COULTURE MAGAZINE â&#x20AC;¢ METAMORPHOSIS
Sterling Sidebottom Clara Luisa Matthews
Director - Lizzy Laufters Director - Kelly Pham HEALTH
Editor - Carly Christensen Editor - Sarah Park
Editor - Zoe Hambley Associate - Annie Rudisill Associate - Kendal Orrantia ARTS
Editor - Claire Ruch Associate - Alicia Robbins Associate - Nupur Shah BEAUTY
Director - Sharon Hernandez Associate - Maansi Patel PHOTOGRAPHY
Editor - Gabrielle Thompson Associate - Helen Hong Associate - Madison Speyer SOCIAL MEDIA
Editor - Jasmine Wilson Associate - Alice Novinte
Director - Caroline Sink Director - Cam Edson Associate - Dayja Brooks
Editor - Emma Spears Associate - Tran Nguyen Associate - Jodie Londono DEVELOPMENT
Director - Lizzy Laufters Director - Abigale Speight Associate - Hailey Hawkins Associate - Miranda DiPaolo Associate - Anna Patricios
Editor - Susie Altz Editor - George Adanuty Associate - Juliana Koricke VIDEOGRAPHY
Editor - Anabelle Scarborough Associate - David Restrepo WEB
Director - Joan Xia
Editor - Jerry Yan Associate - Cecilia Taylor FEATURES
Editor - Chloe E. Williams Editor - Liz Johnson Associate - Ken Davis
WEB - COULTURE.ORG INSTAGRAM - @COULTUREMAG TWITTER - @COULTUREMAG FACEBOOK - @COULTUREMAGAZINE
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Caroline Levine Claire Helms Alex Berenfeld Connor Neely Madison Owens BEAUTY
Sofia Martinez Beth Macon Emily Bologna Montia Daniels Caroline McCartney Izzy D’Alo Caroline Crawley Collyn Smith Xiaomin Qu Sophia Alem COPYEDITING
Natalie Plahuta Kelly Yu Megan Friedman Kayla Korzekwinski Anne Tate Sophie Roth Molly Horak Maxwell Morant Erin Campagna Beth Macon Ashley Mills Brooke Spach Grace Beasley DEVELOPMENT
Amanda LoScalzo Laura Shanahan Neil Patel Francesca Del Posso Samantha Casolaro Nina Dakoriya Sofia Wieland Rylee Parsons Gabby Kromah Rushi Doshi DESIGN
Cecilia Beard Brooke Griffin FEATURES
Isabella Sherk Nicole Moorefield FINANCIAL
Chloe Larson Kelly Pham Lilli Griffin Jacob Woody HEALTH
Emma Ravenberg Adriana Diaz Priya Kosana Kate Leach Elizabeth Ordoñez PRODUCTION DESIGN
Fabiola Torres-Lara PHOTOGRAPHY
Jordyn Burrell Cara Neely Chase Cofield Hannah Griffin Michelle Li Gabrielle Strickland Reanna Brooks Nicole Mora Nia Freeman Daniela Rodriguez SOCIAL MEDIA
Ashleigh Wilson Caroline Willard Kate Spivey Jannisha Francis Isha Padhye Graci Daby Taylor Coffey Sarah Campbell Malvika Venkatesh Amalia Marmolejos Abbey Thompson
Caroline Kloster Avanish Madhavaram Ginny Howey Sterling Roberts Zahra Razai Genie Shekar Lauren LaTulippe Kayla Robinson Clay B. Morris Stephanie Flores Jackie Gu Jerry Yan Allie Kelly Rohil Bhattarai Indigo Laibida Anwar Boutayba Ellie McCleary Aashna Shah VIDEOGRAPHY
Rainey Scarborough Maeve Adams Samara Bie Cullen Keogh Trinity Turlington John Bigelow Yuchen Bai Lauren Peterson Ella Thompson WEB
Tiara Mathur Sneha Senthilkumar ADVISOR
Mingxuan Shen Elinor Kelly Niki Suchy Elizabeth Bryant Lilly Clark Leighann Vinesett Sydney Seferyn FRONT COVER BY
Gabrielle Strickland BACK COVER BY
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COULTURE MAGAZINE â&#x20AC;¢ METAMORPHOSIS
05 LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS 07 STYLES LIGHTS UP 09 SOCIAL GARDEN 15 HISTORY OF THE BRA 17 QUEERS ‘N STEERS 19 STREETWEAR’S DYING 21 NOT YOUR GRANDPA’S CLOTHES 27 REDEFINING ROYALTY 29 CBD RISES HIGH 30 THE SNOOZE 31 SOCIAL STUDY 35 LIEN TRUONG 39 A SIDE OF FRIES 47 LIMA, PERU 51 FROZEN IN TIME 59 THE BOOMERANG EFFECT 67 BECOMING SOMETHING NEW 79 RAVEENA AURORA 81 FEMINIST FUTURE 83 HOW COLLEGE CHANGED ME 84 DIVERSITY IS TAILORING FASHION 85 HEMPSMITH CLOTHING CO. 87 SEXUAL EDUCATION 4
THERE IS SOMETHING INHERENTLY HUMAN ABOUT BEING IN A STATE OF CHANGE, A FACT MADE EVER OBVIOUS BY OUR CURRENT SITUATION. WE HOPE THAT IN THE COMING YEAR, WE CAN INVOLVE ALL OF YOU IN OUR CHAOS OF CREATION AS WE EVOLVE AND TRANSFORM — TOGETHER.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF STERLING SIDEBOTTOM The Metamorphosis issue has changed how I saw myself and how I saw the role of Coulture. In my interview for associate editor-in-chief, I said I wanted us to get back to fashion. That word is where I have always started my goals, regardless of where I end. In my three years at Coulture, I had seen the magazine start to write about important social topics and design spreads for articles on contentious issues. I was so sure that the option was either gorgeous ball gowns or political awareness; I thought it was impossible to do both. Then, as we vision boarded and talked about what’s to come in the next year, I recognized that while I want us to push the envelope with style, that does not mean we cannot also cover topics of immense importance. As a Political Science major, you’d think I would have learned this lesson sooner. At Coulture, we are able to talk about issues that are important to who we are as students, what we believe as people, and what we put on our bodies as lovers of fashion.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CLARA LUISA MATTHEWS I spent the duration of Metamorphosis’s creation studying abroad in Spain. I had a lot of expectations going into these few months, and I can say that this semester has been quite the experience so far. Everyone says you return from study abroad having grown and matured, and I can say I’ve definitely done things I never dreamed I would. I learned more about myself than ever before by studying and living in Spain, as every day I was pushed out of my comfort zone linguistically, culturally and socially. This has only been compounded by the fact that the world is in the throes of a pandemic. I never expected to wake up in my Airbnb in Athens to 56 text messages telling me that I needed to get home. I never expected to have to pack up my life abroad in four hours without saying goodbye to anyone. I couldn’t have planned for any of this, and I’m lucky to have had the resources that I did, but I came out more resilient on the other side. Sometimes shit happens but this semester has quickly taught me how to deal with it and keep myself together when any semblance of control that I thought I had was yanked out of my hands.
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | CAROLINE FARRELL Life is uncertain, always changing and never what we expect. We’ve known this for a long time, but it’s a bit more poignant now. There’s this idea that we start from one place and ascend to the next, each step a stage in our journey of becoming this changed person. I wanted, more than anything, for growth to happen linearly: caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. All culminating to a single Metamorphosis. Maybe this was in search of an answer, a definitive end result telling me who I am, where I am meant to be and that everything will be just fine. But that isn’t how life works. There isn’t one single happenstance of change where we’re all who we’re suddenly supposed to be. Growth happens and sometimes it doesn’t, we have to work for it. There’s also never an answer, it wouldn’t be that easy. This year as editor-in-chief, I’ve learned that growth and change doesn’t just happen after waiting a certain amount of time and expecting everything to be different. Without the ability to evolve, we just remain static; no motivation, inspiration or drive to push us to reach for our absolute best self. The phases of learning, realization, fulfillment and change don’t follow each other in a consecutive order, but rather ebb and flow, repeating and skipping stages as we live; with each new cycle an opportunity to begin again. During the past few months, our world has weathered turbulent and uncertain times. Now, we start over. We’ve cycled back to the beginning where we learn and change our systems, policies and social values accordingly. It’s time to reflect on who we are: what we’ve done right, what we’ve done wrong and what we will change. Adapting to new challenges is always hard, but we must try. I might not know what’s coming around the corner, but that’s just a part of life. Saying my goodbyes to UNC, and all the friends and mentors I’ve met, through a computer screen feels insufficient. I find myself waiting for a do-over, expecting the tapes to rewind so I can have one last chance to express my gratitude, soak up the memories and reach some kind of closure. As a magazine, as students and as humans, we must come to reckon that things will not always be the same; we face the unknown daily and emerge with a lesson learned. While I wish I could honor the hardwork and talent of our team in person (a huge picnic on a sunny day in the arboretum was my dream), I’m still so proud of what we’ve accomplished and adapted to, and know I’ll be celebrating from afar. Good luck to the new editors-in-chief, Clara and Sterling, I know you’re going to take this magazine to new heights, and I can’t wait to see the view.
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Styles Lights Up, Finds His Voice in ‘Fine Line’ WRITTEN BY SARAH PARK DESIGNED BY MINGXUAN SHEN Twenty minutes in a towel; that’s all it took for musician Harry Styles to write “Falling,” an emotionally provocative and lyrically stunning track from his sophomore album, “Fine Line.” For Styles, it’s a defining—or rather, redefining—moment in both his personal and professional life. The album is inundated with notes of self-realization and tones of a broken heart. Styles described making his album as a twofold experience in which he explored the themes of finding freedom and the meaning of success. To achieve both freedom and success meant to be deeply authentic and to be completely transparent–ultimately, to be happy. Styles found his sound and dismissed any doubts of his legitimacy as an exceptional musician. When you add in his ever-evolving fashion sense—distinctive for its deep-cut blouses, high-waisted trousers and brightly colored nails—he showcases an incredibly well-rounded persona: hopefully, his most vulnerable and candid self. Styles’ album reflects his newfound sense of identity–fluid, undefined and unrestrained. It’s beautifully chaotic, with funky-upbeat sounds, foundations of rock-and-roll and soft acoustic melodies.
Working with multi-genre songwriters like Kid Harpoon, Jeff Bhasker, Greg Kurstin and Amy Allen, Styles created a richly unique album that is sure to satisfy, no matter your musical poison. Though Styles has said that making the album was largely about finding himself, his lyrics act as a coping mechanism for the end of his relationship with model Camille Rowe. His break-up ballad “Cherry” explicitly ruminates on the sting of watching his ex move on with another man. Styles ends the song with words from a voicemail Rowe left him, a less than subtle note on who the song is written about. But isn’t that what his new album is about? Complete transparency and vulnerability? “I wanted ‘Cherry’ to reflect how I felt then. I was feeling not great. It’s all about being not great. Because you get petty when things don’t go the way you want it. There’s parts that are so pathetic,” he told Zane Lowe in an interview for Apple Music in November 2019. If Styles measures success by honoring his truest self and sincere feelings, he is certainly succeeding. Along with his heartbroken confessions, Styles celebrates the liberation he’s found from the standards of traditional success and conventional societal expectations. In his funky tune “Treat People With Kindness,” he sings of finding a “place to feel good” and “belong.” The fundamental message of the song being that kindness is the root of all happiness and belonging. The jolly mood is kept up with “Canyon Moon” and “Sunflower Vol. 6,” giving us a taste of Styles’ new style experiments, likely a result of magic mushroom trips he described in an interview with Rolling Stone. Regardless of how he got there, the songs sound like they were soaked in Malibu sunshine and a warm breeze. “Fine Line” showcases Harry Styles’s undeniable talent and allure. He’s found his voice –his key to being uniquely defined and wholly adored.
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The digital age has transformed the beauty industry into a multimedia discipline that spans from real-life makeovers to face filters on social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat. In particular, Instagram allows for content creators to invent and distribute their own unique filters. While some creators have focused on producing filters that enhance a userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural beauty, others have taken a more creative route with filters that include facial decor such as goldfish, clouds, and bees. These filters are now the inspiration for a variety of makeup looks, from sunflower freckles to sunset cheeks. Through the use of social media, makeup artists and makeup lovers alike have the chance to use the creativity of others to spark their own. While some may argue that Instagram and Snapchat filters have created unrealistic and unhealthy beauty ideals, social media itself has proven to be a uniting factor for the beauty community.
social garden WRITTEN BY ALICE NOVINTE | DESIGNED BY LILLY CLARK
MODELED BY CAROLINA CORTES, MAYA AGNIHOTRI, REANA JOHNSON, NOAH HINES
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MADISON SPEYER, CHASE COFIELD NICOLE MORA, HELEN HONG, DANIELA RODRIGUEZ, AND NIA FREEMAN
COULTURE MAGAZINE â&#x20AC;¢ METAMORPHOSIS
MAKEUP BY COLLYN SMITH, SOPHIA ALEM, JASMINE WILSON, ALICE NOVINTE
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A Brief History of the Bra WHO MADE IT, WHO WEARS IT, AND WHAT IT MEANS TODAY
WRITTEN BY STERLING SIDEBOTTOM | DESIGNED BY ELIZABETH BRYANT The modern idea of a bra can be whatever the wearer wants it to be. They are uniquely personal, often politicized and inherent to the fashion occult. Yet, the bra did not always exist in a “to each their own” mentality. After all, the original brasserie was a corset. In 1910, Mary Phelps Jacobs changed the game by sewing together two handkerchiefs and a piece of ribbon to make the modern bra. Not only did she make it in one night, but she did it on her way to a debutante ball. It’s a story that aligns with that of many accidental startups, even in today’s world: girl goes to a party, friends obsess over her new creation, girl becomes businesswoman. As a white socialite in Manhattan, Jacobs had the unique opportunity to capitalize on her status and race while setting the nipple free from whalebone corsets. 15 COULTURE MAGAZINE • METAMORPHOSIS
Within four years, Jacobs received her patent for the backless bra from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was the first patent for a bra, creating a new category in patents when it was granted. Six years later, Jacobs had a checking account separate from her husband and ran the Fashion Form Brassière Company under her own name. When she sold the patent to a company that would later produce for Calvin Klein, Jacobs made $23,000 in current U.S. dollars. The patent has made $15 million in the century since. That is just the beginning. Similarly to Jacobs releasing our ribs from the tight confinement of corsets, cultural movements in the 1960s and 1970s set our boobs free from societal restraints. The movement away from wearing a bra coincided with the growth of hippie attitudes and free flowing clothes. The Summer of Love embraced freedom of
ideas and bodies, allowing women to let loose and rebuke the traditional way of dressing. It wasn’t until 1968, outside of the Miss America beauty pageant in New Jersey, that the Women’s Liberation movement burned bras, making them political as well. The protest, organized by Robin Morgan, fought against the pageant as a measure of beauty rather than intelligence. The protest highlighted the ever growing unrest with the status quo in a year fraught with racial and political tensions. Morgan’s protest elevated the voice of women across the country who were coming into their own as activists and citizens. The bra was no longer a garment. Morgan made it a political symbol for what women were experiencing in the United States. The protest also sparked fear among bra companies that women would forgo their bras in favor of liberation.
Advertising, as well as bras themselves, subsequently received a wave of innovation. The idea of a comfortable bra became the norm instead of simply a tool to allow women to shape their bodies to current fashion trends. Even as the movement for comfort and catering to women’s needs grew, the bra stayed mostly hidden. Then, in the 1990s, musicians pushed the bra into a new type of dress, wearing it as its own clothing staple. This new trend started with Madonna and Selena followed. Madonna’s iconic bullet bra stirred controversy when she first wore it. Her provocative choices helped create her iconic name and imagery. The cone bra, created by Jean Paul Gualtier, is an image recognizable as part of Madonna’s reshaping of her own image and the music industry as a whole. She embraced the sexuality of her womanhood and inspired look-alikes, as well as the next generation of performers. One member of that next generation was Selena. She famously wore bedazzled bras as tops. Her embrace of the newfound
power that came with this type of dressing helped her redefine what Tejano women can wear. She became an example of a feminist who embraced her own sexuality and voice. Of course, the embrace of bras as outerwear is not confined to the worlds of music or fashion. The sports bra became a stand alone in workout wardrobes in 1999, nearly twenty-five years after its creation in 1975. During the FIFA World Cup, Brandi Chastain led the United States to victory over China, throwing off her jersey in celebration. While competing in the third ever World Cup, Chastain won the championship in penalty shootouts and elevated the sports bra from undergarment to workout top all at once. The idea of wearing a bra however - or whenever - you want might be common in the United States and Europe, but they are a Western invention. Women in Eastern and African countries have not been confronted with the confines of bras in their everyday wardrobe for centuries. In these countries, there are women who
struggle with the Western idea of wearing a bra, since they had not wanted, nor worn a bra; it is important to know that not every culture embraced the bra upon its invention. Many women across the world do not incorporate the bra into their wardrobe. Each person’s experience with bras varies. In a poll commissioned by Playtex, 33% of women prefer not to wear a bra. The availability of different bra types expanded enormously, creating markets for each person’s preference. Give me some light padding, a little bit of lace and I’m sold. Easy enough to find in any store today. However, a friend of mine rebukes underwire. Up until a few years ago, the majority of companies only carried bralettes as a solution, but innovation made this category easily accessible. Women have worked to both create the bra and tear it down. They have shaped the history of undergarment dressing from the corset to Mary Phelps Jacobs. Thanks to a history of invention and innovation, women are now able to embrace the bra in whatever shape it takes for them.
QUEERS ‘N STEERS WRITTEN BY INDIGO LAIBIDA | DESIGNED BY NIKI SUCHY
Cowboys: the classical embodiment of the free spirit Americans associate with the Wild West. To this day they remain a subject of much fascination to people from all walks of life, ranging from children sporting the 10 gallon hat on Halloween, to multimillion-dollar movies centered around this rugged archetype. Cowboys serve as a symbol of freedom, retribution and vigilante work in the United States. Famous examples (both fictional and real historical figures) include Clint Eastwood, The Lone Ranger, John Wayne, and Billy the Kid. It wouldn’t be difficult to continue listing iconic characters, and if I did, a pattern would emerge (if it hasn’t for you already). The typical cowboy is a grizzled white man, who can make any woman swoon at his feet. This is quite different from recent representation, with many in the Black
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and gay community, wearing tassles and Western memorabilia. So why the sudden burst of popularity from both the non white and gay communities? Perhaps this is because a large percentage of these cattle herders were people of color, many of whom were attracted to the same gender. According to Peoples of color in the American West (1994), Black cowboys made up to 25% of workers in the industry from the 1860s to 1880s. Many of these freelance ranchers were former slaves who received the same pensions and responsibilities as white cowboys, which was notable for the time. “Right after the Civil War, being a cowboy was one of the few jobs open to men of color who wanted to not serve as elevator operators or delivery boys or other similar occupations,” said by William Loren Katz to Smithsonian Magazine, a scholar of African American history and the author of 40 books on the topic, including “The Black West.” The Virtual Museum of Canada cites that Native people also made up a considerable margin of the workforce with similar rights --- providing a significant counterexample to common stereotypes of tension between cowboys and indians. This depiction painted indigenous people as natural enemies to cowboys, or uncivilized savages needing to be controlled. It makes sense that these Black and Native men were naturally drawn to ranching cattle, which granted them a welcome degree of independence, offered them equal wages and provided them with the same responsibilities as their white counterparts. These rights were incredibly rare in the freedom they allowed for the time period, attracting other groups of people who faced stigma in the time period as well. The cowboy was expected to be free from family, domestic ties and social status—being a social pariah earned respect instead of resentment. This unique freedom appealed to others who commonly faced prejudice in mainstream society as well. They could make their own decisions out on the open plains, without interference. In layman’s terms, they were expected to be queer. Although female cowboys existed, it was primarily a patriarchal profession.
“THE COWBOY WAS EXPECTED TO BE FREE FROM FAMILY, DOMESTIC TIES AND SOCIAL STATUS — BEING A SOCIAL PARIAH EARNED RESPECT INSTEAD OF RESENTMENT. THIS UNIQUE FREEDOM APPEALED TO OTHERS WHO COMMONLY FACED PREJUDICE IN MAINSTREAM SOCIETY AS WELL.” It was much more common for cowboys to rely on partners of the same gender for companionship. Even from a platonic perspective these partnerships were sacred, seen equally as important as the horse they rode for their work. Before the twentieth century, words for modern homosexuality had not emerged yet and the concept of expressing affection for the same gender was far less scrutinized. While cowboys were rarely critiqued for their unique relationships, depictions of them received more negative attention. Authors at the time such as James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain and Owen Wister were often accused of condoning something unnatural merely for portraying male characters with close male companionships. They were persecuted for merely reflecting the reality of their time. This continues to be a problem today, such as when people choose to boycott brands for including interracial or same sex couples in commercials. Nevertheless, the cowboy look has come full circle—becoming the perfect aesthetic to embrace individual personality for the modern LGBTQ+ community. Lil Nas X is the shining example, springing up out of almost nowhere in 2019, to give us some of the most iconic music and looks of the year. He and many other young people of color have cultivated what several on Twitter refer to as the “Yeehaw Agenda,” inspiring the presence of cowboy imagery in communities that haven’t been associated until recently. Weeks after topping the charts with “Old Town Road”, the new star came out as gay, tweeting at the end of pride month: “some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure,” followed by a rainbow emoji. Lil Nas X isn’t the first Black queer artist to come out, but the presence of a Black queer singer in country music,
upfront about his sexuality, certainly gets people’s attention. The artist regularly responds to hateful comments from other artists and figures, such as Rapper Pastor Troy with humor and wit. Perhaps fresher in people’s minds are the countryadjacent Grammy looks served by several queer artists, sparking conversation, art and discussion. Billy Porter arrived in a glittering teal suit complete with crystal fringe and a hat embellished with a moving curtain of crystals dangling from the brim. Although this ensemble likely didn’t exist in the old west, it looks incredible. Diplo, an American DJ, brought music artist Orville Peck as his date, both wearing wide hats, big belts and bolos. Orville Peck is another example of queer artists embracing country, as his persona widely revolves around both identities. Taking the spotlight with a Versace fuchsia fringe outfit, made entirely of supple leather and heritage hardware accents, was Lil Nas,. Every detail was considered, from the shaping of the boots to the custom gold studs. If this interest in rugged Southern fashion was a fad, it likely would have fizzled out by now. However more and more of my queer friends are letting country accents trickle into their wardrobe. Much of what created the image of the cowboy has been lost to time and erasure, but the foundations are still undeniably there. In a time where being LGBT in America is a relatively acceptable identity but not without resistance, the Western vigilante image creates a powerful silhouette that’s difficult to tear down. A culture that has been dominated for a long time by conservative, white, middle-class audiences is finding itself once again in the hands of people who have more in common with those who cultivated it, and I think that’s something we can all tip our hats to.
STREETWEAR’S DYING. SO, WHAT’S NEXT? WRITTEN BY CAROLINE KLOSTER | DESIGNED BY ELINOR KELLY An unprecedented change characterized the fashion industry in the late 2010s. Streetwear seeped into every corner, materializing on runways and in editorials, viral Instagram shots and record-breaking collaborations. What emerged was quite different than previous fashion trends. Those once seen as “nobodys” whose influence and innovation were once unwelcome in fashion’s exclusive sphere began to replace untouchable industry veterans. And those “nobodys” were sending sweatshirts down the Balenciaga runway. However, it was only days away from the start of 2020 when Virgil Abloh, a pioneer of streetwear’s infiltration into the luxury fashion world, told Dazed magazine with confidence that he thinks streetwear is going to die. For some, this prospect might seem disappointing and dreary.
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Streetwear – a casual mix of sportswear, punk and Japanese street fashion, marked by hoodies, puffers, baseball caps and sneakers – originated within the unique cultures of Los Angeles skaters and the New York City hip-hop scene. When streetwear labels like Off-White (Abloh’s creation) and Vetements gained popularity, social traffic, and prime spots on the fashion week calendar, the definition of “high fashion” was turned on its head. Fashion finally felt more accessible and representative. The fashion industry claims to harp on creativity and uniqueness but systematically silences the expressive voices of smaller or more marginalized communities. By bringing the niche perspective of the tight-knit hip-hop and surfskate community to a worldwide stage alongside the luxury collections of Gucci and Oscar de la Renta, streetwear brands redefined luxury and desirability. As Off-White and Vetements collections began to go viral, long established industry greats began to add streetwear elements to their collections. Louis Vuitton even appointed Abloh, an architect by education born to immigrant parents, as its artistic director of menswear in 2018, making him the first African American to fill this role at a French luxury fashion house. As fashion houses looked to smaller, niche communities for ideas and trends, industry influence began to transform
from a top-down to a bottom-up process. Willingly or unwillingly, this cultural shift in the fashion industry marked a greater influence from “outsiders” than ever before. The industry rode this wave for nearly a decade, but as Abloh said, it now feels tired and appropriated. Fashion is once again looking for its next big thing. Streetwear going out of style, though, could mean a reunion of fashion with an exclusive, elitist and superficial consumer. Three steps forward, one giant step back. Some might argue that fashion might be better off without streetwear. The passion of streetwear lovers instigated a culture in which items become valued for their hype rather than their actual quality. Streetwear is often marked by limited edition drops and collaborations, creating a habit of wanting something just because it’s exclusive. Complex called it a culture of “keeping up rather than asserting an identity, which is ultimately unfair to the consumer.” As Abloh put it, “how many more t-shirts can we own, how many more hoodies, how many sneakers?” At streetwear’s inception, its designers and wearers weren’t asking this question. Instead, they were creating and sporting clothing that represented
and sprouted from their communities. For instance, when Shawn Stussy, who originally made surfboards, began selling T-shirts, the surfing community of Los Angeles had a comfortable “uniform” of sorts that brought their passions and culture into a sartorial format. NYCbased skateboard brand Supreme became part of the zeitgeist in a similar way by becoming a cultural touchstone within skateboarding and hip-hop circles in New York. Streetwear was a product of unique cultural pockets of big cities. Now, it’s producing its own product of collectors and obsessives. As streetwear shifts its roots from cultural movements to corporatism, it loses its original authenticity. Erik Brunetti, designer of streetwear brand FUCT, told the New York Times, “It was a rebellion and now it’s become the opposite of a rebellion. It’s become corporate, sanitised and pasteurised.” Thus, the fizzling out of the streetwear craze might mean an opportunity for increased authenticity and expression. Abloh’s prediction is supported by market trends. According to Gartner, search volume of streetwear terms dropped from 157% to 15% between 2017 and 2018. Fashion’s last ‘20s began with a roar and an explosion of expressive new silhouettes and representation. Now, its next ‘20s are beginning with a decline in excitement about clothing. This rough start leaves consumers with an existential question: what comes next? People are already losing interest in the industry’s antics, with New York Fashion Week being deemed,
“too much: too many shows, too much product, too many options to weigh, too much expectation,” by Matthew Schneier from The Cut. After streetwear’s impactful upheaval of the industry, and the developing disinterest in it, the industry needs something firm to hold onto. Something with longevity and purpose. Abloh’s prediction for the future? Less contrived, more personal. “We’re going to hit this really awesome state of expressing your knowledge and personal style with vintage,” Abloh told Dazed. “There are so many cool clothes that are in vintage shops and it’s just about wearing them. I think that fashion is gonna go away from buying a box-fresh something; it’ll be like, hey, I’m gonna go into my archive.” This vision of fashion’s future holds on to the positives of streetwear while also adding new benefits. When individuals curate personal collections of vintage, their one-of-a-kind clothing gives them independence and the ability to express their most sincere identities through style rather than adhering to the latest trends. The authenticity and inclusivity that felt so palpable in streetwear’s rise is alive and well in the concept of reusing clothing. The environmental payoff is a particularly important benefit going into the next decade. The World Resources Institute reported that 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year, which release dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. People are buying clothes more often than in past generations but keeping those clothes for half as long. By reusing and repurposing clothing from the past, consumers swerve the “everyone looks the same” pitfall while dramatically decreasing the fashion industry’s dirty secrets. It’s difficult to shun the wasteful fast fashion model that dominates retail, which often consists of retail brands
mass-producing products inspired by popular designer streetwear items. However, numbers show that vintage curation might have a chance in today’s market. Resale platforms have expanded to new heights and depths in the past half-decade. Since its 2011 inception, Depop, a peer-to-peer social shopping app, has logged 15 million registered users, with 90% of them under the age of 26. Poshmark, a similar app founded in the same year, has over three times as many registered users. Online luxury consignment shops like The Real Real and Rent the Runway have both added brick-and-mortar locations in shopping hubs like New York City and Los Angeles to accompany their successful e-commerce destinations. It’s going to take a lot to get to Abloh’s idealized world of vintage curation and a more laissez-faire approach to fashion. But it’s time. At the core of fashion is originality and individuality, and streetwear served as a history-making catalyst for a deeper realization of this purpose. Now it’s time for the industry and its loyal followers to dig even deeper in pursuit of expression.
WRITTEN BY NICOLE MORA | DESIGNED BY NIKI SUCHY PHOTOGRAPHED BY REANNA BROOKS, JORDYN BURRELL, NIA FREEMAN, HANNAH GRIFFIN, HELEN HONG, GABRIELLE STRICKLAND, GABRIELLE THOMPSON MODELED BY LYNNE CHEN, RUSHI DOSHI, SAMAR HASSAN, CLAIRE HELMS
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Fashion is like a time machine that can take you back to the past but also give you a glimpse of the future. Although fashion has morphed and developed throughout the years, popular trends persist. In recent years thrift stores and consignment shops have become universally popular. Not only are thrift stores affordable, but they also create a more sustainable environment. The fashion industry produces large amounts of waste, with nearly 100 million tons a year. By buying secondhand, you help decrease the worldwide textile demand and subsequent waste. This photoshoot is completely thrifted. All of the clothing comes from Rumors Thrift Boutique, a thrift store that provides preowned fashion ranging from vintage to modern. By exclusively relying on thrifted items, this shoot shows the public that fashion indeed can be sustainable and cheap. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not necessarily what you wear, but how you wear it and how you feel in it. The local store in Chapel Hill has provided just that for its community. History repeats itself and fashion never dies. Consignment stores will always be an interesting and sustainable alternative to rampant consumer culture in the fashion industry.
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EDEFINING OYALTY WRITTEN BY ABIGALE SPEIGHT DESIGNED BY LEIGHANN VINESETT As a new generation of royalty redefines what it means to be a drag queen, it is essential to recognize that fashion and drag culture do not exist in a vacuum. For both to exist separately and simultaneously, there needs to be a referential understanding of the past and present that has allowed the unique intersection of performance, style and community to flourish. The transformation from day to drag is a mesmerizing spectacle that pays homage to the queer community and everchanging fashion culture. Avant-garde costumes, curated make-up looks and perfectly on-beat choreography captivate the audience and leave you wanting more. Drag is more than costumes and entertainment; it is an art form rich in history, activism and personal expression driven by clothing. A “drag queen” refers to an individual who uses exuberant clothing and makeup to imitate, and often exaggerate, feminine signifiers and gender roles. Coexisting within this subculture is “drag kings,” mostly female performers who dress in masculine drag and personify masculine gender stereotypes. The transformation into a new persona and identity takes poise, style and bravura fueled by the desire to uphold the revolution and act of drag itself. It wasn’t until the theatre scene of the late 1800s that the performative act of men dressing in women’s costume was popularized. Due to the exclusion of women in performing arts, drag took on a new meaning. The tale is told that the women’s petticoats would drag upon the floor, and hence the name “drag queen” was coined. The reference to men
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dressing up as women became known as “putting on their drags.” Giving light to the importance of clothing in the act of drag, today the act of “dressing in drag” is driven by carefully curated outfits that speak to the chosen identities of each queen or king. The origin of drag gave way to a sense of community and belonging that allowed queens to perform in safe spaces that were tailored to the LGBTQ+ community. In 1867, propagated by the danger and segregation of bars in the time period, spaces known as “Drag Balls” became the places to be where fashion radiated. Drag Balls paved the way for the prominence of fashion through the act of dressing in drag. These spaces became a spectacle themselves as queens came together to make a statement about each unique drag persona they chose to embody. By the 1920s, Drag Balls served as house parties where Black, queer individuals could congregate in a safe space to compare fashion and perform. Today, these spaces have given way to modern drag shows that emphasize expression, presentation and entertainment. More than just a performance, a drag show is an experience. The hair is high, the music is encompassing and the stage is set – the queens are here to be seen. Drag is not exclusively reserved for big-screen portrayals or basements of New York Clubs. In the Raleigh-Durham area, drag has made a name for itself as House of Coxx has reigned supreme as the most prominent drag house in the region for the past 6 years. The house was founded by Vivica Coxx, the Queen who has been doing drag for 16 years now and worked tirelessly to cultivate the drag scene in the Triangle.
Raafe Ahmaad, also known as the legendary Stormie Daie, serves as one of the star faces of House of Coxx. Ahmaad was taken under Coxx’s wings after he was encouraged by Vivica herself to begin competing in the local drag scene. Coxx had heard that there were “two gay boys dressing in drag while they play kickball that she needed to see.” Ahmaad was born and raised in North Carolina, surrounded by a plethora of strong femme role models that fostered his interests and allowed him to be uniquely himself. “Most of the women in my family would argue they are more butch than I am, which, to be honest, is pretty accurate, but none of them can walk in high heels like I can,” he joked. Finding himself immersed in the imaginary world of comic books and inspired by his love for nature, the intersection of affinity for dressing up mixed with his passion for science to channel the persona of “Stormie Daie.” Pulling reference from the character Storm from X-men, Stormie is bold, powerful and here to make a statement. As visibility for drag culture enters mainstream media and conversation, there is increasing appreciation for popular culture and personal passions to serve as inspiration for both drag and fashion culture. The expression that is encouraged through the ability to curate an outfit from head to toe allows one to embody a vision of who they want to be that day. “As a gay Christian boy from the South, I didn’t get to pick out what I got to wear, so one of the things I really liked to experiment with when I came out was high heels,” said Ahmaad. “I love shoes and high heels are REALLY something
that pushes the drag conversation.” Stormie’s looks are ever-evolving, pulling inspiration from artists like ELOI (@viteloi), who “fuses everything you would expect from pop culture like sex and sexiness, femme power and divatude mixed with comic books and bubblegum.” Ahmaad channels his own playful and
RuPaul Andre Charles has risen into a pop culture icon. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, RuPaul claimed that he is “not a drag queen, but THE Queen of Drag.” His Emmy award-winning television show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has now run for ten seasons on Logo Tv and given recognition and respect to the artistry that is drag. As
WHILE HOPING THAT “DRAG CONTINUES TO DEVELOP INTO A SPACE FOR EVERYONE.” fun-loving spirit to transform into a powerful queen that is not afraid to push the boundaries of fashion through loud colors, elaborate accessories and attention to every detail that makes Stormie an unforgettable presence. Coxx speaks of her “drag child” with immense pride saying her “biggest style inspiration is honestly Stormie Daie because, while we don’t dress alike, she gives me the confidence to push my style further.” The definition of drag continues to evolve to be more inclusive and distinctive. “Drag was something that had always been in the world,” Ahmaad said, and he “gravitated to it like most young gay femmes.” The ability for younger queens to find a sense of belonging within the drag community allows for the transformative awakening of pride and identity amongst individuals that have previously found themselves excluded from the heteronormative narrative. “I want people to understand that there is pride in localness for everything and that drag is no different, and sometimes people in the community still don’t get that,” he iterated with an appreciation for the communities he was raised in and those that he grew into. Under the fabulous outfits lie real people fighting for validity, acceptance and equality. The Stonewall riots of 1969 saw socially charged protests led by women of color, drag queens and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Together they fought in protest of the police raids on gay bars, which prompted the Gay Liberation Movement, a shift in visibility and acceptance for members of these communities. Although we have reached an era that is defined by wider acceptance and broader visibility, the struggle toward equality rages on. Vivica Coxx and The House of Coxx has worked locally to continue the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights by hosting Drag Queen Story Hour, protesting border walls and being figureheads of Pride events. Bringing drag to a new level of mainstream visibility and recognition,
contestants compete for $100,000 and the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar,” the importance of costuming and clothing are emphasized as contestants must design their own regalia to perform in. Expanding from more than just a television spectacle, RuPaul has redefined the Drag Ball in his own terms by hosting RuPaul’s DragCon, which has become America’s largest drag convention. Gracing the January 2020 cover of “Vanity Fair,” the new year was donned “The Ru Year,” proving that not only are drag and fashion timeless, but their time to shine is now. Adorning a corset-like body suit embezzled in crystals with a captivating blonde wig and eye-catching make-up look, photographer Annie Lebovitz captured the spirit of RuPaul and the essence of drag queens everywhere: powerful, poised and unapologetically themselves. Historically, queens of the past walked in their heels so that the queens of today could run. Looking to the future of drag, Coxx hopes to see House of Coxx “grow and become an institution without question,” while hoping that “drag
continues to develop into a space for everyone.” As the LGBTQ+ community has become more inclusive, the distinction between dressing in drag and identifying as a trans or non-binary person has allowed for the intersection of these identities without the limitation of being categorized by a label that is misrepresentative. No longer just a performance for the entertainment of others, the future of drag lies in acceptance, visibility and pride in the communities that receive us for who we are. “Drag can be so many things, and it can help do so many things,” said Ahmaad. When the wigs come off and the eyelashes are removed, the queens may take off their crowns, but they continue to wear their label proudly. Expression through clothing and makeup is the driving factor of drag as queens transform into their chosen personas that reflect their personal style inspirations, passions and aspirations. Ahmaad, Coxx and Stormie represent today’s Queens who are rethinking fashion, reorganizing activism and reclaiming drag on their own terms, all while in a killer pair of heels.
WRITTEN BY ALLIE KELLY DESIGNED BY SYDNEY SEFERYN Lord Jones—a rising player in the wellness industry—sells raspberry hemp-flavored confections infused with Martha Stewart’s favorite botanical: marijuana gumdrops. Cannabis has officially debuted in the classy self-care market. Weed has entered the chat — April 20, 2020 was the ultimate 4/20. Can we blame Stewart? Maybe. Wellness matriarch Gwenyth Paltrow? Perhaps. I suppose I have some mild authority on this topic. I grew up in Denver, Colorado, a place where weed shops are as common as coffee shops. My hometown, the Mile High City, throws a marijuana festival every year. There are 12 dispensaries within walking distance of my house. I get the hype. The economic value of the cannabidinol (CBD) industry cannot be ignored. A box of Lord Jones gumdrops will put you back $50, and the whole company is valued at around $300 million. The former Reefer Madness drug is evolving into a staple of pop culture, a beacon of alternative health care and a lucrative cash cow. The business venture has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour — and, of course, Goop. The list of celebrity Instagram endorsers is full of A-List movie stars, supermodels and fitness influencers. Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Antison have even started using the CBD game. In the past 5 years, the marijuana industry has undergone a major 29 COULTURE MAGAZINE • METAMORPHOSIS
transformation. The use of cannabis is currently legalized recreationally in 11 states and medically in 33 states, and the market for stress-reducing CBD oils, lotions and teas is growing rapidly. High-end luxury marketing is being used to sell CBD coffee, pet products, tea and beauty essentials. Lord Jones is in the spotlight with its impressive sales of CBDinfused candy, bath salts, oils, tinctures, gel capsules and skincare products. Smaller, more locally-based companies, like Bluebird Botanicals (Colorado), Receptra Naturals (also Colorado) and Johnny Apple
to have a high potential for addiction. Specifically, purified CBD is Schedule V, the lowest drug class, but is still not legal to sell openly in most states. Most CBD sales occur online, and are shipped nationally from states where weed is fully legal, like Colorado, California and Oregon. The Hemp Store on Franklin Street, for instance, is able to operate because it sells low potency products that are below the North Carolina legal limit of THC. This is perhaps where the drug’s popularity gets blurry, and why there is inherent privilege in having access to luxury cannabis. Although rates of marijuana use are consistent across demographics, Black people — Black men in particular — are four times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people. The New York Times reports that, in 2018, 64 percent of drug-related arrests in New York were people of color. The ability to consider CBD trendy is largely dependent on a person’s socioeconomic status, gender and the color of their skin. It is not be to be negated that weed sales drive The War on Drugs and the mass incarceration of non-white individuals. Despite its legal complexities, the drug has some merit. Cannabidional might actually cure your ails. The more mild effects of CBD indicate that it is safe and effective for people of various ages and demographics. Scientists are beginning to look at CBD as an alternative pain management source outside the easily-abused opiates. Recent studies in the Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology show CBD is effective
“A STAPLE OF POP CULTURE, A BEACON OF ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE AND A LUCRATIVE CASH COW.” CBD (California) also contribute to CBD being an estimated $20 billion industry by 2024, according to Forbes. However, it’s important to note that CBD gummy bears won’t make you high —you’ll have to get your Scooby Snacks elsewhere. The cannabis element that causes the psychedelic high is Δ-9-THC. CBD is a naturally occurring element in marijuana, that offers the calming, pain relieving qualities of marijuana without the bake. Marijuana continues to be an illegal Schedule I drug on the federal level — meaning there is no federally recognized medical use and the drug is considered
in treating symptoms and development of endometriosis and pediatric epilepsy. Natural CBD oils, lotions and salts have also been proven by Harvard Health to treat arthritis, neuropathic pain and chronic inflammation in chronic patients. Maybe the Colorado girl is biased — but weed gumdrops might be onto something.
DON’T SKIP THE
WRITTEN BY SUSIE ALTZ | DESIGNED BY SYDNEY SEFERYN If you have ever experienced sleep trouble, welcome to the party — you’re not alone. While so many people experience problematic sleep at some point in their lives, few actually implement legitimate lifestyle changes to ensure they get proper rest at night. In particular, teenagers and young adults are notorious for falling short of the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, whether due to the stresses of managing school, work or having an active social life. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day, and sleep so often gets the short end of the stick. But it’s not only about the magic number eight. For those feeling tired throughout the day despite their commitment to the effort, there may be a greater issue at hand: sleep disorders. Sleep disorders include a variety of conditions such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep paralysis, sleep apnea and narcolepsy, to name a few. Unfortunately, it’s often the most common ones that go undealt with. As one of the most frequently experienced sleep disorders in the United States, insomnia affects around a third
of all adults, according to the Sleep Foundation. While acute insomnia is linked to generalized stress and environmental factors, chronic insomnia can be brought on by mental health issues or certain drug use and is more difficult to correct. Over the years, I’ve become familiar with the side effects of insomnia and how they take a toll on quality of life. Difficulty focusing, increased anxiety and memory issues, all became standard and entangled with other stressors of daily life. And for some of us, insomnia isn’t the only boundary standing between a good night’s sleep. When I came to college, I began pulling regular all-nighters (like everyone else, right?) and experiencing episodes of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is described as the opposite of sleepwalking; the body becomes immobile while the mind is functional and awake. It is characterized by the inability to move or speak and is sometimes accompanied by hallucinations. At its core, sleep paralysis is a disturbance between stages of falling asleep. But for some, it can be a terrorizing experience.
Over the years, I became accustomed to the feeling of sleep paralysis – the frozen physical state, the feeling of chest pressure, the inability to talk or scream and not to forget the sweats of snapping out of it. It no longer scared me. Eventually, I was able to train my body to wake from the phenomenon. So, how should we handle common sleep disorders? While there is no clear or easy path to experiencing sleep perfectly every night, it is important to begin introducing healthy sleep habits into your routine as soon as you recognize negative side effects. Over recent years, I’ve personally integrated practices like not using technology before bed, avoiding caffeine past the afternoon, meditating and yoga. In addition to these things, general stress management is vital to easier nights. Sleep is often an overlooked aspect of physical health, and combating sleep disorders can be an uphill battle with few obvious solutions. Above all, have patience, listen to your body and seek professional help if you have serious concerns about the quality of your snooze.
Y UD L ST IA p C SO EE SL
THE THREE S’S: A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE OF AN OVERCAFFINATED COLLEGE STUDENT WRITTEN BY PRIYA KOSANA DESIGNED BY ANNIE RUDISILL
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“These are the three S’s of college: sleeping, studying and socializing. You only get to pick two of the three.” This theory was introduced to me during my junior year of high school at a summer program by a college junior who I thought was the coolest person ever. His advice has held true for the majority of my college career. Living in a town populated mainly by 18-to 24-year-olds creates an interesting learning and living experience. Students can go weeks without traveling past the one square mile campus where they sleep, learn, laugh, eat and cry. We live in a pressure cooker of the most fulfilling euphoria, intense stress and intellectual engagement. Exactly 1 ½ years ago, my college experience began by walking into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill residence hall and finding my roommate occupying half of the 12-by-18-feet room. This was the room that I was meant to call home. Moving away from where you’ve grown up is often an emotional experience for students, but I never felt particularly pained by the move. Scrolling through social media, hundreds of peers were posting pictures of their hometown memories and expressing their love for their roots. I love where I am from, but I didn’t feel especially disconnected once I left for college. I always felt odd about not getting emotional about entering this new chapter. Looking back, I realized that I didn’t consider Chapel Hill home at the time. It never sunk in that I grew into an adult who had to fend for herself; I just felt like I was on some weird vacation, and I would go back home any second. It felt unnatural to be pulled away from the home that I grew up in, but leaving my family and growing independently is a vital part of becoming a successful adult (whatever that means). According to the Developmental Psychology Journal, a study following 93 adolescents through young adulthood found that subjects who left home between adolescence and adulthood
had the most secure attachment with their parents. Maybe I knew, deep down, that this change was healthy, but the more probable explanation was that I was in denial of leaving home. I feared that the strongest connection of my life might weaken. Arguably the most important “S”:
“THESE ARE THE THREE S’S OF COLLEGE: SLEEPING, STUDYING AND SOCIALIZING. YOU ONLY GET TO PICK TWO OF THE THREE.” studying, is also the scariest. Academics at UNC-Chapel Hill are demanding and relentless to say the least. Students are often expected to devote 10 to 15 hours a week learning and analyzing course material for each class. When I was eating out with friends, I would catch myself going through my mental to-do list of all the assignments due that night. As I fell asleep, I would recite the same list. The relentless, all consuming nature of this to-do list is what makes it so dangerous. You can never escape it, even on a vacation or weekend. The scariest part: I felt alone in it all, even though all my peers are experiencing the same overwhelming expectations. One study in the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research asserted that the emphasis American education systems place on test scores as a marker for “job marketability” is damaging to students’ mental health. The anxious attitude I experienced in the beginning of my college career bred an unhealthy mindset. The mental isolation can snowball into burnout in many students who do not address the issue and make a conscious effort to change how they view their
academics. My turning point came during a meeting with a professor for a class I was having a difficult time understanding the material. I felt as though I was putting in my 100% studying and still failing the exams. My professor pointed out to me that my defeatist attitude may be the problem, and I should implement a growth mindset. The Harvard Business Review defines growth mindset as believing that talents can be improved with hard work, rather believing you either have “it” or not. While I still have times when I find myself overwhelmed, I try to remind myself that I can work towards mastery of everything on my list. My favorite “S” is socializing. The social landscape of college is the most tumultuous, yet fulfilling terrain to experience. We take “work hard, play hard” to a whole new level. I was always the kid who hung out with friends the night before an exam and still pulled off an A, so you can imagine how difficult it was to maintain a balance between work and play
I ASSUMED THAT CAPS WAS ONLY MEANT FOR THOSE DEALING WITH “SERIOUS ISSUES.” when I first got to college. In 2010, a study from the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry found that a lower quality of social support in
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college results in a 600 percent increase in likelihood of developing depression. These findings bolster the importance of putting yourself out there and seeking out your “people.” You never know when they might enter your life; maybe it is in the first week of school or it might be well into your sophomore year. In my case, sleep has often been the compromised “S.” Between juggling sleeping, studying and socializing, sleep always seemed to take the back seat. Why would I waste time sleeping if I could be studying or laughing with friends? According to a study conducted by the Australian Psychological Society analyzing the relationship between sleep and mental health in university students, decreased sleep held a strong correlation to increased depression, anxiety and stress. Not only does sleep improve mental health on a chemical level, it also correlates to an increase in helpseeking behavior, a term used to describe recognizing and seeking aid for mental health improvement. However, the study implicates the university in failing to increase awareness on the importance of sleep and intervening when the sleep behavior of students becomes unhealthy. At UNC-CH, there are resources available to improve one’s mental health. In my first semester, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) was the punchline of numerous jokes. People would make light of their or their peers’ mental health state by joking that they were going to CAPS. I assumed that CAPS
was only meant for those dealing with “serious issues.” The facts speak otherwise. In the 2012-2013 academic year, 48.7 percent of U.S. college students received services from counseling centers on campus. I find it comforting that students are taking initiative to improve their mental health with the help of professionals. It’s nice to know that people are seeking help even if they don’t always like talking about it. On the contrary to this comforting statistic is the fact that an alarming number of students choose not to get assistance during college, an intensely stressful time in one’s life. According to the Spring 2019 National College Health Assessment, 72 percent of college students who participated in the nationwide study reported “feeling very sad.” Despite the statistics showing that counseling centers are utilized and needed by college students, there is still a stigma associated with them. Coincidentally, I am sitting down to write this piece immediately after hugging my parents goodbye. My definition of home has changed. Home isn’t where your toothbrush or that really gross t-shirt you can’t throw away from 6th grade are. It’s where the people you love are: maybe they’re your friends, your mentors, or your family. And who's to say that you can’t have multiple homes? I can feel at home eating my mom’s fresh dosas on the table I’ve spent years eating breakfast or eating “home-cooked” mac and cheese in my friend’s tiny kitchen on Rosemary Street.
That roommate that was so bewildering at first is one of my closest friends now. It now feels weird at home when she is not around. Sometimes, a wave of anxiety
SOMETIMES, A WAVE OF ANXIETY OVERCOMES ME, AND I FEEL SAD OR SCARED TO BE ALONE, BUT THESE MOMENTS AREN’T SETBACKS. overcomes me, and I feel sad or scared to be alone, but these moments aren’t setbacks. When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I can FaceTime my incredibly intelligent mother who isn’t afraid to dish out constructive criticism or hang out with my hilarious friends who have the most vibrant souls. I can always count on a rejuvenating cry watching the movie Lady Bird. Zumba classes help me get my endorphins up. Regardless, I know that I’m not in this insane pressure cooker alone.
MUSEUMS ARTIST LIEN TRUONG IS RECONTEXTUALIZING ART HISTORY WRITTEN BY CAROLINE FARRELL | DESIGNED BY LEIGHANN VINESETT Despite introducing a reluctant Lien Truong to painting through a nightly art class as a teenager, her parents didn’t want her to pursue an art degree. Truong, a multimedia artist, incorporates silk, antique gold thread and other textiles in her intricate oil paintings. She is an assistant professor of art at UNCChapel Hill and a 2019 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Truong’s work has been viewed all around the world, from exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., to Galerie Quynh, the leading contemporary art gallery in Vietnam. Truong’s highly detailed paintings allow the viewer to uncover layers of hidden imagery and meaning with each look. One glance won’t cover it all. The same goes for history, the longer it’s scrutinized and the more inclusive narratives are shared, we reveal more of the truth. “I interpret moments and symbols that have shaped racial, cultural and religious conflict and assimilation in America,” said Truong. “Through a type of blended narrative painting, my work refers to the complex cultural histories that mirror the American lens.” Truong studied at Humboldt State University in California, first as an environmental science major, returning as an art major two and a half years later. After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts, Truong obtained her Master of Fine Arts
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from Mills College in Oakland, California. It was there that she became immersed in contemporary and conceptual based artists, such as Ann Hamilton, and began experimenting with artistic styles, voices and methods. “During my time there I began to see it as perfectly natural to adjust my painted form to fit the content and the influences that help visually inform the content,” Truong said. “I often turn to painting history as a reference, too.” In revisualizing the past, Truong also recontextualizes history. The power within a paintbrush to cast one history as the “true” history can hold repercussions for centuries. Truong’s paintings explore visual recordings of history by challenging the narratives that often stem from Eurocentric perspectives. Collaging Vietnamese embroidery, antique obi mourning cloth, and linen laser cut with designs representing 18th century portrayals of colonization and imperialism, such as Jean Gabriel Charvet’s Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (The Savages of the Pacific Sea) and Triunfa España en las Américas (Triumph of Spain in the Americas), Truong addresses the celebration of violent conquerings and portrayals of non-European cultures in art history. Triunfa España is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection and Les Sauvages is often politely translated as ‘The Native Peoples.’
“This making of an idealized ‘heritage’ also informs generations of laws, policies and cultural perspectives that directly influence our lives now,” said Truong. In a series of paintings from 2017 to 2018 entitled “Mutiny in the Garden,” Truong creates landscapes fraught with violence and tragedy that plagues America’s past, as well as recognizing the impacts of colonization, slave labor and immigration on the country’s making. This is demonstrated by the characteristic ominous smoke, splattered red paint, and hooded figures, interspersed with natural scenes, civil rights activists and heavenly silhouettes looking toward the future. In the titular painting, “Mutiny in the Garden” and another in the series “The Peril of Angel’s Breath,” we see clenched fists raised upward. In one painting the fists are holding rope in front of a faded confederate flag, and in the other they represent the fight of many civil rights activists. Truong’s paintings physically represent the multitudes of experiences overlapping one another by draping semi transparent painted silk over the canvas, partially concealing details from the viewer. The layered effects of Truong’s paintings remind the viewer that there is always more than one experience or narrative to be heard. Truong’s lived and inherited experiences drive her to paint about contemporary love, death and war.
THAT INCIDENT UNDER THE PINK PALM oil, silk, acrylic, lacquer, bronze pigment on canvas 84” x 72”, 2020
...AND STILL WE BANTER WITH THE DEVIL, DETAIL oil, silk, acrylic, 19th century cotton, antique 24k gold-leaf obi thread on canvas 72” x 96”, 2017
THE TOXIC CLEANSE OF WARM RAIN oil, silk, acrylic, lacquer, bronze pigment on canvas84”x 72”, 2020 37 COULTURE MAGAZINE • METAMORPHOSIS
“As a war refugee and woman of color, I am drawn to examining the formation of belief systems, systems of heritage, and ways visual and textual histories have given more currency to white, Eurocentric narratives.” Truong’s approach to painting is centered around adaptation and elasticity. Some works stem from a strategic plan that is clear from the start, while other paintings sprout from less lucid and more energetic beginnings. Almost as if in a state of motion, Truong’s work dances between visual poetry and prose, thriving in the unknown and unwritten. “If there is a moment of uncertainty, it can be when I finish one body of work and move into another,” said Truong. “But that time is also exciting, filled with possibility, and I do believe it is important to always be a bit uncomfortable and uncertain in practice -- it also means there are creative risks being taken.” Color often tells a story and sets the tone in a work of art. Truong’s relationship with color is intuitive, changing over time and after each painting. While still using historical floral textile designs as a guide for her color palette, she captivates the viewer with ashy purples, overwhelming reds, golden yellows and vibrant pinks. Truong’s most recent works depict pale
yellow silhouettes that reference female forms in historic orientalist paintings. In art history, “Orientalism” refers to 19th century works of art by Western painters imitating aspects of Eastern culture and prescribing an inferior placement on
more life and flesh, rises above the layers of stolen florals for the imperial upper class. Art is a powerful tool not only for defining history but redefining the future as well. Artists offer a critical eye to current institutions and challenge privileged
ART IS A POWERFUL TOOL NOT ONLY FOR DEFINING HISTORY BUT REDEFINING THE FUTURE AS WELL. Eastern countries, reinforcing imperial and colonial powers. “These paintings created by and for the male, Western lens often depicted the women as submissive, overly sexualized and exotic,” said Truong. “I paint them as a type of abbreviated specters, whose gestures are recast in my paintings, given agency, weaponized, and/or engaging in acts of self-love.” In paintings such as “That incident under the Pink Palm,” the pastel figures suggest shadows of a past, telling a history that the subject must challenge and emerge from. And we see her succeed. Pale disembodied arms and heads scatter the canvas while the shaded figure, filled with
systems, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings calling out police brutality and Ai Weiwei’s critiques of government power. Truong’s work examines our values shaped by art history’s narrow creation of a collective heritage through limited cultural, gendered and racial lenses. “My paintings respond and use the past in part to link the lineage of racist and cultural hierarchies to our experience now,” said Truong. Art is a catalyst for change, progressing society forward, but only if we examine our history, challenge our truths and honor our stories.
SELFEXPRESSION AND A SIDE OF FRIES PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHELLE LI, JORDYN BURRELL, HELEN HONG, GABRIELLE THOMPSON, AND CARA NEELY DESIGNED BY ELIZABETH BRYANT
Rarely do we get the chance to live fully, uninhibited as our whole selves. We’re young, and this time, right now, is meant for being bold and dreaming big. With the support and love from a group of friends that encourage your strong spirit and daring drive, everything is possible. So live carefree and wear that lime green suit or dreamy floral dress, put on those lashes and express yourself. Gather your friends, split a basket of fries and a vintage soda, and live loud and proud. We recommend the Frostie Blue Cream soda.
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Tejal wears an All in Favor Midi Dress and Topshop Blazer.
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Jacob wears a Topshop Flounce Midi Skirt and ASOS Warehouse Tux Dress as a blazer.
Kamiran wears WAYF Pleated Trousers, Camila Coelho Adah Blazer and krisa Drape Dress as a shirt.
Anayely wears an ASTR the Label Dress.
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Jacqueline wears the krisa Drape BMini Dress.
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A Journey Home: Lima, Peru WRITTEN BY STEPHANIE FLORES | DESIGNED BY SYDNEY SEFERYN
In December 2019, my family visited Lima, Peru. The two-week-long trip occurred right after finals, leaving me little to no time to pack. I left campus and headed straight to South America to visit family whom I hadn’t seen in 12 years. Both my mother and father immigrated to the United States in the ‘90s from Colombia and Peru to start a new life. With my mother and sister being from Colombia and my father from Peru, my Latin origins have always played a part in my household and daily life. We booked the flights well in advance. Even though I had months to think about it, going to a place I only remembered from photos didn’t hit me until the flight. A combination of fear, excitement and adrenaline filled the pit of my stomach. It would not be my first time visiting Peru, but it would be my first time remembering it. My last visit was in 2007, when I was only seven years old. I had vague memories of my grandparents’ home and my family friends. Yet, these images didn’t feel real. I barely knew who I was, let alone the family that I’d left behind. No matter how much I wanted to, I felt like I didn’t know my extended family.
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Sure, there were phone calls on birthdays and holidays, but I always felt disconnected. Maybe it was the miles that separated us, maybe it was something deeper. Conversations remained short, so brief that you would think we were just acquaintances and not two people of the same flesh and blood.
because I felt my family would view me as, for lack of a better term, whitewashed. The trip began with an agonizing car ride to Ft. Lauderdale. I have no patience whatsoever, and the 12-hour journey through the South only made me think about how the next 16 days would go. How would my family treat me? Would they
“HEADED STRAIGHT TO SOUTH AMERICA TO VISIT FAMILY WHOM I HADN’T SEEN IN 12 YEARS” I always used my broken Spanish as an excuse for the barrier; however, deep down, I knew it wasn’t just that. I’m 100 percent Latina, but I was born in New York. I grew up feeling as if it made me less Hispanic than the rest of my family. It was a running joke in my family — but mixed with my broken Spanish, that joke made me feel like an outsider. Growing up, I felt “too white” for my family and “too hispanic” for my friends. This made the visit more nerve-racking
accept me for who I am? 19-year-old me is a lot different than 7-year-old me. I felt like an outsider, did they see me as one? After 2 hours in immigration customs, we walked into a large waiting room filled with people waiting for their loved ones. My family and I combed through the crowd to find ours, carry-ons in hand. I was taken aback by just how many people were there to pick up late night travelers. I’m not sure what I expected for our reunion, probably awkwardness or tension.
I could not have been more wrong. I was welcomed by large embraces filled with warmth and excitement. Laughter filled the crowded airport as we greeted one another. It felt like it had only been a few days since I’d last seen them, not over a decade. Stepping out of the airport into the brisk air felt energizing after 10 hours in confined spaces. Summer was just beginning in South America, it was cold enough for a light jacket, but not cold enough for a hat or parka. We began the journey to our grandparents’ house once all of our luggage was in the car. The streets were empty, given it was almost three in the morning. We didn’t get a good look at life in the city, with most of the stores closed and families asleep. The occasional car would pass by running red lights and using stop signs as more of a suggestion than a law. Even in the dark, I could tell just how different Lima was from Chapel Hill. Billboards promoted stores I had never heard of, mototaxis lined the streets and small homes were on top of businesses. My grandparents and uncle all lived in a subsection of northern Lima called Independencia. The majority of this area is organized into neighborhoods, with apartments and homes going high into the surrounding mountains. The dirt roads leading to my grandparents’ home had speed bumps, which helped protect pedestrians in an area without speed limits. People in this area walk to nearby markets and restaurants. Reunited with cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, I spent the rest of the night eating delicious Peruvian food. They were excited for me to drink some wine and relax with them. Laughs filled the house, as both my parents would side-eye
me with every sip I took. The resentment I feared on the plane was nowhere to be found. No introduction or greeting was different from the one at the airport, and even though we were older and different, being reunited felt euphoric. The first week of my trip taught me about the place where my father grew up. Lima is a large metropolitan area filled with business, tourism and chaos, all the characteristics of a booming city. There were separate sections of residential areas, large metropolitan plazas and small markets with crowded streets. Residents would sell toys, food and souvenirs on sidewalks and outside busy shopping centers. The most shocking aspect of the city was the transportation. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the roads were definitely more crammed than I anticipated. Taxis crowded the streets, outnumbering personal vehicles, and Ubers were practically nonexistent. Taxis would deny rides if they felt they couldn’t get you to your destination quickly enough, and some would taunt you as you walked past them, frustrated that you chose another driver over them. Like I noticed that first night in Lima, a lot of traffic laws in Peru are merely considered suggestions. Mix competition, traffic and reckless driving together, and a majority of the car rides resulted in jerking, honking and holding your breath. New York City was nothing compared to traffic in Lima. Even with the occasional scare on the roads, nothing could take my attention away from Peru’s scenery. Plaza Mayor, where the Government Palace and Cathedral of Lima reside, is home to beautiful colonial-style buildings that date back to the 16th century. The Spaniards built the beautiful pastel yellow structures
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with marble columns, transforming the Centre of Lima into a place where the history of Lima and future governments could be celebrated. The city has changed since my father’s childhood in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Technological advancements have modernized the city. Structures are safer, electronic billboards replaced print ones and more entertainment centers were built. My father said there was also a decrease in violence. As the trip progressed through Christmas and New Year’s, my comfort in this new place grew. Car rides no longer scared me, my extended family felt a little less extended and my cousins became like makeshift brothers. A trip to Ica, a city in southern Peru amid mountainous sand dunes, is where our visit came to a close. We took my grandparents and cousins on a mini-vacation. Even with the excruciating hike to the top of the dunes, the view was worth it. The sound of the wind in my ears and the feel of the sun beating down on my skin left me with an unreal sense of ease. The simplicity of the sand, with buggies making tracks across the dunes, stood in contrast to the cliffs near the coast that dropped to an oceanic oasis. The water was so transparent that my toes were distinctly visible, as though the ocean was glass. The visit to Ica may have been short, but it was the perfect way to end our time in Peru. Being able to spend a few days traveling with my grandparents to see some of the most beautiful parts of Peru brought me memories I’ll cherish for a lifetime. Goodbyes are difficult in every language. The days leading up to our departure filled me with dread. I had finally gotten to know my extended family on a deeper level, but now I had to leave. While saying goodbye was a lot more difficult than I had originally anticipated, I knew that until my next visit, my connections
with them would only grow stronger. During our wait at the airport, I had a lot of time to reflect on my trip. Not only was it incredible to spend some long overdue time with family, but the visit also made me grateful for my heritage. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and going to predominantly white schools, I often felt I had to assimilate myself to a “whiter” lifestyle. Whether it was exclusively listening to pop music or doing everything to avoid speaking Spanish in public; I wanted to leave that part of myself at home. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. I used to feel that I had to try my hardest to be “more American.” The number of minorities within my classes remains small. As I’ve grown older, and since my trip to Peru, I’ve realized just how important representation is. The United States has provided me with opportunities that my parents only dreamed of, but I have also brought my own experiences and heritages to this world as well. I no longer feel like an outcast, nor am I afraid to connect with my family in South America. Rather, I look forward to every moment I can speak to them. My trip to Peru not only helped me build relationships with my family, but helped me find my voice in being a Latina in America.
FROZEN IN TIME WRITTEN BY GABRIELLE THOMPSON DESIGNED BY MINGXUAN SHEN
Change is ever-present in our lives. We are constantly evolving and moving in big and small ways. Whether you’re traveling to a new place physically or mentally, each day is a new day. It’s difficult to stop the rush of daily life, but it’s very important to do so for a moment and reflect on our movements. Every once in a while, it’s beneficial to breathe; to take a break. After all, how can we move forward if we do not learn from our mistakes or appreciate how far we’ve come? 51 COULTURE MAGAZINE • METAMORPHOSIS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GABRIELLE THOMPSON MADISON SPEYER CHASE COFIELD GABRIELLE STRICKLAND HELEN HONG MICHELLE LI CARA NEELY
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THE BOOMERANG EFFECT WRITTEN BY CECILIA BEARD | DESIGNED BY ZOE HAMBLEY
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Melting glaciers, climate refugees, mass displacement, rising sea levels, species extinction, worsening weather conditions—all are the ongoing and future effects of a rapidly increasing global temperature. Consuming, polluting and devastating natural resources with little regard for the future, humanity now stands at a precarious position and needs to enact radical change to disrupt the current trajectory toward a global climate crisis. Climate change is here and now. 2019 was a watershed year for climate activism. The world watched as the environmental movement flourished—championed by young activists like 17-year-old Swedish figurehead, Greta Thunberg. The September 20th Climate Strikes, also known as The Global Week for the Future, saw more than 2,000 protests in 125 countries. What was the catalyst for these strikes? What ignited students and young activists to act so fervently—halting businesses and cities? The environmental resurgence in the U.S. can be traced back to 2016. Trump’s election led to a variety of immediate changes in U.S. policy, including drastic ones within the United States’ environmental standing. The Environmental Protection Agency and White House show that President Trump loosened restrictions on toxic air pollutants in the Clean Air Act, increased logging on public lands and repealed Obama’s Clean Power Plan— which aimed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. According to the New York Times and Huffington Post, Trump also weakened the Endangered Species Act and removed climate change from the United States’ list of national security threats. The president’s focus on industry, U.S. economic growth and isolationism allowed numerous environmental protections to fall by the wayside, including the monumental Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement aims to enact strong, unified and global effort against climate change according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement in 2017, claiming that the agreement would deteriorate the U.S. economy. The United States is now one of three countries not committed to the plan’s global integration against climate change, according to the United Nations Treaty Collection. Marin Carr-Quimet, a first-year student at UNC-Chapel Hill, is the arts coordinator for the Chapelboro (Chapel Hill and Carrboro) chapter of Extinction Rebellion, or XR. The international organization popularized in Europe, aims to use “nonviolent civil disobedience” to disrupt climate change and
“mass extinction.” Carr-Quiment expressed her own concerns about the presidential election’s effect on climate policy, but remains hopeful for the future. “We have to have someone else elected, because to have a president that’s denying the existence of the climate crisis, let alone taking action, is really scary,” Carr-Quimet said. “I’m really hoping this next election goes better because, of course, 2016 was really devastating.” However, in the wake of climate-change deniers like President Trump, a boomerang effect brought excitement back into global climate activism. According to the American Psychological Association, a boomerang effect is, “a situation in which a persuasive message produces attitude change in the direction opposite to that intended.” With current American environmental
THE UNITED STATES IS NOW ONE OF THREE COUNTRIES NOT COMMITTED TO THE PLAN’S GLOBAL INTEGRATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE. policy blatantly denying the climate crisis, activists felt invigorated rather than subdued. Carr-Quimet recognized the gross stagnation of the U.S. government’s action against climate change, and this played a part in her choice to participate in Extinction Rebellion. “[Extinction Rebellion] is about trying to force the government to take action, because they’ve been criminally inactive on the climate crisis,” Carr-Quimet said . The boomerang launched toward concerned, vocal citizens focused on grassroots change, pushing past the immobility of government-affiliated action. Two youth-led organizations stood out in particular: Zero Hour and The Sunrise Movement. In 2017, Jamie Margolin, Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew, and
WITH CURRENT AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY BLATANTLY DENYING THE CLIMATE CRISIS, ACTIVISTS FELT INVIGORATED RATHER THAN SUBDUED. Zanagee Artis founded Zero Hour in an effort to amplify youth concerns about climate change in the political sphere. In the past three years, the organization has held four national events including a climate march, a youth-led lobbying day and a youth climate summit in Washington, D.C. The Sunrise Movement, also founded in 2017, is a U.S.-focused group keen on unifying young people and driving the Green New Deal into popular political discourse. The organization’s website explains that the Green New Deal is a 10-year plan to move American society toward 100% renewable energy while also providing sustainable, living wages to all community members. Samantha Quiroz-Gutierrez, a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill, is the co-hub coordinator for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro branch of The Sunrise Movement. As one of the area’s original members, Quiroz-Gutierrez explained the Movement’s motivation for starting in the Chapel Hill area, specifically. “North Carolina is a really important state in the 2020 election and they wanted to make sure the interests of our generation were being represented through climate action and climate justice in
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the election cycle,” Quiroz-Gutierrez said. According to 270 To Win, North Carolina has voted for the Republican presidential candidate since 1968, until President Barack Obama beat Senator John McCain by around 14,000 votes in 2008. The following presidential election in 2012 was another close race between Democratic and Republican candidates where the state swung for Senator Mitt Romney. Given the state’s 2008 and 2012 fluctuation between political affiliations, 2020 could prove to be another close call. Bipartisan political tensions on a state level have trickled down to a local level, including concerns about UNC-CH’s own environmental policy. “The reason that the Sunrise Movement exists in Chapel Hill and Carrboro is because we want to make sure that our university is being held accountable for the things they say they’re going to do … like we’ve been seeing with the Three Zeroes plan,” QuirozGutierrez said . The Three Zeroes plan is a contentious issue on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus. The university’s stagnated plan began in 2016 as a move toward zero water waste on campus, zero waste to landfills and net zero greenhouse gases emitted by 2030. The plan, originally adopted under Chancellor Carol Folt, has been heavily criticized by students, especially with its goal toward net zero greenhouse gases. Given the loftiness of the goal, continual and immediate action toward carbon neutrality is needed to reach the target date. However, little to no action has occurred. In the past year, UNC-CH’s administration has yet to release any updated information regarding the plan’s progression or any reports. According to The Daily Tar Heel, The university is entirely powered by the UNC-CH cogeneration plant. A cogeneration plant is a “combined heat and power plant,” according to Science Direct. The plant uses mostly coal, but also utilizes natural gas and oil. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz has not set new target dates for university reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The university’s inaction prompted UNC-CH students to begin protesting every Friday on the steps of South Campus. UNC-CH students and members of the community have taken climate action into their own hands. From sustainable fashion
THERE IS NO PLANET
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to grassroots political advocacy, Chapel Hill and Carrboro have become hotbeds for environmental activism. Lizzie Russler, a senior at UNC-CH, is the environmental and social responsibility director at Vintage Blue. In 2018, four Chapel Hill students founded Vintage Blue as “a creative collective that empowers young people through sincere storytelling, original events and thoughtful product design,” according to the organization’s website. Created with a focus on creativity and originality, Vintage Blue hopes to emphasize the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry— Russler said she attributes this in part to 2019’s climate activism. “When Vintage Blue was originally founded, it was to establish a creative outlet for individuals on campus, but they’ve always had this social, environmental thread … through what they’ve done,” Russler said. “Now, we are trying to really establish those [environmental] conversations and the fact that this is a really important topic on campus.” Vintage Blue sells a variety of thrifted pieces alongside their original clothing lines, which use recycled materials. The organization puts on panels, showcases and events that feature student artists and activists, such as their “Originals” project celebrating prominent members in UNC-CH’s community. Russler said her hopefulness in the face of climate change has evolved post-2019. “Our generation cares, you know? With the youth movements, I have found so much hope. We do have a voice and our voice is heard,” Russler said. A shared concern amongst local movements like Vintage Blue has been the link between sustainability and fashion. A 2018 Quantis study shows that apparel and footwear industries account for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Most of these emissions come from fast fashion which perpetuates a cycle of quick consumption and disposal. Rabina Sawhney, a senior at UNC-CH, is the co-founder and treasurer of the Sustainable Fashion Initiative (SFI), an organization that highlights the importance of sustainable apparel. Sawhney said the SFI aspires to educate students at UNC about the dangers of the fashion industry and help them to make better decisions regarding their consumption habits. SFI hosts events like denim repurposing workshops, clothing swaps and dyeing workshops that emphasize using natural pigments. They have also placed an emphasis on collectivized action in light of local and national environmental inactivity. “There’s a point [when] you realize a government’s action
or inaction can only do so much,” Sawhney said. “If bigger institutions won’t make the right decisions then people will start making the right decisions.” The organization holds awareness workshops to discuss the social justice side of the fashion industry, including the unjust labor conditions that garment workers face. Fast fashion not only corrupts environmental integrity but the lives of the workers who produce the clothing. Global Labor Justice, a transnational strategy hub, published reports that listed “the exploitation and mistreatment of Asian female garment workers in H&M and Gap supplier factories,” Green America wrote. Fast fashion brands like SHEIN and Forever21 utilize manipulative manufacturing and consumer tactics that disproportionately affect low-income people of color. Social justice and its intersection with climate change also inspired the campaign platform of Tai Huynh, a Chapel Hill Town Council Member and senior at UNC-CH. Huynh is one of three UNC-CH students to ever sit on Chapel Hill’s town council, and his platform focused on three main areas: affordability, sustainability and inclusivity. Huynh’s sustainability pledge readily acknowledged the power of local governments in the fight for climate change. “The impacts of climate change and not being sustainable disproportionately affect lower income households and communities of color,” Huynh said. “Inclusion and equity was the overarching theme of my platform, so naturally, I felt that sustainability should be at the forefront.” North Carolina has an arduous history with environmental justice. However, Warren County, located in the northeast Piedmont region, is considered the catalyst for the modern environmental justice movement. In 1982, land within Warren county was designated for hazardous waste landfill use. However, that same land was also home to a sprawling African-American community. Defending their neighborhood, the NAACP and the larger Warren county community protested against the state’s decision. The incident in Warren county catalyzed nationwide mobilization against environmental racism in communities of color, creating the environmental justice movement known today. Environmental justice has become an increasingly pertinent topic to the larger climate activism movement considering that many populations are already being affected. Quiroz-Gutierrez has a special connection to climate justice because of its impact on her family in Mexico City. “Growing up, I witnessed first hand the way the air pollution
has gotten worse and worse. And as the city gets hotter and hotter, it becomes this big cauldron of heat and as it becomes hotter and hotter, the air pollution just gets more dense and trapped in there,” Quiroz-Gutierrez said. Throughout the month of December alone, Mexico City saw back-to-back days of “poor” to “very poor” air quality based on AQI, or air quality index. Mexico City experienced 146 days of 2019 with a “very poor” AQI compared to only 15 days with a “fresh air” AQI. “[I had] to face the reality that that’s my family’s everyday situation. That’s not something they have the privilege to just walk away from. They shouldn’t have to endure those sorts of conditions just to meet the interests of the wealthy few,” QuirrozGutierrez said. The boomerang effect pushed local initiatives to more focused action, but climate privilege still needs to be addressed. The 2019 climate change movement has ignited global participation, but whose voices are amplified? “I think what you see so often in the environmental movement is that it can be elitist,” said Russler. Those with higher financial standing have the power to avoid the immediate effects of climate change. Greta Thunberg’s work inspires many people around the world, but the movement’s focus on Thunberg herself tends to obscure the work originally enacted by Native, Black and Brown activists. The movement often overshadows the stories of those climate change affects the most. This issue was brought to light when the Associated Press (AP) removed Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate from
THE BOOMERANG EFFECT PUSHED LOCAL INITIATIVES TO MORE FOCUSED ACTION, BUT CLIMATE PRIVILEGE STILL NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED.
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a photo featuring Greta Thunberg and other prominent, white climate activists. “We don’t deserve this. Africa is the least emitter of carbon, but we are the most affected by the climate crisis,” Nakate said in a video. “You erasing our voices won’t change anything. You erasing our stories won’t change anything.” AP has now reinstated the original photo online, but the incident clearly demonstrates the climate change movement is not aware of its own biases. “I want to point out that there are a lot of people of color and indigenous folks and Black folks who’ve been organizing against [climate change] and for environmental justice … for a really long time even though their voices aren’t centered in the media,” Quiroz-Gutierrez said. “And so, we see Greta Thunberg, but we don’t see these other organizations that are putting in the work as well as doing really important things for their communities.” The next step in the climate change movement is to uplift all voices because climate change affects all people. The social movement needs diversity, not only in terms of giving attention to activists of all nations, but the types of issues the movement represents. “I think there’s a gap in terms of rhetoric, like the things organizations talk about and not really connecting with communities,” Huynh said. “So we hear a lot about preservation and national parks and things of that nature from national organizations. But if you’re a low-income household in an economically depressed area, I think the last thing on your mind is taking your family to a national park.” The fight against the climate crisis has undeniable transformations ahead, and there are specific actions to continue the fight. “Look into the financial institutions you’re banking with because there are a lot of banks funding fossil fuels,” Russler said. “We don’t all need to take shorter showers to somehow save the planet. We have to stop [big corporations]...and letting them run the way that they do,” Carr-Quimet said. “Inform and educate yourself about the products you consume on a day-to-day basis,” said Huynh. “The best thing you can do if you really want to make a difference in the climate crisis is to take political action regularly,” Quiroz-Gutierrez said. “You only need 3.5% of a population to participate in a social cause actively for it to inevitably succeed.”
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GABRIELLE THOMPSON, NICOLE MORA, REANA BROOKS, GABRIELLE STRICKLAND, HELEN HONG, HANNAH GRIFFIN & DANIELA RODRIGUEZ DESIGNED BY KENDAL ORRANTIA
With the thawing of earth and the emergence from our winter shells comes a fresh start. We put a fresh layer of clothes on our body, embracing neutrals that can shape us into whatever we want. When we welcome organics, we go back and build from our own basics. A new season is a way for us to renew who we are, rediscover parts of ourselves and recreate who we want to be.
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Elizabeth wears the Winona Linen Mini Dress over a white tee both from Urban Outfitters. Lauryn wears a satin midi dress from Altar’d State.
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Anwar wears a Urban Outfitters Collared Shirt.
MODELED BY TIARA MATHUR, ANWAR BOUTAYBA, LAURYN FAIRLEY, ALLY SMITH, & ELIZABETH ORDOÑEZ
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MAKEUP BY SOFIA MARTINEZ, SOPHIA ALEM, JASMINE WILSON, ALICE NOVINTE
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Ally wears Feelin’ Good Utility pants from Free People and stylist’s sweater from Misguided. Tiara wears Free People’s Saturday Morning Crop sweater and stylist’s Free People satin skirt.
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A R O E
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WRITTEN BY JOHN BIGELOW | DESIGNED BY LILLY CLARK Nurturing a flower is key to its survival. You must water it, give it sunlight and watch it grow. Raveena Aurora is a rose blooming before our eyes. A budding star, the Indian American singer flawlessly combines contemporary R&B with South Asian influence. She draws inspiration from artists like Sade, D’Angelo and Amy Winehouse. Vulnerability is her strong suit, and she undoubtedly opens up through her music. As a survivor of sexual assault, Aurora transforms her pain into beautiful, soulful lyrics. “I was so naive / To think a man could be stronger than me,” she sings in “Stronger,” a song from her debut album “Lucid”. Although these lyrics may seem combative, her voice has a soothing tranquility— her lush tones evoke feelings of nostalgia and euphoria. Aurora’s style reminds us of a time when we were carefree, not worried about what tomorrow might bring. Her sound transcends the usual pop
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music that plays on today’s radio stations. The 25-year-old singer is not shy about creating emotionally encapsulated music either. “Lucid” takes us on a journey of self-love, heartbreak, healing and selfdiscovery. In “Salt Water,” she professes, “A year lost in an hour / I cry into my limbs / I froze in a hot shower / I scrub away his sins.” Her poetic verse reveals how she feels a man has taken away her lightness and confidence. But Aurora’s knack for baring her soul proves to be a strength not a weakness. “So you think you had a hold on me? / Really dug into my brain / I’m attuned to all the bullshit,” she sings in “Bloom.” For the duration of the album, her growing wisdom protects her from further heartbreak. Another standout track is “Mama,” which serves as an ode to her mother, paying homage to the women who came before her. Aurora hopes to advocate for women everywhere, especially women of color.
Her biggest goal is to heal women of color through her mesmerizing music. Aurora wants women to feel empowered and spiritually aligned with who they are. The openly bisexual singer considers herself an activist for the LGBTQ+ community. Her music video for her single “Headaches” features two women in a romantic relationship. Full of flowers, iridescent colors, and delicately applied makeup, Aurora’s feminine and glowing ‘70s aesthetic melds perfectly with her peaceful and soothing sound. In her dreamy music videos, Aurora wears vibrant, eye-catching outfits. She dons pink and orange bodysuits, shimmering jewelry and sometimes traditional Indian garments such as a sari. While Aurora is only a star in the making now, she has the potential to become a household name. Every lyric is like a flower trying to bloom, and Raveena Aurora is taking back her power to grow.
EARTBREAK E, H ,H V LO EA F L LIN US E S GA F ON O ND A J O U R NEY S
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THE FUTURE IS FEMINIST This August will mark 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which theoretically created universal women’s suffrage — although women of color in many states could not vote until as late as the 1960s. The feminist movement has fought to upend rape culture, from SlutWalks to Take Back the Night marches. Feminists champion reproductive rights by supporting organizations like Planned Parenthood and pushed for Title IX, which protects women from gender discrimination in education and athletics. Feminism is almost standard in today’s America. But the movement’s core message, equality and inclusivity for all women, can get lost in the clever posters and pink hats that flood Instagram during annual women’s marches. Privileged women easily become trapped in our own insular bubbles, transforming into “white feminists” who care only about issues that personally affect us. We may choose to ignore issues of race, class and sexuality and instead focus on hot-button topics such as abortion and wage disparities. Posters boast both “pussy power” and “intersectional feminism,” but equating womanhood with reproductive anatomy alienates transgender women and those struggling to conceive. The same women who fall into the consumerist traps of “Notorious RBG” merchandise are often guilty of clutching their wallets more tightly when a homeless woman on Franklin Street asks for help or changing the channel when they see a Black mother shattered by her son’s murder. Don’t get me wrong, I will always cherish the embroidered “Strong Women…” pillow I got as a little girl. My 2020 calendar features 12 biographies of inspirational women; I’m a sucker for a “Smash The Patriarchy” mug.
However, I also try to remind myself that equality requires actions, not just ideas. Feminism isn’t feminism if it does not include women of every shape, size and color. If you only fight for women who look like you, you’re not fighting for all women. Many feminists, myself included, have let their white privilege shelter them from recognizing the mistreatment of women of color within the feminist movement. Fortunately, many feminists are waking up to this reality. I had been vaguely aware of the lack of intersectionality in feminism for years, but the media coverage of the #MeToo movement in 2017 forced me to finally open my eyes. The rallying cry, created by Black activist Tarana Burke a decade earlier, became synonymous with white actress and activist Alyssa Milano. After TIME’s #MeToo cover excluded Burke, I could no longer ignore the mistreatment of Black women by mainstream feminism. First-year Sarah Torzone says she has noticed a similar shift in her own experiences with other feminists. “In recent years, it’s come to light that feminism has been seen as a primarily white movement,” Torzone said. “Now it’s becoming more inclusive and we’re trying to recognize that it’s actually mostly women of color and specifically Black women that are the backbone of [many feminist movements].” “I think nowadays it’s probably more inclusive than it used to be,” Torzone said. Because of the world younger generations are growing up in, “we have more resources to understand the perspectives of other women, whereas older white women might not understand their own privilege and they might not understand the people that their white feminism is hurting.” As with women of color, the LGBTQ+ community has gained more support but continues to be left behind in mainstream feminism. “A big problem is trans women not
WRITTEN BY NICOLE MOOREFIELD DESIGNED BY KENDAL ORRANTIA being represented under the movement of feminism and not being recognized for their contributions to feminism,” Torzone, who identifies as LGBTQ+, said. Far more feminists know fictional character Rosie the Riveter than Marsha P. Johnson, a trans activist and symbol of the Stonewall riots. Gloria Steinem is quoted more often than Roxane Gay, an equally prolific feminist author who speaks openly about her experiences with race, sexuality, and body image. How many of us knew that suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the 14th and 15th Amendments, which gave rights to Black Americans, while abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth were staunch supporters of women’s rights? Or that three women founded Black Lives Matter? Even as awareness grows, Torzone feels feminists can better address the needs of marginalized people. “Women do have different experiences based on the different categories that they fall under,” she said. “Women of color obviously are going to have a different experience in the world than white women.” As white feminists — as many of us inadvertently are — we love to preach “girl power,” but only to the extent that it impacts our own lives. When we ignore poverty, racism, police brutality or climate change simply because it does not affect us, our feminism is reactionary. Instead, it should be revolutionary. But feminism can be revitalized. The movement transformed dramatically over the last century, and I am confident it will continue to grow toward equality for all women. Let’s get to work.
How College Changed Me WRITTEN BY CHLOE E. WILLIAMS | DESIGNED BY ZOE HAMBLEY As a child, I never saw myself going to UNC-Chapel Hill. It seemed like an expectation for someone born and raised in North Carolina. My opinion changed as soon as I toured campus for the first time. I knew I belonged here for one simple reason: it didn’t feel like a school, it felt like a home.
the beginning I carried a physical map around campus for a year and a half. Something about the paper in my hands made me feel more like an explorer than a disoriented first-year. I had been waiting for college my whole life, and I was ready to play the part of a capable adult, even though I didn’t feel like one. Before I could even attend my first class, my grandfather passed away. Suddenly, I felt confused instead of excited, devastated instead of hopeful. I quickly learned that the only consistent thing in life is change, and there’s always a new unknown on the horizon. UNC-CH allowed me to embrace these inevitable unknowns. It was the perfect balance between exciting and protective, like adult life within a bubble. I could spend my time however I chose, but I wasn’t paying my own bills or grocery shopping. I had the opportunity to reinvent myself, and I was many different people all at once: curious, naive, expectant. I was figuring things out, I just needed direction.
the journey I’ve always believed that there was a purpose out in the world for me. However, the magnitude of that purpose only terrified me. I wanted to be comfortable on my own, but I feared leaving my family so much that the thought of graduating left me in tears. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to tell stories that impacted people. Words have always been the way I navigated the world. Literature and writing developed my sense of empathy and my imagination. College has allowed me to try out different writing styles, classes and clubs, nonfiction, memoirs and journalism. This experimentation allowed me to discover what I want to do when I leave Carolina. It’s easy to feel aimless or uncertain when the future seems so daunting, but a kind of wild excitement exists in not knowing exactly what’s going to happen, that things are always changing. Discovering my passions and getting involved where I felt a real calling helped reorient the direction of my life.
the beyond When I was in Manhattan in January, I forgot that I still had to graduate. Being in New York City just felt right. I was torn between my future independence and the comfort of home, but with the uncertainty of the Coronavirus, there are days where it feels like it will never happen. But I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself that it will all be okay. Joy must stand against my fear, and a sweet kind of peace rises to fight my anxiety. This journey has not been straight, nor has it been simple. Yours may not be either. Rest in the knowledge that wherever you are on your own journey, each difficulty will only become a lesson, and savor the small moments that make life sweet. Your future has purpose, and you are a person known. 83 COULTURE MAGAZINE • METAMORPHOSIS
FASHION’S RECKONING HOW BRITISH VOGUE’S ENNINFUL IS TAILORING DIVERSITY IN FASHION WRITTEN BY CLAY B. MORRIS | DESIGNED BY ZOE HAMBLEY Somewhere in history, someone lied and said that fashion is a monolith. Consequently, the world believed them, and fashion slowly turned into a machine that simultaneously wanted to be a dreamland where clothes could turn anyone into anything, but only if they subscribed to the industry’s dictation of who was and who was not “fashion.” It is an apparent truth that the epicenter of the industry is whiteness. Yet, fashion’s newfound love affair with diversity has inspired most to assume that the industry is in a progressive bloom. And that it has reconciled its repeated exclusion of Black and Brown voices, and often women, from a seat at the table in an industry that nearly revolves around them. Edward Enninful’s ascent to editor-inchief of British Vogue in 2017 provides a microcosmic assessment of the sincerity within fashion’s obsession with diversity. The switch from British Vogue’s previous editor-in-chief, Alexandra Shulman, a well-to-do white woman, to Enninful, a Ghanian-born former ‘80s club kid, came at a critical juncture in fashion’s history. By 2017, Virgil Abloh was on the heels of his historical naming as artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, but he had already become the king of streetwear. Six years prior, Dior removed John Galliano his creative directorship for anti-Semitism. Becca McCharen-Tran of Chromat began casting the most diverse fashion shows New York Fashion Week had ever seen, showcasing models that were plus-sized, disabled, transgender and every shade in between alabaster and obsidian. Simply put, it was time for the shift from Shulman to Enninful because fashion’s foxtrot with diversity was full-tilt with an intensity that had no plans to slow. When Enninful’s first cover for British Vogue hit the stands fashion’s diversity trajectory seemed confirmed. It featured a stoically postured Adwoa Abdoah, a British mixed-race model known for her feminist activism. There are two words for the
trend-less cover: progressive and timeless. This beaming praise of Enninful is not to discredit the power of Shulman’s work at British Vogue, but instead to contextualize it. Shulman’s primary concern with British Vogue was centered around restructuring fashion’s image issues and passivity towards eating disorder culture. A lot of her work, though, was largely completed within a frame of whiteness. During her tenure, there was not a single black model as the cover star of British Vogue between Jourdan Dunn in 2002, and Naomi Campbell in 2014, according to a 2017 Guardian article by Jess-Cartner Morley. Shulman missed the mark in the categories of race and inclusion where she excelled in others, which can largely be chalked up to laziness. The outcome of Shulman’s laziness implies that her actions were not rooted in ignorance, but instead an active choice to not diversify the pages of British Vogue. But, despite Enninful’s enigmatic positioning at British Vogue, Virgil Abloh’s success, and even the visibility of self-made Black designers like Carly Cushnie through her eponymous line, fashion’s love affair with diversity is far from the finish line and in some ways has yet to even hit a benchmark. On Oct. 30, 2019, “Elle” Germany issued an apology for confusing two Black models, Janaye Furman and Naomi Chin Wing, in their “Black is Back” feature in their November 2019 print issue. The apology only came after massive social media complaints from industry insiders, including Naomi Campbell and the infamous fashion Instagram Diet Prada. “Elle” Germany’s mistake is not representative of the entire industry’s current engagement with diversity and inclusion, but it is a necessary
pause. How can an attempt to be inclusive become such an abhorrent fumble? The answer is simple: fashion’s reckoning with diversity is coming, but it has not yet arrived.
HEMP IS NATURE’S FINEST FABRIC,
WRITTEN/PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEX BERENFELD | DESIGNED BY ELINOR KELLY
85 COULTURE MAGAZINE • METAMORPHOSIS
AND HEMPSMITH CLOTHING CO. KNOWS IT
S H P I M EM T H C TH G LO I N C O
As the balance of nature continues to be threatened by rising global temperatures, America’s agricultural, commercial and industrial landscapes become more desperate in their hunt for sustainable practices to help counteract the effect of climate change. As a result, the hemp industry has been thrown into the spotlight and is rapidly gaining momentum. I must set the record straight before you dive further into this story; hemp is not the same thing as marijuana. The most obvious distinction is that you can’t get high from hemp. Think of hemp as marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin. Hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound THC, whereas marijuana, another strain of cannabis, contains around 12. Hempsmith Clothing Company is a sustainable brand based in Pittsboro, North Carolina that sells hemp-derived merchandise, such as hoodies, t-shirts and beanies. Zafer Estill founded the company in 2015, as a senior in high school. Zafer passed away in April of 2016, leaving his younger brother, Arlo, to turn his dreams into reality. Arlo, 21, is a senior at Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, where he studies brand management and marketing. The original Hempsmith product was Zafer’s design: a simple blue shirt embroidered with a white leaf and no logo. “Both of us had hemp shirts and we embroidered a little hemp leaf on it, but he didn’t even put Hempsmith on the sleeve,” Arlo said. “It wasn’t about the brand for him. I think it was kind of just like a dope shirt, I guess. He wasn’t that guy to brag about having his own clothing line.” When Hempsmith was still just an idea, Zafer borrowed $500 from his father and bought 50 shirts. He embellished them with a hemp leaf and sold around 35 of them. He stored the remaining shirts in his closet, which Arlo discovered after Zafer’s death. “I found the original shirts and I started selling them and that was kind of a kickstart,” Arlo said. “I felt pretty confident in taking over the brand and doing it with Zafer and for Zafer. He’s kind of like the confident one that has a lot of swagger and a great sense of style and taste.” It was now Arlo’s turn to take the reins on the Hempsmith project, and just like his brother, he invested $500 with the cash he had earned from a high school job. A week after his 18th birthday, Hempsmith became incorporated, and Arlo filed for the trademark. In addition to encouraging the use
of hemp, Hempsmith’s mission involves creating a restorative local economy. “We want to create a radically local and transparent supply chain so that we know the farmer, we know the processor, we know it all, and it’s all local,” Arlo said. “In a local economy, there is a lower impact because you’re not shipping it all around
“WE WANT TO CREATE A RADICALLY LOCAL SUPPLY CHAIN” the world, and when you buy from your neighbor in a local economy, the dollar circulates around the community more and everyone gets richer.” The uses of hemp reach far beyond what critics believe. This multifunctional plant is used in the production of food, such as non-dairy hemp milk and cheese, beverages, beauty products, furniture, construction products, fiber and fuel. Hemp requires much less water to grow than cotton, has hypoallergenic and antibacterial fibers, is over three times more durable than cotton, naturally filters UV light and enriches the soil rather than depleting its nutrients. “[Hemp] sucks up a bunch of carbon from the atmosphere and puts it into its roots and its stalk,” Arlo said. “So when you harvest it, you leave all that carbon in the ground and it decays and regenerates the soil.” Arlo spoke about the versatility of hemp in a variety of industries. Hemp can be turned into a biodegradable and renewable source of plastic. There are also structures known as hempcrete, which are houses made of hemp. Even hemp seeds found within the plant have many nutrients, including protein, vitamin E and fiber. The earliest record of hemp usage was 10,000 years ago in China, where people wove clothes and even shoes from hemp’s durable fibers. If hemp is so clearly a viable alternative to environmentally destructive fibers and plastics, why then is there still so much pushback against the hemp revolution? Arlo said it’s because hemp cultivation was only recently legalized in North America. “Turning the raw plant into a fiber requires a pretty serious infrastructure,” Arlo said. “The U.S. grows a lot of cotton. We live in a cotton country and hemp has been illegal so nobody really knows how to do it, but I think it’s going to become big.” Hemp is legal in the U.S. thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill created pilot
programs for farmers to produce hemp cooperatively with state-based agricultural programs. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, hemp production in North Carolina is legal, but is strictly overseen by the N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission. Another reason for the skepticism surrounding hemp fibers may be its cost, Arlo said. “Right now, hemp clothing is more expensive because it is such a young market in America, and cotton and polyester, which rule, are dirt cheap,” Arlo said. “As it progresses, the industry will mature and these shirts will become cheaper. We want to compete on value, so we’ll have the sweetest tie dyes and the sweetest experiences.” A unique aspect of Hempsmith is its hidden location. The company’s storefront, which opened on Dec. 1, is located in the Chatham Beverage District in Pittsboro in a business park called The Plant. The Plant was an old aluminum factory built in the Cold War that has been turned into a business park with usable and rentable store fronts. There is currently an art gallery, a brewery and distillery, a beverage tasting room, a farm fresh kitchen, a cannabinoid product store and, of course, Hempsmith. Each storefront conducts their business in a way that respects and gives back to the environment. For instance, Copeland Springs Farm and Kitchen, located directly on the farm that it grows its food from, never practices harmful cultivation methods such as tilling, and never uses synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Plant is full of charm, character and kind faces; the communal vibe is undeniable. The Plant is located on Lorax Lane, a fitting name for such an environmentally friendly collection of businesses. “We speak for the trees,” Arlo said, speaking on behalf of all The Plant’s tenants. Hempsmith will be holding its third annual East Coast Runway fashion show on April 18 at The Plant. The company is currently recruiting designers of all ages that are interested in creating and showcasing sustainable collections. Arlo hopes to get at least eight to 10 designers this year. “It’s a super quirky, unique fashion show,” Arlo said. “There are no strict rules. This year, we’re moving it inside this giant, abandoned building and it’s going to be super sweet.”
E D SEX ED
VAISHNAVI SIRIPURAPU WANTS YOU TO TALK ABOUT THE TABOO 87 COULTURE MAGAZINE â&#x20AC;¢ METAMORPHOSIS
WRITTEN BY MADISON OWENS | DESIGNED BY ELIZABETH BRYANT UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore Vaishnavi Siripurapu is a metalhead, a birdwatching enthusiast and a Sims gamer. She is also an advocate for female reproductive health and sexual education. Siripurapu is from Mooresville, North Carolina and is double majoring in biology and women’s studies. Siripurapu studies the physiology and psychology of human beings. As someone who has always been interested in health, Siripurapu is interested in the science of the body, as well as how the body affects mental health, particularly when it comes to the reproductive system. Siripurapu became a champion for women at ten years old. However, she was hestitant to call herself a ‘feminist’ because of the societal repercussions it might incur. The label frightened her. “I was really scared to call myself a feminist because I didn’t want that label attached to me,” she said. Siripurapu wrote an article for her boarding school’s newspaper about feminism in 10th grade. “I called it ‘The Other F-word,’” she said, “because people should not be afraid to call themselves feminists, while I myself was still afraid of being called a feminst.” Siripurapu specifically asked the newspaper’s editor not to put her name in the article’s byline because she did not want a negative reaction from her peers. However, to her dismay, she found her name boldly printed on the top of the page. But soon, Siripurapu’s outlook on being labelled a “feminist” would change. Siripurapu grew up in a rural village in India where women were expected to submit, and they had little independence. In India, women were openly discriminated against. When she moved to America, she saw some of the same sexist themes, just with more subliminal messages. Whether it be through an objectifying T.V. commercial or pink toys marketed to girls, the same subtleties seemed to be popping up. “It made me realize that even though oppression manifests itself in different ways across different cultures, it still has similar impacts on people’s psyches,” Siripurapu said. “This can silence a whole movement.” Siripurapu has written about reproductive health and sex education for many publications. Her first published research piece was about stigmas surrounding reproductive health. She presented her piece at the Feminisms Here and Now Conference held at UNC. She has written for The Pomegranate Society and The Period National Blog, and she currently writes for The American Society
for Cell Biology. A definitive feminist moment came for Siripurapu while watching the “Feminist Frequency” YouTube channel. CanadianAmerican feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian talked about sexism within video games in a show entitled “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.” The concept struck Siripurapu and lit her feminist fire. The show, combined with her early exposure to sexism and the realization that people can speak up about injustice, encouraged Siripurapu to be proud of her interests and to understand she could be part of a movement. Siripurapu then defined feminism for herself. Feminism to Siripurapu is intersectional. She considers all the identities people bring and considers all of the things that need addressing in our society in order to work towards a more tolerant and accepting world. Because of her passion for education and feminism, Siripurapu strives to help people understand the female reproductive system and how everyone can benefit from understanding sexual wellbeing and physical health. “You don’t have to be super sexually active to talk about sexual health; it should be a preventative measure,” Siripurapu said. Making sex and reproductive health less taboo means opening up a world of knowledge and understanding for people who may not have had the opportunity to learn these concepts. Siripurapu firmly believes that there is freedom in understanding, and education is key. People need to know about their bodies so that they can better protect themselves. Siripurapu addresses topics ranging from breastfeeding and fertility to periods and sexually transmitted diseases, or just sex in general. Scientific literature helps Siripurapu demystify the female body because it is based on fact and has been proven true through research. “Reproductive health is something that follows people throughout their entire human lives; the biological purpose of all human life is to reproduce,” Siripurapu said. When she began publically educating people in her early teenage years, teaching sex education was important to Siripurapu because she was mostly speaking to minorities in rural North Carolina. She taught sex education to kids at the Boys and Girls Club throughout high school, allowing her to answer basic questions from people who wanted to learn, but never had an opportunity to understand their bodies before. Siripurapu also taught a gynecology seminar at North Carolina School of
Science and Math. A little awkward at first, she grew to enjoy it. Over time, the demographics of the seminar changed and instead of speaking to rural North Carolinians, she was speaking to men and women who came from more privileged backgrounds. Her seminars started drawing more men — one day she even taught a seminar of entirely gay men. Siripurapu explained that it is important to stay informed because even if an individual does not identify as a woman or have sex with women, their moms, sisters and friends are dealing with these issues. Siripurapu has transitioned to more digital work since entering college, stressing that as our world becomes more digital, sex education and reproductive awareness need to also take a digital form. How does the digital world impact our sex lives with things like SnapChat and Pornhub? What are our privacy laws? Siripurapu wants these questions to be answered so individuals can understand their privacy and know how to stay safe whilst engaging in sexual activities online. Siripurapu hosts a podcast called “Euvie” and a YouTube Channel with two other people called the “Vigilantes.” Their rap published in 2019 about gynecology entitled “Gyno Rap’’ has garnered up nearly 7,000 views. Siripurapu hosts “V Talks” on the channel and explains the anatomy of the reproductive system. Siripurapu explains how reproductive and sexual health [systems] function, and how different forces can affect the female body. For example, Siripurapu has explained how an IUD works and how climate change is negatively affecting women’s reproductive health on the channel. Siripurapu is now working on a research team to create a blood test for cervical cancer. She continues teaching people about sex and reproductive health, fighting for it to be normalized. Sex education and knowledge of the human body is necessary because it allows people to remain educated and empowered. As a society we must continue to address it, even when it feels uncomfortable. Siripurapu wants people to understand that talking about sex is not a bad thing. For her, erasing the taboo allows people more freedom to understand their bodies. “The most important thing I want people to know is that it’s okay,” Siripurapu said.