Represent yourself in a way that makes you feel lovely!
Rachel-Marie Iwanyszyn is a 22 year old photography student from Chicago, Illinois.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.
I am Rachel-Marie Iwanyszyn. I’m 22 years old. I currently live in Chicago, Illinois with my two darling cats, and soon a charming english Fiance. I am originally from the mitten state, Michigan. In Michigan I went to a small college for two years for photography, and then I moved to Chicago last summer to begin three years at an art college, again majoring in photography. It is a bit of a change living in a major city. I absolutely love it. I also write a blog called Jag Lever.
How did you first get interested in fashion and why is it important?
I did not actually have very good fashion sense until I was 17. It started to form when I joined LOOKBOOK. LOOKBOOK gave me new eyes. I started paying more attention to detail. When I was younger, I was sort of a mix of the trends that I spotted around me, and heavily influenced by the punk music I listened to. After that phase, I fell deeply in love with vintage clothing after seeing so many wonderful looks. LOOKBOOK then led me to many blogs that I’d frequent, I also began looking at more fashion magazines and it blossomed from there. It is important because I feel that fashion can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself. If you go out about your town or city feeling vibrant loving what you wear, you generally have a better day rather than if you go out feeling sort of quickly thrown together. The feeling of having a successful photo shoot and looking over the photos afterword is the most rewarding. I can’t imagine my life without fashion, now that I have a grip on it. Also, fashion is a very obvious way of self-expression.
What are your passions?
I love all arts. In high school I did a lot of oil painting. I would love to be able to do them now, but oil paints do not fit in to my student budget! I do really miss the smell of turpentine though. My favorite of course is photography, which I became passionate for when I was 15. I was granted a scholarship at an art school for a summer photography class. Since then, photography has been my art! I am also passionate about hot beverages, such as tea and coffee. And vintage decor! If you saw my apartment, you might think that a grandma actually lives there!
How do you describe the fashion scene in Chicago compared to other major cities/fashion capitals?
Fashion in Chicago is pretty diverse. There is quite a bit of culture, so you see a bit of everything. Compared to Michigan I would say Chicago has a much better idea of what is going on in the fashion world. I have been to London a few times, and the fashion there is amazing. I catch myself staring at outfits a lot while on the tube, I am usually thinking “Hmmm! I would have never thought to put those together!” and I get very inspired. Since I have only been in Chicago for a few months, I have not yet developed a strong idea of the fashion there. I am sure I will be exposed to more and more fashion as time goes on. I have met some very talented models and photographers that have become good friends!
What do you love about living in Chicago/United States?
I love that the United States is so big. Each state generally differs quite a bit from the rest. I love the feeling of knowing that I live in the bustling city of Chicago now, when I want to start a family some day I can move to a quieter city or perhaps a new state, and then if I want to retire I can always move to the west and live in the mountains! Chicago is really great because where I am living now has a much homier feeling rather than living in the heart of downtown. I live in between charming houses and families, and it makes me not miss home as much. I have the luxury of walking just outside my house and catching a quick bus ride downtown whenever I like. I really enjoy having the choice to be in a more peaceful neighborhood, or in the busy city center.
Top 3 places to visit in Chicago:
In Chicago... I would say visit the top of the John Hancock. During the day is amazing, but at night the views are spectacular. The best free view is from the lounge! Secondly, Wicker Park. It is great for vintage shopping. Lastly, of course all of the touristy things such as the Shedd aquarium, navy pier, and millennium park!
Describe your personal style and its influences / inspiration.
I think its a mixture of simple pieces, vintage and modern. I shop at a lot of secondhand stores like value world and salvation army, as well as vintage stores that are more selective. I do the best I can on a low budget. Once in a while I’ll splurge! It is usually on a pair of shoes. My top influence would be my mood. I have to really feel a certain mood with an outfit before I can wear it out. Most of my inspiration comes from LOOKBOOK, blogs, music, and fashion magazines. I am obsessed with Lykke Li and I really love her style, so I have a few pieces that are influenced by her as well. She made me fall in love with wedges!
What are your favorite websites?
I love Hannah and Landon's blog. It's so charming and it makes me wish I wasn't so modern sometimes. I do a lot of online shopping so I love Etsy. But lately... my favorite website would have to be visajourney.com, a forum for people waiting for permission to be with their loved ones. Gareth and I are waiting on a K-1 fiance visa so he can come to the states and live with me. Lets say its a long, painful and lonely wait!
Favorite designers and places to shop?
Some of my favorite designers include Chloe, Dolce & Gabanna, Moschino, Marc Jacobs, Luella, Phillip Lim just to name a few. Right now, being in England, Topshop has been my second home. I heard that Chicago will soon have Topshop! This is the best news. I also love to shop at a place in michigan called Lost and Found vintage. Along with other thrift stores. I also shop at h&m, Urban Outfitters, Macy's, Zara, Anthropologie, and on the internet.
The first thing you look at in another person's outfit is:
Shoes! To me, they help best represent the outfit. I am also very attracted to bows, so if there are bows involved my eyes would probably go right to them.
What do you skimp on?
Handbags. I hardly ever buy purses. Whenever I am shopping and see a purse I like, I think “this amazing dress is the same price!” or even a pair of shoes, and I go for those instead. I think they are important, but not the most important thing to me. Which is why they rarely appear in my looks.
What do you splurge on?
Shoes and occasionally dresses. I appear to be fairly lucky with finding good buys. I spend the most money on shoes. Falling in love with a pair of shoes and not buying them on the spot is the saddest feeling! So I try not to let it happen often!
A fashion rule you always break:
Not following what is currently “in” and “out.” I just wear what I love.
A fashion rule you never break:
Wearing leggings with t-shirts.
What do you think is the most recent notable trend to appear/reappear, and what are your thoughts on it?
Camel colored everything! And flowy sheer blouses. I love them both, so they can keep coming!
What is the most underrated item in menswear and womenswear?
In menswear I would say belts. There are a lot of different variety of leather belts and designer brands, and it seems that they do not receive much attention.
In womenswear I think brooches. There are thousands of amazing vintage ones out there, and I only see them worn on occasion.
What is your next "must have" purchase?
A nice watch. I only own one decent watch, and I would love one that is classic and chic that I can wear with a lot of different things. My fiance works in a jewelers, so I think he may already be on that!
Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?
I would have to say Lykke Li as I stated a bit earlier. She wears a lot of black, so I see myself thinking of her when I fall in love with black pieces. I fell in love with Acne and Minimarket and some other swedish brands because of her.
What's on your iPod / bookshelf / DVD player at the moment?
On my iPod, La Roux, Kid Cudi, Lykke Li, M. Ward, Gold Panda, She & Him. And the Eclipse soundtrack is pretty great! The bookshelf is a bit dusty! I do not read many books. The last book I started to read was Lolita. My favorite book however is Wuthering Heights. The last movie I watched was Step Brothers.
What can't you live without?
Family, music, my cats, my camera and my englishman!
We love romance! Can you tell us how you and your fiance met and what drew you two to each other?
Gareth visited LOOKBOOK a lot for inspiration, and he really liked my photography. One day he added me on Facebook, and initiated various conversations about photography and fashion. We then began talking more frequently, for longer periods of time. We then skyped a little, which grew to skyping a lot. I had planned a trip to London with one of my friends, and Gareth and I decided we should meet in person. It was love at first sight! Our first kiss was in Topshop. Isn't that romantic?
Next place you want to travel to:
Paris and Stockholm are both high on the list. I want to see the Louvre and visit french Cafe’s and enjoy french cuisine. Stockholm to explore culture and fashion.
What is your personal favorite outfit on LOOKBOOK by you, and by another member?
Personal favorite by myself would be When we stop dancing, the world stops moving. That dress became my “signature dress”. My favorite by another member would be Son of a preacher man.. by Megan B. A look I would love to wear!
In the year 2015 you will be:
A housewife! Hopefully a professional photographer, working for a fashion magazine.
What would you say to someone seeking fashion advice?
Fashion represents you. Represent yourself in a way that makes you feel lovely!
Do you have any photography tips you can share?
Shoot as often as you can, and shoot a variety of things. Explore places that you normally wouldn't and photograph them!
Do you have a favorite quote?
"There is no one like me, most importantly there is no one like you." -Lykke Li
Bobby R. wants to know: What colour(s) best represents your personality and why?
Red... because it’s romantic, and It’s the most striking/bold color. I like to think I am bold!
What should we ask the next interviewee?
If you could have any non-domesticated animal as a pet, what would it be and why?