Third Stop: Chicago, IL (Downtown)

Growing up in Lisle, Illinois, a west suburb of Chicago, I constantly wanted to go downtown. My small and peaceful suburb was great to grow up in, but my heart was always yearning for a more upbeat and exciting environment.

I grew up going downtown quite often with my parents or cousins, but when I began to get older, I took it upon myself to take advantage of the opportunities that my beautiful city has to offer.

The summer before my freshman year of college, I enrolled in a fashion trend forecasting class at Columbia College Chicago as a part of their High School Summer Institute. I wanted to have a preview of what my fashion classes in college would look and feel like. Taking this class was probably one of the most beneficial and important steps I have taken in my educational career. I learned about what the city of Chicago has to offer fashion wise, and what people in different parts of the city are wearing.

I realized that Chicago in its entirety is much too large in highlighting trends because what people are wearing in Downtown Chicago is different from what people are wearing in Pilsen or Wicker Park.

So, to start of part of my Chicago series, I will start with downtown fashion.

When I head downtown on the train, most of the time there is me with my periwinkle Dr. Martens and my blue and white striped t-shirt dress, while surrounded by business men and women all wearing different variations of the same combination of a dress with a statement necklace, or slacks and a collared shirt.

Immediately when you go downtown the sea of business people emerge from their offices and hangout at the trendy food trucks near Union Station. Whereas the youth in downtown all have their own style. I would say the trend for youth in downtown is being an individual. Being your own person makes you interesting, and that is what I tend to find people are most interested in. Every person I see has a different style, and that is the new trend.

I will always wear my periwinkle Dr. Martens with pride when I sit next to the businessman on the train with his earphones in, drinking his Starbucks latte, and looking at his computer screen wishing he never had to see another Excel spreadsheet  ever again.

Second Stop: Toronto, ON, Canada

Toronto. Probably my favorite city I have traveled to thus far. The people, atmosphere, food, and city life are all so incredible.

This past March I traveled to Toronto with my aunt and two cousins over spring break. While my friends were traveling to Mexico and Florida in hopes of escaping the frigid Chicago and Wisconsin winters, I decided to head north for a much, much colder winter.

I initially was not sure what to expect of the fashion scene in Toronto because I generally did not hear much about the city in my fashion classes or in the media. However, I was so happily surprised and a bit shocked to see just how much of a fashion-forward and cosmopolitan city that Toronto is.

My first adventure in the fashion scene in Toronto started in the Distillery District. All of the local shops in the area were so urban and aesthetically pleasing. It was a nice bonus that the currency exchange worked in our favor while we were there as well. I remember specifically one shop, Heel Boy, having the most unique styles of shoes. My cousin, Sasa, and I were in there for way too long trying on an array of different styles.

The second day I went to Queen Street. Queen Street is the place to go in Toronto for all of your fashion desires. From Dr. Martens, to small high-end local boutiques, to Canada Goose, it was a fashion major’s dream.

One trend that really stood out was the brand Canada Goose. If you are a Midwesterner like myself, you might think we have it pretty bad in the winter season, but nothing compared to the type of frigid weather I felt while I was in Toronto. I love the winter season, but every time a person wearing a Canada Goose winter coat passed me by, which was a lot, I have to admit I glared at them with envy as I was freezing in my North Face.

Finally, we headed to the Kensington Market. It is a street with colorful and dilapidated homes that have become shops. From vintage clothing, to handmade jewelry, and cozy coffee shops, it is definitely a spot that anyone with a passion for art to visit.

Overall, Toronto has a definite urban feel to it wherever you go. The people there are incredibly kind and welcoming, and also much more adventurous with their styles than the typical Midwesterner. Not to mention, they have a highly prestigious university, Ryerson University, which offers an incredible fashion program.

The moment I passed back to the U.S. border, I wanted to go back to Toronto. I hope to travel back to Toronto many more times in the future, and maybe even apply to Ryerson for my graduate studies.

Just remember, if you are going in the winter season, invest in a Canada Goose. You will thank yourself later.