Four local fashion industry experts translate their tricks of the trade, trends and tips for our laid-back coastal lifestyle.
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Tim Skipper Photograhy
Artist/Boutique Owner, Atelier Alcaniz, Pensacola
For 25 years, Karin Zimmerman’s studio has been located on Alcaniz Street in the Historic District of downtown Pensacola. Zimmerman, who holds an MFA in painting and mixed media from Florida State University, named her studio “Atelier Alcaniz,” which translates in French to “art studio on Alcaniz Street.”
In 2011, with encouragement from a local friend who owns an international boutique, Karin began to add select unique women’s apparel, accessories and statement jewelry from her travels to her homeland of Germany and across Europe to her studio’s offerings.
Now Karin likes to say that her Pensacola shop has evolved into a special place “where art and fashion meet.”
Emerald Coast Magazine: What makes you a style icon?
Karin Zimmerman: I’ve found my experience in art and my art background has provided me a visual advantage for what I see and what I purchase, because I pay attention to detail and I have an eye for good design and overall aesthetics.
EC: What is fashion, to you?
KZ: It is an expression of you. A woman should feel good about herself and bring out her best, and clothing can do that. For me, personally, I prefer to have a little kick to things.
EC: What does it mean to have a sense of style?
KZ: It’s what works well for the person and their body. A lot of times someone likes something on a rack, but it may not go with their body shape. Personal style has to be developed.
EC: If you have to make a good impression, you will be sure to do … what?
KZ: Well, it depends on the situation. For a job interview or going out to a nightclub, you make a different statement. So the environment is important, and that dictates what you’ll wear.
EC: Do you have a favorite designer?
KZ: No, but I do go back to designers who demonstrate quality in their work.
EC: What inspires you?
KZ: As an artist, I take from nature, my surroundings and my environment. When you’re a painter, you deal with paint and color. The image is the starter, but the end result is often different. I have an MFA, but I often think, “I don’t know if this is going to work”; it’s a dialogue you carry on and in clothing. There are similarities reflected, and in my case, it’s just that someone else is making the clothes.
EC: If you could experience a fashion flash-back, what era would you want to exist in?
KZ: I like the ’20s and the ’40s, just before the war. I like the hats and wide-legged pants and jackets. I’m not a straight-laced person, so a lot of clothing that is straight I can’t relate to. I want them to flow. It doesn’t matter if (it’s a) skirt or pant — it has to flow.
EC: How do art and fashion intersect, for you?
KZ: I think when people come in the store, here, they say, “Oh my gosh, this is so different from any boutique.” The paintings reflect colors and are not straightforward, either. They are full of colors, vibrancy and style.
EC: Do you have advice for balancing being classic and staying on trend?
KZ: It’s a gut instinct. We all have different personalities and different moods. It can be balanced by making a different statement with yourself. That’s a good thing about women — we should be able to do that and not have anyone stop us.
EC: What is your suggestion for inspired coastal fashion?
KZ: Here, we are climate oriented. Keep it airy, like the breeze on the beach — fresh and healthy looking. I like fun things. You feel good and you look good, and the clothes are fun.
EC: Share a favorite fashion-forward tip.
KZ: Just do what feels right for you. Get out on a limb. Express yourself.