Chatting fashion and passion with three Indiana influencers

"Being authentic to yourself is a timeless trend."

Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz

Chatting fashion and passion with three Indiana influencers

July 11, 2018


This is the age of the influencer. A marketing degree and high-level access are no longer necessary for making an impact in fashion and commerce. With an iPhone, Instagram account, and an eye for aesthetic, an everyday person can draw quite a following—and make a pretty decent living doing so. We spoke with three local fashion influencers about style, social media, and what it’s like to share their creativity with the masses. 

LAURA YODER
Valparaiso
@laura_yoder 
blackcoffeebeautiful.com 

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This is the age of the influencer. A marketing degree and high-level access are no longer necessary for making an impact in fashion and commerce. With an iPhone, Instagram account, and an eye for aesthetic, an everyday person can draw quite a following—and make a pretty decent living doing so. We spoke with three local fashion influencers about style, social media, and what it’s like to share their creativity with the masses. 

LAURA YODER
Valparaiso
@laura_yoder 
blackcoffeebeautiful.com 

How would you describe your style
My general style is on-trend, but easy-to-wear and budget-friendly. I wander between super feminine to a little edgy with a ton of athletic wear in between. I wear a lot of separates that are easy to mix with one another, which is really easy for others to identify with. 

What are some of the fashion trends you’re seeing for next season? 
A few trends I’m loving for fall are:  

Fun pants! Prints, colors and a variety of silhouettes are popular right now and will have you thinking in reverse order. While we’re used to basics on the bottom, a fun print means our upper halves will be donning more basic pieces instead.  

Style mixing. We typically keep our overall look a similar aesthetic from top to bottom, but this trend is a bit more playful; think athleisure with feminine pieces or basics with glam items.

An ’80s revolution. Fishnets, neons, lots of bows and even some extreme shoulders will all be making appearances this fall season.

Red was such a popular color in winter, and that will be carrying over into fall as well, not just with our favorite fall dresses and sweaters, but also lots of shoes, bags and pants. 

What about the above trends are you most excited about?
I’m excited to see such a fun mix of trends. So many times trends may vary but they’re all in the same style genre.

Photo Credit: Provided by Laura Yoder
Laura Yoder
Photo Credit: Provided by Laura Yoder
Laura Yoder

How would you describe your style
My general style is on-trend, but easy-to-wear and budget-friendly. I wander between super feminine to a little edgy with a ton of athletic wear in between. I wear a lot of separates that are easy to mix with one another, which is really easy for others to identify with. 

What are some of the fashion trends you’re seeing for next season? 
A few trends I’m loving for fall are:  

Fun pants! Prints, colors and a variety of silhouettes are popular right now and will have you thinking in reverse order. While we’re used to basics on the bottom, a fun print means our upper halves will be donning more basic pieces instead.  

Style mixing. We typically keep our overall look a similar aesthetic from top to bottom, but this trend is a bit more playful; think athleisure with feminine pieces or basics with glam items.

An ’80s revolution. Fishnets, neons, lots of bows and even some extreme shoulders will all be making appearances this fall season.

Red was such a popular color in winter, and that will be carrying over into fall as well, not just with our favorite fall dresses and sweaters, but also lots of shoes, bags and pants. 

What about the above trends are you most excited about?
I’m excited to see such a fun mix of trends. So many times trends may vary but they’re all in the same style genre.

This upcoming season allows us to play around with a variety of styles—some at the same time—and in my opinion have a little more fun with fashion. 

What overall fashion advice do you recommend?
Dress for your body, not just your size. So many times, we [buy trendy items] regardless of whether our body’s silhouette is right for that piece. I always tell myself, just because it zips doesn’t mean it fits. Also, before shopping, make a list of things you actually need and those you want based on your budget. It definitely helps you stay on track and resist those purchases that inevitably you end up never wearing or taking back. 

Where do you shop for most of your clothes? 
I’m a huge fan of budget-friendly places like Marshall’s and Target. For more unique items, I love Ivy Boutique in Valpo, the jewelry at Aster + Gray (also in Valpo), and I enjoy smaller online boutiques. 

What is it like to be a fashion influencer on social media? 
It’s crazy for me to think of myself as an “influencer”! I just love style and creating. That said, there is a part of me that feels like I need to look the part, even when I don’t feel like it. For instance, one time this winter, I was wearing “car shoveling” clothes and my hair was a hot mess but I had to get a few things from the store. While there, someone approached me and said they followed me on Instagram. I thought, “Of course, this is when someone would see me.” I’ve been “recognized” now a couple of times and it’s truly very humbling. The same is true when brands reach out to work with me. It doesn’t matter if they’re small or large, I always think, “Wow, I cannot believe they want to work with me.” Not because I don’t hold value in what I do or the content I create, but it’s just such an honor.

Photo Credit: Provided by Laura Yoder
Laura Yoder
Photo Credit: Provided by Laura Yoder
Laura Yoder
Photo Credit: Provided by Laura Yoder
Laura Yoder
Photo Credit: Provided by Laura Yoder
Laura Yoder

ZAHRA
Michigan City
@sincerelyzahra 
sincerelyzahra.com 

What is the general theme and feel of your brand? 
Definitely vintage. Video content is my strong point, and I have mastered a “film” style of photo editing that speaks true to who I am as an artist. I draw inspiration for the clothes I wear and the shoots I style from old movies and music of all eras. 

What are some of the fashion trends you’re seeing for late summer/early fall? 
A lot of polka dots, two-piece sets, and ruffle sleeves. The polka dots are definitely my jam. Very retro/vintage. 

What are one or two fashion tips you recommend for your audience, no matter what season it is?
Wear something black. And when in doubt, throw on a dress. It’s super effortless and chic. 

Where do you shop for most of your clothes?
Goodwill is my go-to spot to find trendy vintage pieces. I also find it difficult to make a decision at Ragstock boutique (Chicago and online) because I want everything 

What is it like to be a fashion influencer on social media? Does it come with any challenges?
It’s not all pretty pictures. There is a lot of hard work that you don’t necessarily see behind the scenes. It takes time, patience and consistency every day.  

Photo Credit: Provided by Zahra
Zahra
Photo Credit: Provided by Zahra
Zahra

ZAHRA
Michigan City
@sincerelyzahra 
sincerelyzahra.com 

What is the general theme and feel of your brand? 
Definitely vintage. Video content is my strong point, and I have mastered a “film” style of photo editing that speaks true to who I am as an artist. I draw inspiration for the clothes I wear and the shoots I style from old movies and music of all eras. 

What are some of the fashion trends you’re seeing for late summer/early fall? 
A lot of polka dots, two-piece sets, and ruffle sleeves. The polka dots are definitely my jam. Very retro/vintage. 

What are one or two fashion tips you recommend for your audience, no matter what season it is?
Wear something black. And when in doubt, throw on a dress. It’s super effortless and chic. 

Where do you shop for most of your clothes?
Goodwill is my go-to spot to find trendy vintage pieces. I also find it difficult to make a decision at Ragstock boutique (Chicago and online) because I want everything 

What is it like to be a fashion influencer on social media? Does it come with any challenges?
It’s not all pretty pictures. There is a lot of hard work that you don’t necessarily see behind the scenes. It takes time, patience and consistency every day.  

What have you learned?
Working in the fashion industry and being an influencer isn’t necessarily your “typical job” and it isn’t always taken seriously. Not everyone is meant to do the same thing in society. So, if you have a dream, typical or not, you should always be working toward it regardless of what others might say. Being happy is the only true way to be successful in life.  

Photo Credit: Provided by Zahra
Zahra
Photo Credit: Provided by Zahra
Zahra
Photo Credit: Provided by Zahra
Zahra
Photo Credit: Provided by Zahra
Zahra

CESAR PAZ
@lifeofpaz_ 

What is the general theme and feel of your brand?
The best way I can describe my brand, The Life of Paz, is simply  as a visual memoir—a collection of moments composed of experiences and special people that have left an impact on my life. It slowly evolved from just sharing images, to now sharing images that tell a story and bring value to others. My goal is to create content that people can enjoy and get a dose of  positivity, laughs and inspiration.  

I don’t try to stand out, but if you follow my  Instagram stories you might never want to unfollow. Every day it is something new and unorthodox. It is my outlet to express my wild, comedic side but also share a behind-the-scenes view of that day’s adventures. 

What are some of the fashion trends you’re seeing for next season
I typically don’t follow trends, I just have my own personal style that I like to stay true to, and encourage others to do the same. Being authentic to yourself is a timeless trend. 

What general fashion tips do you have, no matter what season it is?
No matter the season, there are two things you should always wear:  

A smile. A simple smile not only  enhances your mood but shifts your energy to become more attractive and welcoming. People will  be drawn in by a gentle smile more than anything that you could possibly be wearing. 

Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz
Cesar Paz
Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz
Cesar Paz

CESAR PAZ
@lifeofpaz_ 

What is the general theme and feel of your brand?
The best way I can describe my brand, The Life of Paz, is simply  as a visual memoir—a collection of moments composed of experiences and special people that have left an impact on my life. It slowly evolved from just sharing images, to now sharing images that tell a story and bring value to others. My goal is to create content that people can enjoy and get a dose of  positivity, laughs and inspiration.  

I don’t try to stand out, but if you follow my  Instagram stories you might never want to unfollow. Every day it is something new and unorthodox. It is my outlet to express my wild, comedic side but also share a behind-the-scenes view of that day’s adventures. 

What are some of the fashion trends you’re seeing for next season
I typically don’t follow trends, I just have my own personal style that I like to stay true to, and encourage others to do the same. Being authentic to yourself is a timeless trend. 

What general fashion tips do you have, no matter what season it is?
No matter the season, there are two things you should always wear:  

A smile. A simple smile not only  enhances your mood but shifts your energy to become more attractive and welcoming. People will  be drawn in by a gentle smile more than anything that you could possibly be wearing. 

Self-confidence. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t make a difference what you wear. People are naturally more attracted to confident people who can be comfortable in their own skin. It’s not how you look, but most importantly how you feel within. So go on and rock that thrifted jacket, go on and wear that sexy little black dress. At the end of the day, as long as you feel good it doesn’t matter what other people might think. 

Where do you like to shop
One of my favorite places to shop is ZARA. They have a variety of styles for any guy year-round. There are also a lot of cool local places in the Indy area to find hidden treasures. My style varies from time to time, from a simple blazer and loafers to black skinny jeans and a simple fresh V-neck tee. I like to keep it classy and casual, but I am also big on thrifting. I love the feeling of finding an item and creating a look without having to pay expensive prices. Three hundred dollars for bleached ripped jeans? No way—give me some scissors and an afternoon.  

What is it like to be a fashion influencer on social media?
I don’t consider myself a “fashion” influencer or a model, I just like to dress well and feel good in everything I do or anywhere I go. You will always have haters or critics in your life, especially when you showcase yours on a platform for the world to see. I refer to these individuals as energy vultures. Stay away from their opinions because they will drain the greatness that you are destined for. 

Who has inspired you creatively?
My great friend Landon Price (@priceisrighht) inspires me every day and pushes me to keep growing in business, life and with God. He also happens to be a boss with the camera. 

Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz
Cesar Paz
Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz
Cesar Paz
Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz
Cesar Paz
Photo Credit: Provided by Cesar Paz
Cesar Paz