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In six years, Jen Im has grown her YouTube channel Clothes Encounters from a college hobby into a digital media empire. And though she might just seem like another face in YouTube’s crowded lifestyle vlogging field, Im is setting herself apart by developing new ways to make fashion accessible and engaging to her 1.6 million subscribers.
Im’s style is undefinable, which is empowering for viewers: It plants the seed that if Im can confidently experiment with her style, so can we! If I had to attempt to describe Im’s aesthetic, I would start with “Boho meets Free People, mixed with Korean American influences, for a look that changes every single day.” Her ability to be a chameleon makes each outfit feel versatile and instills in fans the idea that there are countless options on how they too can incorporate high fashion into their style.
“Fashion isn’t supposed to be exclusive,” Im shared in a past interview with Vice. “I hate the perception of ‘fashion’ being an enclosed clique. It’s this thought mentality that pushes away and intimidates most people. Wearing clothes is an act in which everyone has to participate, so why not have a little fun? I think vlogging has made fashion more approachable because you might think, ‘Hey, she’s really short like me. Maybe I can wear that too.’”
A photo posted by Jenn Im 💓 임도희 (@imjennim) on
But what really stands out about Im is the conversational and authentic nature she brings to each video. It’s as if she’s sitting down to swap advice with an old friend instead of the 1.6 million nameless viewers tuning in each week. It’s this desire to connect that inspired Im’s app, which features monthly themes, exclusive video series, and the chance for community members to upload their own Outfit of the Day photos as style inspiration to others.
“A lot of the times on Instagram or Twitter, a lot of things get drowned out and it gets difficult for me to keep track of everything, but on my app I’m going to be able to take it directly from my subscribers,” Im recently told Bustle.
While we all won’t be RSVP-ing to fashion week or spending our weekends in a variety of heels, Im reminds us to embrace the fashion styles that make us feel fabulous inside and out. And that’s a message even my yoga pants can get behind.
Screengrab via clothesencounters/YouTube
Carly Lanning is a journalist who covers social media. Her work has been published by Psychology Today, NBC, Thrillist, and Ms. Magazine.