Here’s What Vintage E-comm Entrepreneur Emma Zack is Wearing, Observing and Admiring Right Now
"I think the industry–while there is still SO much work to be done–is headed in a promising direction."
Emma Zack launched Berriez, a retail platform for vintage clothing that offers an extended range of sizing, after experiencing exclusion at many mass-market and independent shops. “I can’t tell you how many vintage [and] regular stores I’ve walked into where the employees have looked at me and I’ve felt the weight of their eyes,” she says. “I imagine they’re thinking ‘We don’t have anything in-store that’s going to fit her.’”
Now, Zack runs a business that is “curated for curves,” as its Instagram bio proudly boasts. Here, the Brooklyn-based entrepreneur reveals her style icon, her philosophy on dressing and whose closet she covets the most.
What role does fashion play in your self-expression?
I wear what I feel—or how I aspire to feel. On days when I’m down, I wear quirky, fun clothing to emit positive energy. It’s part of how I take care of myself.
What’s the one everyday style item you can’t live without?
Vintage Levi’s 550s. I have three pairs, and I wear them on rotation.
Do you think there’s such a thing as a fashion faux pas?
No! Trends come and go. Everyone should be able to express themselves in the way they want. I think the idea of a fashion faux pas is just a tactic to sell more clothes.
Whose style do you admire the most and why?
My grandmother Edna’s. When I was growing up, I used to dig through boxes of her clothing and play dress-up. My favourite piece that I have from her wardrobe is a colourful abstract-print silk robe that I love wearing over a graphic t-shirt or summer dress. In my favourite photo of her, she’s sitting on a lawn chair in the park wearing cat-eye sunglasses and a strapless floral-print sundress with her hair perfectly coiffed. Although I never met her, I imagine her as having been the most elegant woman in the world.
If you could raid one person’s closet, whose would it be?
Model Paloma Elsesser’s. We’re the same size, and the way she styles herself is so chic.
What do you think is the most exciting fashion moment happening right now?
I think the industry–while there is still SO much work to be done–is headed in a promising direction. For example, I’ve recently seen an uptick in conversations about the intersection between sustainability, accessibility, and options for plus-size folks, which I hadn’t seen much of previously. And, over the past month, it’s been powerful to see Black designers, creators, artists, and models at the forefront–a change that’s taken far too long. It’s also been exciting to see brands redistributing portions of their profits to social change organizations and openly talking about the changes they want to see within the industry. I’m hopeful that these are not just “trends”, but long-lasting changes.
What’s the best piece of style advice you’ve ever been given?
Truthfully, most of the advice I’ve received has been catered toward thinner people or with the objective of looking thinner. Seeing women who look like me in the spotlight has helped me to realize that I can wear what I want, no matter my size.