The Australian model suggests how you can help fashion designers — even if you can't shop right now.
We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."
Shanina Shaik gains her personal style inspiration straight from the job. After all, she's graced the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan, InStyle and L'Officiel, among many other international glossies. She's also walked the runways for prestigious designers around the world — Chanel, Tom Ford, Jason Wu, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Oscar de la Renta, to name a few — plus five Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows. In other words: The Australian model is privy to the insider info before the pieces even hit the sales floors (or e-comm pages).
"When I do work with a designer, I narrow in and get to see the clothes I'll actually shop, " she tells Fashionista, over the phone. "Like LaQuan Smith — I did a show with him last Fashion Week and now I just want all his clothes. He's got these sexy jumpsuits. I was supposed to go to Paris for the Off-White show, but because of coronavirus, I ended up not going. So I was looking online at a lot of Virgil [Abloh]'s stuff and said, 'OK, I want to buy that and get it shipped.'"
Shaik, who's been modeling since age 15, also cites Paris Georgia, co-founded and designed by Paris Mitchell Temple and Georgia Cherrie, as a recent obsession. She wore a slinky, marigold off-the-shoulder gown by the New Zealand-based brand to an Oscars party earlier this year. "All the pieces go with my style," she says. "I just love all the silk, neutrals and pastel colors."
These days, the jet-setter's day-to-day schedule and style are much simpler. While sheltering-in-place in Spain, Shaik posts throwbacks and TikTok-ubiquitous whipped coffee drinks while clad in comfortable T-shirts, sweats and leisure-wear. She's also giving into online shopping, since she traveled there a month ago with just a carry-on. She understands she's in a fortunate position to help support fashion retail with her purchases, and not everyone is. "It's really hard for everybody at this moment and for everyone with their jobs, in general. So to buy stuff is quite difficult," says Shaik. "But social media is so powerful, so if you do have some pieces in your closet, it's so great to promote the brands you love, especially those smaller and independent brands that need our help."
"If you do have the money to buy something comfortable that you could promote on your social media, go ahead and buy it," she continues. "It's nice to make ourselves feel good at the moment. If you can afford it, it's good to just help out those brands, too."
Below, Shaik also shares which fellow VS model is her biggest inspiration and why she's actually a "budget shopper."
"My style is inspired by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and that has developed over time. In my early 20s, I was always experimenting with my style. I didn't know myself at such a young age. Then, since I hit 27, I realized: 'This is my style. This is what makes me feel comfortable and confident.'
"I love mixing classic pieces together and neutral tones. At night, I like to be more sexy with my look. I love silk and satin dresses. I tend to wear more dresses at night or long silk skirts. Simple pieces that are really great staples in my closet and you can always dress them up.
"Rosie wears classic pieces. She doesn't wear a lot of pattern and I don't really tend to wear a lot of pattern myself. She always remains sophisticated and cool and she's a trendsetter, as well. I like to put a little bit of a twist on my personal style, and that's what inspired me about Rosie's style.
"For me, in the summertime, I like to try and do a little more pattern and play with colors a bit more. I find it works well with my skin tone. In the summertime, I have this great tan. I want to incorporate pale blues, yellows, greens and pinks.
"I'm inspired by a lot by my girlfriends and social media. [The information is] in your hands and really easy to get everything now. I always check in with my girlfriends and ask what they like. It makes me feel good and confident to know that I can trust someone and if they say they're happy with something, I can go ahead and purchase it. I do a lot of online shopping, too, so it's quite easy to buy. If you don't like something, you can send it back and it keeps me quite comfortable — just staying at home and picking what I want.
"I'm a window shopper, even online. I'm a good budget person and I like to save my money, so I'll scan over everything that I want and think: 'Do I really want those Aquazzura shoes or that Bottega bag?' Because it's quite pricey. Then I'll sleep on it and think about it, and go ahead and buy it. But I don't always buy designer pieces. I like to mix and match. I have a few designer luxury brands and then I might buy a simple Zara T-shirt. I like to go vintage shopping as well.
"I love Matchesfashion.com. That's probably my number one. Net-a-Porter, Browns, Mytheresa, The RealReal. Net-a-Porter is a great place to find those middle-margin priced or just cool pieces. I've been [in Spain] in quarantine, so I was looking for Calvin Klein sweats. I do go shopping at Urban Outfitters, but in-store. I find really great things on Revolve — really great little purses just for going out for the day or shoes, especially for the summertime. I love going on Revolve, especially when it's festival season ...
"I'm not so much a coupon shopper, but I really do get excited — all of us can relate — when that favorite designer bag or designer shoe goes on sale and you've been waiting for so long. I get super, super excited. Because sometimes for me, it's just like, 'Eh, you know what? It's a bit pricier than what I want to spend. I want to spend more of my cash to go on holiday, so I'm not gonna buy that expensive Bottega bag. I'm gonna get it on sale.'
"But that's what I love about vintage stores — all these amazing pieces, and they're reasonable and second-hand. Sometimes it can be a bit pricey, but I do get excited when I see a vintage Chanel at a lower price. You can have it forever and pass it down as well. I do love finding a good vintage luxury find.
"I do TheRealReal, What Goes Around Comes Around and Treasures of NYC. They have a lot of Chanel pieces, but you have to be really quick. On The RealReal, I found a lot of old-school designer belts and this oversized Donna Karan blazer. I found a classic, vintage Dior printed bag that I wear everywhere. I found a Moschino belt. I don't really wear it that often but I'm just happy because I know that's going to come out and be really good one day."
"Actually, I will tell you, I came to Ibiza maybe a month ago and it was my boyfriend's birthday and I only had my hand luggage with me. I'm pretty good with packing. I travel so much, so I had good staples with me. I was here for maybe three weeks and that's all I had in my closet. I was living out of this little hand luggage and I was using my boyfriend's T-shirts — all these great, comfortable, plain T-shirts, and I'm just wearing them with sweats.
"I went on Matchesfashion, Net-a-Porter and FWRD by Elyse Walker and found some really good things there. It was kind of like Christmas for me [when the packages arrived]. I've been wearing, like, eight just comfortable pieces. I was just mixing and matching everyday and thought, 'I'll change them out every day,' but I really wasn't.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.