The first installment of Chris Benz’s new advice column for Fashionista:
Dear Mr. Benz,
I know your aesthetic is influenced a lot by your Seattle upbringing, which has been fully cultivated by your design education and impressive internship experience. Do you have any advice for Seattle students who love fashion but have no access to those kinds of opportunities, which are usually pricey and in New York?
(P.S. Keep up the phenomenal work! You give Seattleites hope!)
Dear Stranded -
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was having the same feelings as you! Seattle is definitely much slower-paced than some of the (other) fashion capitols, but it is not without a very special, unique style. I immersed myself in magazines and books growing up in Seattle, camped out at Bauhaus Coffee with a stack of the most recent issues of every magazine I could get my hands on. There’s a lot of fantasy and comfort in your imagination, so don’t be afraid to let it run wild, even when your environment may not feel inspiring.
Being around clothes is an integral part of your fashion education. Get yourself into every store that you can, try things on to understand fit, turn them inside out to see how they’re made. Seattle has loads of terrific stores for this, from department stores (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, etc.) to specialty boutiques like Mario’s. The Blackbird stores in Ballard are especially chic, I think, for all sorts of stylish paraphernalia!
Now more than ever, the ability to shine as an individual is attainable despite your location; start up a blog with all of your stylish pursuits and inspirations, create your own world, follow people you admire on Twitter and never stop learning and reinventing yourself.
So, keep smiling and keep your eyes and heart open. By merely unleashing your stylish self into the universe, only more style and opportunity will come to you.