Sustainable and trendy clothing. That’s what South Florida local Vanessa Izmirlian is creating with her fashion line. She discusses how thrifting and design led her to create her business and shares some perspective on the fashion scene in Italy, as well as some favorite travel spots in Florida.
Hey Vanessa! Tell us about yourself!
Hello The Bohemian Mermaid readers! My name is Vanessa Izmirlian and I am from sunny south Florida! I am 21 years old and currently am a senior at Florida Atlantic University studying psychology. I love my major because I find interest in learning about the human mind and why we do certain things. I love to enjoy nature and love to free dive on my spare time with close friends! I’ve had an eye for fashion ever since I was young and inspire to make others feel confident in their skin with my clothing line Surf the Look!
What is Surf the Look and why did you start your brand?
Surf the Look is a sustainable fashion line where I take recycled clothes and turn them into new ones with my own retro and beachy twist. I’ve always adored boho fashion, but have grown a love for 60s/70s style. I also hand make tops and sell thrift and vintage. I started my brand because I want to make awareness about the harmful effects of fast fashion and how it’s hurting the planet. Fast fashion is when certain brands produce a mass production of clothes not realizing the harmful effects it has on pollution and is responsible for 10% of global emissions destroying our planet. Purchasing secondhand clothing helps lower the demand of new clothing to be produced and overall is beneficial for the environment! My sophomore year of college I started to thrift with my friends and grew a love for fashion even more. I also have a deep love for music festivals, but the clothes can get pretty pricey and often are made from cheap materials that contain harsh chemicals. With my friends, I started cutting apart materials and cropping things that fit my body best for music festivals to save money. I’m a bit curvy, so most of the time things online did not fit me well or were too tight or loose in areas. I have sizes XS-L on my site and continue to expand and explore new ideas everyday for all body types!
Tell us what the process of starting your business was like.
Starting my business was a crazy ride. I had to take each day into it one step at a time. Luckily I had some guidance from friends and family who educated me on how to start and I learned everyday how to tackle marketing and developing my brand by writing my ideas on paper and getting organized. I always have reminded myself that if you physically write something down the more chances it will get done. I began brainstorming ideas in July 2019 for clothes and certain styles I wanted to have on my site and finally launched the first drop in November 2019! My first drop had about 10 items with a mix of thrift, vintage, handmade tops and reworked thrift. I have been learning something new every drop about what people adore the most, also paying attention to the season we are in is very important! In the winter time a lot of people wanted jackets and cropped sweaters, but now everyone is digging my two piece set creations!
Where do you find inspiration from when creating your products?
I love vintage surf magazines and also have a huge book that’s about 500 pages filled with Woodstock fashion. I have always loved colors that pop and make me feel like I’m in a different decade. I noticed a lot of my generation loves this as well. I also find inspiration from where I live in South Florida. A lot of the girls I know love wearing shirts, dresses and jackets with seashells on them, so I learned how to sew them on the clothes myself. 🙂 I believe this adds a special beachy touch pulling the whole outfit together!
What’s up next for Surf The Look? (Future lines/products etc….I saw you are also making face masks!)
In the future I plan to do more two piece sets and I recently taught myself how to make shorts! This process was one of the most challenging but I told myself I want to accomplish it! I ruined about 3 pairs of shorts until I finally got it right. I have been receiving a ton of requests for two piece sets with shorts, so I wanted to make it a goal of mine to get over my fear and anxiety about messing up and just do it! Everything takes time, practice and most importantly, being patient with yourself.
Where can The Bohemian Mermaid readers find Surf The Look?
Surf the Look can be found through my Instagram @surf.the.look or on my website Surfthelook.com! Use code “groovygal” for 10% off all things Surf the Look!
Every person featured on The Bohemian Mermaid will also share some of their best travel insight and favorite places to go to! Prepare for wanderlust!
Favorite place you’ve been to (US or abroad)
One of my favorite places I’ve been to is Milan Italy, one of the biggest fashion capitals of the world! Two summers ago I was blessed to be able to backpack through every city in Italy. I saved one of my favorite outfits I packed (a pretty blue dress) with some tan heels for Milan. I’ve heard rumors that it was an insult to wear shorts or any type of denim in Milan and it was pretty self explanatory when I arrived. I saw so many outfits people were wearing from top designers with all different styles you can imagine! This was a crazy and surreal experience and gave me so much fashion inspiration!
Favorite travel spots in Florida
One of my favorite travel spots in Florida is the Florida Keys. I don’t go here often, but when I get the chance I adore the blue water and love to enjoy free diving. It is a good escape for your mind and such a beautiful experience to be one with the ocean. Another one of my favorite travel spots in Florida is Rainbow Springs! I recently went to Rainbow Springs with my two good friends several months ago and also camped there. It was a beautiful experience to free dive and camp in the wilderness. Sometimes when so much is happening around you in the world and you get overwhelmed with life, being outside with nature is what helps clear your mind and makes you feel so much in tune with yourself and your emotions.
What’s in your suitcase (what items do you always pack/need etc.!)
Must haves in my suitcase always include: Mini travel makeup wipes, at least 12 outfits since I can never decide what to wear and always overpack, comfy sandals, sunscreen and all my makeup!
What place is next on your travel wish list?
For the past several years I’ve been dreaming of going to Hawaii! This is definitely a place where I can see myself living and fully believe that Surf the Look would fit in so well:) I also would love to travel to Australia and New Zealand for nature and just to get outside of my comfort zone a different culture!
Use code “groovygal” for 10% off all things Surf the Look!