Blush Magazine - Fall/Winter 2022

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Jacket & Dress Christian Cowan COVER Model Bea Tal Photographer Caro Scarimbolo Photo Assistant Lauren Clements Stylist Raelen Todd Makeup Hannah Asch Hair Kira Cunningham Graphic Designer Colette Antonaccio

The Phantasmic Issue


Creative Director

President Art Director

Junior Art Director Photo Director Photo Director

Fashion Director Beauty Director Photo Editor Managing Editor

Senior Fashion Editor

Senior Beauty Editor Senior Culture Editor Treasurer Editorial Assistant Public Relations Social Media Manager

Raelen Todd Alyssa Latella Cecilia Connelly Adiba Tamboli Colette Antonaccio Hunter Petersen Nafisah Crumity Zakkai Jones Sweekriti Dahal Max D’Amico Payton Bierk Pilar Bradley Akili Dzwill Rebecca Yoo Noreen Hofving Khaliek Bethune Bhavika Punjabi Madison Collins

Art and Design

Photography Fashion Beauty

Adiba Tamboli, Alexis Brabender, Caitlin Yackley, Colette Antonaccio Danielle Bilello, Erin Kidd, Julianna Vicente, Lauren Salerno, Lily Kotz, Molly Davis

Allison Simms, Alyssa Latella, Blakely Harrison, Dahlia Mallebranche Danikah Chartier, Felicia Dislavo, Hunter Petersen, Kervens Jean Nafisah Crumity, Ryan Brown, Sarah Eichenbaum, Sarah Heditsch Taj McKnight, Victor Pickens

Alyssa Latella, Ashley Choi, Elizabeth Lee, Endya Pagan, Hannah Brower, Lorry Lang, Nathaly Krzesiczan, Raelen Todd, Trinity Jones Victoria Panzella, Zakkai Jones

Colleen White, Frankie Byrd, Hannah Asch, Hannah Rongo, Iris Santiago, Jennie Segedin, Josephine Hadjiloucas, Kira Cunningham, Liberty Ackerman, Michelle Wei, Nicole Yannarelli, Sweekriti Dahal

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,

Fall/Winter 2022


Akili Dzwill Senior Beauty Editor Rebecca Yoo Senior Culture Editor Noreen Hofving Treasurer Raelen Todd Editor-in-Chief Alyssa Latella Creative Director Cecilia Connelly President Nafisah Crumity Photo Director Zakkai Jones Fashion Director Sweekriti Dahal Beauty Director

F/W 2022

Khaliek Bethune Editorial Assistant Bhavika Punjabi Public Relations Madison Collins Social Media Manager Hunter Petersen Photo Director Adiba Tamboli Art Director Colette Antonaccio Junior Art Director Pilar Bradley Senior Fashion Editor Max D’Amico Photo Editor Payton Bierk Managing Editor
006 Editors Letter 008 Fabric & Its Forms 020 Archive Preservation 024 Reinvention 032 Unconventional Capsule Wardrobes 038 Patterns & Prints 044 Fashion Totems FASHION 008 TABLE OF 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS
098 How Much Is Too Much? 100 Glass Box
104 Let’s Unpack Secondhand
106 Pop Culture Is
116 The
118 Double
122 Marking
124 Spoken Word: The Poetry of Our Generation BEAUTY & WELLNESS 050 CULTURE 098 CONTENTS 7
050 It’s Time To Speak Your Love Language 052 Hideaway 056 Lash Staples 060 A Scentimental Memory 062 Unlearning The Standard 072 Balancing Your Chakras 078 Meditation 080 Dissociation 086 Lucid Dreaming
Black Culture
Subgenre Take Over
Your Territory
Jacket Myles Gibson Skirt Zara Photographer Hunter Petersen
Stylist Raelen Todd Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli

I’ve lived a linear life.

One of tangibility and ambition.

But as I wander, I’m not on such linear planes. There’s a beauty in symmetry that I’ve never had the pleasure of relishing in.

I can see the lines and where they should meet, The moments that should click, The instances where we should’ve been in love, And the times where I should’ve gone easier on myself.

I don’t wander through mundane physicality, But through a realm I created

In my mind.

But I fear I’m lost here.

There are mountains of mystery And Isles of illusiveness.

I don’t know why I’m here anymore. When the hues of the sky are gone, I close my eyes and dream of Linear life.

With you, With me, With us.

I’m not yet ready to escape these winds, Or the salt underneath my feet. Here I can’t feel the void where my heart used to be.

I’ve created a world Where I can live In perfect


With you.

Yet, I am not Whole.

Because as I dream, I see Phantasmic illusions filled with People

Who like me, are loved And have dreamt of lands such as these, Lands with high hills and rough waves, Trees that break and burst under such violent thoughts.

You’re too hard on yourself in there, Wake up and Breathe.



Remember that dreams are realities turned

Unrealistic. Intangible. Untouchable.

Or at least, that’s what they’d have you believe.

This realm that we live in, Where we can escape from our treacherous middle ground, This land where we either love too much or not at all. Dream too big or far too small. This realm is not one deemed unimaginable by oneself.

Dreams are just realities flooded with Hope, Love, And passion.

They’ll tell you that you need to leave. That a child like you can’t live up there too long. And sometimes you believe them. Sometimes you can feel the darkness wrap around you, As the air gets thick and foggy. You can no longer see what you once loved about this place. A place you created to escape and create.

Please don’t be fooled.

The mind is an illusory tool. All that pain and melancholy is you fighting this destiny, The destiny that you’ve already seen up there,

Cause there is no dream so large That you can’t grab with your own two hands.

Don’t use your one true gift against yourself. The mind Your mind, Is the greatest place one can live, Because there you can see,

All that you’re meant to be.

Welcome to The Phantasmic Issue. Enjoy.


Fabric Forms and its

In an era of striving for the latest new staple look, how will embracing unconventional fabrics shape how we look at everyday fashion?

Model Elmina Angrand Set Caleb Ryan Wells
Shoes Prada Jewelry Vintage
Skirt K. Nassia

A bright spotlight. The pitch-black room starts to emanate with an angelic glow as Bella Hadid graces the stage. She enters the floor, owning it, covered only by her hands on her bare chest, a beige thong, and a pair of quaint kitten heels. With cool confidence, Hadid stands alone and awaits the team that has come to leave the audience breathless.

Dressed in all black to not draw attention away from Hadid, Sébastien Meyer, Arnaud Vaillant, and Helena Tejedor of Coperni, holding metal machinery, begin to spray the supermodel with an unknown white substance. Within only a few short minutes, Hadid transforms from the nude — exempt from a pair of underwear — to glowing, dressed in a simple, elegant, white dress.

Fashion, as we know it, has been reborn. Fabrics, and what has always been solidly known of them and their creation, have been renewed.

Avant-garde. New, unusual ways to create. Whether artists, designers, or the everyday consumer, the “next big thing” is something that the outof-the-box seeker is constantly searching for.

Regarding the Coperni show as a lens for the ever-evolving culture of fashion and the impacts of fabrics and their formations, we’re able to grasp how these new inventions shape the course of where the fashion climate is headed.

When Hadid took to the stage and was within mere minutes dressed in a skin-tight cocktail dress, viewers from a critical fashion lens or simply intrigued by what the tabloids were discussing, were able to understand the entire scope of the usage of fabrics (or lack thereof) to create a masterpiece to leave the masses speechless.

In our modern society, past usage of fabrics was used with conventionality and comfort in mind. This idea has now turned on its head with nonfabrics and innovations being used as unconventionally as clothing statements.

From Stella McCartney’s mushroom leather to lampshades being worn as tops during fashion week to be infiltrated into everyday attire, designers are constantly searching for new ways to create unconventional, or seemingly unattractive, fabrics into beautiful pieces of the future.

Stella McCartney has been a powerhouse in the fashion industry since the beginning of the brand in 2001. Known for her vegetarianism being at the forefront of her designs in an era of a typical meat-eating society, McCartney has built her company upon new, sustainable ways to produce her vision. Since the start, the designer has held true to her word and never used any animal products to produce her clothing. But, in an era of luxury goods revolving around the usage of furs and leathers, how is it that she combats this idea into creating a tangible luxury product?

With the breakthrough release of MYLO ™ mushroom leather products by Stella McCartney in March of 2021, luxury consumers were able to reimagine what was once thought of as the creation of top-dollar fashion goods. In her recent collection for SS 2023, McCartney used over 85 percent recycled and sustainably sourced materials in her fabric productions. With her mushroom leather handbag, the first of its kind, McCartney is constantly reinforcing the idea of futurism in the fabrics industry and in doing so, is making waves in bringing innovative unconventionality to the forefront.

To wear the blouse, or not wear the blouse? Or, in Grace Stratton’s case, to wear the lampshade, or…?

Grace Stratton, 22, an Entrepreneurship student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) knows the word unconventional like the back of her hand. Within her first week living in New York as an 18-year-old freshman in 2019, Stratton began gracing the top of fashion articles featured on publications such as The Cut, Vogue Runway, Vogue Australia, Repeller, and Mr. Street Peeper, among numerous others for a single outfit she wore attending a fashion week event.

For a new student just beginning her start in a big city coming from the Midwest, this came as quite a shock to Stratton.

So, what was the special piece that brought her to the front of NYFW? A lampshade.

“My outfit wasn’t planned in the slightest,” states Stratton. “I threw it all together that morning. When I put it on, I felt comfortable, original, and ‘myself.’”

Dress Kuai Li Shoes Chanel
Jewelry Vintage

Photographer Alyssa Latella

Stylist Victoria Panzella

Makeup Nicole Yannarelli, Iris Santiago

Hair Jennie Segedin

Dress Bree’s Original Designs

Model Troi Russell

What could be better?

“I wore a pair of vintage, brown, suede shorts; my favorite old cowboy boots; a white, collared shirt with puffed sleeves (found on sale at Urban Outfitters — I guess you really can find a gem anywhere?); and — the real kicker — an antique lampshade,” she explains. “It was delicate, orange, with cream ruching which gave it a blouse effect.”

So, where in the world did she come up with that idea?

“I saw it as a light fixture at my mom’s store, Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis, and thought I could pull it off to wear as a top!” elates Stratton.

When fashion is, in essence, a medium of art and expression, should comfort be the main focus? Or when pushing uncomfortable boundaries (whether physical or mental), such as Stratton did in 2019, do we discover how fashion makes us who we are?

When looking into the ever-evolving world of design, one can only admire the work ethic and the innovative minds of the blossoming designer. August Bent, 21, a fashion design student at the University of Madison Wisconsin, has always had a mind of creativity that has pushed him forward in discovering new ways to create unconventional fabrics into his designs.

In regards to his favorite fabric for his more avant-garde looks, Bent’s response proves surprising. “Denim,” he confirms.“It has amazing structure and the ability to add color with its many different washes.”

It appears that fabric exploration doesn’t always need to include inventing the next new material.

For his inspirations, Bent further explains how he draws from the likes of Oliver Theyskens, a Belgian designer who reincorporates many of the fabrics of his past designs into a completely new collection masterpiece.

Bent believes the future of fashion relies on renewing meaning and giving life to past fabrics and finding a way to give purpose to every creation.

“I was in Goodwill and noticed an ugly, old couch. I had an upcycling project to do for a class and I thought — this should be fun,” he explains. “I ended up being able to create a coat that I was proud of after, and it was cool to see what I could make out of the most unassuming of places.”

In all essence, Bent uses inspirations from architecture to structure his pieces and firmly believes in discovering new ways to create, especially in the most unconventional (or in the couch’s case,–unattractive) fabrics to create the one-of-a-kind pieces of tomorrow’s designers.

Drawing from Bent’s insight and the Coperni show regarding the future of fashion, one can assume that the unconventional will become the new convention. We have seen with the newfound universe of Meta that fashion and fabric, in essence, need not be tangible to hold. Similar to how Hadid was only moments before nude and in an instant, donning an elegant, white gown fit for the runway, consumers will see fashion take place in forms never once seen before.

With digital fashion in the Metaverse on the rise, one can presume that the use of fabric may or may not be of such importance to the everyday consumer, in the sense that fashion and the use of fabrics can be obtained from the comfort of a consumer’s home from their computer. With this, while fabrics will always have their necessity and crucial importance every day, their forms may not stay the same in the coming future.

In a world full of risk-takers, especially in the fashion industry, it’s a wonder that many still find it difficult to explore new areas of fabrics and their forms. It’s about time that we push against the idea of fabrics only being cotton, wool, and nylon. Why not bring a lampshade to the mix? Wear a pair of leather jeans instead of denim? Make something out of–nothing? When the whole point of fashion is to break boundaries, explore, and reinvent oneself, if you want to try something new: try it! If you hate it, well, you never have to wear it again!

Shoes Schutz Jewelry Vintage




Attire achieves artifactual quality when its value reflects a time, a feeling, or a greater purpose. Whether this value is possessed upon a garment’s creation or deemed so later on down the line, fashion artifacts are what we grasp onto to understand our history and fuel our imagination.

The longevity of an archival garment begins with its preservation process. If we don’t protect these pieces, they’ll never stand the test of time, or rather, the harms of humanity.

Most recognizably, Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress is a fashion archive cherished and beloved by pop culture and history junkies alike. Representing a powerful woman, a distinct era, and a sentimental memory, this dress is currently on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! exhibit. This past year, Kim Kardashian wore this famous piece to the Met Gala, unfortunately dampening its original memory and ensuing supposed irreversible damage. The shared access to these historical pieces should be appreciated to continue existing emphasizing the necessity of awareness for preservation of such pieces on both large and small scales.

Red carpet ensembles are progressively being hand-picked from designer archives and vintage luxury companies. Tab Vintage is a curation of designer runway pieces utilized by Hollywood’s royalty and stylists creating the magic. The online retailer carries rare pieces from admired legacy designers Christian Dior to Pierre Cardin, and everything in between. The list of purchasing stars ranges from those well - established to on-the-rise artists of all ages.

Recently, pop singer, Dua Lipa, stunned in a 90s leather Thierry Mugler dress on her birthday. While days later, actress, Leslie Mann, graced in an 80s silk, taffeta Oscar De La Renta gown. Each was curated from Tab Vintage.


Accessibility to historical rarities in fashion is not only for the rich and famous, however. E-commerce companies and resale apps are incorporating archives directly into their merchandise, and if shoppers keep their eyes peeled, these items could be theirs too.

In order to continue this growing industry sector though, preservation of these garments is crucial.

Each of us, as individuals, also create our own museums of artifacts so to speak. It’s our responsibility to preserve and cultivate our possessions, and by doing so, we pave the way for sustainable living where our things have value far beyond any price or type of validation. After all, a person’s belongings, especially their clothing, represent memories and the constant evolution of oneself.

Clothing is delicate; fabrics, trims, and age are all types of factors that come into play while determining how to care for an archival piece properly. Proper preservation entails not only protective storage, but also effective organization, careful analysis, adequate cleaning, and awareness of pest management.

Why apply this much care to a seemingly meaningless object when there are countless alternatives being produced? It’s simple. An item that depicts one’s style truly holds intangible worth.

Fashion, itself, is not the term for the consumer-powered manufactured goods worn on the human body. In truth, fashion is a tangible extension of our autonomy: a way of life, a reflection of time, and self-expression — none of which is collectively tangible. Yet, we as humans have created clothing products that inhabit these qualities. Products we can watch be loved, hated, changed, and recycled. That’s the beauty behind fashion’s madness and why we should care about preserving its creations.

Preservation also relates to the crucial sustainability movement transforming how the fashion industry works, saving us from selfdestruction. A garment’s life can be perpetuated by human protection, preventing mishaps and damages that often are closet dealbreakers, causing garments to end up in the garbage.

By maintaining world-renowned fashion items, remnants of the past can further education on technique and history for fashion students and enthusiasts alike.

Take the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Museum, for example. It has served this purpose heavily to not only its students, but also the general public. By minding their archival garments, the museum can hold various exhibits, from a dedication to the shoe phenomenon to paying homage to the 1990s style reinvention period.

Senior Conservator, Ann Coppinger, revealed that FIT’s Museum stores its collection in a climate-controlled room where each object is supported with archival, acid-free materials. “The Museum at FIT comprises the very best of fashion examples from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries — nearly 50,000 objects,” reveals Coppinger. “Each of these objects tells a story about the time and place in which it was made.”

The ability to curate and showcase inspiring creativity brings beneficial joy and knowledge to the interested audience. It’s human’s responsibility to conserve fashion artifacts, enabling future innovation and education because to create newness and enhance quality, we must learn from the world’s past creations.

Graphic Designer Colette Antonaccio
Illustrator Raystter Alves
Dress Qianru Zhang
Jewelry Vintage

Ten years ago, the American Apparel skater skirt was probably your whole identity. A couple of years later, you likely thought infinity scarves would be yours forever. Now, responding “I thrifted this” whenever someone asks where your outfit is from, is probably your biggest personality trait.

It comes as no surprise that with access to the Internet, we’re more exposed to different styles to follow. As we’re constantly learning and changing, this too reflects in our wardrobes. The more phases we go through, the more pieces we consume, and when the overturn of our wardrobe is exceeding our personal growth, reinvention of your style can feel problematic. But it doesn’t have to be.

Reinvention is powerful on both a physical and psychological level. In fashion, it can be seen in the revival of

brands. Take, for example, Vivienne Westwood’s gothic corsets and pearl “Bas Relief'' chokers. On a more personal level, reinvention can mean changing up your hair color or adopting a new style aesthetic.

Maybe you decide you're more of a Dark Academia girlie rather than a Cottagecore dame? The good thing is that one style doesn’t have to define you. You can wear a thousand different outfits, and at the end of the day, you’ll still be you.


More than a change in physical appearance, reinvention is a mindset before anything else. When life gets too familiar, we can get bored and become uninspired. Think about your current wardrobe. There have probably been plenty of times when you’ve stare at your closet hoping something new will magically appear. Much to your luck, your old clothes sit there and stare at you, mocking you for your lack of fashion sense. “I guess I’ll just wear this again,” you say to yourself. Not only can a tired outfit make you feel drab all day, but over time you can start to feel like you’re becoming stuck in a mental rut.

Luckily, fashion can be a significant tool in the reinvention process.

Changing your appearance can have positive effects on your mental well-being, and the reasons why you want to reinvent your style may stem from deeper feelings within you.

Maybe you’re feeling uninspired? Maybe you’re stuck in a routine that doesn’t make you happy. Perhaps you're just bored? Regardless of the reason, clothing holds certain symbolic meanings to us, and changing up your style can help improve your mood and overall confidence.


Making changes in your life allows you to grow and stay on top of your game (whatever that may be).

Take the sportswear brand Puma, for example. Since they collaborated with singer and entrepreneur Rihanna’s brand, Fenty, in 2017, they've fallen out of the spotlight. That’s until this past SS23 New York Fashion Week when models stomped the runway in black-tie tracksuits and digitally designed sneakers. Star athletes also took to the runway, like basketball player Kyle Kuzma who was draped in a skirt made from shiny, black puffer jackets.

This line titled “Futrograde” not only paid homage to the brand's lifecycle, but also marked its return to the competitive fashion market. Puma was able to highlight its existing impact on the industry and showcase what it can become, setting the tone for the brand moving forward. “Life is a sport. We’ve always played to win,” explained Puma’s creative director, June Ambrose, in an interview with Vogue

If there’s one thing we can take away from this comeback, it’s that reinvention allows you to discover new sides of yourself, helping you as you evolve into doing bigger and better things.

Model Grace O’Farrell Photographer Allison Simms
Stylists Raelen Todd, Alyssa Latella, Elizabeth Lee Makeup Michelle Wei Hair Sweekriti Dahal


Yes, reinvention is a change, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do it in a way most authentic to yourself.

Maintaining your unique identity through every phase will prevent you from falling into every trend that comes and goes. With the rise of social media apps like TikTok, micro-trends are circulating faster than ever due to the shortform nature of the content.

Fast fashion websites, like Shein and AliExpress, make cycling through these trends accessible and affordable but come at the cost of unsustainable and unethical practices. Despite this, following trends occasionally isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

After asking a group of female professionals across North America ranging from ages 18-35, about their stance on fashion trends, many think it’s totally fine to partake in them. So much so that they actually seek them. “If you need direction, trends are helpful in pointing the way,” one person says. Another person advises, “You need to go into it knowing these won’t be long-term investments, for example, I love the current cowboy boot trend, but know that isn’t a worthwhile investment piece in my wardrobe.” But changing up your style doesn’t have to mean buying new clothes either, "Sometimes relying on accessories or beauty trends for that fix is a better choice,” suggested someone else.


Reinvention doesn't happen overnight. You need to put in the effort and be ready to move outside of your comfort zone.

The first step for your reinvention could be simply asking yourself, “What haven’t I worn before?” Whether it’s a new color that you don’t normally wear or a funky print you’ve always wanted to try, there are a plethora of ways you can refresh your style.

Taking a look at your existing wardrobe is always a great place to start, however. It could show you that changing up the way you style a piece you already own can lead to a whole new world of style possibilities.

Consider layering or buttoning up a shirt in a different way. If you’re crafty, reconstructing your clothes can be a great way to revive old pieces. The ever-popular thrifting, borrowing, or renting are other fun ways to switch up your wardrobe. Maybe you’ve been eyeing your bestie's new cargo maxi skirt. Ask them if you can borrow it! Maybe you can lend them the crochet bolero you always wear in return.

As curator and author of Reinvention and Restlessness: Fashion in the 90s, Colleen Hill has matured, her style has become more subdued, and she chooses to prioritize high-quality and long-lasting materials. “I’ve found that spending more money on really good basics — especially sweaters, boots, and handbags — is always worth the initial expense. I wear a lot of those pieces season after season,” she confirms.

While she used to style a mini skirt with an oversized vintage cardigan and Chuck Taylors, now she pairs it with a black turtleneck and black boots. “When I was younger, there were highly distinct style tribes. It was fun, but also very limiting,” she explains. “Now I wear what I like (which is what I’ve always liked) while maintaining a great appreciation for styles that are completely different from my own.”

Some advice she has for someone looking to reinvent their style? “Only wear clothes that make you feel happy and comfortable,” she urges. “We’re lucky to live in a time where nearly anything goes, so there’s no need to fit into any kind of mold.”

Far more than a need to flaunt, refreshing your style is an ongoing journey toward discovering your unique identity and finding what works best for you. It can be a lot, so don’t rush it! Embrace the change and take it as it comes. With the world around us rapidly evolving, we must too, and style reinvention is the perfect place to start.

Top Anabelle Hernández

Jewelry Vintage


Un nv tion

Classic or unconventional, a capsule wardrobe is essential to one’s identity. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to shaping our capsule wardrobe.


The capsule wardrobe is a timeless collection of carefully curated clothing. Traditionally, staples in your capsule wardrobe are interchangeable; however, the meaning of a capsule wardrobe has become more misunderstood as minimalistic styles have become more and more popularized.

There’s a common misconception that a capsule wardrobe should be basic, boring, and classic; staples like slacks, white button-ups, and straight coats are essential. This conventional idea goes against the very nature of fashion, an industry that thrives on individuality, novelty, and pushing limits. As a result of this, you can end up filling your closet with basics that might not speak to you just to create more outfit variety with the same few items.

Your capsule wardrobe may contain versatile clothes, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be dull, leaving you with little to no room for creativity.

There are no rules when it comes to what pieces you can put in your capsule wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Some essential things to ask yourself first: Will I be able to wear this often? Can I wear it in multiple ways? It’s important to be sure that the clothes you’re buying aren’t a micro-fad that you’ll toss out in six months.

Secondly, does the piece spark joy or make you feel good? There’s no use in buying clothes that don’t make you feel like the best version of yourself. Fashion is not only a way to build self-confidence but showcase your innermost personality, so use that to your advantage.

For some, it’s about putting aside societal pressures and wearing those pieces that make you feel joyful, but for others, it’s about eliminating hassle with the guarantee of looking cohesive and sharp every morning. The unconventional capsule wardrobe is about exploring, experimenting, and owning your self-expression. The versatility of your very own wardrobe makes something traditionally conventional, unconventional.

Model and actress, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is one who can easily be identified by her chic, effortless, and sophisticated uniform. Keeping her silhouettes structured and elegant, she’s known to wear well-tailored trousers, elegant trench coats, or sensual slip dresses while experimenting with accessories or shoes in bright colors. In doing so, she makes her simplistic style elevated and Pinterest-worthy. And Huntington-Whiteley isn’t alone; other models and celebrities, like Hailey Bieber, have been known to emulate a similar style and approach their wardrobes.

When models like Huntington-Whiteley and Bieber helped to popularize the effortless “cool girl vibe,” street style became seemingly more casual as more people garnered chic and sophisticated silhouettes. A

Graphic Designer Julianna Vicente
Model Sophia Gutierrez Photographer Blakely Harrison Photo Assistant Anna Boylan Stylists Nathaly Krzesiczan, Raelen Todd Makeup Frankie Byrd, Colleen White Hair Jennie Segedin Bodysuit Michelle Johnson
Jewelry Vintage
Skirts COS,
Jacket Banana
Tops Finders Keepers, Joseph Brown
Wan Tun Tung
Charles & Keith, Vintage
Model Arlenys Pena

bu ng



minimalistic wardrobe with a predetermined set of garments that are worn interchangeably really began to become the standard for any capsule wardrobe.

While the functionality of curating a capsule wardrobe has many benefits, it’s not for everybody.

The standards set for a capsule wardrobe seem to suggest the idea that by getting the most out of your clothes, we all have to be wearing the same pieces. It’s time to trash that idea — or better yet — redefine it. To redefine a capsule wardrobe, it’s important to understand exactly how the relationship between your persona and style is connected.

In the process of redefining your capsule wardrobe, you must step back and observe it from an external lens. What from your life defines the way you dress? How much does your wardrobe reflect your identity? How much of your wardrobe is for pure convenience?

In most cases, we build our capsule wardrobes subconsciously. We often gravitate towards certain pieces we love to wear and find ourselves grabbing them without even a second thought. But what really determines what pieces get to call your closet home? While lifestyles, careers, morals, and hobbies play a large part in it, other factors can weigh in greatly on these decisions.

“A lot of people view capsule wardrobes as boring, but for me, I have a lot of interchangeable pieces that are colorful,” shares recent Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) graduate and personal stylist, Sahar Kariem. With her outgoing personality and love for color, Kariem finds this to play a significant role in what she’s wearing. “I love Converse! People have black and white, but I have my bright green and pink.”

It can also boil down to your environment. “Sometimes you can’t just walk around in a 6-inch heel to do regular errands,” says Bea Tal, an Advertising and Marketing Communications major at FIT.

In the spirit of wanting to create a capsule wardrobe, Tal has taken a moment to reflect on her style. It took a pandemic for her to look back into her closet and realize that it didn’t reflect who she was. “The fact that I’m outgrowing my clothes, not literally, but taste-wise, was a red flag to me,” expresses Tal. She has since ditched bright colors and strange

silhouettes for a more sophisticated, sharp look, and as a model herself, the “model off duty” look is perfect for her.

Clothing is a helpful tool an individual can use to heal personal traumas; it’s also a great way to take control of one’s life through an art form.

Chicago-based visual artist, Ameya Marie Okamoto, uses fashion as a form of confronting trauma and body image issues, not only for self-expression. “As someone who’s short, for a long time, there was a feeling that I would never be sexy,” she explains. Okamoto has also found uncommon struggles with dress coding, after repeatedly breaking the rules. “It taught me that people don’t perceive me as sexy, so why don’t I just use it?”

This led Okamoto to ultimately develop a sensual style by showing skin and disregarding public opinion. She found a form of therapy through clothes saying, “For me, style icons are individuals who express themselves without giving a shit.” She’s made this apparent in her style by wearing bold, vibrant, and saturated clothing. Now Okamoto’s signature look includes a pair of platform shoes; her rainbow, vintage racing jacket; and a vintage, purple slip dress from one of her favorite designers, Betsey Johnson.

From Tal’s neutrals to Okamoto’s alluring sense of style, these completely different personalities demonstrate just how individualized it is to redefine a capsule wardrobe.

When you’re building your own capsule wardrobe, it’s important to think about the factors that affect you every day life beyond your closet. What’s deemed conventional to you may be pretty unconventional to someone else.

While it may be customary for you to wear your 3-inch platform sneakers every time you leave the house, someone else may prefer to throw on a pair of vintage kitten heels. That’s what makes a capsule wardrobe so fascinating — it’s a way for individuals to take control of their lives through fabric.

When building your own wardrobe, remember that what shapes your style, should ultimately shape you too.

what shapes your yle, should shape you.”


As we curate our wardrobe, it may seem risque to experiment with looks we may not wear daily. Maybe you’re into neutrals and love a good monochrome moment. Perhaps, you’re someone who loves to experiment with bright, bold, and funky colors. Despite your preferred color palette and chosen aesthetic, patterns and prints will always be in season and in our closets.

Stripes, polka dots, paisley, florals, checkers, animal print; they’re here to stay.

If you’re a fierce fashionista who loves to wear leopard print one day, and an academic who loves to sport argyle the next — there’s always a way for you to wear both. Whether your style is sophisticated and timeless, daring and edgy, or eclectic and vibrant, there’s always a way for you to earn your stripes.

Assuming you’ve seen the film Clueless, you may remember our favorite 90’s it-girl, Cher’s iconic gamified closet. With the click of a button, Cher’s MisMatch machine provides viewers with a plethora of

It’s time to earn your stripes.

outfit combinations. The virtual lookbook gives Cher a helping hand when styling her closet staples with her iconic argyle and plaid statement pieces. Opening your closet to a catalog of potential outfits with the assistance of a computer would be a lifesaver!

But what if it really was that easy? What if we could mix and match our garments with the click of a button?

No machines are necessary. Only you can curate your dream wardrobe. Simply look at what staples you already wear, and don’t be afraid to play dress-up with the printed and patterned garments that need some love.

It may be intimidating to wear pieces you may not normally. The more experimentation, the better the result. The moment you feel confident in your outfit is the moment you’re the best dressed. While colors and textures may aid you in accentuating your look, prints and patterns speak for it. You are art, so why not adorn yourself with unique prints that define you?

Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli Top Lilysilk
Skirt Zoelle Bybs
Models Viviana Harris, Gabrielle Swenton Photographer Felicia Dislavo Stylist Lorry Lang Makeup Nicole Yannarellli, Sweekriti Dahal Hair Jennie Segedin, Hannah Rongo Bodysuit Anakon Top Maison Audmi Skirt Zoelle Bybs Shoes Per Fidem Jacket Anna Z Skirt Issey Miyake
Model Grace Stratton


Say goodbye to the rules: mixing and matching are back. Has it ever really left?

Legend has it, mixing and matching is a dangerous game to play. What exactly are the rules of the game? Do they even exist? Someone has to break the rules, and that someone can be you

So what if those horizontal stripes make you seem wider? That polka dot corset that makes you feel like a six-year-old may look major when paired with those tiger print Cavalli pants. If there’s one lecture fashion has taught us over the years, it’s to abide by your style — time to neglect those trends.

If you want to wear a patent, paisley blouse with a psychedelic-printed skirt, wear it. Patterns and prints serve as an embellishment to any outfit, not only for your outfit but for your energy. It’s important to experiment, but it’s equally as important to keep your personal style at the forefront. What patterns and prints add elements of you to your outfit?

To find that answer, look no further than inside your closet. While certain silhouettes shape our style, patterns and prints serve as a tool to define it.

Going on a picnic? If you’re feeling flirty and fresh, why not wear that floral maxi skirt in your closet? Don’t be afraid to add that gingham scarf as well. Then, you’re in true picnic fashion. Maybe you’re in the mood to be bold; time to layer that red, plaid mini-skirt over those striped, cobalt tights that made their way home in your drawer. No matter the occasion, these prints serve as a way to translate the message you’re sending in any outfit.

Editorial and wardrobe stylist, Monica Robles, 19, has built an entire archive of printed and patterned clothing over the years. As a rather eclectic and colorful fashionista, Robles has broken the mismatched rules of styling and created an entirely new game of her own. “If I had to keep only ten pieces in my wardrobe, they would all have prints or patterns,” she says.

Robles isn’t afraid to disrupt the current fashion climate. She’s currently breaking into the fashion industry and is making noise in doing so. With experiences as the fashion director for Primadonna Zine, assisting editorials for Grazia China, and working as an assistant stylist for Nicholas Raefski this fashion week, Robles certainly has an eye for detail.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, Robles suggests that clashing patterns are a “yes” in her eyes. “I love clashing patterns,” she explains. “They’re interesting to the eye — there’s so much controversy around them. It’s easier for me to pair pieces with patterns and other prints than combining patterns with solid pieces.”

So what’s next for patterns and prints? During this year’s fashion week, designers like Collina Strada have proven to be no strangers to mixing patterns and prints in their SS23 collections. Chiffon, lace, florals, and plaid organzas debuted on the runway this fall, and mixing plaid and florals has never looked easier thanks to Hillary Taymour’s touch of glamorous extravagance.

Robles notes this floral trend as well, and contrary to Miranda Priestly’s iconic quote in the Devil Wears Prada, florals for spring are groundbreaking.

“I think patterns are getting bigger in terms of size. Florals have been pretty popular for SS23,” Robles notes. “I’ve seen bigger florals instead of smaller ones, geometric shapes, huge polka-dots, and wider animal prints.”

Whether you’re strutting the streets or on the runway, the stigma of clashing patterns seems to be dying as we move forward in fashion. This fall, we’ve seen an array of new combinations of patterns and prints.

In true Thom Browne fashion, polka-dotted blazers and pastel-striped tights have made their debut on the runway. Eyes were wide open with wonder seeing the contrast between the two patterns. Mixing pastel colors with neutrals may not seem to work at first thought, but Browne’s SS23 has proven otherwise.

When styled accordingly, clashing prints and patterns can be a treat for the eye. If your style is more on the minimalistic side of fashion, keeping a color palette in mind will allow you to create an endless array of outfits. If you have a zebra print button-down, you can always wear black or white pieces or accessories. If you’re feeling bolder, red or pink pants would make you look like a rockstar.

When mixing patterns and prints, a big fear can be clashing. No one wants to look like they didn’t check their reflection in the mirror before walking out of the house … or maybe you do! There’s no status quo in fashion because you can set that for yourself. Your style is the loudest form of nonverbal communication. To express yourself efficiently, it’s important to utilize what’s already yours. Textures, prints, and patterns are some of the most valuable tools you can use when building your dream look because let’s be honest, it’s not about what you’re wearing — it’s about how you’re wearing it.

Dress Suvin Park
Shoes Bandolino

Totems Fashion

Love them or hate them, our idea of fashion totems may be changing, but they’re here to stay.

The Marc Jacobs tote was the “it bag” of 2022. While it came in a unique variety of sizes and rainbow colors, each had one defining trait: “THE TOTE BAG, MARC JACOBS,” stamped in obnoxiously large font, and visible to any bystander within a twenty-yard radius.

While yes, the bag is very cute and versatile, it’s questionable whether it gained popularity for its inventiveness or its overall “in your face” display of status. But despite its simple appearance, Marc Jacobs is reported to have sold millions of variations of the tote bag in 2022 alone.

That’s the power of a logo.

And while sometimes a recurring symbol in fashion can become monotonous or even rather cultish, the brands we wear and choose to display on ourselves can also be an indication of how we want to present ourselves to others.

Despite new generations and fashion trends that change on a dime, the intentions that coincide with presenting ourselves to others remain constant. We want to show off. And while few will care to admit it, whether it’s wealth, status, knowledge, or understanding, it’s in our human nature to express ourselves in the best light possible.

It’s never really been a secret that we want to flaunt the best and most head-turning fashion — it’s been done since the dawn of time. Think back to Elizabethan England’s “sumptuary laws” which forbade anyone except close members of the royal family to wear the color purple.

While the “laws” of modern fashion aren’t as harsh, the idea of displaying the most coveted styles remains as fashion moves into the future.

What has kept logos on trend for so long is not why we wear them, but rather how we wear them and continue to keep them on trend with changing times.

In fashion, the 90s and early 2000s were not exactly an era of subtlety for logos (or discreteness in general). Movies like Mean Girls and shows like Sex And The City taught us that no outfit was complete without a matching Prada mini bag and a plethora of high fashion complete with bold fonts — logos like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior adorned the Y2K runway.

“Logomania” was at an all-time high, and just as trends seem to do, monogrammed bags trickled down to the affordable luxury sector. Counterfeit bags or “dupes,” with similarities to brand monograms hit the market. Louis Vuitton even served a lawsuit against Coach in 2004 for designing an all too similar monogram.

Dress Suvin Park Model Cinta Isom
Photographer Dahlia Mallebranche Stylist Raelen Todd Makeup Jennie Segedin Hair Hannah Rongo

“Originality is something you can’t put a label on.”

Popular handbag trends of this time truly were the product of one thing: the impending desire to show off wealth and status.

So, what’s changed since then? Well, America still loves a good logo, but the whole idea that a handbag gives its wearer a social hierarchy is dissipating.

Thanks to social media, long gone are the days when we need to constantly carry something around to show off, and the birth of Gen Z has also brought up questions about the ethicality of high fashion brands, both socially and environmentally.

A recent study conducted by First Insight found that 75 percent of Gen Z participants claimed that sustainability was more important in purchase decision-making than the name of the brand itself.

CNBC Market Research studies also found that for those aged 17 and under, unit sales of handbags with no visible logo rose eight percent in 2021.

So, perhaps the newer generations really don’t care about the label but rather the item itself?

Regardless, with sustainability trending, it’s no surprise that vintage and secondhand shopping has caused those Y2K handbags we know and love to resurface. The RealReal reports a 44 percent rise in items purchased in 2022, and Gen Z visits TheRealReal 35 percent more than they did last year — the greatest growth of any generation demographic.

So, don’t worry Juicy Couture fanatics, the logo isn’t dying — the idea surrounding it is simply shifting. With changing times, fashion brands have found new ways to stamp their logos onto the new generation, but with better intentions.

As for handbags, it’s becoming less about wealth and more about practicality. Popular tote bags from designers like Marc Jacobs, Telfar, and even non-fashion brands like The New Yorker, are all examples of a brand’s tactic to market sustainability and affordability with their logos.

And in a city like New York where some disposable shopping bags can cost over a dollar and generate waste, a tote that is environmentally friendly, easy to carry, and is — as quoted by the Marc Jacobs website — “a go-to carryall that’s ready for anything you throw in it,” is likely to open wallets and minds to the idea of wearing a monogrammed bag.

The price point of these bags also factors into their popularity. A Marc Jacobs tote costs on average around 200 US dollars. While not exactly cheap, it’s also not out of reach for most middle-class Americans, and shoppers seem to appreciate that inclusivity. Gone are the days when we must spend a month’s rent on a logo to feel fashionable — that’s so last year.

As the handbag and the idea of monogrammed fashion shifts from a status piece to a form of telling the world who you are and what you believe in, just remember, originality is something you can’t put a label on.

Top & Pants George Kacharava Shoes Prada Jewelry Vintage



Looking for love, experiencing heartbreak, or embracing yourself, practicing your own love language could be the key.

IT TOOK TWO YEARS AND FOUR WORDS for my relationship to end. “I love you too.” And that was it — then came the waves of advice...

Whether you’ve been through a breakup yourself and a friend has granted you some words of wisdom or you’ve been held hostage by tarot card readers plaguing your social media feed, you’ve definitely heard the advice, “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself first.”

Like me, you’ve probably reluctantly shrugged off this cliché, but perhaps, there’s really some truth behind it?

As we’ve all been told, the relationship that you have with yourself is by far the most important one you’ll ever have. So, if our relationships all start and end with ourselves, it only makes sense that we should be practicing the kind of love we crave from others on ourselves first and foremost, right?

Maybe the key to any successful relationship really is loving yourself in the ways you want to be loved — and for those just getting out of relationships or not currently in one, you could just survive some heartbreak or find yourself in the process.

Of course, it’s a lot easier said than done to put yourself first. Redirecting focus and love onto yourself can often feel selfish and even trivial, but it’s quite necessary for starting to “speak” your love language. So, why might you feel a bit reluctant?

“Culturally, we’re taught to be empathetic to others and to not be self-centered, so there’s already a little bit of judgment there,” explains Jay Choi, a Couples Therapist and Licensed Psychologist at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

But rather than beating ourselves up over being “selfcentered,” why not try to look at it from another perspective?


LLisa Mollick, an NYC-based Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Psychotherapist, offers that very perspective saying, “Practicing your preferred love language on yourself may sound odd, but essentially, it’s the epitome of self-love.”

At this point, thanks to social media (yes, I’m looking at you self-defined relationship gurus) and the perpetuation of self-love that seems to be the online rage nowadays, we’re all likely familiar with the five types of love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

But, how the hell can you start actually “speaking” your own love language?

Step one: identify which language you resonate with most.

“Your love language provides insight on how you connect with others on a deeper level and can help guide you on how to best love yourself,” notes Mollick. “We cannot expect someone else to give us what we need if we don’t know what our own needs are.”

By identifying what you really need to feel loved, you can discover which language or languages you connect with the most. To start, Choi suggests seeking the answers to these questions: who am I, what person do I want to be, and what makes me happy and makes my life content?

And if you’re still struggling to hone in on what makes you feel loved, think about the ways you show love in your relationships. “We often demonstrate the love language that resonates most with us [with others],” regards Mollick.

Now, what are some ways you can start the self-love fest?


Repeating mantras, manifesting, or even waking up and simply telling yourself it’s going to be a great day are all wonderful starting points. Mollick also recommends trying to start your day with an intention, keeping a gratitude journal, or even writing a letter to your younger or older self.


Doing small things for yourself throughout the day can go a long way. “Try making a list of things that need to get done,” suggests Mollick. “As you start to check things off, you’ll be amazed at how accomplished and proficient you feel. Each one is an act of service you’re committing time to and reaping the rewards of.”


While receiving gifts could mean splurging on a little retail therapy or getting yourself some flowers after a long day, it could also be just giving yourself a little break and ordering

in or getting yourself that coffee pick-me-up in the morning on the way to work.


Alone time can often be an overlooked and criticized form of self-care. However, not only can prioritizing time for yourself be soothing, it can even help you grow as a person. Pour yourself a glass or two of wine and throw on your favorite show (with zero guilt about your subtitles being on), or go for a nice long “hot girl walk” to clear your mind.


Though it may seem the most difficult to achieve, “speaking” this language on your own is absolutely possible. “Try some gentle meditation or grounding techniques, including placing your hand over your heart and taking some deep breaths (in for five, hold for five, out for five) to get in touch with, centered, and more present with your body,” advises Mollick.

And as taboo as it may seem, masturbation could also be a great way to get in tune with yourself in a more physical sense. Planned Parenthood even notes that it can reduce stress, help you sleep better, and even improve your body and self-image.

In the end, it’s all about you. “It’s really about self-care and self-compassion,” agrees Choi. “It’s another way of being self-aware and how you can take care of yourself.”

But how can this newfound sense of language start to apply to the relationships outside of the one you have with yourself?

“When we begin to identify our sense of worth, we can set boundaries for ourselves with others,” says Mollick. “We stop accepting mediocre love because our narrative and self-respect are greater than chasing people who don’t love us or show up for us. We begin to believe we’re worthy and deserving of love and belonging and no longer tolerate anyone that doesn’t align with that.”

By speaking our love language, we’re really bettering ourselves in the process, regardless of if we’re looking for that next love, enjoying the single life, or mending heartache. It’s all a collective healing process that prioritizes you and your needs, and no matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s always a good time to improve you.

And as I continue to navigate heartbreak and a new period of my life, it’s about time I become fluent in my own love language — it could be just what the doctor ordered.

So, go on, tell me you love me. Yes, you — you in the mirror. I definitely owe it to myself.

Graphic Designer Caitlin Yackley
Are we doing ourselves a disservice by not hiding away enough?
Dress Celina Pierucci Shoes Vera Wang Jewelry Vintage

Remember when quarantine was in session? When we ran out of good Netflix shows to binge on, and we realized that those 45-minute episodes could only entertain us so much? With the dread of not knowing when we’d be allowed to breathe non-air-conditioned oxygen again, we might’ve found ourselves cleaning our laptop keyboards for fun (you know who you are), revisiting that dusty shelf of books, our paint brushes and knitting needles, upcycling our wardrobe, or delving into jewelry making. Quarantine may have even found us a new career path.

Despite COVID-19’s widespread harm to our societies, most of us can’t deny that the open-ended time and space allowed our spirits to tap into our inner creative bank.

If quarantine allowed you the evanescent pleasures of creating, then I welcome you to your introverted side. For some, the quiet solitude was a much-needed door to the freedom of expression. It was the motive of creating just to create — without anyone else’s input on that matter.

“The best inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me — they’re shy, and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the best of them are artists,” explains Steve Wozniac in his memoir, iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It.

Not to say that extroverts can’t be creative, but the idea is that introverts tend to be in their heads, which promotes inquisitive and thoughtful individualism. This, in turn, allows our path of self-discovery to also expand into the wonders of our world.

Even one of the greatest figures in history, Isaac Newton, was an introvert himself. The English poet, William Woodworth, described Newton as “A mind forever / Voyaging through strange seas of Thought alone.” While sitting under a tree, a lucky apple fell on Newton’s head, and voilà, the law of gravity was introduced. We may never have known the law of gravity if Newton hadn’t actively pursued to sit in solitude.

While introverts gather their energy from isolation, unfortunately, the American work culture doesn’t exactly praise the trait. The stigma to being an introvert is that they’re often too timid, quiet, anxietystricken, fearful, or a misanthrope. It’s encouraged, if not necessary, to be sociable, or else you may risk losing career opportunities to another applicant, whose only difference on their resume may be that they’re a “people person.”

American introverts might attest to stretching themselves too thin in order to constantly behave the way they’re supposed to: participating in live class discussions, introducing themselves first, making small talk, going to huge networking parties, and being out and about constantly. Especially in a city like New York City, where it’s all about the hustle, it’s what we’re supposed to do, right?

And when introverts feel that they can’t innately keep up with the city’s demands, stigmatic words like shy, sensitive, or passive can be harmful to anyone’s self-esteem. These labels have a societally negative connotation

and can trigger one of the most daunting words: insecure. And many introverts can probably attest to the inner torment seeping in when facing a similar situation, thinking, “Is there something wrong with me?”

On the contrary, if there’s something wrong with you, then there’s something wrong with all East Asian cultures. Personality Psychologist, Robert McCrae, reveals that Asian countries predominantly land the least on the extroversion scale; not because they’re submissive or docile, but because of the “cultures’ emphasis on tradition, conservatism, and compliance.”

Hofstede Insight’s cultural analysis reveals that countries like South Korea and Japan actually prefer to steer clear from masculinity, which is defined as “assertive, tough, and focused on material success.” Sounds a lot like the American work culture, doesn’t it? So, can you imagine the whirlwind they encounter just from entering the United States alone?

Do you remember your first time presenting a speech or going in for a job interview in NYC? For some of us, merely transitioning from a small town to the urban jungle of NYC? We can all relate that NYC, arguably the most well-known city in the world, loves to celebrate its noisy culture.

With lines of cars honking in the background, the walking pedestrian’s body language, even so much as a finger, fires back, “I’m walking here!” We’ve heard it so much, sometimes we might subconsciously say it in our own heads, accent and all.

That’s because extroversion is a part of the city. It’s hard to come up with a good reason why extroverts should ever learn to be shy or in the background. Imagine describing that your best work is when working alone — doesn’t exactly look so good on the resume. You would think that shyness wouldn’t be so frowned upon in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

It’s important to note that being extroverted is an ideal, and simply just that. The reality is that one in three people are introverts. And even among those other two people, not one person is one hundred percent extroverted. Introversion is everywhere, in everyone.

So, to the more introverted individuals that understand the relentless bathroom trip escapes or the constant request to speak up, just know that you’re not alone. It’s more so unnatural that society would look down on those who are considered “the quiet ones.”

“The truth of the matter is, shyness and courage are not an antithesis.”
Graphic Designer Colette Antonaccio Model Kiera Geraghty Photographer Hunter Petersen Photo Assistant Anna Boylan Stylist Alyssa Latella Makeup Sweekriti Dahal
Hair Hannah Rongo

The truth of the matter is, shyness and courage are not an antithesis. Although a shy person may dread being noticed by strangers, that doesn’t mean they’re afraid of them. Together, shyness and courage can actually be forthright and even culturally impactful. You can best believe that quiet introverts can be firm and dominant when they desire to be.

Take Rosa Parks. According to her obituaries, Parks was a to-herself, in “quiet fortitude” individual, but had “the courage of a lion.” In other words, we usually equate activism with loudness, and as the only way to be heard, but remember when the white man demanded Parks to get up from her seat? She replied with one assertive “no,” thus paving the way for Martin Luther King Jr.’s demonstrative “I HAVE A DREAM” speech thereafter.

Extroverts can equally learn in great multitudes from highly focused and sensitive introverts. The balance of the yin and yang, together and

impossible apart, suggests that perhaps we could learn a thing or two from our fellow shy friends as well.

And as Mahatma Gandhi proclaims, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

But even if it’s for self-care sake, Brookings Research data reveals that there was an average decline of 25 percent in anxiety and depression amongst Americans after COVID-19, no matter the race, age range, employment, or income.

Introverts and extroverts alike have this untapped potential to foster their own greatest power. Derived in the spaces where our unaccompanied thoughts meander, we might find that there’s no greater sound than the sound of silence… And quarantine shouldn’t have to be the reason to find ourselves there.

Set Celina Pierucci

A deep dive into lash styles past,

If eyes are the windows to the soul, lashes are the curtains. Just as we accessorize and adorn our bodies with necklaces and rings and jewels, lashes act as an accessory. Your eyes are often the first thing people notice, and the feature that many of us want to draw attention to.

Large and vibrant eyes encircled by luscious lashes have long been considered a “feminine” standard for beauty, and things really began to change when the first modern strip lash was used by film director, D.W. Griffith, in 1916, to give his leading actress a more “dramatic and exotic” look.

Provocative lashes began to take hold in the 1960s as iconic British model, Twiggy, sported clustered lashes on both her upper and lower lashline, emphasizing her round, doe-like eyes. Twiggy and other models like Jean Shrimpton began to be photographed with flower pe tals, paper, and even rhinestones embellishing their eyes.

Now — in 2022 — we have a lash type and style for every type of wearer.

The most simplistic and one of the most popular styles is the “wispy lash.” These lashes

generally have less synthetic hairs which give them a natural finish when worn, without having the eyes appear too dark or full. The lash bands on these are generally more bendable compared to thicker lashes, making it easier for beginners to apply and align them to the eye correctly.

For the intermediate makeup artist, a thicker style — which in recent years has been dubbed “baddie” lashes –— would be more popular. (A big thank you to Black culture and drag queens for introducing the rest of us to these!) These include synthetic hairs that mimic mink fur, which has long been sought after for the full, thick, and dark look that it gives. These lashes are more popular for those that like to wear heavier eye looks and want a more intense, dark lash line.

Now, the type of lash that is perfect for everyone: lash extensions. This service is performed by licensed estheticians and generally includes a consultation, but the ultimate look is up to you. These lashes do require some more upkeep, but because they adhere to your actual lash line, they can last up to eight weeks.

present, and future.
Model Kim Mayor
Model Alyssa Klein Photographer Sarah Heditsch Makeup Sweekriti Dahal Hair Kira Cunningham


Clementina Richardson of Envious Lashes, a lash extension salon in Manhattan, says that part of the reason lash extensions have become so popular is that they’re a self-confidence booster. “Women love shortening their grooming time in the morning and waking up looking beautiful,” she explains.

Even more enticing, these lashes are fully customizable. “It depends on the client’s preference,” shares Richardson. “Some clients with round eyes usually want their eyes to look the opposite — more elongated, while clients with narrow eyes typically love their eyes to be more open and rounded.”

In the last ten years, shows like Euphoria and celebrities like Lady Gaga have brought the editorial makeup style to the masses and left all of us at home dying to recreate the awe-inspiring looks. The demand for lashes with more striking layers, shapes, and colors has only increased in recent years.

Everyone’s individual makeup style is as unique as they are, so customizing lashes has become an affordable alternative to more expensive, designer lashes. Brands like Colourpop and NYX Cosmetics (NYX has a beautiful blue in the shade

“Darkside” sell multiple types of eye-safe glitter for a shimmering effect.) Liquid and blendable stick eyeliners from Glisten Cosmetics (I’m a personal fan of their shade, “Strawberry”) and Urban Decay’s legendary “24/7” eye pencils can be used to recolor lashes to every color on the wheel.

Often, lashes can also be upgraded with simple products from the craft store (as long as you’re careful not to get it in your eye). Scrapbooking jewels can be more affordable than makeup brand gemstones and can be adhered to the ends of eyelashes with clear eyelash glue. Drag queens and stage makeup artists have even used materials like construction paper to create intriguing silhouettes or include shapes by using a fake eyelash as a base and creating a new lash around it.

Beauty has always been known as expressive to the world. A wearable art with a long history.. From signaling class status in ancient Egypt to makeup looks for occupations in Japan, to the Elizabethian craze of trying to imitate the queen, makeup can transform how we feel and perceive ourselves. So, if we perceive the world through our eyes, why shouldn’t our eyes be perceived beautifully?

Graphic Designer Alexis Brabender

To know how sweet your future can be, you must look to the past.


THE ROMANCE OF A FRAGRANCE will possess you. Memories tie themselves to a scent; in years to come, a whiff of perfume or the burn of a wick with just the right notes can echo a memory once forgotten.

The science behind this great love affair occurs when your olfactory receptor cells meet the scent. This signals the olfactory bulb, which is found from the tip of your nose to the base of your brain, linking your amygdala, the heart of your emotions and passions, and your hippocampus, which controls your memory consolidation and cognition.

Neuroscientists propose that the close physical relationships of these segments are responsible for the intimate coupling between a scent and its episodic memory.

The key to never forgetting is finding the right fragrance.

Love, Don’t Be Shy by Kilian Paris — notes of neroli, orange blossom, and rose are the promise of gathered petals forever set in bloom.

Is it a bouquet from an early childhood dance recital, dried blooming petals from a prom corsage, or roses hidden away in books for you to find when long forgotten? Nevertheless, you’re charmed to once again watch your younger self fall in love with all the possibilities of the future.

Gaiac 10 by Le Labo — notes of cedar and olibanum (incense) and musk. The lingering trail of passion manifests the fall of a first kiss.

A presence so intimidating, standing so close. The rain settling under your eyes is not tears, but cathartic comfort and deep affection. A fog mystifies the air around you, bottling this moment for you to open again and again.

Scarlet Poppy Cologne Intense by Jo Malone London — notes of ambrette, scarlet poppy, and tonka bean power your ambition on the first day of your first job.

Taking the elevator straight to the top. Eyes on the prize, looking over the city that you will make yours. Ready for prosperity, ready for anything, you’re ready to savor the success and pleasure in the sweet reward.

For those who like to scent a room, candles and incense ignite memories just the same.

‘REPLICA’ By the Fireplace Candle by Maison Margiela — notes of clove oil, chestnut accord, and vanilla provide warmth against the wintery wonderlands.

The crackling and popping of the fire, as if it were music, accompanies the cookies rising in the oven all while you find comfort reading your favorite book in an oversized chair.

Carmen’s Hat™ by WildBerry “America’s Best Incense” — notes of orange, tart cherry, and sweet berry awaken the excitement and thrill of a county fair.

One too many times on the Ferris wheel, you ride on the edge of a sugar coma. With a fizzy cherry cola in one hand and a sticky mess that was once cotton candy in the other, you rise far above the crowd, knowing the air couldn’t taste any sweeter than it does at this moment.

Love Jones® Candle by Frères Branchiaux — notes of peach, jasmine, and sandalwood evoke an oath of friendship to burn through the tireless nights of the summer before university.

Waking to an endless summer, together friends daydream of the approaching futures to which they are destined alone. For now, you are here together, so you bask in the warmth of the sun.

Fragrance is time travel whether in a bottle or a flame.

The top, heart, and base notes help you connect with yourself. If life has you forgetting who you are, who you have been, or who you want to become, simply find the right scent to remember.

Graphic Designer Caitlin Yackley

It’s exhausting to witness facial features and body types go “in and out” like trends. While social media is continuously exposing us to products we’re told we “need” in order to get rid of insecurities we didn’t even know existed, the beauty industry is feeding off of these unattainable desires.

The beauty standard pushes women to a caliber that is deemed “desirable” by society. The success and social status of women are oftentimes only taken seriously depending on how well they fit this mold.

We’re told that physical attractiveness is the most important quality. That we should always strive to maintain looking as youthful as possible, neatly put together, and stray far away from anything that could make us seem inadmissible.

Why should our self-worth and confidence be rooted in our physical appearance?

Although we feel it now more than ever thanks in part to our lives being chronically online, beauty standards are not something new. Perceptions of beauty have continuously changed throughout history, especially in Western culture, and beauty standards have existed since the dawn of time.

During the “Roaring Twenties,” thin, curveless women were thought to be the epitome of beauty. While in the 1950s, women aimed for an hourglass figure with curvier hips and even wore girdles and corsets to achieve a smaller-looking waist.

Nowadays, it seems that there’s an ever-changing standard for women.

We’re expected to be thin but not too thin, to have curves but also flat stomachs, and to look like we’re trying but still look natural as though we’re not trying at all. It’s absolutely exhausting to live in a seemingly sexist society that expects women to conform to a made-up standard.

There are two factors that have always seemed to remain at the center of the beauty standard, however: whiteness and thinness. Both stem from Eurocentric beauty standards, meaning that they favor common European features like fair skin, slim bodies, and small noses. This is the root of most, if not all, the racism and fat phobia in the beauty and fashion industries, as these ideas were built on the notion that beauty is only associated with thin, white women.

In today’s world, we never know what’s going on in other people’s lives behind closed doors. It’s easy to forget this when all we see on social media is people sharing their best-of-the-best moments for the public to see.

“Remind yourself that social media is curated, and you’re likely only seeing someone’s highlight reel,” reassures Debbie Missud, a Psychotherapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (MHC-LP). “If you’re comparing yourself to models, remember that they make a living

off maintaining a certain image — many people may not have the time, money, or resources a model has to maintain their appearance.”

In 2021, The Aesthetic Society reported that cosmetic surgical procedures were up by 54 percent, meaning the average surgeon completed 320 surgeries, compared to 2020, where that number sat at about 220. As surgeries become increasingly popular, the prices associated with them increase as well. The cost of surgical procedures also went up by six percent in 2021, and women accounted for 94 percent of all procedures that year, both surgical and non-surgical.

The plastic surgery industry is profiting off of women by raising their prices to meet a demand that is caused by the beauty standard. While most people can tell when an image is photoshopped, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to tell when someone has undergone cosmetic procedures, especially more subtle work like lip fillers, face lifts, and enhancements.

While some choose to make long-lasting changes with cosmetic procedures, others participate in “low-level” appearance changes such as changing their style, hair, or makeup routine. We’re constantly being bombarded with new products that’ll allow us to embody a certain aesthetic. After a while, it’s tiring to constantly be exposed to advertisements that are pushing a certain look onto us. A makeup product will not automatically change the way we look, but many are being marketed to us as if they are some magic cure-all.

“Gen Z is so focused on taking care of our skin to prevent aging, so now I feel like for every product someone raves about, I’m running to go buy it,” explains Briana Hernandez, 22, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). “God forbid I start getting wrinkles at 23.”

While it’s perfectly okay to indulge in fun purchases, it’s also important to reflect on why we’re doing so and what we want to gain from it.

Your body is meant to experience life and all the beautiful things it has to offer. It’s not meant to keep up with a rapidly changing cycle of impossible standards, that for the most part, are created for the pleasure of men and financial gain. The existence of beauty standards only reinforces sexism, racism, ageism, and classism. Unfortunately, living in a capitalistic society, money will always be a primary motivator, even if it means putting people’s mental health at risk.

“I’ve bought so many things that I’ve seen on TikTok because it apparently changes the way you look,” says Aneesha Mahapatra, 20, a student at FIT. Unfortunately, much of today’s “beauty standard” is truly only achievable for those who have the money to keep up with and maintain the ever-changing trends in beauty.

Unlearning this beauty standard takes a conscious effort to undo such a subconsciously engrained ideal. Leaning into our own inner peace and mental well-being is the first step to reversing the preconceived, tripe standard.

Graphic Designer Colette Antonaccio

Top Tao Li (@tao.hilli, @sensitiveholic)

Dress Tao Li (@tao.hilli, @sensitiveholic)

Earring Zhuo

Model Kyle Dubois Model Moronke John Photographer Hunter Petersen Photo Assistant Ben Hoiland Stylist Endya Pagan Makeup Sweekriti Dahal, Michelle Wei, Nicole Yannarelli
Hair Liberty Ackerman
Demi Chien 70
Bodysuit Youna Jin Shoes Steve Madden Earrings Zehua Wu and StudioCopula
Nails Endya Simone

Therapy is a great resource that can help improve the relationship you have with yourself. Besides talking about it, we can also write about it. Journaling is a great way to release any feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. Letting these thoughts out is the first step in re-training your brain to unlearn the standard that society has implemented. Always try to refer to yourself positively. There’s never any need to put yourself down. Unfortunately, so many of us have the habit of looking in the mirror and immediately picking out a flaw or beating ourselves up over a mistake we made. Talk to yourself with the respect you deserve, and be proud of all that you achieve.

“If you catch yourself negatively comparing yourself to others you could very deliberately focus on something that you enjoy in your environment,” advises Tanya Cole-Lesnick, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Psychotherapist, and coach. “Or try taking a deep breath to interrupt where you’re going with the comparison. They’re small steps, but it’s a start.”

When referring to your body, lean into all the amazing things it does for you. Your body gives you strength and power to get through each day. Adapt habits that make you feel happy and healthy, instead of ones that corporations want to profit from.

When it comes to exercise, make it your goal to work out for strength and energy, not to look a certain way. Find a workout that makes you feel really good, not one that’s physically draining. This way, you’ll keep returning to something that makes your body and mind happy, all while adopting a new, healthy habit. A great example of this is going on a daily walk. Whether it’s on a path or through the city, getting your steps in is such a great way to not only boost your serotonin levels but also relax your mind. It’s always fun to make this a group activity surrounded by people who inspire you.

Never shying away from confiding in those who are close to you is also essential.

“Have a support network. There are lots of great self-care ideas out there, and it’s important to find what feels supportive for you. However, selfcare alone is not sufficient. We also need community care,” recommends Valerie Friedlander, a Certified Professional Counselor (CPC), Energy Leader Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP), and Life and Business Alignment Coach. “The struggle with beauty standards is not an individual issue and, thus, cannot be addressed only with individual solutions (even as an individual struggling with it). We’re also communal

beings — we need each other. Confidence and happiness stem from connection, to ourselves and to each other.”

No one is alone in navigating this standard that has been brought upon us.

Being an intentional consumer and setting boundaries are also ways to minimize how much we compare ourselves to online creators. This could mean taking advantage of the “unfollow” and “mute” buttons on Instagram.

“If you have to mute or block someone because they’re not serving you, that’s definitely a boundary that’s okay to set,” says Eli Rallo, a 24-yearold social media influencer (@thejarr on Tiktok) on her podcast, Miss Congeniality with Eli Rallo

It’s true. We simply don’t have to consume media that’s intentionally contributing to anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Remember, as humans, we were never meant to see this many other people. The Internet connects us to strangers all around the world, and the algorithm just so happens to boost those who are deemed conventionally attractive. It makes us hyper-aware of our own appearance and the appearance of others.

As cliche as it sounds, fill up your feed with positive content. Try following therapists and accounts that encourage you to pursue your interests and goals. We all find ourselves mindlessly scrolling, so why not consume content that will leave us feeling inspired?

“There’s so much content that’s driving patriarchal beauty standards, but there’s also so much content lifting up and acknowledging diverse and beautiful people as well as diverse and interesting minds,” agrees Rallo.

We should be able to enjoy our days laying in the sun and laughing with our friends without having to worry about a potential wrinkle. We should enjoy food, not just because it nourishes our bodies, but simply because we love it. We should wear whatever we want because fashion is a way to express our individuality, not something associated with a certain body type.

Beauty is subjective, but if one thing is for certain, true beauty is not derived from the surface.

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Earring Youna Jin
Feel like something’s off? It’s time to check in on your chakras. 3 4 Chakras are focal points within the human body that rotate like discs and often resemble flowers. They’re located in the energetic and spiritual centers of the body. The Chakra System is not a Western idea. It originated in India between 1500 and 500 BCE, the Vedas, and ancient Hindu scriptures. However, the idea of the seven chakras found itself in the Western world in the 1880s through tantric yoga traditions. Find out what chakra of yours needs the most work with extensive healing and rebalancing solutions — many of us have imbalanced chakras without even realizing it. Remember, healing is an internal decision. Your journey depends on you and your actions. 1 What kind of self-care activity would you like to implement in your life more? a.) Meditating b.) Tarot c.) Journaling d.) Heart-to-heart conversation e.) Making a home-cooked meal f.) Creating art g.) Spending time in nature 2 Which of these traits do you feel resembles you the least? a.) Conscious b.) Intuitive c.) Communicative d.) Expressive e.) Responsible f.) Creative g.) Grounded What part of your body tends to hurt for no reason? a.) Head b.) Forehead c.) Throat d.) Chest e.) Stomach f.) Lower stomach/groin g.) Back What would bring you the most peace right now? a.) Wisdom and awareness b.) Knowing my higher purpose c.) Saying what I feel d.) Love e.) Confidence f.) Passion g.) Success and financial abundance
Graphic Designer Erin Kidd


What is the one thing that you struggle with most?

a.) I tend to be apathetic and blocked emotionally. b.) I’m anxious, and I don’t feel a sense of purpose. c.) Communicating and speaking my truth is really hard for me.

d.) I am afraid of being alone, yet opening up is difficult. e.) I am insecure and afraid of rejection. f.) My creative flow is blocked, and I am too detached. g.) I have a hard time focusing and am very lethargic.


Which of the following is a recurring issue in your relationships (romantic, platonic, and familial)?

a.) There’s a lot of imbalance in my relationships. b.) I can’t trust that I see people for who they are. c.) Talking things out peacefully is not a common practice. d.) I get jealous or possessive easily. e.) I’m afraid my loved one will abandon me because I am lacking in some way. f.) My boundaries are not strong, and connections easily overwhelm me. g.) I have a hard time letting people in; I often feel disconnected in my relationships.


What is your biggest fear?

a.) Not having a connection to the universe or my higher self b.) Not being recognized for who I truly am c.) An inability to express myself authentically d.) Lacking compassion and empathy for others e.) Not being courageous, being paralyzed by fear f.) A creative block or a lack of passion g.) Bad finances or being jobless


What affirmation do you need to hear the most right now?

a.) “I surrender and release all doubt and uncertainty.” b.) “I honor my intuition, and use it as a guide.” c.) “I communicate with complete authenticity and courage.” d.) “I deserve to love and to be loved.” e.) “I am motivated, persistent, and successful.” f.) “I allow my creativity to flow through me freely.” g.) “I am grounded and whole.” 75

MOSTLY A’s Crown Chakra

The Crown Chakra, also known as Sahasrara in its Sanskrit roots, is the last energy center in the body, located at the top of the head. Translating to “thousand petals” and emulating a lotus flower, the Crown represents spiritual awareness and transformation. As the highest chakra, it’s an entry point for energies from the universe and your higher self and impacts intelligence, memories, wisdom, and spiritual consciousness. Symptoms of a weak Crown Chakra include imbalance, and emotional blockages. An underactive Crown is characterized through materialism, a lack of focus, and apathy; whereas, an overactive Crown can be represented by confusion, headaches, and spiritual bypassing.

Ways to Heal the Crown Chakra:

Repeat These Affirmations:

• “I am connected to my higher self and spirit.”

• “I am aligned with my inner knowing.”

• “I surrender and release all doubt and uncertainty.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Chinese Rice Flower: Connects one with spiritual growth and inner wisdom.

• White Lotus Flower: Emphasizes lessons and aspects of other six chakras, simultaneously connecting and aiding in consciousness.

Crystals to Protect the Crown Chakra:

• Clear Quartz: Removes negative energy, provides clarity, and brings balance to chakras.

• Lepidolite: Supports inner wisdom, connects you to your higher self.

• Amethyst: Washes away stress and anxiety, also connects to Third-Eye Chakra directly below.

MOSTLY B’s Third Eye Chakra

The Third Eye Chakra, also known as the Ajna Chakra in Sanskrit, is located in the middle of the forehead. It’s the sixth of the seven chakras. Ajna, in Sanskrit, translates to “perceive.” Buddhists say the Third Eye Chakra is the “eye of consciousness” and is a very spiritual chakra emphasizing psychic abilities and giving individuals a strong intuition or a “sixth sense.”

Symptoms of a weak Third Eye Chakra include headaches, vision problems, self-limiting beliefs, lack of purpose, and anxiety. An underactive Third Eye Chakra can look like a lack of imagination, difficulty visualizing, poor memory or vision, and a tunneled mindset. An overactive Third Eye can be represented by nightmares, obsession, delusion, and headaches.

Ways to Heal your Third Eye:

Repeat These Affirmations:

• “I honor my intuition and use it as a guide.”

• “My inner wisdom guides me to my highest good.”

• “Everything I need to know is already within me.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Citrus Lemon: Helps one collect thoughts, clear mind, and see the bigger picture.

• Sandalwood: Invokes focus, supports inner wisdom and awareness.

Crystals to Protect the Third Eye Chakra:

• Sodalite: Reduces stress and anxiety.

• Lapis Lazuli: Supports intuition and access to the higher self.

• Azurite: Balances the mind, invokes spirituality and productivity.


MOSTLY C’s Throat Chakra

In Sanskrit, the Throat Chakra is called the Vishuddha, which directly translates to “especially pure” and is located at the base of the throat. It supports clear internal and external communication and creative ideas. An active Throat Chakra allows one to embrace their individuality, and clearly express themselves. Symptoms of a blocked Throat Chakra include a sore throat, cough, fear of communicating or expressing oneself, and difficulty verbalizing thoughts. An underactive Throat Chakra can feel like withholding your truth, inexpressiveness, and an inability to speak. An overactive Throat Chakra can look like interrupting, lying, and criticizing incessantly.

Ways to Heal the Throat Chakra:

Repeat These Affirmations:

• “I speak my truth.”

• “I communicate with complete authenticity and courage.”

• “Vulnerability is a strength and an asset I possess.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Blue Chamomile: Induces power and ignites confidence to communicate. Connects one to their higher self, clearing the path to divine guidance.

• Frankincense: Supports clarity in communication and decreases harsh reactivity

Crystals to Protect the Throat Chakra:

• Amazonite: Helps calm nerves, and creates emotional balance, preventing negative energies.

• Aquamarine: Encourages honesty and helps connect with hidden emotions.

• Turquoise: Allows one to express their thoughts clearly.

MOSTLY D’s Heart Chakra

Located in the chest, the Sanskrit name for the Heart Chakra is Anahata, which translates to unhurt and unbeaten. The Heart Chakra plays an important role in bridging the upper and lower chakras together. A healthy Heart Chakra creates harmony within an individual and invokes feelings of self-love, selfesteem, and joy, allowing one to understand their role in life, as well as to give and receive love from others. Symptoms of a blocked Heart Chakra include poor circulation, codependency, feeling isolated, and fear. An underactive Heart Chakra can feel like one is withdrawn, lonely, intolerant and untrusting. An overactive heart chakra can look like jealousy, clinginess, and being overly sacrificial.

How to Heal the Heart Chakra:

Repeat these Affirmations:

• “I love my mind, body, and soul, as it provides the best for me.”

• “I deserve to love and to be loved.”

• “I am surrounded by abundance.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Rose Oil: Promotes love and compassion.

• Pine Oil: Heals trauma and opens up the heart to love and harmony.

Crystals to Protect the Heart Chakra:

• Rose Quartz: Supports self-love and peace.

• Green Aventurine: Helps the heart find higher levels of balance and invokes nurturing and growth.

• Rhodochrosite: Major cleansing crystal, that removes any blockages through every chakra, but especially the Heart Chakra since the crystal is ruled by Venus, the planet of love.


MOSTLY E’s Solar Plexus Chakra

The Solar Plexus is located in the navel area. The Sanskrit name, Manipura, translates to “lustrous gem” and is responsible for self-confidence, purpose, and inner power. A person with a balanced Solar Plexus is balanced, in their power, selfmotivated, responsible, and decisive. Symptoms of a blocked Solar Plexus include fatigue, digestive issues, aggression, insecurity, and a fear of rejection. An underactive Solar Plexus Chakra can feel like a lack of courage, negative self-perception, shame, and insecurity. An overactive Solar Plexus Chakra can look manipulative, controlling, domineering, aggressive, or rageful.

How to Heal the Solar Plexus Chakra:

Repeat These Affirmations:

• “I am ambitious and capable.”

• “I am motivated, persistent, and successful.”

• “I genuinely celebrate the success of myself and others.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Black Pepper: Cleanses and purifies.

• Sandalwood: Invokes focus, and supports inner wisdom and awareness.

Crystals to Protect the Solar Plexus Chakra:

• Citrine: Detoxes problems and bad energy, instilling selfconfidence and power.

• Tiger’s Eye: Helps harness your inner power, and gives you the power to tackle anything that comes your way.

• Agate: Reveals hidden emotions and washes them away, removing any sort of emotional block to help you advance.

MOSTLY F’s Sacral Chakra

The Sacral Chakra is located in the lower abdomen: the area around the genitals. This chakra, called Svadhisthana Chakra in Sanskrit, is associated with sexuality, pleasure, and joy. The Sacral Chakra also supports one’s relationships by creating intimacy and healthy boundaries. Symptoms of a blocked Sacral Chakra can be joint problems, low iron, lower back pain, low energy, anxiety, detachment, and a lack of creativity. An underactive Sacral Chakra can make one be guarded, have rigid boundaries, neglective, critical, and have a low libido. An overactive Sacral Chakra can look like poor boundaries, easily overwhelmed, guilty, moody, and impulsive.

How to Heal the Sacral Chakra:

Repeat These Affirmations:

• “I deserve pleasure.”

• “I embrace and celebrate my sexuality.”

• “I allow my creativity to flow through me freely.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Jasmine: Invokes feelings of positivity, cleanses, and encourages feelings of romance.

• Pink Pepper Seed: Encourages patience and compassion toward yourself and others.

Crystals to Protect the Sacral Chakra:

• Carnelian: Encourages creativity and reveals your gifts.

• Autumn Jasper: Invokes positivity and compassion, and helps one protect their peace.

• Citrine: Allows one to enjoy the simple pleasures and joys of life.


MOSTLY G’s Root Chakra

The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine. Its Sanskrit term, Muladhara, translates to “root support.” Since it’s the first chakra in the body, it’s considered the foundational chakra. The Root Chakra helps one maintain healthy mental and physical health and allows one to feel safe and secure on their journey. When the Root Chakra is imbalanced, it’s likely the other six will follow. Generational traumas can also often be carried in the Root Chakra but can be healed through balancing exercises. Symptoms of an imbalanced Root Chakra include weak selfesteem, lethargy, pelvic pain, poor focus, and anxiety. An underactive root chakra can be indicative of financial difficulties and feeling disconnected, disorganized, and fearful. An overactive root chakra can look like rigid boundaries, a fear of change, and feeling sluggish and tired.

How to Heal the Root Chakra:

Repeat These Affirmations:

• “I am rooted in the present moment.”

• “I feel safe in my body.”

• “I am grounded and whole.”

Essential Oils to Use:

• Frankincense: Supports clarity in communication and decreases harsh reactivity.

• Black Pepper: Cleanses and purifies.

Crystals to Protect the Root Chakra:

• Hematite: Keeps you grounded; borrows energy from your aura and filters through your root chakra in order to rebalance.

• Red Jasper: Helps you overcome challenges.

• Black Tourmaline: Deeply cleansing, and turns negative energy into positive.



“Come sit and do some meditation with me,” my dad would say frequently during my childhood. I rarely ever joined him for those quiet 10 minutes; I didn’t know the benefits of meditation or how happy it would someday make me. If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self to join him in practicing mindfulness, as well as our culture.

Being an immigrant from Ghana, meditation is a huge practice, as it is in many West African countries. We believe meditation can be physically, emotionally, and mentally healing.

According to the World Health Organization, after the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and depression rates went up by nearly 25 percent. Younger generations, like Gen Z, experienced most of this unfortunate impact.

Meditation is a transformative way to make living through 2022 less mentally, emotionally, and physically damaging. It can heighten your spiritual awareness and also allows you to engage in inner reflection.

The best part? There are many kinds of meditation, so your mindfulness journey can be completely tailored to your needs and goals.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is perfect for beginners. Free audio or videos for guided meditation can easily be found on platforms like YouTube and Spotify. These sessions vary depending on what you want to focus on during your practice. Would you like to get better sleep? Find love? Decrease anxiety, heal, or maybe have more energy?

Start by choosing a video catered to your needs, finding a quiet area to

comfortably rest — on your back, with your legs crossed, or even seated in a chair — and simply follow along with the instructor.


& Movement

Meditation Meditation is generally associated with being still, but movement with a mindful purpose, such as yoga, has similar effects. Movement meditation can be any type of bodily movement that carries intention like in the practices of Tai Chi, Qigong, or Aikido. The “meditative” aspect of this movement is then found in your calmness, focus, and intention.

Raja Yoga Meditation is a great example of movement meditation. “It’s a combination of spiritual knowledge and meditative exercises,” explains Raja practitioner and Manhattan Meditation Center Coordinator, Rona Schweiz. “If people practice regularly and with dedication, they experience both inner joy and clarity of mind, and it helps to stay calm in a demanding and sometimes chaotic world.”

Movement meditation, like yoga, can help you increase your muscle strength and flexibility, reduce pain, and improve your overall mental health, leaving you feeling more relaxed and less stressed.

This form of meditation can also be completed at different times of the day for optimal effects. For example, yoga before bed can aid in better rest, and rolling out your mat after a meal can even speed up the digestion process.

This is an ideal option for people who hate the idea of mediation meaning sitting still. There are so many possibilities when it comes to movement meditation. Tutorials and guided videos online are a great place to start moving for your mindfulness.

Mantra Meditation

Mantra meditation begins with a comfortable position and a place to focus easily. Next, find a phrase that you’d like to chant out loud or in your head. Mantras can be short affirmations like “I’m funny and beautiful,” or you can use well-known Buddhist mantras commonly used in meditation like “Om.”

As a part of many religions, mantras can hold different meanings. For Buddhists, mantras aid in finding confidence and positive qualities, while

Everything you need to know to start your meditation journey.

for Christians, a common mantra is “Let Go and Let God,” which is rooted in letting go and trusting in a higher power. Often, this meditation can help you achieve a level of confidence in the universe, yourself, and your deities or gods.

Most meditation often incorporates breathwork, but it plays a more significant role in mantra meditation as you speak and chant. It varies in intensity and technique, but overall is believed to have positive effects on mental and physical health.

Visualization Meditation

If you’re having a hard time meditating and not sure how to clear your mind, don’t worry — you don’t have to. Clearing your mind is only a small part of meditation. You can think about anything during a session.

During visualization meditation, you can use the law of attraction — the belief that positive thoughts bring positive outcomes to someone’s life — by fixating on something you want. This can be anything from a feeling to a person, money, or even health.

Listening to meditation music that corresponds with the frequencies of your desires can aid in the attraction process, and many meditation songs can be easily found online.

Classes taught at the Manhattan Meditation Center incorporate specific meditative thinking like visualization into yoga. “It involves a new way of seeing and understanding ourselves in relation to the world we live in, and it helps me deal with life and life’s challenges in a positive way,” confirms Rona.

She describes experiencing “feelings of peace, freedom, and joy emerging naturally in a state of spiritual selfawareness” during her meditations. “A world of wisdom and rich inner experiences has opened

up for me with this meditation, and I continuously feel pulled to explore more.” she says.

Active Meditation

Taking a walk, painting, dancing, cleaning, and cooking can be all forms of meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to strictly be a “sit down and focus” activity. With proper intention and meditative thinking, you can take your meditation with you everywhere.

Writing can be a meaningful kind of mindfulness that allows you to actively think about your intentions and what you’d like to come out of a journaling session. You can try asking yourself a few questions to guide your writing or simply write whatever comes to mind. Journal prompts for deeper self-reflection can even be found on Tik Tok or Pinterest.

The semi-post-pandemic life is an especially challenging adjustment for us all, so do your best to keep up with your mental health and mindfulness. Meditation could be the key to unlocking so many possibilities, and your journey can start by simply taking a breath.

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Have you ever found yourself running an errand or walking down the street when suddenly, you find yourself not paying attention to anything anymore? An onlooker might say you look like you’re spacing out as your face appears emotionless and your eyes seem to hold an aimless stare.

You’re experiencing dissociation. We all experience mild forms of it throughout our lives. For some, however, dissociation can be chronic and more severe, like not being able to remember most of your day. Though the term itself is not a disorder, dissociation is a spectrum, and within that spectrum there are disorders.

To dissociate is to quite literally detach from your personal reality. More formally, it’s an interruption of the internal integration of consciousness, identity, behavior, and memory according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

So, why do we dissociate? Is there need for concern?

Mild Dissociation As A Survival Technique

We’ve all likely said, “Physically I’m here, but mentally I’m not,” at least once in our lives. Dissociation is an instinctive survival tool and can be used to cope with onset stress as “a way to avoid feelings and buy a person time to find a safe space to express potentially disabling emotions” according to Depth Counseling, a Chicago-based counseling center. Not all dissociation is a result of stress though; it can help us escape ourselves for a while too as “a temporary measure, especially when it’s either a conscious decision or an unconscious reaction to an event.”

Lauren Theresa, a psychology professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) who also professionally specializes in dissociative disorders, reiterates that dissociation isn’t all maladaptive and there are varying degrees. “A deep meditation can be dissociative, the entire

construct of happy hour can be dissociative. In a lot of ways we all have these preplanned dissociative experiences,” she explains.

This isn’t to minimize more severe experiences, but rather to normalize sometimes stepping away from yourself and not thinking that it’s always a negative thing.

Having Many Selves

There’s the idea that everyone has different selves, archetypes, or personas and that they’re all functioning with you. An alter ego, is defined as “a second self or different version of oneself” and is another form of mild dissociation.

It’s about the amount of access you have to yourself in relation to your different parts. Ryan Keller, an Advertising and Marketing Communications major at FIT and vogue dancer, transforms into his alter ego, Bambi, during Ballroom performances.

“Bambi is more confident,” says Keller. “They’re sassy when they get their heels on, and when the music starts, it’s Bambi’s world.”

After high school, while going through stressful life changes, Keller retreated into himself, subsequently creating an identity that could handle the pressure of it all. This other side to him was fully realized while exploring vogue.

“It’s kind of given me a better understanding of who I can be,” Keller explains. We see this in celebrities like Beyoncé with Sasha Fierce or Nicki Minaj with Roman Zolanski. Alter egos can serve many purposes and help to enhance someone’s potential and inspire creativity.

Just beware of getting too deeply into yourself. “It can be damaging if you stay within yourself for too long and don’t come back to the outside world,” Keller warns.

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When Does It Become A Problem and Is That Problem a Diagnosis? Your body is always communicating something to you. It’s constantly sending signals about the world around you and telling you how to react to it. In the end, it’s how your brain handles these moments that can determine a lot.

So, when is dissociation a disorder?

“If it’s affecting your ability to function in the world, or interfering with your quality of life to a significant degree, then it’s a disorder,” clarifies Theresa.

Depersonalization or derealization, dissociative amnesia, and DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER are the three main examples of how dissociation can present when it’s defined as a disorder.

Depersonalization or derealization involves detachment of self. Nothing, not even the person experiencing this type of dissociation, feels real. They can also feel as though they’re watching themselves from outside of their own body.

Dissociative amnesia, on the other hand, occurs when a person is unable to recall information about themselves after a traumatic event.

And the most commonly associated disorder with dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is rare and caused by severe childhood trauma. It occurs when a person’s mind fragments into other selves, each with their own distinct behaviors.

The media isn’t much help when it comes to awareness, though. Using misinformation and misrepresentations of people’s mental health experiences can often seem rooted in sensationalism and voyeurism. It can be exploitative of people’s mental states and continue to perpetuate these experiences in a negative light.

We often see misinformation about many diagnoses spread across TikTok and quick searches on WebMD. “Munchausen by Internet,” or

when someone pretends, or in most cases exaggerates, an illness to seek attention and sympathy online, is a real epidemic, and many are guilty of indulging in it to some extent.

However, Theresa believes that some degree of self-diagnosis is valid as a starting point. Research and peer support can help us better understand our experience, but it needs to be taken seriously and with caution. “I wouldn’t have self-diagnosis as the end-all-be-all,” explains Theresa. “It’s helpful to be able to get clinical support from somebody who’s objective because things do get missed.”

What Are Some Solutions?

If you feel yourself entering a dissociative state, it’s important to find what’s grounding and nurturing for you. Trying something like the “five senses technique” where you identify one or more things you can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste can help to bring you back to reality.

Lexi Sorbara, a LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST AND REGISTERED ART THERAPIST, believes art therapy can also be another great way to provide self-awareness and help process trauma and emotions. “Art is a tool to help understand what’s going on, reduce anxiety, and have a form of release,” she corroborates. “By tapping into different parts of the brain, we’re able to see it and integrate it. The creative process gives you access to those memories that are more implicit.”

In the end, it’s helpful to understand what could be causing these feelings. Diagnosis or not, the goal isn’t to cure or get rid of any parts of yourself. You want all of the parts to work together because each is valid and valuable, and Sorbara warns not to get too caught up in what she describes as “the trauma vortex” where “everything is bad, and I can’t do anything about it, I’m doomed and this is my life.”

Remember, no parts of yourself are wrong. As Sobara says, “It’s really about finding the links between yourself.”

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What it m ns to have lucid dr ms, and how they can affe our wa ng lives.


Imagine a reality where you can bend everything to your will. A world that awaits you once you close your eyes…a paradise. There’s a timewarped world brewing in our minds, collecting each memory, sensation, and feeling that we’ve ever experienced.

Think back to the last time you had a dream. Did you feel weightless? Out of control? Maybe you’ve realized you were in a deep slumber, and the world around you was simply a dream. Or perhaps you took control of your actions, manipulating your surroundings to your liking.

Sound familiar? Then you’ve experienced lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming is the art of becoming conscious within a dream. You have the ability to control what’s going on around you. You can fly or travel the world. You can own anything and everything your heart has ever desired. Anything you can think of can become reality within that dream.

Sensations in a lucid dream feel just as they do when you’re awake, and what the brain sees or experiences in a lucid dream can even carry over into your everyday life. Once you’re aware that you’re asleep, your dreams can become extremely vivid, sometimes even more so than in real life.

If you’re familiar with Christopher Nolan’s film, Inception or have had lucid dreams yourself, you may already be familiar with this phenomenon. As Leonardo Decaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, explains, “Well, dreams, they feel real while we’re in them, right? It’s only when we wake up that we realize that something was actually strange.”

Although Inception increased public interest in lucid dreaming following its success, the film depicted it in an exaggerated and unrealistic manner, contradicting scientific knowledge of the act. It was construed as something dangerous and unstable, something capable of inflicting more harm than good upon the dreamer. While this contrasts most people’s experiences; nonetheless, lucid dreaming can be harmful in some cases.

“For me, lucid dreaming is almost always negative,” says Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) student, Lulu Allen, 21. “This is because I’ve only been able to experience lucid dreams through my experiences of sleep paralysis. I was genuinely traumatized each time I would undergo this state.”

For individuals like Allen, lucid dreaming can have a very unpleasant affiliation. Although it doesn’t occur every night, events in her everyday life that heighten her stress and anxiety levels tend to intensify her lucid dreaming experiences.

“Very often I’ll feel stuck or even frustrated in a lucid dream. Especially when things aren’t going my way, no matter how hard I’m trying to change them,” relents Allen. “I’ll become very upset and my dream will begin to feel hauntingly monotonous. A lot of dreams that end up this way will involve a fear of mine.”

Lucid dreams aren’t always enjoyable, and what may start out as a world where you can bend anything to your will, can quickly spiral out of control…especially when outside factors, like mental health, come into play.

But don’t worry, becoming trapped in a nightmare-like dream really only happens under certain circumstances — it’s pretty rare. It’s far more likely that you’ll become lucid within a bad dream than to have a lucid dream turn bad. Luckily, becoming lucid will help you realize it’s only a dream, and when you wake up, the nightmare ends.

Someone with more experience in lucid dreaming, though, can instantly take control of their situation and alter the dream in any way they desire to make it more pleasing. The impact of being able to manipulate your dreams can even carry over to when you’re awake and affect your everyday life.

Take it from Carolann Altobelli, 21, a Fashion Design student at FIT. Lucid dreams have crossed over into her reality, often leaving her questioning her dreams’ intentions.

“If my lucid dream was very interesting or disturbing, they tend to stay in the back of my mind for the day,” she corroborates. “I think certain people are in your dream sometimes to send you a message. I also believe our dreams do have meanings behind them, and it’s important to record the ones that we can’t seem to stop thinking about.”

In-depth breakthroughs with ourselves through our dreams are also possible. Communication between an awake and a sleeping state is crucial to better understanding the way we interact with the world, how we communicate with others, how we perform in our jobs, or even how we do in school.

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Shoes Jeffrey Campbell

While we sleep, our mind reorganizes itself; it tries to settle our thoughts through dreaming. Our subconscious mind has a system to recognize which issues are most troubling to our lives and what we believe are their best solutions. Lucid dreams are a reflection of our deepest feelings and thoughts, allowing us to challenge life’s problems head-on without any real-world consequences.

While most people seem to stumble upon lucid dreaming, there are ways to induce it. So, how can you lucid dream?

If you’ve found yourself accidentally experiencing lucid dreaming or are eager to get acquainted with the right methods, triggering lucid dreams can come fairly easily to anyone; however, dreaming is different for everyone, and what works for some may not work for everyone.

The Power of Suggestion

Some individuals can successfully induce lucid dreaming by merely convincing themselves they’ll have one. Before falling asleep, just be sure that your thoughts are focused entirely on doing so.

Assess Your Reality

Practice “reality checking” throughout your day. Start to notice small details in your everyday routine. By checking your environment, this practice will help you confirm whether you’re sleeping or awake. In a dream, your surroundings may look familiar, but inconsistencies and distortions become more apparent the longer you’re asleep. Performing reality checks while awake can help improve your ability to test your “reality” while dreaming.

Try the MILD and WBTB Methods

The MILD method stands for “Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming.” It’s a memory technique that helps you remember you’re dreaming once you’re asleep. Start by trying to wake yourself up after five hours. Next, try setting a mental reminder and telling yourself, “I will become lucid when I sleep. Next time I am presented with a dream, I will remember that I am dreaming.”

The WBTB method stands for “wake back to bed.” This technique also involves waking after five hours of sleep. To be effective though, you’ll need to stay awake for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours before attempting to sleep again.

Although a lucid dream state is different from actually being awake, our brains often blur the line between sleep and reality. This is due to a mind and body process known as neuroplasticity, meaning our brain can rewire itself in response to stimuli. It allows us to use our dreams to our advantage, and what we “see” or “experience” in a lucid dream can carry into the real world, improving how we function.

After all, seeing is believing, right?

“I sometimes have dreams about my future career. I’ll wake up and take notes right away of designs I conceptualized in my sleep,” affirms Altobelli. “When I induce a lucid dream, I like to create a storyline in which I’m already an established designer so that my subconscious mind can show me things.”

In a lucid dream, your brain actually thinks the world around you is real. Whatever tasks you perform, the neuroplastic changes are more pronounced if you achieve them both in a sleeping and awake state. When our conscious mind is receptive to paying attention to our lucid dreaming, the possibilities to improve ourselves are endless.

Many of us wish to deliberately induce lucid dreaming. It’s tempting — without using any physical substance — to enter a state of altered consciousness in which one can perform feats not possible in real life by exerting control over the dream scenario. In this way, lucid dreams are considered by many as an ideal state, promoting well-being and psychological growth. For many creative individuals, lucid dreaming seems like an incredibly beneficial experience, and the possibilities of a negative outcome are overshadowed by the untapped potential of future dreams.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in the United States the average lifespan of a person is approximately 80 years, and according to the Sleep Foundation, we spend roughly a third of our lives asleep — that’s a full 26 years that just passes us by. It’s not to say that those years are wasted; after all, sleep is essential.

But what if we could harness those two or three hours that we’re actively dreaming? What can we achieve if we could take back that time by teaching ourselves to have lucid dreams? Your answers could just lie in your dreams.

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Sunglasses Vintage

What would happen if I showed a Victorian Era child Tinder? Or the front page of the New York Times? Or Linkedin? Or one of those TikTok videos of someone playing Subway Surfers while they’re reading a Reddit story in the background?

Gen Z often has a hard time understanding the fact that social media, and the Internet in general, is still relatively new. Google was created in 1998 and Instagram in 2010, but what exactly does this online explosion mean for us now in 2022?

For our parents’ generation, daily updates came from the newspaper, entertainment consisted of only three different television stations, music was on vinyl, and talking to friends meant using a landline (remember those?). For Gen Z, all of that information is in the palm of our hands, quite literally. All of us are constantly on our phones, but nowadays, we kind of have to be.

We’re always getting news alerts and updates from friends, keeping up with pop culture, and our phones are even giving us updates from school and work. If we don’t see something promptly, we could be missing out on an important call or meeting.

So, contrary to our parents’ beliefs, we can’t necessarily just “put down the damn phone.”

With so much competition for traffic, everyone is competing for the most clicks. Think about news outlets, for example. They have learned that tragedy coverage has an insurmountable readership. They push these tragic stories because at the end of the day, traffic to their site is what keeps the lights on — if it bleeds, it leads.

Besides tragedy, these algorithms and platforms have learned what other toxic thing people are interested in: hot people.

TikTok and Instagram algorithms see that the more attractive the person, the more likes and followers they tend to have. And while it’s just human nature, if the only thing people are ever seeing are the most attractive people the Internet has to offer in their feed, they’re going to start to believe that everyone in real life is tall, skinny, and conventionally attractive. This can be seriously detrimental to how people perceive themselves.


An increase in feeling the need to alter one’s appearance is proof of just that.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that eating disorder diagnoses have “increased from 3.5 percent for the 2000-2006 period to 7.8 percent for the 2013-2018 period.” While The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that “plastic surgeons [are] performing an average of 600 more procedures than they did in 2020, a 40 percent increase.” Specifically, nose jobs, facelifts, and eye lifts were the most commonly booked services.

We’re also just seeing more people in our daily lives than any generation before us has. Social media and dating apps have given us the ability to see hundreds, if not thousands, of different faces every day.

To put that in perspective, imagine a world without social media. You only got to see the people in your school, around your town, and maybe the neighboring townspeople every now and then. Now we see people from all over the world — daily thanks to the Internet.

This has even led the mentality of dating to become increasingly worse: the endless scroll to find someone prettier, skinnier, or smarter. Why settle for someone who’s 6’2” if you could potentially have someone who’s 6’5”? Why settle for a New York University boy when you could have a Columbia University boy?

20-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) student, Nandini Jain, confirms, “I think

dating apps have caused more people to be in ‘situationships’ or ‘open relationships’ because people always think they could do better, even if they really like the person right in front of them.” Being so overwhelmed with who and what we interact with is really starting to affect our entire culture.

So, what can you do to separate your real life from the life presented to us on the Internet?

“After deleting my social media, I was finally able to actually put time into myself, mentally and physically, and step away from the distractions that fueled comparison and validation issues for me,” explains Brandon Faris, an ex-social media user from Bowling Green University.

Now, don’t worry, no one’s telling you to delete TikTok and get a flip phone any time soon, but making small changes can have a lasting impact.

It could be as simple as starting with unfollowing some celebrities like Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid on Instagram, turning off the notifications for the News app, or leaving your phone at home when you’re running a few errands.

However you decide to start disconnecting, remember it’s okay to feel overwhelmed once in a while. And if you feel yourself submerged in online mania, at least it’s not like a Victorian child opening up Tinder for the first time.

Graphic Designer Molly Davis


Players roll the dice, move their character a few steps forward or backward, then land on a tile that may present a new opportunity, celebration, or misfortune, in the beloved childhood game, “Life.” It’s a fun game because most of it’s based on dumb luck. Roll a six, move six tiles, and congratulations, you were just promoted at your job. Roll a three, move three tiles — uh oh — your home was just foreclosed on.

It would be wonderful if we could just roll dice to make our biggest decisions for us. Just roll a two and you can graduate with a 4.0 GPA (I’m sure all of us could agree, that would be indescribably fantastic). However, even if everyone on Earth was actually playing a game of “Life” to vicariously live their own, there would be an unfathomable number of different boards, characters, and dice. Some dice would be completely smooth to the point that they just fall right off the board. Others would be blank on certain sides, and some wouldn’t even have dots on them at all.

It may seem unfair or upsetting to think about life’s harsh and, at times, unjust nature, but some are just handed a really poorly designed board game. It’s well known that there are pre-existing barriers and systems designed to keep others suppressed. Systematic racism, homophobia, misogyny, and so on. All of these are real, tangible, and harmful

complex institutions meant to keep specific “players” stuck at square one; while others will zoom ahead to the finish line before the “game” has even begun.

The idea that some in life will work just as hard as their counterparts, play with just as much passion if not more, but will struggle to succeed culminates in the term “glass ceiling.”

A glass ceiling is something you can look up towards and clearly see what’s on the other side. To gaze into a different world of the victories, the accomplishments, and the positions held by those who are not yourself. Something that’s so transparent yet so unbreakable, holding you back. There’s a glass box surrounding some “players” restricting them from moving ahead, and there must be a distinction made when talking about such individuals.

The “finance bro” living in the Lower East Side, wearing a Patagonia vest with an Amex is far less likely to face a glass ceiling when compared to a Black or Brown woman. For generations, women and BIPOC individuals have faced barriers and restrictions from being promoted alongside their white male counterparts. We can clearly see the effects of the glass ceiling in more than one way.

An exploration and breakdown of the glass ceilings holding back creators and artists in the heart of the fashion industry.
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The clearest example is the gender pay gap in the United States and across the world. According to the 2020 United States Census, based on median income, white women make .79 cents to the dollar of a white man. Black women make .62 cents, and Hispanic women make .54 cents compared to that same dollar. And, it seems like every election cycle, politicians love talking about how they will “close” this pay gap. Sure it’s a great talking point and gets people riled up, partially because it can be personal for voters; however, it still has not been addressed through legislation or executive order. The people are suffering, and pleading for help, yet Washington D.C. continues to be complicit.

It’s imperative to recognize that all industries, including the fashion industry, have a glass ceiling hovering above them. Within the fashion industry, we have seen a huge push for diversity in campaigns and on the runway. Something is inspiring in seeing yourself represented in a major ad, or you may even feel hope thinking about our brothers and sisters who will grow up with role models that didn’t exist for yourself a decade ago.

Yet, the executive boards, helms of major houses, and editorsin-chief still seem to look like a shelf of Wonder Bread at the grocery store.

Those of us who have lived and worked in the industry are well aware of the wretched misogynistic, racist, and patriarchal system that still exists. However, it may be fascinating to an outsider to uncover the inequality, and disparities covered up by lipstick, feathers, and sequins. It’s so outrageous that in some fashion companies the “Chief Director of Diversity” is actually a white man.

In 2017, McKinsey, a global management consulting firm, released a study focusing on gender inequality within the fashion industry. In their research, they found that only 50 percent of men saw gender inequality as a real issue within fashion; whereas, 100 percent of women interviewed said that gender inequality was an issue.

It’s somewhat unimaginable that 50 percent of one demographic would refuse to recognize the clear and present struggles of their fellow women counterparts, especially when

women are the leading consumer within the fashion industry and hold the majority of entry-level jobs.

Why does this industry refuse to elevate the women and POC that make this industry run to an equal level as their male counterparts? Are they scared that a creative director with a little melanin in their skin may ruin their “image” of luxury and exclusivity? And yet, many of them seem to have no issue stealing from marginalized communities and workers.

We know they adore and recognize the talent of those in glass boxes — we see the stolen ideas and cultures on the runway far too often.

Denma Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga, came under fire in 2021 for selling “sagging sweatpants” for $1,190. Denma’s blatant disregard of the irrefutable, harmful stereotypes and profiling that sagging pants have had on Black men and children showcased yet another designer’s ignorance and thirst for profit. His careless actions have pushed “sagging” to become a trend.

This type of behavior allows the public to think that it’s appropriate even for a white teen to wear sagging pants and post the outfit on social media with the caption, “sagging is in.” As one user on Twitter wrote, “Black men being discriminated against and devalued for sagging pants, and Balenciaga is profiting off the style. Crazy how it’s ghetto until they put a price on it.”

This is not a new pattern; in fact, the idea of marginalized communities being robbed of their own culture while being simultaneously suppressed is all too familiar. It’s enough to make someone physically uncomfortable — if not ill.

So, it’s up to the future generations of leaders, and artists to control the narrative and direction of the industry to create big structural change from top to bottom. Understand that those currently making their way in the industry and working are the future. It sounds cheesy, if not downright cringey when it’s stated, but it’s the truth.

Those old white men at the top will fade out someday, their dice will no longer roll, and their players will be knocked off the board. It won’t be easy, but again, life is a complex and unpredictable game.





Imagine you’re sitting in a cramped comedy club, watching a novice performer struggle through a set that has gone on a few jokes too long. You’re putting on your best encouraging smile and letting loose just the right amount of laughs to cut the silence. One misspoken punchline leads into another, and anxiety begins to trickle off of the stage and into the audience. You’re likely not alone in experiencing that overwhelming, indescribable feeling that takes over your body in these moments.

What many fail to consider, however, is how embarrassing it can be to be off the stage.

“I get the worst secondhand embarrassment when watching comedic scenes that aren’t landing with an audience, specifically improvised work. I often feel a pressure to laugh louder so the actors aren’t humiliated, but then I get embarrassed for being the only one laughing,” says Pace University Screen Acting student Helena Dreyer, 21. “It’s a vicious circle.”

Dreyer’s words likely ring true for many in her field, as well as anyone else who has ever struggled to keep their composure in front of an audience.

“During an improv class, I watched a scene between a 50-yearold man and my 22-year-old friend where he crawled around on the floor pretending to be a baby, called her ‘mommy,’ and begged her for breast milk. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” says New York-based actor Maya Danzig, 25. “It’s bad enough having that bad of a scene, but it’s so much worse having people in your social circles sitting there watching it.”

So, why is it that when this humiliation is directed outwards on the behalf of others, it penetrates us on such a deep, personal level?

For many, the feeling of secondhand embarrassment takes an entirely different shape than the feeling in its regular “firsthand” form. Also known as vicarious embarrassment, it’s an experience that is altogether unique: often including involuntary physical reactions that are much more paralyzing, more visceral, and more piercing. The root of the feeling lies not only in our subconscious but in our culture entirely.

We live in an extremely social society, and personal connection is a big part of what makes us human. As discussed by the University of California psychology professor, Christine Harris, in her article “Embarrassment: A Form of Social Pain,” our interactions with our peers have a profound effect on our emotional reactions.

“Embarrassment is seen as a social counterpart to physical pain. Just as physical pain alerts us to threats to our physical well-being, embarrassment alerts us to threats to our social well-being,” writes Harris.

The staggering responses that accompany this emotion may seem baffling at the moment, but they’re not as crazy as they seem. There’s a surprisingly sensible explanation.

The experience is ingrained in the way our brains process compassionate feelings. When we’re witnessing others in situations that could be considered painful, we can’t help but

Graphic Designer Lauren Salerno

recreate that pain. In other words, we have evolution to blame for not being able to watch Riverdale without wincing.

But why do we feel this pain for strangers who we have no emotional connection with? Why do we experience it for people who don’t even exist?

You’ve likely seen several Buzzfeed listicles about The Office character Michael Scott’s most cringe-worthy moments. These scenarios take place so often that multiple TV shows and movies have built an entire genre out of them, and subsequently, viewers have grown accustomed to keeping the fast-forward button closely within reach.

“I loved watching The Mindy Project, but I had to take several breaks to take it in,” says LIM College student Gracie Brandt, 21. “My whole body cringed during certain scenes. I enjoyed it so much anyway, but it was truly painful at times.”

So-called cringe comedy works best when viewers can barely bring themselves to look at the screen at risk of enduring almost unbearable secondhand embarrassment. Many viewers avoid these programs for this reason, but both fans and critics share one question: Why is this feeling just as intense even when we know the scenario is clearly fictional?

The feeling of secondhand embarrassment occurs regardless of whether the subject is acting intentionally or not. Essentially, even when we know an embarrassing act is completely scripted, we physically cannot turn off the feeling.

“When you’re embarrassed for yourself, you just want to shrink and disappear, but when you have that same feeling for someone else, those emotions are directed outwards,” says Brandt.

So, next time you feel embarrassed on behalf of someone, don’t feel bad. The act of sharing someone’s pain when you think it must be too unbearable for them to bear it alone is a beautiful thing. As silly as it seems, there may be no better example of human connection.

(And if you cringed imagining me typing that, now you know why.)


Jewelry Patricia Von Musulin


Black culture is the blueprint

There’s no point arguing the toss. It’s a non-negotiable fact that the cultural contributions of the Black community has sculpted much of the modern landscape of American pop culture.

The music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and even the food you eat most likely originate or take inspiration from Black culture in one way or another. And for this, the United States will forever be indebted to the Black community.

“Popular culture” is recognized by society as the set of practices, beliefs, and objects that are dominant or prevalent during a given period in time. The culmination of these cultural characteristics manifests into the zeitgeist of a said era, influencing what we consume and how much we’re willing to spend to feel a part of it.

Black history is American history, and Black culture is no different. From the time of slavery to today, white society has profited off of the blood, sweat, and tears of Black people, and the same can be said when it comes to profiting off of Black culture

America is the capital of pop culture, the epicenter if you will. From choreographed TikTok dances to cringe-worthy rom-coms and brainnumbing celebrity drama, the latest in pop culture is bred onshore before infiltrating the international sphere.

Yet, little attention is given to the fact that the bulk of this culture is influenced by Black communities, with traces popping up across fashion, art, cuisine, film, language, sports, and of course, music.

Did you know Jazz, Rock and Roll, Disco, Techno, House, and yes, even Country music, all have Black origins?


Take House, for example. The innovation of Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of the genre, experimented with new sounds emerging from Chicago’s Black, Latino, and Gay underground nightlife scene. Today, the sound’s humble beginnings are clouded by big-name DJs like Kygo or David Guetta who don’t identify with either minority label.

Or how about Techno? A genre birthed in Detroit by DJ Robert Hood, who described the sound as a commentary on “the struggle of the Black artists who came from nothing.” Now, the role of these said artists in the creation of this beloved genre has been neglected by the rave scene that rejoices to the beats without any knowledge of its origins.

Honey Dijon, an American DJ, producer, and electronic musician, is unafraid to call out this oversight of Black innovation within the electronic music scene, stating loudly and clearly in a MixMag interview that “dance music was colonized.”

And she’s not wrong. That’s not the only Black creation that was colonized, or better yet, stolen.

The theft of Black genius is a homegrown epidemic. A supposedly “shameless” act with minimal consequences and a ubiquity that almost makes it “acceptable.” Slave owners stole their slaves’ inventions, accrediting themselves as the inventors; Elvis Presley stole “Hound Dog” from lesser-known Black musician, Big Mama Thornton; or most recently, Hailey Bieber stealing the beauty look of dark lip-liner, calling it a new trend of “brownie glazed lips” when POC women have been rocking the style for years.

If credit is given where credit is deserved, then maybe this act of whitewashing Black culture would be considered flattery rather than theft.

& Set
Norma Kamali

Frustration arises because the playing field is not level. Most Black innovators are inhibited from capitalizing on their ideas because of the preventative barriers that stand tall in front of them. If the opportunities and access to capital were equal, then it would be fair game.

“The Black opinion and the Black dollar is the least regarded but most influential in America,” corroborates Obi Agwam, 23, a New York-based artist and painter. “When Black people are interested in something, then the wider society soon clutches onto it. The classic example is Nike Jordans. It’s almost like a formula, which retailers are beginning to realize.”

Next, consider our modern lexicon which consists of vocabulary that has origins or similarities to that of African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

“Slay” — a punchy four-letter word that’s seeped into our rotation of common phrases. Originally emerging from Black and Latina LGBTQ+ Ballroom culture during the 1970s and 80s, the word has taken on a new life, working its way into the vocabulary of young tweens who absorbed it from social media.

Not only are words with Black origins making their way into mainstream vernacular, but also the manipulation of voice, specifically cadence, tone, and inflection. This is known as “Blaccent” — a portmanteau of the words “Black” and “accent,” which explains a manner of speaking indicative of the African American stereotype.

This “mimicking” has stirred the pot in recent years due to its adoption by non-Black celebrities, entertainers, and influencers. Most recently making headlines, actress and comedian, Awkwafina, came under fire for her use of Blaccent in the blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians

The irony is as clear as day. Black entertainers continue to face linguistic discrimination as these artists, designers, actors, and TV personalities are looked down upon and shunned for the same “voice” that awards non-Black celebrities praise and celebration.

Some Internet goers proclaim the Blaccent to be the new modern “Internet language.” A loaded statement that makes us think: Is it time we start thinking about cultural intellectual property rights?

How do we know what cultural “property” is claimed and owned by one subset of society, and how do we monitor who’s utilizing and profiting off of this intellectual property?

The thieving of soul food is another aspect of Black culture that’s been absorbed by white corporations, specifically fast-food chains. Take Kentucky Fried Chicken. Colonel Sanders actually got his fried chicken recipe from a southern Black woman, yet his face has remained at the forefront of the brand ever since.

Or how about Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup and Uncle Ben’s microwavable rice? Household names and pantry staples with blatantly racist origins. Both have since changed their names and branding, but only after 130 years of sitting on the shelves of supermarkets across the country, generating profits for white-corporate America.

Time and time again, Black innovations are reaped by white imitators. Think the Kardashians. Notorious for headlines, both good and bad, the Kardashian clan has done one thing successfully, and that’s Blackfish.

Back in 2018, Kim Kardashian was trolled online for a video showing off what she called “Bo Derek” inspired braids, otherwise known as Fulani braids — a protective hairstyle that’s been used by Black women for centuries, with clear-cut origins tracing back to the African continent.

However, Kardashian apparently didn’t take many notes in the crash course of “How to Not Blackfish 101,” with her 2022 Vogue cover and feature story being extremely reminiscent of images that compare to those of Beyoncé, Nina Simone, and Naomi Campbell — three women who are pillars of Black beauty and excellence.

The icing on the cake? The cover was released during Black History Month… A reminder that even the most influential fashion meccas like Vogue must do better.

“Celebrities profit off of racial ambiguity, flirting with the idea that they’re members of minority communities,” agrees Kennedy Stukes, 23, a recent Fashion Institute of Technology graduate. “Our culture is essentially a stepping stool that celebrities continue to lean on in order to reach their end goal.”

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By not explicitly stating they’re “Black,” celebrities conveniently ride this fine line of ambiguity. However, this loophole has reached its breaking point, with POC communities refusing to sit in silence and turn a blind eye anymore.

“Thanks to social media and cancel-culture, Black people are becoming quick at calling out and bringing attention to these injustices,” shares New York native, Atiya Spencer-Willoughby, 22. “Today, one single TikTok video has the ability to end someone’s career, so public figures need to be hyper-conscious about their actions and how they affect all corners of society.”

Accused–singer, Rita Ora, has come under fire for crossing that very fine line. Since her rise to fame, Ora continually borrowed from Black culture, leaving people to believe that she’s biracial despite being born to white Albanian parents.

Society is quick to extract almost everything from Black culture, all but the burden. For generations, Black women and their bodies have been degraded by mainstream media. Our culture is quick to glorify curves on white women but stigmatizes them on Black women.

Young Black girls are sent home from school for wearing braids that are deemed “unkempt” or “untidy,” whilst at the same time, people like Kylie Jenner are applauded for sporting the very same braids down the red carpet.

This hypocrisy is also alive and well when it comes to beauty. Eurocentric features dominate the industry and society at large, excluding Black women from the equation, whilst our white counterparts are able to pick and choose from the most-palatable Black features they consider “desirable.” There are even some women who go as far as altering their bodies to attain them.

Before acrylic nails took pop culture by storm as the new hot “trend,” these long nails and vibrant nail art were unapologetically rocked by Black women for generations, despite originally being deemed “ghetto.”

Such nails have been made famous by the likes of Flo-Jo, an American track and field athlete, known not only for her lightning speed but also for her rotation of bold acrylic sets. Or 90s it-girl, Lil Kim, who took nails to the next level, wearing a set adorned with real U.S. bills — the creative

thinking of celebrity manicurist Bernadette Thompson, who recently had a replica of the infamous acrylics on display at The Museum for Modern Art for their “Items: Is Fashion Modern” exhibit back in 2017.

Like most, it wasn’t too long before these extravagant nails reached the masses, becoming the mainstream beauty accessory we know and love today.

If these celebrities were partaking in cultural appreciation rather than appropriation and were willing to not only take on the trends of the Black community but also engage in the fight against racism in America, then maybe there’d be more leniency.

The conversation wouldn’t be complete without mention of Dapper Dan, a Harlem-based designer infamous for his high-fashion “knock-offs” that reworked designer logos and monograms into bespoke one-of-akind pieces. Dan’s designs were adored and worn by the most influential rappers of the 90s music scene, until he was shut down by his highfashion counterparts Gucci, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton.

But as they say, what goes around comes around. Recently, Gucci paid “homage” to Dan by launching a collaborative ready-to-wear collection and re-opening his appointment-only courtier in Harlem.

Trend after trend arises from the Black community but remains dormant until they’re co-opted by our white peers who time after time push these trends into the realm of mainstream pop culture, with fashion being the biggest culprit.

Designer and activist, Nareasha Willis coined the phrase, “Ghetto until Proven Fashionable,” reinforcing the fact that the fashion industry, aided by others, is notorious for allowing these perceptions to flourish, despite being deeply rooted in classist ideals and racist tropes.

The phrase has taken off, with Willis plastering it, along with similar thought-provoking statements, across a collection of loungewear that was debuted on the streets of Paris whilst worn by Fashion Week attendees.

So, next time you’re immersing yourself in popular culture be sure to question the origins of the cultural element you’re basking in, and if credit is not given, then do society a favor and give the credit yourself.


If you’re going for a walk, what’s the first thing you probably do? Put your headphones in and listen to music. How about doing homework and needing to focus? You put your headphones in and listen to music. Showering? Odds are, you put some music on in the background, and do what you got to do.

Music is such a paramount part of our lives. It motivates us when we find ourselves in a slump, cradles us when life doesn’t play fair, and can describe any specific emotion when our own words seem to fail us.

“Music is everything,” says Jessica Ann Best, crossover artist, Song Literature professor and Nazareth College’s Artistic Director of the Opera. “It is the essence of life itself. Everything is music.”

It’s an art form and a way of expression that’s always evolving, especially in today’s day and

age, and the music industry is one that’s always welcoming of ultramodern talent.

So, it’s no surprise that many classifications and niches of music have emerged over the years.

This can partially be accredited to how accessible it is for artists to produce and promote their own sounds. Many of our favorite artists have procured their love of music right in their own basements or bedrooms.

Take Izzy Ravana, 21, who started making music to “build a community, a safe space [and] to share [his] emotions; the bright ones but also the dark ones that are deemed too taboo to share in society.” When artists, like Ravana, put their undisguised, genuine selves into their music, it manufactures a connection with us as listeners. We get the opportunity to see them on a personal level.

Look out music industry, it seems like subgenres will be here for the long haul.

Thanks to the ability artists have to create music with little to no limitations, they’ve been able to develop mixes of “classic” genres that have inspired them, with touches of their own personal flare, thus fabricating brand new styles of music. Each of these new styles that have emerged is what we know as subgenres.

A subgenre is a smaller, more specific sector of a much broader topic. It’s no different for music. Every musical grouping can be broken down and manipulated into multiple styles. And according to Spotify, there are 1,300 different music genres and of that, only 15 of them are considered to be “parent genres” — the rest are subgenres.

“Parent genres are the umbrella terms — everything else falls underneath them,” says Joelle Bensaid, 21, an NYC-based jazz and folk artist.

So, what impact can we expect to see in the future as a result of these over 1,200 subgenres?

When we think about the future of music, it’s hard to envision a clear picture since there are so many moving parts in the industry. With so many different degrees of talent and different sounds, no two artists can really be the same.

What we do know for certain, however, is that the music industry will continue to be a melting pot of styles that no longer fit into the distinctive boxes they once filled. More importantly, artists will continue to stray away from confining themselves to those same boxes as well.

“I don’t like to generalize my music,” verifies E’mani Johnson, 20, a singer and songwriter from the Bay Area. “I’m just a creator! But if I had to choose, I would say my music is R&B, soul, and a dash of hip-hop.” And as far as subgenres go, Johnson says, “They will continue to emerge, and it’ll slowly shape the new era of music that’s approaching.”

“Subgenres will have the same historical impact that they’ve always had. They’re the driving force of innovative, new music, and are what makes artists unique,” adds Bensaid, “Subgenres really are the foundation of music.”

When people we look up to push the envelope, it encourages us to do the same. Music is an experimental playground where artists don’t have to shy away and be complacent in conformity.

“I believe now subgenres are getting more and more prominent as some mainstream artists are not afraid to step outside of the box to attack these borderlines,” states Ravana. “I don’t believe in putting myself in a box, but if I had to name some, they would follow: Experimental Hip-Hop and Trap, Anti-pop, Alt Rock, Electro Pop.”

“I think people across all genres are looking for authenticity in their art. People want truthtelling and talent — artists that express the human condition. As the artists are listening, I think you’ll see more and more truth-tellers in the songs,’’ agrees Best.

Granted, artists may not always lean into placing an identity on their music, but oftentimes we as listeners derive some sort of selfdom from our music taste.

As a result of this, it makes sense that we gravitate toward what makes us feel seen, heard, and understood. For those of us who don’t feel like we fit into any one single box, subgenres are the holy grail. They’re a little bit of everything we look for, all wrapped up into one.

We keep music close to our hearts. For a lot of us, our music taste is our pride and joy. It’s an identifier, a unifier, and one of the rawest forms of creative imagination. Now, go ahead, and hit shuffle on your playlist — what kind of subgenres are in your library?

Everyone knows social media is curated, but let’s be real — we all have moments where sh*t hits the fan. Let’s normalize sharing it.

As a collective, Gen Z may have acquired the name “screenagers,” but just because it’s always been this way doesn’t mean we can’t reflect.

Where did this age of social media begin? How do we adapt? What if we stepped out of our bodies and faced ourselves instead of hiding behind a screen that will never be real? It may sound cheesy, but the key to inner reflection, self-confidence, and authenticity is staying grounded.

Let’s talk about it.

P.O.V. — Your best friend just downloaded Snapchat, tells you they’re worried their crush might leave them on read, and proceeds to post a selfie showcasing the infamous “duck-face.” Is Snapchat where it began for us?

According to a study by Our World in Data, Snapchat really was where it started. Findings show a significant increase in social media usage after 2012, which also happens to be the cutoff year for those born into Gen Z.

Sure, we can pinpoint this as the start for Gen Z, but more specifically, social media usage is important in recognizing the effect on Gen Z as a whole. Within this data, a stark difference was found between the “use of social media platforms by age group in the US” on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter as well as other platforms like Youtube and Facebook.

If you could guess which age group was the most popular within Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, which would it be? If you said ages 18 to 24, you’d be right. Shocking? Not at all. In most cases for Gen Z, posting a selfie for people to like or comment on is easier than ordering food over the phone.

Growing up during the age of social media comes with feeling constantly perceived, and not in the ways we expect like on the street, in the hallway, or on the subway, but in ways that are done behind a screen. This will be different for generations to come who will consider social media as their norm.

Self-help practices can be repetitive, so it’s hard to properly reflect on oneself. Everyone looks to be authentic for the sake of being “different,” and trying to be yourself is not authentically you, but what you want people to see. We’ve created a footprint online that blends the versions of our personas and can make in-person interactions difficult, even awkward.

Being active in media is mentally debilitating. Take Corinne Collado, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), who has a following of 259.4k on TikTok and 10.8k on Instagram.

Collado has been posting since 2021, but once her videos blew up, she began feeling anxious just going to campus. “Even in the elevator, I didn’t want people to think I was a bitch if I looked at them wrong,” she expresses. “Or if they recognized me from TikTok and went to their friends to say something.”

Her first video to receive 12 million views accumulated many aggressive comments, some being, “oh my god is this a joke?” making Collado question herself and her personal fashion choices.

Taking a step back, Collado realized, “I don’t care what strangers think, and if people have a negative opinion about you then you’re doing something right.”

In many ways, social media is a highlight reel in presenting a thoughtout feed. In person, there’s pressure to keep up that “highlight reel.” Is this considered authentic? You can post what you want, whenever you want, but when it starts to take the form of a “front,” is that really who you are in your most raw state?

A study done by Penn State Researcher, Bu Zong, states in the book Social Media Communication: Trends and Theories, “When most people meet someone new for the first time, they often feel a need to ‘reduce uncertainty’ about that person.” This affects how we interact with others and what we choose to be judged on. We use social media as a cautionary blanket and cause harm to our own mental beings and relationships in the process.

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So, what about social media pulls us back in, despite how it exhausts us?

Mclean Hospital explains that it’s related to the “possibility of a desired outcome.” We look for who interacts with our content and if people aren’t, we question why. There is a search for validation even from people we don’t even know.

It’s important when blending ourselves with our online personas to recognize that social media, especially the media itself, hasn’t always been this exhausting. Removing the pedestal we put ourselves on is crucial when portraying ourselves on social media and in person.

Nikole Lachioma, 37, the owner of Rockwell Dance Center in Trumbull, Connecticut, speaks on how authenticity and self-confidence have changed for her, as well as witnessing it with her students.

“[It] breeds competitiveness and ruin friendships because it’s easy to see what everyone else is doing and saying,” she explains. Instead of looking at people and saying, “I wish I had what they have,” we can rewire our subconsciousness to say, “They have something I don’t and I have something they don’t, which is okay.”

“I know well enough that everyone has something different to give, and that’s what should be celebrated,” Lachioma confirms. Differences are qualities to take inspiration from, rather than considering them as a threat to your status and likes.

Challenging yourself to appreciate other lifestyles you see on social media or in person, rather than a hierarchical ladder, is a hard task. This is something Lachioma didn’t have to do as a teen. “I am not envious of you who have grown up with social media. It takes so much effort and energy,” she says. Having hard conversations with your friends or even in the comments

on a post will normalize being presently authentic with each other and yourself.

Authenticity is the opposite of the planned nature of social media. Those memes that say “Internet” with a polished picture and then to the right, a chaotic picture labeled “Reality,” feel like a skit that’s meant to be funny. News flash — Internet vs Reality is a real thing We do it every day.

There’s a silver lining in all of this: inner reflection. Mollie LaPrade, a student at FIT, states that finding a healthy balance is something to work at. When she finds she’s comparing herself to someone else’s “Instagram life,” she mutes the account to preserve her mental health.

For people like Lachioma, who didn’t grow up with social media, it’s easier to ignore and stick to who they are. For us, this may not be as easy.

It may take time to take a page out of this book and consider going back to doing things for your own pleasure. We should be following people who make us laugh, seeing what our friends are doing, celebrating and inspiring each other, and letting the sh*t hit the fan without shying away from showing it. Everyone is caught up with themselves anyways, so why not do what you want because you want to? You’ll find your most authentic and confident self here, guaranteed.

Maybe all of those preachy “self-help” books were right after all, even if their real flaw was that their repetitive points weren’t hitting home enough. So, try it. Pick your eyes up from the screen, “unplug” for a little while, and let go of the millions of notifications, along with the persona you put on.

Don’t just set it as a reminder that you’ll ignore on your phone saying, “Take a break,” THIS TIME… ACTUALLY DO IT.

Graphic Designer Lauren Salerno





Setting boundaries and making decisions is a form of self-care. How can you take back your power?

I took my jacket off at the movie theater and nervously laid it across my lap. My mind was racing and the intrusive thoughts were on repeat. “I shouldn’t have come. I need to go home. I have several assignments due. I haven’t eaten today. Do I need groceries? Certainly, I need groceries. Oh, God.” I couldn’t help but think what the hell I was doing there, sitting in the theater when my to-do list was saturated, and I hadn’t done the responsibilities I needed to do in order to feel like my life was in order.

I was stretching myself too thin. Not listening to myself when my mind, my body, and my heart knew I needed a break. But my friend had invited me to the theater, and I didn’t want to miss out — I didn’t want to disappoint her.

I knew I had to set boundaries, even if it was with myself.

From the insistent friend that wraps you up in plans you aren’t sure how to say no to, to telling your partner you’re not ready for sex, to respecting your body to know when it’s time to eat, to going to bed on time, to the nosy stranger in the park that suddenly starts asking too many personal questions … boundaries are essential in carving out your own path.

Truthfully, the only person who can do anything about it is you and how you lead with your authentic nature. It can be difficult to know how and when to stand up for yourself because it takes a great deal of self-awareness, which can often feel scary.

However, with the courage and vulnerability, it takes to persevere, it’s possible to be your own advocate, allowing your values to guide your path.

Two essential questions to ask yourself:

1. What feels good to you?

Whether you know what you want or not, if you lead with your moral compass, eventually it will guide you there.

The human need to control things often comes from a place of desire or fear, regardless of how you feel about the subject in

the first place. You may feel the need to impose your will onto something to fulfill a desired specific outcome regardless of if it feels good or not to you. Ask yourself, “Is this urge coming from a place of ego, or is it coming from a place that feels genuine?”

2. What are your core values?

Take time to analyze who you are and who you want to be in your life. This might take a lot of introspection, so take your time. Once it’s clear what those are, you can then act on them. If your friends are going out for drinks but you don’t feel like you’re up for it, respect that feeling and don’t go out.

But if you find yourself having difficulty setting boundaries, you’re not alone. While you may deem yourself a “people pleaser,” many people find it hard to set up boundaries, even if it’s for the best.

This could be due to several reasons though, all of which are perfectly normal. As suggested by BetterUp, you could be having trouble because you’re not sure how to set a certain boundary, you could be dealing with times of low self-esteem, you’ve had boundaries disrespected in the past, or you may not see the value in setting some boundaries.

Whatever the case may be, don’t feel discouraged. Being able to set boundaries is a process — a marathon, not a sprint. Finding a balance that works for you between being too open and too rigid is the key.

At the heart of it, standing up for yourself and setting boundaries doesn’t need to be construed as a negative thing; in fact, it’s incredibly healthy. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, setting personal boundaries can help you create an environment that allows you to be yourself and have your needs met. And ultimately, aren’t you and your needs the most important things to worry about?

So, try to take those quiet moments to yourself and learn to set those boundaries, even if it’s difficult at first. Soon enough, those values will start drawing the outer perimeters for you.

Graphic Designer Adiba Tamboli



“If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all of the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repaid it,” recited Amanda Gorman on a crisp morning in January 2021 at the Inauguration of President Biden. Her poetic address elevated the art of spoken word to a platform never reached before when she delivered it.

Spoken word is an artistic representation of dialogue with a rhythmic pattern that was first introduced in the 1940’s Harlem Renaissance as a way of exploring culture and influence within nearby communities. Its unique approach allows performers to gain the attention of their audience with its often raw and vulnerable form of expression.

The feelings and thoughts expressed through this method are usually more powerful than in written text alone because they provide the listener with facial expressions, a dialect, oftentimes an accent, and a picture to go with the words that are being spoken. More plainly, spoken word is influential because listeners watch the art form unfold on an intimate level of a live performance.

Spoken word originated during the jazziest era in American history. African Americans, at the time, were migrating out of the Jim Crow South in an effort to find new opportunities for equality. The artform later permeated Black communities in cities like Chicago and New York in the 1990s with slam poetry and now is used on the floor of Congress, at the inauguration of presidents, and even throughout Broadway shows internationally.

Spoken word begins with the subject, introduced as something meaningful to the performer and the main purpose of the piece and ultimately aims to spur a reaction from the listener. Poets use an extremely specific word choice to create a euphony: a literary device that makes words pleasing to the ears. Theatrically and musically, the performers connect themselves to the audience through hand gestures and transparency in their meaning. When writing the poem, the author may keep in mind voice inflection, repetition, and quality in word choice, which they believe will have the greatest impact.

On a warm evening in September, performative poetry took the stage in a way that is still very much relevant. In the East Village, on a quiet street, a community of unconventional poets, readers, and thespians, gathered to appreciate music, booze, and the power of the spoken word.

Every Monday night, a flicker of candlelight offers an ambient aura to the windows that are draped in deep, velvet curtains, sucking out any light to indicate the outside world. Hanging light fixtures and wooden tables, carved with the names of old


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lovers, adorn this space. There, an old-fashioned speaker softly plays an assortment of melancholy rock music. Red wine is shared amongst old friends who catch up and discuss nostalgic times in an inspirational manner.

The KGB is a hot spot for poets and writers alike. It’s a space where freedom is expressed, and the mind can open up to the possibilities of spoken word. As Jada Gordon, an employee at the KGB, explains, “Spoken word gives people a sense of community and familiarity when they share the thing they love.”

An aura of familiarity fills the individual the moment you walk into the bar. Writers bond together over their passion for poetry, professors reunite with past students and reconnect with stories of their present life, and old friends share precious moments passed. A warm embrace greets eyes at every corner of the room. When the greetings and catching up come to a slow, Gordon and her coworker announce the beginning of that night’s readings.

This introduction paved the way for an expert in the field of poetry, and even for those with little poetry experience, the audience quickly understood the weight of the next performer’s presence in the room.

American poet, editor, critic, and professor at Denison University, David Baker, offers some insight into the power of spoken word. Through his subtle suave mannerisms and movements, deep voice, and dark lighting, Baker sets the tone for some extremely serious matters in his performance. Baker lingers and characteristically looks closely and is patient with his language. And suddenly, his words are not just words, but rather images playing out in the minds of his captives. Yes, his words were captivating and gripped the soul, pleading it to question itself.

Baker, who is known for speaking on the death of our planet and humanity’s ultimate fault in that, opened with a piece on mass shootings on this particular evening. It hauntingly described mankind as anger itself. He shamelessly pronounced, “The world is in pieces, we must not say so.”

The silence between his words may have been more powerful than the words themselves. During these pauses, the breathing of the audience was so palpable, it could be heard in every corner of the room. Seeing Baker’s eyes as he described this violence, the trembling of his voice to produce the words, and the raw emotion with which he attached himself to this piece, was provoking.

When the audience responded in applause, he halted them and offered more words stating that there should be no applause for this work. Even a novice in the room understood the power of spoken word after Baker’s performance.

The reason that this art is spoken and not just written lies in the content being delivered. It’s so critical, it shouldn’t be left to the reader to decipher its voice. This safe haven where poets bleed their pain through words to an audience can offer no more than ears. Communication can influence, educate, entertain, and demonstrate emotions that must be said aloud.

Baker’s performance led to a conversation about one of the most controversial and debated topics in the news today: mass shootings and gun violence. He started a conversation about the root of a largely debated topic in society today, and if these conversations were happening in bars all over the nation, then maybe it would change the world for future generations.

Spoken word really is a useful tool to spread awareness on topics that may be difficult to discuss. “Spoken word is cherished because it’s the greatest way to share ideas,” claims Gordon. And performances like that of Baker’s, often leave you with questions and a determination to work for change.

Spoken word is a tool, and it can be powerful in social situations due to its bold delivery. When Gorman presented her words at the Inaugural Address, the world listened. Her performance was applauded by both sides of the political spectrum, and the divisiveness which currently plagues our nation was relieved, if only for a moment, through her words of peace.

On social media platforms like TikTok, thousands of videos are posted of creators expressing themselves through spoken word. Topics like sexism, racism, eating disorders, breakups, mental health, and sexual assault, may not always be a written down but only said out loud. Poets often find that performing their feelings for others can feel like a weight off of their shoulders — a breath from the chaos of the world. Conveying the right expressions and not being afraid to tell people what you actually feel can be such a freeing exercise.

Celia Tia is one of the leading poets of spoken word on TikTok. One of her particular poems titled, “Falling Out of Love,” explains the hurt of feeling too deeply and the danger of romanticizing relationships. She states, “But this couldn’t have been written, it takes time to understand, how sometimes when you fall, I hope you have the courage to get up and stand.” An inspiration, Tia says the things that people do not necessarily want to hear. She explains her feelings with conviction, and her words come out as if they’re a story that is already familiar to you.

Spoken word is a tool that we can use to project our beliefs to those who will listen. It allows the listener to fully absorb your words. Every aspect of your performance is convincing the audience of your emotions. Its main purpose is to send out a message, so why not make it a powerful one.

Photographer Taj McKnight

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