CABRA Fall 2016
masthead Editor-in-Chief ETHAN CUMMINS 1 Art Director & Managing Editor HAYLEY WOOD 2 Photography Director FAITH ROBBINS 3 Fashion Editor SHARMEEN ANJUM Fashion Editor ZACHARY DUPUIS 4 Beauty Director EVELYN CANTÚ 5 Casting Director CHRISTOPHER GONZALES 6 Location Coordinator KYLIE GARRETT 7 Digital Editor MARGEAUX LABAT 8 Founder & Marketing Director YSENIA VALDEZ 0
SPECIAL THANKS TO Prof. Margita Pencevova Louisianna Purchase 3
St. Edward’s University Photo Lab
Issue No. 3
staff Writing CORINNE BATES,
FIONA BALLERET, KAY BELL, LILLIE BRUNER, REILLY CARDILLO, HANK HOLMES, GAVIN QUINN
Design JENNA DWYER, GABY HECKLER, KATE MULLIGAN, HAILEY
STRADER, MALI TRIBUNE
JOSHUA BIPPERT, KELSEY FORD, TAYLOR GARCIA, JACOB GONZALEZ, ISAIAH LANGE, NAÏS LOUISOR, CHLOË ROYER
SOPHIA ABOUELATA, DAPHNE KOKKINIS, CAMILLE MAYOR, PATRICIA MEDINA, JEWELIANA MOLINAS, ROWAN PRUITT, LEVI THOMPSON, MIRIAM VICENTE, ASHYLN WEINER
Beauty AMANDA BRADER, FARAJI PETTY Digital
EVGUENIA GOLOLOBOVA, HANNAH LOZANO
ANGEL BUSANO, ARIADNA GONZALEZ, SOPHIA LOWENBERG, FATIMA SHEIKH
Sustainabil Universe of Lifeâ€™s a Drag 29 Maison S p e l l b 48 Di
lity 8 The f Uniform 16 g 22 Zines as Muse 35 b o u n d iversity 56
Change is nothing short of inevitable. Just as the maples and the oaks fade from green to gold – albeit in December – we face a growing wave of changes to which our ability to cope seems increasingly wavering. Post-truth politics and demagogic democracy being mere examples, the changes we have faced in recent memory are too copious and too complex to discuss here. I instead take this opportunity to reflect on the changes that have made this season a whirlwind for the world of fashion and for CABRA, our young yet vibrant voice bridging the gap between the issues of the high fashion hegemony and the issues of our humble community. For the industry of fashion in the past season or two, change has been as unprecedented as it is plentiful. After contentiously supplanting Hedi Slimane, Saint Laurent swapped out the former director’s luxuriously eccentric vision in exchange for Anthony Vaccarello’s admittedly lackluster offerings. Following his quite publicized exit from Christian Dior, citing the lamentably breakneck pace of the industry, Raf
Simons turned around and, rather confusingly, accepted the top job at Calvin Klein across the pond. After deeply polarizing fashion observers with the first few iterations of his Vetements collective, Demna Gvasalia debuted a highly anticipated menswear collection for Balenciaga, the first such presentation on the runway in the house’s nearly century-long history. The desire for increasing commercial marketability of both ready-to-wear and couture has led to short tenures and quick turnaround for designers, leading many pioneering creatives to subvert the conventional structure and establish new standards for the traditionally rigid industry. If life imitates art, so too has our burgeoning publication imitated these sobering changes felt in the fashion industry. Just as CABRA left the tarmac with Issue #2, propelled by a refined vision and increasing acclaim, we were forced to make an emergency landing. The departure of some of our founding directors coupled with a three-month 9
dormancy prompted a difficult reboot for the magazine. Nonetheless, rather than letting this change cripple our momentum, we assembled a talented cast of new contributors and pressed on to assemble what you see here, the third installment in CABRA’s budding legacy. It is my sincere hope that in flipping through the following pages you feel welcomed into fashion and feel welcomed into our community, that you question conventions and you question yourself, that you share in our pride and you share in our vision. Change is nothing short of inevitable, and what falls on all our shoulders is the responsibility to keep them guessing, to subvert the norm, to proudly and aggressively express our identity.
ETHAN CUMMINS Editor-in-Chief
SUST AIN ABIL ITY Garments by MARGITA PENCEVOVA Photographs by ASHLYN WEINER & JEWELIANA MOLINAS Styling by KELSEY FORD & JACOB GONZALEZ Words by CALEY BERG & FIONA BOUTARIGE Featuring ALESSANDRA URBINA & DIEGO VILLAREAL
Bright, flashing images of half-naked models bombard your screen, tempting you with the hottest deals, competing with thousands of other retailers for your swift swipe of credit card. Accessible. Cheap. Widespread. This is “fashion” today. Fast fashion conveniences those who can afford it— those who swipe, but not those who sew. The fashion industry landscape has shifted completely from cyclical fashion, in which designers released anticipated seasonal collections twice a year, to fast fashion, in which global designers, such as H&M, showcase the latest trends to be consumed on a weekly basis. These clothes can be bought from countless retailers in developed countries, at any time. Rather than producing them locally, businesses operate in developing countries where they can maximize profits. If we choose to be uncritical consumers, we may consider ourselves lucky to have access to fast fashion. This is the easy thing to do. Yet, if we start by asking two simple questions, we will see that the only party benefiting from this flawed system is the owner of the fast fashion brand. Now, we must ask ourselves: From where do my clothes originate? Where will they end up? THE BIRTH OF FAST FASHION BREEDS THE DEATH OF HUMAN RIGHTS On April 24, 2013, surviving factory workers in the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh cried out together in agony, clutching the bodies of their coworkers, friends and family, who were crushed by the weight of the building and buried in rubble. 931 total dead. Had management adhered to evacuation warnings, lives would have been saved, but instead they forced every person to remain inside. The Rana Plaza building collapse serves as a prime example of mistreatment of workers and the lack of proper regulations in clothes production factories overseas. Horrific conditions for factory workers have existed since the start of the Industrial Revolution, when capitalists began to take advantage of desperate people in need of work. Unfortunately, these issues have grown among populations who work for fast fashion brands, often in developing countries. Today, Americans only make 3% of their clothes. The rest is outsourced to other countries. Workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh are women who make less than $3 a day, making them the lowest paid garment makers in the world. Corporations seek out the cheapest labor practices to
thrive in a competitive market and meet consumer demands. But what sacrifice is made? Human life. Fast Fashion brands shed responsibility for the workers, because they do not technically own the factories. If a factory cannot afford to lower the price at the brand’s demand, the brand can reply that they will move business to another factory. This leaves manufacturers without a say. Paradoxically, the cost to produce a t-shirt has risen over time, and yet corporations set lower and lower prices. How is this possible? Crushing the price difference onto the bottom of the workforce. We tend to define these workers by one thing: their poorness, and we don’t see past that aspect of their lives. We view it as a condition that neither us or them controls. We view them as separate. But we must not focus on what they lack, but rather what we share. These workers experience desire; they are inventive people; they nurture their loved ones; they cultivate hope. They are humans, who yearn for the bare necessities to simply be, just like us. Yet, hazardous workplaces minimum wage kill
Imagine you are a Bangladeshi worker, and you witness thousands of people wearing the clothes that you spend 14 hours a day sewing, embroidering, steaming and processing. Thus far the world has no idea about the work you put into creating the shirt on their back. They will try it on in the dressing room, purchase it from the cashier and leave it hanging in their closet while dust collects, before inevitably throwing it away. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: ONE PERSON’S TRASH, ANOTHER PERSON’S HOME Envision a landfill overflowing, endless gray smog stretching overhead, piled full of your dirty clothes you tossed aside in hopes they would reach someone who needed it. A small child from a local village in Bangladesh wonders near the bottom of the mound, rummaging through the shadows of the fashion industry’s seemingly infinite waste. Gasses like chromium and methane from the landfill rise and eventually breach the ozone layer; over time, they infiltrate the lungs of this child and his family members down the road. This is a bleak reality for millions of garment producers across the world. Our purchases now directly impact the lives and homes of others. The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry on Earth; only the oil industry surpasses it.
“Fast fashion conveniences those who swipe, but 14
First, we must rethink the clothing manufacturing process by examining the horticulture of source materials. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 80% of cotton is now GMO, meaning farmers spray harmful pesticides across their fields. Pesticides are ecological narcotics: the more you use them, the more you rely on them. As most farmers continue to depend on pesticides, the minority of organic farmers struggle to compete in an industry that rewards mass production. Costs for labor and natural resources used to produce our clothes are not accounted for in the price we pay. Currently, a seed monopoly exists in the industry. Monsanto owns 282 million acres of genetically modified crops. Monsanto’s power allows the company to control the decisions of many farmers. The ecological effects of genetically modified crops are still being researched. Some include disruption of soil, negative effects on non-target organisms and development of insect resistance. Health effects are also under heavy investigation. So why do we ignore the chemicals our skin encounters? People are more likely to eat organic than buy organic clothing, because we don’t ingest clothing. Still, communities are impacted by the rampant use of chemicals in production— communities like those in Kanpur. Kanpur city is situated along the holy Ganga river, crucial to more than 800 million Hindus. However, when a leather factory began to pour 50 million liters of toxic wastewater per day into the river, the locals heavily felt the effects. Strong chemicals like chromium-6 now flow into locals farming irrigation and drinking water, leaving the population with skin rashes, boils, and pustules. Some even experienced numbness in the limbs, stomach ailment and cancer. The
CONSUMERISM: THE CULPRIT Consider the last commercial for clothing you watched. Did it consist of youthful, smiling faces dancing together, or perhaps an attractive celebrity strutting down the street in their brand. These corporations sell more than just clothing; they sell a sense of fulfillment that one will receive if they purchase the product. They sell concepts, for example— class, success, youth, love, freedom, or camaraderie. Corporations have capitalized on our seemingly insatiable need to consume. The purpose of spreading consumptionism is to convince people that the products they typically use longterm are no more than products to be used up. This mentality makes consumers poorer and poorer, because they are buying more material things that they do not truly need to live.
Popular brands like Zara, H&M and even Topshop are guilty of implementing these advertising techniques and using questionable labor practices. H&M has released a new ‘conscious collection’; however, the brand has a long way to go before becoming sustainable. Until we ignite a sweeping shift in mindset towards products we consume, global injustice against both humans and the earth we inhabit will persist, and it will proliferate. AWAKENING & PATH FOR CHANGE The 21st century marks a turning point for fashion. The digital media age allows reporters to both investigate fast fashion brands’ unethical practices and also share their findings. Researchers have taken an interest in the environmental impacts of GMO cotton and improper waste management. Now and
that many of us current damage, we
are aware of must begin
the past to heal.
Sustainable brands, like People Tree, fundamentally differ from other brands, because rather than beginning conceptualization with a certain aesthetic or look, they begin conceptualization by evaluating their resources and impacts of production. By incorporating a global perspective in their design process, sustainable fashion brands work for others and not simply themselves. Sustainable brands are emerging in both high fashion and commercial fashion. Some include Everlane, Indigenous, Outdoor Voices, Stella McCartney, Ethica and thousands of others that sell clothing online. Patagonia, an activewear brand that uses organic cotton, recently donated $10 million of profits to environmental sustainability projects. They are all proof that clothing can be beautiful, trendy and ethical. Investing a bit more in sustainable products equates to investing in our future. It starts at the consumer level. If we demand ethical fashion from our retailers, then we can raise the demand for sustainable fashion. We may begin to buy with others in mind. Ideally, sustainable fashion will become the norm. We can teach future generations to fight apathy and to instead value social justice and sustainability. The
those who can afford it — not those who sew.” 15
THE UNIVERSE 18
OF UNIFORM 19
Words by HANK HOLMES Photographs by LEVI THOMPSON Styling by JACOB GONZALEZ & KELSEY FORD Featuring ZACHARY GOSSETT & MARIA RAMIREZ
Uniform is an expression of the individual’s place in a culture. Steve Jobs and Hillary Clinton have their respective uniforms consisting of turtlenecks and pant suits that have become an expression of their individuality. Seen in businesses, music scenes, and cities, culture can be seen with the style of its members. Yves Saint Laurent said that “Fashions fade, style is eternal”, and the combination of style and the fashion of a culture is where uniform is created. A scene or city can influence an individual. In Los Angeles or New York, people that listen to the same music or involve themselves with similar culture can still dress in unique uniform. While the environment a person subjects themselves to affects a person’s style, the difference that changes uniform comes from the style of the person, what is affected is the individual’s space in the culture around them. A New York painter can have a fashion that someone could label as “artistic”, but would still have an individual flare compared to that of an “artistic” look from Los Angeles. The uniform that both characters subscribe to is similar, but expressed in their own way. It is the same for business uniforms, with different business scenes requesting a different fashion from others. The traditional black and white suit for men can still be expressed uniquely in different environments or cultures through fit, texture,
color and so on. Even in the strictest and most traditional request of a uniform, there is still individuality that can be expressed. People can be identified by their uniform. Hillary Clinton iconically dresses as herself, wearing a dark pantsuit without fail. On the night of the first election, one of the top five googled items was, “Why does Hillary Clinton always we are a pantsuit” . Her uniform, while bland, has been created by her own style. A style that has been influenced by her presence in the business world and politics. Steve Jobs’s iconic piece was the black turtle neck sweater. While bland, his individuality was expressed in this uniform. People express themselves in the context that they feel comfortable in, and are allotted to. The culture around the individual creates a constricting uniform, but does not totally limit the expression of personal style. The space that a person takes part in within a culture is affects personal style, which in turn affects the overarching uniform. While people are not constricted to the uniform that their culture has created for them, there is a bubble that the individual plays into. The bubble is seen in business, politics, music scenes, schools, and everyday environments. Fashion sits on the top of that environment, and is affected and used by the individual partaking.
LIFE’S A DRAG LIFE’S A DRAG Photographs by CAMILLE MAYOR, HAYLEY WOOD & ETHAN CUMMINS Words by LILLIE BRUNER Featuring LOUISIANNA PURCHASE
Au stin in th e n i n e te e n - s eve n t i e s wa s a p ro to t y p e fo r t he Au s t i n we k n ow tod a y. T h e b e a t n i k s we re in th e i r d e a t h t hro e s ; t he h ip p ie sc e n e a n d ha rd roc k we re b a ttl in g for t he c row n a s t h e c o u n te rc u l t u re d u j ou r. T he D ra g a t G u a d a l u p e wa s t he fa vo r i te h a u n t o f t h e c oo l k i d . S i x t h S tre e t a n d i t s n e i g hb o r s , o n c e w h ite c o l l ar, we re ex p e r i e n c i n g c u l tu ra l
c o m m e rc i a l
Posture collar by Apatico
erosion while enjoying some unprecedented diversity. The eighties arrived in a haze of Aqua Net and brought live music along for the ride. The rough-around-the-edges vibe became a Mad Ting™. Infrastructural cracks were filled with glitter and gold, kintsugistyle, as the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups found their niches. Elysium on 7th joined the ranks of Austin clubs and bars in 2001, and remains a key player in the alternative nightlife scene to this day, a rare honor in a historically ephemeral business. Elysium, at first impression, is either exactly what you anticipated or the precise opposite. It’s dark, and it only gets darker as you move to the lower floors. A creeping haze hangs like
a feather boa around the heads and shoulders of the effortlessly cool and ostentatiously ghoul clientele. The stars of the show move sinuously through the crowd, charming, magnetic. I immediately loved it.
the primary victims of the epidemic. This made quite a few people righteously angry, and those people turned that anger and frustration into a really beautiful and exciting form of art.
Its earliest mentions in contemporary American culture were whispers punctuated by explosions of noise and feeling. America up until very recently was not overly concerned with protecting the interests of its minority populations, often willfully overlooking or actively participating in the oppression of those people. The defining movement in the LGBTQ community in the twentieth century was the AIDS crisis of the nineteen-eighties, in which political indifference and public ignorance formed a deadly stigma against
The thing I love most about queens (and I have a long list) is how they take femininity— something typically seen as inferior— and depict it as powerful, as versatile, as important as masculinity seems to be. Drag performances celebrate so many characteristics I aspire to, that I want so badly for myself. The keystone of the movement is empowerment where society is determined to take power away. Drag culture is a rejection of heteronormativity, of a traditionally rigid gender binary.
This semester in: zines
Zines pictured were created by students of St. Edwardâ€™s University for CABRA magazine.
MAISON AS MUSE
CABRA’s take on the unmistakeable visions of some of the industry’s most defining fashion houses.
SAINT LAURENT Photographs by ROWAN PRUITT Words by CORINNE BATES Styling by JOSHUA BIPPERT & NAÏS LOUISOR Featuring JALEN HOWARD & JORDYN WALKER
Yves Saint Laurent’s fashion maison of the same name is the face of modern French fashion. Yves founded the label after he was forced to retire as Dior’s head designer because he avoided the draft. While Yves did well during his time at Dior, it was the creation of his own house, Yves Saint Laurent, that allowed him to realize his full potential. He was free to design what he wanted instead of feeling forced to further the vision of Dior.
they wear, and was heavily the ready-to-wear collections. quoted for stating, “Chanel freed This was controversial, but women, and I empowered them.” other parts of the label such as: accessories, handbags, shoes, and In 1966, he also opened the the well-known makeup line still Rive Gauche prêt-à-porter carry the YSL name. The name boutique so he could sell his change signified a shift in the clothes directly to the public house. Slimane’s Saint Laurent in an attempt to democratize is a rougher take on Yves’s fashion. Yves understood the original vision. Slimane’s girl is appeal of the runway and avant quintessentially parisian with her garde, but he also believed skinny jeans, red lips, and leather fashion was for the masses. At jackets. She is still androgynous, the time, French fashion had just in a more youthful way. A a wariness of ready-to-wear good example of this is brand During the 1960s and 1970s, He was even one of the first ambassador Cara Delevingne. YSL popularized fashion trends to use frequently African such as the beatnik look, safari American models in his Slimane announced the revival of jackets for men and women, campaigns and runway shows. Yves Saint Laurent’s couture line and the creation of arguably the Yves drew inspiration from in 2015,which was closed down most famous classic tuxedo suit other cultures a was known in 2002. His reign as creative for women in 1966, Le Smoking for appropriating elements of director was influential and made suit. This revolutionary piece was fashion from Africa, Russia, and sense at the time. His experience a fashionable take on menswear even the gay counterculture. with menswear went along with for women and popularized the androgynous vision of Yves androgynous fashion. Saint In 2012, Hedi Slimane took himself, but the controversies Laurent himself believed women over as the creative director, and criticism from the press should feel powerful in what and dropped the “Yves” from overshadowed his work at times.
MOSCHINO Photographs by ETHAN CUMMINS Words by CORINNE BATES Styling by CHLOÃ‹ ROYER Featuring JEANNE JOHNSON & ALLY JONES 42
Moschino is known for its audacity. Rather than becoming a pop culture reference, it uses them in its clothing. Franco Moschino never shied from controversy with his use of strange materials and kitschy details. His wide usage of denim helped cement Moschino as a mainstay in 80s fashion. It was the perfect fashion house for the time. The big shoulders, bright colors, and daring patterns, made the style anything but subdued. The house of Moschino can be separated into generations: the colorful reign of Franco Moschino himself, and the current flamboyance that is Jeremy Scott. Scott embodies the same disregard for the rules as the fashion house’s namesake, but with his own spin. He has embraced the maximalism of Franco Moschino’s original collections, and has made the brand one of the industry’s most talked-about once again. People took notice when he sent models down the runway in clothing and accessories emblazoned with the logos and images of McDonald’s, Barbie, Coca-Cola. It might seem like Scott is not a real fashion designer when he sends oversized t shirts with Looney Tunes
on them down the runway. However, Scott is just a champion of individualism. Making a point to satirize consumerism fits in well with his design aesthetic. One of the most iconic pieces of the house is the “Moschino” label belt. Celebrities such as the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, and Rita Ora have all worn some version of this belt. It is a very easy piece to recognize as belonging to Moschino, and it is one of the industries most-faked pieces. Notoriously bad at performing the main task of a belt, it has little functionality. Mostly it is a status symbol. Moschino recently entered into a new realm of consumerism. The pill bottle and Barbie mirror iPhone cases are popular because they are affordable and easy to find. These phone cases are a part of Scott’s vision to democratize the brand. These take the Moschino brand and make it accessible to the masses. Scott believes everyone has a right to fashion, not just the rich. However, they are not without controversy. Nordstrom took the pill bottle collectio off of their shelves because some people found it insensitive. This will likely have no impact on Scott’s tendency to break unwritten rules.
GUCCI Photographs by ROWAN PRUITT Words by CORINNE BATES Styling by JOSHUA BIPPERT & NAÏS LOUISOR Featuring JESSE GREENE & MALIQKA THOMAS
“The interlocking G’s are synonymous with wealth and taste.”
Everyone knows the name Gucci. The interlocking G’s are synonymous with wealth and taste. The label’s name has even made its way into the popular consciousness via the music industry, with artists such as Kreayashawn and Future using the brand name in their songs. There is even a rap artist named Gucci Mane. “It’s Gucci” now translates to “It’s good.” Guccio Gucci likely did not expect this when he created the fashion house in the 1920s, but sometimes fashion takes on a life of its own. Its introduction into the cultural mainstream likely started in the Jet Set era of 1960s. Jackie Kennedy carried the Gucci shoulder bag, and as the First Lady of the United States, people looked to her for style inspiration. Many other celebrities used he house’s bags as luggage, which introduced the high fashion label to the public by means of images of celebrities wearing the brand. Grace Kelly even made a personal request for the now famous Flora silk print scarf in the 60s. However, arguably the most important thing that happened in the 60s for Gucci was the creation of the interlocking double G logo. This image is a quick way for people to recognize a bag or an article of
clothing as belonging to the Gucci label. Although the brand suffered a decline in the 1980s, it rose back into prominence in the 90s when Tom Ford became the creative director. The stiletto, and silk cutout jersey dresses became iconic representations of Ford’s revitalization of the glamour previously associated with the house. In 2015, Alessandro Michele took over as the house’s creative director. Michele’s first collection, Fall 2015 RTW, was decidedly more romantic. His eccentric style is a combination of Gucci’s history along with contemporary references. His pieces range from 70s fetishism and rococo inspired pieces to elements of punk rock. His vision is innovative and wild with colors and patterns. Modern brand ambassadors include Harry Styles, with his love of patterned silk shirts and bold suits, and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, who is known for her flowing 70s style. Today’s Gucci has inspired other brands such as Zara and TopShop to utilize embroidery, silk, and bold patterns. This democratizes the aesthetic of the house making it accessible to people who cannot afford genuine Gucci.
Y O H J I YAMAMOTO
Photographs by ETHAN CUMMINS Words by CORINNE BATES Styling by JOSHUA BIPPERT, NAÏS LOUISOR & MALI TRIBUNE Featuring CHAZ WASHINGTON
Yohji Yamamoto, known as a hero of the deconstructionalist movement, founded his fashion house in 1972. The Japanese designer is a student of Rei Kawakubo’s school of thought and design. He is a lover of black, white, and artfully constructed clothing. Instead of delving into patterns and colors, Yamamoto plays with the construction and textiles of his garments. In his debut in Paris 1981, his models were dressed in ragged, black, oversized clothing. The postnuclear glamour shocked the media. Critics referred to the line as Hiroshima chic and the crow look. It was such a departure from the fashion of the time, but the public loved it. Buyers flocked to his office to place orders for the collection, and the reticence of the press gave way to praise. This strangely polished yet raw design likely came from Yamamoto’s upbringing in postwar Japan. Most of the culture was erased after the war and gave way to Japan’s new clean and technological aesthetic.
In 2002 Yamamoto partnered with Adidas to create his line, Y-3. This line combines sportswear with couture, and democratises Yamamoto’s otherwise out-of-reach aesthetic. People who would wear Y-3 may not wear Yohji Yamamoto’s other designs, but the creation of this more affordable and accessible line allows him to reach a larger audience. The athletic silhouettes go well with Yamamoto’s signature androgynous designs. He reached out to Adidas because he felt himself slipping away from streetwear. He wanted to make clothing he would be able to see the average person wear, a type of ‘athletic couture.’ Though he is the founder of the house of Yohji Yamamoto, he makes a conscious effort not to dwell on his past successes. Instead pushing himself to be innovative with each collection rather than resting within a cultivated look. His desire is to unveil something fresh with each season.
Words by REILLY CARDILLO Photographs by FAITH ROBBINS & DAPHNE KOKKINIS Styling by CHLOË ROYER Featuring JENNIFER SLAVIK, MONICA PATEL & MARY YAKOU
Pitchforks and persecution now relics of the past, witchcraft today exerts a powerful influence over fashion. Outspoken communities meet to talk and swap ideas regarding the very same practices that would have found them tortured, beaten, and executed 500 years ago. This shift happened slowly and then all at once, evolving from a popular belief in witchcraft as dangerous satanic expression or worship in the Middle Ages, to a modern conception that refers to either a recognition of personal power through Wiccan practices, or as an expression of feminine worth. The western cultural story of witchcraft begins in Europe, particularly France and Germany, where most witch confessions and their subsequent trials followed the same imitable pattern. Typically, after suffering some degree of coercion, each witch would first tearfully, desperately admit to making a pact with the devil, and would then go on to describe witch gatherings called sabbats. What is interesting is that most descriptions include many of the same intricate and sordid subtleties: rotted food, foul drink, riotous dancing, and the occasional necrophiliac orgy. This is significant because it reinforces the concept that witchcraft was culturally pervasive enough that an individual’s social fabric was already embedded with specific, damning details. Though the traditional vilified witch is female, in the early ages of documented witch trials, men and women were persecuted at about the same rate; however, the accused were often poor or social outsiders. Witchcraft’s cultural influence was curtailed at the end of the 18th century by the advent of Enlightenment-inspired popular scientific thought, which championed reason and ration over the previously dominant spirituality and emotion. As religion capitulated to logic in the governmental and judicial realms, the concept of satanic witchcraft also declined in credibility, reaching the relegated position it holds today for most people as superstition.
“To be a witch is to be unashamed of your own power.”
However, there are legitimate incarnations of the witchcraft persuasion that remain relevant today. The pagan movement Wicca is recognized as a genuine religion, and there are large, organized communities all over the United States that practice an earth-centered presentation of witchcraft as a pathway to empowerment. Interest in witchcraft resurged during the late twentieth century when culturally influential artists, musicians, and writers began to reclaim the word. Yoko Ono crooned “Yes, I’m a Witch” in 1974 and Stevie Nicks gushed to MTV that she’d “always wanted to be a witch” in 1987. The Eagles painted a desirable portrait with their 1976 tune “Witchy Woman,” while Roald Dahl reinforced a whimsical evilness with his 1983 children’s book The Witches. The 1998 television series Charmed, which centered around three heroic witches, melded late-90s feminism with supernatural action. These diverse and popular portrayals added new dimensions to the social conversation of witchcraft, helping create the modern dialogue that been a source of fascination, speculation, and inspiration for many creatives. This attention has led to a new cultural perception of the witch. Legions of young people (mostly women), have used the word “witch” as a personal symbol for empowerment and autonomy. Witchcraft is about being honest and unabashedly subversive in order to make a statement. In today’s lexicon, the woman who exerts and protects her agency, whether it be intellectual, economic, or sexual agency, is considered just as controversial as the allegedly satanic accused witch of the middle ages.
To be a witch is to be unashamed of your own power. Some modern witches are practicing Wiccans, others are just empowered individuals who identify with this ideology, who believe that strength exists in being unafraid of your personal potential and that a uniquely individualistic divinity can be created from pure execution of will. This examination of self extends to the fashion world, where the aesthetics of witchcraft are often unpacked or investigated as a means to discuss power. On the runway, witchcraft has magicked itself into the stylistic muse of many major houses; take Alexander McQueen for example. For his Fall 2007 Ready to Wear, McQueen presented a collection that intentionally harkened back to the violence of early witch hunts. McQueen was inspired after he discovered that he was descended from Elizabeth How, an accused witch who was persecuted and ultimately executed during the infamous 1692 Salem Trials. The collection is dedicated in memory of How. The venue itself was littered with witch imagery: an inverted pyramid suspended from the ceiling, a red pentagram on the floor. McQueen’s collection, however, did not reflect the aggressive tone of these symbols. He featured innocuous Wiccan symbols such as the crescent moon and star in the headpieces, while the shrouded, protectively moulded bodices served as defense against violent discrimination. This intentional juxtaposition lends credence to the modern Wiccan challenge of overcoming negative perceptions, whether they be allegations of overt satanic involvement or mere judgmental dismissals.
McQueen is not the only designer to borrow from witchcraftâ€™s cultural conventions. Hedi Slimane paid homage to the modern witch with broad brimmed hats and sweeping capes at his inaugural Saint Laurent Spring 2013 Ready To Wear show, and Thornton Bregazzi featured a large pentagram projected behind his models at the Preen Spring 2017 Ready To Wear presentation during London Fashion Week. The partnership of witchcraft and fashion is a natural marriage. Both serve as a conduit for the curation of a fearless identity. Both operate in a blithely defensive headspace, one that ideally: rejects victimization, celebrates individuality, and practices radical acceptance. Todayâ€™s witch is not likely toting a broomstick or participating in a sabbat; she is instead empowering others, speaking her mind, and gleefully toeing the line between superstition and subversion.
DIVERSITY Photographs by FAITH ROBBINS Words by BRIDGET HENDERSON Styling by TAYLOR GARCIA & NAIS LOUISOR Makeup Artist AMANDA BRADER Featuring DIEGO VILLAREAL, FIONA BALLERET, NAIS LOUISOR, MONICA PATEL, JORDAN WATTS, JEHELI ODIDI, ZACHARY GOSSETT, MATT ORNSTEIN, LUCINDA CULVER, RACHEL DIXON, JOSH DE FREITAS & JORDAN WATTS
The same slender, white, cisgender legs strut across the runway over and over again. The monotonous selection of models walk one after another while others watch in awe at the clothing, fitting effortlessly and perfectly on the model’s body, pass by. It’s finally time we talk about a huge issue in the fashion world: diversity. The industry’s lack of diversity is not surprising to anyone who has ever seen a catwalk or magazine ad. So why have we taken so long to fix the issue? Many designers use a small number of minority models in their runway shows, but too often they’re seen as “tokens” or expect praise for putting them in their show. Spring 2016 fashion runways were dominated by white, skinny women. Despite headlines that suggested progress, this year’s Paris Fashion Week had less than 25% of models of color. All modern expressions of fashion, from catwalks to ad campaigns, show how relevant the ongoing diversity
problem is. For instance, the American designer Marc Jacobs decided to take the industry a few steps back when he dressed all of his models in colorful dreadlocks, even though only 10 of the 53 were black. However, when asked about the incident, he took to instagram to defend himself, “Funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair,” Jacobs wrote. “I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see color or race–I see people.” The problem is that Jacobs is undeniably inspired by other cultures, but if he respected them, he would use more models of those actual cultures. Jacobs is not the first designer to cast white models for a campaign focusing on an aspect of a different culture. In the past year alone, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, and Valentino have all been guilty of using another culture to style their white models. Givenchy titled one of his collection’s themes
“Chola Victorian” because the predominantly white models had gelled down baby hairs, extravagant jewelry, and braids. Obviously the absence of culture is not the problem; The lack of diverse models representing their own culture’s fashion is. Aside from the lack of diversity, the fashion industry also neglects the true size of the average American woman. According to the International Journal of Fashion Design, the American female typically wears a size 16. So why
does the average American model wear a size 0? Some businesses, such as H&M, are getting attention for creating ads using models above a size 0. Fashion companies are gaining attention for using normal sized models in a few of their ads. The normal for fashion is clearly not the normal for the rest of society. The first step is casting: models need to be cast that are different from the typical Kendall Jenners and Gigi Hadids. Designers can’t pretend to make waves of change when they’re barely off of shore. Designers must
aim to make their “regular models”, actual regular people that are seen often in society. Fashion obviously has a tailored audience: smaller, rich people who will buy their runway clothes. But they would benefit from many more buyers if they were inclusive in their casting. Companies are slowly catching on to the marketing behind being inclusive, but it should be for more than just money. It should be about creativity, expression, and style. So why is it so hard for the industry to illustrate that?
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