Rumi Neely

Forever 21, Balenciaga and hand-me-downs. You don’t often hear these words together, ever, but Rumi Neely manages to put together the grunge and glamour of high-end, com- mercial and vintage pieces with ease. A self-styled, San Diego native, 26-year-old Rumi was just a regular, young fashionista looking for some outlet of self-expression a la mode before she took it onto the interwebs back in 2007. Her blog,, has become an influential digital montage of high-res photos of the fashion blogger herself, modeling in her effortlessly chic style, while letting readers in on her purchases and travels.

Contributing to the popular bohemian, rocker chic look we so often see replicated on the streets of LA, Rumi’s blog stood out amongst the rest. What makes FashionToast so popular to the young crowd is that a majority of Rumi’s wardrobe is low costly and accessible, with its mixture of clothes from commercial stores like Target, H&M or thrift shops. “Thrift stores will always be my favorite—I love being confronted with that much randomness and hunting for that perfect vintage piece. Otherwise I mainly shop online at Forever 21, La Garçonne, Aloha Rag, Topshop, Bona Drag. I make my best shopping decisions at three in the morning.”

“I just wear what feels natural to me. I think the key is confidence and choosing pieces that truly resonate with you instead of having your choices be wholly driven by trends,” says Rumi.

What started out as what the blogger calls a simple “documentation of the natural progression of [her] style” transitioned Rumi into the successful self-promoter and model we see in ads and magazines today. But before FashionToast skyrocketed the blogger to international fame (she’s already taken over NY Times Square in a giant Forever 21 ad campaign, where posters of the fashionista were splattered all over buildings, buses and taxi cabs, and a video reel of the girl was playing on a screen), Rumi was managing an eBay vintage clothing store, “Treasure Chest Vintage,” while her boyfriend took photos of her model- ing the merchandise. Soon after, the photography took off to a marketing level, and amongst the young crowd of stylish 20-something-year-olds surfing the blogosphere for some fashion inspiration, she has become a fashion icon.

“The only word to describe it is surreal…but at the same time the climb in my readership and the opportunities I’ve got- ten has been slow and steady, so it isn’t as if it hit me at once in an overwhelming way. I’ve definitely been very lucky.”

“Modeling was never the goal,” says Rumi who, since her blog, has become a model with NEXT modeling agency. “It’s just something that came naturally from blogging.” When asked what she’d like to do outside of modeling and blogging, Rumi says she’d love to focus more on photography and styling. “I have a jewelry line coming out soon that I’m really excited about. And just travel as much as possible.”

– Amethyst Wang