Styling: Sara Merabet

Photos: Bianca Garcia

As a buyer at RSVP Gallery, Sara Merabet is constantly gathering staples that cater to a range of audiences, from streetwear enthusiasts to everyday Chicagoans trying to stay warm in the Windy City. A Boston native who grew up sportswear-obsessed, Sara credits Chicago with helping her find community and expand her approach to styling. “To me, pride unites Chicago,” explains Sara. “People are collectively proud of the sport, culture, music and fashion of the city. Moving here and meeting the people here gave me a boost of confidence to finally start buying and wearing certain things.”

Sara’s eye evolved even more once she got her foot in the door at RSVP six years ago. She spent four years working her way up to the Buyer position and has since introduced a broader selection of brands, new and established, to the Chicago and Los Angeles stores.

Timed to the launch of the Air Jordan XI Black/Red, Sara styled herself and her friends, model Rikiya Cooper and artist Mia Ghogho, in the iconic retro. “I’ve always felt that when you bring together a group of people with unique, individual qualities, you can create something powerful,” Sara says.


Sara: “The AJXI ‘Bred’ is a versatile, heritage shoe that means a lot to the city, and I wanted each of these outfits to be very versatile. Rikiya’s plaid outfit is a nighttime look, for going to a concert, dinner or party. I wanted to show that you can wear the Breds and still be ready for whatever the night has planned for you.”

Rikiya: “Chicago style definitely stands out. Individuality is big in the Windy City. We are always reppin’, and Sara really did her thing here. This is a very elegant and chic look. It’s edgy without doing too much, since the dress has a lot going on, with the colors and plaid. Adding the Breds made it all come together perfectly. I would wear this for a night out, when I want to look cute but still feel comfortable at the same time.”


Sara: “When Mia put on the exaggerated, puff-sleeved black dress, she was reminiscing on how wearing sneakers with dresses used to be frowned-upon. She said, ‘I feel good, like I’m not second guessing my outfit. I’m not too dressed down or dressed up.’ The message that I was trying to convey here is that sneakers aren’t meant to disrupt anything. You just have to feel good about wearing them.”

Mia: “This dress look reminded me of my childhood. Dresses with Air Jordans have always been a move for the bold and quirky, and my personal style is very eclectic. This look was worn at a downtown hub, where people eat and chill with friends. It was fun to shoot this with actual friends, like we were triplets walking around with matching shoes.”


Sara: “This is one of my favorite looks from our shoot. It’s a very dressy, chic outfit that I could see someone wearing at fashion week. Traditionally, I would pair it with heels or boots, but wearing it with sneakers is just as chic.”

Mia: “This look is my favorite. Prints are a very integral part of my style and remind me of Mississippi, where my family is originally from. We shot this look in a classic Chicago chicken spot. Even when I’m eating vegetarian, I’ll come here for fries, because of the mild sauce!”


Sara: “This is a daytime look, something super comfortable for going out with your girls. I’m familiar with how Rikiya likes to dress, so I wanted to put together an outfit that felt true to what we’d wear while hanging out as friends. It’s very fashion forward, stylish, comfortable and warm. We’re in Chicago, after all.”

Rikiya: “I would describe my personal style as a mix of streetwear and ‘90s influences, so this is my type of day-to-day outfit. The shirt matches the sneakers, and the pants match the puffer jacket, so everything is balanced. I would wear this look anywhere, no matter the time of day.”

The Air Jordan XI Black/Red is available in full family sizing starting December 14 on, SNKRS and at select retailers.

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