The Anniversary Issue

Page 1


Model Grace Stratton

Photographer Nafisah Crumity

Stylist Victoria Panzella

Makeup & Hair Tabitha Gessling

Nails Gail Marienn Tajanlangit

Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli


Photographer Lindsey Del Rio

Editor-in-Chief President

Art Director

Junior Art Director

Photo Director

Fashion Director

Beauty Director

Photo Editor

Photo Editor


Managing Editor

Senior Fashion Editor

Senior Beauty Editor

Senior Culture Editor Treasurer

Editorial Assistant

Public Relations

Social Media Manager

Junior Social Media Manager

Art and Design

Payton Bierk

Suhani Arya

Adiba Tamboli

Shelby Dresser

Nafisah Crumity

Victoria Panzella

Tabitha Gessling

Lindsey Del Rio

Kervens Jean

Luna Abreia

Madison Collins

Pilar Bradley

Akili Dzwill

Cecilia Connelly

Ahan Mehrotra

Vishwa Joshi

June Thant

Bhavika Punjabi

Prashita Bassi

Kaiyi Chen

Adiba Tamboli, Alexi Brabender, Angel Melgar, Caitlin Yackley Erin Kidd, Jennifer Rosero, Leia Chen, Lily Kotz, Shelby Dresser Yisa Phangcham

Abbygail Coston, Allie Simms, Amanda DiMaio, Anais Conde Ashley Minier, Blakely Harrison, Dahlia Mallebranche Felicia Disalvo, Kervens Jean, Lindsey Del Rio, Nafisah Crumity Sarah Heditsch, Taj McKnight

Angie Hines, Ariana Black, Colin Cauldwell, Drew Eikner, Emily Matias Estrella, Helena Haralambopoulos, Jessica Anderson, Karyna Maldonado, Khaliek Bethune, Lizzie Lee, Maya Davila, Muskan Manzoor, Nathaly Krzesiczan, Pranav Narang, Victoria Panzella

Ashley Simas, Brooke Harry, Colleen White, Connor Griffin, Cristal Hernandez, Devin Churchill, Gail Marienn Tajanlangit, Gillian Tokar, Halle Burton, Iris Santiago, Jenna Manfredi, Jennie Segedin, Josephine Hadjiloucas, Josh-Ryan Langford, Kira Cunningham, Laura Romano, Lavani Laishram, Leonie Baschat, Lizzie Lee, Loni Lustig, Sarah Brifo, Sweekriti Dahal, Tabitha Gessling, Talice Cue

Gown Alex Yarally

Blush is produced by the students of the Fashion Institute of Technology, part of the State University of New York, with funds provided by the FIT student government association. FIT is committed to prohibiting discrimination in its programs, activities, and employment, whether based on race, color, nation origin, sex, gender, gender identity, religion, ethnic background, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military service status, genetic information, pregnancy, familial status, citizenship status (except as required to comply with law), or any other criterion prohbibted by law. Inquires regarding the nondiscrimination policy may be directed to the affirmative action officer/title IX coordination, (212) 217-3360,

Photography Fashion Beauty
The Anniversary Issue Spring 2023


Prashita Bassi Social Media Manager Kaiyi Chen Junior Social Media Manager Payton Bierk Editor-in-Chief Suhani Arya President Adiba Tamboli Art Director Victoria Panzella Fashion Director Shelby Dresser Junior Art Director Nafisah Crumity Photo Director Akili Dzwill Senior Beauty Editor Cecilia Connelly Senior Culture Editor Tabitha Gessling Beauty Director Lindsey Del Rio Photo Editor Kervens Jean Photo Editor Luna Abreia Videographer Madison Collins Managing Editor Pilar Bradley Senior Fashion Editor
Bhavika Punjabi Public Relations Ahan Mehrotra Treasurer Vishwa Joshi Editorial Assistant June Thant Public Relations
4 5 TABLE OF CONTENTS 006 Editor’s Letter 008 FASHION 008 Opulent Maximilism 012 High Tech Haute 020 The Fate Of Fashion Week 022 Waking Up From Trend Fatigue 024 Modesty Through Another Lens 032 Breaking The Mold 038 Remake, Reuse, Rewear
The Secrets Of Slugging 048 10 Essential Items For Your Nighstand 052 Underpainting: Peeling Back The Layers 056 Sex After Roe V. Wade 060 Design Your Own Breakup 064 The Doc Is In –Time For Tattoo Therapy 070 Pheromone-Mania 072 CULTURE
Cancel Culture – The Jury’s Out 082 Nobodys With The Band 086 The Beginner’s Guide To Reading As A Hobby 088 Male Anger, Female Rage 094 Art In The New Age 100 It’s All Relative 104 Full Circle Moment TOC

Editor’s Letter

Ten years — a mere fraction of time for some, but for others, a mark of great significance.

By far the most challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling time of my life so far, these last ten years have been full of moments that have not only tested me and shaped me into who I am today, but have pushed me, allowing me to grow and adapt. From an eager and hopeful twelve-yearold to a motivated and strong-willed 22-year-old woman excited to enter the world, this decade has truly set up the foundation of my life to come.

Much like my younger self, ten years ago Blush was youthful, eager, and hopeful too. From a publication that began with a team, small but mighty, to a publication that has not only doubled in size and page count but now boasts a team of nearly 300 hundred collaborators throughout the year, this decade has laid the foundation for Blush for years to come.

Blush too has been tested, pushed, challenged, ultimately growing when faced with each point of navigation and innovation as new faces, ideas, and talent come to lay their own mark on this beloved publication.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a time at FIT when Blush was not a part of our campus. As we’ve watched its presence and content develop and change, with each EIC leaving its own mark and legacy, each team fabricating a new sense of vision, and each issue bringing with it new promise, the decade’s worth of members and contributors have made it possible for students and the FIT community to truly prosper and succeed.

I can only hope that in another ten years’ time when Blush is celebrating 20 wonderful years, my team and I will have the honor to have made a lasting impression and impact on Blush Magazine’s future.

With that, my wonderful team and I present to you “The Anniversary Issue” to commemorate such a milestone for Blush past, present, and future, and also for the hard work, dedication, and devotion of its collaborators past, present, and future as well.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Blush Magazine — and to many more anniversaries to come.

Photographer Nafisah Crumity Stylist Victoria Panzella Makeup & Hair Tabitha Gessling
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Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli
SANDRO Skirt SANDRO Jewelry Vintage

If you walked down the streets of Soho last fall, and even this spring, you may have noticed the vast painted wall of the bright and bold Swarovski jewels showcased on the beloved model, Bella Hadid. If you didn’t see the candy-colored, crystalline campaign, you won’t want to miss out on this new trend.

Now more than ever, we’re wearing opulent and iridescent colors of jewelry, bigger and bolder styles, stacking up on our accessories, and as the campaign says, “embracing the infinite possibilities of joyful glamor and reinvention through a crystal-powered exploration of selfexpression.” Swarovski’s campaign is nearly a forecast for the fashion climate this spring.

It’s time to think outside of the jewelry box.

So, how can we redefine our accessorizing habits? Remember, this isn’t your grandmother’s jewelry collection anymore.

Is it possible that opulent, maximalist jewelry isn’t solely connected to “tacky and old-fashioned” anymore? Perhaps jewelry is redefining its identity amidst the evolution of maximalist fashion.

When you think of opulence, you may think of one drenched in wealth, luxury, and affluence. It’s distinctive and commonly associated with the notion of maximalism. After a decade of “less is more,” it’s time to make maximalism mainstream again. What we’re embracing is a new era of self-expression and a sense of abundance, inspiration, and diversity.

One of the most subsequent impacts we’ve witnessed post-pandemic

is the downfall of minimalistic jewelry. In the past three years, we’ve grown extra weary and exhausted from boredom caused by the lockdown, leading to the spirit of expression slowly making its way back into our hearts.

Maximalism and vintage fashion trends are finally back in the spotlight. Now, more than ever, opulent jewelry is truly a presentation of fashion sense, a reflection on attitude towards life, and a wake-up call to boredom and nihility.

But as the popularity of maximalist trends grows, we’ll inevitably bump into tacky micro trends along the way — clashing patterns; multicolored, clay rings; layered, garish gem necklaces; or the gaudy fruit or flower patterns we’ve all seen in the fad led by brands like House of Sunny. What may have been a product of opulence, is now falling under the umbrella of tacky thanks to the ever-changing trend cycle.

But what exactly defines that line between opulent and tacky?

Perhaps the street style at this season’s NYFW is an ideal representation of the renaissance that is “opulence” in jewelry: cascading pearl necklaces, enormous gems, DIY jewelry, and gold and silver monochrome earpieces debuted on streets and runways this spring. Luxurious head accessories have even made their way back into our closets as proven by Kylie Jenner’s tribute to Thierry Mugler at the “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibition wearing a dazzling headpiece from his Fall/ Winter 1999 collection.

According to the Accessories & Jewellery Forecast Fall/Winter

Throw out your old jewelry box — you’ll need a new one.
More is more for your accessories this season.

2024/2025 by WGSN, we’re expected to see the use of “rhinestones, crystals, and cubic zirconias to embellish” and create an “opulent flair.”

Designers are also experimenting with unexpected materials, like brightly colored plastics and resin, such as the naughty but lovable “DIY” style earpieces in the Tory Burch SS23 ready-to-wear show.

After the lengthy dominance of minimalism in the 2010s, heavily driven by Phoebe Philo’s time at Céline and the uprising of other minimalistic brands like Jil Sander, Jacquemus, and Bottega Veneta, the desperation for self-expression has been agitated. After its neglect during the pandemic, such creativity has found its resurgence with a renewed emphasis on jewelry and the beholder.

When you picture yourself dressing up for the day, accessories may be on the list of last touches to your outfit, but jewelry is the completion of a set of looks — it’s the “shining finish” of fashion and style.

From the neck of Marie Antoinette in 16th century France to the wrist of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the 1960s, jewelry has been a symbol of honor, wealth, and nobility for centuries until now. Thanks to the passage of time and the continuous development of the fashion industry, jewelry has gained much more meaning and symbolization in the 21st century, including the freedom of expression and attitude, possessed toward one‘s style.

At the most recent award shows like the 2023 Critics Choice Awards, many celebrities like Selena Gomez and Daisy Edgar-Jones were spotted with a “missing necklace” situation. The “bare neck” notion has made its case for youthfulness and cleanness as the design aesthetic of huge necklaces has seemingly been dubbed immutable and aging.

As rising star Madelyn Cline said at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards, “I wanted it to be more about the dress and thought the earrings were the perfect compliment to that. I didn’t want the jewelry to overpower or compete with the look.”

Karen Bachmann, a professor of Fashion Jewelry at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) with over 25 years of experience creating fine jewelry, agrees with Cline’s comment.

“Usually, on the red carpet, people want big gem necklaces — they want to be seen,” says Bachmann. “But big jewelry does make them look older, stuffier, and a little more old-fashioned. Now, people want a more youthful, clean look, so they simply go with statement earrings.”

Is it true that we love to wear less jewelry now? It could be a reflection of the recession of our economic activity, or it could even be that it seems like an overt display of wealth.

Mary Fellows, an international Vogue editor, stylist, writer, and art director, has been embracing the “bare neck” trend for years now. She notes that high-end jewelry can sometimes be recognized as a vulgar

display of wealth, and maybe she isn’t wrong.

In the era of pandemics, wars, and living crises, vacuous extravagance always appears outdated. It makes sense that we cast aside what was, and is, a symbol of extravagant wealth.

On the other hand, maximalism has assumed a reputation of being pompous, luxurious, and flamboyant and as a representation of times full of desires, lavishing extravagance, and the crisp smell of money. When we desire to display our wealth, jewelry has always been the bluntest option. The bigger the diamond, the wealthier the person, right?

Based on what we’ve recently witnessed on the runway, luxury is still designers’ No.1 pick though — Sandy Liang’s colossal, hair bows have been a refreshing change of pace for NYFW FW23’s runway. Also spotted at last year’s SS23 Fashion Week, Simone Rocha applied complicated and gorgeous, crystal jewelry pieces with white, pearlbeaded bags as an embellishment to their pink, wallpaper-print floral, lace-layered dresses.

However, this choice of jewelry doesn’t strictly reside on the runway. The beauty of opulent maximalist jewelry can be seen at any given moment: it infiltrates our everyday life.

It’s as simple as someone on the street wearing a huge bow in their hair to match the latest “ballet core” trend or layers of pearl necklaces around their necks. Opulent maximalism isn’t new. It’s as timeless as silver and gold, displayed by the use of huge silver and gold shell-shaped necklaces at David Koma SS23 runway.

It’s also made its debut with the use of uncut, multicolored, 3-layer gem necklaces and matching gem earpieces on the Louis Vuitton runway, and the net-shaped, silver earpieces with elaborately crafted metallic arm accessories at the Balmain SS23 couture show.

And it seems that others are picking up what the runway’s putting down. Tori Olegario, a student at FIT, otherwise known as @voguepearls on Twitter, makes her case, commenting, “I always wear a bunch of rings on, and have layered necklaces. I’m a big fan of maximalism overall, even in home decor. I love having it kind of chaotic.”

For maximalism “new beginners,” Olegario offers a piece of advice as a maximalist lover. “Flea markets are always a good place to search for fun and independently-made pieces — a gold and silver combination isn’t necessarily a no-no — experimenting is the best way to see what looks good on you and what doesn’t.”

Whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist jewelry lover, a touch of opulence in your everyday life will certainly make you feel fabulous. If you want to add glamor to your wardrobe, it’s time to start experimenting with bold and elaborate jewelry designs.

From oversized earrings to luxurious headpieces, the sky’s the limit. Are you and your jewelry ready to make a statement this spring?

Graphic Designer Alexis Brabender Body Jewelry Hvn.Ly Necklace SYCKNY Ring CHOFA Model Maya Davila Photographer Felicia Disalvo Stylist Khaliek Bethune Makeup Jennie Segedin, Halle Barton Hair Jennie Segedin Nails Laura Romano

It’s a new era in fashion. The digitalization of design is spawning an entirely new sector in the fashion industry, and we’re witnessing this phenomenon day after day.

There’s a sculptural aspect to fashion now, both literally and metaphorically. Designers are gradually diverting from the sewing machine to the screen — dropping the needle and thread, and welcoming 3D printing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and numerous other techniques to sculpt a new era in fashion.

Will technology change ready-to-wear as we know it? Is “ready-towear” ready to be redefined?

This past February in Paris showcased the state of fashion and technology’s true colors at Anrealage’s Fall/Winter 2023-24 show, where UV lights cast their way down onto models and revealed colors onto previously nude garments. Infrared or ultraviolet, it’s time for the industry to say “let there be light” in a refined tone.

The “future” is becoming the present faster than the speed of light. The industry’s just beginning to hop on this futuristic surfboard as the new wave of technology emerges.

Designers from the past have cultivated fashion as we know it today, while fashion designers of the present are currently pioneering the next wave of fashion using technology. The industry is just beginning to hop on this futuristic wave full-fledged.

But is the industry capable of enduring this current and its turbulent waves? Will haute tech become the new haute couture?

When McQueen debuted his iconic Fall 1999 “fin de siècle” collection for Givenchy, Vogue’s archive editor, Laird Borelli Perrson, described the collection as a culmination of “curiosity, and fear, of the future.” Garments with circuit board-themed prints and PVCs to illuminate battery-powered LED lights became mere artifacts that would change the trajectory of fashion history.

The fellowship between fashion and technology isn’t new and hasn’t always been at the likes of many. The fear of the future in fashion is more reviews of what the product or collection entails.

The industry is rebooting haute couture unlike ever before.

prevalent now than ever. However, designers and major fashion brands are still under nostalgia’s chokehold.

If fashion is a friend of the past, technology is a foe that refuses to glitch under the control of the industry’s outdated ideals.

Hussein Chalyan’s Fall ‘99 “Echoform” collection is one of the many examples of jaw-dropping moments showcasing the intersection between tech and fashion.

Imagine you’re sitting in the front row, with no phones and no social media — it’s just you, merely feet away from the runway and years away from the digital age. As the lights dim, model Audrey Marnay emerges, adorned in a glossy, white dress made of molded fiberglass, fused like the empennage of an airplane. She stands as stoic as a sculpture, when suddenly, a small portion of her dress slides apart, preparing lift-off. The sheer, surprise, joy, wonder, and allure from the audience proves that fashion is ready for its technological liftoff into the next century.

Today, several designers are now opting to use new digital software programs like CLO, Browzwear, and Adobe Substance 3D. This new approach is trickling down to what fashion students, all over the world, are now learning. The ongoing theme? The future.

Are we ready for digital fashion to be the new norm?

What used to be seen as elusive in tech fashion is now a reality: AR and AI were once a sci-fi fantasy, but are making their presence known by becoming a digital fitting room. Through AR, individuals can try on 3D digital clothing to automatically wear or try on garments in real time. The same way you would wear a flower crown on Snapchat in 2016, is the same way you’d wear a digital garment in 2023.

Tech and fashion are allowing ideas to become plans, plans to become projects, and projects to become a new reality. Photochromic Ink, metafashion, chat GPT, and NFTs have been sitting on the sidelines for a minute. Now, they’re warmed up, and ready to enter the fashion game.

Take photochromic ink: a chameleon-like tool for textiles. When the ink’s placed under sunlight, its molecular structure changes, turning into a darker color and reversing the effects when the light fades.

Artificial intelligence is also becoming more and more accessible, especially through platforms like Chat GPT. Chat GPT is a brand’s dream; it’s an engine that integrates data analytics and device learning to automate text from user-generated prompts. The AI software is capable of creating hyper-personalized marketing, product description, and even

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Model Nidhi Dinesh Photographer Nafisah Crumity Stylist Karyna Maldonado Makeup Jenna Manfredi, Iris Santiago, Cristal Hernandez Hair Brooke Harry Nails Gail Marienn Tajanlangit Top & Arm Sleeves Yuxuan Gong Knit Dress Saint Francis Shoes Charles David

hope to empower and convince people that technology isn’t so far away from design.”

It sometimes seems like our devices fit us better than our clothes. So, is the advancement of fashion and technology something to fear?

When you think of fashion and technology, you may think of the hyperdystopian aesthetic cast on society by imagery from the pre-digital age. The ideation of robots, holograms, AI, and all of the gadgets we use now was once a product of fiction to society pre-2000. This notion seems to be dated, as the gadgets that we use now have proven to be a convenience.

It’s time for the industry and its members to erase this utilitarian aesthetic away from the association with tech and fashion. However, the fear of the future is inevitable. Ultimately, we have no idea where society will be in the next decade. In present terms, the meta-millennia is here. Will fashion get hurt by this, or will it get helped?

As of February and March of 2023, fashion month has integrated more innovation and initiative than we’ve seen in fashion weeks past. And the brand Coperni, is no stranger to integrating devices or technology into the brand’s collections. Recall Coperni’s spray-painted, white dress from last season, which sparked several conversations concerning technology in fashion. Now, Coperni is re-engaging this conversation with the audience in a new dialect.

In collaboration with Boston Dynamics and their agile mobile robot, A.K.A. Spot®, new relationships between fashion and technology were formed on the runway as the device helped model Rianne Van Rompaey undress into an elegant Coperni black dress.

Coperni’s mission in this collection was to enter the 2023 season with a positive outlook on the future of technology in fashion. According to Coperni’s comment via Instagram, the brand’s vision is to express “there is neither a dominant nor a dominated, but that mankind and machine can live in harmony.”

The brand explains that with Boston Dynamics, the overall goal for the Fall/Winter 2023 collection was to “emphasize through a show performance the symbiotic relationship between humans and technology and the poetry and imagination that it allows.”

Sustainably speaking, the reduction of mass production with poor textiles is a step in the right direction for the prevention of buying fast

fashion. The pandemic became a twilight zone for the world but also was a catalyst for the relationship between fashion and technology. When fashion shows went digital, AI blossomed, and garments became pixelated, the industry noted that fewer garments ended up in a landfill. And the beauty of digital pieces is that they won’t end up in a dumpster once the trend-wave washes over.

As time moves on, and as 2000s babies who grew up surrounded by technology start to enter the fashion industry, tech in the fashion industry seems to be playing a bigger role in the next generation of fashion creatives.

This seems to evolve from generation to generation, proven by Iris Van Herpen, who formally interned for the iconic Alexander McQueen. Van Herpen is now regarded as one of the most innovative designers of today, lauded for her innovative 3D designs.

If you remember McQueen’s “Plato’s Atlantis” in which garments were created using digitally printed textiles with layered, photographic images, and digital patterns, these creations have certainly inspired Van Herpen’s idiomorphic designs.

From McQueen to Van Herpen, the legacy of innovation is being passed down from generation to generation. In a digital society, it’s interesting to see how fashion curricula are implementing techniques garnered from previous designers.

Lilach Porges, 28, a student designer studying for an MFA in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), has a gift for creating avant-garde attire using cutting-edge technology like robotic arms, 3D printing, coding, and elements of architecture. As Porges explains, “McQueen inspired me for sure. And in particular, I really like the show he had in ‘99 with the robotic arm.” She sees the intersection of fashion and technology as an advantage for art and science.

Porges’ admiration for designers like McQueen extends into her work today. “That’s just something that I saw and was like, ‘Why has no one done it since? Especially when technology is so much more advanced,’” she says. Her goal? To advance the use of technology in her own designs and push the boundaries of what’s possible in fashion for generations to come.

Graphic Designer Angel Melgar, Adiba Tamboli Model Abigail Black Stylist Helena Haralambopoulos Skirt, Top & Sleeves Lilach Porges Earrings & Necklace Vintage

“I hope to empower and convince people that technology isn’t so far away from design, and that science and technology can be used for designing, including collaboration with other multidisciplinary fields,” Porges clarifies.

Students at FIT’s Design-Tech (DTech) lab are revolutionizing the industry — using cutting-edge resources for students interested in 3D design, Cinema 4, V.R., A.I., A.R., animation, and more. The lab’s executive director, Michael Ferraro, has been impressed by the rapid pace of technological change in the field, suggesting that the rate of change in tech is at a “nosebleed speed.”

Ferraro aims to cultivate a new generation of creative entrepreneurs within the curriculum at the Dtech lab, using technology at the hands of creative collaboration. “Collaboration and transdisciplinary practice, not always multidisciplinary, means that people are collectively working on the problem from their individual perspectives, but working on it together — and problem-solving takes collective intelligence,” he says.

When technology comes into the hands of fashion creators, there’s no telling when the sky’s the limit.

Both Porges and Ferraro acknowledge how the integration of fashion and tech raises concerns about sustainability. “I hope to use better, sustainable materials in my conceptual garments and those that are closer to the body for more comfort. There are many new and printed fabrics that I want to try with technology in the commercial world,” Porges says eagerly.

As designers shift away from conventional production methods, there’s a strong possibility that garments will be discarded in the trash folder rather than being sent to the landfill. And Porges agrees. “I really believe in this technology replacing some of the measures of the labor work in the fashion industry and creating a world where employees get fair treatment and pay,” she concurs. “I can see the future of it as getting into more wearable commercial attire, replacing some of the fast fashion industries with fashion on demand.”

Ferraro suggests that to further improve humanity and protect our environment, creatives should nurture their gifts of innovative intuition. The industry should feel compelled to gradually modify the use of technology at a gradual rate of change. “Creativity is applied to recognizing the individual’s responsibility in the collective effort to make the Earth a less toxic environment for humans — becoming motivated to take steps to try and help correct that problem,” he describes.

Technology is evolving more rapidly than we can possibly fathom. It’s intimidating to see a digital revolution at our fingertips, yet, somehow all the more fascinating to see how it will improve our lives. The role of technology in fashion undoubtedly has the potential to hinder authentic

creativity, however, with aid from technological automation, it may grant us more freedom to be human.

While the future remains to be seen, it’s important to note that the future of fashion depends on individual creativity to make that happen.

Don’t forget to take care of your garments, and charge up your batteries — it’s 2023, and fashion and technology are more intertwined than ever before. These two fast-moving industries are joining forces in a digital union that’s shaking up the world. Do you object to this match made in tech and style heaven?

BioArmor Madelyn Kellum Dress Lulin Liu Bracelet & Rings Vintage Model Alyssa Klein Stylists Helena Haralambopoulos, Karyna Maldonado

The Fate of fashion week

NYFW was once the ultimate fashion event, where fashion staples were born and designers could showcase their latest collections to the lucky few. Nowadays, the fashion industry has been tarnished by the ease of getting into NYFW — or at least the look of it.

Now that influencers — a new aspect of NYFW life — have landed in the front of runway shows, “everyday” people have joined in on the exclusivity. Influencers have taken to vlogging their NYFW experiences, allowing their viewers to gain front-row access.

The press week that NYFW once stood for has dwindled against the test of technology. “Before my time, Fashion Week was much more private, much more exclusive,” recalls Allison Leopold, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) who was a Vogue writer and editor during the 1980s.

Press Week, organized by the “Empress of Fashion,” Eleanor Lambert, consisted of members of the fashion industry going to a showroom and watching numbered models glide across the floor — for buying purposes and relaying information to the rest of America by the press.

As Press Week and American fashion gained popularity, Press Week developed into the spectacle that’s NYFW. The power the press once held had not diminished quite yet; someone had to relay the incoming fashion to the American people.

“Getting to go [to NYFW] during the early days, it was like feeling like one of the anointed,” says Professor Leopold. “That’s how I looked at it.” Not only did editors witness fashion’s future in real-time, they influenced it, telling their readers what they should care about and open their checkbooks for.

Fashion: The designers created it. The runways showed it. The journalists decided its fate.

In Diane von Furstenberg’s Spring/Summer 1974 collection, the wrap dress was introduced and turned into an instant success. w New York Times fashion editor, Eugenia Sheppard wrote, “The simple wrap dress by Diane von Furstenberg in its wonderful graphic patterns was a breath of fresh air.” Many journalists like Sheppard raved about Furstenberg’s wrap dress — it became a fashion staple.

This relationship between fashion and writers didn’t cease at the turn of the century. In 2015, Gucci’s Princetown loafers appeared at the Fall/ Winter NYFW show. The runway report by Harper’s Bazaar said, “This collection will go down in history as a game-changer for the brand.” And it did. The loafers have become iconic and, now, a classic. Now, in recent years, the power balance has shifted. With the rise of fashion influencers, trends have seemingly trickled up to the runways.

Crochet fashion is an example of a trend that’s quickly geared away from grandmothers, taking over the industry through influencers. During the 2023 Fall/Winter NYFW, many designers embraced this trend on the runway, such as Frederick Anderson, who used crochet and sheer materials throughout his collection.

Nowadays, it seems that NYFW relies on influencers and vice versa. Influencers change the way that audiences see fashion. Instead of writing about designers’ narratives, many writers have taken to discussing the influencers and celebrities attending the events. On the other hand, getting media by and from NYFW can help skyrocket influencers, boosting not only their status but their numbers as well.

“Influencer marketing helps a lot with followers,” confirms KC Vanish, a fashion-related content creator with over 20 thousand followers. By following influencers, audiences can discover new designers and clothing brands once unknown, and smaller designers can show their clothes to the world, giving them the platform needed to expand their reach and customer base.

Respecting NYFW’s purpose is still important though. “The ones that are actually into fashion, appreciating designers and their work are the ones making it worthwhile,” says Vanish. “But, the ones that go to just show off, take pictures the entire time, and act stuck-up ruin it for the rest of us, giving influencers a bad reputation.”

Due to the yearning to post about NYFW, companies using NYFW’s name have become increasingly popular over the years. These companies charged huge designer and guest ticket fees, and, even, model fees — all on the account that they’re a part of NYFW.

“Because of the social media age we live in with everyone wanting to post [about being at NYFW], it allows these scam companies to thrive,” says Taylor Stewart, a model and content creator. “There’s so many of them that ride on the name of NYFW when in reality, they don’t have anything to do with it.”

Stewart, like many other models who are breaking into the industry, fell into the trap of companies promising connections as compensation during NYFW.

The advent of social media has given a platform to people who’ve had negative experiences with these scam companies and the fashion industry at large. “I was blown away by people sharing similar experiences,” expresses Stewart. This vocalization has negatively impacted NYFW’s reputation and editors’ ability to influence fashion.

NYFW was once the holy grail of fashion events — a place where designers could showcase their latest collections to a select few and where new trends were born. But with the rise of social media and effect of fashion bloggers and influencers, the event seems to have lost some of its exclusive appeals. As companies using NYFW’s name for profit have proliferated, the event’s reputation and trust in the industry have been compromised.

Despite changes, NYFW still holds a special place in the heart of the fashion world, remaining an essential event for designers, editors, and fashion lovers alike. While its exclusivity may have diminished, the event still showcases some of the most innovative and exciting fashion.

And who knows? The next fashion staple might just be born on one of those runways.

From its beginning for industry insiders to its current state as a social media spectacle, NYFW’s evolved. While some mourn the loss of its exclusivity, others are embracing newfound accessibility.
Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli

Trends: we love ‘em, we hate ‘em, we wanna be ‘em, and then we run away like we never saw ‘em.

We live in a fashion world made up of who’s wearing what and what’s wearing who. It’s been normalized for us to be told what to walk out of the store with and what to leave on the rack, whether by sales associates, ad campaigns, or even social media. Too much of the time we end up being so consumed in consumerism, that we may not even notice that the thing being left behind is our most precious possession of all: creative individuality.

With fast fashion and luxury brands producing more collections than ever before, we consume a myriad of fashion at an incredible rate, leading to a point where it seems as if new micro-trends pop up every single day (and they likely do). It’s like a game of whack-a-mole — we run to the stores, getting that bejeweled purse, branded bucket hat, or neon platform sandals, when no matter the cost, these things will ultimately fade away into the fashion graveyard of abandoned trends as fast as they emerged.

It feels unstoppable: we can never hit the trend hard enough or fast enough before a new one pops up, leading us into a never-ending spiral of wanting, instead of a far superior, sustainable, and creative ground of reinventing

New York City, one of the top fashion capitals in the world, is a place that is renowned for inspiring designers to make something out of nothing and transporting fashion from runways to street style (and vice versa) in a matter of days.

Take a look at legacy fashion house Balenciaga’s off-schedule NYC Spring/Summer ‘23 show, for example. The audience and the Internet alike were astonished to see something as small as a discarded potato chip bag get transformed into a desirable high-fashion clutch. Even Prada has turned something as simple as a paper clip, into a soughtafter sterling silver accessory.

Shock value has an undeniable effect on consumers, and the desire to own a niche, Instagramable, and even controversial wardrobe allows us to indulge in our most wild purchases, just to earn a brief five seconds of fame.

Accomplished stylist, trend forecaster, and adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Jill Topol, has years of success and wisdom behind her and subsequently has seen her fair share of niche and bizarre trends hit both the runways and the streets.

“Some micro trends are clever and fashionable, while others are questionable at best and geared more for shock value to go viral.” She says when asked about how far is too far, for a micro trend to be pushed.

“Everyone is going to be shocked to see a $1,500 designer potato chip bag and want to post about it. I’d want to post about it! It’s the perfect example of ‘all press is good press.’”

With fashion trends moving so fast, and the handy-dandy overstimulation and over-delivery of mass media communications, the physiological need to display wealth and relevancy has contributed to the lack of staying power when it comes to trends. Topol elaborates on this idea, expressing, “There will always be victims who fall prey to what they see online and feel the need to keep up with trends that might be beyond their means. It’s a vicious cycle.”

It’s almost impossible to not be particularly tuned into what’s happening on and off the runway these days, especially with the help of our best frenemy, the Internet, making sure we never miss a beat.

Somedays it feels like we have to try not to notice who’s surfing which trend waves. Some of us may even play the game of “hit or miss,” while doing mundane things like getting our morning cup of joe at the bodega, walking to the grocery store, or even sitting on a park bench.

By being surrounded by the most sought-after trends nearly every minute of our lives, it’s only natural to compare ourselves, want what we don’t have, and dream about the next to-die-for piece.

Who doesn’t want that pair of satin Miu Miu ballet flats? Realistically though, how can we excuse impulse buying behavior when just as we’ve saved up, the next pair of sneakers has already popped up on our feed… last week? More so, is it even ethical to indulge in the never-ending cycle of micro trends? Are we only adding fuel to the fire of our neverending fashion dreams?

Over the past few years, fashion has gradually shifted as brands are releasing more and more collections than ever before, breaking up the traditional Spring/Summer and Fall/ Winter runway shows, into double or triple the past number of collections adding in pre-fall, resort, couture, and ready-towear shows to their repertoire.

Bringing smaller artists and “drops” into the picture adds a whole new layer of urgency to the consumer/brand supply and demand relationship. Not to mention the fast fashion craze that’s taken over practically every single computer. The “thousands of new styles released every day” slogan has not only created an indescribable amount of waste but has set the bar for instant gratification higher than ever before.

The real problem (let’s be honest, there are many) is that with so many trends coming and going like models on a runway, consumers get lost in the dozens of microtrends a month and lose their sense of self along with it. We forget to ask ourselves if the PVC bag is something we truly love, or if we’re simply being told to love it. Did we learn to love the logoed bucket hat, or have we loved it all along?

We must dare ask the question: “Am I wearing the trend, or is the trend wearing me?”

With so much fashion trend frenzy picking us up and swooping us

away, it’s gotten a little too easy to follow blindly, rather than tuning into our individual wants and needs.

This leads us to wonder about the longevity and durability of our individual styles.

Similar to fingerprints, we all have our own formula that makes up our style DNA. It combines various aspects of our personality: what draws us to something, how something makes us feel, and the internal and external responses we receive. Everything, whether on purpose or not, influences how we dress, how we present ourselves to the world, and most importantly, how we feel inside. This being the case, could micro-trends, and the shortening trend cycle in general, be a threat to our individuality?

Being told constantly what we do or don’t like, what’s in versus out, what we should or shouldn’t buy, cuts our decision-making efforts in half, and is, dare we say, leading us as individuals and as a society towards a state of meaningless dressing.

In a world full of copy and paste, dare to stand out. Make an effort to view every morning as a blank page, and whip together something reflecting what you feel inside, not reflecting your wish list.

Ultimately, it’s up to us to hold ourselves down through a modern, accessory-storm, and stay rooted in our individuality through it all.

Listen to your initial reaction, rather than a sponsored Instagram post. Instead of being told what to like, tune into what you crave inside — what’s the missing ingredient to your outfit recipe? Because it’s most likely not a half-crumpled, designer chip bag.

Maintaining your individuality.
Graphic Designer Alexis Brabender

It’s time to rethink the notion that less is more. With modest fashion, reclaiming your body has never looked so good.

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Sensuality isn ’ t separate from modesty ; they can be enhanced through each other .

When people think of modest fashion, they think of stuffy buttoned-up collars, awkward hemlines, and bland color palettes. Isn’t it about time we erase this narrative and think of modest fashion as a more holistic and inclusive space for personal style? Not only can dressing modestly make you feel lively and confident, but it’s empowering in its unique way.

The word “modest” in fashion has often been placed with other words like restriction, regression, and a lack of freedom. The discussion surrounding modest dressing is that for many people, dressing this way isn’t a choice. It’s been used as a tool of control and a way to make people feel ashamed for simply having bodies.

However, in the last decade, this idea has completely flipped, as many people are confronting their traumas and finding joy in dressing modestly again. They’re choosing to disrupt the status quo, making space in an industry that has often ignored their existence.

With a market value of $295 billion and an estimated growth of $402 billion by 2024 according to the 2022 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, modesty in the fashion industry is booming with popularity and innovation. It caters to people of all ethnicities, cultures, and religious backgrounds. Although modest fashion is more popularized in Eastern cultures, more Western designers are recognizing its power.

High-street retailer, Mango, has been known to regularly release modestfriendly tunics, kaftans, and maxi-dress collections, and in 2017, Nike introduced a high-performance hijab. Companies also want to make the experience of modest shopping more efficient for their consumers. Net-A-Porter has taken the lead by offering shoppers a modest category within the website’s clothing menu, filtering out all womenswear that aesthetically fits the bill for all buyers.

The proof is even in our finances, with spending on modest fashion increasing by 5.7 percent in 2021, pushing its value up from $279 billion to $295 billion. In the last decade, modest fashion has proven itself a force not to be ignored but embraced.

Although its growing popularity has only become mainstream now, the truth is that women have been dressing modestly for centuries. From the kaftans of the Ottoman Empires to the return of long denim skirts at this year’s NYFW, modest clothing can be found at every point in time.

Women from many cultures, ethnicities, and races have a rich history of dressing modestly and finding contemporary ways to still enjoy current trends and feel fashionable.

Modest fashion has also powered its way through mainstream media. Fashion history was made by the first hijab-wearing model, Halima Aden when she graced the runway for designers like Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti. Orthodox Jewish designer, Batsheva Hay, also turned heads when she debuted her first ready-to-wear modest clothing line at NYFW in 2016.

There’s no way to ignore this movement, as innovation and creativity pour out of it.

These designers have chosen to play with modernization through the confinements of modesty, playing around with silhouettes, colors, and patterns. Aden has often been dressed in body-con maxi skirts, and an oversized coat, all monochromatic, creating a clean yet striking effect.

Hay takes the opposite approach, choosing to use color and patterns to elevate her simple yet whimsical silhouettes. Cheery florals and polka dots are her top choices.

It’s the breath of fresh air that fashion truly needs: a new way of dressing that’s inclusive of all people. Modest stylists are also flourishing with creativity; from combining sheer dresses with boldly printed bodysuits to cargo shorts with platform, knee-high boots, they’re creating a contemporary, modest wardrobe that’s sinking its teeth into the market.

Nawal Sari, an influencer and modest fashion mogul, began to turn heads in the fashion industry after launching her TikTok in 2017, branding herself “your relatable hijabi next door.” As her following grew to over 130,000, she began to receive praise for her modest take on streetwear fashion. Her styling combination of luxury pieces with vintage gems that are trendy, modest, and body positive, started scoring her invitations to sit front row at designers like Gucci and Versace.

When scrolling through Sari’s feed, the memo is loud and clear: layering is your best friend. A simple button-down under a milkmaid dress; a cropped, knit sweater thrown on top of a ruched top; or a mini-skirt worn on top of baggy trousers can take an ensemble that seemed unwearable

Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli Jacket Marie-Louise Kurrer Trousers Marie-Louise Kurrer Shoes Stuart Weitzman Hijab LmVerna

and transform it into something stylish and eyecatching.

After recently speaking with Who What Wear, Sari’s best styling tip? “Don’t be shy with the layering, and definitely don’t forget your big sunglasses,” she advises.

Hijabis are not the only ones teaching us the power of modest style. Maha Gondal, a modest fashion stylist and influencer who recently modeled for the Coach x Champions collaboration has found that playing with silhouettes is the best way to elevate a modest look.

Sharing her daily outfits on TikTok, Gondal started becoming one of the many faces behind the rise of modest styles. 109,000 followers later (and counting), she’s one of the app’s most popular up-and-coming style creators, known for loving both a comically oversized fit, wearing garments that emphasize the shape of her hips, and her sleek video content.

Gondal’s golden piece of advice to share for first-time modest dressers? Try mixing patterns and textures. If done well, they can really complement each other.

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Models Sarah Mozzeb Tafani Mustafa Photographer Ashley Minier Stylist Muskan Manzoor Makeup Cristal Hernandez, Lavani Laishram Nails Laura Romano
Coat Angel Lou Shoes Stuart Weitzman Ring Vintage Hijab Vintage

Wearing a blazer or a long jacket or coat can also help create dimension and add shape to any look. By covering most of your body, you’ll not only feel comfortable but also make the outfit modest.

Opting for a fitted, figure-hugging dress, or a bodysuit that accentuates the shape of the shoulders and neck is the perfect way to draw eyes in a way that feels less like you’re being undressed by them.

The oversized silhouette has been hot for a minute, with designers creating collections in sometimes ludicrous and wacky proportions. It started in 2017 when Kris Van Assche, formerly at Dior, put out a tailoring-heavy collection with loose, cropped trousers. Bottega Veneta kept the trend alive in their Spring/Summer 2020 collection, showcasing some of the “biggest” clothes we’ve seen in several seasons.

This is a reflection of the modest movement’s impact on the market. Trends are finally starting to reflect the cutting-edge styling we’ve been seeing from modest consumers like Sari and Gondal.

Dressing modestly has also been known to do wonders for some women’s confidence. Many cultural movements now are focusing on teaching people to embrace their sexuality and self-expression, and while that’s a valid way for people to want to present themselves, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Many people gain their confidence through knowing with a clear conviction that their body isn’t receiving all the attention, but rather, themselves as a whole person. There’s comfort in knowing that people are choosing to engage with you not because your body looks great in that dress, but because they’re genuinely interested in you.

Dressing in a modest fashion has been accredited to making people feel more confident in a space, feeling more physically comfortable in their clothes while also feeling more body positive. And they’re able to have just as much self-expression and fun as someone who has opted to show some skin.

The most important point to understand is that both ends of the spectrum are to be respected and validated. The girl in the mini dress is just as important and beautiful as the girl in the abaya, and they both have the right to have fun with their self-expression and identity.

Modest fashion is adventurous, playful, sensual, artistic, and expressive, regardless of what anyone may say. It’s been used by people all over the world to grab a room’s attention at their desired level of exposure for centuries.

Once the basics of styling are understood, the world becomes your oyster and modest fashion is your pearl.

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how are men curating new ideals of masculinity through fashion expression?

Slight midriff, extra nude, elevated shoes, lessened skirts, chunkier glasses, and thinner tops are all garments you may consider wardrobe staples. You may have not thought “men’s” when first perusing that list, but these pieces are just some of many that are now changing the status quo of men’s fashion.

These articles of clothing weren’t always acceptable by society’s standards.

Men, menswear designers, and trendsetters are all contributing factors to the modern standard of masculinity in fashion. Now, men are embracing a variety of clothing that they wouldn’t dare wear a decade ago. From sporting a plaid shirt and ripped jeans to wearing leather pants and silk tops, masculinity has a newfound place in men’s fashion; men in fashion are redefining their own view of masculinity.

With clothing today, men are given an abundance of options to express themselves. Society’s newfound acceptance of expression is allowing men to advance comfortably— creating a space for men to evolve independently, without the pressure of society’s imposed views on masculinity. This evolution is in turn, a significant factor as a result of the fashion climate that men currently exist in.

The idea that femininity and masculinity cannot coexist in fashion is an idea created by older perspectives from generations past. Past decades had styles come and go, as does the trend cycle today.

The trend cycle does not conform to gender.

Take the ‘60s, known for its freeing fashion, when men and women sported retro colors and psychedelic prints. The ‘70s were no stranger to flowery belts and flowy bell bottoms, sequins, fringe, and high-heeled platform shoes. Don’t forget the ‘80s renowned big hair. Sensational for all.

And we still wear these pieces, with our own twist. “It’s only in this decade where I have seen young men donning

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Button Up Goodwill Skirt Caitlin Williams Jeans Pepe Jeans Shoes Diesel Tie 41 Vintage Vest Fija Dahlia Button Up Midnight Studios Mini Skirt Maroske Peech Jeans Salvation Army Model Ben Hoiland Photographer Blakely Harrison Stylist Lizzie Lee Makeup Leonie Baschat, Gillian Tokar, Jenna Manfredi Hair Sarah Brifo Nails Gail Marienn Tajanlangit Model KC Vanish

skirts and dresses as fashion and political statements,” corroborates Theresa Brown, an adjunct professor of Educational Skills at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

If you take a look at each decade from the past, it’s no secret that each time period has its own style. Today, generations are redefining this notion.

At every corner you turn, you may note how men’s fashion is increasingly becoming more diverse. On the runway and even on the streets, we’re seeing bits and pieces from each decade, like ‘70s style flared pants, heeled boots, embossed belts, patterned shirts, and fur coats, all curated to individual styles.

Confident men are coming to a realization that their fashion choices can have a striking impact on society. History has proven this through the stylish and rebellious individuals involved in the 60s “Youthquake.” The term coined by the former editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland of Vogue, allowed young people of the time to gain the reputation of being the first of their kind to cause a radical shift in fashion. Aside from the 1960s cultural movement, a slight midriff to high-rise pants, prove a simple risk- can change perspectives of masculinity.

Now, in 2023, men are trusting their instincts: they’re ready to evolve and adapt.

So, what is it that men are truly defying in fashion today? By dressing however they want, toxic masculinity has no place in men’s closets.

“I think, now, more than ever, toxic masculinity ideologists are rotting the brains of teenage men,” says Sam Norris, 19, a men’s fashion content creator in NYC. The epidemic of toxic masculinity predominantly haunts social media, allowing the spread of such ideologies to spread with ease by directly targeting young boys on a number of platforms.

Limiting the evolution of men’s fashion by spreading this hatred to those who want to better their wardrobe is detrimental to society’s progression to the future of fashion. Despite gender orientation, being unable to have a wardrobe over varieties of silhouettes, textures, and proportions due to society’s judgment is arbitrary. In the fashion climate we inhabit now, the best way to move past toxic masculinity and gender roles is to keep curating our own standards.

In other words, wear whatever the f*ck you want to wear.

From birth, society automatically associates gender with specific colors, robustness, and perspectives. More or less, society is fixated on the subject of gender itself, rather than the

standards placed upon them.

Screw the blue, screw the tools, and screw everything that’s been ingrained in boys since the day they were born. Men’s fashion is finally taking direction by expanding gender individuality, dismissing gender norms, and embracing masculinity in the modern age using fashion as a catalyst.

When men’s fashion was arid, designers were constantly producing collections of men’s fashion limited to, primarily, suits. Just one example of how men’s style has been forced into a box and given men’s wardrobes a bad rap of a “lack of creativity.” Now, men’s wardrobes are ushering in safe spaces grown from the fluidity that this generation has manifested through a series of colors, graphic textiles, and structure.

And this change has been a long time coming.

In the Spring of 1976, designer Giorgio Armani started the curve of the future focal point in menswear, diverging the use of gender-associated fabrics onto men. Jean-Paul Gaultier took a step into androgyny in his Spring 1985 collection when male models trailed down the runway in deconstructed suits with exposed bodice trims — showing more than just a hairy chest.

Masculinity within fashion is ambiguous today — not knowing what’s considered masculine, and what’s not. Masculinity seems to be disassociating from traditional interpretations of gender, allowing androgyny to take a front seat with style.

Fashion content creators and models like Wisdom Kaye, Alton Mason, and Nic Kaufmann, all embrace how individuality steers their style. While Kaufmann’s goal through his style content is to tackle gender stereotypes, Kaye embodies the evolution of men’s fashion by becoming more expressive and exaggerated through the evolution of his style. And Mason is the face of fashion that many didn’t have growing up. He’s able to represent people who see themselves in him, share similar stories and cultures, and his vision for the future.

In the times that we are in now, surrounded by social media, we’re providing an extra backup to this safe, creative space. No matter the content, there will always be conflict in what’s uploaded; it’s the community behind the screens that are greater than the misanthropes.

What most people desire most when growing up is to fit in; social media has created a safe space for the men who didn’t fit in to connect and share inspiration with one another to build an accepting community, with a supportive embrace. Individuality is finally spurring, thanks to the communities that are revolutionizing diversity within men’s fashion.

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Graphic Designer Angel Melgar Collar Isabella Baynard Jacket Hannah Shores Pants Blasian Womack Shoes ZARA Model Tyler McFarlane

It’s time to forget the idea that outfit repeating is a fashion faux pas. Reusing pieces in your ensembles is not only sustainable, but stress-free. This spring, embrace repeating your knits and colors with some inspiration from our team.

Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli Bra Top, Shrug & Pants Matthew Velasco Shoes ZARA Necklace Vintage Knit Dress & Pants Matthew Velasco Top Urban Outfitters Shoes ZARA Model Emma Marie Geng
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Model Andrea Kobayashi Photographer Dahlia Mallebranche Photo Assistant Ashley Minier, Anais Conde Stylist Nathaly Krzesiczan Makeup Colleen White, Ashley Simas Hair Jennie Segedin Nails Lizzie Lee Suit Ká Dipuglia Top ZARA Shoes ZARA Necklace Urban Outfitters
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Suit Ká Dipuglia Top Urban Outfitters Shoes ZARA Necklace Vintage


“Your skin looks amazing! What’s your secret?” “I slug!” “You, what?”

That’s right — “slugging” is the latest trend circulating the skincare world, and it has dermatologists and skin care lovers in a frenzy.

The Secrets of Let’s uncover the truth behind skincare’s slimiest trend.

Whether it’s rubbing a potato on breakouts to rid yourself of blemishes, or icing your face to reduce inflammation, it’s hard to know what viral skincare hacks are worth your time. While social media-promoted skincare trends tend to be mostly experimental methods to tackle skin issues, there’s one that may actually be worth the hype — slugging.

What Is Slugging?

You might be thinking, “What’s with the weird name?” Well, the term “slugging” refers to the process of coating your skin with a petroleumbased ointment, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor, to trap moisture into your skin barrier. The bizarre name comes from the slimy texture of the ointment as if a slug has been on your face — yes, you read that right. But don’t worry, no slugs have been harmed in this trend.

While the name itself is new, the practice of applying petroleum jelly-based products to the skin can be traced back to the 1800s when a chemist discovered and refined petroleum jelly for commercial use, giving birth to Vaseline. Since then, it’s become a staple in households as a way to heal cracked, dry skin, rashes, and any other skin ailments. The use of a thick

hydrating ointment has also been a common step in Black and Latina women’s skincare routines for generations and can also be linked to recent Korean beauty trends. Chances are, your grandma probably slugged too!

The name “slugging” began to circulate K-Beauty Reddit groups and communities in 2014, and has since gone viral all over social media platforms like TikTok. Thousands of posts have taken over feeds, with trending hashtags #slugging, #skincare, and #Vaseline all piquing the interest of skin care enthusiasts like Julia Plante, 19, and Lindsey Fuller, 19, both students at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“I learned about slugging on a few different social media platforms, TikTok being the main one,” says Plante, after discovering the K-beauty trend on her timeline. Much of the initial excitement around the trend came from its transformative results and the strange viscosity of the process. “It kind of freaked me out!” exclaims Fuller, after watching videos of skincare lovers slathering tons (and we mean tons) of Vaseline onto their faces.

As the routine garners more attention though, determining whether or not slugging is worth it has been a hot topic of debate.

Key experts like Dr. Mamina Turegano, a triple-board certified dermatologist, internist, and dermatopathologist, and Jennifer Adell, a licensed esthetician at New Beauty & Wellness in Newport, Connecticut, have also been weighing in on skincare’s latest craze.

Model Laila Abdul-Aziz Dress Skylar Rayne

Dr. Turegano, who also doubles as a skincare content creator on TikTok, has talked about this intriguing trend in several educational videos, concluding that she’s “pro slugging.” Adell, who specializes in technique-based skincare videos, agrees. “As long as you have the proper education around it, it’s great,” she says.

How Does It Work?

To understand its benefits, it’s important to look at the science behind your skin. As you sleep, your skin naturally experiences transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the process by which your skin loses its hydration. This weakens your moisture barrier’s ability to retain water, leaving your skin prone to dehydration and dullness.

Cue the slugging!

Vaseline and other thick ointments are considered occlusives: products that keep moisture in, and oils and dirt out.

“When you have such an occlusive product like Vaseline or Aquaphor, it’s really trapping the hydration under your skin,” explains Dr. Turegano. Think of slugging as a protective, face-shield since, according to Dr. Turegano, it almost serves as “temporary skin,” healing any raw or irritated areas.

Does It Work On Everyone ?

That depends on you and your skin.

The winter months can be especially brutal for those of us on the drier side, like Fuller, when skin needs some extra care. “I get dry skin in the winter a lot, especially in my T-zone, so I do it [slugging] once or twice

a week then,” explains Fuller, who uses the CeraVe Healing Ointment.

“Especially if you live in a climate where you’re experiencing transepidermal water loss, it’s [slugging] a great way to keep your skin hydration levels intact,” confirms Adell.

Plante, who recently began slugging this past winter, finds that it also worked for other skin-related ailments. “It made a lot of my acne go away really quickly and kept my skin really moisturized, more than a regular moisturizer would,” she reveals. Along with proper hydration, Plante noticed that her skin produced less oil to compromise for its previous dry spell, leaving her skin balanced and glowy.

For those with dry skin, slugging can completely transform your moisture barrier, reducing the appearance of dull, patchy skin after continued use. Unfortunately for those with oily and acne-prone skin, it can potentially cause more harm than good.

Slugging over new pimples and inflamed acne can actually make it worse. “Their pores are already clogged, so when they’re using an occlusive product, it’s not allowing the pore to shed its contents as quickly,” explains Dr. Turegano. Because of this, she concludes that people with “dry to normal skin” would benefit from slugging the most.

Oily skin babes, don’t worry! It just means that you’ll have to slug on a need-only basis, for moments when your skin really feels dry.

How To Slug

1. Cleanse your face: It’s important to start your nighttime routine off with a fresh face, cleansed of makeup, oils, or dirt that can clog your pores.

2. Apply a hydrating serum or cream: For an added boost of moisture, Dr. Turegano advises using a hydrating serum or toner. She also recommends using hyaluronic acid, snail mucin, or a glycerin-based serum for optimal moisture. Though optional, when paired with a moisturizer, it can be like a refreshing glass of water for your skin.

3. Add in your nighttime moisturizer: Your moisturizer is what’ll provide you with real hydration. As Dr. Turegano puts it, “Products like petrolatum are more of an occlusive

agent, they’re just trapping whatever’s already in your skin.” Slugging ensures that the moisturizer does its job!

4. Slug: Vaseline, Aquaphor, CeraVe’s Healing Ointment, hydrating balms, or oils — take your pick! According to Adell, you should apply a pea-sized amount of “whatever’s easiest for you to find” and non-irritating on damp skin before bed. In the AM, make sure to wash off any residue, otherwise, it could lead to clogging.

Tips & Tricks

While slugging can be amazing for your skin, it has some limitations.

On exfoliation or retinol nights, stay away from your Vaseline as it may enhance the effects of your exfoliating serum or Retin-A, leading to distressed skin. “Prescription acne medications, retinols, alpha hydroxy acids — those are the nights you’re going to skip slugging,” corroborates Adell. It’s safe to say that slugging and exfoliators don’t mix.

As the sticky name suggests, slugging can be a bit impractical, considering its ability to grease up your bed sheets. After some practice, Fuller recommends doing your skincare way before your head hits your pillow to avoid the mess. Typically, she lets her products sink in a few hours before bed, and dabs off any extra product so it stays clear of her sheets. So, make sure to put away your silk pillowcase on slug nights.

When used correctly, slugging can actually yield transformative results to help you achieve that “glass skin” look, and education is key when optimizing the benefits of skincare practices. “It can help you learn how to incorporate things into your regimen, what type of skin you’re treating, and with what products,” explains Adell. As an esthetician, she believes that the allure of skincare hacks comes back to understanding what techniques are used for and how to use them properly. Slugging’s no different, proving that beauty trends on social media should be taken with a grain of salt.

Slugging isn’t a “one-size fits all” step — some may need to continue searching for that holy-grail routine. It’s just one part of the beautiful, self-love journey that we call skincare, one that can have many twists (and sometimes sticky) turns — ultimately helping you feel most confident in your skin.

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As the routine garners more attention though, determining whether or not slugging is worth it has been a hot topic of debate.
Graphic Designer Caitlin Yackley Model Jules Krainin Photographer Sarah Heditsch Stylist Victoria Panzella Makeup Ashley Simas, Sarah Brifo Hair Jennie Segedin Nails Lizzie Lee Dress VINCE

10 Essential Items for Your Nightstand

The “hot girl nightstand” trend took over TikTok during the fall of 2022, with thousands posting a raw and realistic look of their bedside — not bothering to tidy it up or stow away any of their nighttime necessities. Some items were universal, others caused viewers to flock to the comments to display their shock.

From basics to goodies, here are the top 10 essentials that are really worth making it on your nightstand:


Ladies, it’s 2023 you don’t have to hide your vibrators in a shoebox in your closet anymore. It doesn’t have to be hung on your wall like artwork, but there’s no need to bury it away. Keeping it in your nightstand drawer for easy access is most convenient. Chances are, it’s the nearest at-hand location for them. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Except it’s, you know, a vibrator and your nightstand.


In the same theme of accessibility, contraceptives are another helpful bedside essential. With reproductive rights currently up in the air, keeping whatever form of contraception you need at hand is the smart thing to do. More than one type of contraceptive is even better — birth control pills or condoms in a variety of textures and even flavors if that’s what you fancy. Give yourself a plan A-Z, but most importantly, a plan B.


Over the past year, journaling has taken the world by storm for its power of manifestation. People claim to have seen vast life improvements after taking a few minutes daily to write down their hopes and dreams. Even if manifestation isn’t your jam, journaling every night with just your general thoughts for the day is beyond therapeutic which is why your nightstand is the ideal spot for it to live.

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Never fear getting out of bed when you’re comfy again — keep these must-haves in perfect reach on your nightstand.
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Lamp With Soft Lighting

“Soft lighting” may read as a minor detail when choosing a lamp, but it makes all the difference. After the sun has set, it’s a good idea to turn off all overhead lights for the rest of the night so as not to confuse your circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral cycles that are mainly affected by light and dark, so having the same lighting at 8am and 8pm can mess with your body’s natural production of hormones like melatonin. Harsh lighting could also affect your REM cycles (when you’re experiencing your deepest sleep), also hindering cycle transitions and affecting your overall sleep quality. So, somewhere in between burning your retinas and walking around in the dark is a bedside lamp with soft lighting.


This item may be less “essential” than others, but it can enhance your nighttime routine tenfold. It’s important to cater to all of your senses when winding down. For a calming ambiance, you can surround yourself with the smell of lavender and eucalyptus. Plus, the sound of the fire crackling is perfect for lulling you to sleep. Just be sure to blow it out before you actually doze off for the night.

Lip Balm

Some form of Chapstick, Aquaphor, or lip salve is a lifesaver. Especially during those dry winter months, it can feel like your lips are about to crack off your face. Crusty, chapped, and dry lips are no way to start your day — so don’t. Keep some lip balm by your bed, and save yourself the trouble of a lip scrub in the morning. After all, moisturizing is key, especially when it comes to your pout.

Catch-All Tray

Where on Earth is all of this stuff supposed to be kept on top of your nightstand? In a catch-all tray, of course! Besides lip balm, this tray can store all sorts of small trinkets. From all the jewelry you forgot to take off before getting all snug in bed to your keys so you know exactly where to find them. The beauty of a catch-all tray is that it really can catch-it-all, meaning it can hold whatever baubles you wish.

Water Bottle

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” are words to live by. It can sometimes be hard to remember to do so throughout the day, but it’s essential, you know, for survival. Some may even have an “emotional support water bottle,” finding comfort in the object holding their water whether it’s a Stanley cup, Hydro Flask, or Britta. Carafes are also a trendier and more elegant way to elevate your hydration game. Just make sure to H2O.


Waking up in the morning to discover your phone is at 20 percent with only a few minutes before you need to be out the door is the closest thing to a day-mare. For safety reasons, chargers shouldn’t be kept in bed with you, but we’re all guilty of using our phones in bed late at night. To compromise, a charger on your nightstand keeps it within easy reach — quintessential for when you’re about to crash, but don’t want to create any battery problems for future you.


Say it with me now: Hot girls take their vitamins. Many forget to take their daily supplements before walking out the door, so keeping them within close reach after you wake up is a good way to remind yourself. From Vitamin C boosting immunity to Vitamin D aiding with energy, vitamins are often overlooked when improving wellness. Common pain relievers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen for headaches or cramps can also be lifesavers.

If something doesn’t seem like it would fit on your bedside table, that’s fine. What you keep closest to your bed or heart is ultimately what works best for you. Whether you personalize your nightstand with a full vase of flowers to wake up to or some books for some light reading, or possibly something romantic to pair with your vibrator and candle (but, let’s not get ahead of ourselves), just start filling those nightstands.

Nightstand Anthropolgie

Ceramic Table Lamp Amazon

Belgian Linen Wireless Charging Pad COURANT

Cloud-Shaped Catch-All Tray H&M

Water Carafe Amazon

Lip Balm Glossier

Lip Mask Laneige

Condoms SKYN

Lipstick & Nail Polish We Are Fluide

Heart-Shaped Catch-All Tray Amazon

Melatonin Sleep Gummies Olly

Vibrator The Rose Toy

Grumpy Cat Candle Kiki Candles

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4 6 5

Peeling Back the Layers nderpaintin

If you’re looking for advice on how to perfect the no-makeupmakeup look, drag queens may not be the first people to come to mind. When you think of your favorite queens, they’re most likely known for their over-the-top looks, but don’t be fooled — if you want to serve face without cakiness, then drag queens are the girls to turn to for achieving a flawless base.

Drag queens have been the foundation for many emerging makeup trends and are the fierce leaders that the beauty industry often looks to for inspiration and guidance.

If you’re a fan of shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race, then the term “underpainting” may ring a bell. Made popular by celebrity makeup artist, Mary Phillips, underpainting has made its way into some of our favorite celebrities’ routines. Phillips’ approach involves sculpting the face, typically with cream contours and brightening concealers, before adding foundation to give a soft, chiseled look to her clients — a practice that’s been a staple amongst drag queens for decades.

Underpainting: A Crash Course

Before making its way to the mainstream beauty world though, underpainting origins began in artwork dating back to the Renaissance period. Art historians credit Titian, an Italian Renaissance painter, for the craft. By first using a layer of paint on a blank canvas as a foundation, artists would then add contrast and create shadows in their paintings, a technique later used by artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh.

“Priming the canvas, putting down a ground, creates a better surface to work with,” says Samuel Albert, an Art History professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). “As for the artistic value, the Impressionists used to prime their canvases with a bright white, which gives the finished painting a greater luminosity.”

All Paintings Need A Primer

“Underpainting creates something from nothing,” explains NYCbased drag queen, Lucia Fuchsia. “You can create new features; it’s

where the magic comes from.”

Like painters, drag queens also need an even canvas to work with. Drag artists first apply a layer of product to even skin tone and feminize features. For some, this includes contouring and highlighting in the same way we’ve recently seen on trending beauty feeds. For others, it means adding a layer of foundation in a color not appearing to match the skin, but later blends out to accentuate the natural shadows of the face (a specific technique that’s popular for drag artists like Jinkx Monsoon).

“For me, underpainting with the Mehron Makeup in ‘Clown White,’ especially under the eyes, allows me to achieve a bold, eye look as well as a brightened under eye,” expresses Green Aileen (Lucy McKown), a drag artist and FIT student. “It creates a flawless blend that I was unable to reach with concealing after my base paint.”

Queens and Their Paintings

Drag makeup is very different from what we see in everyday makeup. Drawing inspiration from theater makeup, many of the practices are the same as ones used to prepare performers for shows in front of live audiences.

“If a performer’s planning to be in their makeup for hours at a time, powder products can fade after a while, so having a cream base underneath is extra insurance that your makeup won’t come off at the end of the night,” confirms Brooklyn-based drag artist, Talia Fortune.

For a stage performer, it’s important that facial expressions are clear and visible, no matter where an audience member is seated. This tends to lead to deeper contour lines, brighter highlights, and longer lashes to ensure that these features are seen clearly from stage.

“Numerous queens love highlighting their cheekbones with highlighter or contour under their cheekbones, drawing the viewer to that spot,” describes Scarlett Foxx (Jenna Markart), a NYC-based drag queen currently attending FIT. “To some queens, accentuating these makes them feel more feminine and beautiful.”

Drag artists may have the secret to minimizing your beauty routine and achieving the most natural “beat.”
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Graphic Designer Lily Kotz
Gown Renacio BEAUTY,
Model, Makeup & Hair Devin Churchill (Joi Ryder)

Is It Worth It?

Contrary to the technique’s bold origins, underpainting is ideal for someone looking for a natural way to sculpt their face, adding a radiant look underneath their base product.

Some have even claimed that underpainting has helped them use less product, allowing them to avoid a “cakey” look and help their favorite products last longer. And if you plan on spending hours in your makeup, having that extra base can help keep everything in place until you’re ready to cleanse.

“Many drag queens underpaint using cream contour and highlights and later put powder contour and highlights over it because putting a powder product over a cream base will always make sure the color has the most pay-off possible and show up very clear,” clarifies Fortune.

A Queen’s Guide to Underpainting

The first step to underpainting is contouring — remember to apply contour based on your features, not just the way you’ve seen on TikTok. This allows for a seamless yet well shapen look with the perfect luminous bronze.

“Look in the mirror and feel where your bones and features are; that’s what you want to accentuate,” advises Fuchsia. “Learn where the shadows will naturally lay. Remember, less is more when starting out.”

Then comes highlighting. Using your favorite concealer, highlight areas that light naturally hits; this gives a glow-from-within look. After blending your contour and highlight, it’s time to add the base product of your choice to top it off — start off lightly — you don’t want to completely cover up your hard work.

Makeup artist, Lily Parfitt, recommends underpainting using the SmashBox “Under Eye Brightener” to correct any discoloration around the eyes, helping to use less product to cover any dark areas.

“Peachy, orange, or yellow tones are meant to combat the blue or purple tones that are in your under eyes,” says Parfitt. “Most people just need the tiniest bit of peach or orange underneath the eyes, and it’s perfect! They don’t need concealer.”

Keeping It Unique

Changing techniques doesn’t mean you have to change your look. The beauty of makeup is that it’s made to fit you — not the other way around. Similar to queens we’ve taken inspiration from, we can

stay true to our signature looks while also making room for experimentation.

“Drag, like any other artform, is all about experimenting. Every artist can attest to crafting what becomes their signature look through a bunch of experimentation. Watch your idols, your colleagues, past entertainers, and your version of the pieces you like,” recommends NYC-based drag queen, Nani Tsunami.

You may notice that drag queens keep a few consistent parts of their looks. Even when trying new techniques and products, they’ll still be recognizable. For instance, American drag queen, Trixie Mattel, is known for her stark, contrasting eye makeup; sharp contour; and doll-like, 60s mod-inspired looks.

“A big portion of experimentation is learning your face shape and your skin type. It’ll help in figuring out what shapes and colors really pop on you,” shares Tsunami. “From there, do what makes you feel powerful, and tell the story you’re conveying in that performance. Try things out and play!”

Drag-Keeping Seal

If you find yourself missing a few products from your makeup bag, don’t worry. NYC’s local drag queens have some recommendations

Tsunami recommends the Juvia’s “Place Concealers” to contour and highlight with. To reinforce her contour, she usually opts for powders like One Size Beauty or the Revolution Beauty “Splendor Deep Bronzing Powder.”

“They have a wide range of deep and rich shades, and they’re so pigmented. They get the job done,” says Tsunami.

Foxx reaches for the Wet n Wild “MegaGlo Makeup Stick” for liquid contour and the Wet n Wild “MegaGlo Highlighting Powder” in the shade “Bloom Time” for a subtle highlight, sharing that the consistency of products makes a large difference. “A liquid contour stick works best for me due to my skin being very dry, and powder contouring products look cakey,” she says.

Fortune and Fuchsia stick to the Kryolan TV “Paint Sticks” (a staple for many drag queens). “They’re super thick, fullcoverage, and are great for laying on intense contours and highlights. I have one in a shade lighter than my foundation and one a few shades darker, and I use them every single time I paint


Drag queens are the hidden gems of the beauty community. When they give you advice, just know you’re in good hands. Now that you’ve learned how to underpaint from the girls who do it best, you can achieve the “beat” of your dreams.

Model & Makeup Josh-Ryan Langford (Carnation) Photographer Amanda DiMaio Stylist Victoria Panzella Hair Tabitha Gessling Gown Designs By Chris Hara Courtesy of Jessica Rose

Get rid of the bullets when there’s a loaded gun sitting on the table.

To all those who have a uterus, surely this analogy is no surprise to you. We’ve heard them all before: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries,” “We need to talk about the elephant in the womb,” and of course, “My body, my choice.” If only…

It’s 2023. Why is having a uterus still a crime?

Take a pill every day, shove an implant in your arm, and thrust a T-shaped object up your vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina. A word that used to make little girls flinch and recoil at the mere mention of it (let’s hope, for the love of God, not anymore).

Perhaps you used to say hoo-ha, noo-noo, (yes, I’ve heard that one,) or even lady parts — maybe you still do (and that’s okay too). But it’s a word. It’s our word. It’s part of our bodies. And it’s time we talked about what’s happening to it.

Irregular periods, cramps all over, weight gain, body changes, excruciating pain with no medication. “It’ll only be a pinch,” the gynecologist says as they shove a sharp, plastic cross into your uterus.

Why do we do this, we ask ourselves? Oh, that’s right. Because a condom “feels weird.”

The ways in which women have to constantly strain their bodies, only to have a seemingly carefree and “sexy” sex life is barbaric and coincides directly with society’s hatred for women’s bodies and the choices they make with them.

With the overturn of Roe V. Wade in June of 2022, the rights of women, trans, and other marginalized bodies were put into question — their very existence was, in essence, threatened.

For those like Melissa Tombro, Professor of English and Communications and founder and coordinator of the Women and Gender Studies minor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), it was a date likened to death. And ironically enough, the overturn happened to be on her birthday.

“I was with my 14-year-old son at the time,” Tombro describes. “My immediate reaction was bursting into tears.”

Initially rumored that this historic overturn was indeed happening months prior with documents of discussions in courtrooms leaked, many

were still in denial (myself included).

This could never happen.

“I will say it wasn’t completely unexpected,” expresses Tombro. “We had all been preparing for it, so it wasn’t necessarily a shock for many people. However, to have it actually happen was something completely different that I don’t think anyone could’ve prepared for.”

I’m sure many can agree. It’s one thing to even consider the outrageous possibility of basic human rights being diminished in the United States, yet a completely different story when it becomes reality.

A reality that many like Tombro still cannot fully fathom. “An analogy of how I put it is like death, right? I mean, you can know when someone is ill and dying, but to have them actually pass is completely jarring and life-altering,” she explains, “So, I would say the overturn was as similar to death as anything for me.”

It may feel as though we’ve been living in a fog for the past nine months after such a monumental moment. In some instances, this overturn hasn’t directly impacted many of those living in liberal-leaning states, yet, in those states next door, many have to wait weeks or even months to schedule an appointment or a consultation for a health necessity.

Abortion rights are women’s rights.

Abortion rights are health care.

Abortion rights are human rights.

We keep repeating this, yet it’s not valued by the patriarchal system we’ve had for centuries now. If the system has stayed the same, why should there be a change in the way that society views women’s bodies?

“We want population growth, but we don’t want people to have sex?” questions Tombro.

Make it make sense. The system is backward — it’s no wonder, then, that we’re going back in time.

Forced pregnancies in a country with no free healthcare. Forced pregnancies in a country that still values abstinence in sex education above all else.

In lieu of reasonable fear of pregnancy in times of inadequate or nonexistent healthcare for pregnant persons, many turn to birth control.

pregnant? There’s no Plan B.
Graphic Designer Leia Chen, Adiba Tamboli

Unfortunately, it may seem that there are no perfect options.

Condoms, the obvious and most used answer to preventing pregnancy and STDs since 1920 (yes, latex condoms are over 100 years old. Who knew?). Pros include being the best protection against STDs (super important, and often forgotten about when wanting a carefree sex life) — remember folks, it’s not only pregnancy we should be worried about!

“We associate sex, a lot, with reproductivity, but when it comes to protection from STDs and feeling confident and safe and that we have the language to talk to partners about safe and healthy sex, we’re not doing a great job,” says Tombro. “Handing people a bunch of condoms without further explanation isn’t the answer. Not to mention the cost. Condoms are very expensive.”

Yes, they are.

For a pack of “Her Pleasure” (okay, Trojan, we see you) 12-pack, male condoms, the cost is a hefty $17.99. That’s $1.50 each time you want to have safe, pleasurable sex. Not to mention more if, let’s say, that latex condom breaks (which, yes, happens way more often than you may think).

It’s important to note that a condom for birth control is not a “one size fits all” (no pun intended), and we need to know how to make sex pleasurable and safe at the same time. Which is why…lube is your best friend.

With lube, though, there’s a stigma attached: “But what if it’s weird to ask my partner if we can use lube, what if they get offended that I’m not

wet enough?”

Let’s be real. Women are not faucets. Bodies can’t magically be prepped and ready for sex in an instant. Vaginas are not equipped (and shouldn’t be) to be completely wet all the time.

Lube is a necessity for female sexual pleasure. Lube is essential to an enjoyable and safe sexual relationship using a condom. It’s time we put a stop to the sandpaper sex.

Grace Stratton, 22, shares her experience with relying on condoms as her main form of birth control saying, “I took the pill for about five years and finally went off of it in October of 2021. I wasn’t sexually active at the time, and I wanted to see if I would feel better mentally and physically if I went off of it. Immediately after going off the pill, I have felt so much clearer mentally and am overall a much happier person without birth control.”

Contrary to popular belief, being off birth control doesn’t mean an unsafe sex life.

“I was only on the pill when I was sexually active to prevent pregnancy because I didn’t think you could have a safe sex life without being on hormonal birth control,” Stratton notes. “Now, I have found that condoms are very useful and effective, especially if you don’t feel comfortable having hormones in your body.”

In a recent “Singles in America” study, Roe v. Wade has impacted dating life, not just in terms of sex. In a study done with over 5,000 single persons, two out of three women stated they would refuse to date someone with an opposing view to abortion rights as theirs. Understandably so, as abortion rights are a direct reflection of women’s rights and health. Also found in the study, almost 80 percent of singles of a reproductive age say that the recent Roe v. Wade’s decision has changed the way they go about their sex lives.

If majority rules, it would seem that the current events of today are a major turn-off.

When speaking with young women between the ages of 20 to 23, it’s found that sex isn’t as sexy or simple as before (or, has sex ever really been easy?). With the responsibility placed on women (shocker…) to be able to take hormonal birth control or — God forbid — force a man to wear a condom, women are fed up.

Viviana Harris, 23, shares her own experience with birth control, her body, and sexual health and responsibility. “I was going into my gap year after high school, and all my friends were getting the IUD. My friend’s mom is a doctor so I thought, why not?” she recalls. (We’ve all been there). “I was traveling in Europe shortly after I got it, and I was so bloated and uncomfortable every single day. It was so painful, and I felt horrible in my own body. We realized these symptoms I was experiencing were my IUD because after I took it out, everything went back to normal almost immediately.”

Harris, like many, is over birth control controlling herself more than controlling a potential pregnancy. “Now being off birth control completely for almost five years, I’m completely fed up with the idea of it. Why does the burden have to fall on me?” she laments.

With any form of birth control, it’s difficult to gain a sense of control over your body when there are little to no good options. Harris continues, “The hormones in the IUD really messed up my body. I felt like I lost control of myself.”

Eva Forsline, 21, shared a similar experience with the Nexplanon arm implant, a high contender of effectiveness up there with the IUD. “With the implant, it was a straight year of negative symptoms. The first six months I was exhausted, and I am to this day really weepy and emotional,” she says. “I cry a lot more than I used to. From 6 to 12 months in, I felt like I was literally losing my mind, I felt like I was insane. I knew it was from birth control, but I couldn’t help it. I just felt out of control and anxious nearly all the time.”

Loss of control, mentally and physically, is so common in birth control, yet isn’t talked about nearly enough. With hormones added to our bodies on top of our menstrual cycles, it can feel as though, as Forsline states, we’re going insane.

Mary Kelley, 21, another Nexplanon implant birth control user, spoke with her doctor around six months after her implant insertion, detailing her anxiety being at an all-time high and having a continued period since the insertion.

“I had my period for three consistent months,” recollects Kelley. “I went to Planned Parenthood to discuss with them the symptoms I had been having, and they were really dismissive and told me this was ‘normal.’ They just told me that I shouldn’t take it out because it’s doing the best job at preventing pregnancy — basically that if I didn’t want to get pregnant, deal with it.”

In a time where pregnancy in America could mean a death sentence (in the case of ectopic pregnancy, the maternal death rate increasing by the hundreds each year, unsafe home abortions without proper access to one in a clinic), it seems there’s no right option for women’s bodies.

Have sex without birth control and lack of education and get pregnant? Be depressed and on birth control but have a seemingly “good enough” sex life? Get pregnant, and have a baby when you’re simply not ready, or don’t want to?

Are these the only options we have today?

If so, when will women be able to simply have fun in sex? Have control over sex? Have rights in sex?

Part of taking our power back for our sexual health is to know our sexual health. By knowing what the symptoms are of each type of birth control, asking questions, getting answers, building trustworthy relationships with those who have been on birth control, who have had an abortion, who have an STD, and knowing that we’re all human By discussing, we assume our power back.

Knowledge is power. If knowledge is the only safety net that we have, let’s grasp it for dear life. Because breaking the stigma is exactly why we sit here and write. And learn. And share. Because sex is human. Masturbation is human. Pleasure is human. To talk is to eliminate shame. And there’s no shame in being human.

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Design Your Own


Let the healing happen.

This is easier said than done, but there’s no time stamp on the process. You may not want to get up, or even socialize, but recognize that these factors of moving on don’t need to happen at the same time. You can grow at your own pace — the process isn’t linear. Try not to busy yourself to the point of ignoring your feelings, as this can be harmful and create future barriers. Nothing physically has to change, just how you manage foreign emotions to come.

Connecticut-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Bridget Usher, helps people navigate these emotions after ending a relationship. It’s imperative to give yourself that time to recover. “Allowing yourself to cry and grieve the loss is crucial in healing from any sort of breakup,” she says.

The first, plump tear rolls down your face as Mia and Sebastian go their separate ways to chase their dreams; Oliver’s on the train, leaving a longing Elio behind; Julianne watches her best friend and love of her life, Michael, marry someone else; or when Noah and Allie face circumstances that lead to wasted time. Then the credits roll.

You’re left rotting on your couch while the fictional story continues behind the screen, but your dilemma is real. While these sob-inducing movies, songs, and books may help at the moment while handling a breakup, it’s good to consider long-term practices to help yourself too. Most often the worst part about a breakup isn’t the breakup itself, but everything after. It can range from advice that doesn’t

help but you take graciously, aimlessly sitting around, waking up and remembering it wasn’t a bad dream and the realization that the world keeps turning — even when it feels like your life’s taken a pause. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to let yourself wallow until you feel okay enough to do otherwise. I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do though, because everyone’s healing process is different. Instead, take this as your ultimate “how-to” guide in tailoring your break-up to you.

These feelings can not only be emotionally intense but can also take a toll on us in other ways. NYC-based Licensed Psychotherapist, Lisa Mollick, explains how love and heartbreak have the capacity to impact our mental health, down to our millions of neurotransmitters and hormones.

She explains that the first text, phone call, handhold, or kiss feels like a rush of euphoria due to the body producing more dopamine. “Our brain perceives extreme emotional pain as physical pain,” says Mollick. “Therefore, a breakup leads to similar physiological changes to physical pain.” Negative emotions, increased stress, anxiety, and depression follow, and as a result, we use maladaptive coping mechanisms to deal with our overwhelming feelings of hurt.

Pile those songs you listened to while you were together into a playlist for another time.

Music offers many glimpses into different times in our lives. Whether it’s your driving playlist, or the one being used to get you through your breakup, we often measure time with music and the moments we associate with them.

Those little tchotchkes, dried flowers, notes, and anything else you’ve hoarded over time? Put them away.

Don’t worry, there’s no need to completely wipe them from your memory, but letting these belongings marinate, somewhere unseen can help. It’s okay to outgrow those things and them, just as it’s okay that they do the same with you. Maybe the day you forget they’re hiding in a corner, collecting dust is the day you’ll feel okay disposing of them.

Those like Juliana Smith, 19, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, have taken to this “out of sight, out of mind” approach, storing her sentiments in a box underneath her bed. “Anything from my prom corsage to movie tickets went in the box,” she explains. “It feels weird to throw it out because I’m not angry about anything, and there’s no real urge to get rid of it.”

As all relationships look and feel different — pay attention to your needs.

Some people feel great after a breakup, even relief, while others may never feel fulfilled. Listen to your wants; whether you need to be alone, with friends, go out, or simply do nothing, make sure to provide for your mind, body, soul, and heart, however, it may be.

Usher emphasizes the importance of your care and needs, sharing how she’s even had to counsel some people into trying protein drinks because they weren’t eating enough. Although this isn’t the case for everyone, taking care of yourself could simply mean treating yourself to a nice massage or letting your mind rest by taking a nap.

When the time’s right, find other memories to associate these songs with. This can be hard, especially if it’s music you love. In these moments, remember that being in love with memories of someone isn’t the same as being in love with them presently.

Shea Quinn, 23, a recent Fordham University graduate, shares how music played a role in his first major relationship. “Our connection brought us to many of our favorite artists, from Lana Del Rey to Taylor Swift to Joni Mitchell, as the complex feelings they sing about resonated with us,” he says.

For Quinn, separating from his partner after three years, catapulted him into a period of rumination, exclusively listening to songs he knew would make him upset. “After being more removed from the relationship, it was helpful to stop listening to those songs in order to disassociate the memories from the music and slowly be able to rebuild new meanings for them as I gained new experiences,” he explains. “Eventually, I was able to listen almost as if it

There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to get over your ex. Leave the self-sabotage at the door, and find out what works for you, and only you.

It’s hard to take advice from someone who didn’t love that person the way you did. No matter how much anyone wants to help, they won’t be able to speak to your experiences.

Maybe your friend really disliked your ex or your family wasn’t accepting of them, so it’s easier for them all to say, “Well, good riddance, you deserve better.” Of course, family and friends want the best for you, but it may take time to see what others were seeing. Believe it or not, it’s even healthier to come to those revelations on your own.

Perfecting the art of putting on a smile whenever that ex is brought up can come at a later date. It’s okay to feel your feelings without convincing yourself you have to ignore them.

“Breaking up with someone has similar physiological feelings as withdrawal from a substance,” Usher explains. So, surrounding yourself with people who will allow a safe space to feel, without letting you drown in it is essential.

A sticky situation, and one that might be better to avoid at all costs.

You may feel confident in pursuing a friendship out of the sheer desire to keep that person in your life. We tend to play it safe and gravitate toward where we’re comfortable, especially when it comes to people. Some of these spaces can turn into toxic ones, and for those trying to pull themselves out of one, stepping away may be hard. Know that relationships don’t need to last forever to have fully run their course.

“Sometimes it’s the secondary losses that hurt more,” says Usher. “You lose your friend, your couch buddy, the person who you spent so much time with.” Although this may be more painful, believe them when they say it’s them, not you because it really is them.

Mollick agrees, stating, “One of the harshest lessons in life is loving someone, while also knowing they’re not right for you or cannot give you what you need.”

Be careful with making anger your motivator.

Becoming angry may feel good — for the first five seconds. Afterward, it does nothing but festers into a bigger problem when approaching future relationships. Reflect on the recent relationship and recognize things that worked for you, what didn’t work, and what you learned about yourself.

It’s common to internalize the loss as if the relationship ending means we aren’t worthy of love and belonging. In order to avoid future heartbreak, many people turn towards reactions derived from anger and defensiveness. “Diving head-first into revenge and rebound mode (aka, swiping Tinder and Hinge for validation), shunning any support, or vowing to take a ‘sabbatical’ from dating indefinitely are all very common reactions,” says Mollick.

While there are a million reasons to want to resort to anger and be upset that things aren’t working out, know that you’re not alone. The sooner you learn how to manage it all, the better you’ll feel.

Breaking up doesn’t have to mean “glowing up.”

As cliché, as it sounds, stay true to yourself! Just because your life’s changing, doesn’t mean you need to change with it. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t cut or dye your hair — go ahead, do it — it just means that everything about you doesn’t have to be defined by previous relationships.

Connect with the things that you’ve always loved. If there’s one constant throughout the entire journey, it’s you. Thank the body, mind, heart, and soul that went through it. It’s still yours, even if it was once theirs.

If you find yourself struggling, refrain from reaching out to them.

It’s a nice sentiment to reach out. And, sure, no one will understand what you’re feeling better than the other person going through it, but this can be more damaging than you think. Taking baby steps to move towards a life where you no longer have each other will never get easier if you keep in touch. Talking to someone who knows what you’re going through will validate your feelings, but consider that it might also only deepen the hurt if they’re the same person responsible for it.

Don’t shy away from getting help if you need to. Buy yourself a journal so that those moments you’re dying to text and tell them about can be written down, safely away from their inbox. If you got a new job, finished a book you would love, or listened to a song you’d like, write it and say to yourself, “I can love this on my own.”

Usher advises that texting or calling a friend when you have the urge to reach out to your ex can act as a healthy substitute.

Closure isn’t always necessary — or dare I say — it’s never necessary.

We all know you’re looking for that excuse to text your ex. “Hey, Can we meet for lunch? I really just need some closure.”

Usher’s advice? Don’t. She notes that more contact may only lead to more hurt.

There’s no need to test the waters and see if that spark is really gone. Closure is often mistakenly seen as something that the other party needs to provide, but most of the time, it comes from you alone.

Nothing may ever really feel like closure because of that million-dollar question: “What if?” So rather than closure, think acceptance. Once you’ve accepted the ending of something, you’re able to move on to the beginning of something else.

One of the hardest parts of heartbreak is relinquishing control and accepting. “Amid heartache, we tend to play the highlight reel over and over, reminiscing and romanticizing what could have been, yet failing to recognize the faults, voids, or unmet needs,” says Mollick.

She believes that loving someone and having to let them go is one of those cruel, life lessons that involve developing a sense of acceptance.

“We tend to think accepting something means getting over it, and we’re thus relinquishing something that’s out of our control, or perhaps giving up something,” she explains. This doesn’t mean minimizing the significance of what happened or how you’re feeling about it, it just means being willing to acknowledge what is, without resisting or denying it.

“Accepting things isn’t about changing what’s happening. It’s about embracing reality. We embrace reality because it’s already here, right now, and resisting it won’t make it go away,” continues Mollick.

Commit to embarking on a journey of selfawareness, self-acceptance, and ultimately selflove. Rewire your brain of the negative thought patterns and engage in positive self-talk that allows compassion, kindness, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and intention.

Leaning into the discomfort and feeling comfortable in previously uncomfortable spaces is common as people are afraid to sit in their darkness. But a big part of healing is showing up for yourself and doing the work.

Soon enough, those dreaded rolling credits won’t leave you rotting on your couch but rather have you ready to hold your own hand, building your own breakup the way you want.

Don’t let other people weigh in on how you should feel.
Stay away from trying to be friends right away.
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The Doc Is In — Time for Tattoo Therapy

For some, going under the needle is better than any therapy session.

“I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach,” famously said makeup artist, Kat Von D.

Tattoos are more than just beautiful, body adornments. Tattoos, by definition, are body modifications made by inserting ink, dyes, and pigments into the dermis layer of the skin to form a design. But in more recent years, many people have found themselves turning to tattooing as a means of therapeutic release.

Though that act of tattooing isn’t therapy in itself, many participants have found that it relieves one’s woes by acting as a mood booster, allowing the body to produce feel-good chemicals that can reduce pain and create a cathartic sense or “natural high.” Similar to the feelings thrill-seekers experience, these adrenaline-induced emotions can temporarily act as emotional liberation — a method that may be just as old as the art of tattoos. To people all over the world for centuries, tattoos and body modifications have symbolized more than an ink insertion into the skin or alteration to one’s body. These designs and modifications have served far beyond, acting as forms of identification, individualism, commemoration, unification, and even as an emotional release.

The first known record of tattoos was on a 5,300-year-old European Iceman named Ötzi found in 1991. According to Marilyn Callan, a writer at the Smithsonian, he was buried beneath an Alpine glacier and was discovered with 61 tattoos covering nearly his entire body — Ötzi’s tattoos were evidence of therapeutic practices that came far after his time.

After a sailing captain returned to England from Tahiti in 1769, what was called “tatau” by Somoans and Pacific Islanders became what we know today as “tattoo,” spreading around Europe. Tattoos found themselves especially favorable among sailors with the first tattoo shop set up in 1870 by a German immigrant sailor, Martin Hildebrandt, in NYC’s present-day Chinatown.

However, the etched history of tattoos is not all beautiful — the African tradition of scarification and other body modifications increased tremendously during the slave trade to identify specific ethnic groups and unite captured people with their roots. Whereas in ancient China, tattoos marked criminals and bandits to warn others not to trust them. During the Holocaust, Nazis tattooed numbers on the wrists of Jewish people to dehumanize concentration camp inmates.

While these instances all derive from different meanings and associations, it goes to show just how significant tattoos have been in impacting a person’s physical, mental, and emotional persona.

The book Bodies Under Siege: Self-Mutilation in Culture and Psychiatry by Dr. Armondo R. Favazza, takes a deep dive into why people — tattooed by choice — allow and participate in the alteration of their bodies. Favazza found that self-mutilation can serve as a physical representation of someone releasing their emotions and it offers immediate relief after.

This sensation also occurs during Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI). However, many professionals like Psychotherapist, Nisha Ifran, don’t see tattooing as a form of NSSI.

Disclaimer/TW: Mentions suicide and self-harm.

“While I don’t agree with the notion that tattooing is a form of NSSI, I do believe that the pain has an addictive quality,”

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Others like J. Sutton, author of Healing the Hurt Within: Understand Self-Injury and Self-Harm, and Heal the Emotional Wounds, argue that tattooing is just a socially acceptable form of NSSI because it replicates the urge to self-harm and offers a similar sensation.

There are a million and one ways to cope with all that life throws at us. As the stress piles on, it can get overwhelming, but with safe coping mechanisms, managing that stress can get much easier. Everyone finds the ways that work for them, and for some, tattoos are just that.

“Typically when we go through emotional dysregulation, we want to release the painful emotions,” says Psychotherapist and Self-Harm Specialist, Jess Haddad. “When receiving a tattoo, the pain receptors in our brains allow for the relief of physical pain and painful emotions. Tattoos can also aid in coping with grief, especially after loss when people get commemorative tattoowws.”

Body modifications can become a coping mechanism that allows us to process difficult emotions in a more out-of-body aspect. Whether or not an individual believes the use of body modifications as a coping mechanism is healthy, they’re safer than most forms of NSSI.

If done by a professional and taken care of properly, body modifications can even aid in healing emotional trauma.

During a study done by Frankie J. Johnson at the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 on the motivation behind getting tattooed, a respondent detailed that the pain of getting a tattoo done was “welcomed as a pain that could be controlled amongst all of the emotional pain that could not be controlled.”

It can be said that these adornments can truly be representations or artistic vessels for incredibly emotional moments in some people’s lives. While these can alleviate and help pain and negative feelings for some, they can also provide more positive comfort and life significance for others.

Notably, Johnson also found that his interviewees got tattoos to remember something — such as a person, message, or time period — to mark new beginnings, for aesthetics, to cover scars, or even to connect to their culture.

The physicality of getting tattoos helps match someone’s outside appearance to how they feel on the inside. When these things align, our self-confidence can skyrocket. We can get comfortable and love the skin we’re in, and that alone can be incredibly therapeutic. We’re permanently becoming a part of beautiful art through the designs and messages we put on our bodies.

And 18-year-old NYC-based artist and FIT student, Patrizia Galati agrees. “They make me feel good about myself, and I love collecting art from many different artists,” he explains.

If anyone understands what the power of tattoos can provide for some people, it’s the artists themselves.

“Tattoos are a form of energy transference magic: the needle penetrates the skin, releasing its energy into you,” describes NYC-based tattoo artist, David Santma. “Energy is everywhere

67 confirms Ifran.

Others like J. Sutton, author of Healing the Hurt Within: Understand Self-Injury and Self-Harm, and Heal the Emotional Wounds, argue that tattooing is just a socially acceptable form of NSSI because it replicates the urge to self-harm and offers a similar sensation.

There are a million and one ways to cope with all that life throws at us. As the stress piles on, it can get overwhelming, but with safe coping mechanisms, managing that stress can get much easier. Everyone finds the ways that work for them, and for some, tattoos are just that.

“Typically when we go through emotional dysregulation, we want to release the painful emotions,” says Psychotherapist and Self-Harm Specialist, Jess Haddad. “When receiving a tattoo, the pain receptors in our brains allow for the relief of physical pain and painful emotions. Tattoos can also aid in coping with grief, especially after loss when people get commemorative tattoowws.”

Body modifications can become a coping mechanism that allows us to process difficult emotions in a more out-of-body aspect. Whether or not an individual believes the use of body modifications as a coping mechanism is healthy, they’re safer than most forms of NSSI.

If done by a professional and taken care of properly, body modifications can even aid in healing emotional trauma.

During a study done by Frankie J. Johnson at the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 on the motivation behind getting tattooed, a respondent detailed that the pain of getting a tattoo done was “welcomed as a pain that could be controlled amongst all of the emotional pain that could not be controlled.”

It can be said that these adornments can truly be representations or artistic vessels for incredibly emotional moments in some people’s lives. While these can alleviate and help pain and negative feelings for some, they can also provide more positive comfort and life significance for others.

Notably, Johnson also found that his interviewees got tattoos to remember something — such as a person, message, or time period — to mark new beginnings, for aesthetics, to cover scars, or even to connect to their culture.

The physicality of getting tattoos helps match someone’s outside appearance to how they feel on the inside. When these things align, our self-confidence can skyrocket. We can get comfortable and love the skin we’re in, and that alone can be incredibly therapeutic. We’re permanently becoming a part of beautiful art through the designs and messages we put on our bodies.

And 18-year-old NYC-based artist and FIT student, Patrizia Galati agrees. “They make me feel good about myself, and I love collecting art from many different artists,” he explains.

confirms Ifran.
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Close your eyes and imagine with me for a second, that you are the most alluring individual on the planet. People are hopelessly attracted to you for reasons they can’t explain. Everywhere you go, you can’t help but draw attention, people can’t keep their eyes off you. But you know why, and it’s all thanks to your secret weapon — a pheromone perfume.

But what exactly are pheromones, and do they actually work as a part of our beauty regimen?

Well, technically, pheromones are defined as chemical substances produced and released into the environment and are most commonly associated with animals and, more popularly, insects as a form of communication. Recently though, products like pheromone-infused perfumes and colognes, essential oils, and even candles have blown up in popularity among our own species — humans.

For animals, communication lies in the use of all senses, and for some, scent is the strongest form.

According to The Pheromone Site, in order to be classified as a pheromone, “a chemical signal must be (1) species-specific, (2) be produced by one animal of a given species, and (3) be both perceived by another animal of that species and it must change the receiving animal’s behavior and/or physiology.” This definition separates this signal from the likes of other semiochemicals such as attractants. Pheromones serve different purposes for animals, and there are several different kinds; the most observed being alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, and sex pheromones.

So, what’s with our peak interest in pheromones? Do they really affect us? In light of these products’ recent demand, all thanks to social media’s push of trends, we’re here to find out if they actually even work.

There are seemingly hundreds of perfume, essential oil, and candle options to choose from with just a simple search of “pheromone infused…” After combing through the endless results, curiosity got the best of me, and I opted for two extremely affordable products — “Moai Perfume for her” for $14.99 and “Pheromones Perfume Sweet” by Xiahium for only $4.99. Both of which were purchased on Amazon.

When I got the products, I wasn’t sure what I was in for. Pheromones aren’t something I’d thought about really ever — much less in an infused perfume I’d use on a daily basis.

The first product I tried was the “Moai Perfume for her.” Allegedly, wearing this perfume was supposed to make me downright irresistible, so the stakes were high.

Imagine my surprise when I took a giant whiff of the spray and smelled absolutely nothing. However, after a couple of sprays into the air, the scent started to peek through, though still subtle. A very natural scent with floral undertones and more powerful, earthy overtones, this isn’t my typical go-to scent, but the promise of being irresistible was too good to pass up.

Every morning for a week, before I left the house, I’d complete my morning routine with a few spritzes of “Moai” and be on my way. However, ten minutes into my daily adventures, it seemed to me like the fragrance had completely disappeared. I was determined to stick to my

examination of the powers of pheromones though, so I kept at it, figuring maybe I was just nose blind to the already vague scent.

As the days passed, I grew more skeptical of the “Moai Perfume for her.” My interactions with strangers seemed pretty standard. None of my friends commented on my brand-new daily scent to my dismay.

Now, maybe my expectations were a little fairytale-like, but there also was no line of people down the block, begging for a chance to be my next lover — so much for “irresistible.”

The first leg of my study may not have worked in the way I’d hoped, but I still had one more product to try.

For the second week of my experiment, I used the roll-on “Pheromones Perfume Sweet” by Xiahium. The roll-on scent was much more potent than the spray, and more like something I’d choose to wear — fresh and captivating with a sweet and fruity smell.

Already, I was more optimistic that I’d get some kind of result from this product, so again, each day I’d roll on a fair amount of “Pheromones Perfume Sweet” and go about business as usual. This perfume had a much longer-lasting scent and within the first day, I’d already been asked what I was wearing and complimented on the fragrance — already a huge improvement.

The week progressed, and I received more compliments of the same nature. “Ooo you smell really good today.” “What perfume are you wearing? I like that.” And then came the difference in physical interactions.

I’ve never experienced more strangers smiling at me, especially in New York City, than I had during this week. On several occasions, they even lingered a few extra seconds to hold the door for me. At my job, clients seemed more apt to strike up a friendly conversation and ask about my day while they waited for their appointments.

The people I encountered on a day-to-day basis seemed to be more receptive to the roll-on perfume. Being asked questions and receiving more friendly gestures opened the door to having conversations, which is the major stepping stone in creating human connections. My test had done a complete 180, and it gave the impression that perhaps, the pheromones were doing their thing.

I will say, there still were no people falling at my feet, but I’ll take a win where I can get one.

So, let’s circle back to the question that kicked off my experiment in the first place. Do pheromones really affect humans?

Maybe it’s all dependent on how the pheromones blend with your body’s natural oils. Maybe it depends on which product you choose and how its additives combine with the pheromones. Maybe it’s all just one big placebo effect?

It’s hard to say for certain with so many variables playing into the matter of attraction. But my best advice? Buy yourself a spray, and put it to the test. Who knows, you may be lucky enough to find someone falling at your feet after all.

Graphic Designer Erin
Watch out, one wrong step and “you’re canceled,” but the degree of “cancelation” depends on who you are.
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You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law — except this court isn’t mediated by a judge. It’s judged by a jury appointed by the court of public opinion.

Beware, the jury is out on this one — has “cancel culture” gone too far?

We’re all familiar with the infamous cancel or “call-out” culture: the act of withdrawing support also known as “canceling” celebrities, brands, and public figures in an attempt to hold them accountable for their actions and wrongdoings.

In our era of buzzwords, these two — “you’re canceled” — are the buzziest of all, with the phenomena taking center stage over the last ten years or so. However, the concept of “canceling” someone or something is neither new nor improved.

When the phrase came into collective consciousness has been contentiously debated; however, its origins have roots firmly planted in Black empowerment movements.

Tracing back to the Civil Rights boycotts of the 1950s and 1960s, “call-out culture” was a tool used by the Black community to reject cultural figures who spread harmful ideas. Anne Charity Hudley, chair of linguistics of African America for the University of Santa Barbara, described “canceling” as “a survival skill as old as the Southern Black use of the boycott.”

From there, canceling resurfaced across the cultural zeitgeist in tidbits, from lyrics in Lil Wayne’s song “I’m Single” to reality television drama in Love and Hip-Hop: New York. Shortly after, it became ubiquitous on “Black Twitter,” with users popularizing the concept as a viable reaction to something you disprove of, whether it was a joke or serious.

The rest is history — the “cancel culture” beast was officially unleashed.

Unlike criminal offenses, there’s no governing body regulating the judicial punishment of these cancelable offenses. The length of your extradition is dependent on your status, relevance, and, ultimately, how much you’re willing to spend in order to buy yourself back into the public’s “good graces.”

Seriously, how many times will we have to “cancel” Kanye West until he’s actually canceled for good? Tweets calling out the rapper can be traced as far back as 2016, with @offlinemalek tweeting, “I was blasting “Fade” by Kanye, and then I remembered he’s canceled and changed.”

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Unfortunately, Ye isn’t the only celebrity or brand charged with a “felony” who’s still managing to stay afloat despite a problematic track record.

Take Balenciaga, a luxury fashion house that just presented its 51st couture collection at Paris Fashion Week a mere two months after its child abuse scandal. In attendance was an impressive portfolio of celebrity guests, who were presumably quick to turn a blind eye to the brand’s wrongdoings, ultimately forgiving the brand’s “sins.”

The 24-hour news cycle means that the shelf-life of cancelations is short-lived, so luckily for cancel-ees, you’re only canceled until the next person falls victim to the cancellation wolves. That, along with the fact that we consume an exorbitant amount of senseless content, means our memory retention is barely better than that of a goldfish.

We struggle to remember our coworker’s birthday on a good day, let alone keep up with who’s canceled, who’s not, and who used to be but somehow redeemed themselves with the help of a well-paid, savvy publicist.

To “cancel” someone is like slapping a bandaid on a cut without properly treating it. Essentially, a half-assed, quick fix that on the surface level may appear to hold people “accountable,” without actually facilitating real, productive change.

“Cancel culture applies to those we deem it applicable,” affirms Atiya Spencer-Willoughby, a New York based fashion student. “If you have money and power, you can come out of this hole. Look, Alexander Wang had a whole fashion week show that people actually went to… Julia Fox went to it.”

This predicament isn’t just restrained to the fashion industry, though.

Author J.K. Rowling joined the “cancel club” in 2020 after a controversial tweet targeting the transgender community. However,

despite being extradited to the brink of society to serve her dues, Rowling’s sales of the Harry Potter series increased tremendously in Great Britain.

What was once intended to hold people of power to universal standards has now become a tool to silence those with differing opinions from our own. Thanks to social media, the masses are quick to jump on the bandwagon of canceling without understanding the terms and conditions of the “cancel” in the first place.

“When you shun these individuals, you push them further into their extreme corners, into the niches of Reddit where they only have discourse with peers that agree with them, and that’s when they commit horrible acts to society,” explains Spencer-Willoughby.

We’re armed with a new weapon in our back pocket, and like any arms, when found in the wrong hands, danger arises.

Merriam-Webster’s evaluation of the concept reveals, “People tend to call out cancel culture itself as a negative moment, suggesting that the consequences of cancellation are too harsh in minor instances or represent rushed judgment in complicated situations.”

Twitter and cancellation go hand-in-hand, with the New York Times describing the platform as “cancel culture’s main arena.” With just a login, keyboard, and mouse, we’ve been granted the power to decry public figures in just 280 characters or less, changing the course of someone’s life at the click of a button — so, choose wisely.

Some propose navigating cancel culture through the loophole of “separating the art from the artist” — a way of differentiating one’s appreciation of an artist’s creative work from one’s disdain for the artist’s action.

But isn’t that simply ironic? If your moral compass forces you to disagree with an individual based on their beliefs, then is it really

possible to recalibrate the compass so you only appreciate the art they produce?

Look, “cancel culture” is definitely not the “definition of totalitarianism,” as former president, Donald Trump, proclaims; however, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. One can only begin to think is “canceling” doing more harm than good?

In terms of giving a voice to the marginalized pockets of society, the phenomenon has been a God-send, gifting the disenfranchised with the autonomy to call out these powerful individuals, particularly those who’ve had the luxury of living life on a pedestal.

“That’s when people warrant getting canceled,” shares, actress, Sofia Byrant. “There are some instances where an individual is given countless chances to learn from their mistakes, participating in productive conversations where they can be corrected yet choose not to engage.”

Osita Nwaneavu, a writer at The New Republic, states, “The critics of cancel culture are plainly threatened not by a new and uniquely powerful form of public criticism, but by a new set of critics: young progressives who largely through social media, have abstained a seat at the table where matters of justice and etiquette are debated.”

Celebrities may be the intended target market; however, we civilians aren’t exempt.

These days, our past is constantly under interrogation, each detail combed through with a fine toothcomb. You know what they say, “What goes around comes back around,” and the same can be said about your digital footprint as anything you say online will likely come back later in life to bite you in the ass.

Hell, it happened to comedian Kevin Hart. After announcing he was hosting the 2019 Oscars, Hart came under fire for homophobic tweets he made in the past. It should be noted he never formally apologized to the LGBTQ+ community, yet was still able to rebound. Controversial tweets may resurface in your next interview, or spicy Instagram posts will become the pinnacle of discussion after you get your “big break.”

Luca Mornet, a TikToker with 213 thousand followers and counting shared how he navigates the rocky terrain in order to not get canceled as a newcomer to the arena of public figures. “I always think before I speak,” Mornet expresses. “What I say will most likely be perceived differently by different people. I’m not scared so much, but just make sure to reflect on my words and their meanings.”

Mornet does see a benefit in the tool, believing it’s important to hold creators accountable, yet admits that sometimes things are taken out of context, making it very toxic. “It’s all about traversing the fine line between sarcasm and being straight-up offensive,” he clarifies.

When it comes to the concept of “cancel culture,” the bones

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“Thanks to social media, the masses are quick to jump on the bandwagon of canceling without understanding the terms and conditions of the ‘cancel’ in the first place.”
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of the skeleton are present, but the inside remains hollow. Some have advocated for a name–change, one of the most popular being “accountability culture,” which has a more forgiving air to it, one of less permanence. But is it enough to just give the concept a surface-level makeover? Perhaps it’s too soon to tell. Back in the courtroom of public opinion, the jury is still deliberating — to cancel, or not to cancel?

Unable to reach a consensus, the verdict is yet to be served. But for now, the jury prosecuting the fate of cancel culture remains hung.

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“Back in the courtroom of public opinion, the jury is still deliberating — to cancel, or not to cancel?”

“But for now, the jury prosecuting the fate of cancel culture remains hung.”

“Unable to reach a consensus, the verdict is yet to be served.”

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Nobody’s With The Band

Ticketmaster crashes. Camping. Disrespect towards artists.

If you’ve attended a concert in the past year, you’ve probably noticed that the atmosphere has changed. Since concerts have made their grand return, the once straightforward act of buying tickets and seeing your favorite artist has been transformed into a free-for-all where a pleasant experience isn’t guaranteed…if you can even make it to the door.

A new generation of concert-goers has arrived, and it seems that all established concert etiquette and decorum have gone out the window.

Shoving to the front, large obnoxious signs, and incessant talking during sets are all instances many music lovers are facing as stadiums are filled with audiences who seem to be lacking a basic understanding of how to behave in a crowd.

When in a confined space with others, one must act with care for those surrounding them to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. In such a hyper-individualistic society, it’s easy to see why someone would value their own experience before everyone else’s, but if everyone is serving their own interests, everyone’s concert experience will, surely, be significantly worse.

In past decades, such as the 60s and 70s, when festivals, like Woodstock, brought out hundreds of thousands and girls everywhere left home to become groupies, the concert culture was first established. “I imagine things were less uptight. Free, I guess you could say,” says Gracie Kahn, an Emerging Talent Associate at Atlantic Records and Usher and Ticket Taker at Terminal 5. “People just wanted to have that experience where you see an artist perform live — that energy is indescribable. I think the same thing goes for today, but there are major differences as far as security precautions and the overall rise of technology.”

While everyone was confined to their homes during the height of the pandemic, many people, mainly adolescents, were deprived of their first introductions to concert-going. This has led to

crowds filled with unruly teens who have no knowledge or care for basic rules or practices at shows and festivals.

The Internet has only exacerbated young concertgoers’ lack of understanding, as you can’t go to a concert now without witnessing a sea of phones obstructing the view of the performer. It’s unreasonable to expect no filming at a concert, as it’s normal for us all to want to capture and look back on a moment we cherish. The flip side of this is that when you film for so long or at a specific angle, it takes you and fellow concertgoers out of the moment that’s meant to be enjoyed in real-time.

While filming can be a nuisance, other behaviors can take on a more dangerous form with bigger consequences.

Throwing gifts at an artist (especially flowers and underwear) has been a staple of concerts for decades but somewhere in the last few years, it has become normalized to chuck objects — including, but not limited to, water bottles, shoes, cameras, and even Skittles (Harry Styles fans everywhere are still on the hunt for the perpetrator) — directly at an artists head.

In 2022 alone, Kid Cudi, Steve Lacy, and Matty Healy all addressed onstage that their safety was being put in jeopardy through some very fedup outbursts. It now seems that certain concertgoers cannot distinguish between showing love for an artist versus their own selfish attempts to get a performer’s attention.

Mosh pit culture, where crowds aggressively push or slam into each other, is another trend that has exploded in recent years and can have serious and harmful consequences. Although general admission works on a first-comefirst-serve basis, some unhappy and inpatient fans take matters into their own hands by deciding to push their way to the stage right before or during the set. Even if the sense of fairness is removed, it’s never okay to forcibly move somebody without their consent.

This is even more extreme at certain concerts and events as it can be encouraged by the artist themselves.

Playboi Carti is a rap artist who has a culture at his shows that’s been built primarily around mosh pits and raging. In the past, he’s encouraged his fans to get lost in the music and go wild without any care for others’ safety. This has resulted in real injuries that have lasting consequences. With the newfound push for concert safety, Carti and other artists have become more cautious about how their fans behave during sets, with warnings before the show and taking breaks when necessary.

On March 3, 2023, during his Rolling Loud California performance, Carti stopped the show and announced, “It’s an emergency right now, someone’s hurt in the f***ing crowd. Let’s take a break right now.” This effort to monitor the crowd’s behavior and assess their safety marks a positive shift

Between TicketMaster’s tyranny and a new wave of bad show manners, will concert-going ever be the same?
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in how artists and their teams view concert safety.

The lack of concert etiquette may cause issues for many concert-goers, but will only matter if you’re able to secure tickets in the first place.

Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, according to the Associated Press, owning around 70 percent of the market share. They’ve also merged with LiveNation, the world’s largest concert promoter, which allows them to sign exclusive deals with venues and threaten to blacklist artists if they don’t comply with their rules.

These practices force consumers to pay Ticketmaster’s outrageous fees or simply render them unable to attend as there are no other sellers left in most cases. With an institution this large and powerful, who could have predicted that Taylor Swift could spark their potential dismantling?

After the release of her tenth studio album, Midnights, Swift announced “The Eras Tour,” which will span her past and present musical eras. The demand for this tour was unprecedented, with Ticketmaster claiming that over 3.5 million “Swifties” registered as verified fans to gain access to their presale.

The now infamous presale resulted in delays, site crashes, and the general sale being canceled one day before it went live. While Ticketmaster blames fans and bots for these issues, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned the company in January 2023 over “anticompetitive conduct.”

The insane demand for an artist as widely popular as Swift shows us that even if they’re going on world tours in stadiums that hold 80,000, the opportunity to see the artist that you love is becoming a scarce commodity.

Concerts have now joined the likes of vacations, becoming luxury experiences that many people have to save up for and splurge on. Due to the rising costs of concerts, the days of everyone going to concerts are over and are now becoming a signifier of wealth. Flaunting pit tickets to “The Eras Tour” online is now on par with owning a designer handbag.

Fears surrounding inflating ticket prices have increased so drastically that some fans have taken to attempting to gatekeep artists at all costs. While The 1975 surpasses fifteen million listeners on Spotify, certain fans take umbrage with their

songs going viral on social media due to the idea that they may no longer be accessible.

The sloppy handling of “The Eras Tour” ticket sales put pressure on Ticketmaster when Beyoncé announced her “Renaissance World Tour.” All eyes were on the company to handle the high demand as they’d just come out of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

This time around, according to NPR, they implemented “staggered registration deadlines and presale dates, in addition to using its ‘Verified Fan’ system to try to minimize bots.” They’ve also made sure to keep expectations in check by clearly stating that some fans might not be able to secure tickets due to the number of people interested. Ticketmaster heard the backlash from all sides after the Taylor Swift fiasco and is making sure to find new ways to get customers tickets in this competitive climate.

The presale for the “Renaissance World Tour” went smoothly, with no major technical issues, and most fans received presale codes as promised. A pleasant change of pace for a tour of this scale, but it came with strings attached.

Due to Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing, where prices fluctuate based on customer demand, prices quickly increased by hundreds of dollars without warning. This move resulted in fans still upset as they may have had access to purchase tickets through the site, but the unreasonable price tag presented yet another barrier.

The heavily inflated costs of concerts post-pandemic have resulted in fans of every genre missing out on experiencing their favorite artists perform. With prices being this steep, the amount of potential customers seems to be rapidly shrinking, which has created a new phenomenon.

Concerts are now commonly sold out by bots and scalpers who raise the price past what consumers are willing to pay. Many of these overpriced tickets go unsold and artists now perform to empty seats instead of the fans who couldn’t afford it. Companies like Ticketmaster still haven’t created a viable solution to keep tickets out of the hands of scalpers and accessible to the consumer.

At first glance, the future of concerts seems bleak, with numerous entry barriers and obnoxious crowds, but hopefully. This is just an uncomfortable transition period after the initial COVID shutdown. The government will hopefully create new regulations that fight monopolistic practices and companies will adapt to give their customers the best chance to access these tickets.

And as for the outrage over the lack of concert etiquette, experienced concertgoers have used social media to inform the next generation. Countless videos have been uploaded on TikTok in recent months instructing viewers on basic, well-established, rules to follow when attending a concert. With many of these videos garnering thousands of likes, the effort to bring back etiquette has begun to be successfully revived.

If a sense of decorum can be instilled once again in concertgoers, maybe we can finally shift our focus to just enjoying the music and never have to be bounced to the back of a Ticketmaster queue ever again (our hearts go out to you Swifties).

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“The lack of concert etiquette may cause issues for many concert-goers, but will only matter if you’re able to secure tickets in the first.”

The Beginner’s Guide to READING AS A HOBBY

Reading is a staple of childhood. A single book or series can leave an imprint on our minds forever. The excitement of venturing into a new world not only entices children to read books but also encourages adults to get back into the habit of reading.

Whether it’s your resolution for 2023, or you want an activity that could be used as a mental break, reading’s the perfect hobby to bring (back) into your life.

The Mysterious Bookshop (mystery books) and Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore (activist books).

2.) Revisit books from your childhood to spark your love for reading again.

Every time you read as a kid, a new adventure would appear on each page. Whether it was running from pirates with Jack and Annie from the

4.) Download an app for recommendations or to read on the go.

Goodreads and StoryGraph are perfect for finding reviews on almost every book and for creating a list of books for later while keeping track of what you’ve already read. There are a variety of reviews, which can be beneficial when trying to decide if a book’s worth the read. You can make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read or books about subjects that you are interested in.

Even though the Kindle debuted about 16 years ago, it’s recently started trending again with people of all ages. It’s the most popular electronic reader (e-reader) in the world, and since its release, other brands have come up with their own versions. Instead of bringing a paper book onto the subway, you can read your favorite book on your iPad or Kindle. If the Kindle isn’t your preference, Barnes and Nobles Nook, Kobo Books, and PocketBook Reader are some great e-reader app alternatives.

you prefer jotting down short ideas, annotating may work best as it’s a great way to keep track of thoughts while reading.

7.) Set a dedicated time for reading.

Between school, work, and socializing, finding free time in a day can be difficult. Even if you have a goal to finish a book in three weeks, it’s important to implement smaller goals to help get the big task done. Setting aside just 20 minutes a day for reading can help when trying to finish a book. As you work on your habits more, increasing your time to an hour can make it eventually become one of the best

Giving yourself a goal of reading 30 books in one year can be helpful, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t end up accomplishing it.

Some books you pick up might not be for you, and you may want to start a different one. Though it’s hard to not want to finish a book, it doesn’t make you a bad reader. Don’t feel like you have to finish every book you start. A helpful rule is the “Fifty Page” rule. If after 50 pages, you aren’t enjoying the book, it’s time to quit and move on to another book.

As spring warms up Manhattan and summer approaches, it’s the best time to dive into a book and motivate yourself to get some sun while you indulge in a good read. Whether you were inspired by “BookTok” or were just reminded of how fun reading can be, your reading hobby is only a page turn away.

Trying to start reading for fun? Here’s how you can get started or jump back in.
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Graphic Designer Caitlin Yackley

From the “I Hate Men” movement to sexist male-driven podcasts, the current state of misogyny and rising “misandry” movement are more prevalent than ever. Where can our society go from here?

TW: Mentions of violence, mentions of murder, mentions of rape, mentions of sexual, and physical abuse.

In my time conducting general research for this piece, a sloppy Google search brought me to a page on the notorious website, Reddit, titled “r/MensRights.” The content on this page was eye-roll inducing at best and genuinely alarming at worst. The most “upvoted” post (the post that was the most largely agreed upon among the page’s participants) shone an ugly glare from the top of the page.

The poster was essentially comparing the current “raging misandry” movement to racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia, claiming they were all rotten eggs in the same basket. If it hadn’t been for the number of “up arrows” agreeing with the post’s author, it would have been laughable.

To truly and earnestly believe that the latter ideologies — which have resulted in thousands upon thousands of injustices, assaults, and deaths, to a “movement” that has never hurt anything beyond feelings is, to be frank, incredibly asinine.

A misandrist is defined as one who “dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against men.” This will not be a piece of writing that ardently defends misandry as a movement, but it won’t be condemning it either.

Should every person be treated with respect and dignity? Absolutely, yes. Has Western society been constructed in a way that allows for that to happen on personal or systemic levels? Hard no.

Despite what some among us may think, misandry as an ideological movement wasn’t formulated and enacted by a group of teenage girls on TikTok. The term misandry first began appearing in social and academic literature in the 1980s as a response to the men’s rights movement

response to a potential threat to that power makes sense, objectively speaking. No powerful structure takes kindly to being challenged, but it’s quite a fragile structure that can rattle so easily.

On the note of how men are socialized in society, we must acknowledge that for decades, our culture has socially conditioned men to be adversarial. That isn’t to imply that all men are aggressive or violent, everyone knows plenty of men who aren’t. But when one is raised to react in an adversarial way to any and all forms of conflict, it makes sense, objectively, that the reaction from men to the current “misandry movement” has been so alarmist.

It explains the overnight popularity of men like Joe Rogan and Andrew Tate, it explains the rise of the “alpha male” stereotype, and it explains the sudden insistence on going 50/50 on the bill.

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Most people in their late teens to mid-twenties probably remember the rise and fall of 4Chan. Similar to Reddit, 4Chan is an anonymous imageboard website that was launched in 2003 and blew up in the mid2010s. Founded with innocent intentions, the online platform quickly became a breeding ground for antifeminist and misogynistic rhetoric.

Anonymous message boards for people to vent their frustrations and find communities have existed since the dawn of Internet time, but the 4Chan epidemic was the first instance in which we got to witness how truly harmful the Internet could be in real life.

These were the early days of young, impressionable men being algorithmically guided down what’s now referred to as the alt-right pipeline. In the simplest terms, this occurrence typically happens with boys between the ages of 10 to 14. These young boys are subtly guided from an innocent search to progressively more and more hateful, violent content, and since everyone’s still trying to figure out the best way to raise children adjacent to the Internet, a lot of these boys have completely unlimited and unrestricted access to these pages and forums.

When there’s nobody telling you differently, it’s incredibly easy to believe everything you hear as the one and only truth. It would be easy to write this off as only existing online, saying that technically, it’s harmless since it only lives in anonymous chat rooms, but the fact is that this has quickly become a real-world issue.

Because these boys grow up being indoctrinated with the belief that all women are malicious and out to get them, they lash out against the women they know in their real lives and can grow up to be violent men.

On the opposite side of this spectrum lies that term, misandry.

Never will this author deny that men get murdered by women, that men get raped by women and other men, that men get abused by women, and that men can be harmed and mistreated. However, how misandry differs

from misogyny is that acts of violence or abuse being enacted upon men are not a result of long-standing societal facilitation. Is screaming, “I HATE ALL MEN’’ a generalizing and aggressive statement? Of course. But again, one must return to objectivity to properly analyze the cause of this effect.

Unless you’re Sisyphus, content to push the rock back up the hill indefinitely, everyone has a breaking point. The point from which one gives up on niceties, constructive conversations, understanding, and somewhere within them, something that was once fractured finally turns into a break. Misandry differs from misogyny in the sense that misogyny is a system enforced to keep women oppressed so that men can maintain power, and misandry is, at its simplest, a defense mechanism.

In her equally criticized and celebrated essay, “Moi les hommes, je les deteste (I Hate Men),” French writer, Pauline Harmange, argues that “misandry exists only as a reaction to misogyny, which is at the root of systemic violence.” And speaking objectively, this is true.

Were it not for the existence of misogyny and its violent impacts on women, there would simply be no need for misandry. Truer words were never spoken than when in a speech delivered in 1984, Audre Lorde told us that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Almost forty years later, this sentiment still serves as an explanation for the current social trend occurring among women.

Once again, as a result of the Internet and its ability to bring together people with similar lived experiences, women have been able to voice their frustrations and build one another up, resulting in a collective realization: baking the patriarchy cookies and asking it nicely to stop hurting us won’t work. It is a fruitless endeavor trying to change the system from within, when the system is specifically designed to keep you down and out.

As is the case with any form of conflict, there’s fallout on both sides. Tensions between men and women seem to escalate with each new day. It seems as though the harder women resist, the harder men react. Of course, all of this being stuffed into the steam cooker that’s the Internet only amplifies the circumstances and makes them so much worse.

The direction we move in from this point is unclear — the path is hard to see through centuries of aggression and misunderstanding. Declarations of peace and love and that we’re all human above everything hold little weight in a world that systematically encourages discrimination and violence. What do we do with this anger besides letting it eat us?

Writing about the Internet always feels like shouting into an already full void — we all already talk about it all the time. But in the case of this combative cultural movement that has begun to grow between men and women, the Internet must be discussed.
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Art In The New Age

As Fine Arts seniors at FIT wrap up their final year, preparing to permeate the art world, they weigh in on the future of the art world.

Model Kayla Edmonston Model Olivia Oppenheim

The art world remains to be on the cutting edge of innovation. Since the 2020 BLM protests, there has been a change of dialogue within museum spaces to uphold marginalized voices and art. These conversations are also being propelled by social media. Alongside this fast-moving shift, technology in the art world has also grown in popularity — that technology being artificial intelligence (AI) art rendering that can produce bodies of artwork at incredible speeds.

The theme of today’s art world seems to revolve around rapid growth and change and visual art students at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) are taking part alongside it.

COVID’s lockdown produced many challenges for artists and art institutions as life was taken inside, and almost entirely online. Those in the art world had to think on their feet to maintain the public’s interest in art, and artists like the students at FIT sought new areas of inspiration amidst this complicated landscape. “People are starting to look within themselves, and I think that’s a result of the COVID lockdown,” says Fine Art senior, Hannah Braun, as she reflects on the current experience of artists today.

The BLM protests of 2020 produced a tidal wave of calls to action and

accountability to institutions like museums to open up to conversations on their exploitative, elitist, and colonialist past. These calls created a progressive shift in museum spaces as marginalized artists were finally receiving recognition for their work and talent as artists.

This has also opened the floor to all artists of varying skill levels, education, and artistic expression. Those in the art world and those who love art are pushing to hear from those from all walks of life and typically underrepresented demographics.

Fine Arts senior, Daxian Zhao, notes that he appreciates how much more diverse the art world is. “Anything can work right now, doesn’t matter how you paint or what your subject matter is,” he explains.

Another senior, Jada Hairston, describes her appreciation for how this shift has opened up to more mediums of art being explored. “I really like the pivot from painting to other forms,” says Hairston. “The boom in interest in craft arts has especially delighted me.”

It seems as though the contemporary art world is beginning to be more accessible to artists of all backgrounds.

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Accessibility via social media has become a key component in art as artists have the ability to promote and share their art across many platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok. However, it can be a double-edged sword: social media allows artists to get more visibility and attention, however, the other end creates an over-saturated feed of types of artists that generate art for clicks. Fine Arts senior, Kayla Edmonson, weighs in on this, stating, “Certain qualities of paintings that do generate a lot more likes will get repeated, and that in itself puts artists in a new box with new rules to follow.”

Social media is like a modern-day Farmer’s Almanac, where everyone comes to get their insight on news, culture, fashion, and trends, creating a platform where people can sell themselves. For artists like Edmonson, “the shift to digital isn’t fun and requires more to keep track of.”

FIT’s Fine Arts seniors all share a similar sentiment in regard to their desires to simply create, and how our current consumerist landscape produces a stressful environment. Instances such as Yayao Kusama’s Louis Vuitton are less favorable amongst the artists, as it reinforces the traditional narrative of art as a product for consumption and skew people’s perception of art and what it is.

“We see this pivot with the rise of photography and film. I believe that art is in a weird space where due to the rise of Instagram, more people than ever are aware of art and the market. But also due to that, there seems to be a co-op for the space,” further explains Hairston. “The consumption of art is seen as less genuine as more ‘look how cultured I am. I like art.’”

The challenge these young artists are facing is how to stay true to their craft and not be wavered by artist “trend cycles” on social media and selling out to brand collaborations.

The move to digital seems like the natural progression of art and technology and has been accelerated since 2020. NFTs and blockchains have taken the world by storm, but only momentarily. The newest obsession in the art world is AI art.

A program that uses a text prompt and converts it into an image, AI has become the center of legal debate, because living artists are having their work unrightfully put into the generator by AI companies. In addition, AI can produce images comparable to masterful works of art in a matter of minutes, and Fine Arts students, like Jane Schechter, are concerned about AI’s potential impact on art and artists’ livelihood.

“If AI becomes a dominant force and traditional art-making becomes obsolete, would people ever think of art and make it? Less likely. Capitalism and [the] market society really lead to a mode of interaction with people that are completely results-based,” says Schechter.

AI companies don’t seem to have artists’ best interests in mind, and as a result, can alienate artists from their experience-driven work.

However, many students don’t find AI all that threatening. Given that AI is growing in accessibility and that a majority of students work with traditional methods, the desire for handcrafted artworks will be on the rise. “There’s something about the energy that’s put into the physical object that is art, that I think is undeniably important,” said Schechter.

For as long as we’ve known and made art as humans, one thing that cannot be taken away from it, is its humanity. Senior, Olivia Oppenheim, was one of the few to share positive feedback in regard to AI. “ I think any way to be able to see more art is always a good thing,” she expresses.

Perhaps AI can be used as a tool for good in aiding artists to see their visions come to life.

With all that’s rumbling within the art world, Fine Art students at FIT only have one thing in mind, and that’s to create the art that they love. What will always remain as the true ethos of the art world is artists and their desire to produce art in response to the world around them. With this changing landscape, one thing remains for certain according to Schechter: “It would be lovely if art could remain pure in essence of people just wanting to be creative.”

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“The challenge these young artists are facing is how to stay true to their craft and not be wavered by artist “trend cycles” on social media and selling out to brand collaborations.”
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The 80s called, they want their ideas back. Everything new has become a repeat of something old. Is creativity truly dead or is it just being reimagined?

It’s 1950, and Disney just released their animated adaptation of Cinderella, based on a fairy tale written in 1697. It becomes an instant classic that people will watch for generations. It’s 1997, and a musical adaptation of the fairy tale comes out starring R&B singer, Brandy. Eager fans cannot wait to see her in this familiar fantasy world.

Now, it’s 2004, and Hillary Duff stars in A Cinderella Story. This time, the story is taken out of the fairy tale world and put into the modern world. In 2008, Selena Gomez stars in Another Cinderella Story. In 2015, Disney comes out with a live-action version. In 2021, another starstudded musical adaptation premieres.

All art is borrowing in some capacity. Artists are constantly inspired by art they’ve seen or music they grew up listening to. But at the same time, the creative industry is also a business, and businesses want one thing — money. The late Pablo Picasso was once quoted saying, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” But how much does one have to steal before originality becomes a thing of the past?

Today, every new song sounds like a sped-up, peppy version of an old one. Every new fashion trend was already popular twenty years ago. Every new film has already been remade twice before (or in the case of Cinderella, hundreds of times). With a money-making mindset, artists and businesses will continue to feed into this never-ending, uninspired cycle — the formula is proven to work.

So, are artists truly paying homage to the past, or are they just looking for a quick way to make cash? It’s a fine line that distinguishes a true artist from a business venture.

How can we tell the difference?

The Creative Recession

In an ideal world, all content would be completely original, but there are only so many ideas the brain can come up with in the limited time we have on Earth. Content creates profit, but producing it isn’t cheap, and creators need money to fund their projects.

The creative industries have completely transformed in the past decade. With innovations in technology, it’s easier than ever for all mediums of art to be made, accessed, and reproduced. Rather than originality, entertainment value has become much more of a priority in contemporary media. In a capitalist world, its main purpose is to reach the masses and create buzz among them. With all businesses having these similar objectives, they continue to mass produce repetitive content to turn a profit.

According to the American Psychological Association, creativity is defined as “the ability to produce or develop original work, theories, techniques, or thoughts.” With so much redundant content in today’s culture, creativity has become a commodity.

If something has been proven to work in the past, it has a high chance of working again. With this knowledge, businesses are more willing to invest in remakes of old projects they know will work rather than risk their money on a brand-new idea that doesn’t guarantee results.

Film industries have been doing this for years. Notably, “Hallmark movies” have become notorious for following an exact formula and applying it to a variety of similar situations. These rom-com and Christmas movies are so predictable, they have become the poster child for copying and pasting.

The Starving Artist

The starving artist sits in their studio apartment in Bushwick. They brush through their messy hair with their fingers, pull on a pair of wrinkled jeans with an “intentional” hole in them, grab their leather-bound notebook, and contemplate whether to pay this month’s rent or buy more art supplies. They’re one of the most creative people you’ll ever meet, yet also one of the most broke.

At least that’s what we imagine, right?

In a convoluted world where art intersects with business, many artists feel restricted. The pressure to make money and appeal to popular tastes can majorly influence what’s put out into the world.

“When I’m designing, I typically feel restricted because most customers will not be wearing couture or avant-garde pieces on the daily,” explains Ellen Kim, 19, a Fashion Design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

Remade content is a product of these constraints. When faced with questions such as what will audiences like or what will make the most money, creatives face the near-impossible decision of whether they’re willing to sacrifice their artistry.

New York-based artist and producer, Halima, sometimes feels the need to appeal to popular tastes. “The thing that people end up connecting to is the stuff I’m less precious about,” she says. “But whenever I feel that I’m often getting in the way of myself.”


Many times, this decision ends up with a piece of artwork that has guaranteed popularity. Prominent figures have become notorious for doing this, or “selling out” in their fields.

Take Miley Cyrus, a self-proclaimed sellout who said in a Billboard interview that her younger self would disapprove of her decision to move away from country and make pop music. Or even Shaquille “Shaq”

O’Neal, who has been in almost every cable TV commercial about printers to pizza in the past decade.

A Never-Ending Relationship

Recently, HBO canceled its streaming platform’s Gossip Girl reboot after only its second season. The popular teen show was originally released in 2007 and featured the likes of actresses like Blake Lively and Leighton Meester, running for seven long seasons before its end. So, what went wrong this time around?

Content is made to fit the times. The themes addressed in Gossip Girl are outdated — they’ve been done. As much as they try to Gen-Z-ify the reboot, it doesn’t have the same effect it did 16 years ago.

Audiences were drawn to the show as an escape into the dramatic and luxurious lives of the rich and famous. Now, audiences are gravitating towards more relatable content. The creators of the reboot chose the safe route, by following the formula that was proven to work for the old series. However, its cancellation is an example of what can happen when a remake doesn’t consider audiences’ changing preferences.

Art is closely connected with our most innate memories. Giorgio Miraflor, a Brooklyn-based actor and filmmaker, explains that with remakes in the film industry, there’s already an interest and curiosity with how it’s going to be remade, who they’re going to cast for it, and if it’ll be better than the original.

This means that if artists and businesses continue to create remakes, the majority of the population is bound to keep consuming them. It’s this constant cycle that helps businesses make a profit and keeps creativity at a slow and tragic decline.

It’s Not All Bad

Despite the arguments about originality, recycling ideas isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s a matter of giving old content a well-needed makeover.

Recreating art can pay homage to its original artist. “Creepin,” a song released by Metro Boomin, The Weekend, and 21 Savage, is a sampling easter egg. Anyone familiar with early-2000s music probably noticed its familiar sound as it made its recycled rounds. The song samples Mario Winans’ 2004 hit “I Don’t Wanna Know,” which is evident by its chorus that directly covers the track. What many don’t know is that Winans’ track also samples two other songs.

“Creepin” was an updated take on an already familiar song. But instead of ending up in a lawsuit like many remakes, the artists credited Winans, who even went on to praise the song via Instagram.

Some people argue that the ability to recycle old projects allows you to be more creative. Artist Andy Warhol is most famously known for his colorful pop art prints of already-produced photographs. Using publicity

shots or tabloid photographs of celebrities, Warhol would print over them, make copies of them, and add bright colors. This eventually led to him creating his iconic style of art that we all recognize today. Remakes also help a changing world, allowing for representation in places it didn’t exist before.

The new live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, for example, pushed for change by casting Halle Bailey, a Black actress, to play the mermaid that many associate with the white, redheaded version of the character that Disney produced in the 80s. Ocean’s 8 and the 2016 remake of GhostBusters had full female casts to replace previously all-male ones. These choices reshaped history and allowed old stories entirely new meanings. As the world progresses, remakes reflect these changes and switch up the narrative.

In recent years, there’s been an increasing emphasis on representation and diversity, especially in creative industries. People of all races, ages, genders, and identities are making waves in spaces that have previously been closed off to them. Representation in art is important as it’s the basis for gaining a deeper understanding of the people and world around us.

Breaking the Mold

It doesn’t look like remade content is going away anytime soon; it’s become a part of a wider culture. But creativity isn’t dead either. Creatives just need to have the courage to think bigger than what they already know.

Constantly learning and experiencing the world around you can be the best remedy for a lack of creativity. “Watching and observing people helps me so much with stories and performance choices,” shares Miraflor. “I think we can all benefit from paying more attention.”

Another way to stay innovative is by reducing the amount of content you consume. Overstimulation can seriously disrupt creativity and lead to a lack of productivity. Sometimes, allowing yourself to be bored can lead to a burst of innovation.

And innovation doesn’t have to mean coming up with the next revolutionary idea; it may already be within you. “I like to think about what I’m feeling, and oftentimes, it’s not unique to me or new,” explains Halima. “I love the experience of collaging those thoughts together, creating a patchwork of feelings, and challenging myself to create a space for these collisions.”

However, it’s totally okay to take inspiration from other artists. Some of the best artwork is built upon or inspired by things that have already been created, but rather than completely copying someone’s work, it’s better to find creative ways to make it your own.

Maybe it’s a matter of taking inspiration from multiple artists and combining those. Find what you like about each piece of work you’re inspired by. Is it the colors a painter uses? A certain technique a photographer incorporates? A philosophy a musician uses to guide them while producing a song?

Take components of what you like from your inspirations, and apply them to construct your very own artistic style. “The beauty of individuality is that no one really sees the world the exact same way as we each do,” says Miraflor. “We all have our stories to tell, it’s just about finding the right lenses to do it in.”

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Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli

Coming Full Circle

A decade after founding Blush Magazine, Dianna Mazzone reflects on her time with the publication, at FIT, and how things have changed over the last 10 years.

“I’d love to attend [the launch party], but that’s the day we’re actually getting married, so I think I’ll be a bit busy,” she laughs.

Ten years after the start of Blush Magazine — the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) first student-run fashion, beauty, and culture magazine — Blush’s founder and first Editor-in-Chief, Dianna Mazzone, sits across from the current Blush team, finding herself in a full circle moment.

“10 years, wow. It feels super long but short,” she says smiling. “I don’t understand how this is possible — I just graduated. But it’s all you can ask for that these sorts of things remain after you though.”

At 29, Mazzone is practically glowing, beaming as she fills us in on the details of her upcoming nuptials to her longtime partner, Herman Singh. “Funnily enough, we actually met at the FIT speed dating event,” she blushes. “Do they still do that?”

They do indeed, but Mazzone and Singh are definitely the only success story we know to actually come of it (for now).

Now the Associate Features Director at Allure, Mazzone, who’s planning to tie the knot at the Central Park Zoo in early May, is currently working hard on Allure’s features and notably their famous “Best of Beauty” awards when she’s not prepping for her big day.

In a flowing pink and orange, floral caftan (her go-to look according to her Instagram bio), Mazzone glides as she walks around the studio. Hunkering down at a small, glass table while we test the lighting some more, she sips her coffee from the same Starbucks she recalls from her college days (28th Street and 7th Avenue to be exact). Answering some emails as her grand engagement ring glistens in the light trickling in from the windows, she begins to spark some conversation before the interview even begins.

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Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli

Mazzone recalls the magazine’s humble yet impressive beginnings, noting how the idea for a magazine on campus came to be.

“I felt like FIT is such a creative school, it should have a magazine. There are so many talented students from so many different walks of life with so many creative skills, and a magazine is a great way to put all of that together,” explains Mazzone. “From stylists to photographers to writers to editors — it just seemed like a great opportunity for everyone to get a feel about how it works in the real world, get some experience along the way, and make something beautiful for the FIT community.”

I’m sure many of us can hardly imagine FIT without Blush and if you’re like me, it’s one of the reasons I found myself coming here in the first place. The magazine has truly given so many students the opportunity to grow and create the solid groundwork for their future careers outside of the confounds of 27th Street — something we’re all more than grateful for.

An Advertising and Marketing Communications student herself, Mazzone began the publication with nothing more than pure drive and a passion for writing and especially beauty (definitely fitting for her current role at Allure). She recalls the first issues, printed out no bigger than a Playbill would be, begging the FIT bookstore across the street from the school to be their first-ever featured ad, and pushing carts around to fill school newsstands to the brim in the hopes that students would take them. And they did.

Getting Blush off the ground, however, wasn’t so easy.

“It was originally kind of a fight to get people to understand what we were doing, and once we had something tangible that we could present it was like, ‘Oh, I get it. Yes you can have resources and yes, so-and-so wants to join and do this,’” remembers Mazzone. “Just having that gave us some credibility to take us to the next level.”

A “scrappy” but determined team as she calls it, Mazzone and her team built Blush from the ground up gathering students from other majors, friends who knew of friends with experience, and utilizing the skills they had garnered from the school’s newspaper, W27. First and foremost though, the magazine needed a plan. “I knew we should have a theme or some other unifying force or it was going to be a little all over the place,” she explains.

As enthralled as we all are with her story, Mazzone seems as eager to

know about us and our roles with the magazine as we are to know about her own journey.

She’s shocked to learn that Blush has grown to a circulation of nearly 300 members and remembers when meetings were considered full when they had 20 attendees. Another sizable change for Blush; however, many things about Blush have still remained the same, especially what it offers members.

“I learned a lot about myself during that time,” she recalls. “Also managing a team and keeping things on track; I use skills I learned in Blush to this day like, ‘Oh, that’s how I respond to that situation.’”

Another part of Blush that’s remained unchanging? Our name. So, how did the name Blush come to be?

She laughs. “I wish I had a good story for the name,” she says. “I just started liking beauty a bit more than fashion at some point, and selfishly I wanted a beauty magazine — I know now that it’s both and everything at once — it just seemed like a happy name. I don’t really remember how we all got to ‘Blush.’”

Regardless of how the logo and image of Blush have changed over the years, the name has stood the test of time. But leaving a lasting name isn’t Mazzone’s most memorable accomplishment from her time at Blush “I think just the fact that we had something physical to hold in our hands was like, ‘Oh we did this.’” Even a decade later, I can confirm that we all still feel the same. Mazzone notes that print has that wondrous effect as a tangible culmination is so special for many.

Before we know it, the clock is just hitting noon, and we’re wrapping up to get her to her next engagement on time. She quickly changes into a chic, workwear ensemble that seems to derive straight from Paris itself — straight jeans; a tweed, blue and white fitted jacket; and a black, Prada headband to top it off — and runs off to a meeting at Allure.

She excitedly embraces us all as if we’re old friends before eagerly waving goodbye from the elevator, set for her day of editing and meetings — much like me (maybe with a less chic look and place to be, however).

Now that I’m EIC, in Mazzone’s shoes from a decade ago, I wonder if I’ve just seen a glimpse of my own full circle moment in the future. Perhaps ten years from now I’ll be able to look back and say, “I’ve just graduated. Has it really been 20 years of Blush already?”

Model Dianna Mazzone
Photographer Nafisah Crumity
“I felt like FIT is such a creative school, it should have a magazine. There are so many talented students from so many different walks of life with so many creative skills, and a magazine is a great way to put all of that together.”
ARTICLE NAME 110 Special Thanks to Contra Studios Thomas Group Printing “In Loving Memory of Mary Emes” Brought to you by the Student Activities Fund 108 SPECIAL THANKS
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