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Volume 20 - Fall/Winter 2015 co-editors in chief design director photo director fashion director editorial director beauty director marketing director

Anna Buckley Carina Allen Blythe Bruwer Jacqueline Weiss Cassia Enright Ana Isabella Corrales

editorial assistant photo assistant

Adam McCarthy Darren Samuels

production coordinator


visual media managers

Liza Hsu Mia Schaumburg Yasmina Hilal

writers Annie Armstrong Myles Badger Tyler Breen Nic Damasio Marisa Dellatto Conner Dial Luke Gibson Jenny Griffin Tommy Higgins Courtney Major Jillian Meehan Kendall Stark Mia Zarrella

photographers Lauren Cabanas Becca Chairin Nydia Hartono Tyler Lavoie Michael Thorpe Evan Walsh David Weiner Adam Ward Daniel Clemens Andri Raine Allison Nguyen Jackson Davis Ebrima Manjang Matt Lewis

design Braden Bochner Brandon Murphy Pimploy Phongsirivech

marketing Anna Marrone Julianna Sy Natalie Benjamin Samir Beria Kim Gonzalez

beauty Madeline Lies Madeline Kawalek Peri Lapidus Lauren Balfour Courtney Kaner Clarissa Acosta fashion assistants Cherotich Chemweno Daniel Riva

F/W ‘15

Andrea Fernandez Austin Wilder

on the cover Model: Angelica Bourland Wearing: Vivienne Westwood at Riccardi Photographer: Carina Allen thank you: Emerson College, Riccardi, The Tannery, Mary Kovaleski, Joe O’Brien & Shawmut Printing Staff, The Bishop Family, & Javaun Crane-Bonnell.





TABLE OF CONTENTS CULTURE 12 Spotlight 18 Taboos 24 Big J and the Unkempt Hair 26 Overcoming Phobias 28 Extreme Fandom 30 Information Saturation 32 The Death Anxiety of Art

FASHION 34 Modifying the Body 36 The Future of Runway 38 Cartoon Comeback


F/W ‘15


FEATURES 44 Echo 50 Déluge 58 Joyride 66 Wild Fire 78 Textile Complexion 84 Dystopia










Fall 2013: My friend Jon invited me to the EM Magazine launch event for the “Americana” issue. I picked up a copy, held it in my hands, and did not put it down. At the time, I found the fact that this magazine was made entirely by students quite shocking. Fast forward two years—now it makes sense. Emerson is blessed by the talents of countless individuals, which is why we continued to increase our staff this year. It is our goal to recognize these skills and provide a professional experience and an outlet for students to have their work published. Going into this semester, Our E-Board knew that their jobs were not going to be easy. Being in charge of a greater amount of people with a greater amount of assignments than last spring was going to be a challenge - but they all rose to the occasion. Through each and every piece of adversity, I feel that we were able to work things out and still achieve our goals. I have learned even more about myself as a leader this year. Taking initiative and putting words into action is something I have always considered myself capable of, but this semester this skill was truly put to the test. Spearheading discussions, constructing plans, and executing those plans with the rest of the team is one of my favorite things to do. Jamie, Danielle, Katie, Sam, I learned so much from you in the short time we worked together on past issues of EM Mag. I wish I had half of the talent that you four possess. Thank you for all of your guidance, and for giving me this opportunity. Andrea, working alongside you as Co-Editor in Chief has been an amazing experience, and I wish you the best in your future endeavors. I will never forget sitting next to you at our general staff meeting last spring - in front of a room full of people - and hearing you whisper “I’m going to forget my English.” We were both quite nervous, but since then we have grown alongside one another. I am so happy to have become your Co-Editor, and more importantly, your friend. The EM Mag family is full of some of the most artistic, motivated, and talented individuals around. I want to thank all past, current, and future members for your work. Let us keep producing content that challenges the idea of what a “student-run” publication looks like. We will continue to challenge the creative minds of our staff—pushing them to new lengths as writers, designers, photographers, artists, and professionals. Enjoy.


January 2015. It was the start of a new year at Emerson. Austin and I were taking the roles of Co-Editors-in-Chief alongside a team of ambitious and talented people. To save you the details of the amazing process that was to create “The Now Issue” and, I will fast-forward to September 2015. The day of the general meeting, I looked around the room and found myself surrounded by people who were excited to be part of this team, team members that became my friends, and friends that became pillars of support and encouragement as I started my last semester in college, also known as my amazing em-squad. In that moment I realized that “The Extreme Issue” was going to validate the hard working team that is EM Mag. Extreme: Of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average. This issue reminds me again of how lucky I am to work with extraordinary writers, photographers, designers, illustrators, make-up artists, stylists and marketers. Our goal for this semester was to get out of our comfort zone. To push the boundaries of magazine publishing by playing with layout and colors. We wanted the words, pictures and illustrations to jump out of the pages and make an impact on our readers. Writer Jenny Griffin tackles the tragedies behind the misconception of fetishes, on page 22. Austin Wilder, our own Co-Editor-in-Chief, got to photograph Sydney Orason conquer her fear of heights on our Overcoming Phobias article, on page 26. On page 51, Photography Director Carina Allen captures an ethereal reality that arises from the pages with silky colors and a charming landscape. With the help of Boston-based high-end stores, Fashion Director Blythe Bruwer and I got the chance to style our models and work with luxury brands, maintaining the precedent of EM’s past issues. Being in an organization such as EM Mag, the overflow of creative stimulation is one of the greatest things that I love the most. I am extremely proud and excited to present to you “The Extreme Issue.” Now that my senioritis is coming an end, I just hope that I get the chance to work with people who inspire and encourage me to live in an extraordinary way just like the EM Mag team did. The EmXTREME way.


11 F/W ‘15





ave you ever broken into an abandoned mental institution and broken everything in sight? Ever eaten shit so badly grinding a rail on your bike you lose some of your bottom teeth? Or have you ever moved your short-shorts over just enough and pissed at the starting line of your cross country match? If you’re you, chances are you haven’t done any of these. If you’re Javaun Crane-Bonnell, chances are you’re the inspiration behind those hypotheticals. When I first met Javaun in his Allston apartment, shirtless, drinking 6% beer aged in tequila barrels, hanging with his crew watching Bay Watch, I didn’t know what to expect. I heard a stories from a few acquaintances and friends of his. What I gathered was, he loves breaking shit, being naked, and was just a reckless person all around. Having basically only those three things to go off and the fact that this issue’s theme is ‘extreme’, I was ready

for some crazy shit. After meeting Javaun and spending time with him, I could see why he’s considered extreme by some standards. But what I couldn’t figure out was why people thought what he did was really so shocking. Yeah, breaking your teeth and nose is probably considered extreme. Sure, most people wouldn’t piss out the bottom of their short-shorts at the starting line in front of their opponents. What I realized was, Javaun is a person with absolutely no fucks to give. No fucks about what he does. No fucks about what others think. No fucks at all. His lack of fucks I learned, came from his innate love for being raw. From this rawness, comes realness. The fact that he is so real all the time is what is shocking to most and causes others to see him as extreme. I learned more about Javaun in our few hours of talking than I had from people with whom I’d spent weeks.

Small stuff like how Emma Roberts is “bae” and how he plans to let her know while he studies in LA. Or how he thinks people who ride those handleless segways/hoverboards should get the fuck off and get some exercise. What stuck with me was the big stuff. Stuff like his thoughts on Emerson, BMX, and one of his best friends Matt Barcus. Javaun transferred to Emerson College from the University of Rhode Island. Transferring creates a completely different perspective on Emerson and college as a whole. He came to Emerson because URI’s film program “was shit.” What was even shittier was the fact that his previous classes transferred over, preventing him from taking many Emerson film production classes. As a film production major he only gets to take one actual production class in his time here, “it’s Basic Cine, and it’s shit I already know. Emerson’s


HIS LACK OF FUCKS, I LEARNED, CAME FROM HIS INNATE LOVE OF BEING RAW. not expanding my mind, it’s all busy work.” When I asked what he was paying for, he said, “Bullshit. I’m paying for the Emerson name. Not a lot of good has come out of me coming here, besides meeting people.” On the topic of money, Javaun hates how people flaunt it. Especially at Emerson. “Mainly if you go to Emerson, you’re privileged. I was in the library and got a notification my bank account was under twenty-five bucks. Then I go outside and this kid is bragging about these $800 boots. I had to leave, I don’t vibe with that.” To Javaun, “less is fucking more.” If all he had was his bike, he’d be set for life. BMX is everything to him. Most kids will drink or smoke weed in high school and that’ll be their bad, rebellious thing. Javaun didn’t start drinking until he was twenty. To supplement drinking and drugs, he started biking. Biking has done more for Javaun

than just being his escape. It’s shaped his life, and brought so many good people to his life. Namely, his late friend, Matt Barchus. Matt passed this summer from his battle with cancer; they were so close, Javaun had this feeling deep down he wasn’t going to make it. Matt Barcus has shaped so many of Javaun’s outlooks on people and life. They were on the same wavelength. If it wasn’t for his bike, he never would’ve met him. “My whole outlook on life, when people are so fast to get mad about something and call people out without looking at the other side of stuff, I get really bummed.” Matt taught Javaun to accept people for who they were. If someone’s being a dick, he doesn’t let that be his final impression of them. Javaun always thinks, “Nah man, he’s got good in him but he’s just struggling with other stuff right now and this is just his way of handling his problems.”

Javaun always looks past someone’s anger and considers everything else going on in their life making them act this way. Never take things for face value. Question everything and you’ll be smarter because of it. Such a seemingly simple way to go about life that many of us tend to overlook. All I could think about was how this kid is unapologetically himself. He does things most people wouldn’t have the balls to do. Does that really make him extreme? The fact that he is so real and raw is what is extreme to people. If people find being real extreme, then by the same token people must find being fake the norm or just average. Does living life the way you want and not how society says you should make you extreme? If this is the case we should all take notes from Javaun’s supposed extremeness and reevaluate how we perceive one another, treat one another, and expect one another to be. EM




arolina was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil and moved to Miami at age seven. Her name is pronounced not like North and South “Carolina,” but in the typical Brazilian/Portuguese way, Car-o-lee-nah. The Junior BA Acting major performs in our college’s theatres, but her singing and acting skills are just one part of her wild and powerful approach to life. Although she herself stands only about 5’0” tall, her visible strength and her kind eyes give Carolina the gift of making an inviting first impression. The central supplement to all that she does in life is of course her favorite form of artistic expression: aerial acrobatics. Aerial acrobatics found Carolina in Florida when she was thirteen through the magic that is the travelling circus. “When I saw flying a trapeze show for the first time, I fell in love. I knew in that moment I would be hooked.” This love has persisted through today as she takes

an advanced aerial acrobats class, on top her Emerson course load, at the New York Trapeze School in Boston’s West End. After the class on Monday nights Carolina often returns to her apartment with a lot to draw from. “Physically... I’m dead. But emotionally and mentally I’m like alive right now, I can’t exactly explain it to you,” Carolina said. “I feel GREAT,” she echoed. Reasoning with the more traditional thrill-seekers, she added, “Just like you feel great riding a bike, or running, or rock climbing! It feels nice, it feels fresh.” Regular physical bliss can be compared to her crazy craft in Carolina’s opinion, but few would be able to say, “It’s important for everyone to find something that keeps you happy and hyper, and agitated and alert and alive,” with such eloquence and enthusiasm. For the uninitiated, picture the work of a trapezist such as Carolina as

something you might see in a Cirque du Soleil show, but a little different. There are multiple disciplines within acrobatics, but her favorite is an art form called the “Aerial Silk.” “Silks” is a particularly daring and advanced venture which uses no safety harness and calls the artist to climb up a long, hanging piece of fabric, and wrap or “rig” yourself in it. Finally, the beauty in the movement comes when the trapezist goes to fall, suspend, swing, spin, and dip in and out of several different positions. Carolina finds it beyond rewarding. “Everytime I do Silks I feel a renewal. I feel relaxed and strengthened,” she said. Carolina has turned a childhood affair with the circus into a vocation for both performing and teaching “Aerials.” This past summer she was a coach and teacher at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in a few different places in South America. Teaching is a new found love for Carolina, but for her


there’s nothing like getting up there with no strings attached. About performing and living out her fantasy, Carolina says it is total bliss for her. “There’s a risk in everything. I am personally more scared crossing the street, because I have no bearing on that; If somebody’s gonna hit me, they hit me! In trapeze, it’s a meticulous process, you won’t be allowed to go up without serious training.” Carolina beams in describing “going up,” especially on a pair of silks. “In that moment when I begin to drop and I think of nothing, I also feel so much. I love it.” It’s an intensely personal, and sometimes requires everything in Carolina’s tank to complete the task. This makes the beloved activity something that tests courage of her body, mind, and soul. Carolina’s recall of the acrobatic experience seems very spiritual in that she stresses “a huge release of energy, and a renewal.” From a young age, her native

country’s way of life showed her the importance of being true to yourself. Finding the confidence to do difficult, even scary things is a way that Carolina channels some of her earliest lessons and memories from growing up in Brazil. Carolina’s mother Jakie recalls her as a little girl in her hometown of São Paulo, “climbing, doing handstands, little things, not big but somersaults cartwheels, never sitting still.” “Para de ser FRESCA” is a phrase Carolina can recall her mother Jakie stressing to Carolina whenever she spied her daughter doubting herself, or simply being too afraid. The powerful Portuguese phrase, if translated to English literally, means “stop being fresca.” But ‘fresca’ does not mean “fresh” in the rigid sense, but something much more complex. And to Carolina, specifically, it means so much more. “In Brazil, and I guess anywhere there’s a way to tell someone to stop

being a pussy. But growing up, that isn’t how we put it,” Carolina said. “Look, I’m scared of a lot of things, but I’m not gonna let any of those things get in my way of conquering that thing.” I suppose ‘para de ser fresca’ could mean to an English speaker ‘Get over your fear!’ And get over your fear by being real, being open, never fake! Just do it…basically.” Realizing there’s a bit of Nike in that quote, Carolina said, “It’s sounds so cliche in English, but it’s a Brazilian thing to not waste your time with hesitation, or even with people you don’t like. You don’t smile at people you dislike…When I was told at a young age to stop being ‘fresca,’ I was told to be my truest bravest, self, and quit the acting.” It has become a defining part of Carolina’s fearless lifestyle; a lifestyle that allows for her to reflect upon and grow on her personal being in a way that nearly nobody does: up in the air. EM




mpulsive, reckless, amicable, workaholic.” These are the words Alejandro Peña uses to describe himself when asked. It is a cold, rainy day in early fall, and we are sitting in the Iwasaki Library at Emerson College. Students pass by every few seconds, and nearly everyone wears a rain jacket, boots, and long pants. Peña came to campus from Allston, wearing a t-shirt, shorts and sandals. When asked if he has any role models, he replies, simply, “no.” When asked if there are any questions he would like to be asked, he answers, “not that question.” Alejandro Peña is a senior at Emerson, majoring in Visual and Media Arts. He makes short films, but not just for the sake of storytelling. When Peña makes something, he’s exploring himself as much as he’s

exploring his chosen medium. “It’s all the art forms combined,” Peña says of filmmaking. “It’s everything. It’s photography, it’s music, it’s acting, it’s writing, all in one thing.” He says the first films he ever saw were Hercules and Batman & Robin, but he also says he doesn’t care about either of them. The first film that left him feeling inspired, he says, was Kill Bill Part 1. “I was too young, maybe 5th grade, or 4th grade… I’m terrified of blood, and there was so much blood in that movie.” Blood, and many of his other fears, have played significant roles in his filmmaking process. “I go through phases where certain things are inspiring me and I can’t stop thinking about them over a long period of time, like months,” he says. “I’m trying to get over a fear when I

make something.” His current senior thesis, dubbed Pedazos, deals extensively with his fear of blood. “It’s very gory,” he says of the project. “On the way over here I got a text from my friend, and she’s like, ‘You’ve got a package!’ and I was like, ‘What’s in it?’ and she’s like, ‘I don’t know, it looks like a piece of meat,’ and I’m like, ‘Ugh, it’s a pig’s heart.’” Without spoiling the film, a human heart is involved. “I hate the idea that we have a heart. It’s terrifying,” Peña says. “I don’t think I even want to watch it happen when we’re shooting.” Peña’s fear of blood also recently manifested itself in a stirring presentation for an Emerson performance art class. “I brushed my teeth. I started off really calmly, and then I just kept brushing and brushing until I


“AND THEN I WAS SPITTING THE BLOOD OUT ONTO A MIRROR. I THINK THAT SUMS ME UP.” was viciously, violently brushing my teeth, and like… look at this.” He shows me a photo on his phone of a blood-stained toothbrush. “I ended up bleeding a ton, and then everybody clapped because they had to,” he says of the performance piece. “I went nuts. That’s the most extreme thing I’ve done at Emerson. People were just shocked at me. And then I was spitting the blood out onto a mirror. I think that sums me up.” Like most filmmakers, Alejandro makes things that he wants to see himself. Inspiration comes from a fundamentally distinctive place for him, though. His filmmaking style is almost definitively transgressive, and his creativity is uniquely fueled by his personal neuroses. While some film students at Emerson are creating ham-fisted copies of their favorite movies on expensive camer-

as, Peña is actively unpacking himself through his work. Despite all of this, Alejandro isn’t sure whether he sees himself as an extreme person. He sees the content he creates as being somewhat extreme, though, and for good reason. “The short film I made sophomore year, I got really angry during the middle of it and started trashing it, and messing it up digitally and really stepping all over the footage. That could be seen as a very drastic decision. And then the film I made after that, I would completely lie to everyone; nobody knew when the camera was on, and I was like stealing things from stores and I got caught so I felt bad… that was pretty drastic.” In an age where so much of what we see is derivative, or re-hashed, or re-booted, Peña is an original voice, fueled by a mind that’s constantly

working. Granted, he has influences—a wide slew of directors whose work he enjoys, but it’s hard not to come away from watching one of Peña’s shorts without feeling a little baffled at its distinctiveness. Even at Emerson, where uniqueness and transgressiveness are seen by many as imperatives, his work stands out. “How did he come up with that? What’s his thought process like?” His films are a way of answering questions like these. He doesn’t have concrete plans post-graduation, but hopes to find work in animation, “or maybe I’ll just like… die of an overdose wearing a wedding dress on a sidewalk in LA.” If given the opportunity to say one thing to everyone at Emerson, Peña says he would tell people to relax. “I would scream it. Then I would cry.” EM



girl sits on the floor of her bathroom. The crack under the door has been plugged with a towel and the shower is up to scalding hot. The steam rises. The girl is wearing leggings, sweatpants, a turtle-neck, a sweatshirt, and is swaddled in a blanket. The objective is to get the room filled with so much steam that the girl will sweat the toxins out of her body. The idea is purification. She sits in the steam, slowly sweating out all of the water in her body, dropping pounds in the process. She can’t see through the fog, but she may try to exercise through the heat, adding to the immediate weight loss. This diet method is used by people who want to drop pounds immediately without the fuss of healthy eating or exercising, and it is only one of many diet fads. Diets go in and out of style faster and with more force than clothing trends in a society that is obsessed with thinness. Fad diets like juice cleanses, the baby food diet, and even meal skipping are used as weight loss methods that seem to have instantaneous slimming effects. People can become diet addicts, always wanting to WORDS / COURTNEY MAJOR, PHOTO / ANDRI RAINE try the latest craze. These fads are quick ways to shed a pound or two—like the steam method. But, the weight loss can’t



BECOMES DANGEROUS last, and that’s why these diets remain a fad. A person can’t sustain themselves on healthy juices or force themselves into veganism and expect to feel good for the long term. Eventually, the switch back to regular eating must be made and if the transition isn’t done properly, the weight comes back with the same speed as it was lost. Weight loss is most effectively done slowly and over time, however, sometimes losing the weight isn’t the only consequence of dieting. Carly Miller, a junior Writing, Literature and Publishing student wanted to not only lose weight, but cleanse her body. She decided to curb her eating and try going vegan in the summer of 2014. She met opposition from family members who witnessed her completely change her eating habits. She says, “I lost the weight by maintaining a diet that was protein rich without the meat, while staying away from tofu and other soy products.” Essentially, her diet consisted of vegetables, hummus, and breads. This was a completely drastic switch from her unrestricted diet prior to going vegan. Miller wanted to lose weight, but she was unsure of the diet she should pursue and did not want to begin a rigid exercise regime. Her final motivation was people

telling her she could not lose weight by being vegan, since as she put it, “You love bacon so much.” Over the course of her diet, Miller rapidly lost thirty pounds. However, while her family helped Miller maintain a healthier diet, they pressured her to stop being a vegan because they were uncomfortable with how rapidly the weight was lost. Maggie Cannan, a sophomore at Emerson College studying Writing for Film and Television, explains that when she was younger she teetered on the line of overweight. She identified herself as “always the heavy, funny girl and it was a part of my personality.” She confused her size for a personality marker. After realizing that she didn’t have the same amount of energy as her friends, Cannan decided to make a change to her lifestyle and join Weight Watchers her sophomore year of high school. She no longer wanted her weight to be a part of her evolving definition. She went to her first and only meeting when she was 15; she was the youngest one there. Over the course of a year she reached her goal weight loss of 50 pounds through a mixture of exercise and portion control. The weight loss wasn’t easy. It added more stress around choosing which foods

were healthier to eat, and Cannan explains that often she would feel bad for eating something considered unhealthy, and sometimes this guilt persists even now when she is off the diet. She has since learned that treating yourself everyone once in awhile isn’t bad, it’s actually a good thing. It’s about balance; balancing healthy eating and exercising with foods that may not be the best for you. Losing the weight made Cannan feel more comfortable in her own skin. She says, “Once I started to lose weight I started to buy clothes that fit—I was notorious for buying clothes that didn’t fit me, that were bigger. I started presenting myself more. I was feeling more comfortable and more confident in knowing I had gotten myself there.” Diet fads are not only attractive, but addictive because they present themselves as quick fixes in losing weight, and weight is so often tied into self worth. It is important, when dieting, to separate worth from the gratification of quickly losing weight, and to choose methods of weight loss that will keep the mind and body healthy for the long term. EM

F/W ‘15






reaking trends is the new trend. Fashion taboos: don’t be too matchy-matchy, never, ever mix patterns, don’t wear white after Labor Day, and so on. These are rules we were supposed to follow. These rules were supposed to help us. Never mixing metals was meant to prevent clashing, as was wearing black with brown, or navy with black, or red with pink. These were guidelines to prevent scrutiny, but over time, these indistinct rules lost power. A nationwide influx of expression has spurred a fashion uprising. People are shedding themselves of fashion rules and embracing their individuality, creating a reformed society; and this retail revolution stems from the tensions, values, and standards of our era. The United States, especially, is more

progressive than ever before and taboos are becoming a thing of the past. Teen pregnancy is broadcast on television, everything is shared online, there are high school sex-ed courses, and equality for the LGBTQ community is not only legal, but celebrated. The tethers on expression are gradually being broken and the effects are worldwide. And with expression comes style; how a person presents themselves on the outside often tells a story about who they are on the inside. Fashion is a way to speak without speaking. An outfit can convey a person’s personality or mood, likes and dislikes, religion, or individuality. Hanna Baker, ‘18, VMA, believes in a free-form fashion environment when she picks out her outfits. “It’s a very emotional process; I assess how I am feeling, and if I’m feeling dark and moody and I don’t want anybody to talk to

me, then that’s how I’m going to dress,” said Baker. Nothing is taboo to the girl with two-tone hair, ripped tights, and socks with the word “bitch” adorned all over. There is comfort in guidelines. Following taboos reassures that the outfit is not too extreme or too controversial. It comes to a point when the fashion laws dictate the person, instead of the person dictating their fashion. “It could be regarded as ugliest garment in the history of the world and if you’re wearing it with confidence and you’re owning it, do it,” said Baker, “Rules? Ridiculous.” Five years ago, most females had an honorable collection of nude bras. You needed to wear one under sheer shirts, you were told. Now, though, the bralette revolution has helped remove the taboo about bras, not only encouraging people to opt for a more comfortable, lacier device—but encouraging people to show it off. A black bra under a white shirt is edgy and a floral bralette under a sheer blouse is cute. Underwear is no longer underwear as much as another important element of your OOTD. And it’s not because the female population is more promiscuous, but instead, they are more presumptuous. Fashion misdemeanors, like being too matchy-matchy and wearing athletic-wear casually, might be the reason Juicy Couture fell off the face of the earth. Tracksuits were once reserved only for professional athletes and mobsters, but have since emerged as athleisure and are acceptable for everyday wear. “Even growing up, I always found those rules to be weird because I think fashion is more about individual rules in a way,” said Daniel Kam, ‘18, a Journalism major. “Today, it’s not about

‘everybody should follow this certain thing,’ it’s about what fits yourself the best, because I feel fashion is more of self-expression.” “It’s the most creative all of us are every day,” said Kam. “I really like to paint. But I don’t paint every day and not everyone sees my painting—but they see me dress every day. They see I’m into fashion and that I care about the way I look and that adds to my personality.” The clothes people wear speaks to the decade’s culture, tensions, and social demands and standards. Female fashion in the 1920s is telling of the decade’s “roaring” mood—as corsets diminished, hems rose, and hair shortened— women became as free and daring as the shift dresses they wore. The bold flappers’ attire demonstrated their stance on societal expectations of women in the post-World War I homefront. Meanwhile, ‘70s fashion was directly impacted by pop-culture and the counterculture movement. As disco music became all the rage in the ‘70s, so did eccentric polyester outfits for the clubs. The counterculture movement brought not only anti-war, civil, and equal rights protesting, but also an anti-fashion movement incited by punk music. Meanwhile, bohemian styles adorned by flower children still reigned from the previous decade. Today’s fashion might be marked as the melting-pot decade—as styles from the past revive and are revitalized in today’s wardrobes. Today’s fashion speaks to our society as we shatter the rules that were once instilled in us. Fashion is no longer black and white; the lines are blurred between the men’s department and women’s department, and it’s becoming taboo to say a fashion



PHOTOS / LAUREN CABANAS choice is “right” or “wrong.” “I think [breaking taboos] has always been a thing. Counterculture has become more popular than it’s ever been. Fashion is bigger than it’s ever been,” said Kam. “You think of older counterculture groups that went against opinions, like punk groups, they dress their own way, they went against normal cultural taboos, and found their own styles. We are just doing that now.” We’re in the midst of another counterculture movement, protesting fashion standards through how we adorn our bodies. It’s not hardcore like the punk movement, nor are we trying to start a revolution by mixing patterns, but it’s a statement nonetheless. And some people’s statements are bigger than others. Teen celebrity Jaden Smith is shattering fashion norms by looking at his style as a form of

entertainment, disregarding any possible judgement or standard, wearing dresses with and without pants underneath, and dressing in superhero costumes for everyday life. “I think Jaden Smith is a fashion icon right now because he’s really tearing down walls of gender,” said Kam. “I bought a couple skirts because of him.” Kam said, “Fashion today stands for so much more than just what you’re wearing. It’s about self-expression, it’s taking a political stand, it’s about all these things.” Older generations might call it angst and rebellion, and the traditionalists might call it contrarianism, but it is plainly freedom. And this freedom is not just fashion-centric. Fashion is the end product of feeling confident in embracing individuality. It is a vehicle for expression. Fashion exists, but style stems from within. EM

TABOO DIARIES: PART THREE ouchy subjects and pushing limits are my dark chocolate. Delving into deliciously dangerous mediums that trace art-sex culture and unorthodox themes, such as Nakid Magazine and Georgia O’Keefe paintings, triggers a sensual release that I do not experience in my everyday life. Occasionally, I find myself drifting into the land of what ifs and shoulda coulda wouldas, only to delete the blindfold from my Amazon Prime cart and mumble a couple of Hail Marys. Pretending that we are not sexual creatures with primitive and inherently infantile desires is useless and unhealthy. After a lot of Googling/soul searching, little ol’ me is coming to terms with the fact that everyone has a thing—a kink, a fixation, an obsession, a compulsion, a weakness. You may not realize it but you—yes you— probably have a fetish. The fetish culture is tragically tabooed. It always has been and unfortunately always will be thanks to meanies, legal-types, and your mom. However, according to some people smarter than me including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and sexologist (#careergoals) Magnus Hirschfeld, having a fetish is an inevitable part of human development. There has been no cause conclusively established for fetishes, however, the theories streamline into the act of recognizing sexually desirable objects during childhood. This association seems to occur during the child’s earliest experiences with arousal and desire, and in time, voila! A fetish is born. Naturally, people are unaware of the science behind fetishes and are embarrassed when they realize they feel an attachment to something that derives from the “normal,” and therefore are quick to

stereotype people with fetishes as weirdos. So, ignorantly, I expected to see the absence of normality when I stepped into Condom World on Newbury Street. I began by mentally preparing myself to get slapped in the face with a condom and weave my way through an American Horror Story-esque menagerie of sex crazed freaks. Needless to say, I felt like an idiot after my conversation with employee Lauren Guastaferri and realized that everyone in Condom World looked just like me—awkward, innocent, and cookie cutter normal. No freaks, no weirdos, just people taking risks and allowing themselves to be, essentially, human. “This is a judgment-free zone,” said Guastaferri with a smile. The three year employee’s warmth transformed the seemingly intimidating store into a safe place. “When people come in, I can sense if they are nervous, shy, or whatever and open them up a little by starting them off with BDSM basics and employee favorites,” said Guastaferri while confirming that, yes, normal people do in fact have fetishes. Best sellers include whips, handcuffs and blindfolds as dominance and submission heighten in popular culture. College kids and middle aged people who have just discovered Fifty Shades of Grey are the typical Condom World clientele, differing from what one might expect. “I encounter one creep a year,” she said with an eye roll, “I’ll send them straight to Hubba Hubba if they have any crazy specific fetish.” Defined as an “alternative adult boutique,” Hubba Hubba in Cambridge made Condom World look like a kindergarten classroom. My faint heart was not ready for what I encountered when I arrived and I realized that there is a lot more to the fetish culture than I knew.

I thought I could handle this—I almost ordered a blindfold, I had read three chapters of Fifty Shades! I started sweating profusely when I saw the nipple torture toys and the latex masks. “Are you OK?” an employee asked me when I started breaking out in hives. “Yes, just new to this,” I said through a pained expression. My eyes were opened to a world I thought I knew a little bit about; however, the list of fetishes is absolutely unreal. It isn’t just feet and dominance. I was shocked when I stumbled upon a “comprehensive list of kinks, fetishes, S&M acts, and paraphilias,” and so were the innocent library-goers when I spit out my water while reading the list. Burping fetishes made me laugh, then squint, then consider it. “Yiffing”—a fetish involving stuffed animals—took me on an emotional roller coaster ride of Toy Story associations and weird feelings. My favorite was “yeastiality”—a bread fetish which involves having sex with warm dough. I don’t know how to feel about it either. All joking aside these hyper-specific fetishes can cause a lot of shame and confusion for people. “We get a lot of people asking for advice and confirmation that what they are feeling is ok,” said Guastaferri, commenting on how people call Condom World alarmed and looking for validation of a fetish. It is simply shocking that in such a progressive era full of diversity and inclusion that we are still caught up in sexual taboos, ostracizing those with sexual kinks. Even




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twenty years after the Sexual Revolution which challenged traditional sexual behaviors and normalized the pill, homosexuality, premarital sex, abortions there are still a lot of missing pieces in the actualization of human sexuality. Stigmatizing any sort of fetish has created the mish mash term “normal” and put anything that isn’t missionary into a land of “perversion.” The root of fetish taboos start with defining what it means to be “normal” and the distortions that encompass it. Sigmund Freud extensively explained this concept in his “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” as a way to build the bridge between “perversions’ and ‘normality.” Freud concluded that “all humans are innately perverse,” and therefore the term “normal” doesn’t actually exist. As a society we have concocted this toxic term for safety and confirmation when in reality it has robbed us of a natural part of sexuality and employed unnecessary insecurities. Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth, weaves together anecdotes, scientific research, and moments of self-reflection to make the argument that people too often allow their sexuality to be defined by factors outside themselves. Hills, along with her pal Freud, confirms the belief that people believe their desires are not normal. After interviewing young adults from a variety of backgrounds, the one



WORDS / JENNY GRIFFIN, PHOTO / ANDRI RAINE thing they all had in common was that each felt that their sex life wasn’t “normal” in some way. “The ideal world that I’d like to see us move to, the liberated world, if you will, is the one where people aren’t made to feel shame about their sex lives, whether they’re being shamed for being considered too ‘slutty’ or ‘freaky’ or ‘weird’ or ‘prudish’ or too much of a ‘loser,’” Hills says in a Mother Jones interview. “If you can remove that weight, then those decisions become less stigmatized.” One hundred years after Freud’s publish-

ings, we are still grappling with these issues and unfortunately, still have a long way to go. We need to talk about fetishes openly in order to recognize how sexual freedom can make us happier, healthier, and of course, pleasured. It can be monumental when you break away from missionary and let your freak flag fly. I just want to let you know that the development of this article included the following: questionable Google searches, audible gasps in the library, and a very awkward explanation to my mother. EM





t all started when Dana drove the trailer into a swamp off a remote Vermont highway. The van, the trailer, the instruments—everything that the band needed to play, was waist deep in muck. They polished off all their tour beer in appropriate punk rock fashion while they waited all night to be towed out of the mire. The band was Big J and the Unkempt Hair and this was their first night on a two week tour of the East Coast. At the time, none of the five band members besides Dana—the 22-year-old friend they commissioned to drive them around the coast—were older than fifteen. Jesse Galkowski, the frontman of Big J, is a dirty

blonde, curly headed Tom Sawyer from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He was a senior in high school when I was freshman and I remember the days of seeing him perform in his various bands and how my friends and I would mythologize him as some sort of brilliant hippie Renaissance man. When Galkowski recounted the events of this tour to me I was aghast but not surprised; the force of his personality had a way of attracting the most epic of adventures. Big J and the Unkempt Hair derives its name from fellow Boston ska-punk band Big D and the Kids Table and their sounds inhabit a similar wavelength. Galkowski’s staccato vocals scream and hop on all the songs the way

a good writer makes their writing jump off the page. The sound of Big J is a mix of ska, punk, and hardcore vibes that embody the essence of energetic, aspiring teenagers, while achieving a level of maturity uncommon for bands their age. Naturally, the next step after making a band is to take that band on the road. “The essence of tour,” remarks Galkowski, “is being cramped up, tired, hungover, drunk, hungry, and smelly.” For two weeks, this essence would be their life. The swamp incident commenced their tour on less than auspicious footing. It caused them to miss their first show in Burlington, Vermont, but fortunately they had planned two shows in the area and so their travel was not wholly in vain. But even then, their first performance was shaky. Their usual drummer, lovingly called Natebro, was unable to come on the tour, and so Dana was not only the designated driver, but also the designated drummer. The first show was spent figuring out the kinks in the music, but the members were not so concerned with how they played that first night; they were concerned about where they were going to sleep. For all its glorifications, being on tour is comprised of harsh realities. Roaming homelessness is quite near the top of extremities of this lifestyle. In proper slacker fashion, they had not arranged for any lodgings in Vermont and their

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reliance on the goodwill of those in the music scene was of no avail. They resigned themselves to their fate and bought another thirty to cushion their decision to sleep in the van. Of course, no one brought blankets, because that, certainly, would not be punk rock. Still, they went to sleep with smiles on their faces. Day three of the tour arrived and they were on the road again, heading south to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The weather matched the joyful chants of Dana as he belted along to pop tunes on the radio. Everyone was stiff from a poor night’s sleep but no one was upset. Their boisterous spirits would serve them well because little did they know, Atlantic City was about to test their punk rock chops. The layout of Atlantic City is that of a giant urban playground. The geometry is so conducive to street sports like BMXing and Skateboarding that one wonders if they had this in mind when they constructed the infrastructure. For someone like Dana, this was exactly what was going through his mind. Already drunk at 2pm, Dana was flying up and down random inclines on a bike that was in no way made for what he was doing. Apparently he had been to Atlantic City before and this was the exact reason he had brought the bike. No part of this activity seemed like a bad idea until Dana was on the ground, writhing, his ankle completely broken.


For most bands, when your drummer and only driver falls and breaks their ankle, it’s game over. But for Big J and the Unkempt Hair, quitting was not an option. “Obviously,” says Galkowski, “we had a show to play the next day so there’s no time for the hospital.” Obviously. “He basically said ‘fuck it,’” continues Galkowski, “and bought some DIY plaster and bandages. The dude played with a bright pink homemade cast on and continued to drive the whole rest of the tour.” The former frontman beams as he says this, realizing that what he is saying belongs in a movie and not real life. And thus the tour went on. New York, Philly, Baltimore. Days and nights passed in a blurry fashion filled with endless driving and raucous nights. Before they knew it, the boys of Big J were loading in their gear at the final venue, arriving late but stoked to play their final show. They approach the bouncer… “No, absolutely not, this is a bar, no one gets in under twenty one.” The bouncer is steadfast. Galkowski is trying to hold back from yelling. Even his pleas for the manager are futile. There must have been some miscommunication because no bands under twenty one are allowed to play. Finally, Galkowski gives up. Big J will not play their last show on tour. They will spend their final night roaming around Balti-


more, drinking cheap beer with dejected spirits. They walk up and down random streets, exploring, trying to get their money’s worth out of their final night until Galkowski hears a familiar sound. Then everyone hears it too…Drums! They run through a backyard and exit it, ending up one street over. They cruise down the street, Galkowski at the lead until they see the proof before their eyes. Hipsters drinking PBR had never been such a relief—they had found a house show. Galkowski heads inside while the band mills outside. He pushes through the lingering crowd, finding the door to the basement and entering it like a haven, his hopeful heart pounding. Five minutes later he is charging outside, ready to tackle Dana in adrenaline charged joy. “We’re on the bill! They put us on the bill!” There is a collective cheer from the members as they rush back to the van to grab their gear. Jesse Galkowski, the ever suave, ever persuasive Tom Sawyer had done it again. He had saved the tour. Big J would play their final show on tour after all. “And I swear to God,” Galkowski says, recalling his final triumph, “we were so pumped up and adrenaline ridden after getting turned down at the bar, and then allowed to play at this killer show—it was the best we played all tour.


OVERCOMING PHOBIAS ever, according to the Mayo Clinic, links have been found between the phobias of a child and their parents. If a parent is afraid of heights, odds are, the child will be too. Particularly negative or sensitive people have a greater risk of developing these types of fears. Phobias can also stem from some sort of traumatic event. If you were attacked by a dog, you probably developed a fear of them. The best way to get over a phobia? Conquer it head on. Sydney Orason prepared herself for what she was about to do. She climbed from floor one to 50, the gold jail that was the elevator vibrated as it shot upwards. The child inside her reemerged. She recalled pressing her small face up against the glass barrier at the mall, looking down at the floor below her. Her mother warned her not to


a-dum. Da-dum. You watch your chest pump up and down, feeling your body be thrown forwards and back with every beat. You try to swallow, your throat dryly quivering as you gulp for air. Your mind floods with images of a trauma only known to you‌the soft slime of a snake, winding around you. The drop of an elevator, shaking as it falls. Others can handle the stress of seeing a mouse scuttle across the floor, but not you. Welcome to your own personal nightmare, your very own phobia. According to the Mayo Clinic, phobias are different than brief anxieties because they have a long lasting effect. Situational phobias, like a fear of riding a rollercoaster, usually develop by teen years. The reason? No one really knows. How-




fall. “It conditioned me to be afraid,” Orason reflected. Disney vacations were wasted, tickets for rides gone unused. Ice skating lessons were cancelled because she wouldn’t jump. Ding. The elevator sounded, marking the start of her journey. Years spent fearing heights were being put to the test. There was no turning back now. She stepped out into the Skywalk Observatory. Her eyes flushed as they spanned the view of the windows, the only thing protecting her from the outside. Orason brought her hands to her face, uttering a shaky “oh my god,” as reality set in. “My heart is in my throat right now,” she said, standing as close to the glass as she possibly could. The cotton candy blue and pinky sky was warm and inviting, but it was the black radiator underneath Orason that kept her grounded. “It’s beautiful but I feel like I have to hold on to the radiator to stay here,” she explained. “If this four inch panel of glass wasn’t here between us and the outside, I’d have a panic attack.” Slowly but surely, the city scene started to warm Orason’s mind. The map of Boston was her view, which was both a blessing and a curse. “Ugh, it’s so scary, I hate it but I love it,” her voice trailed off, her eyes hypnotized at the sweet poison. The sky continued to burn into a reflective burst. Baby blue became electric, soft pink turned a blazing ember. The colorful contradiction provided a perfect backdrop, mirroring Orason’s mood. Looking down below, seeing the concrete as her safety net, she breathed in and out, in and out. “It’s easier to look out than down,” she exhaled. “This is cool because I like the idea of every single person having a story, in the car and on the street,” she commented, contrasting herself without even realizing it. The entire city was at her disposal. “When I walked in here my heart was in my throat, but now it’s somewhere between where my heart should be and my throat,” she said, moving closer to the glass. The complex, concrete jungle that immersed her minutes ago was now a dollhouse, a simple array of glittery masses. Gleaming toward Kenmore Square, she noted from above, “I never realized how close the Citgo sign is to Fenway, I usually walk. But look, they’re right next to each other.” As an

actress, she thought back to the idea of power structures. “When you want something to seem more powerful you literally put it above…It gives me power over something that I hate, it makes me feel bigger than it. Not that I can, but that I was willing to.” The will to try something, whether it is accomplished or not, can be an extremely empowering force. Ida AlKusay was nothing short of excited. “I’m ner-

actually holding a snake,” she complimented. She tried the best she could, her arm jabbing toward the snake to touch it. Her body convulsed back and forth, possessed by alarm and disgust for the animal she so badly wanted to make contact with. The animal was twitching just as much as she was. It was decided that a python, which were generally more docile, would be a better choice. After checking that it

CLUTCHING HER CHEST, HER BODY BEGAN TO TENSE UP. vous that I’m not nervous,” she joked. Alkusay was ready to make a change in her life. For her, fear manifests in the smallest of creatures: bugs, snakes, spiders—creepy crawlies of all kinds. “Frogs are so jumpy, you can’t predict what they are going to do,” she said, her voice bouncing up and down with her curls. The hair on spider’s legs, the slithering of snakes, even lady bugs cause her torture. She reiterated, “They’re so tiny, you don’t know where they are going to go!” Her father would be proud of what she was about to do. After all, he always encouraged her to defeat whatever fear she had head on. Unknowingly, he did more harm than good. “He makes you do something that you have to conquer; therefore [the fear] exists.” Her mother’s sister was on the opposite side of the spectrum, though equally intense. “Once she saw a cockroach far away and locked herself in the bathroom,” told AlKusay. She shuffled into the PetSmart in Cambridge, her energetic demeanor becoming slightly more stoic with each passing second. A stack of reptile habitats sat looming at the end of an aisle. The uniformed employee unlocked the cage labeled milk snake. She stuck her hand in and pulled out a slinky red and white serpent. It coiled around her hand, seeming to be just as nervous as AlKusay was. “I’m glad I’m not wearing my glasses,” she said, gearing up. Clutching her chest, her body began to tense up. She put on her jacket as a form of protection, anything that could save her from the evil that was about to be in her hand. She stood in amazement at the employee, “You’re one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, you’re

was not poisonous, AlKusay clasped her shaking hands and prepared herself to hold the beast. There it sat in her palms. “It’s breathing! I can feel it! Me and the snake are one!” she shouted in the middle of the small shop. Her eyes were wide, her smile took up her entire face. She was doing it. She was doing the thing she was most afraid of, and she was proud of that. It was only for a matter of seconds, but AlKusay’s world had transformed. She mused, “I feel like I didn’t. You know when you feel like it’s not real?” She stuck her hands out like they were covered in slime, making sure not to touch her phone or purse. The fear had evaporated; the only remnant was a grotesque feeling on her hands. Adrenaline pulsed through her veins, only after washing her hands of course. “Is this rush normal?” Alkusay giddily questioned. “You have to send me these pictures. I want to put them on Facebook and show everyone that I’m fearless!” She had emerged a new woman, ready to take on her next challenge. This would not be her last snake. “I want to be a snake holder. This is cliché, but I feel like I can do anything,” she stated, beaming at the world. Next time, she might even wear her glasses. Snakes are common household pets. They surround our gardens, usually slinking around unnoticed. Thousands of people every day travel 50 stories upward and beyond—in their offices, in planes. To some, these experiences are unordinary and plain. But to others, this is crossing into a world of superheroes and daredevils. It doesn’t take running into a burning building to be brave; it just takes a willingness to try. EM


M the replies are meaningful and thoughtout, like those that thank the boys for their music and dedication, but others seem to be on auto-pilot, like the ones that simply say “follow me” or “come to Brazil” or—a more recent trend—“DADDY.” It’s easy to question whether or not these fans are even thinking much before they act, posting everything from emotional outbursts to sexual fantasies to contrived conspiracy theories on every social media platform out there any time one of the boys so much as breathes. What many seemingly fail to consider is that these reactions do not go unnoticed. News flash: celebrities are real people that we are interacting with, not just entities to fantasize about for our own amusement. You are not tweeting to the void, and you are not tweeting to your best friend—you are tweeting at a person who has no idea who you are. “There’s this huge disconnect between the way One Direction fans perceive the boys and the way they actually are,” says Ali Reitzel, a junior at Emerson College and One Direction fan from 2011 to 2014. “You don’t actually know anything about them, you just think you do. And because you think you do, you fall in love with your idea of them. And it’s not real, at all.” Fans of One Direction—and other celebrities—are massively supportive and caring, and Twitter, Tumblr, and other EM

social media platforms have amplified that in the best way possible. But some of these fans also claim ownership of the boys, inventing their own ideas about who they are and what their personal lives are like, twisting public scandals to fit the narratives they’ve created, and forcing these narratives onto celebrities they have never met. Some fans even go so far as to act on their extreme jealousy toward their favorite celebrities’ significant others, sending them nasty messages and death threats—which is only made easier by social media. I’ve been part of the One Direction fandom since nearly the beginning, and I can say from firsthand experience that it is great. The beauty of fandom is that it provides a niche group of people someone to talk to and relate to; some of the best friendships are forged out of shared interest in a band, TV show, film, book series, or the meaning behind Harry Styles’ tattoos. Twitter and Tumblr have facilitated these ever-present communities—but they have also made it easier for things to get out of control. If you like One Direction, feel free to tweet their song lyrics with abandon, reblog as many pictures of them on Tumblr as you wish, and write as much fanfiction as your heart desires. But don’t do any of this without remembering that they are real people with lives outside of how you see them. And please, please, don’t @ them.


arch 25, 2015 is a day that will forever go down in history. The world was shaken, Twitter erupted, and fangirls everywhere were reduced to tears. Within minutes, all anyone could talk about was Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction. The boy band released the news on Facebook and Twitter, prompting outrage, panic, and heartbreak from every corner of the Internet. A quick Twitter search returned thousands of tweets, pictures, and videos—mostly by teenage girls—of fans who were crying over the news, even while sitting through classes. Even Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had something to say: “@choll12 We are all devastated about Zayn Malik but we must soldier on #ASKMJW” —Mayor Marty Walsh (@ marty_walsh) I remember this day with near-perfect clarity. I had been in class all morning and didn’t hear the news until I got back to my dorm and checked Twitter. By the time I figured out what happened, everyone on my timeline was either in mourning or mocking those who were. One Direction fans quickly took sides—some were supportive of Zayn’s decision and wished him the best, while others were angry with him and thought he owed it to his fans to stay with the band, despite being unhappy. All of this played out across social media platforms

for days while I, an on-again-off-again moderate fan since 2011, watched. As was made evident that day, social media platforms like Twitter and Tumblr are the heart of massive fandoms like the “Directioners.” No longer does fandom only exist at concerts, where hoards of fans can come together to dance and scream in tandem for one night only—now, fandom lives on the internet, where it exists 24/7, everywhere at once. This accessibility has played a major role in building franchises like One Direction, which has more followers on Twitter than most. The One Direction fandom, which has grown from a small group of people watching X-Factor to millions of people all over the world, is the band’s biggest strength. Knowing this, their team uses social media to their advantage by communicating with fans through Twitter and Instagram, garnering YouTube views on music videos, and eliciting votes for award shows like MTV’s Teen Choice Awards. Their attempt at controlling the fans to work to their advantage has been mostly futile, however—there is no taming the beast that is the One Direction fandom. On Twitter, a single tweet from either the official One Direction account (@ OneDirection) or any of the members’ accounts can receive thousands of replies and retweets, showing how present the fandom is at all times. Sometimes


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have been scrolling through Twitter from the Harvard Ave stop to BU East. 15 minutes of cherry-picking headlines and skimming the slug of the same story, rewritten and regurgitated by my four or five choice news outlets in rapid succession of each other— each source racing to get their angle out just a few seconds before the others so that they can grab my click first. Since I sat down and headed inbound from my house to school, I’ve been playing a game of editorial cat and mouse with one formulaic headline after another. Who’s going to grab my attention first, and for how long? And the craziest part is that after just 15 minutes, a bar flashes at the top of the Twitter app and informs me that within that short chunk of time, 30+ more stories have been published, begging me to click them. I can taste their thirst. The notification bar is always an itch to scratch. I give myself a break and switch apps over to Spotify, turn up the volume, and look out the window. I’ll deal with staying informed later, I think to myself. I turn off my screen and more headlines line up on my feed as I barrel on towards Boylston. My mind is tired, as though suffering the slog of eating a fat sack of McDonald’s in front of the TV. It’s amazing how much information is at our fingertips today. Literally, at our fingertips, in fact. At any given time, my iPhone can tell me in equally in depth and detail what’s going on in Bahrain and Back Bay. The information available to anyone with Internet access is boundlessly expanding every day, and our fast-paced news cycle demands constant fresh stories, making it an overwhelming but fascinating task to figure out what exactly is going on out there.

So what do we make of this age of extreme information? As a college student, and at Emerson especially, there is an expectation to be familiar with the goings-on outside of our immediate surroundings. And we should—it is a fair expectation to stay informed and voice our opinions about current events—that’s a given. It’s especially important for college students to realize that speaking up about important issues is crucial to becoming an informed adult. We all know this. But we can’t. It seems clear to me what has changed in the age of over-information. We have completely forgotten how to think for ourselves, and we’re reduced to just ingesting someone else’s opinions to save time and save face. We are so afraid of being wrong that we just don’t even throw our hats in the ring enough to articulate our own authentic thoughts. Sometimes, while sitting in a journalism class during a heated debate over the week’s biggest story, I hear the dinning echo of the editorial think pieces and long reads I skimmed over on the T-ride over, coming from my mouth and the mouths of my colleagues. They’re just regurgitated into layman’s terms. I do it all the time, I won’t lie. I read an article that I like about an issue I care about, and that author’s words become my exact opinion in paraphrased verbatim. It’s an easy and fool-proof method to catching an opinion: it comes tied in a bow from a veritable source, and if anyone doubts your words, you can whip out that author’s sources on why they are right. I remember sitting around the dinner table with my parents when I was in fourth grade. I was pushing food around my plate, bored, as my lovely and discerning conservative parents talked back and forth about the Bush/ Gore election. This is the earliest

memory I have of anything pertaining to politics. At this point, the only aspect of the election I can somewhat wrap my ADHD adolescent mind around is the environment. What about those dang cute polar bears? I tell my parents that I support Gore. Naturally, my opinion is met with endearing laughter. “Awwww, our little liberal,” my parents’ smiles seem to say. When met with this reaction, as though my opinions don’t hold any grounding, my face reddens and I look back down at my plate. But this is how we learn. It takes courage to say what you really think, when the risk of being wrong isn’t padded with the smiling, albeit slightly disparaging, support from your family. The culture we live in today isn’t exactly an easy place to be wrong in. I like to call us the “but-can-you-even-findit-on-a-map” generation. We love to prove other people’s ignorance, and then self-congratulate for being informed. And it’s stunting our intellectual growth. But how informed are we, when all we do is just inhale biased information spoonfed to us from the Internet? It’s scary to think that we are growing up in a media climate that doesn’t allow us to think for ourselves, yet demands us to be informed. There is a missing link there. We should be learning in an environment in which it is okay to be wrong with the excuse of “I’m still learning.” As college students who are learning to form their own voice and speak with it confidently, we need to be able to be in an environment where we can be wrong without being struck down, and where we can plead ignorance without fear of public shaming. We’re all developing a mind of our own, and in this atmosphere of extreme information, are our own thoughts being stifled? EM



think that, perhaps, the one thing more terrifying than death for an artist is the idea that their art will never come alive in the hearts of any other human beings. I had found myself flipping through a picture book titled Freud for Amateurs in my friend Daniel’s room in Colonial dormitory, sometime during the first week’s stretch of this semester. I came across a certain page of Freud, drawn up in a very exaggerated manner, declaring that his feelings in the supposed moment must be a result of his Todesangst (Death Anxiety). Suddenly I had a word for the fear I was having about the reception of my writing when I end my time at Emerson. I was overcome with the Todesangst of my art. As it says in the pamphlets of our admissions office, we at Emerson are all creators, storytellers, and even those of us who study marketing or communica-

tions still maintain the quality of being brilliantly talented and tied to the arts. How often in our fast-paced lifestyles do we stop to consider ourselves objectively, existentially? I began walking up the marble steps of the Walker Building not thinking of class but instead looking blankly at faces, students hurrying past me, ahead of me, and I began to realize that in the most selfish of ways possible I was afraid of my own death, and in part was here for the very reason of wanting to live through my art. In some respects can this not be said for all of us? Part of being mortal means struggling with one’s own mortality. Being fatalistic for a moment, if we were to listen to a philosopher like Marcus Aurelius, he would tell us that one day we will die, and everyone who knows us will die, and nothing of us will remain or matter. But can that be said of Shakespeare, Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, or Van Gogh? Perhaps some day, but


not yet. We celebrate the Winged Victory of Samothrace as one of the greatest sculptures of the world, yet we live so far ahead from its creation that we don’t even know who its creator was. This, for me at least, stirs about this concept, Todesangst, for the things I will create. The nature of the relationship between human beings and art exists as such that both man and art are beautiful, but quite more often than not the art long outlives the man. Being that art is a creation of mankind, anyone who creates things, be them writers, painters, cinematographers, architects, must at one point or another view the permanence of their work from a perspective that ranges across both sentiment and objective reasoning.



With this basic foundation of the relationship between artists, their mortality, and their art, does not a natural curiosity in the mind occur in how this triangular relationship shapes itself within the minds of Emerson students? I brought this idea up to an Emerson student I consider to be one of the most intellectual people I know, Jack Cooney, a music producer from the class of 2017. Jack is someone who is very aware of what’s at stake when it comes to being an artist, in terms of self-perception and self-esteem. Jack says that art is something you make when you draw from yourself personally; you feel like you’re cutting off a piece of your flesh and presenting it, and if that doesn’t have a perceived value to anyone, it hurts, it makes it hard

to present something in the first place, but ironically that’s the only way for its value to appreciate. So then how would he deal with this idea of Todesangst? Simple. Nothing you create dies, ever. Even if nobody ever knows about it, which is, truly, the most beautiful thing about it. If Jack puts a song onto the Internet, it may never be found, listened to, or appreciated, but it exists. It will remain there. There are thousands of online blogs, fan fiction, and numerous forms of writing that are permanently here to stay. No one may ever read them, but they exist. The paintings, the films, the sculptures, the art: so long as no one destroys them, so long as the world doesn’t end, they outlast us. Perhaps art does not outlast us in that one day it will lose attention, will fade away from the eyes of Man, but it will still exist, somewhere, hidden. With that comes the possibility that it can always be rediscovered, and that means that our art

is always alive, always a representation of us living on, even long past the point that we die. What need is there for death anxiety when what we create will never die, so long as we do not destroy it? As college students, we’re only starting our lives. We are, in fact, so full of life. Why should we fear and worry with death? We feel invincible. Why should we question our immortality? Our pressing mortality feels as relevant to us as quantum physics. But death is real, and it surrounds us. As we create, and breathe life into our creations, slowly, but certainly, we lose with each exhalation a breath of our life. We are mortal, it is known, but our art can become immortal, and I think we should see the hope in the idea of that, of our death, and not the fear. We are more than ourselves. Our art will outlast our death. Our words, our paint, our film, our dreams; they shape the world we leave behind. EM






t’s as simple as a tattoo. Or a nose piercing. Or an inconspicuous ear gauge. Body modifications are nothing new to our culture, and neither is the stigma. Forget the hacked off limb. The gaping holes. Imagine an identity carved in human skin. It takes effort. In a culture that’s pushing to accept the extreme, the expressive aren’t always leaving the reluctant time to catch up. It’s why one person might tolerate a septum piercing but draws the line at neck rings, while another is asking, “What’s the difference?” Take the earring, a quick and simple piercing that’s become a rite of passage for teenage girls, and compare it to a two-inch ear gauge. One form is stamped with the parent seal of approval, while the other turns heads. Extreme is only one cut away from normal. I found myself eagerly nauseous to dive into the world of mods. Untatted, unpierced, and unaware—it occurred to me that I had never considered the community sewn to the appearance. I winced. And yet I also couldn’t deny that there was something gripping about a split tongue, with its bifurcated ends slithering over one another, or a corset piercing: a ribbon weaving zig-zag through metal rings on the back, creating a pattern in the flesh. Mike M. lives in the Boston area and is modded—tattooed and with pierced nipples, tongue, and septum. Although concealable, his mods characterize him like

flecks of paint on a canvas. At 34 years old and immersed in the professional IT industry, the underlying question of “Why get modded?” begs to be asked. “For me, there’s not just a single appeal,” said M. “I think it’s no different than a hairstyle or a clothing choice, just much less common. I enjoy the control of being able to permanently change how I look. Similar I suppose would be able to be said for someone that gets a face lift or breast implants.” But unlike a hairstyle, much more can be said for mods, which is an ongoing process rather than an outcome. The practice is a ritual, from the first cut right up to the healed area. And then there’s stretching. “It’s interesting to watch the body heal a wound, with regular injuries people pay less attention. Stretching is just as exciting as getting the initial piercing. It’s an exciting process and I enjoy the feeling of a bigger, heavier piece of jewelry. The end goals are different for each piercing—my septum for example, my goal is to have it big enough to wear a tunnel so I can see through it in a mirror." I don’t ask to see M’s most extreme mod. A grimace crosses my face as I Google it later: a shiny metal barbell pierced from the underside—and distinctly going through the end of the penis. It is majestically dubbed “The Prince Albert.” M seems unfazed by my shock as I ask him


nipple piercings go at least as far back as ancient Rome. Ancient India was even ahead of the curve with genital piercing. So much history shows that there is something innately human about changing the body. The acceptability of mods is slowly regaining traction despite the prudish spell of the past. The only way it can go is forward, to new extremes. For the time being, even some modders seem reluctant. “Sure, I’d love a split tongue. That is definitely on the extreme end. Other facial piercings I’d like to experience, but again would not because of stigmas,” said M. With the utter necessity for technology in this era, new types of mods are also soon to be popularized. Augmentation appears to be on the horizon. Magnetic implants in the fingertip enable for new sensations, while chip implants could be the splice of modding and functionality we need. It’s only fair that I scope my own body before I wrap up my research. As I face myself in the mirror, I imagine where I would make the incisions; if I could handle the heft of metal anywhere on my skin. There will be no appointment for Luke Gibson at the tattoo parlor any time soon, but it’s a thought worth entertaining.


the appeal. “It’s no different than any other piercing. I like having it because it’s something literally no one else would see other than [my wife],” said M. For something that is literally skin deep, it’s odd that the purpose of modding goes further. But like any other art form, the meaning lies in the individual. For some it’s about reclaiming an identity. Others, it means capturing a feeling that isn’t present in the unaltered human form. Body modding is unapologetic to the extent that it is bold. It only makes sense then, that the choice is so heavily stigmatized. “I’ve avoided the judgement by getting things that can be hidden,” M said. “Is that something I’m happy about, that I feel like I need to hide them? No. But I want to make sure that I don’t end up limiting any career opportunities by getting judged.” The only thing that’s new to body mods in this century is the tools. Modern modders are blessed to have sterilized needles and health codes, but the heritage—the important part—dates back millenia. Lip and tongue piercings were found in African and American tribal cultures, while




WORDS / CONNER DIAL, ILLUSTRATION / PIMPLOY PHONGSIRIVECH answered their prayers. As recent Fashion Weeks have proved, the monolithic catwalk has become archaic. In lieu, designers are crafting emulations of casinos, deserts, and cabarets (or in Rick Owens’ case, an emulation of both bondage and submission). But these elaborate sets exist as something more than just entertainment. They show us that the artistry of thought and ideas can be extended beyond the fabric, and into the presentation. Karl Lagerfeld has been a pioneer not only of producing fashions, but conceptualizing these presentations. At Milan Fashion Week in 1993, Lagerfeld used strippers and a pornographic film star to model his swimsuit collections. More re-



great model will be comfortable in letting the clothes dictate their aesthetic— and in many ways, models must be an organic iteration of the apparel they advertise. Rick Owens explicated this concept by forcing his models to become human backpacks. In his Spring/Summer 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week, the simplistic, BDSM-inspired clothes were secondary to the shock of having models strapped to one another. Despite existing as an exercise in extreme, Rick Owens’ show is not atypical. Designers have begun to question the streamlined format that the runway show has existed in for almost a century. The use of theatrics and emulation has

THESE ELABORATE SHOWS PROJECT THEIR SEASON’S THEMES AND IDEAS, WHILE ALSO REESTABLISHING BORDERS OF EXCLUSIVITY THAT HAVE ALWAYS PERMEATED THE FASHION INDUSTRY. cently, Lagerfeld’s runways have shifted into a far more cinematic aesthetic, and appear rather amorphous. Under Lagerfeld’s creative directing, Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2015 Collection was presented in a meticulously detailed, full scale grocery store clone. Regardless if it represents commentary on American manufacturing, or else an additional outlet for the clothes to thrive, the design of the runway deserves to stand in its own right. The Lagerfeld-run Chanel brand continued their aesthetic of the everyday with their Spring/Summer 2016 Collection, a trend that began with their grocery store runway the year before. Set in the airport terminal of ‘Chanel Airlines,’ the set was enlivened with gate numbers, flight attendants, and lounge areas. The models acted as the travelers, pacing through the terminal in a synesthesia of chaotic colors, oversized aviators, and austere form. The clothes were unconventionally street-wear appropriate, yet remained signature Chanel in their class. And as if we needed any more convincing detail, the airline’s agents occasionally lifted their eyes from their keyboards, gawking at the fashions of their beautiful commuters. The Spring/Summer 2016 collection exemplifies an appeal to the modern consumer. These mundane environments that we regularly frequent don’t require the expense of high fashion apparel. Rather, they call for the comfort of sweaters and yoga pants, cotton tee’s and sneakers. But Chanel tells us that it’s absolutely appropriate to wear thousand dollar shirts while catching your flight. Chanel’s symbiosis of runway and apparel fuses a dichotomy between these respective themes of both motion and comfort. A feat only successful through its parody of the airport ter-

minal. This form is so successful that it’s already been adopted by other fashion world alumni—Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Tommy Hilfiger have taken similar approaches to their collections. These elaborate shows project their season’s themes and ideas, while also reestablishing borders of exclusivity that have always permeated the fashion industry. “There’s been a rise in self-made fashion bloggers, and fashion writers— basically anybody can see or comment on these shows after they premiere. I definitely think these conceptual runways make the shows themselves more elite. If you’re not there, you’re nobody,” says Madi Silvers, sales associate at Marc Jacobs. Marc Jacobs is no stranger to the inherent entertainment values of runway. Last year in his Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection, guests were given a pair of headphones that became louder as the pieces became more avant-garde. For his Spring/ Summer 2016 Show, Jacobs turned to more visceral accompaniments. Set in the art deco of legendary Zeigfeld Theater, Marc Jacobs’ Spring/ Summer 2016 show was a gentle reminder of the dignified nature of the fashion industry. Models entered the set from an exterior red carpet, stopping for a photo op, then ascended to the auditorium. Concessions were served by fishnet-clad employees, and a live jazz orchestra texturized the extravaganza. In heightening the collection to that of a movie premiere, Marc Jacobs indicts a new age of the brand—a process indicted by their new CEO Sebastian Suhl, who sought a removal of the Marc by Marc Jacobs brand. The theatre allows them to market this transition in a viable, organic way.

Whereas Marc Jacobs appropriated an iconic building, Dior sought to build their own. Raf Simons, Creative Director of Christian Dior, dreamt up a dome of delphinium florals to house in center of the Cour Carree du Louvre. But the set beneath the botanically dense structure was refreshingly simple—a hardened walkway extending from a considerably smaller bundle of flowers. The Spring/Summer 2016 presentation effortlessly upholds the archetypal set, while reserving the focal point for the apparel. Amidst the methodical organ soundtrack, the delicate-driven collection was simultaneously an artifice for a funeral, and an awakening for something larger. But where do we go from here? With designers searching for methods to hold our attention, these extreme catwalks exist to to explore these themes—whether in terms of creativity, or marketing. Tom Ford’s latest runway poses an alternative: the video runway. His Women’s Spring/Summer Collection for 2016 premiered two weeks after New York Fashion Week. Between Lady GaGa’s throbbing cover of “I Want Your Love,” the collection boasted a casual molding of metallics with chameleon textures. Tom Ford’s collection is bold because, unlike the other shows, it eliminates the need to authenticate its presentation with an audience of bloggers, editors, and fashionistas. The video knows you, the consumer, are by far the most important aspect of fashion. One thing is clear with these extreme schematics of runway: the fashion industry is at a threshold. Whether this change is good or bad, the catwalk is an outlet to embrace change. EM





hey say everything old eventually becomes new again—and that even goes for cartoons. This past June, Cartoon Network announced a 2016 reboot of Powerpuff Girls, which aired from 1998 to 2005. The animated series stars Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup, three girls born with unique superpowers they use to fight evil. The cult-classic cartoon, which touches upon the girls’ struggle to live as “normal” girls while battling villains on the side, became wildly popular among children and adults alike. For those of us who grew up in the ‘90s, cartoons were an essential part of everyday life, and watching them again is a reminder of those simple childhood days. But defunct ‘90s cartoons are also making a comeback on a different medium: clothing. The Powerpuff Girls x Jeremy Scott fashion collaboration made its debut at the Moschino fashion show in Milan on Sept. 24. Pieces showcased on the runway included leggings, blazers, dresses, swimsuits, and much more adorned with a vibrant, pop-arty Powerpuff Girls print. The items featured in the exclusive show are expected to hit store shelves in January 2016. In recent years, the cartoons-on-clothing trend has seen a significant shift from solely children’s apparel to the 1825 age demographic. For consumers who fall into this category, animated figures are more than nonsensical entertainment; they are sentimental characters, representative of the golden age of ‘90s pop culture. In the case of Scott’s cartoon-inspired designs, the “elite” group is classified as those who grew up in the ‘90s. Only a certain demographic can authentically wear a Powerpuff Girls shirt and be able to reference the series itself, which




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heightens the appeal of apparel clad with “retro” cartoon characters. This phenomenon is similar to buying a band’s t-shirt with the tour dates listed on the back after attending a show —people want to show that they were there, and they witnessed it, while at the same time bond with others who experienced it. Some might argue that Scott is merely capitalizing on a collective sentiment of ’90s nostalgia with his designs, but flaunting characters such as the Powerpuff Girls actually undermines a greater, relevant trend in the transient worlds of pop culture and fashion—making a statement. Children watching The Powerpuff Girls during its debut were probably unaware of it at the time, but the show is indeed a vehicle for themes of sisterhood and feminism—and the ideals the three heroines represent can be applied to not just children, but to everyone. Although sporting a Powerpuff Girls blazer may seem childish to some, there is undoubtedly a more serious message behind the trend. Moreover, the pairing of such colorful pieces with more refined items

such as a Chanel tweed jacket gives the pop-art print more of a grown-up vibe, something Scott is a self-proclaimed expert at. In his August 2015 interview with Paper Magazine, he says, “Honestly, I have the best manufacturing and the best quality at my fingertips, so it’s just like, I’m going to make that giant milkshake into a purse. I can do it and make it with beautiful quality. I can take these very pop ideas and then they have this dichotomy: the way they’re made does follow the tradition of ‘luxury.’ I’m just giving it a new image, to a degree.” Jeremy Scott, in particular, is notorious for his use of blending big brands with high fashion, perpetuating the idea that elements of our everyday lives can be trendy. Who could forget his dress outfitted as a Hershey’s bar wrapper, or an evening gown made entirely with a Cheesy Bites packaging print? (Both pieces were featured at Jeremy Scott x Moschino Milan fashion week in February 2014.) In her March 2014 article for Paper Magazine, Kim Hastreiter dotes upon the aesthetic value of food products.

“Supermarkets are very design-centric,” she says. “They color-code and do something called “striping”—essentially color blocking. It’s visual, repetitive, and about as pop as you can get.” More recently at Milan Fashion Week in September, Scott’s pieces drew inspiration from construction work, road signs, and even car washes. Windex inspired iPhone cases reading “fresh couture” in the signature font were given as gifts to everyone in attendance—and sold out online immediately after the show. These caricature pieces of household products and road signs we recognize on our daily commute convey that brands—of all types—have become standard in our society. Like modern pop culture itself, these names, faces, and even the food we eat have become almost a part of a collective visual language known to all. By effortlessly combining evening gowns with objects found in our everyday lives—whether it be cartoons, stop signs, or cleaning products—Jeremy Scott has shown that pop culture and what we consume can be trendy, if we choose to make it. EM


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Profile for em Magazine

em Magazine F/W 2015 - "Extreme"  

Fall/Winter 2015

em Magazine F/W 2015 - "Extreme"  

Fall/Winter 2015