East Ender Arielle Charnas shares that when it comes to both building a brand and bringing up her babes, authenticity is everything.
Dress by Paul & Joe
"I've always loved playing with clothing, styling and following the trends,” says Arielle Charnas. The New York-born and -bred mom launched her Something Navy blog in 2009, and her journey to now over 1.2 million Instagram followers is the stuff of social media fairy tales. “My father was in the fashion business my whole life, so I basically grew up living and breathing it,” she says. “I modeled for him and lived in his warehouse in Long Island City.”
Blessed with two equally stylish sisters (fashion stylist Danielle Nachmani and makeup artist Michaela Podolsky), Charnas has been spending her summers in the Hamptons since she was a young child—and her parents are longtime residents of Southampton. These days, she enjoys savoring the season with her own two daughters, husband and extended family out East. “It’s such a pleasure to watch your children playing outside all day. I also feel a certain sense of freedom, partly because it’s summer and being surrounded by the environment,” she says. Charnas shares that her summer highlights include family barbecues, duck pond and beach visits, early dinners in Montauk and plenty of rosé. “My favorite thing is waking up in the morning, sitting outside with an iced coffee and seeing my girls go outside in their pajamas and just play. When you live in NYC, you really appreciate moments like that.”
Charnas was early to the influencer scene and has now successfully parlayed her talents into her own Something Navy brand with Nordstrom (shop.nordstrom.com/content/something-navy). After Instagram launched in October 2010, her career took off, and by 2017, she had over 1 million followers. “Looking back, I guess it was a daring move, and my parents were certainly a little hesitant. Their response was, ‘You wanted to take photos of yourself and post [them] on the internet for a living?!’
On Arielle: Dress by Celia Dragouni. On Esme and Ruby: Dresses by Something Navy
I was made fun of, basically, by everyone in the beginning, and now, everyone has a blog!” Charnas segued her sartorial skills into the full-blown Something Navy empire that today includes womenswear, swimwear, accessories, shoes and childrenswear. “There definitely is a void when it comes to kids’ clothing,” she says of her latest launch for the small set. “It felt superorganic and only natural to evolve my line to include clothing for my girls (when we expand, I hope to create for boys as well). I knew what I wanted, and I know what they love to wear and feel comfortable in, and that’s what I set out to create.”
On Arielle: Dress by Amur. On Ruby: Colorblock dress by Il Gufo. On Esme: Pink eyelet dress by Chloé.
Although her life might seem like a never-ending live feed, parenting has made Charnas crave more privacy. “While I try to be as open as I can because that is how I started my business, when it comes to your kids, there needs to be boundaries,” she says. “Ruby loves it. If she doesn’t want her photo being taken, then we don’t take one. Similarly, I listen to her if she asks me to put my phone away, but the majority of the time, she loves posing for the camera and watching herself,” Charnas says of her eldest daughter, who has become a social media star herself. “They’ve motivated me to look at the bigger picture rather than be impulsive and in the moment,” she adds, also noting that she hopes to grow and scale the business to be a lasting legacy for her beloved brood and will soon launch a podcast.
In her signature keeping-it-real form, Charnas is brutally honest about how filming tantrums are taboo and what parts of parenting are off-limits when it comes to capturing on camera. “I usually need to put my full attention into consoling or discipling them, so I normally never film that,” she says. “Also, I don’t ever share locations like schools or camps. I don’t share their friends unless it’s discussed with a parent beforehand. I love capturing special moments, like first words and steps. Instagram is my modern-day baby book, so I never feel guilty about capturing those moments on camera.”
Photography by: Anna Chudnovsky | Makeup by Natalie Lageyre