Page 1

Spring/Summer 2010

the debut

issue with

Kelly Bensimon

In This Issue 4 5


Letter from the Editors 6 Select Contributor Biographies 10

Chosen Dress for the Chosen People Spring/Summer Accessories



Student Designer: Dustin Martin


Neighborhood: Harlem


Spring/Summer Trends


Student Profile: Lisa Cant


Faculty Profile: Sarah Cole


Study Abroad


Garment District


Spring/Summer Trends for Less


Kelly Killoren Bensimon


Blogger Profile: Dan Trepanier


Noko Jeans


How to Get a Fashion Internship

Arts & Entertainment 8

Costume Institute


Guggenheim’s 50th Anniversary

Beauty 26

Spring/Summer Beauty

Meet the Staff Co-Editors in Chief Noel Duan (CC ’13) Jina Lim (CC ’13)


Design Directors Sharon Wu (CC ’13) Tim Qin (SEAS ’13) Design Editors Cathi Choi (CC ’13) Aisling Hunt (BC ’13) Misty Liang (CC ’13) Zi Lin (BC ’13)


Style Director Michele Levbarg-Klein (CC ’12) Accessories Director Anna Cooperberg (CC ’12) Fashion Market Editor Helen Chen (SEAS ’13) Menswear Editor Martin Hamery (CC ’13)


Beauty Assistant Sharon Shum (CC ’13)


Features Director Allison Malecha (CC ’13) Reporters Zahra Ahmed (BC ’13) Lori Goldman (BC ’13) Paul Hsiao (CC ’12) Alexandra Lotero (CC ’12) Kavitha Surana (CC ’11) Tina Tsuchiyama (BC ’13)

Public Relations

Public Relations Director Donia Abdelaziz (CC ’12)



Letter from the Editors We’re convinced that it was fate that the two of us met that first day of New Student Orientation Program. Our awkward first conversation consisted of complimenting each other’s clothes, but a week later, our mutual passion turned into something bigger: Jina wanted to create a campus fashion magazine, and Hoot was born. Started with two starry-eyed freshmen, Hoot has now expanded to over 50 talented staff members, an affiliation with CU Couture (the campus fashion club), and a full-fledged blog and website. We really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into by initiating this project. Who would have thought that we’d be dashing around Manhattan with sore arms and giant shopping bags, working with television stars like Kelly Killoren Bensimon, and getting in trouble with Public Safety for trying to give Alma Mater purses and scarves? This premier issue of Hoot is a culmination of these new experiences. This issue shines light upon the fashion-savvy, cultured, and intelligent Columbia University community. See “Real Housewife” Kelly Killoren Bensimon (GS ’98) up-close in her Chinatown apartment, learn about Dustin Martin (CC’ 11) and his pursuit as a fashion designer, and share your enthusiasm for blogging with Dan Trepanier (CC ’09). We thank everyone who took a chance and took us seriously when we undertook this project: CUarts Gatsby Foundation for giving us a grant when everyone else rejected our funding proposals, Charles and Maricela Cooperberg for the extremely helpful donation, Amy Astley for sharing some of her Teen Vogue spark with us, Jennifer Nam for teaching us how to create high definition makeup, Betsy Mullinix for giving us styling tips, Jeffrey Zhang for shooting and retouching three spreads in spite of his busy schedule, and Martin I. Klein for drafting our legal documents. And of course, thank you so much to everyone who worked on this issue or is featured in this issue—as the founding team of Hoot, we hoped to create something novel on campus and beyond. Have a great summer, and Hoot will come back with richer materials for the Hoot readership to enjoy in the fall. In the meanwhile, keep in touch with us on!

With much gratitude,

Noel Duan & Jina Lim Co-Editors in Chief

Who in the fashion industry would you most want to meet & what would you ask them?

Martin Hamery CC’13

Anna Cooperberg CC’12

Allison Malecha CC’13

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN/Regina, SK Job at Hoot: Features Director A: “1905, Paris, I would want to meet Coco Chanel pre-milliner, pre fashion days as a café concert singer—just because I think it’d be fun. Really though I would choose 1930s, still Paris, still Coco Chanel, and I would ask her which designer today she thinks makes the most perfect little black dress.

Hometown: Durham, NC Job at Hoot: Accessories Director A: “I’d most like to meet Simon Doonan, brashly wacky writer and Barney’s Creative Director, to ask him how he comes up with such witty word pairings. We’d probably end up chatting about Goyard, a brand of intricately crafted and painted trunks and accessories which we both tote regularly.”

Donia Abdelaziz CC’12

Hometown: Paris, France Job at Hoot: Menswear Director A: “I would love to meet Rad Hourani and ask him how he manages to make his androgynous clothing look equally impeccable on women and men.”

Select Contributor Biographies


Hometown: Cairo, Egypt/New York,NY Job at Hoot: Public Relations Director A: “I would love to travel back in time and meet Yves Saint Laurent in Paris in the late 1950’s. I would ask him where he drew his inspiration from as the 21-yearold head designer of Dior. I would also like to meet the inventor of nail polish, just for fun.” HOOT |

5 7

Chosen Dress for the Chosen People a new look at orthodox fashion by lori goldman You’ve seen them in Hewitt with their multicolored trays, eating the significantly better kosher brownies. You’ve watched them, perhaps in envy, with their yarmulkeladen male friends. You’ve seen them satirized on various blogs donning their infamous and ubiquitous denim skirts. Ah, but the presumed observant Jewish girl’s uniform of UGG boots and souvenir sweatshirts from a year abroad has more significance than what meets the naked eye. Religious Jewish girls must abide by fairly strict modesty guidelines

called tzinut (pronounced tz’nee-oot), which call for specific areas of the body to be covered—namely, everything that falls between the knee, collarbone, and elbow. The idea behind tzniut is that women must dress and present themselves in a modest and appropriate way to society in order to respect and portray moral values. Additionally, these modesty guidelines are meant to prevent any uncomfortable situations sexually, for the covered regions are what some might find stimulating. As anyone could attest to, the way one dresses affects one’s relationships, with one’s peers, professors, or even parents. Thus, Jewish law wants to make sure that women, and men, are taken seriously as moral and intellectual individuals. One observant Jewish girl paralleled tzinut to how one might dress to impress for an interview. A girl would never want a future employer to see her in barely-there clothes, because that kind of outfit does not exude the message that she is competent and hard working. One should dress to fit a part, whether it is professionally for a job, or modestly for society. Tzinut, however, is more than just about modesty and respect. There are very few sartorial pieces that demand positive attention like a tailored men’s inspired suit on a woman, something that is not allowed under this strict interpretation of Jewish law. These dress restrictions are also about creating a sense of community. Just like in other cultures, Jews want to be able to identify “their own.” In other words, the observance of tzinut is a strong bond that the Jewish girls on campus share and it lets them know right away who holds their same religious values. Even with the boundaries that set

Fashion them apart, girls still want to be stylish and look their best, which can prove to be challenging—especially in the spring and summer. As we all know, along with the warm weather always come higher hemlines, shorter sleeves, and generally smaller cuts—but this does not mean that these women cannot participate in the latest trends. Layering should be an observant girl’s best friend. Thin long sleeved shirts, tank tops, and cardigans allow girls to wear mainstream clothes while still keeping themselves covered. The Gap, J. Crew, and American Apparel have proven to be great strongholds of these basics. Also, layering with lightweight cropped jackets, vests, or summery scarves can make the layering look less awkward, if that is a concern. Sometimes, over-layering can get a little out of control. In that case, girls should stick to linen skirts, easily found at stores like Anthropologie or Free People, and thin blouse combinations. This does not mean that one still cannot be stylish. Look out for trends in prints or fabric. Plaid, floral prints, stripes and layering neutrals are all hot trends this summer that an observant Jewish girl could bring in to her wardrobe. Also, a religious Jewish girl’s greatest resource should be vintage shops. Back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, skirt lengths were a lot longer and the necklines a lot higher, making

these dresses perfectly proportioned for an observant girl. The one-of-a-kind charm of a vintage dress is merely a benefit! When all else fails, just accessorize. Wooden bangles, broaches, embellished headbands, belts, scarves, bags, and even nail polish—these are all things that are non-denominational in fashion, but pack a heavy style punch. Luckily, in high fashion, modest looks are making a comeback. Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2010 line is filled with turtleneck sweaters tucked into belted tea-length skirts. Additionally, Alexa Chung’s retroinspired collection for Madewell is host to adorable high necklines complete with bows and ruffles. For Spring/Summer 2010, Nannidoo came out with some lovely highcollared blouses that would undoubtedly look great with those ever-prevalent denim skirts. And here we are, back at the denim skirts, understandably popular for their versatility and comfort. I mean, how many of us secularists are guilty of wearing jeans seven days a week too? When asked about how she felt about the exorbitant number of similarly dressed girls hanging around the kosher section on campus, religiously devout Marisa Gruber (BC ‘12) replied, “That’s like saying how do I feel about how many hipsters or prepsters there are on campus.” Fair enough. HOOT |


Pioneers in Politics and Partying american women: fashioning a national identity at the costume institute by alexandra lotero One may be surprised to learn that the single largest costume collection in the world resides just 40 blocks downtown from campus at the Met. Just over one year ago, the 23,500 objects in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum were transferred to the Costume Institute at the Met, which now holds 31,000 costumes and accessories. Unfortunately, for budding fashion historians, the Institute has no permanent installation, because of the renovation of the 5,000-square-feet galleries. Luckily the spring exhibition, one of only two each year, opened on May 5th. The fashion pieces to be displayed in American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity are primarily taken from the new Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum. The galler-

ies follow the evolution of the American women’s fashion identity from the 1890s high-society “Heiress” to the 1930s celebrity “Screen Siren.” In between, the 1900s “Bohemian”, 1910s “Suffragist,” and 1920s “Flapper” are showcased. The galleries are fitted to recreate the setting where these costumes originally took center stage, including a 1930s cinema and a Louis Comfort Tiffany studio. Period music, and videos of period events will further immerse the visitor in each period as her or she walks through the galleries. The final room will include a documentary connecting the modern American ideal with the archetypes of the exhibition. The combination of styles the average woman could have worn and those available only to the rich and famous provide a picture of what the average woman wore and who her fashion role models could have been. The 1890s “Gibson Girl” archetype, characterized by fashion for outdoor exercise and activity like bathing, horseback riding, and cycling, the 1910s “Suffragist” fashion, and the 1920s “Flapper” pieces may be the most fascinating of the exhibition despite the grandeur of the “Heiress” and “Screen Siren” ball gowns, like the one designed by Travis Banton for Anna May Wong. It is the former styles that show the progress of social and political empowerment by women during the period of the exhibition. The modern identity of the independent American woman owes much to these earlier pioneers in politics, fashion, and partying. The Met also has a daily “Fashion in Art” guided tour, as well as an audio guide tour, “Costume: The Art of Dress,” narrated by fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker. The exhibition runs from May 5th to August 15th and admission is free with CUID.


The Guggenheim Turns 50 a celebration through time EARLY DRAFT IN RED MARBL E


CONTEMPLATING THE VOID; INTERVENTIONS IN THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM a creative presentation of a rich variety of imagined proposals made by approximately 200 artists, architects, and designers to fill the central organic void of the museum rotunda which opens until April 28.

by sharon wu

The story of the Guggenheim is hardly a reflection of its clean, smooth design now so at home on the Manhattan landscape. Given the commission in 1943 to create a new home for Solomon R. Guggenheim’s collection of nonobjective art, Frank Lloyd Wright persevered on a project which hit so many bumps that at times it seemed likely to be abandoned. After much head-butting with the museum director, revamping his design multiple times (fun fact: he initially wanted the building to be red), and enduring skeptic criticism, the fruits of Wright’s labor were finally realized on May 15, 1959, at the culmination of a long 16-year journey. Erected in the post-World War II era, Wright intended his design to be of the utmost modern style capable of accommodating a future where both automobiles and helicopters would be ubiquitous, but also durable, predicting that “When the first atomic bomb lands on New York, [the museum] will not be destroyed. It may be blown a few miles up into the air, but when it comes down, it will bounce!” Now in 2010, the Guggenheim remains a highly relevant image of contemporary innovation and has luckily not experienced any atomic bomb disturbances to test Wright’s whimsical theory. Sadly, Wright never got to see the grand reveal of his ambitious project; he died just six months before the opening of the Guggenheim. Nevertheless, the Guggenheim remains one of his most recognized works and a much-beloved member of Manhattan, a beacon of his signature independent style uniting form and function, nature and culture, simplicity and creativity. 50 years later after his death, Wright lives on. HOOT | 9

Accessories for the New Spring by anna cooperberg photographed by samuel draxler

Set 1: Rebecca Minkoff Auburn Morning After Mini Bag ($550), Shark-tooth charm. Botkier Dion Satchel ($475), Palmer Sandal ($225). Missoni Sequined clutch. Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Mini Pochette ($210); Louis Vuitton. Missoni Patent Lace-up bootie. Missoni Gold-heeled sandal. Kate Spade Grey Suede Wedge. Rachel Leigh Rocker Beau Wraps ($98 each). Verameat Best Shot Necklace ($78), Good Time Giraffe Necklace ($180), Scissorhand Necklace ($280), Duster ring ($210), Vampire Love Ring ($110), Dino Love Ring ($132).


Set 2: Emmett Mccarthy Woven Satchel. Alexander Wang coco Baby Duffel ($695). Chloe Small Paddington Bag ($1250). Missoni Vintage Leather Bag. Tod’s Suede clog. Botkier Paige Sandal ($425). Rachel Leigh Rocker Beau Wraps ($98 each), Rocker Beau Bangle Set ($88). Warby Parker colonel Monocle ($50). Verameat Killer Dive necklace ($210), Luckey Necklace ($48), Digital Love Necklace ($110), Octopus Eating Ship Necklace ($150), Hey Good Looking Ring ($36), Owl Ring ($70), Shooting Octopus Ring ($60), Spine Ring ($40). Vintage Lizard Ring, editor’s own.



To the Heart of Harlem you don’t need to head downtown for fun by allison malecha


olumbia students arrive in the big City yearning to explore art-gallery cool Chelsea or hipster-haven Brooklyn, but how many ever give Columbia’s neighbor to the north and east a thorough investigation? And taking a Sunday walk down 125th Street does not count. There are options available to experience Harlem through Columbia. “The Harlem Tour” during Orientation Week, for example. For those who missed that, though, there is always a way to explore Harlem. The Harlem Restoration Project, led by Catherine Blehart (BC ’12), is a Community Impact service club that gives Harlem kids and their Columbia mentors a chance to explore some of the cultural wonders of the city. Commenting on her reasons for getting involved with the project, Blehart says, “I felt like it was a waste for me to be at to school so close to the Harlem community and not interact with it.” Sadly, Blehart’s sentiment is rarely shared by fellow Columbians. “I would say that the typical Columbia student’s relationship with Harlem is restricted to C-Town and the liquor stores on the South side of 125th and Broadway.” It’s officially time to venture out. According to NYMag, East/Spanish Harlem constitutes the area east from 5th Avenue to 1st Avenue and north from East 96th Street to East 125th Street. Our nearer neighbor West Harlem stretches from 123rd to 155th streets between the Hudson River and St. Nicholas Avenue. Right in the heart of it all, that 125th Street Sunday stroll isn’t a bad place to start. First stop—the Apollo Theatre. James Morris, Director of the Harlem Historical Society, argues, “it was the most influential music venue on the planet from 1935-1975.” Not only was the Apollo a breeding ground for new modes


of music, from Ella Fitzgerald’s three-octave jazz vocalism to the Jackson 5’s family sensation, but it also lent new zest to fashion, dance, and music. “Famous white comedians would come up to the Apollo and steal jokes,” says Morris. The building itself is now a movie theater, but Morris hopes to revive its legacy on the sidewalks outside, with a veritable walk of fame. From James Brown to Billy Holiday, Morris “conservatively” estimates that such a walk would include at least 700 stars. “History is not pasteurized and homogenized but fully flavored,” says Morris. One of Morris’ favorite flavorful characters is Phillip Payton, Jr., who had the lightbulb idea at the turn of the century to sell all these stagnant developments built for whites to African Americans instead. A fortune was made and Harlem was born. One of Harlem’s later big-name addresses, Striver’s Row, was part of this original housing revolution. Built in 1891, this complex of brick townhouses intended for upper-middle class whites eventually housed African American greats like Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. 409 Edgecombe, and 555 Edgecombe, and Dunbar were the other glamorous addresses for the Harlem Renaissance elite. Dunbar is a mammoth 511-apartment complex built in 1926 and had W.E.B DuBois and A. Philip Randolph as tenants. Another address on the Harlem history map, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, is just blocks away. The Church’s original installation was built in 1808 by free African Americans and Ethiopian merchants and moved in 1923 to its current location, where Reverend HOOT |


Adam Clayton Powell kept the immense Gothic stone structure packed. For an even more striking architectural gem, head south to the First Corinthian Baptist Church. An arched and tiered façade in time-worn cerulean and ivory tile, the building is a prime example of the deconstructed beauty seen throughout Harlem. Its former identity as Regent Theater, a movie palace, further underlines the building’s faded glamour. After undue visual satiation, it’s time for satiation of another kind food. Make My Cake is an adorable bakery café done up in chocolate and baby pink. The Red Velvet Cupcake, topped with a generous swirl of cream cheese icing, gives Magnolias a run for its money quite literally, too, at $3 each. For a more substantial meal, head uptown to Charles’ Pan-Friend Chicken. Although recommending Southern fried chicken in Harlem may seem stereotypical, 151st Street locale simply fulfills every college kid’s food dream—two sizeable pieces of hearty meat for only $3.25. It’s fatty, juicy, and one hundred percent delicious. Good thing sweatpants, albeit tailored ones, are in for spring. Fashion is not lacking in Harlem, either. SWING Boutique, on 118th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, is vibrant little shop run by NYU alum Helena Greene. The acronym stands for “Signature fashion, Wonderland kids, Icon beauty, Nest interior, and Groove Culture.” While kidswear and “nest” furnishings might be a ways off for Columbians, students can definitely appreciate clothing offerings from the likes of Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester. History, architecture, food, fashion—Harlem has just as much of it to offer as the rest of the City. More so even. Blehart sums things up bluntly, “New York would not be the same without Harlem.” For those who take the time to find out, the Columbia experience is all the better for it, too.

RUNWAY Lisa Cant (GS ‘12) has been a model since age 14. Here she finds her a different kind of runway on the Lerner ramps.

The Model Student lisa cant juggles her time between the runway and the classroom


by donia abdelaziz alking towards a table in Lerner, supermodel Lisa Cant (GS ‘12) and I exchange advice about Economics professors as if the three minutes we’ve known each other were months of friendship. She was discovered at age 14 at an IKEA in her home country of Canada. “I was the shortest one in my class until I was about 13,” she reminisces. After spending a few years building her portfolio, Cant quickly became the buzz of the fashion industry, walking shows for brands including Chanel, Christian Dior, and Burberry, as well as becoming the face of Juicy Couture. Although the 5’9” brunette enjoys appearing in both runway shows and editorial spreads, she prefers the latter. “For a runway show, you spend hours preparing and then walk for 10 seconds,” she says, where-

as editorial is more interactive and fun. She is, however, grateful for runway because it allows for her to pursue her education. Away from the spotlight, Cant plans to study Economics, and raves about Professor Anna Caterina Musatti, claiming that she adds wonderful flair to her Principles of Economics class. Although she is reluctant to miss class for work, Cant admits that sometimes it is necessary. “[Modeling] is, after all, what pays for school,” she says. In between classes, the model likes to be surrounded by people. “If I’m in a library, I look around to see what other people are doing and I don’t accomplish anything, so I like to go to the lounge because it’s noisy and I can focus.” While Cant has both beauty and brains, she also has something even more invaluable: humility and graciousness. HOOT |



Professor Sarah Cole war, feminism, and fashion by noel duan After striding into Room 602 in Hamilton Hall, Professor Sarah Cole, Department of English and Comparative Literature, immediately sets out to begin the class discussion about Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. The students gape at her, not only because of the way her face brightens when she reads from the novel, but also because of her outfit. As a tenured professor who loves to teach about Virginia Woolf and war, a pair of highheel black boots and an asymmetrically-cut dress by Black Halo seems oddly appropriate. After all, nothing conveys confidence and girl power better than a great pair of heels and a little black dress. “I have had a subscription to Vogue since I was a freshman in college,” she remarks, “and I think of clothes as part of a larger aesthetic approach to the world, a chance to invite pretty, special things into one’s daily life. Teaching is a particularly clothing-friendly profession, since there is such range.” For example, Cole never wears blazers or suits to class, but she would not wear jeans either. “I love dresses, would wear one every single day if I could.”

Cole is also a published author; she is finishing up her second book on violence and literature in the early 20th century. In her academic pursuits, she focuses mainly on British literature and the culture of the first half of the 20th century—an interest she has maintained passionately since her arrival at Columbia. “I feel privileged to be part of the faculty here; my colleagues are inspirational as scholars, teachers, and members of the profession; plus they are nice people,” she remarks. When Cole arrived here 10 years ago, “heels were very thin.” She ended up ruining a pair of sling-back pumps on the cobblestones. “Fortunately, those days are over, heels have been thicker for a good half decade at least, and so all is well on campus,” she rejoices. In response to Hoot’s inquiry to feature her, she states, “I am flattered to have been identified as someone who cares about clothes on campus, but would also emphasize how many fashionable faculty members there are at Columbia.” Duly noted by us.

Designed byDustin


Alex Sullivan, Chelsea Cozen, Louisa Harstad model clothes designed by Dustin Martin. Styling by Kavitha Surana & Michelle Levbarg-Klein Make-up by Jina Lim & Sharon Shum Photography by Jeffrey Zhang



I wanted the brand to be a voice for my people who have always been underrepresented in mainstream culture.

Dressing for New York ethnic meets urban meets ivy – a columbia student turns style into a mouthpiece for culture by kavitha surana


t is an unlikely fusion: Native American ruggedness mixed with downtown New York swag. Yet, creating this eyecatching combination is precisely what Dustin Martin, (CC ’11), sets out to do with his budding clothing line S.O.L.O (Sovereign Original Land Owners). His first attempt at a line features citywearable clothing sprinkled with Native American details inspired by growing up in a reservation town. Zippers transform into the mouths of ravens, arrowhead prints adorn sweatshirts, and a lone horseman poised with bow and arrow splashes off almost every item. It’s urban, ethnic, funky—and comes complete with a Columbia-style message. An Anthropology major in his third year, Martin’s interest in studying culture

and his close identification with his Navajo heritage feed into his artistic design and vision. Sometimes frustrated with the inaccessibility of his scholarly studies in academia to a wider audience, he seeks to use fashion and media to do something proactive for his Native community. “So much of the brand is intellectual,” says Martin, “I want it to be a dialogue about articulating culture and design in a way that people have to look at a second time. I’m not trying to preach, but I want there to be some learning involved.” Hence the idea for his main brand logo: a Native archer on a horse. At first glance, the design looks deceptively like the ubiquitous Ralph Lauren jockey horse. “I had the idea that I wanted the brand to be a voice for my people who have always


been underrepresented in mainstream culture,” he explains, “I wanted it to fit into pop culture somehow—it had to be a little ironic.” Through S.O.L.O, Martin hopes to one day advertise to the world that Native people and heritage is contemporarily relevant, and in the same vein, a heritage to be proud of. In its debut the line is playful and Martin hopes to continue this melding of different inspirations. Martin’s process in designing is a unique collaboration between varieties of sources. He uses clothes from thrift stores as his basis and then reworks them, adding original prints and touches inspired from Navajo artwork. One day he plans to learn how to make his own clothes from scratch, but for the time being, shopping in thrift stores allows a variety of sources to

influence the creativity of his designs. Though its still in its incubation stage, Martin envisions his clothing line as a potential forum to connect discourses that do not usually relate: Native American Heritage finds common ground with mass media and the Ivory Tower. “I’m at the pinnacle of academia at Columbia, and the epicenter of the fashion world in New York,” he says, “If I can get those two opinions to interact with Native culture in a productive way, I’ll have succeeded.” Martin plans to one day give back monetarily to the Native American design and heritage that gave him inspiration in the first place. For now, he’s off to an admirable start in directing his ideas and talents toward a fashion-forward and culturally engaging line of clothing. HOOT |



Colors of

Spring photographed by tina gao styled by michele levbarg-klein make-up by sharon shum ADAM dress from Cream NY (212 - 585 - 0200). HOOT |


SPRINGTIME let’s shed our winter layers, throw on playful prints, and try out bold colors


What Goes AroundComes Around dress; Cream NY (212-585-0200)



(above left) ADAM dress; Cream NY (212-585-0200). (above right) Milly dress, T-Bags jacket, Louis Vuitton backpack. (opposite left) Dress; Cream NY. Vintage Missoni bag.



Lost Land: The Garment District in the face of extinction, the west-side district stands its ground by anna cooperberg


he Garment District, centered around 27th Street and Seventh Avenue- aptly named Fashion Avenue in this area- is bustling. Like so many other districts in New York, there’s an easily identifiable set of “the usual characters.” Instead of the hipsters of Greenwich Village, there are sharply suited men speaking in rapid-fire Italian on their smart phones, fashion students comparing fabric samples and more than one fashionista with sunglasses reaching lower than her cheekbone. And rather than the sleepdeprived Columbia student of Morningside Heights, there is the Marc Jacobs flats-wearing intern saddled with garment bags galore. Despite the glamorous bubble surrounding the fashion industry, the district it inhabits is racked with problems. The move to fabric production overseas where labor is cheaper has hurt the economy in the district, where many of the small specialty stores are familyowned and have been for decades. Furthermore, the rising cost of real estate in the area is slowly forcing many to close shop and reducing the individuality of the district. The organization Save the Garment Center is devoted to preserving the district; they won’t let the home of Fashion Avenue, the first center of the United States’ garment industry, become just another commercial city district. Designer Nanette Lepore is one supporter. In addition to participating in a rally held in the district last October, she ensures that most of her clothing is produced in the center. “Eighty percent of my products are made in America in a 10 block radius from my office in

Features New York City’s Garment Center… I treasure being able to watch my product develop from a roll of fabric into a beautiful garment hanging in a shop.” Lepore writes in an article for The Huffington Post. “That garment was designed in my studio on 35th street, the pattern digitized on 38th street, then passed to a cutter around the corner, then bins of cut work trundled to a factory on 39th street, to then be sewn together.” It’s this local process, used by many independent designers in the city, that will cease to exist if the district doesn’t get financial help from the city. As of now, that help seems unlikely. The district’s zoning laws that protect apparel businesses are currently being eased in order to allow more offices to fill the prime midtown real estate. But why should we, Columbia students who mostly inhabit Morningside Heights and its environs, care about this district that is two subways and 11 local stops away? After all, in a brief and informal poll on College Walk, only 4 out of the 15 students asked had ever visited the center, and only 7 had even heard of it. Perhaps they were freshmen, still new to the city? Perhaps, but the fact is that the district is very much its own niche, accessible only to the fashion obsessed and those who work in the industry.

As Bill Thompson, New York City comptroller, has said, “New York’s reputation as a global fashion capital is under threat.” In the fashion industry, the issue of the Garment District is so pressing, affecting a group of specialized storeowners who have been here for generations. “The rent is going up, so I don’t know if we can last long. And I work here with my son. I want his son to be able to work here too,” says an elderly man who owns a button store in the district and who declined to be named for the article. The problem is as much ours as theirs. By purchasing clothes massproduced overseas, we fail to support American designers and those in their line of production who are, metaphorically speaking, right in Columbia’s backyard. Fashion is so often dismissed as trivial, but it’s the lifelong work of a group of people dedicated to clothing America in a chic manner. So next time you’re procrastinating on a spring afternoon, take a trip down to the struggling Garment District and see it for yourself. You don’t have to buy fabric, sequins, or pom-poms, but you can see where the bulk of true American fashion in designed and made. Plus, check out the plethora of killer shoe and jewelry stores in the area while you’re at it. Then, you can proudly wear your wares and know where they were made. HOOT |


photography by jeffrey zhang styled by jina lim make-up by sharon shum model megan armstrong

Pop Art

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The summer essential! A tinted SPF moisturizer is the best way for a natural coverage and sun protection. Patricia Wexler M.D. Daily Defense Anti-Oxidant Tinted Moisturizer;

For portable feel-good scents, try a solid perfume. The lightweight cases fit right in the tiniest beach bags. Soap&Paper Factory Lavender Solid Perfume;

Did you know that the UV rays of the sun stimulates the oil glands in the skin to produce more oil? The excessive oil and sebum can lead to acne breakouts. Opt for a concealer perfect for the hot summer; this cooling stick brings down the temperature of the skin temporarily. Very Cool! Sephora Cooling Cover Stick; sephora. com.

K Bensimon elly Killoren from modeling to

to tv stardom

by noel duan photographed by jeffrey zhang


sk her to describe herself in one word, and Kelly Killoren Bensimon (GS ’98) would probably say, “crazy.” As one of the current stars of Bravo’s hit reality show, “The Real Housewives of New York,” Bensimon is known for the catfight antics, excessive drama, and melodramatic dialogue on the show—but she is not ashamed of it. Instead, she capitalizes on the publicity and creates a brand out of her own name. Indeed, she is outspoken, occasionally loud, and very opinionated, but she is also something uncommon in the land of Tinseltown: blunt and honest. Her Manhattan apartment, with two rooms filled with dolls (for her two daughters) and an immaculate kitchen, looks like the perfect habitation for a perfect “Housewife”—but Bensimon is not afraid to admit her weaknesses as a mother. “I don’t [balance my time between work and family]. [laughs] I’m crazy all the time. I’m the most guiltridden person. I never have enough time to be with my kids. I never pick them up enough, I never get to be there enough for them,” she says. According to Bensimon, her daughters would rather have her work a normal 9 to 5 job instead of the constant photoshoots, episode tapings, and publicity events that she must attend. While she is a television star nowadays, Bensimon was once a Columbia student studying creative writing and literature. She originally attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, but was forced to leave school in order to pursue her modeling career. “It was a lot for me. I was taking the 4:26 a.m. train. […] Handling the two…I mean, I wasn’t handling the two. I was exhausted, I wasn’t doing well either,” she admits. Her father urged her to continue pursuing

Features styled by noel duan, michele levbarg-klein, jina lim assisted by sharon shum hair bradley irion make-up quinn murphy BUSINESSWOMAN

Dress, blazer, and earrings; Kelly’s own.




Dress and necklace; Kelly’s own.




Milly jeweled top. LaROK shorts; Cream NY (212-5850200).Watch,necklace,and bracelet; Kelly’s own.

her modeling career, with the promise that she would return back to school at age 25. “Your career’s going to be over in 3 years,” he had said. “Well, I’m 41 years old and I’m still modeling,” Bensimon laughs. After a few years of modeling, she applied to and attended the School of General Studies where she said she found herself, “sitting with the most brilliant student body and […] actually being able to learn from them.” Bensimon continued to model while she was in school, and remembered scoffing at her fellow model friends: “You guys think you got it bad? I’ve got like, 9 papers—and you’re complaining about standing there in high-heels.” Consequently, she learned to manage her time and finish papers early because she was always traveling for work in order to make money and retire at a young age. At Columbia, she learned, “If someone’s

going to say no, then someone else is going to say yes. And you just have to be ready for it.” With her favorite instructor, Professor Alan Ziegler of the Creative Writing Program, she started a charity project called “Get Your Jeans Off.” She gave a pair of jeans to world-renowned artist Julian Schnabel and asked him to make it into a piece of art. Along with similar contributions from the likes of Yoko Ono and Michael Jordan, Bensimon was able to raise a great amount of money for Hale House, a Harlem charity for housing abandoned babies. “A lot of people don’t know that about me because it’s not my job to exploit charities. It’s my job to support them,” she states. After graduation, Bensimon made several successful endeavors in the publishing industry. Her first book, “American Style,” published by Assouline, sought to celebrate Americans as the “ultimate synthesizers.” She then became

Cover Story


Columbia University v-neck sweater; Columbia University Bookstore (212-854-4131). Leggings,watches,bracelet,and boat shoes; Kelly’s own.

the founding editor of ELLE Accessories magazine and published two more books, “The Bikini Book” and “In the Spirit of the Hamptons.” Additionally, she founded Gotham magazine with three other editors. “To this day, I would love to edit magazines again,” she says. She also started her own jewelry line, self-titled “Kelly Killoren Bensimon,” which is influenced by Native American motifs and vintage charms. Many of the pieces are bedazzled with Swarovski crystals—a touch of luxury for every occasion. Her original line was sold on the Home Shopping Network, but she is launching a new collection, which consists of some pieces sold to raise money for charity. In spite of the multitude of projects that keep her occupied, Bensimon claims to not be a socialite. “It’s not something that someone should aspire to be,” she says. However, she admits to taking advantage

of the publicity—good or bad—in order to advance her own endeavors. “The more you attack me, the bigger my name gets, and the more philanthropic I can be, and the more product I can create,” she states, “I’m building a business and creating a future that’s going to be great for my kids and hopefully inspire my girls to better people.” Looking towards the future, Bensimon sees herself the same as she is right now— true to herself, but with older daughters. “I hope Columbia students live in the moment, and that they aren’t swayed by outside expectations. You can expect things to be a certain way, but they probably won’t be.” she says. If there was one thing we can all take from the melodramatic experience of watching “The Real Housewives of New York City,” it would be to spend our time focusing on positivity, no matter what the tabloids—or anonymous posters on—say. HOOT |


Dan Trepanier the style blogger by martin hamery

trica’s Bes e m A “ ’s e ” Esquir n of 2009 a M d e s s e Dr


sat down with Dan in some leather chairs in a quiet corner of Lerner Hall’s piano lounge. The gloves tucked into the breast pocket of his navy blue jacket gave him a flare of vintage elegance, a look that was made more casual by his blue jeans and bead bracelets. Dan Trepanier graduated from Columbia College last spring with I honestly think the an A.B. in Psychology. Raised on t-shirt was the downfall a farm in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he was recruited by Columof men’s fashion. bia to play basketball. So where does the notion of style come into all this? For starters, in his senior year, Esquire named him “America’s Best Dressed Real Man of 2009” after he beat over 1000 contestants in the magazine’s online competition. Aside from the title, he won “$5000 at Kenneth Cole and $5000 at


I always enjoyed seeing Ivy League styles... you still kind of see those roots every now and then. Ralph Lauren to spend.” When asked about the style scene at Columbia, Trepanier said, “I always enjoyed seeing Ivy League styles: old school prep, the tweed jackets and the bow ties. You still kind of see those roots every now and then.” As he described to me the different pieces of clothing he had observed on campus, it was apparent that he truly appreciated details. This was only understandable coming from someone whose inspiration is the Gatsby Era of the Roaring ‘20s. “I honestly think the t-shirt was the downfall of men’s fashion,” he commented on men’s dress codes of the early 20th century,“It made everything so easy, and you didn’t have to think anymore.” Aside from Robert Redford’s wardrobe in Jack Clayton’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby (as mentioned in his Esquire interview), Trepanier said that his mother also played an important role in fostering his interest in style. “My mother had to make her own clothes. She would go to a thrift store, buy a big wool jacket and use the fabric to make a pair of pants for the winter, and then cut it into a skirt for the summer. By having to put together things her own way, she developed her own style and that has certainly rubbed off on me.” After a summer of backpacking in Europe, Trepanier returned to New York to be an assistant buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. He admitted to envisioning his own men’s

clothing line one day: “It wouldn’t be the crazy runway, over the top type of clothes. It would be more like the Billy Reid look: the American-man look that a lot of people can identify with. It would definitely have some European influences with a lot of classic fabrics like tweed and herringbone. It would be preppy with an urban twist.” Trepanier’s latest fashion project can be found on his blog at www.thestyleblogger. com. The blog started out as a place where he could answer questions and give tips to his males friends about dressing. “I don’t want people to think I know what’s right or wrong. It’s really just my opinion,” he said. Back when he lived in the Kappa Delta Rho frat house, before going out for the evening, his friends would ask him what to wear and how to put their outfits together. On March 7, 2010, “The Style Blogger” has just celebrated its one-year anniversary. During Trepanier’s time at Columbia, he didn’t study fashion or have any fashion-related internships. Instead, he worked on Wall Street at Citigroup. Nevertheless, his passion for style helped him break into the fashion industry, regardless of his college career as a basketball player and a Psychology major. It’s definitely comforting to know that the choices made at Columbia are not for life; anything can happen after. As Trepanier has shown, it can be rewarding to take a complete new direction from an area studied for years in college. HOOT | 35

Noko Jeans: A Denim Revolution The mission of three Swedish businessmen to open the doors to by aisling hunt North Korea


hile revolution succeeded in provoking the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, the Swedish denim company, Noko Jeans has begun to chip away at the foundation of North Korean isolation through the manufacturing of iconic Western fashion. Founded by three young Swedish fellows, Tor Rauden Küllstigen, Jacob Åström, and Jakob Ohlsson, Noko Jeans’ manufacturing jean productions are located in North Korea’s Captial, Pyongyang. Closed to the rest of the world since the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1948 and a focal point of President George Bush Jr.’s notorious “Axis of Evil,” Noko Jean’s ability to successfully collaborate with North

Korea is something of a miracle. The company began when the founders discovered a new link for business on the official website of the Peoples Republic of North Korea, an openness that Küllstigen can only accurately describe as, “mind boggling.” Listed on the new website were items that North Korea was interesting in exporting, not necessarily because they were items that they had the means to make, but things that “Korea thought the rest of the world was interested in buying from them,” explains Tor. Denim just so happened to be amongst the list of trucks, sea cucumber, and timber wood. Although communication with the Red nation began via a simple modern

Features email to a North Korean business rep- with this for two-and-a-half years to make resentative, the rest of the road was not the jeans.” He explains with an admirable quite so easy. Their initial request to form honesty that after having gotten to know a trade relationship with North Korea the people in North Korea, “it was an eyewas quickly denied by the government. opener to see that people actually lived inIt took 6 months of research and contact- side the country when you come so close to ing the right people before Küllstigen, the country.” Åström, and Ohlsson made their first trip The true goals behind the creation of to Pyongyang. Noko Jeans was to seize the small offerKüllstigen was concerned that their ing of openness that North Korea had disage would be a hindrance, so they brought played, in hopes of inspiring future trade. along, “an age alibi: Jacob’s father, who is a Even more so, Noko’s greatest responsibdentist.” But, says Tor, the Korean govern- lilty has been to the people of North Korea. ment, “didn’t care about age at all. They Before production could begin, Küllstigen, were happy that someone wanted to make Åström, and Ohlsson outlined a detailed business with them at all [and] they feel code of conduct to ensure that the workers hope for the young peoreceived humane treatple to take over.” ment and oversaw the With the green light It was an eye-opener to production process. Tor to go ahead, the trio of that their workshop see that people actually hopes businessmen sought out may serve as an example lived in the country. designer Julia Hederus for other factories in the to commandeer the decountry so that conditions sign aspect of production. may improve on a larger Two and half years after their initial conscale. Although their company is far from tact with the People’s Republic, their first being profitable, the founders hope to give line of denim, entitled Manuevers in the a majority of the proceeds to “the people Dark, was born. Küllstigen explains that who need it the most.” They are working the jeans represent the first chapter of their with NGOs and the UN to devise a way to mission in North Korea, symbolizing both give the money back to the people, rather the realist darkness of the nation’s capital, that to the military or government officials. and the figurative darkness of an isolated For this denim company, the message is country. much les about the fashion than it is about Some have questioned the intention the political and social implications of the of Noko Jeans to use their investment in line. As for their next step? “To decide what North Korea as a means of self-promotthe next step is,” Küllstigen says. They are ing propaganda. “If we wanted to make focusing on selling the rest of the 1100 pairs a good PR stunt,” Küllstigen says, “we of jeans so they can begin to move forward should have just stopped working with in their plans to help the people of North this project after one week, because if we Korea. “The pants were the first chapter,” just wanted to make a big shout to the rest says Tor, “hope fully we will see many more of the world, we shouldn’t have worked to come. HOOT |


Foreign Fashion sh

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student trends from abroad by allison malecha

Carla Vass (BC ’11) New York Transit Museum cosmetic clutch ($17)

BDG boyfriend short ($48)

Study Abroad Program: Direct En-

rollment at University of Edinburgh Major: English Style notes: “In Edinburgh my beloved pants and sweatshirts are a big no-no, I’ll go to class in my leggings and a sweatshirt to go to the gym after and people will say ‘you’re so brave to come out in public like this.’” Beacon’s Closet vintage Frye bootie ($24.95)

Beacon’s Closet vintage plaid shirt ($12.95)

Kavitha Surana (CC ’11) Study Abroad Program: Brown in

Bologna at the University of Bologna Major: History & Psychology Style notes: “While Italians are known for their fashion industry, it doesn’t mean that students are wearing high fashion styles every day.

DV Dolce Vita “lulua” sandal ($98)



Fad Ag uy f Fien seas rien d o d all t n ther told me he g e is th ir a he s aid ls follo “color at every it w as p w. Mos fashion t urpl ” Hunter Dixon e an recentl “Reade” Dress y d bl ack . American Apparel crescent pattern fishnet ($25)




lian Girl Bea s we ch B a like r they their h abe had air ve n’t w ry m five day ashed i essy s! t in

MinkPink “Poinsettia” top ($48)

Danielle DiFilipo (BC ’10) Study Abroad Program: Direct En-

Deena & Ozzy Scallop Lace Skimmer ($38)

Uniqlo boyfriend straight jeans ($39.50)

rollment at University of Melbourne Major: Psychology Style notes: “The one thing that I picked up that I’ve never seen here is going barefoot, going barefoot everywhere – it’s a lot cleaner there.”


Lindsay Weaver (CC ’10)

Study Abroad Program: Vanderbilt-in-

France in Aix-en-Provence Major: Art History Style notes: “The kids our age are super super chic, so it was a little intimidating. Basically I just felt underdressed all the time, but I’m trying to borrow that French ‘Je ne sais quoi!’” H&M peach heel ($24.95)

hic C e ais ng Franç mixi

f aid o we have r f a ’t aren the way earing y e h w s T utral es with gether. e n o u up r iss wn t majo and bro k Hunter Dixon “ blac Dakota” camel shorts

American Apparel bodysuit ($36) Cynthia Rowley Diana Handbag ($225)



Foot in the Door how to get a fashion internship


by noel duan

n recent years, movies such as “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The September Issue” and television shows such as “Ugly Betty,” “Running in Heels,” “Project Runway,” and “Kell on Earth” have both glamorized and unfolded the reality of working in the fashion industry. Little girls no longer dream of becoming models on the cover of magazines; instead, they dream of becoming the people behind the pages—editors, stylists, and designers. It is fairly easy for students here to get a fashion internship. Being in New York City, one of the world’s fashion capitals, offers an innumerable amount of opportunities to get one’s foot in the door, after all. Still, it may be intimidating to apply to for an internship when one has never worked in fashion before. As a former Seventeen magazine fashion intern back in high school and a current fashion intern at Town & Country magazine, I hope the following tips will encourage students to apply for their first fashion internship:


Write a personalized cover letter to every single employer. If the resume won’t seal the deal, make sure the cover letter is sincere. Relate to the company and be enthusiastic. Check for spelling errors and grammar mistakes—interns need to be detail-oriented.

2 3

For students without any experience in the fashion industry, resumes should include work experience, leadership experience, volunteer experience, special skills, interests, and awards!


Check,, and craigslist for new internship postings everyday. Don’t wait to apply—one never knows when the position will be filled, after all! Even though it’s important to check these websites frequently, one should never rely on them. Visit Columbia University’s Center for Career Education and Barnard College’s Office of Career Development for more resources. Additionally, never


be afraid to directly email editors, public relations departments, human resource departments, and assistants to inquire about internships. The majority of internships are never posted online.


Don’t be afraid of starting small, such as writing clips for free. This will build your portfolio and resume, and look impressive to potential bosses who want to see that you have initiative!


Always write a thank you email right after your interview. These editors and assistants are taking time out of their busy day for a prospective candidate like you. Usually, fashion internships are unpaid, but always keep your eyes open for a paid internship. However, make sure you’re not performing illegal free labor— the government is cracking down on these practices. Luckily, you can receive R credit for the internships that require academic credit. Never say never! You have to start somewhere—and the people looking at your resume know that. Keep your hopes up, apply to many places, and always treat your internship as a privilege While it seems like everyone wants a fashion internship, you can stay ahead of the game. Good luck!

Photo Credit: Maissa




Spring/Summer Trends for Less

by sharon wu & helen chen

Christian Dior

H&M $19.95

geriel n i L e& p coo

American Apparel $45.00

Lac flirty and kieces, nude look ight fabr heers l with s & soft s r colo

American Apparel $38.00

American Apparel $15.00

H&M $34.90

Shirt; Banana Republic $69.50

American Eagle $39.95

Mango $79.90 Vest; H&M $24.90


ic Athlealtwith looseup

u it cas ten it keep esh; brigh eon m fn fits & splashes o h wit

nim D&G

American Apparel $10.00

Top; American Apparel $26.00

Alexander Wang

on De

nothin blues g says the sum lik mixin e denim; h mer g colo a rs & w ve fun ashes

American Apparel $32.00

American Apparel $42.00 Uniqlo $29.50

Uniqlo $39.50

26 Runway photos from






Sponsored in part by the Arts Initiative at Columbia University. This funding is made possible through a generous gift from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

Hoot Magazine: Spring/Summer 2010  

The premiere issue of the fashion magazine founded by Columbia University students.

Hoot Magazine: Spring/Summer 2010  

The premiere issue of the fashion magazine founded by Columbia University students.