The world of fashion can be shallow yet blatantly honest, new and hip, yet so last season. Upon interviewing stylist Kim Shimkus, the truth of fashion became uncovered through an insider’s perspective of our trendy ever-changing world.
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: Right now I’m an assistant buyer for Ananas in Oak Park, and I work on the sales part of the store like client logs. I worked a lot of years with Utopia, been store manger and I used to own a clothing boutique.
Q: Tell me a little bit of your background.
A: Well I studied agriculture at Southern Illinois years ago, before universities had environmental science as a major, and had aspirations of having an organic cotton farm…
Q: Then how has your degree in agriculture helped you out in fashion?
A: Well when I had my store we had a lot of eco friendly products. The store in Oak Park I’m at now, is getting organic products, and I’m educated on these fabrics. Anytime I can, I buy organic products, I do. Fashion is a growing industry of organic products. You look at all these celebrity’s recyling trends, just like the Green movement, which I think a lot of the hype has to do with. Organic products like wool, cotton, I’m educated on and I think people are becoming more aware of the benefits of these products.
Q: Why are you interested in fashion?
A: Well right out of college I found a job working at a clothing boutique. Ironically, the clothing boutique I’m at now. Worked there 6 years, managed it, and just loved it. I’m interested in fashion because I’m big into feminism. I love fashion because that was the way women expressed themselves nonverbally. It was used and is now used to express their own individuality. I love making people feel confident and beautiful- women have so many body issue nowadays, it’s so nice to take an everyday women and make her feel beautiful.
Q: I hear you collect vintage clothing. Why do you do so?
A: Oh, it’s just so beautiful. When I was younger I’d go shopping at these second hand stores in the city, and I’d hunt for labels. It was a rather affordable hobby. You could buy vintage cashmere for twenty bucks. I just love the beauty of vintage and I think it’s such a fun and unique hobby.
Q: What is so great about vintage clothing?
A: Vintage clothing is popular, because again, it sort of ties in with the Green Movement. People are realizing we as humans have a clothing habit, we just have so much clothing. Things you see in magazines can go out of style, but with vintage we can wear something then reuse it. People are buying vintage American garments made by hand and then they realize the quality of other clothes doesn’t compare. People in magazines dress hipster now with a vintage flair. So quality, timelessness, flexibility. I think it’s a combination of all ot that.
Q: What makes the perfect outfit?
A: Well I would definitely say accessories. I have a pair of Levis I’ve had for 20 years, and I’ve worn them for 20 years with every kind of shoe, white blouse, or a black turtleneck. The shoes and the earrings are what changes. If you’re you’re gonna be a super urban dresser, you should be trend driven. You know, [the] shoulder padded jacket, people aren’t buying that this year, only Kate Moss is wearing it. If you’re not going to be following these trends religiously, that’s alright, just get yourself a nice handbag and you should be okay.
Q: Do the clothes make the outfit, or does the person wearing the clothes?
A: I definitely think the person. The clothes don’t hurt, but the attitude of the person wearing the clothes it what makes the outfit work. You can have the most fantastic looking person, amazingly dressed with a stylist and all, but if she feels miserably about herself it’s not going to be as amazing if she doesn’t feel comfortable with who she is. So, the person definitely is in charge of making the outfit work or else there’s no real reason to dress nice in the first place, clothes are all about expressing that individuality.
Q: How do you find the right clothes?
A: I think having dressed for 20 years, you have to look at yourself honestly with kindness. Depending on your body shape, you’ve got to be realistic as to what you can wear. No one can wear everything, but there are definitely things that look good on everyone. If you want to put an effort into the way you dress, you need to be honest with yourself and put some time into it to try out things that work and know the things that don’t work.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I would like to have a personal shopping/wardrobe business. Where I fit people properly with a handful of stores. I don’t think I’d want to own a store again, but I do miss my store. Every time I want to get away from the fashion industry, the more I want to get back into it. It’s like a trap. Once you start, you never leave it. Same goes for advertising or whatever it may be. But when I think about leaving it, I think about doing something more spiritually fulfilling, like becoming a yoga instructor. But then you always go back to what you’re familiar with. But I do like where I am and I’m happy being in something that makes me feel good about myself and also helping others.