“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”Coco Chanel
Sarah is a fashion merchandising major from Massachusetts set to graduate in 2020 and currently interning at Lyn Evans corporate office in Wellesley, MA. I recently caught my first glimpse of her extensive closet and decided I had to do an interview, when she told me that just about 80% of the clothes and accessories are second hand, or came from a thrift store.
Our interview started off with some fairly standard questions, but blossomed into an unforgettable conversation, leaving me wanting to never give up on my own dreams. Sarah is a firm believer that dress up should not have an age limit and that we don’t have to break the bank to bring home beautiful and timeless articles of clothing. She told me that she never pays full price for anything and the majority of her wardrobe comes from secondhand boutiques, and even thrift shops like Savers. She hand picked some outfits for me to check out and photograph and I was immediately drawn to a denim moto jacket that was paired with a long black tulle skirt. She told me that she found the pieces at an underground vintage boutique in London while she was studying abroad. This made me realize that all of the unique pieces Sarah has hanging in her closet have an untold story, a mysterious history that she gets to bring to life everyday by wearing them.
When did you fall in love with fashion?
Sarah: I used to be kind of a tom-boy when I was younger, but then I started to get hand-me-downs from people I knew. I started to enjoy putting on makeup, getting ready and playing dress-up in my mom’s closet-it turned into an obsession.
What does style mean to you?
Sarah: It’s like the first ice-breaker without having to speak yet, a sort of self-expression that can say a lot about who you are as a person.
Sarah talked about how when a piece catches her eye, she’ll bring it home even if she doesn’t have an immediate plan for it because she knows that everything belongs with something.
What made you want to pursue fashion merchandising?
Sarah: Rather than fashion design-because I can barely draw a stick figure, I have always adored putting outfits together that make a person go Oh, I need that! I love building an entire ensemble from scratch.
As I watched her comb through the clothes hanging in her closet, deciding what to put on the mannequin next, I thought to myself that this truly is another form of art.
Why is shopping second-hand so important to you?
Sarah: It’s the gift that keeps on giving! If I take something home and it doesn’t work, or doesn’t fit me quite right, I always pass it on to someone that it will work for. Buying second-hand is important for other reasons too. For even just one pair of new jeans, it can take thousands of gallons of water to produce.
As long as Sarah is able to spend her day with clothing, it seems as though she’ll never feel like she’s working a day in her life-loving what we do day in and day out, is so very important to our happiness and quality of life.
What is your dream job?
Sarah: I’d love to work as a personal shopper in a place like New York. I want to make outfits come to life for other people too. I just know I have to end up there. When I’m having a bad day, I go to Savers. I’ll be able to make other people feel good about themselves too, creating outfits is a kind of therapy for me.
Do people often come to you for style advice?
Sarah: When we go out, my friends will sometimes ask me, “do you think this is too much?” I’m the girl who asks “is it enough?” I wouldn’t mind wearing my highest stiletto in to Wendy’s.
To me, it sounds like ‘overdressed’ is a word that doesn’t exist in Sarah’s vocabulary.
Who is your inspiration and why?
Sarah: Coco Chanel, the fashion and style icon. She is the creator of the little black dress. During that time, some of her designs were frowned upon, even considered to be ‘scandalous.’ Looking back now, her clothing was really quite tasteful. She is inspiring because she didn’t let any of that stop her, she wasn’t afraid to stay true to herself and her vision.
Most people dread the thought of having to get ready in the morning, but Sarah said that she can’t sleep sometimes because she’s so excited to get up and plan her outfit for the day. She told me that while much of her wardrobe is from thrifting, she has also acquired some really unique pieces from her mom and nana, as well as some of her customers. They will give her accessories or articles of clothing that they’re not using any more because they know that Sarah will always find a home for it. I even got to see a couple of skirts she told me were from her mother’s college days, and a bathing suit cover up that she can be creative with and wear as a blouse from her nana’s closet.
I was also surprised when she told me to never skip the men’s section. The outfit she was wearing during the interview actually included a top that was menswear. Well, not if Sarah has anything to say about. If you love it, get it, is what I took from this. She is one creative style genius.
Don’t stop until you get to where you’re going Sarah! You are on to some truly amazing things.
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