Community Spotlight | Sense of Independence | Forest Hill

This week we had the pleasure to speak with two style savvy sisters, Naomi and Michelle Shamash, about their clothing boutique, Sense of Independence, and why they love fashion. We also chat about their celebrity style influences, and what’s hot for spring! Sense of Independence 1 VL: How did you decide on the name Sense of Independence and what kind of labels do you carry? Naomi: The store name just came to me. One day I was just driving around, running some errands, and brainstorming names with my husband, and the name just clicked! As for labels in the store, we carry a mix of Canadian and U.S. designers. While the store has a casual vibe with a focus on everyday wearable items, we also offer a great selection of dressier items which are perfect for a night out. Some of our personal favourite lines in the store are Canadian outerwear labels like Soia & Kyo and Mackage, along with Splendid, Mavi Denim, John & Jenn Knitwear, and Bobi. SoI 2 VL: What is your favourite fashion related memory? Naomi: : I’ve always loved fashion. I loved sneaking into my sisters’ closets and borrowing things.  I was known in high school as the girl who never wore the same shirt twice–which wasn’t exactly true since I always accessorized differently–but it never seemed like I wore the same thing twice! Michelle: That’s a tough question.  I would have to say weekly shopping trips with my mother. I definitely inherited my shopaholic gene from my mom and have so many memories of us just talking about our day while shopping at the mall. SoI3 VL: Since you guys are sisters do you ever get into fights about what you should buy for the store or do you have similar tastes in clothes? How do you like collaborating with each other? Naomi: We pretty much have the same taste, except I’m a little more conservative with colours, prints, and styles. We joke that we have veto power over one another.  But yes, if one of us hates it, we will veto! Michelle:I like to push the envelope a bit. I always find myself looking at what people are wearing, what celebrities are wearing and just browsing through all the latest magazines. Naomi understands that, even though we might not agree on a trend, we need to make it available to our customers, because usually it becomes a must-have item with our shoppers. SoI4 VL: I always find myself obsessing over celebrities with great style like Diane Kruger and Olivia Palermo. Whose celebrity style do you obsess over? Naomi: I’m also a huge Olivia Palermo fan. She always puts herself together in such a sophisticated way, but always makes it look so effortless. Sienna Miller is another obsession of mine. I love her edgy vibe and being confident enough to pull off the latest trends. SoI Olivia Palermo 5 Michelle: Anyone who knows me will say Rachel Zoe!  She’s a devoted wife, mother, stylist and designer– I don’t think there isn’t anything she can’t do! She has shown me that it’s possible to juggle it all while still making time for hair and makeup in the morning and devote more than two minutes on an outfit choice. SoI Rachel Zoe 6 VL: What are some of your favorite pieces in the store right now? Naomi: We have these amazing colourful printed denim jeans ($98) by Mavi in the store now. I’m 6 months pregnant and Mavi has put in maternity panels in some of their latest styles especially for me, so I don’t have to miss out on the trend! We also have some amazing jewellery pieces and infinity scarves! Michelle: Anything with lace or crochet on it. I find these items to be feminine and pretty without being overly girly. We have blouses and dresses in the store right now with the right amount of these details on them. They will definitely be part of my wardrobe essentials this season. SoI 7 VL: What are three hot spring trends you want to share with our readers? Naomi: Three of my favourite trends right now are colour blocking, ombre, and anything white. Colour blocking–finding an item that’s colour blocked in itself or putting together two opposite colours–looks ultra chic. I’ve always been obsessed with tie dye and ombre is a more sophisticated way of showing that trend. Whether in a jean, top or scarf, there are many ways to pull off this trend. Lastly, this is the season for white. Everyone needs a pair of white jeans and shorts. You can pair it with a white top to go with a monochromatic outfit or with a brightly coloured top which is also a must this summer! Michelle: Everything Naomi said! I can’t wait to try out all these new and continuing trends this season. If only the weather would co-operate! VL: On your site it says you are looking forward to new ventures, what other big plans do you have for your business? Naomi: There will definitely be a second location in our near future. With my second baby on the way and the somewhat recent marriage of my sister, it’s just on hold for the moment. Michelle: Fashion is in my blood. I sleep and breathe fashion. It’s something I love and when the time is right we definitely plan on having multiple store and maybe even designing our own private label one day. I really think together we have a very strong grasp of what people want and what is missing in the market. Together, we can be extremely successful. CONNECT WITH SENSE OF INDEPENDENCE: Twitter: @senseofind Facebook: Sense of Independence

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