letter from the editor When we first conceived “ability to be” as the theme for this issue, I had no idea how relevant this concept would become a few months later. It seems like ability, personal authenticity, and the right to exist in certain spaces has defined the final months of 2016, culminating in the election of Donald Trump and the re-routing of the Dakota Access Pipeline.These two events are entirely different, championed by different ends of social and political spectrums, but stand for an overall desire to “be”. I came up with this phrase after reading “A Seat with Us: A Conversation Between Solange Knowles, Mrs. Tina Lawson, & Judnick Mayard” published on Saint Heron in September, but the idea first emerged over the summer. Sloane, Hoot’s Fashion Director, and I were discussing the silence of the fashion community about Black Lives Matter after the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in July. We noticed that our Instagram feeds, both overwhelmed by fashion editors, publications, designers, etc., were largely devoid of the issue. On social media, model Hari Nef (CC ‘15) called this out, noting how so many industry figures immediately sprang up in support of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting but barely any of those people, who so eagerly posted images of rainbow flags and other symbols of support for Orlando, boldly and similarly backed Black Lives Matter. Sloane and I tried to unpack this, considering how a largely white industry can better address and increase awareness of issues impacting people of color. Hoot is a small-scale college fashion magazine, but I think it would be dishonest to the sentiments of the editorial board, and the student community that we aim to serve, if we stay silent on matters of belonging and empowerment. We try to use our platforms— the magazine, blog, and social media— as spaces for students to discourse on justice. Addressing the “ability to be” in fashion shoots is not an easy thing, and we struggled with making sure that each shoot was equally visually beautiful and conceptually relevant. In the end, I am proud of how we were able to represent the relationship between gender, sexuality, race, mental illness and being. On another note, thank you to Harper’s Bazaar for naming Hoot one of “the rising feminist magazines you need to start reading.” We are thrilled to be part of the digital feminist media movement. Another huge thank you and round of applause for the Hoot editorial board who produced our first edition of Holler this semester, a new mini-mag companion to Hoot that we will release at the midpoint of each semester. Enjoy and see you in 2017!