This week’s Muse is Emma Zack of Berriez Vintage. Emma is a vintage curator based in Brooklyn, NY. She found her love of vintage clothing through her grandmother, after receiving a few of her beloved vintage items to wear from her mom. Emma has taken her obsession with thrifting and turned it into her own business, Berriez, an inclusive vintage shop that she’s just recently decided to go full time with, after studying criminology in Los Angeles. Keep reading to learn more about how Emma founded Berriez, what inclusivity means for her and her business, and her favorite vintage find, ever!
Q: Hi Emma! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, and what you do.
A: My name is Emma Zack! I grew up in Boston, went to college in Los Angeles where I studied criminology, and am currently living in Brooklyn. For the past six years, I’ve been working at a criminal justice non-profit; however, I just made the terrifying (and exciting!) decision to pursue my business, Berriez, full-time. When I’m not running Berriez, I’m styling a photoshoot, singing jazz, playing bass guitar, eating gluten-free pasta, or cuddling with my sweet cat, Lula!
Q: Tell me a little bit about how you came to love thrifting and vintage clothing.
A: I discovered vintage clothing through my grandmother, who would have been a modern-day size 12 or 14. When my mom gave me a few of her pieces to wear, I remember loving their fit, uniqueness, and knowing I would be channeling my grandmother’s energy each time I wore one of them. Wearing her clothing was the gateway to my thrifting obsession! I realized I had a better chance of finding something at a thrift shop that fit than at most retail shops.
Q: Briefly describe your style and approach to fashion for us!
A: I love wearing pieces that are conversation starters, such as my crossword puzzle-print silk button-down or my Rachel Antonoff jello-print raincoat. Since starting Berriez, my approach to fashion has changed; I now try to only wear vintage, secondhand, or small independent designers (that is, if I can find my size). A few of my favorites are Shop Journal, The Series NY, and House of Tame.
Q: What led you to found your own vintage shop?
A: Apart from being a mental escape from my day job, I founded Berriez after noticing a gap in the vintage fashion world, especially on Instagram. I was so excited when I first discovered I could shop for vintage clothing directly from Instagram; that is, until I realized I was rarely able to find anything in my size (an always fluctuating 14). Occasionally, I’d find a shop selling something ‘oversized’ on its page (but shown on a thin model), and I’d buy it immediately. Even if I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the piece, I was just excited there was something in my size. I soon realized that sizes are arbitrary, clothing doesn’t look the same on me as it does on someone who’s a size 4, and I had amassed a huge pile of ill-fitting vintage clothing that I couldn’t return. I figured I wasn’t the only person who wanted to shop for vintage on Instagram but wasn’t able to find their size; so, I hung a few pieces from my pile of vintage on a rack, took photos of myself wearing them in my backyard, and posted them on Instagram. And here I am today.
Q: Berriez Vintage is size inclusive. Please share with us a little bit about your mission to create an inclusive space dedicated to incredible vintage treasures for all!
A: I believe vintage should be accessible to everyone. This goal may be limited by the items I am able to source, but inclusivity and, of course, representation will always be at the core of Berriez. I also hope to make the shopping experience the opposite of demoralizing, which it too often is for plus size people; I want it to be fun. I want to make people, whether they’re models, customers, or individuals scrolling through our Instagram feed, feel good about themselves.
Q: What’s the most special piece you’ve found while sourcing for your shop?
A: There are too many to name! But, my most recent favorite find is a vintage black and white checkerboard Coca-Cola sweater that I will cherish forever.