JEN SZETO | the magnetic personality behind blog Window of Imagination, a sensory story of minimalist ease and jaw dropping visuals. She has an acute eye for the perfect balance of art and silhouette and, better yet carries an adorable wit about her.
Check out our conversation with Jen plus her unique vision of our new Spring Collection below!
The Silk Linen Camisole in Natural & The Georgia Wrap Skirt in StuccoThe Vanessa Romper in NaturalThe Mal Pais in LichenThe OZMA 1930's Bandana in Soft WhiteThe Slipdress in LichenThe Smock Jacket in Black Linen
A CONVERSATION WITH JEN SZETO
You seemed to have found a perfect way to mix creativity into your career. How was this process for you -- becoming a fashion blogger?
Gosh, I think I’ve always had this passion to pursue fashion in some form. Growing up I had this obsession with collaging looks together from various fashion mags, and instead of teeny bopper boy crushes, I had Roxy Quiksilver ads plastered all over my walls. I was living in small-town suburbia at the time and was fascinated with this whimsical, free-spirited aesthetic, so I was living vicariously through these images. I also remember shopping with my mom and sisters when I was 9 years old and while they tried stuff on, I would walk around the store and adjust all the mannequins’ clothing, nipping and tucking small details. I was secretly hoping one of the sales associates would discover me and I would be hired as THE YOUNGEST STYLIST IN THE WORLD… hahahaha. Delusional, much?
Anyhoo, fast forward 25 years later, and here I am as a Video Producer in Advertising! Didn’t really think my life would take this path, but I have no complaints. Actually, I do, but I won’t rant here. In between that time though, I wore a few different hats - from retail to relationship blogging, cocktail serving and what not. I also started traveling more once I hit my twenties, and I remember being in Paris for the first time in 2013 and feeling inspired by all their unique street style. Everyone was so cool and creative, I thought - I want to be just like them! I was also in a career rut and needed an outlet to scratch my creative itch, so upon my return I started chronicling my fashions online. Instagram was this hot new thing at the time so I started posting my wares on my personal account. In May 2014, I decided to create an account that would solely focus on my personal style, and thus Window of Imagination was born.
We love the story of how you happened upon the name “Window of Imagination” -- would you mind re-telling how you came up with this unique name?
Oh thanks! I wish it was a better story, haha. I was sitting in the dark one night trying to come up with a handle for my new account and all the typical fashion-y names were taken (“Fashionphile”, “Recherche”, and “Radioactive Babylon” were a few). It was 2am by that point and I was aimlessly staring out the window when my mind began to wander and I went into this creative k-hole and blacked out (something I do often). When I came to moments later, Window Of Imagination came to mind. And it was available, so it stuck. But you know, I think it’s very fitting in many ways. I’ve fully embraced it as a part of my identity and aesthetic, versus it just being some boring, random name. I think ‘Window’ represents not just a photo in my feed but a peek into my life, and ‘Of Imagination’ speaks to my creative process that reveals itself through some form of fashion, travel, or architectural interpretation.
What is the dreamiest place you have ever adventured to?
That’s a hard one, but I’d have to say Iceland. My husband Colin and I decided to go there as part of our delayed honeymoon last year, and holy hell was it an adventure of a lifetime. It was the dead of Winter, right after Christmas, and we had planned to spend six nights road tripping along its coast, starting in Reykjavik. We landed in the morning to snowy darkness and waited for the sun to rise at 12pm. When it did, the skies were only lit for 4 hours before we were back into nightfall. That’s when we knew we were in for a good time. We set off in our 4x4 and drove the South-Eastern coast for a few days until we hit Hof and were forced to turnaround due to a snowstorm. We hiked, hot-springed, and waterfalled along the way; we stayed in whatever places we could find comfort. One night when there was a break in the storm we were able to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. The wind whispered softly as we gazed into the faint green streak that illuminated the night sky. It was pure magic. There was little to no expectation for the trip – only to discover the country and one another as this newly wedded couple, and both surprised us in many ways. I think that’s why I loved being there the most.
Tell us where you derive your feed aesthetic from. Who inspires your overall look?
Everything and nothing, really. It’s hard to explain because I can’t pinpoint any specific source – my inspiration is birthed from my daily observations and parts of my past. Art is very subjective; it’s all in a matter of taste. I feel that my instincts strongly dictate what’s right or wrong for me, so I often create based on that.
How important is sustainable fashion for you? How do you personally try to support this movement?
I consider myself a conscious consumer and always try to represent high-quality, sustainable brands on Window Of Imagination. I’m not perfect, but I make a concerted effort to shop less, shop small, and shop mindfully. I believe in building a capsule wardrobe and strive to be more creative with less; I intentionally support independent labels because most share my core values and often produce with sustainability in mind; I always consider how my consumption is impacting the planet in the long run, so I keep and wear my clothes for as long as possible and never throw anything away (I resell or donate to friends/family/charities).
What is your favorite book?
The last book I read, When Breath Becomes Air, had me full-on ugly crying the whole 10 hours I took to read it from cover to cover. I was enthralled by Dr. Kalanithi’s writing - he was a very poetic yet pragmatic thinker. And I have to surmise that I have this deep-seeded curiosity with philosophizing one’s own mortality; how facing your imminent demise can affect interpersonal connection. Grief is something I don’t handle well – it takes a while for me to work through any loss. I think this book, though very painful to read, provided an understanding of death as a reflective process, and I was comforted by his open, honest journey.
So you live in San Francisco, what is your ideal weekend spot to escape the city?
I have a deep love for Yosemite – It has a magic in the air that is unparalleled to most CA destinations I’ve been to. Spending time in the Valley is a chance for me to live a simpler life where I climb all day, enjoy Mother Nature, deeply connect with friends, and camp under the bright night sky. It's takes about 4-hours to get there from San Francisco, but the drive is beautiful and I use that time to daydream and decompress from the week.