VOICE The Georgetown
October 13, 2017
theater OF IT
THE FASHION ISSUE
OCTOBER 13, 2017
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE Volume 50 • Issue 5
editor-in-chief Caitlyn cobb Managing editor alex boyd news
Editorial & Letter From the Editors ‘Angry Liberal Feminist Killjoy’ Sienna Brancato
Fashion That Cements Existence Taylor Bond
‘Easy to Spot’ Voices Staff
Profiles Isaiah Seibert, Anna Crowley, Graham Piro, Devon O’Dwyer Hats off to Chaos Fashion Issue Staff
executive editor lilah burke Features editor jonny amon assistant features editor caitlin mannering news editor jake maher assistant news editors michael coyne, noah telerski
executive editor mike bergin Leisure editor devon o’dwyer assistant leisure editors brynn furey, ryan mazalatis, mary mei Sports editor tyler pearre Assistant sports editor beth cunniff, jorge deneve
Executive editor graham piro voices editor cassidy jensen Assistant Voices editors sienna Brancato, rebecca zaritsky Editorial Board Chair chris dunn Editorial Board jon block, caitlyn cobb, Nick Gavio, Alli Kaufman, Caitlin Mannering, GRAHAM PIRO, Isaiah seibert, PHillip Steuber
Leisure editor emily Jaster assistant leisure editors claire goldberg, julia pinney, eman rahman Sports editor jon block Assistant sports editor phillip steuber
The Fashion Issue Staff Producers Emma Francois Isabel Lord
“The Theater of it all” by isabel lord
contributors taylor bond sienna brancato anna crowley brynn furey joy kim graham piro devon o’dwyer Isaiah seibert runzhong xu
Videographers Maya Fleming Danielle Hewitt Anya Malik Photographers kate Clark Lydia Franz isabel lord maya tenzer designers Alli Kaufman Jack townsend Rachel Zeide abhichana Naiyapatana
Executive editor alli kaufman Spread editor jack townsend Photo Editor Isabel lord cover Editor aicha nzie assistant design editors jake glass, keeho kang, lizz pankova, rachel zeide Staff designers abhichana Naiyapatana
copy chief audrey bischoff assistant Copy editors Leanne Almeida, Isabel Paret editors Mya Allen, Mica Bernhard, Sienna Brancato, Nancy Garrett, Caroline Geithner, Anna Gloor, Claire Goldberg, Isabel Lord, Julia Pinney, Hannah Song, Jack Townsend
website editor Anne Freeman Podcast editor nick gavio assistant podcast editor Gustav Honl-stuenkel social media editor mica bernhard
Correction to “Emma Stone Shines in Unfocused but Entertaining Biopic Battle of the Sexes” run in 9/29/17 issue: A previous version of this article incorrectly started that Margaret Court is British. She is Austrailian. The opinions expressed in The Georgetown Voice do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of Georgetown University, unless specifically stated. Columns, advertisements, cartoons and opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or the General Board of The Georgetown Voice. The university subscribes to the principle of responsible freedom of expression of its student editors. All materials copyright The Georgeton Voice, unless otherwise indicated.
general manager naiara parker assistant manager of alumni outreach anna gloor assistant manager of accounts & sales karis hawkins
email@example.com Leavey 424 Box 571066 Georgetown University Washington, DC 20057
contributing editors emma francois, danielle hewitt, kaei li, isaiah seibert associate editors margaret Gach, amy guay, parker houston, alex lewontin, anne paglia, lindsay reilly
MOnica Cho, Brynne Long, Santul nerkar, Brice russo, Katya Schwenk
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
more fashion ON GEORGETOWNVOICE.COM
Models Olivia Jenkins (left) and Zoey Needham (right) pose on the set of Rumors.
Halftime: The Weekly List
Check out the Voice’s behind-the-scenes video of our photo shoot with the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society on the set of their upcoming farce, Rumors. Plus, see takes from our profile interviews and photo shoots, pages 8-11.
Gustav Honl-Stuenkel highlights ten iconic artists in both the music and fashion worlds. His picks include Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, and more.
She Runs the World
The Sports Sermon
In this episode of She Runs the World podcast, Resident Faculty Artist Deb Sivigny joins Kaei Li and Emily Jaster to discuss costume design on campus and fashion around the world. Sivigny is the costume shop manager at Georgetown’s Davis Performing Arts Center, a freelance designer, and a resident company member of Rorshach Theatre.
In this episode of The Sports Sermon podcast, Voice staffers discuss the intersection of fashion and sports. Focusing on fashion’s role in sports activism, they also debate the aesthetics of their unique college football and basketball uniforms.
OCTOBER 13, 2017
A Note From the Editors The world is a crazy place. It is wild, chaotic, and theatrical, and the political climate we are living in is even more so. Sometimes, amidst all this disorder, it is easy to feel lost and invisible, to float with the chaos. And so, for our fashion issue this year, we chose to make it our mission to find a way to find ourselves within the chaos of it all. Inspired by the seemingly-theatrical and often-chaotic nature of today’s political climate (which, too, bleeds into our personal lives), The Theater of It All approaches clothing as an extension of yourself that helps you thrive despite chaos. A leather jacket is armor, a shimmering dress evokes images of chainmail, and an elegant pantsuit or tux allows you to blend in—relax—when the time comes. Our interpretation of these articles of clothing may not necessarily align with yours, and that’s okay; in fact, that’s exactly what this issue is about. As wearers, we possess the power to define fashion by our own terms. We use clothing as tools, devices that help us forge a path among the rough, help us to be seen as powerful, to be provocative and start a conversation, or to be elusive and slip through life freely and unnoticed. Throughout the pages ahead, you’ll see some new things. We’ve compiled the thoughts of different people on campus who discuss their perspectives of fashion at Georgetown. Also, in our Voices section, one writer expresses her opinion on the arguably “hegemonic” nature of fashion in D.C. We’ve also profiled students, exploring what fashion means to them. And, in another first for the Voice, you can find video clips from each interview online at www.georgetownvoice.com. We’ve included a photo shoot of each interviewee too, of course. For this year’s photo shoot, we worked with members of the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society to bring these
Model Zoey Needham and Mask and Bauble’s Rumors actor Harrison Rose take bows during the photo shoot (pages 12-15) on the Rumors stage and set after Rose coached Needham through some vocal warmups for grown-ups. Rumors shows Oct. 12-21. ideas of “the theater of it all” to life. Their upcoming production, Rumors, showing Oct. 12-21, addresses many similar themes—mayhem, madness, pandemonium—and we photographed on Rumors’ half-built set, with actors (in costume) alongside our own models. The writer, Neil Simon, wrote the farcical play because “comedy is easy, life is hard,” he told the New York Times. He chose to dress his characters in elegant, sophisticated, formal wear, and he said, “there was something about having them dressed in evening clothes that I thought was a nice counterpoint to the chaos that was happening in the play.”
That’s what we hope to provide you with: a counterpoint to whatever sadness, struggle, craziness, or humdrum you may be experiencing. We invite you to create your own role or build a play around your life. Try something innovative; use clothing to direct your life and set your stage. Because isn’t that what fashion is best for?
it in one form or another. Everyone must dress themselves, and whether they are aware of it or not, the choices they make and the restrictions they have in those choices mean something. With this in mind, this editorial board calls on Georgetown students and institutions to be more aware of the political nature of their dress. On campus, a number of Georgetown clubs subscribe to what is often called a “pre-professional atmosphere.” While this provides many benefits to Georgetown students in their preparation for life after the Hilltop, it can also exclude students from these very clubs. Some clubs and on-campus jobs require business casual dress at minimum for their meetings and interviews, but it should be noted that this can bear a significant financial burden on students who wish to participate in these groups. Any calls for greater diversity among the clubs that make up this campus must take a holistic approach to the problem, and this should include recognizing the effects of their dress code on prospective students. By being aware of the limitations that their dress codes can place on potential students, Georgetown’s institutions can create a more inclusive campus environment. The problem of accessible dress codes goes beyond the institutions on this campus. Many of the internships and jobs that Georgetown students seek out and that can be so important to their future careers also include similar limitations, demanding that students, often without paying them, wear business clothing to work. While this is not a call to end professional attire in the
workplace, employers must be aware that the interns they hire are students, and as such, can be burdened by certain requirements for dress. Individuals everywhere should consider the economic and environmental impacts of their clothes and the supply chains that bring them. The choices that Georgetown students make regarding their clothes represent more than just aesthetic or even practical decisions. The decisions on what, where, and how much to buy should represent value judgments regarding climate change, workers’ rights, and other political issues all over the world. When they fail to take such considerations into their purchases, students do themselves and countless others a disservice. It’s also vital to constantly evaluate the assumptions and judgments they have based on the clothing choices of others, and be aware of the various power dynamics that these can lead to and from which they are born. Regardless of what it is that we do, value, or wear, we can’t hide from fashion. It is something that we must participate in every day, and to believe otherwise is naive at best and harmful at worst. The clothes we choose to put on and those that we ask and expect of others represent very real conflicts, tensions, and political issues. We at the Voice certainly aren’t here to tell you what to wear; that’s not our job, and we don’t want it to be. But we do want you to take a moment to think about what you’re saying when you get dressed or when you shop, and how those statements reflect the messages you want to represent you.
Emma Francois, Contributing Editor Isabel Lord, Photo Editor
Mind What You Wear When the MoMa began to display Colin Kaepernick’s jersey in its halls as a part of an exhibit entitled “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” the display, and the exhibit itself, showed that the museum understood something very important about the things we do and don’t choose to wear. Jay-Z understood this too, when he wore Kaepernick’s jersey on Saturday Night Live, and, although his message may have been different, so did the bar owner in Missouri who used the jersey as a doormat. The student athletes at Georgetown understood this when they put tape over the Nike logos on their university-provided equipment. So, too, did the activists who sat-in at President John DeGioia’s office to protest the university’s relationship with Nike, ultimately leading to a victory for students and workers. What all of these students, artists, and business owners know is this: Fashion, the clothes that we do and don’t choose to put on our bodies everyday, is inherently political. Sometimes this is overt, like using a Kaepernick jersey to show support for those struggling against police brutality, or wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Other times, the political implications are less obvious, reinforcing or exacerbating racial, economic, and gender hierarchies and inequalities. In the realm of political discourse, fashion is an especially unique medium. It can be used to express oneself in a manner unlike other political displays, to say something without saying something. Fashion is also unique in that everyone must participate in
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
advertisement of my feminist beliefs led to some intense confrontations with fellow students. I often felt disrespected on a fundamental level simply for sharing my opinion unashamedly. I was frequently asked to justify or explain feminist principles, and my words were examined for the slightest fault. On some level, my critics may have been trying to understand, but their predominant motivation was to look for things they could use to justify their own counterarguments, laying rhetorical traps that made every answer wrong. Wearing feminist T-shirts helped me combat the urge to compromise my principles for the acceptance of people who didn’t really want to understand anyway. Having my opinions literally written across my chest helped me remind myself not to shrink in the face of negative responses or make myself more palatable, my beliefs easier to swallow. Wearing T-shirts that display my feminism can sometimes alienate people or prompt them to make judgments before meeting me. But this doesn’t really bother me. If someone forms a negative judgment about me based on a T-shirt slogan highlighting one of my foundational beliefs (albeit in a whimsical or sarcastic way), I’m not sure they’d like me if they got to know me either. This is not to say that I would never want to have a conversation with someone who holds an opposing viewpoint. I would love for someone to challenge me based off an intentionally provocative slogan on one of my T-shirts. Sparking conversation is the whole point. Clothes can be a useful form of protest. Though widely mocked, the pink pussy hats, worn by thousands at Women’s Marches across the country the day after the last presidential inauguration, have become a symbol of resistance. In 2016, three WNBA teams were fined $5,000 for violating uniform policy by wearing shirts with #BlackLivesMatter and #Dallas5 on them. In the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the Phoenix Mercury, Indiana Fever, and New York Liberty used clothes to stand in solidarity and protest injustice. patana
a na Naiy Abhicha
I wear my opinions on my sleeve, literally. Fashion can be a useful way of expressing one’s personality, but my clothes spell things out. I am a frequent wearer of T-shirts with clever sayings on them, some innocuous and some overtly political. “Angry liberal feminist killjoy.” “Cats against catcalls.” “Keep Earth clean, it’s not Uranus.” “Democat.” “Bromance” (with accompanying photo of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, both shirtless, riding horseback together. On only one horse.) Yes, I have noticed that a disproportionate amount of the clothing I own is in some way related to cats. I express myself most effectively with the written word, so it makes sense that my clothes do the same. When I wear these T-shirts, I can express my opinions and my sense of humor. My love of books and cats is apparent, as are my feminist and environmentalist beliefs. All before I say a word. Wearing these shirts in public, particularly feminist T-shirts, can foster a sense of community founded on shared principles. People occasionally make appreciative comments, laugh, or smile at me for longer than is strictly normal. I’ve also learned that they’re good conversation starters at awkward social events. By putting my feminism out there for people to see, I broadcast my identity. It’s me using my voice, nonverbally speaking up. Clothing is inherently political. Every time someone asks a rape victim what they were wearing, every time someone assumes that a woman dressing provocatively is “asking for it,” female bodies are objectified and the clothes we wear are politicized. Dress codes in high schools across America contribute to the objectification of women, permitting teachers to deem students too sexually provocative to receive an education uninterrupted by trips to the principal’s office. If society is already going to add political significance to the way women and girls dress, why shouldn’t I do the same in protest? In high school, the unabashed
‘Angry Liberal Feminist Killjoy’
CARRYING ON: VOICE STAFFERS SPEAK
I use fashion to confront the chaos of today’s political climate head-on in my daily life, in whatever small ways possible. I am proud to wear my feminist beliefs so openly and brazenly. It’s empowering to defy any who attempt to silence activist voices with words that are impossible to ignore. However, I am not under the delusion that a quip emblazoned on a T-shirt causes concrete change. It’s not enough. I am trying to be more conscious of the companies from which I purchase clothes, particularly clothes with political slogans on them. If I’m going to talk the talk (figuratively speaking), it’s just as important that I walk the metaphorical walk and support companies working to cause positive change. There are a number of companies founded upon principles of political activism and raising awareness. For example, Feminist Apparel (a frequent birthday gift destination of mine) sells various types of clothing with feminist slogans and believes that their customers “become ambassadors in their communities for others to come to for dialogue and support.” In the wake of the Trump administration’s actions to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Feminist Apparel sent out emails calling their customers to action, providing information on how to resist, and asserting that “Immigrants’ Rights are Human Rights.” They launched a new collection called #DefendDACA and are donating 25 percent of the proceeds from this collection to Juntos, an immigration rights organization that helps people pay for the costly DACA reapplication fee and works to prevent deportations. Alta Gracia, an apparel company in the Dominican Republic that employs mostly women, is dedicated to providing all of its employees with a living wage, the amount necessary to meet all basic needs. Employees are paid three times the Dominican Republic’s minimum wage for apparel workers, allowing them the ability to support themselves and their families. Alta Gracia also provides safe working conditions, respects workers’ rights, and ensures dignity for all employees, including an environment free from sexual harassment. Alta Gracia partners with colleges across the United States, including Georgetown, to manufacture their apparel. They also make our NSO T-shirts. Making deliberate choices when purchasing clothing goes beyond supporting well-intentioned organizations and should include an examination of the conditions under which the clothing was made. It is essential that we pair awareness-raising with concrete activism whenever possible. The power of conversation should not be undervalued, but those who have the resources to support organizations that fight for positive political and social change should use them. Resistance through fashion must carry over into resistance through action. When I display my feminism across my chest, I don’t have to say a word, but I am refusing to be silenced.
Sienna Brancato is a Sophomore in the College and an assistant Voices editor.
OCTOBER 13, 2017
Fashion That Cements Existence Fashion is a language that doesn’t speak, it demands. Its theoretical aim is to wordlessly communicate the essence of a particular person with one glance, creating a cohesive narrative from head to toe. It acts as both an expression and a gateway into a conversation. In the midst of a photo shoot on Wisconsin Avenue, passer-bys’ reactions varied, yet people always seemed to take more than a single glance. One man we passed did a full 360-degree stop-and-go rotation that would make Tony Hawk proud if the stranger had been maneuvering a skateboard down the cobbled road instead of boat shoes. My model and I walked on while he remained stationary, rooted and speechless. These reactions weren’t a recognition; they were disbelief, an unspoken refusal to even attempt to process a vaguely alternative style. D.C.’s image has never connoted high-fashion; instead the city rests its laurels on the steadfast prestige of politics and international affairs. The expectation of a formal, never-wavering professional atmosphere, always focused toward the future rather than the now, can feel stifling for those wishing to express themselves in seemingly “unconventional” ways. I express “unconventional” tentatively because what appears unconventional in D.C. barely scratches the surface of what garners attention in other cities such as New York and Tokyo. Walk the crowded alleyways of Tokyo’s Harajuku if you’re interested in truly experiencing a style that ranges across all types of unconventionality. After spending the last year living abroad in Japan, the stark contrast of returning to a city centered on such conformity, without the presence of sub-cultures or a central fashion movement, is jarring. In D.C., the desire to express oneself is lost beneath the sea of political ambition and narrow definitions of proper workplace attire.
Likewise, the culture at Georgetown looms hegemonic. This culture is enforced through a preprofessional drive to present the best version of oneself, unblemished, with just a small enough public hint of ambition to create intimidation amongst other students. For that reason, as a photographer, my one and only rule is no LinkedIn profile pictures, although I’m open to any other type of photographic endeavours. Admittedly, limited on-campus opportunities for creative expression are available, yet these are often smothered in discussions of club entrance interviews, IR midterm prep, and internships on the Hill. Beyond those, there are few opportunities to create conversations around art. Even if an artist puts in the effort to create a finalized product, it would exist isolated and unacknowledged by the vast majority of students. Fashion, just like the other forms of art at Georgetown, should be something considered as important as a resume filler, not because it can further your position in the world, but because it cements your existence in the world. Self-expression is a daring attempt to offer up the rawest projection of yourself to others, to let them look at the image you create of yourself from your own hands. It means allowing yourself to be scrutinized without the security blanket of a prescribed dress code. At a platformless place like Georgetown, displaying a more adventurous style often can feel like a daunting obstacle, insurmountable and isolating. If you dare to deviate, people make no attempt to hide their barbed curiosity. It’s as if they’re witnessing a man casually walking around a crowded mall in Tokyo, which specializes in vintage games and eclectic art books, with a monkey on his shoulder. This is a real-life example of something
Taylor Bond photographed Camille Hankel (COL ’18) on Wisconsin Avenue, and “people always seemed to take more than a single glance.”
I encountered that more closely resembles the definition of “unconventional” than wearing neon disco pants and a mesh dress top. In a certain sense, exploring the boundaries of your own comfort (and discomfort) allows you to uncover the deeper essence of yourself, if you feel like getting metaphysical about it. In another sense, it lays you bare to the unabashed and startlingly blatant stares of onlookers who make little attempt to hide their inability to comprehend a deviation from the expected. In short, fashion takes courage, especially on Georgetown’s campus. Yet despite that, expressing individuality is essential in order to assert an authentic identity, something uninfluenced by career prospects or by the ideals of a community that often feels stuck in a bubble of JFK-era nostalgia. The idealization of the traditionally conventional Jackie Kennedy style, a style which is censured in its very role of representing the first lady as a job rather than an individual, is visibly pervasive in the stores along M Street. In a rigidly enforced pre-professional society, it is certainly no simple task to present a genuine, unadulterated version of your creative self. However, as expressed by the words of infamous and audacious artistic icon Steve Brule, “you gotta fly like an eagle, not be like a turkey.”
Taylor Bond is a Senior in the College who does part time photography (@james.blonde8), full time judo, and worships her roommate Camille.
Courtesy of Taylor Bond
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
‘Easy to Spot’ This collection of quotes reflects a few perspectives on fashion at Georgetown. These quotes were selected from email interviews conducted by Brynn Furey (SFS ’20), Joy Kim (COL ’21), and Runzhong Xu (COL ’21).
I try to have fun with my fashion all the time. It was a central part of coming into my queer identity—I would use occasions like Halloween to dress up as male characters before I was comfortable wearing masculine clothing all the time. It is already more difficult for women and younger people to get the same kind of respect as adult men ... so I have to make sure I am always dressed for the occasion.
In [an Another Round] interview, [Audie] Cornish equates function of makeup, hair, and style to that of body armor or a shield. I think this is a really empowering metaphor because it encourages us to channel our inner strength and self-confidence in a tangible, visible way. In a world in which we can often feel like our voices are silenced by the clamor around us, self-expression through style is an effective mechanism through which we can take ownership of our own truths, and, through our confidence, inspire others to do the same.
— Amanda Phillips
assistant professor in the English department
When I decide to wear something ‘unapologetically left-wing,’ whether it’s a hat, patch, or T-shirt, I throw my earnest political beliefs out there for anyone to see, inquire about, and challenge. As a result, I only wear the political ideas in which I most firmly believe and feel I can most competently explain. Making such a statement forces me to re-examine and challenge my own beliefs until I’m confident in their validity, resulting in my development of a deeper understanding of them. In this way, I hold myself accountable to my beliefs.
— Gabe Mielke (SFS ‘20) member of Georgetown Solidarity Committee
—Caroline Kline (COL ’20)
Sophomore Liaison for Georgetown University Women in Leadership
Georgetown is a fairly genderconforming campus in terms of expression, in general. ...We are fairly traditional in our understanding of dress codes, and we see this reflected at many events; it is more an unspoken expectation or code rather than anything spelled-out, but [it] is very present. As one of the few who routinely wears clothes from India, I am ‘easy to spot’ and identify, which is a new experience for me on this campus!
—Shiva Subbaraman Director of the LGBTQ Center
OCTOBER 13, 2017
CHAD GASMAN How one GUSA senator hopes to #FEMMEtheHilltop By Isaiah Seibert
“I think Chad’s probably the first non-binary person to serve on the senate, which is a big thing,” said Juan Martinez (SFS ’20), a GUSA senator. “[The GUSA Senate is] obviously predominantly white, male, cis[gender], heterosexual.” He’s talking about his best friend, Chad Gasman (COL ’20), a newly elected representative to the GUSA Senate. Gasman, who uses they/them pronouns, ran on the slogan #FEMMEtheHilltop, and won the west campus election on Sept. 28 in the first round of voting. “I wanted to be part of the movement to get more women and femme-identified people into GUSA and kind of shake up the balance away from a more male-dominated group toward a more female/femme-dominated group,” said Gasman, who identifies as non-binary femme, a feminine person outside the male-female binary. At their first meeting as a GUSA senator, Gasman described walking into a clearly masculine space. “All of the male-identified senators came in, if not wearing suits, wearing something very close to a suit,” they said. “Meanwhile, I came in wearing something a lot more feminine than everyone else.” For Martinez, Gasman’s self-presentation and fashion reflects how they are likely to disrupt the usual order of the senate. “I think Chad’s look is an embodiment of Chad’s purpose in the senate.”
“ I think Chad’s look is an embodiment of Chad’s purpose in the senate.
Gasman thinks that male overrepresentation in the senate, plainly evident in its dress, affects what issues the body focuses on. “There’s a lot of things that I experience that a lot of other, male senators don’t, and that is like issues with housing, with discrimination on campus,” they said. “Those all have a lot of policy implications that male senators will never get.” Gasman believes greater diversity in the senate is necessary to address problems that all students face on campus. Nate Tisa (SFS ’14), GUSA’s first openly gay executive, said the senate has enough seats for members from every marginalized community to be represented. “The people in the room matter at the end of the day,” Tisa said. “If you have 10 minutes to meet with the president ... what three issues are you going to spend those 10 minutes talking about?” And, as president of GU Pride, LGBTQ issues rank highly on Gasman’s list of priorities. They hope to continue the push for
an LGBTQ Living Learning Community (LLC) and for genderinclusive restrooms, two initiatives that have been underway for years but have yet to be realized. An LLC would be an important step in Gasman’s policy goals toward making LGBTQ students feel safer and fostering a community on campus. “It’s really hard to have a community of queer and trans Hoyas when there’s not really a place for us to come together,” they said. These goals are rooted in Gasman’s personal perspective as a non-binary student. “Chad has expressed that the LLC is something that means a lot to them because that’s some place that specifically they, as a non-binary person, would feel most comfortable and most safe, so that’s something they have stressed a lot of support for,” Martinez said. Gasman has been thinking of additional ways for the senate to support the university’s LGBTQ community. They want gender identity questions on university forms to be more inclusive of students who fall outside the gender binary and want GUSA to support the women and gender studies program, which houses many of the university’s LGBTQ studies courses, as students and professors push to make it a department. While Gasman and Martinez, who is also GU Pride’s vice president of community engagement, have worked on LGBTQ issues together in the past, Gasman says that GUSA has a certain influence with the administration that GU Pride lacks. “The administration will constantly look to what GUSA does as an idea of how to make the campus better,” they said, “whereas GU Pride has been fighting for gender neutral bathrooms and an LGBTQ+ LLC for years and nothing’s really happened out of that.” According to Tisa, discussion surrounding an LLC was around even when he was a freshman in 2010. He said that student activists are at a disadvantage because the turnover in the student body leads to a lack of institutional memory. In contrast, the administration doesn’t really have this problem. The decision ultimately rests with the university administration, but Martinez thinks initiatives like the LLC are more likely to succeed with Gasman in the senate. “Chad is a very driven person,” he said. “Chad’s a person that likes to get things done.” Martinez also thinks Gasman’s unconventional attitude will extend to GUSA’s fashion. “Chad wears a lot of pastels and the bright red lipstick sometimes and makeup and earrings, and I feel like that look stands out.” Gasman said that winning a seat in student government on a campus where they sometimes receive stares from other students is a sign of progress. “I still get stares and looks when I walk around campus looking more feminine … I hope that not just GUSA but all of Georgetown kind of changes towards accepting people who are gender non-conforming in their fashion.”
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Highlighting Feminist Voices in Fashion, Writing, and Art By Anna Crowley
As practiced as Tiffany Tao (SFS ’19) is in cultivating an online image, she still finds the act of opening up on social media daunting. “It’s still scary putting things out on the Internet. … Having the opportunity to do so week after week, yeah it’s a little scary, but you see it’s not so bad,” she said. She first began this practice in high school as the founder of an award-winning Twitter fan page, 1Dneews, devoted to her favorite band, One Direction. The dedication she put into her vision elevated a teen passion into a creative enterprise that prefaced the work she has done since, promoting women’s discourse through fashion, writing, and art. For Tao and her friend Michele Dale (SFS ’19), a freshman international relations class changed their Georgetown experience. The lecture was devoted to the abuses women often undergo during wartime. Tao and Dale were struck by the fact that there was no outlet on campus where women could both discuss the policy behind women’s issues and share their personal feelings. After frequent communication and fervent planning over the summer, Bossier was born. The two women created the submission-based magazine in order to allow Georgetown women and femme to contribute their unique voices to the campus conversation. “When we got here as freshmen, we were both looking for that space that was both a feminist community, a creative space, and that also actually had a social community behind it,” Tao said. “And we felt that there wasn’t anything that sat at the intersection of all those things.” Tao is Bossier’s creative director and has presided over the expansion of the magazine’s scope. “We’ve gotten the chance to read submissions by a variety of people from different backgrounds. We’ve faced challenges in terms of sharing our work, and all together that’s definitely broadened our perspectives and made us more both willing to be inclusive and striving to be inclusive,” Tao said. However, Bossier’s focus remains inspired by the lack of attention given to women’s voices on campus and in the media at large. Tao, a culture and politics major focusing on pop culture and politics, brought an experienced digital perspective to differentiate Bossier’s voice from the other campus publications. “Bossier wouldn’t be as successful without [Tao’s] aesthetic vision,” Dale said. “She focused so much attention on the marketing and branding of it, and it helped us achieve our mission better by making it something that was hip and modern and not like anything on campus at the time.” Tao’s knack for social media allows her to participate in the emerging trends in online media. For personal
inspiration, she looks to blogs such as Man Repeller, run by her long-time muse, Leandra Medine, as well as Instagram accounts ranging from those belonging to “elusive” French girls to the one organized by the #girlgaze project that, like Bossier, features work by women of diverse backgrounds. Tao uses Instagram as a source of inspiration to help her emulate the powerful women she follows. Last summer, Tao learned more about the intensive labor behind organizations with a heavy digital media presence as a content intern for Thinx, a company which sells period-proof underwear and promotes women’s health. It has tried to challenge the stigma that menstruation is a sensitive, impolite topic. Their website, blog, and social media accounts are targeted toward a new generation of digital consumers who are more politically-minded. “I think I really realized a lot about the power of social media and advertising,” Tao said. “I think there are all these new frontiers about technology for start-up companies and the next generation and I think it was really cool to be able to see it in action.” After working in the clothing industry, Tao senses changes in the field are imminent. “I think that transparency is going to be more crucial going into the future,” she said. “I also think that there will be a greater sense of tying fashion to politics. I think there’s even more of a slant towards why what we wear is directly related to politics. And people are more conscious of the decisions they make in terms of what they put on their bodies, and how that impacts the greater world.” Tao’s personal style is based on long-lasting staples, partially an effort to eliminate the environmental impacts of fast fashion. “I think that you should always wear what makes you feel comfortable—whether that’s something not the norm or even if it’s extremely normal and basic,” she said. “Even if it’s totally what everyone else is wearing, if you like it, wear it.” Dale notices this in Tao’s own style. “It is that kind of classically cool, comfortable, not trying too hard. [Tao] really is an effortlessly cool gal.” At Georgetown, Tao recognizes that creative expression does exist in niche communities and Bossier has made an effort to cultivate and highlight them. “I definitely think there’s an undercurrent of super cool fashion, a ton of artistic talent, and a lot of times it might be masked by the pre-professional type of direction that people go in, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there,” she said. Tao hopes to apply her understanding of the power of digital media to Bossier in order to continue to create a space for these hidden and underappreciated talents to be heard, read, and seen.
OCTOBER 13, 2017
Tying Faith to Fashion By Graham Piro
Fashion has been a part of Kay Threatt’s life since she was a child. She spent years trying on different outfits for her mother, a retailer and personal stylist. Threatt (SFS ’18) was her mother’s muse, as she puts it. Threatt is the student coordinator of the Queen House, a Living Learning Community on Magis Row. The message of the house, as Threatt described it, is that it’s not the load that breaks you down—it’s the way you carry it. It provides a place for women of color and allies to represent, replenish, and resist. Threatt’s roommate, Jasmine White (COL ’18), said that one of the hopes the House is to provide a space for women to express themselves without concern for the gaze of others. Threatt wants to work in foreign service as a diplomat, although she is heading down a different path, at least for now. She plans to start her career by working in campus ministry for two years. “God is very central to my life,” she said. “I have realized, being at Georgetown, that when I’m stressed out, He falls to the wayside.” When things get hectic in her career, she wants to be able to take five minutes, remember her faith, and go from there. It’s this grounding in faith that has shaped Threatt’s life. A local from Richmond, Va. (“it’s where the South starts!” she joked), Threatt grew up with her mother, or as Threatt put it, her biggest cheerleader. Besides trying on outfits for her mother, much of her early experience with fashion came on Sundays. She loved getting dressed-up to go to church on Sunday mornings, and she still does. However, there was a bit of rebellion during her early years. She didn’t want to copy her mother’s sense of style, especially after being made to try on so many different outfits. “Being a child growing up, you kind of want to rebel against your parents a little bit, so I had to find what I loved about fashion,” she said. She eventually grew out of the rebellious phase, learning to embrace the opportunity to create her own outfits. “My outfit is not complete without a pair of shoes,” she said, referencing her collection of 30-plus pairs. “You have to walk every single day, so they [went] with me when I was in Argentina, when I was in Minneapolis this summer.” Threatt’s bond with her mother, along with the presence of style in her life, followed her to Georgetown. “Once I came to Georgetown, it was an opportunity to really find my own sense of fashion,” she explained. White said that Threatt’s styles are ever-evolving, mixing between bright and muted colors, and trendy and traditional styles. “I think her changing style sort of reiterates the idea of womanhood, and how femininity and being a woman is something that cannot be boxed-in or restricted but rather changes according to the times and the person,” she said. For Threatt, fashion means more than just the clothes she wears. It also reflects her deep devotion to her faith,
which plays a central role in her life. Part of dressing up for church is respecting her relationship with her religion. “Faith is the most important thing in my life,” she said. “God is the center of my life. I wouldn’t be at Georgetown without Him.” It wasn’t always so easy, though. “My grandmother very much molded my faith beliefs, but she passed away when I was a freshman in high school. I took care of her. She had cancer. That really shook my faith a lot. I stopped going to church and stopped paying attention to it,” she said. Threatt’s return to her faith was a gradual process. She says that she took care of her grandmother every day after school and over the summer as her grandmother fought pancreatic cancer. The faith that her grandmother felt so strongly was now being tested. “I promised God the day we found out [about the sickness] that that would be the end of me ever believing in him. So when she passed away, that was my shutdown,” she said.
For Threatt, fashion means more than just the clothes she wears. It also reflects her deep devotion to her faith, which plays a central role in her life. Part of what helped her rediscover her faith was the act of getting dressed for church every Sunday. It provided some normalcy and even helped Threatt remember her grandmother through something she had loved: hats. Getting to wear different hats to church seemed like something small, but it was important. In the wake of her loss, Threatt turned to dance. The activity had always been a part of her life, but it took on a whole new meaning after her grandmother passed away. A mentor at her church helped her reconnect with her passion for dancing, and she slowly began to return to the community. She’s now a part of the Black Movements Dance Theatre at Georgetown. As a senior ready to enter campus ministry before trying to become a diplomat, Threatt said that her grounding in faith is what will help center herself. Between that and her fashion sense, she’s confident that there’s always going to be someone out there looking after her. She describes a dream she had one night: She was dancing in a church. Watching her in the back row? Her grandmother.
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Realizing a Fashion Vision By Devon O’Dwyer Asli Acar (COL ’18) tries to wear a piece from her clothing line, Bassigue, every day. On the day of our interview, she chose a plain white T-shirt with the vague message “cupid missed me” in small, black text on the front. During her photo shoot, she turned around to show a tiny red embroidered arrow on the back of her shirt. It’s a subtle, delicate detail, yet intriguing enough to be a conversation starter. That’s the goal of many of the T-shirts in Bassigue—the passion project Acar’s been working on since her freshmen year at Georgetown University. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Acar is currently studying psychology. She celebrated Bassigue’s oneyear anniversary at the end of September 2017. Bassigue, which combines the words “basic and vogue,” aims to solve a frustration Acar experienced firsthand. “Either you go and buy T-shirts from very expensive brands like Rag and Bone or All Saints, like $200 and above, or you go to Zara or H&M or Forever 21 and buy cheap T-shirts that you will only use for a year or half of a season and then throw away,” Acar said. Acar wanted to wear clothes that were both versatile and high quality. Finding none, she set out to create her own. She brought the idea to her best friend, George Washington University senior Gamze Keklik, during the summer of 2015. Keklik immediately agreed, and the pair began working on creating a logo and a name. From then on, the Bassigue team worked for a year on their brand and the production details before their official launch. The very first item Acar designed was a T-shirt called “Hangover.” She drew the design by hand and it was one of Bassigue’s first items to sell out. She has since expanded the brand to include a wide array of T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats with simple designs and quirky phrases. Her pieces include an all-black T-shirt with a white embroidered outline of New York City and a white T-shirt sporting the phrase “why limit happy to an hour.” In this upcoming season, the brand hopes to expand to include a wider selection and a larger range of items. “Asli never stops working. Bassigue has expanded and has become more and more successful since its launch about a year ago, yet what brings Asli the most happiness is seeing that people are genuinely happy in her products,” Gabriella Mas (COL ’18), a close friend of Asli, wrote in an email to the Voice. Launching Bassigue was no easy task, however, especially when Acar had to establish credibility as a young woman in the field. At its highest ranks, designers in the fashion industry are disproportionately male. A 2016 survey analyzing womenswear brands in fashion weeks across New York, London, Milan, and Paris found that only 40.2 percent of the 371 designers representing the 312 brands were female. In other words, men make more clothing for women than women do. The reasons for this imbalance are unclear. According to Business of Fashion, a well known fashion journal, women are the majority initially entering the workforce, but they fail to rise to the highest positions in the fashion industry. There is a dominance of men in executive positions and a prevailing notion that women
are mothers first, which some may see as incompatible with the lifestyle of an artist who must devote all their time to their craft. “In the beginning, a lot of people doubted my credibility, especially in Turkey compared to the U.S. I’d say, where it was a hard time especially as a woman in the field. You’re super young. They talk to you like, ‘Oh my dear child, you have a lot to learn,’” Acar said. Over time she gained the respect of those she needed to impress. But, there would also be times when the learning curve was steep and clothing buyers used terms she didn’t understand. “At those points I was always calm and I would never tear up or get super nervous. I was just like, ‘Oh sorry, I’m super young,’ and I would accept my weaknesses in that sense,” Acar said. “As young women starting a business, sometimes we were praised, sometimes we were unnoticed,” wrote Keklik, Acar’s business partner, in an email to the Voice. “I believe that whatever age you are in, it is important to make whatever you are making the best.” Acar and Keklik are both confident in their clothing. They pride themselves on producing high-quality clothes for Bassigue, which is why Acar felt it was important for buyers to see physical samples of the clothing, instead of a PDF or lookbook. The team’s hard work has paid off. Bassigue launched in Beyman department store in Turkey. Acar described the prestige of the store as comparable to that of Saks Fifth Avenue. Six months later, they started selling at a boutique in the SoHo neighborhood in New York, and this past June they began selling in Los Angeles. Their next goal is to launch in London in November. Bassigue also sells their clothes online internationally, something Acar hopes to expand in the future. As a full-time Georgetown student running her own company on the side, Acar faces some unique pressures and has had to learn to manage her time efficiently. “You can’t be like, ‘Oh sorry, I couldn’t do my homework because I’m running this company,’” she said. “In the beginning it was hard because I am so passionate about this and I didn’t know how to manage my time.” But starting Bassigue has given Acar a new perspective on life after graduation. “I feel like this taught me that there’s not only one path to walk in this life,” she said. “After you graduate, I feel like Georgetown tells students, ‘you need to be a consultant, you need to be a banker’ and usually students go through those ways because they don’t know what they want to do in life at that point.” Acar acknowledges that by starting her own line, she has taken a different path than most, pursuing her passion in a notoriously difficult industry. “It’s a hard field. You can’t hold onto it because people are cruel, and if they don’t like [what you’re doing], they smash you in the ground,” she said. Acar has navigated these struggles and sustained herself as both a young woman and a full-time student, proving the value of seeking out the alternative.
HATS off to
Facing page: isabel lord. Above: Maya tenzer. Right: Isabel lord. Below: Isabel Lord.
he pages ahead explore how fashion forges identity and helps wearers create clarity despite the chaos of everyday life. We have partnered with Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society (M&B) for a photo shoot that encompasses all the drama, ’80s glamor, and theatricality of their latest production, Rumors, showing Oct. 1221. Actors from the show don costume, and models sport clothing, blurring the lines of reality and fiction. Facing page: Model Zoey Needham dons a peony velvet robe (H&M: 3222 M. St. NW). Below: Needham (left) wears a pink puffer blouse (H&M) and gray pinstripe jersey pants (H&M). Model Olivia Jenkins (right) dazzles in a frothy white blouse (H&M) and mint culottes (H&M). Endless thanks to Caroline Healey, Benjamin Sullivan, Daniel Wheelock and the entirety of M&B.
Top: Kate Clark. Bottom left: Isabel lord. Bottom right: Kate Clark.
he actors are working on telling the story with their bodies, and so [the costume designer is] telling the story with clothes. Every decision you make about what to put on the actor, be it a pocket square or shoes ... is reflective of the character and the story that you’re trying to convey onstage to the audience.” — CAROLINE HEALEY Rumors costume designer
Facing page: Needham in red velvet unitard (Forever 21: 3222 M. St. NW) and star rhinestone faux leather jacket (T.J.Maxx: 3222 M. St. NW). Top right: (from left) Needham in black blouse and gray pants (H&M); M&B Rumors actress Madison Carter in costume; Model Rayne Sullivan in suit (Hugo Boss). Bottom left: Needham (left) in metallic dress (H&M); M&B Rumors actor Harrison Rose (right) in costume.
clockwise from top left: Isabel lord; lydia franz; lydia franz; Isabel lord