From mid-length skirts and statement sleeves to TikTok's new "coastal grandmother" look, we are inundated by fashion trends from magazines, TV shows, and celebrities. But there is a growing shift in Chicago and beyond to buck the trends entirely and pick clothes that spark joy. We reached out to two local Jewish fashion proprietors to talk trends--or, rather, un-trends.
Julie Zomick, owner of Sharing Unlimited in Highland Park, advises her customers to "buy what you like and feels comfortable for you, and not necessarily follow what a magazine is telling you to follow."
At Sharing Unlimited--which sells a wide variety of "gently enjoyed" clothes, shoes, handbags, and jewelry--shoppers enjoy putting together outfits that combine brands, price points, and styles. They mix and match to find pairings that might not be common, like a Chanel jacket with Gap jeans, and enjoy the individuality of each look.
At a store like Zomick's, putting together unique outfits is made easier by the fact that, instead of racks full of each item at department stores, most of the clothing is one-of-a-kind. "You won't see 10 people coming in and buying the same thing," she said. "Your friends aren't going to get the exact same thing you have."
Even getting something slightly different from a friend--like choosing a different color of the same item or accessorizing differently--can bring out the uniqueness of individual fashion styles. Shopping at resale stores also offers the opportunity to purchase items that may not be "in season" this year but are sustainable and fun regardless.
"People come to a store like ours because they want to find things that aren't necessarily in stores today, or follow what everyone else is doing," Zomick said.
Also in Highland Park, Kira Kessler co-founded the boutique Rock 'N Rags for similar reasons.
The store defines its mission statement as aiming to "empower every woman shopping with us to feel confident in their own skin through spreading edgy on-trend clothing and kindness."
"We're past the days when you need to choose one specific style," said Kessler. "Each individual can come here and discover what they enjoy because we offer such a wide variety of clothing."
Kessler founded Rock 'N Rags with her father, who owned local music store CD City, when she was 17. She was inspired by the way her father's customers didn't stick to only one genre of music and was determined to break past the days of all the girls in her high school wearing the same Free People sweater.
After realizing that "looks that help you feel comfortable and confident are different for every person," Kessler began to purchase as well as design a wide variety of clothes. The first piece she designed, the "Sunshine Daydream" skirt--named for a Grateful Dead song, as an ode to her father's music store-- features ruffles, many patterns and colors, and inclusive sizing.
Whether it's this skirt or anything else, Kessler helps her customers discover that "there's something life-changing about discovering outfits that make you feel like the best version of yourself." She advises shoppers to try on things they might not immediately go for, ignore sizing differences between brands, and find inspiration from the wider world to mix with their personal style.
Most of all, she and Zomick hope people follow the "trend of being your most authentic self and wearing what you want to wear."
"The fashion industry is based on trying to be something you're not--but dressing for yourself as opposed to other people is the most freeing and empowering thing out there," Kessler said. "Try breaking out and embracing weird, funky, and fun--and whatever puts a smile on your face."
To learn more about Sharing Unlimited, visit facebook.com/sharingunlimited1510. Check out Rock 'N Rags at shoprocknrags.com.