This month, 19 creative women set the stage for our spring dress collection with their personal style. Students, activists and entrepreneurs made up this diverse group of women. We chatted with some to get the scoop on their unique lives, personal style and their “go-to” power outfit. Read on to hear from Alvina, artist, design assistant and model.
BR: For our shoot, you wore our Paneled Fit-and-Flare Dress. How would you style it?
I really loved the shape that the dress gave so I wouldn’t style it too differently. I think it’s important to style according to your body and not your clothes. I’d layer a fitted turtleneck or a full sleeve top underneath to a make a transitional outfit for winter to spring. I strongly believe shoes can change an entire outfit–for a day look, I would wear loafers or a tennis shoe. For night, I would switch it up and add some height. I see this dress being worn with a cute Mary Jane heel and a pair of fun socks, or a bright pop of color with a pointy-toe shoe!
BR: How would you describe your personal style?
Casual and relaxed—tomboy chic.
BR: What do you look for in a dress?
My favorite thing about a dress is the shape and movement. I love a dress that shows my curves, but moves with me when I walk or dance. Wearing a dress helps me channel my inner Naomi Campbell or Monica Bellucci–well, in my head it does. I also look for a dress with pockets and one that has a fun print–like animal or floral.
BR: You currently work in the fashion industry as a design and production assistant. What sparked your interest in fashion?
Ever since a young age, I’ve always enjoyed dressing up. I have three sisters and I like to believe that my mom enjoyed dressing me the most because I was the most compliant. With that, I was always experimenting and learning new ideas from fashion. I started to follow designers and got deeper into the art world–until I started to develop my own style. I’ve always had an interest and love for fashion. Actually, in high school, I began to pursue my interests first hand when a friend and I painted on tees and sold them to our classmates. It was a form of art that you can personally be a part of by literally being a walking piece of art. Among many, I feel that fashion is one of the best ways to express your individuality.
BR: What does a day on the job look like for you?
The brand that I currently work for is getting ready to present a new season. The designs are complete and now we are reworking them to fit our customers on a personal level. I’m helping update our designs while incorporating the reworks.
BR: Last summer, you designed and produced a t-shirt. Could you tell us this story? What inspired you to make the shirt?
When I started modeling, I received a heap of DMs and emails about how proud people were to see someone that resembles and represents them repping their favorite brands. Using that and my platform, I designed a logo tee saying “Brown Skin Girl”–something I felt was very simple and powerful. I wanted the girls reaching out me to feel proud of themselves for being who they already were. The message resonated with so many girls from different cultural backgrounds.
BR: How do you use clothing for empowerment?
Being comfortable in your clothes can make you more confident, which in turn can make you feel empowered. Not comfort in the sense of the feeling you get from wearing something fluffy, rather, the comfort that comes when clothes directly represent you as an individual and make you feel like your true self.
BR: How do you dress for your lifestyle?
I’ll pair a nice trouser with a t-shirt and sneakers or wear jeans with a heeled boot to mix casual pieces with work-appropriate attire.
BR: What’s your go-to power outfit?
On colder days, definitely my leather pants–I thrifted them and they fit me just right (lucky me). They add to my power outfit not only because the leather is beautifully pre-worn, but also warm. So, I can stay stylish while also being comfortable.
BR: What is something unique about you that people wouldn’t expect?
Appearance wise, I’ve been told I’m racially ambiguous and most people never guess that I’m South Asian. Both of my parents were born in Pakistan and I am able to speak Urdu and Hindi fluently. I’ve also been told I look intimidating both in person or in photos, but I’m actually super smiley. I love to laugh, be goofy and dance. I think I have too much energy.
A random fact is that for the past three years, I have not lost a Lucky 7 scratch-off. I either make my money back or double it to $2. I might jinx my luck by telling you this.
Shop Alvina’s look and more in Dress Rehearsal.
Alvina and her sister were featured in our spring dress collection. Read our interview with her sister, Iman, here, then explore our conversations with Ruqayyah and Mia.