STYLE GURU BIO: Israa Elhalawany

Welcome Fashionistas! This is my first semester posting on CollegeFashionista, and I am so excited to share the styles I find from my Chicago campus. I am a senior studying International Business and Political Science with a minor in journalism at Loyola University of Chicago.

Living in Chicago has allowed me to become aware of the different styles the Chicagoans offer. Weather I’m walking through Loyola’s downtown campus or by the lake, the life and excitement of Chicago’s atmosphere can be found in many people’s choice of dress. Dressing up allows for everyone to show who they really are. Bold, subtle, modest yet sexy, there are many looks that are conquered, and now I’m glad they never have to go unnoticed again.

My fiery interest in fashion and all things that come with it began with my first retail job at ALDO. Throughout my sophomore year at Loyola, I worked at the flagship store downtown in the heart of Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile. Working there, we were given a look book every season, and this book was designed to guide us on what trends we needed to pay attention to. The new shoes for the season matched the current trends, so we had a mix of pastel block heels and a new RISE collection splashed with neon green and pink with lace. Needless to say, the requirement of dressing up wasn’t so bad for me as I enjoyed it more and more. Meeting the customers, foreign and local, was a great way to be exposed to different people all with the same goal—to find something good that matched their style. This retail job enabled me to be more kin on fashion and taught me that I might have a problem…since I was shopping more often than not.

I left my job at ALDO, but I never stopped eyeing the styles that people on the street or on my campus had. In fact, my interest in fashion allowed me to dip my toes in a fun hobby for the summer; I began modeling for local designers in the Chicago area and became exposed to underrated designers. I got to wear extraordinary custom pieces that represented a style I hadn’t been exposed to yet. The experience left me more excited to find clothing pieces that fit my ever-changing style as well as others who appreciated the risk that came with sporting new trends.

Being a Middle Eastern American, I have a grand family and an extensive list of family friends that are always having engagement parties, birthdays, baby showers and weddings to attend to every month. Inspired by new designers, Michael Costello and Walter Mendez, I have mastered the art of what to wear for any occasion. If it’s a daytime look that can be used for the night that you want, I have learned what is acceptable and what is extraordinary to wear. Whether it’s prepping for balls, fashion shows, music festivals, a gala or simple a day out in the city, I want to show you what I can offer.

I’m treating my articles and the CollegeFashionista site like my fashion diary because I want to personalize my writing. There is something exciting about capturing a style on a unsuspecting Fashionista only to broadcast it to all Style Gurus across the nation/continent. It’s great for keeping track of how lively my campus is, and I can’t wait to show you every Thursday, so stay tuned and stay stylin’.