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This week, we’re shining a spotlight on a talented and ambitious young woman.  Though in college, Zara Sheikh has big plans for herself.  Her passion for fashion has led her to interesting internships, from a fashion mobile app company to the SkinLess Project.  Zara is not only a firm believer in expressing yourself, but not succumbing to societal pressures just to be considered fashionable.  We are excited to introduce you to SkinLess Project’s own: Zara Sheikh!
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“Young women these days are told that dressing less is more attractive, but the only person you should be impressing with your dress is yourself.” – Zara Sheikh
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You are a full time student, an active student leader and a lover of fashion interning for The Skinless Project, how do you balance it all?

It has been a process learning to balance all of the things I have going on, but I have managed to be able to make time for everything. Having a pretty solid class load and being on the quarter system can be stressful, but fashion is a passion of mine and I always make sure I can have time for it between all of the stress and busyness of college life.

 You are a lover of fashion, where did your passion begin?

I’m not too sure when my passion started, but I just know that I have always loved clothes and I was always fascinated by people’s clothes, simply just by people watching wherever I went. Later in high school was when I started becoming more interested in my personal style and really defining it as my own. I’m pretty picky when it comes to fashion, so I’ve always been on the lookout for things that I like on blogs, pinterest and other online fashion sites. It’s become a part of my own culture in a way.

You also have dreams of entering the business world, what have you found fascinating about fashion and business?

I do! I’ve done my own research on a lot of different companies and stores and I just love learning about how they work. It’s fascinating to me how fast paced the fashion world is and how creative it can be. They are always creating new items and new looks, and at a certain point it can be overwhelming how much stuff there is out there. One of the coolest things I found out about certain stores, like “Zara”, was that “Zara” actually does not advertise at all, and all of the money they save from advertising is put into opening new stores. Every company has its own definite identity and I think it’s amazing how fashion can do that and that the business side can be creative as well, not just in the creativity of the clothes.

There are many young students who love fashion and are using Pinterest and other online tools to fulfill their passions. Do you think there is new potential for creativity online?

I definitely think there is a new potential for creativity online. There are so many websites, along with Pinterest, that people can really further their interests. A lot of sites allow you to express your creativity, especially when it comes to fashion. Things like “lookbook.nu”, which is a creative outlet for people to post their own looks. There is a large community of fashion bloggers that also have a huge influence on a lot of people, and influence creativity.

You interned for a company, the mobile app, My Runway. Can you tell us about it?

My Runway is a mobile shopping app where you can pick your favorite brands and browse through items and add them to a “wish list” which can be seen by your followers. It also alerts you when there are upcoming online or in-store sales for the different brands.

They say fashion is an expression of who you are. Can you describe in a few words what type of fashion you love?

I live by simple and chic clothes. I think very simple items are must haves and can also be timeless, and can also be dressed up with accessories and shoes. But simplicity is huge to me.

There has been such pressure on young women to show skin and dress ultra-revealing to be considered fashionable. Now we are seeing a change in the trend, would you agree? Is not fashion about clothes and not skin ?

I definitely agree that fashion is about clothes and not skin. I am a huge believer in that. I think that there is nothing wrong with being modest, yet chic. The idea that young women have to dress ultra revealing is frustrating to me, especially as a young woman and being surrounded by it. Dressing less to show off your body or to look more attractive is not always classy, and being classy and being able to put together an outfit of your own style with clothes that are not extremely revealing, can be so much more respectable, especially for young women who are going to be entering the professional world or who are already there. There are so many things you can do with fashion that look amazing on anyone without having to feel like you have to show a lot of skin, despite what the media is showing you.

Do you think this is a positive trend for young girls and young professional women?

I think it is positive to show off your own style in a classy way. Young women these days are told that dressing less is more attractive, but the only person you should be impressing with your dress is yourself. It can be very empowering to dress a way you feel comfortable and not having to show off too much skin. Despite being comfortable in your own skin or wanting to show it off, it is about preference and comfort, not what celebrities are doing or what you see on TV.

Where do you see yourself and your vision in 5 years?

I hope to see myself working in the fashion business once I’m done with school, or even starting my own business and working on my own project by then. I have a lot of ideas for what I want to do.

Lastly, where can people view your fashion picks for The Skinless Project?

They can view my fashion picks for The Skinless Project on the Pinterest Board “Fashion We Love”.