ARMOUR MAGAZINE ISSUE 20
FINDING AND COLLECTING WHATâ€™S IN A COLOR? SHADES, SUNNIES, SPECS GREEN THUMB STARGAZING
“ FAS H I O N I S T H E A R M O U R TO S U RV I V E T H E R E A L I T Y O F E V E R Y D AY L I F E . T O D O A W AY W I T H F A S H I O N W O U L D B E L I K E D O I N G A W AY W I T H C I V I L I Z AT I O N .
“ Bill Cunningham
A S S T. D E S I G N D I R E C T O R
DANA BERGER KARALENA DAVIS KLARA KOBYLINSKI
N ATA L I A O L E DZ K A
O P E R AT I O N S D I R E CTO R AUDREY PALMER
WEB DIRECTOR RACHEL HELLMAN LINA WILLEY
EDITORS E M I LY B L U E D O R N MADELEINE RITHOLZ E M M A TA N G
FASHION DIRECTOR MIKKI JANOWER
CONTRIBUTORS MEA AKEY CAMILLE BORDERS HASSAN FOLKS ARNO GOETZ DEVON LITTERAL HALEY LUNDBURG L I LY S U L L I VA N M AYA T E R RY SHERRY XU
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS FINDING AND COLLECTING
When we think of finding and collecting, we may refer to physical objects or treasures we’ve gathered over years, but collecting may also reflect our process of acquiring new memories, new understandings, and diverse cultural influences. Collections—both material and intangible—have immense impact on our creative and personal lives.
In these pages, we take you on a journey through WashU professor Glenn MacDonald’s art collection at his modern enclave in Wildwood Missouri (Styles & Spaces, 24), to a warm and blossoming greenhouse (Green Thumb, 52), and the monumental St. Louis Art Museum (Connor & KJ, 14), physical spaces in our city that we hope will captivate and inspire you.
Ahead, we explore collecting in all its diverse forms: from Eastern and Western cultural influences (Found in Translation, 60) and intersecting identities (What’s in a Color? 34), to astrology readings (Stargazing, 44).
Though collecting is often a deeply personal experience, we also believe that it can be a communal one. Learning about what others value and hold onto throughout the years gives us a glimpse into the identities of our peers and reveals connections of what might not have been evident before. What we find and collect varies greatly from person to person, but it seems that even the most minimalist among us believes in the power of some finding and keeping.
This issue encourages a search for new possibilities and endeavors, whether it be the process of brainstorming and opening of new restaurant (Qui Tran, 68), pursuing romantic relationships (Swipe Right: Finding Love... Or Not, 66), or finding a new creative outlet (A Collection of Thoughts, 22). We also consider the opposite of finding—losing—by examining cherished belongings from loved ones who have passed (From the Archive of Suz, 84).
Klara, Dana, Karalena
Lost and Found
Styles & Spaces
Connor & KJ
Whatâ€™s in a Color?
A Collection of Thoughts
Found in Translation
From the Archive of Suz
Shades, Sunnies, Specs
Swipe Right: Finding Love... Or Not
S O UV E N IR S S O M E T R AV E L E R S C O L L E CT M AG N E TS . SOME COLLECT COLOR PALETTES. I T ’ S A WAY TO P O C K E T S M A L L PIECES OF THE PLACES WE’VE NEVER BEEN, EACH S WATC H R E P R E S E N T I N G A N E W C O R N E R O F T H E U N I V E R S E . M O S T I M P O R TA N T LY, T H E Y R E M I N D U S T H AT THERE’S BEAUTY TO BE FOUND EVERYWHERE WE GO; A L L W E H AV E TO D O I S M A K E T H E T R E K .
photography M I K K I J A N O W E R & K A R A L E N A D A V I S
CONNOR & KJ SOFT SILK SHIRTS, STRUCTURED BLAZERS, AND CHELSEA B O OTS â€” C O N N O R & KJ, B OT H M A J O R S I N SA M F OX , H AV E E N V I A B L E S T Y L E A N D P O I S E . W E S P E N T A S AT U R DAY A F T E R N O O N W I T H T H E D U O AT T H E S A I N T LO U I S A R T MUSEUM IN FOREST PARK .
photography M A X F I S H E R models C O N N O R D O L A N & K J J I A H E N G K U A N G
A Collection of Thoughts writing & art L I N A W I L L E Y
STYLE & SPACES photography A R N O G O E T Z writing E M I L Y B L U E D O R N
Glenn MacDonald is an accomplished professor at the Olin School of Business and a published economist, but his interests don’t stop there. In addition to his pri-mary career in economics, he’s lived a former life as a professional studio guitar player and continues his passion for music to this day, releasing and performing electronic compositions on Soundcloud under the name S B V R T. MacDonald’s interests cross different fields, but he believes that there is a three fold methodology that unifies his business and creative endeavors: Subversion, the flavor of change that works within structure; Minimalism, the drive for simplicity and elegance; and Action, the concrete steps that move things forward. Glenn and his wife Michelle built a modern masterpiece of a house with architect Thomas P. Mont Alto Architecture, which now sits in the middle of a forested hill in Wildwood. The home appears, as desired, like a serene white box, organized against the disorderly natural elements surrounding it. The home is designed in high modern minimalist style and remains discreet about its contents from the front, as the majority of the windows are on the back side of the home. The interior is equally as impressive as the crisp exterior, with a strong attention to materiality in the raw concrete floors, scattered natural wood details, and high ceilings with exposed beams. The space is predominantly neutral in color, but the bright blue-centric kitchen and poppy-red bar stools add a pop of color and whimsy. The walls are decorated with thoughtfully curated art by artists Richelle Flecke, Candice Taylor Jones, Daniel Kime, Julie Malone, and Maggie Robertson.
The story behind Candice Taylor Jones’ large-scale tarp tapestry reminiscent of east Asian ink wash painting that hangs on the largest wall is indicative of MacDonald’s approach to art curation. During one fateful trip to Starbucks, he got to talking with the barista, and discovered she was an artist. Glenn commissioned a large scale piece from her with minimal direction. He believes in allowing artists to create work they’re passionate about producing, as it can lead to the best kind of authentic and organic results. He also took this approach with his favorite piece of art, a sculpture by Andrew Arp in the back yard, for which Arp carved into stone with a drill for four months, crafting a fantastic shape that flows so smoothly it appears as though it sprung from the ground. Jones also has an outdoor piece at the MacDonald residence in an unexpected location. Below the walkway that leads into the home, stands an exterior support wall where cracks in the cement have begun to develop. Jones painted her second commissioned piece there where she painted a line connecting the cracks reminiscent of the top of a mountain range or the curve of a river. MacDonald applied his three-fold methodology in collaborating to develop this new piece, as he embraced change and worked within a structure, pursued simplicity and elegance, and took steps to move things forward. Subversion, Minimalism, Action. After hearing this story, I couldn’t help but recall MacDonald’s lecture on utility, defined as usefulness or satisfaction obtained from a good or service, in MEC 290 Microeconomics. Apparently there is utility in life’s flaws if one only knows how to find it, and Glenn MacDonald, the consummate economist, just so happens to.
Lost and Found writing M I K K I J A N O W E R
“Sometimes I like to think someone died in the clothes I’m wearing.” I was fifteen and starry-eyed for an eighteen-year-old cigarette smoker with a ukelele, and a tendency to mansplain Kendrick Lamar. As he talked, he tugged a chunky knit crewneck over his curls. “Yeah,” he said, after a moment. “Someone definitely died in this.” He bought the crewneck, so I bought one too. I still think about that statement, and not just because it sounds quasi-necrophilic in retrospect. I’m infatuated with the idea that articles of clothing have stories of their own, woven into their fabric as immovably as seams. I can’t say I like to think anyone has died in my clothes, but I love to think about who found them first. I glean what I can of their origin stories: I know my bleach-stained Pink Floyd tee, for instance, made its way into my attic via my father, who snuck backstage while backpacking in Switzerland. Other pieces, however, leave me wondering – who in the known universe owned a sheer slip with a red dragon embroidered on each breast? Whose gold brooch am I so tragically unable to style? Sometimes I think about whoever finds my clothes next. The inheritor of my favorite cuffed jeans will no doubt be curious where the stains on the left leg came from (For the record: the yellow one is paint, the dark one is wine, and the red one is blood). The next owner of my ‘85 Hall and Oates tour jacket will never know I stumbled across that jacket twice, six months and sixty miles apart, and took it as a sign that we belonged to each other. I hope that whoever finds my homemade chain 32
belt has less trouble fastening it than I do. My dark green midi skirt – purchased for ninety-nine cents, although I had to mend the buttons myself – has made it to three continents so far, and I wonder whether it will ever see all seven. The beauty of found items is that each has a story. Every piece I find reminds me that somewhere, sometime, somebody has died or spilled paint or fallen in love or fallen asleep or caught a train or missed a plane and in some way or another launched a piece of their lives into my orbit. I wear my found items with the knowledge that I am living in somebody’s legacy and that someday, somebody else will be wearing my own story on their sleeve. I can only hope that the clothes I’ve lost and found serve as testaments to who I am and where I’ve been. I am nineteen and, despite past efforts to enlighten me, have only just begun to understand the virtues of listening to Good Kid Ma.Ad City as a concept album rather than a series of singles. I still wear that crewneck.
WHAT â€™S IN A COLOR? D E S T I G M AT I Z I N G THE CLOTHING WE WEAR
photography D E V O N L I T T E R A L models J E R E M Y B A R N E S & H A S S A N F O L K S fashion E M M A T A N G writing M A Y A T E R R Y & H A S S A N F O L K S
Maya Terry is a sophomore studying Psychological and Brain Sciences and is passionate about advocacy work and fighting social injustices. At WashU she works for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and is involved with service work. Hassan Folks is a sophomore varsity basketball player, an African and African-American studies major, and pre-med student who is in the Sigma Iota Rho International Area Studies Honorary and is a member of the Association of Black Students.
ake a second to picture your average black man in America. Is he wearing a prison jumpsuit or pants that sag too far below the waist? Is he wearing a snapback and jeans with chains and more bling? Is it an NFL or NBA Jersey? Or is it a black hoodie? In 2012, it became a crime for a Black man to wear just that when Trayvon Martin was killed for appearing suspicious to George Zimmerman in the street that night. Grantland writer Wesley Morris states, “The hoodie is ‘hood.’ It’s ‘hoodlum.’ For most black men, the only way to be perceived in a hoodie is as hard.” The perception of the black male in the public eye is too often confined to a rigid box of stereotypes that includes hip hop culture, gangs/drugs, and professional sports. The black male has become synonymous to the notion of hypermasculinity, or in other words, “the psychological term for the exaggeration of male stereotypical behavior, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality.” These beliefs extend to the types of clothing black men are expected to wear. When they deviate from this norm, both their blackness and masculinity are called into question. Dressed up in a suit and tie or in Sperrys, khaki shorts, and a Vineyard Vines shirt, black men are often seen as trying to fit in with a whiter audience. As per Hassan’s experience, New York City private schools often restrict what students wear by enforcing dress codes involving polo or button up shirts, khakis, and plain sneakers or shoes. For some young Black men in predominantly white spaces, they are often presented with an identity crisis between being their true selves or who their peers expect them to be. Hassan recounts:
“Throughout my nine years at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York I became acquired to the preppy look and 38
wore that style even when I was not at school. My style was deemed “not Black enough” by my African-American friends who played on my travel basketball team. Suddenly, I was caught between being comfortable in my “preppy” clothing at school and not being trendy enough anywhere else. Black men must always prescribe to the trends of Hip Hop or streetwear in order to maintain their identity. The prejudices that surround our clothing does not afford us the opportunities to dress “preppy” and still be trendy. I should be able to both wear a pink oxford shirt and cranberry corduroy dress pants and retain my African American identity. It should not be seen as a rejection of black culture to choose not to wear street clothes or typical hip-hop fashion.” Black identity and masculinity should not be related to the appearance of black bodies, but instead the minds underneath them. Everyone has intersecting, fundamental identities that contribute to the complexities of human nature; therefore, we should aim to eliminate biases associated with a certain “type” of person, which includes the clothing they wear. Tyler the Creator’s most recent album Flower Boy depicted him on the cover surrounded by yellow daisies. The colors of the background were bright yellow and greens. Similarly, Cam’ron, a legendary Harlem rapper, has an infamous photo of him in a Pink Mink coat, wearing a Pink headphone and talking on a Pink phone. Together, the two rappers’ portrayal of themselves surrounded by feminine colors inspired Jeremy and me to not be afraid of wearing colors stereotypically reserved for women. Throughout this photoshoot the array of pinks, reds, greens, floral patterns and formal wear is representative of the rejection of the masculine Black men’s exclusive wardrobe of dark colors, streetwear, and hip-hop fashion. Black men and the clothing they wear should not subscribe to expectations that are often flawed in judgement. Not all Black men are threatening criminals, League-bound athletes, or up-andcoming hip hop artists. Identities are dynamic—what it means to be African American or masculine can and should be allowed to find different expression in every Black man. It’s time to start acknowledging the diversity of Black men in America and the fluidity of Blackness and masculinity.
STARGAZING photography G R A C E W A N G model H A N N A H R I C H T E R fashion M I K K I J A N O W E R & L I N A W I L L E Y & RACHEL HELLMAN
writing M A D E L E I N E R I T H O L Z
ebruary horoscope: On the 15th, a solar eclipse in your sign electrifies relationship baggage and old wishes that are holding you back. Opportunities are available for the taking, especially for those Aquariuses with mid-February birthdays. You may not be able to reverse your decision, but chances are you’ll be happier where you’re headed. –Refinery29 In hindsight, my past month did not play out anything like this prediction. Aquarians are said to either be shy and quiet or eccentric and energetic—two extremes of the personality spectrum. However, I am very much in the middle. And regardless of being aware that my past horoscopes never came true, every month I still find myself clicking on the email to read my next one. Written in the Stars. We have all heard this saying time and time again. It means that we depend on a higher celestial power for the fate of our future. Even though astrology rarely plays out how it should, there are many who swear by celestial powers at their core. Whether it’s falling victim to religiously monitoring horoscopes or predicting the future with tarot cards, people have long romanticized the magic of outer space. Where does this fascination come from?
In ancient times, anyone from royalty to farmers depended on astrology and astronomy for everyday purposes. The stars were sacred and to be worshipped. Just look to zodiac signs, the lunar calendar, and ancient Greek literature about the stars and constellations. Nowadays, I believe this curiosity stems from fear of the uncertainty of the future. Similarly, no matter the amount of research, we truly do not know the depths of outer space. Thus, these two uncertainties spurred an interest in this seemingly magical source of prediction. We claim to be skeptical realists and deny the celestial influence. As Shakespeare once wrote, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” However, as critical as people like myself claim to be, some little part of us still looks to the heavens for the answers we can’t find. We keep opening the monthly horoscope emails and venturing out to tarot card readers. It is our guilty pleasure, our secret obsession, our sense of security.
GREEN THUMB photography A R N O G O E T Z models G E O R G I A S L A T T E R Y & A N N A B E L B I R D fashion M I K K I J A N O W E R
D U R I N G A P A R T I C U L A R LY W A S H E D - O U T W E E K O F W I N TER THIS YEAR, ONE OF LIGHTLESS MORNINGS AND E A R LY N I G H T S , G E O R G I A S L AT T E R Y A N D A N N A B E L B I R D LED US THROUGH AN OASIS OF LIGHT AND COLOR, E X P LO R I N G T H E T H I N G S T H AT B LO O M B E H I N D C LO S E D DOORS. IT’S EASY TO LOSE SIGHT OF THE POCKETS OF WARMTH AROUND US, BUT WHEN THE SUN IS SHINING, E V E N T H E C O L D E S T O F DAYS C A N F E E L E Q UATO R I A L I N T H I S P L A N T- F I L L E D G R E E N H O U S E . W E ’ R E C A L L I N G I T A DREAMHOUSE.
photography D E V O N L I T T E R A L models N I C O L E C O O K , P H O E B E L I clothing S H E R R Y X U , H A L E Y L U N D B U R G
FOUND IN TRANSLATION THREE GIRLS FROM THREE DIFFERENT UPBRINGINGS DISCUSS HOW THE BLENDING OF C U LT U R E S H A S I M P A C T E D F A S H I O N .
EMMA TANG: My mom grew up in rural China and my dad in northern Sweden. I was born in Stockholm, and moved around a bit before we settled down in Shanghai when I was 5. I attended an international school my entire life, and was lucky enough to have both my Swedish and Chinese side integrated together under one household, celebrating Chinese New Year with my extended family in Yunnan but also celebrating St. Lucia’s Day with Swedish expats in Shanghai. HALEY LUNDBERG: My mom is Asian American, she’s Chinese. My grandmother moved from Hong Kong and my grandfather’s from Guangzhou. So my mom is pretty westernized in terms of what she’s given to me. A lot of it’s been lost in translation, but I still value that side of myself a lot. It’s a very important part of my childhood, one of my very strong memories are ones with my 婆婆 (pópó/grandmother), food and family is something that is very much part of my Chinese American identity. SHERRY XU: I grew up in Shandong province in China before going to an international school in Beijing and finally a high school in America. I always knew I wanted to end up in America for college, but my parents weren’t about to move with me so I had to come here on my own. EMMA: Sherry, let’s start with your capstone piece. Could you give us a some details on it? SHERRY: In my collection I tried to combine some traditional Chinese elements and western couture manipulation techniques. Some of the Chinese elements include raffia ( I got the inspiration from the old fishermen, the garment they wear is called 蓑笠 (suō lì). I used brocade —a luxurious fabric in the only the wealthy would be able to afford in ancient China. I designed the pink and the purple floral patterns myself. The pink one features 梅花 (méi huā/plum flower), and the purple one features 牵牛花 (qiān niú 61
huā/morning glory). 梅花 indicates independence and is symbolic of the force to overcome difficulty in life. 牵牛花 is symbolic of love and diligence. Since purple is the Pantone color of 2018, I tried to incorporate that into my Spring 2018 collection. Duality is an important concept in my collection. I drew inspiration from both the east and the west, the past and the present of China. The raffia represents the past, the peaceful and utopian lifestyle; I got the color scheme (pink and purple) from looking at the neon lights in Shanghai, and that such a metropolitan city is capable of summarizing the present. HALEY: Her colors are very lush and rooted in her concept. She uses symbols that are connected to the theme yet are strong enough to stand alone — if someone cannot identify the root of their inspiration they can still find beauty. It seems to me that Sherry takes an element or an idea, like a happy thought she’s enjoyed or a memory she’s appreciated, and develops that into a visual, elevated reality. She’s able to boil down unique elements of her own identity, and remix them into an innovative concept. Her collection encompasses east meets west. There’s an aggressive mashing of textiles and prints, soft bubblegum pink organza and chunky denim. If it’s not too cheesy, it can metaphorically and literally represent the concept of the two worlds coming together and patch-working themselves in. EMMA: Yeah, I love that there are identifiable Eastern and Western elements included and yet it’s done subtly to create a unique collection that isn’t blatantly from one culture or another. The silhouettes are very modern. There’s clear attention not just to what is considered traditionally attractive for a woman to wear but to the important elements in the piece that are telling a story, such as how the feathers lining the sleeves and collar of the dress helps to highlight the 牵牛花 print. Did you create any pieces where you really felt like you were inspired by any bits of your background?
HALEY: I would say the Kimono project we did related, but I find it a little bit touchy because I feel like it borders on appropriation. On our first project, we designed a Kimono — it was supposed to be an easy sewing project that we could manipulate the pattern and some basics. But it was an interesting time for me because I was taking an Asian culture studies classes and I was in an East Asian/Early Chinese art class, so I drew inspiration from those. But at the same time there wasn’t an emphasis on learning the details in the background and comprehending the culture. It became a vessel for manipulation into something else. Which isn’t necessarily bad, and happens a lot in fashion. But it is something that’s a touchy situation. I was able to draw from my background, and that was really exciting for me because I don’t really get to talk about my Chinese half often. EMMA: Did you want to go more into the history of the kimono, at the time of the project? HALEY: It was after the fact that I realized that it was kind of an issue. As a half-Chinese person, I felt pretty secure in expressing those cultural aspects, though I did so tentatively, always wondering if I was overstepping or is a certain element too much of a stereotype or is this exaggerating an aspect too much. It’s an area where it’s difficult to navigate for a lot of people if you don’t have the background to understand the culture itself. I remember struggling to figure out how much I should actually be relating back to the original kimono. EMMA: For your pieces, are you guys ever directly influenced by either of your backgrounds? When do you let it influence you? I know since within school you have a lot of limitations because teachers assign you what to do, but within those boundaries, do you ever choose to explore anything culturally specific?
HALEY: I wouldn’t say that it’s something explicit. I don’t always identify the fashion elements in my background as much. To me, my background is more about family and about certain imagery, but it’s not something that I consciously include my pieces. SHERRY: Yeah, I agree. I won’t push myself to do something Chinese, but culture is a part of fashion and it’s important when you want to distinguish yourself. So when I tried to push myself to be unique, my cultural backgrounds naturally manifested. In terms of incorporating these eastern elements and allowing room for self-expression, my focus is on the aesthetic pleasure an element adds to the piece while still accurately representing and respecting the culture. For example, I included a traditionally Japanese element in my Kimono project— it has particular cultural significance for them. My choice to include it was purely aesthetic, though I understand and respect that there is history to the element. I feel like a lot people are really against that line of thought, but I personally am neutral. Sometimes it can be about aesthetics. EMMA: There’s obviously a lot of beautiful elements in all cultures that are great for aesthetic purposes but to me there’s a fine line between using it for aesthetics because you want everyone to appreciate its beauty in the details and appropriating an element because it’s a trend or a “look”— like how a lot of celebrities have worn 旗袍 ( qi páo/one-piece Chinese dress for women ) — with absolutely no realization of the culture behind it. HALEY: There’s an issue with not understanding what your role is in the culture when you use these elements. I think certain people can use it and certain people can’t. You need to understand the history of westernization in globalization: that certain groups of people facilitated terrible things and produced very beautiful things at a great disadvantage to the culture. And understand how the history between cultures has translated to society in the modern world. 64
EMMA: Yeah, they key is to be consciously aware of what you’re doing. You can do it for aesthetics but not without acknowledging where you’re pulling the element from. Do it because you know the element is from a certain country or certain area and you love it and want to share that love with the world. I like it when I see designers who’d actively visited the origins of the culture then said “This is incredible and inspiring and I want to incorporate in my own pieces to spread this feeling it’s brought up in me”. These kinds of individuals help spread cultural awareness in a positive way, bringing groups of people closer together. HALEY: I think the negative of this would be when somebody references something and the group remains unknown in the credits. The original culture and their people don’t reap the advantages of what the designer or the person gains (monetary or other forms of success). They’re not getting credit where credit is due, basically. SHERRY: It’s a gradual process for people to comprehensively understand what globalization or incorporation of other cultures are about. It begins with inserting elements for purely aesthetic reasons — it appeals to the masses which provides a motivation to learn more about that culture. Once you fall in love with a part of that culture is when you start to really research and understand the rest of the culture. In art history we learned that Japanese culture got transmitted into western cultures through people like artists, who borrowed Japanese elements directly. It was later that they started creating their own unique pieces that combined their own culture and Japanese references to end up with something distinct. I feel like it’s really like a gradual process and we’re still in that process right now.
Swipe Right: Finding Love… Or Not writing A R I E L A B A S S O N artwork K A R A L E N A D A V I S
was a sophomore in high school when I first heard about Tinder. I remember immediately being taken aback and baffled by theidea of being able to just swipe past the faces of strangers so quickly and begin talking to them without any context. Flash forward four years, and the once foreign concept of rapidly swiping on Tinder has become part of my daily routine.
Apps such as Tinder and Bumble have truly taken over the dating scene for young adults, creating a massive shift in dating culture. Ask anyone and it’s likely that by now, they’ll have some sort of interesting Tinder story, whether it be a first hand experience or one from their friends’. It should be noted that not everyone uses these apps with the same goal in mind: personally, I’ve heard a wide range of Tinder stories, ones where meetups end in casual hookups, and others where actual lasting relationships are formed. To bring to light the way that our campus in particular uses these platforms, I sent out a free response survey to Wash U students. “For casual dating,” one student wrote when asked why they use dating apps. “Just for fun,” said another. Others claimed that their engagement was limited to “something to do when I’m bored,” or “satisfying curiosity.” Some of the less light hearted answers seemed to suggest that some students may use dating apps to aid insecurities: “[I use them for] mainly just reassurance that I’m not ugly? I’ve gone on Tinder dates, but the main reward is when you match with a hot person,” one said. “[I use them for] self assurance that people find me attractive. I don’t really swipe looking for a relationship, but for someone to talk to,” another admitted. This jumped out at me. These more self conscious answers reveal participants using dating apps to search for external validation and that they may be satisfied merely by a mutual “match,” not by an actual meetup or relationship.
These answers really resonated with me. I often feel that by using Tinder, I can get a better gage for how others view me online and in real life while conveniently staying hidden behind my phone, maintaining a level of detachment and comfort. After all, “meeting” someone online as opposed to in person is so much easier as there are fewer stakes attached. Despite the swiping I now do on a daily basis, I, like many others, have felt too self conscious to actually met up with somebody from an app. After some reflection, I find myself wondering if those small moments of feeding my ego with matches really makes a positive impact on my overall sense of self-worth. Reliance on the superficial affirmations that these apps provide, can create a churning cycle of stigma and fear, fueled by a search for reassurance, and lack of confidence. According to the Studlife 2017 Sex Survey, 54% of Wash U students answered that they use dating apps, a clear stat that shows these apps have become part of the Wash U mainstream. If nothing else, dating apps can provide us with a sense of control over our romantic lives, or lack of them. For better or for worse, the commitment levels are low and you can delete a match and move on whenever you please.
QUI TRAN: ON HARD WORK, GOOD RAMEN A N D T H E S T. L O U I S F O O D S C E N E
photography G R A C E W A N G
writing R A C H E L H E L L M A N
t has only been five minutes since the closed sign on the front of the door has flipped to open at 11:00 AM and the energy is contagious. Five customers sit hunched over steaming bowls of pho and ramen, engrossed in a culinary experience that leaves them excited, nostalgic, surprised, and very full all at once. I’m at Nudo House, the culinary brainchild of Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco. Tran’s family came to St. Louis as refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s and opened the very first Vietnamese restaurant in St. Louis, Mai Lee, which has since become hugely popular. Tran sits across from me in his bright and intimate new restaurant, Nudo House, which recently graced the cover of Food and Wine magazine. Tran’s infectious personality, undulling optimism, and sincerity come through in our conversation when he opens up about how his childhood working in Mai Lee transformed him, and how Nudo House came to be. On how Mai Lee came to be: Mom was a good cook in Vietnam, and we came over here we didn’t speak any english, we didn’t have anything. She realized that because she knew how to cook it may be the only way we could make money because we didn’t know how to do anything else, so that’s really how Mai Lee got started. It was survival.
food. At that time it was hard because there weren’t that many ingredients so you were very limited to what you could get. So we started with only maybe six or eight items and we just expanded from there. On the Mai Lee menu: Whatever Items we could find is how we made things. Now you can get anything anywhere at any given time, but in the 80s it was very difficult to get certain herbs and ingredients (necessary for Vietnamese cooking) so we had to make do with whatever we could find. We opened in ‘85 and I don’t think the next Vietnamese restaurant opened until ‘91 and then it became easier for other Vietnamese restaurants because we had already led the way on that. My mom is the true pioneer of Vietnamese food in St. Louis. On Mai Lee’s big break: I decided to take the leap of faith - we had our big break in 2010 because that’s when I moved. We were in the old location for 25 years so in 2010 I moved the entire restaurant into a new location with a new vision.
On why his family left Vietnam: Death. We’re refugees of war, it’s one of those things where we had no choice. It was either die there or die trying to find freedom, so we left right in 1978. There was no other option.
On convincing his family to move the restaurant: I don’t know. They all looked at me like I was crazy so it was a lot pressure because it felt like if I screw this up, I just killed the entire family business. So there was a lot of pressure and sleepless nights and a lot of stress, I had never been this stressed. Besides the opening of Nudo House because I was literally taking my moms legacy and if it failed then years of my mother’s hard work and dedication was screwed up.
On making Mai Lee Vietnamese cuisine instead of Chinese: During that time a lot of Chinese food restaurants had already made their mark, so she thought maybe we could do Chinese food because that’s what she learned to do in the Chinese food restaurants she worked in. And so, she just made the decision to be like you know what, we are Vietnamese, let’s cook Vietnamese
On his childhood: The biggest struggle in my childhood was that I would always complain about not having a life because I was was always working. I didn’t know what spring break was, I never had sleepovers, I only went to school and worked. I couldn’t play sports - I actually made junior varsity football team freshman year of high school and my parents were like nope, you gotta go work.
That was a huge struggle but looking back I wouldn’t change anything because it’s one of those things where it’s given me my gifts. It has taught me how to deal with people, it’s taught me humility. I mean I was working 12 hour shifts when I was 12 years old, and I have built so many great relationships that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t working at the restaurant. On the St. Louis food scene: St. Louis has a great community here. The chefs here cook together, we work together, we do a lot of fundraising together. For me, I am always promoting the city and the food scene in St. Louis. Even the restaurant editor of Food and Wine magazine said that St. Louis is on everyone’s hot map. My philosophy has always been if people go out to eat and support independent restaurants it’s good for everybody because we’re creating a culture where people realize they don’t want to go to Applebees and instead want to try local restaurants. It means that we are creating a new culture around food. On the Nudo House menu: Marie-Anne and I have traveled around the country for the last three years doing research. We went to little ramen shops and realized what we liked and didn’t like. We basically decided to limit the menu and do twelve things really well and execute that. Fortunately, we’ve been received very well in the last six months. Time Magazine picked up our Food and Wine article today. People were like, “what’s next? “Sexiest Man 2018?” I was like, “hardly!” For me, it’s more about St. Louis than it is for myself because collectively we have done this. Without the community doing good things, this would’ve never happened for me. It’s very special because on that cover it says comfort food. Our country is built on immigration, America is a huge melting pot. Being an American is an idea, it’s not what you look like, it’s not where you come from, it’s about you coming here because you want something better for your life and for your family. To have pho be on the cover of the American comfort food edition of Food and Wine is very special for me, it means so much
more than just my accomplishment. It means pho is considered to be as American as apple pie, and it is! On ramen: We could’ve opened years ago but we reached out to Chef Nakamura, who is one of the four Ramen Gods of Japan. Nakaumoro has worked with everyone including big, big names and I just begged him to come to St. Louis. The ramen me and Marianna made was good, but there was something missing. We learned a lot from Nakamuro because I brought him here to St. Louis and he worked with us for a full week and he helped hone our skills. He was impressed, he said we were doing cool things and just told us to try this, try that and we built a great relationship with him. He loved St. Louis, he loved the food, he loved Pappy’s Ribs, he said we were doing killer food. So after working with Nakamuro I said,“We’re ready now.” On his role models: Obviously my parents - their hard work and relentless attitude mean the world to me. Second would have to be all of my restaurant friends, because I have learned a lot from my friend’s mistakes - you take the good things. It’s a tough business, it’s a high risk business, it has the hardest failure rate of any business. Sometimes you can be the most talented person but if you don’t work as hard as someone else than that’s not going to matter. On words to live by: Compassion. Humanity. I try to give back as much as possible because it was hard for us growing up but people helped us along the way. So, when people reach out and ask if we can donate a dish or do a fundraiser I do. Understanding is also important. In my business I get all walks of life. If you walk in the kitchen, there is every gender, there’s straight, there’s gay, there’s black, there’s white, there’s latinx, there’s asians. Everybody. If we try to understand each other then that’s how relationships get forged.
S HA D E S , S UN N IE S , SP E C S . . .W H AT E V E R YO U C A L L T H E M , NO LO OK IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A PAIR!
photography A R N O G O E T Z models K E N D A L L E E & L I N D S A Y V I R G I L I O fashion M I K K I J A N O W E R makeup M E A A K E Y
CAMILLE BORDERS DANA BERGER EXPLORES INTIMACY AND AUTHENTICITY WITH CAMILLE BORDERS, A SENIOR NAMED THE 28TH RHODES SCHOLAR FROM WASHU.
amille Borders, a history major in Arts & Sciences, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 2017 along with fellow Ervin Scholar and friend Jasmine Brown. In September, Camille will head to Oxford University to pursue a master of philosophy degree in social and economic history. Before then, she’ll be spending time at home in Cincinnati, Ohio and celebrating her grandma’s 90th birthday. We sat down with Camille to discuss authenticity and intimacy. The Rhodes Scholarship is a prestigious postgraduate award for students to study at Oxford University. Do you feel pressure to fit into a certain mold of a Rhodes Scholar? There definitely is a traditional mold but when I was applying, I knew I had to be my authentic self. If I won the scholarship without being me, I wouldn’t feel like I would fit in. The first time I felt pressure of “fitting in” was during the interview. People seemed similar in ways I was not. What does it mean to be your authentic self? Authenticity is the most important thing. My sister is my best friend and we have this conversation a lot. I would rather people be their real self than be fake. I aspire to be someone that other people can lean on. If I could be anything, I would be a good sister and daughter. Being good at those things helps me to be a better person in general. Aesthetically, my style choices have evolved a lot over the past few years. I like a lot of color. My sister is more of a “gray-scale person” while my mom is more “cheetah print.” I sort of fall in the middle. I like to wear clothes that make me feel like I can conquer the day. I love jewelry. I spent the last semester in Ghana and brought back a lot of jewelry. I love head wraps or a big pair of earrings. 81
How do you distinguish yourself in how you study history? There’s definitely a shift within the culture about what is valid evidence and what can be used as an archive. I fall into that shift. When I think of myself as an historian I think of using new things as valid pieces of evidence: employing the poetic as a method of navigating histories. For example, I’ve studied the lives of freed women in the deep south. What interests me is how I can articulate dimensions of their lives that are often untold. When we think about the period of Reconstruction, the narrative often surrounds rape, violence, exploitation, and trauma. My big umbrella question was, what if I could highlight moments when women were claiming their bodies and autonomy and were creating intimate lives with each other and other people? My thesis is interested in black widows whose husbands died fighting in the Civil War. These widows were eligible to receive pensions, but these payments were dropped because of charges of adultery. My main pieces of evidence are files of special investigations: depositions, interviews, artifacts. The interviews are between black union widows and white pension agents, recorded from the perspective of the agent. In these interviews, the widows define the boundaries of their sexual lives. The fact that the sexual lives of these women are on display in state sanctioned archives is insane to me. The process has been exciting because it feels like an archeological dig. How does your research resonate with the dynamics of intimacy today? I’ve spoken to countless black women at WashU who have dealt with self-esteem issues. How does a predominately white institution make black women feel inferior? What concerns me is the feeling that we aren’t desired in college and our sexuality is considered a fetish or “experiment.” This way of viewing black 82
women’s bodies has historical roots. It was not that long ago when black female sexuality was viewed as an easily exploited commodity. When I was growing up, if black women were sexual it was always “dirty.” There’s also the idea that to be desirable as a black woman you have to fit into a specific mold. Some men can feel attacked by this, but what does it mean to be at a party and feel like no one will talk to you and that you won’t be desired? That’s hurtful. The idea of not being deserving of love is hard especially when black girls have come from white high schools with similar experiences. How do we go about changing this? I always tell freshman and sophomores to go off campus. It’s definitely getting better though. There’s a whole city here. I was at a party when I was a freshman and she told me, “you’re beautiful. People have not been raised to be attracted to women like you. It’s where you are. There’s nothing wrong with you.” I also believe it’s important to expand your view about what intimacy can look like. I’ve seen amazing friendships between women. These relationships are healthy and allow people to grow deeper into themselves. Those types of intimacies are often discarded but might be more important. These are relationships you remember after college.
poetry C A M I L L E B O R D E R S
BOTRYTIS THE BATH WATER IS STALE AND MY GOOSEBUMPS ARE GENTRIFIED BROWNSTONES STANDING SIDE BY SIDE . MY NEIGHBORHOOD IS CHANGING, STREETLIGHTS ON MY TOES AND FINGERTIPS MAKE ME FORGET THAT WHITE PEOPLE JUST STARTED VISITING MY STRETCHED MARKED SIDEWALKS. THE OVERGROWN MOLD ON THE BATHROOM TILE IS LUSH AND SEPARATE B U T E Q U A L . I â€™ V E E AT E N I T, G AT H E R E D O N T H E T I P O F A S T R AW B E R R Y. MY GAPING MOUTH GREW SHARP P I L L A R S O F S A LT A N D S W A L L O W E D S L O W LY, S AV O R I N G T H E C H A L K Y R E S I D U E I N T H E B A C K O F M Y T H R O AT, W E T F O R M O R E AND THE BILE WENT TUMBLING ABOVE THE SURFACE, FLEEING FOR THE SUBURBS, NO MORE DARKNESS OF THE INSIDE. MY VOMIT HIT THE FLOOR SOFT AND PLIABLE. I LICK THE TILE, MY TONGUE FLICKING AND SEARCHING, BLOSSOMING AGAIN.
From the Archive of Suz writing L I L Y S U L L I V A N
At WashU, Lily was a communication design major and spent three years as editor-in-chief of Armour. She ate takeout Mission Taco weekly and spent every other Wednesday under the fluorescent disco balls of Mike Talaynas. Before that, she grew up in Los Angeles, moving to St. Louis in 2006 with her mother Suz, a single parent, consistent supporter of Armour and Sam Fox, and a WashU grad herself.
will have lived in New York for two years in June. Last July, a year into my stint as a style editor at a magazine in the city, my mother died. At the age of 23, I have come to know this type of loss sooner than most of my peers. In the blink of an eye, in one phone call you are left motionless and breathless. What has followed has been a series of ups and downs, redefining normal as I search for a type of livable grief.
was a scholar, a professional dancer, a professor, a world traveler and a self-taught artist. From her I learned the art of collecting, the power of memory attached to physical things. In her interview, my mother spoke about her collections saying, “I realized that I had to keep certain things just so that I could maintain a sense of who I am.” Upon her dying, I was given the gift of her archive, a seemingly endless collection of her past.
My biggest fear in losing my mother was that I would lose her voice, that suddenly her field of knowledge, her experiences and stories would suddenly disappear. In the last months, I have reflected about what memorialization looks like—the art of memory, the art of loss, how someone lives on through their belongings. Inevitably as collectors we have a connection to things—bringing us back to certain times in our lives.
It is of great interest to me now, in the process of going through her belongings to rediscover her voice. I have found journals and letters and photos that create a map of her existence. Her story— the story of her stuff is as dynamic as the story of one dress. One dress, one set of stitches, one yard of fabric, the days she wore it and the picture of her years ago at my age—the same dress worn by me to her memorial service and for years to follow. In just one object, we can find a bit of what is lost, a portal backwards and an opportunity to look forward. In finding these things comes the memory of her constant zest for life; preserving and continuing her story, our story and now I suppose my own.
I have taken great pride in my work as a storyteller—finding the power of creative and the lives in which they lead. In college, I produced a thesis project which explored the stories of the stuff in lives of 8 women, my mother was my first subject. My mother
1. My mother was an avid writer, from a box of journals from her pregnancy with me, she detailed every month before and after. 2. I found these just after her death, I love how peaceful and vulnerable she looks. 3. Collected in travels, at thrift stores, thereâ€™s a certain charm in a series of multiples. 4. A box of fabrics from her travels in southeast asia. 5. My mom started stashing things in altoid tins, change, fortunes and lipstick samples like these. 6. Suz like to press flowers in dictionaries and save old bouquets. 7. She was a french major in college before living in Paris in the 80s. 8. A part of her Peace art series, she started these in the mid 80s and continued to present day, a sort of ongoing art project. 9. A beautiful self-portrait collage on self-love. 86
10. Suz had great taste, her thrift store designer finds were remarkable. 11. A part of her Peace art series, she made these stickers from vinyl sheets. 12. She was a talented artistâ€”I have found hundreds of drawn self-portraits, face studies from her 56 years of life. 13. She is my age in this photo. Handmade from a pattern, I wore this same dress to her service last year. 14. Suz always said you should try everything once, maybe a part of her wild stint in the early 90s. 15. Taken by her friend, a now famous photographer, a photo from this series ended up in his book. 16. Taken by her friend, a now famous photographer, a photo from this series ended up in his book. 17. A nude self portrait from her senior year photography class at Washu. 18. After spending time in Kentucky, the derby became a big part of our livesâ€”thus a giant hat collection is necessary. 87