about her thoughtful publication, visit cherrycreekfashion.com.