How a Chicago stylist incorporates thrifted pieces
Izzy Jackson, who among her various titles is a published stylist, personal thrift shopper and self-proclaimed sustainability queen, houses all of her talents and creativity under her brand Izzy’s Looks.
Jackson launched Izzy’s Looks in October 2020 and has grown her brand around sustainability and intentionality.
Jackson just turned 25 this month. In true Aquarius fashion, she set out to create something different amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Izzy’s Looks consists of various services and engagement opportunities, including mystery boxes and monthly subscription boxes that are personalized based on your style.
During the lockdown, Jackson was making live thrift sales on Instagram, featuring a curated rack and selling pieces in real time.
You can also find Jackson at different markets and pop-ups around the city throughout the year with a rack full of goods. In 2022 she had a 3-month ongoing pop up.
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Jackson is also the founder of Thrift Crawl, an annual event she began in October 2021 for Izzy’s Looks one-year anniversary. The Thrift Crawl takes a group of people on a bus trip to visit four thrift stores around the city. The intent behind the event is to introduce shoppers to thrift stores they maybe haven’t heard of before. Jackson explains, “Branching your idea out of where you can go thrifting beyond Unique, Family Thrift, Village Discount – very big, company-owned, religious-owned thrift stores.”
Community building is another important aspect of the Thrift Crawl, “Thrifting can be an isolating, personal enjoyment, but it’s even more fun to harness thrifting buddies,” says Jackson.
One of the stops included in the thrift crawl for both years was Vintage Frills. Owner of Vintage Frills Jennifer Kelly says, “The first year was good but the second year was even better! I can see this crawl growing and becoming a huge success that will be sought after by many.”
Jackson hopes to expand the Thrift Crawl to outside of Chicago and explore thrift stores throughout the Midwest.
Regardless of what she is doing or where she is, Jackson will always be on Instagram documenting her day and engaging with her followers on her story.
At over 3,500 followers Jackson attributes her growth to her consistent engagement on various platforms including the recent addition of a monthly newsletter.
Jackson, an older Gen Z, has been using social media to build a platform since she was 13 and she has been thrifting for way longer. “My mom was always buying our stuff from the thrift stores and stuff like that, and then eventually I decided I like this. I like finding things, I like sourcing things,” she says.
Jackson went to school for hospitality and had been working at a bakery until she was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She explains that with the extra time from being laid off, during unemployment she was able to identify thrifting as something she was already doing and could grow as a business.
Although she turned her passion into a business, she says it still feels like work, “but I think it’s work that I’m willing to do. I think that’s the biggest thing with anything.”
Between her retail job and the thrift store she’d rather be at a thrift store going through racks and vibing to the music. “I literally don’t put my ear pods on when I’m in the thrift store because I love thrift store music. I fully enjoy every avenue of it,” she says. Jackson says she has probably (most likely) been to every thrift store in Chicago.
Thrifting has gained popularity in recent years with a 58% growth rate in the resale market in 2021 according to Thredup. However, Jackson distinguishes herself from resellers. She says she is not interested in selling you something but instead provides her services to find the best thrifted pieces suited for your personal style and comfort.
Jackson seeks inspiration through other maximalist stylists she finds on Instagram, but she also finds inspiration through her community of Chicago-based artists and creatives.
She showcases that inspirations through Izzy’s Muse, a monthly Instagram feature either focused on an individual, group of people or concept.
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Jackson says, “It’s a perfect way for me to showcase that, hey, I can take photos of you, and also I can style you. Pick out which one you want and I got you.”
In 2022 Jackson styled two music videos, one of them being Adia Dew’s “Do It” video featuring a 70’s-inspired style.
Dew describes Jackson as “prompt, fun and caring with her approach. She is going to choose pieces that not only flatter your body, but make you feel good! She’s a pleasure to work with.” Dew says Jackson is now her go-to stylist and describes her vision as “unconventional, a bit edgy and spicy.”
Jackson has been successful in incorporating all aspects of her creativity and personality into her business. A huge component of her business is raising awareness around sustainability and intentionality. She has given a workshop on the topic at Northwestern.
Jackson explains, “Just having intention behind your actions because they affect things and understanding that yes, you are a small less than 1% on this earth, but even in that group, in your main friend group, you have an impact.”
Jackson is so serious about sustainability that she is willing to come to people directly and collect their unwanted clothes. She is collaborating on a clothing swap with Veggie Mijas for the spring. She explains, “My goal for the swap is to not only donate Izzy’s Looks inventory in a variety of sizes but also to institute a ‘pick up’ option so folks who may have great pieces but little to no access to transit to drop them off, can still participate.”
Keep an eye out for this and other cool things to come this year and in the future by following Izzy’s Looks on Instagram.
Header illustration by Julia Hester