Winter 2018 / The University of Chicago
CO-EDITORS-IN-CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR WRITING EDITORS VISUAL DESIGN EDITOR STYLING EDITORS BEAUTY EDITOR
Lauren Han & Maya Rodriguez Daniel Chae Olivia Jia & Krishna Mukkavilli Jen McIntosh Stefan Tesliuc & Jena Yang Saylor Soinski
ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
ASSISTANT WRITING EDITOR
ASSISTANT VISUAL DESIGN EDITORS ASSISTANT STYLING EDITORS
Angela Liu & Marie Parra Carla Abreu & Cecilia Sheppard
ASSISTANT BEAUTY EDITOR
WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS
Janet Gao, Olivia Jia, Louis Levin, Andrea Li, Cathy Nie, Jen Teng & Melanie Wang
2 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Fatima Khan Kelsey Brown, Isabel Getz, Rosemarie Ho, Dhruv Maheshwari, Rafael Palomino, Ella Parker, Alex Peltz, Kathryn Seidewitz, Storm Taft & Zachary Williams
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS In its truest form, fashion is a mode of self-expression and experimentation. Our personal changes are reflected in all our vocal, artistic, and sartorial decisions. Because of this, we try to capture all we wish we can discuss and present in the evolving fashion world and greater society at large. This issue comes to you with this concept in mind, reflected in all elements presented in this magazine. We discuss in the features section the state of fashion and expression that we are in, a position of flux on the brink of a defining moment. Andrea Li examines the shifting notions of tattoo culture within our contemporary society and Cathy Nie discusses the history of male fashion aesthetics and the significance of its past. Jennifer Teng and Louis Levin debate the pros and cons that the impact of branding is having on advertising and its greater meaning for current and future trends. Janet Gao speaks on some atypical fashion icons, reminding us that who and what influences comes in places we least expect it and how this is leading these new icons to inspire us now. Our shoots teams present three pieces that reflect personal interpretations of the fashion environment. “Monochrome Autumn” uses timeless silhouettes and staple pieces to remind us that the cornerstones of fashion never go out of style. “Inked” uses inspiration from individuals’ tattoos to highlight and reflect their personal importance. “Meanwhile…” takes its vision from the iconic culture work “Twin Peaks” and puts a contemporary spin to it so that we see the effect it had on runway giants like Maison Mariela, Raf Simons, Marchesa, and Balenciaga. We would like to also give a great Thank You to Florodora, Luxury Garage Sale and Kameron Casey at RSVP Gallery for lending us pieces that made the shoots successful. We hope that this issue showcases the promise of this current state of the fashion world from the perspective of our magazine contributors. In the grand scheme, it is hard to define where we stand in this shifting environment since it is ever changing and we appreciate those are able to articulate this in multiple ways for this magazine. Giving the freedom of expression through the outlet of fashion is what we always strive for and we are optimistic that we will continue to give this to those who wish to be part of this. With gratitude, Lauren Han and Maya Rodriguez
4 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
2 to 3
WANTED: Clarity & Equality
The History of Male Fashion Aesthetics
Sustaining the Push for Sustainability
A Defense of Brand Culture
Atypical Fashion Icons
The Changing Connotations of Body Art within Contemporary Society BY ANDREA LI Photo: Bustle.com
6 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
hould I get a tattoo?” This is a question we hear often. Once a relative rarity, tattoos are now commonplace within society. For the most part, tattoo culture has always been a quiet phenomenon until it exploded onto our radars in the past couple of years. Whether it’s a drunken decision or a deliberate one, tattoos are seen everywhere around us. Historically, tattoos have represented belonging, whether by symbolizing unity or status through distinct symbols, patterns and placement, such as Native American tribal tattoos, which connote ranking. Tattoos have some interesting past connotations as well. For women in particular, having markings on one’s skin made them appear more promiscuous in the eyes of some cultures. Despite this, tattoos have slowly evolved to become part of mainstream culture, with the various meanings attributed to them changing in the process as well. In Western culture, tattoos increased in popularity with the growth of biker culture in the 1960s. Eventually, this led to an increase in people getting tattoos to signify being a part of some movement, particularly as tattoos began to be seen a powerful form of self-expression. Today, people typically get tattoos because they are perceived as cool, or because it signifies something important to them. Tattoos have become a symbol of expression; a way for people to create and share art on their own bodies or on other people’s bodies. Instead of signifying
belonging or membership to a particular group, tattoos have shifted over time to become more associated with individuality and personal style. Tattoos also come in different forms than the typical ink. Henna tattoos are extremely popular in Western culture as a trendy temporary tattoo, but in India and ancient Egypt, people use henna tattoos for religious purposes, wedding ceremonies, or merely for fun. The different designs for henna tattoos are believed to bring luck to brides or families depending on the occasion. Henna has become a popular temporary tattoo option as well, showing up at London Fashion Week a couple years back as part of a designer collection. Those who are not part of a culture in which henna is an important everyday component of their lives and cultural heritage, however, are often ignorant of the significant meanings and symbolism associated with the art. Tattoos were a major focus at the Met Gala in 2015 where Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy, a notable celebrity tattoo artist, decorated Cara Delevingne’s body with painted on tattoos. It was a new take on tattoos in the fashion world—while many fashion icons already have tattoos on their bodies, they are often in more indiscriminate locations. Rarely have temporary tattoos been on such full display in the realm of celebrity and style. Bang Bang, famous for giving elaborate tattoos to celebrities in unconventional places and times, created a Japanese floral-inspired temporary tattoo across
Delevingne’s entire body as part of a central statement in her Met Gala look, elevating the art of tattooing within the realm of fashion in the process. Tattoos have never been as versatile as they are now. There are no limitations to the style, or type of tattoo one can get. Whether that’s a traditional black ink tattoo, an out of the box white ink one, or a classic henna design, tattoos have become mainstream and part of our everyday lives. While tattoos have almost always functioned as a means of paying homage to someone or something, or denoting membership or status within a specific group, it has evolved within contemporary cultures to become an important medium for self-expression and individuality as well.
“tattoos have shifted over time to become more associated with
BRANDING By Jen Teng
Photo from WM Wordpress
he millennial and Gen Z population is undoubtedly unique, expressing an innate necessity to show individuality while also adhering to the rules of the status quo. The international explosion of social media has positioned these two conflicting ideals in visible juxtaposition. Yet, millennials have skillfully molded these starkly different ideas to coexist, particularly through the movement personal “brand” creation. This concept that every individual possesses their own platform for self-promotion has changed the face of fashion. Some feel this mandates the need to buy into the most current, fleeting trends in order to stay relevant. In turn, others believe the reverse and intentionally rebuff what is in vogue. Thus, the very concept of branding has evolved to fill a symbolic and psychological role instead of a source of
8 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Photo from Daily Mail
Photo from Vogue
stylistic identity. Name brands first rose to prominence due to unmatched quality and a relatable aesthetic. However, with the reimagining of what a brand should stand for, the names of luxury clothing companies have “The very become synonymous with conspicuous consumption. This innate necessity to concept of branding signal success has real-world and farreaching implications. In attempt to has remain prominent forces in the evolved...” industry, designer fashion labels have begun to buy into this trend. The legacy fashion houses (including Gucci, Chanel, and Burberry) have struggled with promoting their brand to the whirlwind that is Gen Z. Unlike previous generations, millennials do not stick
to a brand. Instead, a constantly evolving style leads to a jump from trend to trend. Nowhere is this more clearly exemplified than in the wax and wane of company revenues, as brands trend from “in” to “out.” According to Bloomberg, Gucci’s revenue has recently skyrocketed, rising 21% in the fourth quarter (nearly twice as fast as predicted by analysts). The simple reason: Gucci is “cool” again. The fact that a designer brand’s popularity can skyrocket overnight clearly demonstrates how a name can be tied to a symbolic ideal of success. These large fashion houses have been able to remain on trend by constantly evolving and adapting market strategies. Originally, companies relied on the reputation of the brand and print advertisements. However, focus has since been shifted to advertising on social media and celebrity marketing. These strategies clearly paid off, as they once again are prevalent on the global market. But is this resurgence due to a genuine connection to the brand or advertised glamour? The fact that brands, ranging from Neutrogena to Burberry, are employing celebrities to promote their products demonstrates the success of this strategy. Furthermore, the popularization of celebrity owned lines, such as Kylie Jenner’s lip kits and Kanye West’s Yeezys, displays the fact that people are buying into this thought process. Though conspicuous consumption may be a theory, its results are very real. A study by Nelissen and Mejiers
in 2011 highlighted that wearing name brands is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Through multiple social-dilemma games, it was proven that individuals who wore visible logos or crests were perceived to be more approachable and trustworthy. In one experiment, participants were asked their perception of individuals wearing a normal polo versus a name brand polo (either Lacoste or Tommy Hilfiger). The participants consistently ranked those wearing the name brand shirts as of higher status and greater affluence. In another experiment, strangers were asked if they would donate to a charity. The collector would either be wearing a plain sweater or a sweater with a designer logo. Participants were overall more likely to donate to the stranger with a designer sweater. Finally, participants were showed two interviews: both had the same candidate, but in one interview the candidate was wearing a name brand top with a visible insignia. Participants perceived the candidate to be more qualified when wearing a top with the logo. Additionally, they believed the candidate should achieve a higher pay grade. The results of this study indicate that conspicuous consumption is very much an applicable and effective social strategy. In the end, the advertising campaigns are right; name brands will give you a new persona. It just might not be the one you expected.
Many companies use celebrity marketing to popularize their brand. Further, Kanye West’s Yeezys and Kylie Jenner’s lip kits are a prime example of the popularization of celebrity owned lines.
Kylie Jenner Lip Kit Logo
Large fashion houses have been able to remain on trend by constantly evolving and adapting marketing strategies. 9
WANTED: CLAR AND EQUALITY By: Melanie Wang
hat is business casual clothing? Itâ€™s a question young women ask every day that young men never wonder about. Business wear for men and women can mean two drastically different things, and unfortunately for women, it often lacks a clear definition. Womenâ€™s business wear seems to differ depending on the day, or who you are asking. Business clothing and the differences in expectations of each gender leads to differences in workplace experiences and creates challenges for women. For men, business wear has a clear cut definition. A quick Google search will yield a pretty standard set of results. The images may consist of men of varying ages and ethnicities, but their outfits are nearly identical: each is clad in some slightly different combination of a blazer, dress pants, and a tie or bowtie. If there is a larger difference, it is simply a man in a suit, dressed a bit more formally than the others. For women, however, it is not nearly as simple, and a quick online search can be more confusing than clarifying. For women, business clothes range from blazers and button down shirts to dresses to pantsuits and more. The variations are seemingly endless, and this confusion leads to a struggle for young women just breaking into the business world. In a world where formalities and appearance can make or break an interview, the confusion over dress-code just serves as an additional hurdle that women must overcome. Preparing for an important interview or networking event is stressful enough in itself, but having the added stress of choosing a suitable outfit
Photos by: Joel Tjintjelaar, Angela Liu Illustration by: Ievgen Chepil 10 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
just makes it that much harder for young women. In the financial world, women face an uphill battle; it is a world currently dominated by males and can be a tough workplace for women to break into, let alone feel comfortable in. In short, it is a sexist world. The lack of standardization of business wear for women leads to disparities in attire and additional stress. At college undergraduate networking fairs, women can be seen wearing a large variety of different outfits–pencil skirts, blouses, blazers, dress pants, jeans, dresses–while the largest differences in men’s outfits are in the shades of their collared shirts. If men are overdressed, it’s not a problem; they can simply remove a suit jacket or take off a tie. Meanwhile, if a woman’s business wear is too formal or too casual, there is little to do after leaving the house but regret her decisions. This added element of stress and self-doubt can interfere with the nerves of women and affect their performance, putting them at an even greater disadvantage than before. Another important aspect of women’s business wear is the shoes that are deemed acceptable. Black heels seem to have been a staple in women’s wardrobes for decades, and every Hollywood movie features a sexy, seductive workplace woman strutting around in her high heels. Perhaps impractical, these heels have become an emblem of the working woman in the new world. It seems to boil down to this: heels, while uncomfortable, lend women an instinctual feeling of dominance and confidence that can be otherwise hard to come by in the often male-dominated environments. The expression “no pain, no gain” seems to be particularly fitting in this instance. The common theme in women’s fashion should be increased self-confidence as well as comfort, but business wear is often restricting and increasingly difficult to pin down. Its meaning changes by day and location, making it a hassle for women everywhere. When there’s little to no room for error, the last thing any woman wants to be thinking about is the appropriateness of her attire—and yet, appearance and attire are two things constantly on the minds of women. When women’s business wear can be centralized, and defined in a way as simple and clear as that of men, entering the business world will be easier. This also might ease the emphasis constantly put on women’s appearances by employers; the business world holds an unsustainable double standard in which women must always look more well-dressed and prepared because they are already a step behind. All too often, businesswomen are portrayed in only two ways: the sexy vixen or the frumpy lady. Mass media fuels these stereotypes, and blockbuster films create unrealistic standards for the ‘average business outfit’. Perhaps when expectations are softened and definitions are made clear, women will be able to achieve more success.
The History of Male Fashion Aesthetics BY: CATHY NIE
12 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
“... the Male Fashion Aesthetic Serves as A Marker for Revolution and Cultural Change.” “... men’s fashion draws from a unique, rich history and reflects its changing societal, economic, and cultural forces”
unways in London, New York, Milan, and Paris during one of their famed fashion weeks are filled with trim, elegant, and avant-garde designs. Though many of these incredible outfits are designed for women, designers like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Billy Reid have committed to participating in men’s fashion week, which began in 2012. While popular media tends to focus on designs for women, the male fashion aesthetic is an integral component of the fashion scene today. Like all fashion, men’s fashion draws from a unique, rich history and reflects its changing societal, economic, and cultural forces. Often, the male fashion aesthetic serves a marker for revolution and cultural change. During the mid-nineteenth century, members of the Aesthetic Movement were determined to reject Britain’s Victorian traditions, including the restrictive Victorian mode of dressing (which involved long overcoats, top hats, and double-breasted waistcoats). Instead, they hoped to create “l’art pour l’art”, or art for art’s sake, and emphasize self-expression over conservatism and conformity. Followers of the movement, called “Aesthetes”, also believed that art was not restricted to conventional mediums like canvases or statues. As a result, Aesthetes treated fashion as an art form and favored loose, high-quality designs. Though ridiculed by their contemporaries, the Aesthetic movement marked the first conscious shift away from uniformity in dress and undoubtedly paved the way for modern fashion. Cultural and economic changes also played a significant role in the evolution of male fashion; with the emergence of the
more carefree, prosperous Jazz Age in the 1920s, consumers began to embrace more laid-back attitudes towards music, interpersonal relationships, and fashion. Heavily influenced by these cultural changes, men began to dress in slim, bright suits with bow ties. Younger men began to dress in baggier clothing and began the cultural phenomenon of wide-legged trousers. With the increasing commercialization of automobiles, menswear also shifted toward driving-specific pieces, such as flat tweed caps and leather jackets, which helped protect skin and hair from the wind. Economic hardships also shaped menswear in the 1920s; in 1929, the crash of the stock market and the beginning of the Great Depression shifted menswear into a more muted, conservative mode. In the face of extreme economic hardship, clothing companies tried to minimize the amount and cost of fabric used in their pieces. As a result, more form-fitting, dark-colored attire prevailed and reflected the mood of the time. Music and foreign cultures have also played a role in shaping the male fashion aesthetic. In the 1960s, American menswear was highly influenced by the rising popularity of rebellious British music. As a result, men’s attire became more flamboyant and expressive once again. Bright colors, denim jackets, bell-bottom jeans, and threepiece disco suits became in vogue. Younger men created their own subcultures with the emergence of “hippie” and “rocker” styles. These bold styles gave way to even more expressive styles in the 1970s, as brighter synthetic fabrics became more readily available and fast fashion, casual menswear, and “wash and wear” trends began.
After the economic recession of the 1970s, men’s fashion reflected society’s consequent focus on financial success. Brand-name clothing, including active wear from brands like Nike and Adidas, was in high demand. As always, adolescents and young adults created their own subculture of fashion. These “yuppies” (young urban professionals who also greatly valued financial success) started the “prep” trend with college attire and casualwear, and polo shirts. These trends eventually gave way to more casual, minimalistic trends. With the start of the new millennium in 2000, many industries redefined themselves. Fashion became extremely diverse and expanded into many different categories. Younger men embraced more subdued versions of attire from pre-2000 trends, such as rave culture and emo culture, which were defined by neon bright colors and all-black ensembles, respectively. Cargo shorts, distressed jeans, studs, and popped collars all signified a move away from the traditional towards the more self-expressive. Towards the late 2000s, “athleisure”, soft pastel attire, and avant-garde clothing with unique textures became more popular. Whether we admire or snicker at some of the fashion trends of the past, we can see that these trends were shaped by their respective eras. At each stage of evolution, menswear became more expressive as well as reflective of cultural, economic, and societal influences. New styles, some of which men still wear now, emerged under these varying conditions and have ultimately helped to shape men’s fashion trends today.
Sustaining the Push for Sustainability
Photo by Stella McCartney
By Louis Levin
ustainability. It’s one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around all the time. Sustainable this. Sustainable that. Retailers make use of it in part because they know buyers care about it, or at least that they want to. And, given the facts, the customers really ought to give a damn. Over one-hundred-and-fifty billion garments are produced annually—enough to provide twenty new pieces to every person on the planet (Forbes). With nearly seventy million barrels of oil used annually to make polyester (the most common fabric in clothing) fashion is now the globe’s second dirtiest industry behind oil (The Washington Post). To make matters worse, plastic microfibers shed from clothing into the water supply account for eighty-five percent of manmade material found along ocean shores (The Huffington Post). Stopping the trend towards such overt and unrestrained
14 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
wastefulness is a global necessity. Luckily, a number of brands are beginning to come to terms with this need. Perhaps the most well-known proponent of sustainable fashion is Stella McCartney. Established in 2001, the eponymous brand is strictly vegan and prides itself on catalyzing the sustainability charge—before it was cool to do so. Flash forward to the present today, and McCartney’s parent company Kering—which also holds Balenciaga and Saint Laurent to its name—has established a commitment towards reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by fifty percent in transportation, distribution, and energy related emissions by 2025. In similar fashion earlier this year Gucci, considered by many to be the flag bearer of contemporary fashion, announced a blanket ban on fur starting with its SS18 collection.
Photo by Patagonia
Clearly, there is a push for change. High-end designers are increasingly recognizing the responsibility they have to meaningfully impact the environment. But high-end is a key word here. Most unsustainable practices in the retail industry stem from the oh-so-dreaded realm of fast fashion. A recent McKinsey study outlined how the prices of general items have increased far quicker than those of clothes in recent history. In fact, in the UK over the past twenty years average prices have risen by forty-nine percent, whilst clothing prices have dropped by fifty-three. This PatagoNia anti-growth startling disparity has led to fashion being viewed as a significantly cheaper commodity movement than in the past. Now, admittedly, there are benefits to this. The industry is more accessible, and the decreasing prices leave buyers with more disposable income. But the drawbacks are stark. The shift to cheaper clothes leads to both a lower quality on the supply side, and a willingness to buy more freely on the demand side. These consequences only serve to heighten the wastefulness of fashion, exacerbating an already considerable problem.
Photo by H&M
Below: Stella McCartney. Established in 2001, the eponymous brand is strictly vegan and prides itself on catalyzing the sustainability charge.
H&M CONSCIOUS COLLECTION Tackling the issues within the mainstream industry is in many ways much harder than it is for the luxury market. Unlike Stella McCartney, Forever21 cannot choose to immediately shift to using sustainably sourced materials, as the substantial markups would lead to their customers simply going elsewhere. Instead, a different approach is required. One option is outlined by H&M, one of the globe’s biggest retailers. They have established a set of ‘aspirational goals.’ These objectives—which include pledges to being circular, renewable and fair—demonstrate a commitment to embodying a new form of sustainability, without setting an unreasonable timeline that would only lead to broken promises. This form of action, however, can often result in complacency and given the many threats the environment faces, time is of the essence. A more drastic, and in my mind, far more impressive strategy lies in Patagonia’s antigrowth movement. The company has taken the view that aiming to sell buyers more and more products is in many ways problematic, as it indicates that the customers’ previous purchases were not durable enough. With this in mind, the retailer has set out to create clothing that, though more expensive, is also set to last. This is the direction in which the fashion industry needs to head to ensure the long-term health of the environment. It involves a shift in mindset about the way clothes work and the purposes they serve. To truly sustain this push for sustainability, we must embrace the need to rethink the way we view clothing as a whole; less momentary and cheap, more enduring and worthwhile. And the exciting thing is that the power is actually in your hands, or, more accurately, your wallet. You can truly put your money where your mouth is!
Illustrations by: Daryl Feril, Photo courtesy of: Julia Lenci 16 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
A Defense of Brand Culture By: Louis Levin //
he fashion world is in a state of flux. The pendulum of taste has dramatically swung from the extreme of minimalism to the height of excess. Many feel that the recent trend towards overtly branded clothing is problematic. They take it as a sign of extravagance and audacity run amuck. Though these takeaways might be fair, where they falter is in labelling the clothing themselves as unfashionable. The intersection of means and mode is admittedly a complicated one. There’s no other art form that has been commercialized in the way that fashion has. It is present in everything we do—the way we view ourselves; the way we are perceived by others; the jobs we have; the dreams we aspire to. There are few things in life that offer such a visible window into a person, or into the person one wants to be, then their style. As prominent designer Katherine Hamnett puts it, “clothes create a wordless means of communication that we all understand” (PBS). With this immense power in mind, it is unsurprising that some might choose to wear branded garments. It can distinguish you as fashionable, cool, or wealthy. And this self-identification is something we are hardwired to do; “in evolutionary terms, we all collected,” claims Dr. Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a consumer psychologist at University College London. “We collect articles or resources to survive, but survival doesn’t only rest upon what we need physically. We need, psychologically, to distinguish ourselves. In the past, tribes would decorate themselves with feathers or precious stones to set them apart from other tribe members and attract potential mates” (Vice). Much in the same way, collecting branded apparel allows individuals to build their identities with rare and easily identifiable objects. Now admittedly, this doesn’t always look nice. A guy who sports headto-toe Louis Vuitton X Supreme could well be dreadfully ostentatious. In the same way that someone living in a Park Avenue penthouse could be obnoxious. Or a girl driving an Aston Martin could be pretentious. Yet, in the latter two examples, this characteristic of the owner is not
something we project on to the object. A Park Avenue penthouse can still be beautiful, and an Aston Martin can still be impressive. So why would we then, as many have done, decide that Louis Vuitton’s latest collection is somehow inherently unfashionable? Why are the motivations of the buyer taken to reflect a feeling within the object itself? Clearly branded apparel can make other people uncomfortable. Or angry. Or, more often than not, both. But isn’t fashion meant to do just that? To make you ask questions? Isn’t that what great art does? Yes, clocking someone’s Balenciaga tote might make you squirm, but doesn’t that make it all the more interesting? The fact that an inanimate object can promote such a visceral reaction is in my mind the clearest indicator that it is most But isn’t fashion certainly fashionable–just meant to do just perhaps not aligned with your that? To make you own individual taste. ask questions? It is also important to note Isn’t that what that not all branded garments great art does? might lead to antipathy. At the helm of Gucci, Alessandro Michele has worked to frame his merchandise as literal pieces of art. There is intricate embroidery, detailed typography, and beautiful paintwork. All of these conscious design choices leave Gucci’s items distinctly branded–yet not in the conventional sense. The clothes are undeniably alluring. They pack a definite appeal and an ineffable sense of style. In short, they are fashionable to a tee. And the designer’s clientele is picking up on it: Gucci saw a year-on-year profit increase of seventy-eight percent. Are we to claim that Michele’s new line is morally unacceptable because its buyers are potentially buying it for the ‘wrong’ reasons? Would we then say that to buy a Picasso you need to pass some sort of test to indicate you are indeed purchasing it for the art itself, rather than for the wealth associated with it? It seems certain that, were such a test were to be applied, Christies and Sothebys would face existential crises. Instead, a line should be drawn distinguishing fashionably branded wears from their unfashionable counterparts. But where would this divide be established? Who would establish it? And what on earth would it look like? Attempting to dictate what is and isn’t fashionable is immensely challenging. Aiming to do this based upon the intentions not of the designers, but of the buyers, is outright problematic. Fashion is art. It’s messy, complicated and ever-changing. That’s what makes it beautiful. Any effort to confine this kind of creativity by claiming that branded clothing is inherently unfashionable will only take us backwards. As Voltaire might well have said in this instance, ‘I might find your Louboutin heels utterly revolting, but I’ll defend to the death your right to wear them.’
BY JANET GAO
t feels as though many popular faces in fashion are relatively the same right now. Indeed, the individuals at the forefront of the fashion industry are notoriously homogenous. Perhaps the first women that come to mind when thinking of style icons from the past are Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. While these women are all brilliant, the ‘out of the box’ style icons cannot be forgotten. There are certain stars whose remarkable styling choices have broken through the mold to represent those who fall outside the provincial standards of beauty, becoming unconventional fashion icons. There’s no denial that Young Thug is in a fashion lane of his own. Whether he is rocking edgy sunglasses, donning the latest kicks, or posing in a tutu and silk robe, Young Thug never fails to push boundaries with his personal style. Certainly, on his latest hip hop album cover, he is pictured in a floor-long ruffled blue dress, a stark contrast from the stereotypical masculinity of the standard hip-hop album cover. He also starred alongside mainstream fashion giants like Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber in the #MyCalvins campaign, staying true to his noteworthy gender-bending style by sporting women’s clothes in the ads. As a proponent of fearless self- expression, Thug once said, “In my world, you can be a gangsta with a dress or you can be a gangsta with baggy pants.” With her bird nest hair, mismatched shoes, and gothic dresses, Helena Bonham Carter’s dress flair divides critics. While some admire her eccentric style, her penchant for Union Jack-garters and lopsided outfits on the red carpet has earned her a place on more than several ‘worst dressed’ lists. However, she has never once apologized for what she chooses to wear. In her own words, “Sometimes I get it wrong. But fashion is all about having fun.” Gazing into cameras with ice blue eyes and frost-blonde hair, Tilda Swinton can make almost every outfit look chic. It is no wonder that Chanel desires to put her in ads and film directors give her roles with elaborate costumes (like her roles in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom.) Often described as a chameleon, her ability to swing between glitzy, androgynous, and utterly otherworldly is captivating. She is stunning and alien-esque. This makes her somewhat of a wild card in most of her acting roles because of who she can embody; she is bewildering, but ultimately irreplaceable.
When thinking of Frida Kahlo, one thinks of art or feminism. But Kahlo has also been an inspiration in the world of fashion. As a half-indigenous woman, what made Kahlo an immortal albeit atypical fashion icon is not only her work, but also her personality and her life. Kahlo championed a cause against the convictions and homogeneity of the system. She flaunted her bold eyebrows and mustache because she wanted to create a positive image of beauty, an inadvertent pioneer of branding. In contrast to the vulnerability she expressed through her artwork, her personal style blended a touch of daring with flourishing self-esteem. According to Kahlo, fashion was the art of being, not simply a feature of outer appearance. For her, it was fine for women to be striking, strong, and ambitious, not just beautiful. Full of color and life, her wardrobe was a palette of cobalt blue, punchy pink, and fiery orange. Her unique ensemble often included elements of her cultural heritage including pre-Columbian jewelry and Tehuantepec dresses, as well as an abundance of ornate jewelry, hair accessories, and popping patterns. Kahlo also continues to inspire editorial fashion shoots and designers around the world, including the likes of John Galliano, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Lacroix, and
“With all the Jenners in the world, it is the Kahlos and the Carters and the Young Thugs who push the envelope to Moschino. The people highlighted here evolve fashion.” are only a few of several faces of many
18 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
who have shattered convention and are fixing fashion’s diversity problem. Rather than being dismissed as an anomaly, emphasizing their unique characteristics and unusual style brings forward a culture of acceptance; it forces people to question the status quo. With all the Jenners in the world, it is the Kahlos and the Carters and the Young Thugs who push the envelope to evolve fashion. They are the ones breaking barriers and entering new ground, expanding the frontiers of what a fashion icon can be.
P A T Y I C A L
FASHION ICONS Photo: GQ
BOY KLOVES Christopher (Boy) Kloves, who originally hails from Los Angeles, California, is a fashion student at Central Saint Martins (CSM) in London. After two years at UChicago, Chris decided to drop out, follow his passion, and pursue a degree in fashion at CSM. MODAâ€™s Writing Editor, Olivia Jia, discusses with Chris his design inspirations, his creative process and the ways in which fashion has played such a pivotal and formative role in his life.
20 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
livia Jia: When did you first become seriously interested in fashion? Did you have any background in design before starting at CSM?
Christopher (Boy) Kloves: I was always really interested in art when I was younger and got increasingly more into fashion when I was a teenager. Before starting [UChicago], I took a few classes at Otis College of Art and Design in California while I was in high school, and interned for VFILES, Band of Outsiders, and Juan Carlos Obando in my spare time. After my time at the University of Chicago, I worked at Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta in New York and Paris. OJ: You’re currently pursuing a degree at CSM in London, but you started your academic career at UChicago. Do you remember a distinct moment during your time at UChicago when you realized you wanted to switch to art school or was it more of a gradual process?
“I always knew that I wanted to go to Central Saint Martins, but it was always a matter of when, not if.”
CK: I always knew that I wanted to go to Central Saint Martins, but it was always a matter of when, not if. When I first applied to college, Central Saint Martins and the University of Chicago ended up being the two schools I was deciding between. They stand as polar opposites on the spectrum of education, one being the epitome of traditional liberal arts academia, the other a much freer arts education, but they both spoke to parts of who I am. The University of Chicago is an amazing school and my family was excited that I had an opportunity to study at an institution of that caliber and really championed it as the choice I should have made, so I ended up picking it. I had always intended on reapplying to Central Saint Martins after I finished my degree in Chicago, but midway through my second year that changed. During freshman year,
22 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
I became close with someone who became a great friend of mine who shared a similar passion for fashion and art. She, like me, was excited to explore [fashion] after her time in academia and because of that we were able to relate on a level that I wasn’t able to with people who didn’t have the same interests. In the spring of my sophomore year, she passed away shortly after finishing her degree. It was surreal and difficult to come to terms with, but I think there is always something positive even in the worst of situations. For me, that positive was a wakeup call and a new beginning. I realized that it was time for me to stop waiting to do what I really love to do, so I reapplied to Central Saint Martins and started over. OJ: What are you currently studying at CSM? In what ways does the pace, expectations and culture of art school differ from your experiences at a school with a more traditional, liberal arts focus?
CK: I’m studying fashion design at Central Saint Martins. Specifically, my course is called Fashion Design with Marketing. We focus on design with an emphasis on brand creation and creative direction. The pace is incredibly different from that of UofC. If you think that Chicago is tough, try one week of art school and you will be crawling back to the Reg. It is exhausting and nonstop creation. Because of the reputation of the school, the small student body, and the influential alumni, the expectations are incredibly high of students at Central Saint Martins. I think what is most different between UofC and Central Saint Martins is that we operate on a tutorial system. What that means is that I don’t have specific classes, but instead I’m assigned projects and expected to return at regular intervals to show the work that I have done. It holds you accountable to make your own schedule and forces you to learn and grow on your own.
24 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
OJ: Now that you’ve studied fashion and design at an advanced and intensive level, how has your relationship with and/or perception of fashion changed? CK: I wouldn’t say that it has changed incredibly, but you definitely think about it differently when you study it everyday. I would say that first and foremost, my perception of fashion is most informed by my work experience, but when you’re studying it on your own, it’s a little different. When you’re working at a company, you’re working to help create an overarching vision that reflects the brand, but in design school, you’re branding yourself, so it’s slightly more personal and the stakes at times can seem a little bit higher. While St. Martins boasts the best reputation and alumni of any design school in the world, there are just over 100 students studying fashion per year, so I have definitely felt like there’s pressure in defining what my brand is, given the honor it is to go to a school like [CSM], which is something that I never really thought about as intensely as I do now. OJ: Describe your creative process for us. Is there a continuous focus throughout your design work at CSM or do you draw inspiration from a variety of sources each time you start a new collection? If so, what are you inspired by? CK: It changes depending on what I am designing. I would say that I am often drawn to reference Americana, but it really is contingent on the project at hand. Research is really key in design school. I’ll fill up an entire binder just on different types of shirt cuffs for one project. It’s thorough and obsessive. When I’m setting out to design a collection the research is usually really streamlined. I’ll pick one thing and try to understand it in the most exhaustive and complete way that I can. I recently worked on a project on eastern European fencing uniforms from the 1940s, and researched everything that I could to understand everything within that realm. I researched seams, closures, wear of the garment over time, gender differences, club insign as, affects of sweat on fabrics, common scars and injuries of the sport, and much more all specifically applying to that time frame. It’s about narrowing down your research at first and casting the widest net you can once you’ve done that.
OJ: What has been the hardest part of adjusting to life as an art student abroad? Conversely, what are some of the most rewarding and exciting parts about studying abroad?
OJ: What’s next after CSM? Are you interested in starting your own fashion label, or are there other roles within the fashion industry you’d be more interested in pursuing?
CK: I think that living abroad is something that everyone should do at some point in his or her life. I think that when you are younger, you expect the world to be exactly like what you have become accustomed to in your upbringing, and living abroad tears down that notion in a beautiful and at times terrifying way. It’s important to feel like a newcomer, an outsider, and completely uncomfortable at some point in your life. I think that I have become incredibly more aware of people and conversely myself after living abroad for the past two years. Being in Europe, and in particular the United Kingdom, in a time where the political impacts of Brexit and Trump are questioning the roles of nationhood and how we relate to people beyond our own calling cards has been an amazing experience in itself and has really opened up my eyes to seeing the importance of being a citizen of the world, rather than a citizen of a country.
CK: I have put predicting my future on the backburner after seeing the unexpected paths my life has led me in the past few years. I never would have expected to have lived in Chicago, New York, Paris, and London in the four years since leaving Los Angeles, so I am happily waiting to see where I land next. I intend on starting my own brand—where and when that will be remains to be seen. OJ: Do you have any advice for UChicago students or aspiring artists in general who are interested in pursuing their craft at a more serious level, but afraid to take that first leap?
OJ: Why is fashion important to you? How does it shape your identity and your interests beyond the context of a classroom setting? CK: Fashion is the one thing that I can’t picture myself not doing. I can’t imagine it not being in my life. I think we all have something or some things that we can’t help from consuming us, and fashion is that for me. I think about it constantly. I often view the world around me subconsciously applying it to fashion. It’s a part of me.
26 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
CK: Get involved, and not just at the university level. Make things and make them again and again. You learn from trying things and retrying them another way. I think that the greatest advice I can give anyone, pursuing creative ventures or not, is to be wary of comfort. It is easy to be seduced by the confidence that builds from mastering your life in your own comfort zone, but it is also shortsighted. I think one of the most amazing feelings in life is to feel uncomfortable, uneasy, and scared at a new situation, to be the person in the room that knows the least, knows no one, and is completely on new footing. It opens your eyes up to things you would not have been able to see before and helps you grow and evolve as a human being. You really don’t know your strengths as a person until you test them.
28 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Photographer: Fatima Khan Makeup: Saylor Simon & Eleanor Dunietz Models: Kelsey Brown, Rosemarie Ho, Alex Peltz, Kathryn Seidewitz
30 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
32 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
34 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
meanwhile... Photographer: Natalia Rodriguez Stylists: Stefan Tesliuc & Cecilia Sheppard Models: Isabel Getz, Dhruv Maheshwari & Rafael Palomino Clothing: Luxury Garage Sale, Kameron Casey (@kamcasey), organized through Edin Latic (@yourshitisntvintage)
Inspired by David Lynch, Ralph Lauren, and John Coltrane, we wanted to delve into the uncanny aspects of culture and society by presenting a reevaluation of traditional fashion into a twistedly beautiful and warped aesthetic that reflects our present zeitgeist. We prominently feature designers such as Maison Margiela and Raf Simons who rework the garment industry through their use of deconstruction, intertext, and ambiguity. Their clothes are meta-critiques of fashion and our society, and when juxtaposed with the extravagant dresses of Marchesa and Balenciaga, their relationship promotes a dialogue questioning what we find beautiful. We shot in the style of David Lynchâ€™s series Twin Peaks to further our investigation of the subconscious: the dreamlike state that mirrors the everyday.
Clothinig: Maison Margiela two patterned button up, Paul Smith velvet blazer, Givenchy zipper-detailed trousers, Raf Simons black sneakers, 3.1 Phillip Lim extended black shirt, Rag & Bone wool cardigan, Maison Margiela scarf-collar overcoat, Craig green strapped trousers, Robert Geller Common Project dress shoes
36 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Clothing: Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby limited edition patched sweater, Balenciaga sequined dress
38 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Clothing: Marchesa off the shoulder dress
40 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Clothing: Pierre Balmain dip dyed sweater, Maison Margiela deconstructed-collar camel coat, beaded sequin floor-length gown
42 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
44 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
46 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
monochrome autumn Photographer: Daniel Chae Stylists: Jena Yang & Carla Abreu Models: Ella Parker, Storm Taft & Zachary Williams
48 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
50 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
52 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
54 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
56 | MODA Magazine | Winter 2018
Published on Dec 12, 2017