Standing outside the Regenstein Library, I patiently waited for a Fashionista to photograph. It didn't take long before a petite brunette walked by in a killer red dress/leather jacket combo. I knew the second I saw her that she was this week's College Fashionista. Little did I know I'd get to talk to someone who shopped with conviction and had a defnitive stance on the fashion industry. This was easily one of the most interesting interviews I've had this fall and I think it perfectly represents the Fashionistas here at the University of Chicago: intelligent, informed, resourceful and chic.
Name: Zoe Smith
Grade: 1st year
Major: Undecided but something in the Humanities
CollegeFashionista: Your outfit is great! Can you tell me about what you’re wearing or how you picked your outfit out?
Zoe Smith: I’m currently paying the blood sacrifice for my new Dr. Martens. They’re currently stashed in my bag and I’m wearing the shoes I brought just in case my feet started to blister. The rest of my outfit is mainly from H&M.
CF: I totally understand. It was essential for me to bring flats in my purse when I used to wear heels for my internship downtown in Chicago. The leather jacket and dress combo is perfection. Is H&M your favorite place to shop?
ZS: Well actually I don’t shop at H&M anymore. I did my senior project in high school on sustainable fashion so I tend to avoid big chain retailers where 99 percent of the clothes are imported and working conditions can be atrocious. My H&M outfit today is from my early high school years; most of my wardrobe I kept since I wanted to reduce the amount of clothes I bought.
CF: That is one of the best senior projects that I’ve heard about. How did you choose it and where do you do most of your shopping now?
ZS: It started off as an interest in where my clothes came from and later developed into a desire to reduce the negative impact that the retail industry can cause socially, financially and ethically both domestically and internationally. I learned how to sew and knit some and now if I do any shopping (which I’ve tried to cut down in general) it’s mainly from thrift stores or local, smaller shops.
CF: That is a great philosophy to have on fashion and the industry in general. If you had to describe your personal style, how would you?
ZS: My personal style is probably grandma-sheik or reluctant hipster. I am a definitely a thrift store hipster if I had to categorize myself. I hate the classification, but I understand that’s one of my labels and I just have to accept it.
How To: This spunky Fashionista was inspiring and refreshing to talk with. Throughout my CollegeFashionista posts, it’s evident that fashion can mean a lot of different things to different people, whether that is creative expression, an extension of one’s personality or a meaningful social stance. I also love that her outfit is from several years ago. It goes to show that classic pieces like a little red dress and black leather jacket will carry you far. Pair yours with Dr. Martens for a quirky, cool edge or simple leather loafers for a more understated look.