At Home With… Courtney Trop

Gemma Lacey
Miriam Marlene
Aralda Vintage

We caught up with Courtney Trop aka Always Judging to talk about being creative during quarantine, her new CBD brand Stevie, organising your closet and why it’s good to get dressed everyday.

GL: How are you keeping occupied during lockdown?
CT: I’ve been pretty busy – today I’m tired because I redid my entire house and spent a ton of time rearranging things.I did get out of town and went to Palm Springs, on the way back we saw a sunset and I started crying because I haven’t seen anything pretty like that in three months. It’s great to see things other than your four walls.
GL: Are you finding ways to stay creative during lockdown?
CT: Sometimes I do shoots with friends and I come up with a concept just for fun as a creative outlet. Often with sponsored shoots I don’t have much control, so this is my way of planning my own editorials. Miriam was shooting people from their windows or in their yards, and she asked if I’d like to do a social distance shoot.. I have tons of space in my yard and a huge window and I feel like now is the perfect time to shoot vintage clothing too.I love it because for me it’s the most sustainable type of fashion. A good friend of mine just opened a store called Arlanda Vintage, and everything we shot, except for shoes and jewellery, is from there.
GL: How did that work during lockdown?
CT: She was super sweet and opened the shop for me. Then I went out back wearing gloves and also packed my own bags. I was all by myself. It was all by myself. I didn’t know her collection so I had to go through myself and figure it out. I did my own hair and makeup and Miriam shot me from afar in the window and the yard. During quarantine, I’ve been microdosing mushrooms a lot because it’s a big part of how I stay creative. I like to do them by myself and come up with ideas for my brand Stevie. So Miriam brought  all these little fake mushrooms and put them all over my yard. In a lot of pictures you can see I’m wearing a vintage Chanel tweed summer set and I’m picking mushrooms.
GL: Tell us more about your CBD brand…
CT: Me and my partner – who’s actually been my manager for the past eight years too – decided to start a CBD brand. It’s mine, he’s a silent partner but he makes the product, does logistics and the brand is all me. We decided on doing it two years ago and we just launched in March, around 7th March. I wanted to launch a brand that wasn’t clothing. I’d done some capsules and tried to launch a brand with a friend but I don’t feel I want to be a designer. I’m a visual person and I enjoy styling and connecting with people but I didn’t want a clothing brand, so I felt a CBD or cannabis brand is a close second to something that interests me. I still feel like no one in fashion is doing cannabis or CBD brands that aren’t skincare. I felt like I could do something different.
GL: Tell us a little bit more about developing the brand?
CT: It took me two years to do the branding, working with a creative director to really hone it. I love what Glossier has done with the beauty world and I feel like there’s no one like that in wellness. There are culty brands but I felt this was missing. In fashion, a lot of people don’t know what CBD is, or they don’t want to talk about it, because they think it’s taboo like drugs, so I’m trying to educate that world, show them how it works and the health benefits. 
GL: What kind of products have you created?
CT: We’re just doing CBD because that’s legal nationwide; we have CBD pre-rolls, body salve for muscle pain and period cramps, and a candle. I’m creating a world I want everyone to be part of, with the candle that’s not strictly CBD but we’ve been working with a candlemaker. It’s going to be called Venus and will be presented in a glass tumbler with the green goddess on it – the glass can be reused afterwards too. It won’t be branded with our name, it’s designed to be collectable. We’re also making CBD vegan gummies too.
GL: Has it been daunting to launch a brand right now?
CT: We were slated to launch in fall but we had some delays and so we launched March 7th. I had some really good advice from a friend to not launch too fast or too much and that’s really helped. We run it from home so there’s low overheads and I’m taking it slow. We’ve done some giveaways of totes and free body salve.  I write handwritten notes in the packages too. My goal is to get people talking about CBD and its health benefits. People say it helps with sleep or chronic pain which is great.
GL: Back to your style- it’s not always conventionally pretty or overstyled- can you talk a bit more about your aesthetic?
CT: My life isn’t perfect, so I don’t dress perfect all the time. I want it to feel really personal. In the beginning, I was into the blogger ID with a perfect background but that was eight years ago and it burned out. Instagram is more casual now, but even if it wasn’t it would be too much for me. 
GL: Has that ever been a hard transition to make with fans or the brands you work with?
CT: I’m really happy with where my career has gone. This past fashion month was my favourite one. I went to all the shows that I really wanted to go to and that were special to me, and I didn’t do too much. I have a small schedule now and only go to things that really matter. I was happy and content with that experience and the projects that I took part in. That has been my goal throughout my life – I’m happy with the route I took.
GL: How does working with other brands differ from having your own business?
CT: With my brand, it’s fully mine and I’m money driven because that means I can create more products. With fashion, I have a manager and we make smart choices but also sometimes I do work for clothes because I truly love fashion and style. I show my personality through style and it’s my passion.
GL: What’s your earliest fashion memory?
CT: I just posted an old picture for Mother’s day. I had these great jelly shoes from Kids-R-Us – the really soft ones that looked like jellies. I’d have a new pair every week, sparkly with anklets. My mom was a shopper so I had tons of clothes.
Is that still true today and if so how do you organize all your clothes and shoes?
CT: I like everything hanging, I have a whole room but I still can’t hang every t-shirt or sweater. I have rolling racks. I used to work at Intermix, years ago doing styling pulls for Monica Rose and the Kardashians in around 2009/2010. I remember how good their merchandising was and the way they hung everything, so now I have it somewhat organized like that. One rack is punky, another has knit sets and playful things and then I have vintage Chanel and Gaultier. I’m super organised and OCD, I clean out my drawers every month. I clean everyday and you can eat off my bathroom floor. 
Have you been cooking a lot? Or doing other stuff during Covid?
CT: In LA, we all stay home a lot so this is not such a big change for us. It sucks we can’t see our friends as much or go to the beach. I watch a lot of TV and think of ideas for my business. I learn from watching documentaries and movies like The Dreamers and Boys don’t Cry. I also saw Kids for the first time. I’m also obsessed with hot yoga, that was my biggest loss. I wake up at 7 every day. I was beside myself, it’s crazy that your workout can fuel your happiness. My yoga teacher has a cult following; he’s an OG and has his own studio, people are probably freaking out. He has a livestream now and I have been making my house super hot and doing yoga twice a week but I get too distracted – it’s’ harder at home.
Are you getting dressed every day?
CT: Not always, I’m either in underwear or I get fully dressed. I try to make my space nice and cosy so when it looks cute then it’s nice to get dressed. Looking at yourself in sweatpants everyday is not for me!