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THE AVENUE Spring 2019 Vol. 9


THE AVENUE Devotion | Spring 2019 Vol. 9 President Michelle Rodriguez Editor-in-Chief Dana Dworkin Senior Creative Director Sade Adewunmi Associate Creative Director Brittany Clottey Communications Director Victoire Cointy Communications Associate Allie Kuo Deputy Editor Madelaine Millar Beauty Editor Isabelle Hahn Lifestyle Editor Kelly Fleming Fashion Editor Anne Koessler Web Editor Colin Thompson Head Men’s Stylist Alexa Portigal Head Women’s Stylist Moana Yamaguchi Photo Editor Aditi Lohe Marketing Designer Mikaela Amundson

Senior Graphic Designer Sarah Porter Associate Graphic Designer Anna Rychlik Graphic Designers Karina Masri, Phoebe Lasater, Hannah Wolfensen, Juwon Lee, Franny Kuth, Calem Robertson Marketing Designer Mikaela Amundson Treasurer Tomer Zilberman Secretary Maddie Casey Head Photographers Alex Chua, Rose Ajegwu, Calem Robertson Photographers Dalia Sadaka, Marisa Goolgasian, Taraneh Azar, Olivia Laskowski, Lauren Walsh, Avery Roche, Aditi Lohe, Natalie Hill, LouiseAudrey Zenezini, Angela Tzen, Gilbert Wong, Izabella Comstock, Simran Gvalani Writers Maxine An, Marisa Goolgasian, Taraneh Azar, Olivia Laskowski, Aidan Baglivo, Olivia Mastrosimone, Colin Thompson, Syeda Hasan, Natalie Hill, Isabelle Hahn, Allie Kuo, Dea Davita Krisanda, Amanda Haroutunian, Kathryn Norris, Elena Chivadze, Sara Chen Stylists Jackson Wang, Jonathan Pereira, Akhil Bollu, Julie Chan, Maggie Van Nortwick, Camille Ruykhaver, Abigail Manos Models Elise Papazian, Ava Rohacek, Eden Desta, Lineyah Mitchell, Corey Kershaw, Huaihan Yin, Jephte Alphonse, Noah Adamson, Julien McKee, Diamond Crowner, Janani Sharma, Maxine An, Emma Philpott, Olivia Laskowski, Akhil Bollu, Josh Humphries, Shivam Agarwal, Josh Levanos Makeup Artists Aneri Shah, Karli Brush, Dana Dworkin


letters from the editor and president When we began brainstorming for this semester’s issue, we played around with the ideas of faith, decadence, worship and more before landing on Devotion. We felt it encompassed all of the things we wanted to explore in the issue—misguided faith, romance, religion, allegiance and self-love. College is a time to figure out who you are, which makes it incredibly easy to lose sight of who you thought you were. We throw ourselves into our classes, co-ops, extracurriculars, Greek life and more. The things we choose to devote our time to may begin to comprise our identity instead of our fundamental values. We are no longer friends, daughters/sons or reality television addicts, but rather fourth years, engineering majors or PR co-ops. While it is great to excel in school, to land an amazing job and to be on an E-Board, it’s also important to remember the things that made us who we are. In the flurry of this semester, I’ve too easily forgotten to call my grandparents, to reach out to my friends and see how they are, to take time for Shabbat dinner to reconnect with my roots and to just sit back and watch Vanderpump Rules. Working on Devotion has been a lovely reminder to not forget the things that make me who I am. In this issue, our writers explore their own devotions and the devotions of those around them. Whether it be commitment to sustainability and ethical consumerism, the image of perfection or to holding our idols to a higher standard, it’s always worth a look back to examine why we believe the things we do.

Dana Dworkin Editor-in-Chief

With my time as president almost at close, I would like to reflect on the amazing work that this publication has done this last year. Being in this club since day one of my freshman year, I am truly amazed with how far we have come as a magazine. Words cannot describe how proud I am of every single member that has helped make this magazine what it is today. From design to writing to creative, this magazine has done a complete 180 since its inception. I want to personally thank everyone for dedicating their time, energy and passion to the magazine. I hope that as you, the reader, go through our magazine you can really appreciate all the work that has been put into Devotion.

Michelle Rodriguez President


table of contents 6 — Killing the Clutter 12 — Devotion to Beauty: Walking the Line of Narcissism

34 — On Reclaiming Functionality 38 — Corporate Callout: Profit and Social Capital 42 — The Pet Pedestal 46 — Branding the New Norm

62 — How Beauty Products Become Cult Classics 66 — Artificial by Design 72 — The New Self-Care 76 — Georgia: Fashion’s Next Destination

88 — #Canceled(?)

← 92 — Feminist Statements Through Clothing:Then and Now 96 — Working Hard or Hardly Working? 100 — Borrowed Stories 106 — How Many Likes Do We Need to Love Ourselves?


Killing the Clutter why we give our clothes so much emotional value and how to say goodbye written and photographed by Marisa Goolgasian

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model: Natalie Marra

Prom dresses, concert t-shirts, the sweater you had your first kiss in, the shoes you wore to graduation; we all have items like these living in our closets, cleverly disguised as parts of our wardrobe. These pieces haven’t been worn for years and will not be worn in the future, but somehow they seem no different from a favorite cashmere sweater or a goto pair of jeans. We might go weeks or even months without giving our old clothes a single thought, yet the prospect of letting go of these pieces is horrifying because of the incredible emotional value we have attached to them. So, they continue to occupy space in our closets and minds. On behalf of closets everywhere (including my own), I decided to get to the bottom of this strange yet incredibly common habit. The basics of developmental psychology tell us that this process begins when we are very young. Most young children have a specific “attachment object,” like a stuffed animal or blanket that is incredibly special to them. This is a perfect example of a bond developed between our minds and a ‘thing’ that somehow creates a sense of inner security. The process continues as we grow older; our things become more infused with our identities over time and their preciousness increases.

When we reach adulthood, our things start to fully embody our sense of self and become external receptacles for our memories, relationships, hopes and dreams. It is in this stage that things can start to go wrong. In the world of psychology, materialism is almost always described as a bad thing, a shallow, empty state of mind wherein someone wants something just to have it or to impress other people. However, in the late 1970s, two distinguished doctors, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Eugene Rochberg-Halton, decided to look at materialism through a different lens and eventually came to the conclusion that it isn’t a good or bad phenomenon. In their 1981 book “The Meaning of Things,” they describe two different kinds of materialism. The first, called “terminal materialism,” is the traditional, negative concept previously described. The second, “instrumental materialism,” occurs when an object’s importance doesn’t stem from the object itself, but from its function as a bridge to another person or feeling. This is the kind of materialism that causes our closet clutter; it doesn’t stem from shallowness or confused priorities, but from our deepest, strongest emotions.

sources: The Meaning of Things by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Dr. Eugene Rochberg-Halton, The Price of Privilege by Dr. Madeline Levine, mit.edu

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I realized that almost every person in my life is guilty of this kind of misplaced emotional attachment, even me.” Although Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton may have a lot of insight to the psychology of the matter, I wanted to talk to someone who understands the implications of this phenomenon today. So, I reached out to an expert. Yes, organization experts do exist and no, Marie Kondo is not the only one. Another member of this little-known group is Kathy Vines, a certified professional organizer and owner of Clever Girl Organizing, who is also a writer and speaker. Based on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Vines has even written a book on the subject, titled “Clever Girl’s Guide to Living with Less.” As shocking as it might seem that someone would want to make a living off of organizing other people’s lives, let alone be able to do so, Vines’ passion for her work was apparent from the second our conversation began. Being a professional organization consultant was always a far-fetched dream that, through years of hard work, she was able to transform into a career. “I work with clients who don’t want to keep living the way they have been when it comes to space and possessions,” Vines said. “Sometimes that means helping with organizing, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, but no two clients are the same, so I really try to get to know someone and their lifestyle and how I fit into it.” Vines’ approach to organizing is a little different than that of the Kondo devotees of the world. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all frame to each of her customers, Vines seeks out the root of whatever an individual client’s issue seems to be and addresses it accordingly. She says that when it comes to the reluctance to let go of objects that do nothing but add clutter, there are two main thought processes behind holding on to these pieces: the past and the future. “Many of the things we own represent in our minds either a past or future version of ourselves that we had imagined at some point in time,” explained Vines. “You know, ‘I used to

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play sports a lot so I have all these workout clothes’ or ‘I used to go to all these fun proms in these beautiful dresses.’ The future mindset tends to be more about our aspirations, the change we want to see in ourselves; ‘I would love to ice skate so I’m going to get ice skates so maybe I’ll do that someday’ or ‘I’m going to get a treadmill because I’m going to work out and be healthy.’ We hope, even believe, the stuff itself will encourage the motivation and the willpower to change.” Although they never mentioned treadmills or ice skates, Drs. Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton expressed almost the exact same idea in a 1978 article: “Objects act as essential means for discovering and furthering personal values and goals of life, so that the objects are used to further and realize goals.” Vines couldn’t have been more clear; I realized that almost every person in my life is guilty of this kind of misplaced emotional attachment, even me. The yoga mat under my bed, the gluten-free cookbook in my kitchen, the lacrosse stick in my hall, all unused, are stagnant reminders of either a past version of myself that once was or a future version of myself that probably will never be. One memorable example that Vines shared with me was an anecdote about a woman who held onto her favorite business suit, even though she had long since left the working world behind. She did not yearn for the return of her stressful working years, yet she resolutely clung to the suit. The idea of getting rid of it was unthinkable to her. This story made me realize that this subject is something that runs much deeper than a short-lived health kick or nostalgia for the good old prom-going days; our material possessions, such as our clothes, can be a direct line to the essence of our self-perception and self-worth. For this woman, the suit wasn’t just a suit. “It can be incredibly hard to tell yourself, ‘you know what? I’m actually not that person. I’m probably never going to be that person ever’ or, ‘I’m never going to be that person again.’ It can lead to real mourning, grieving over the loss of these identities. You have to face that and decide ‘do I need these things that might not be a part of my future anymore?’” Vines says there is another element that can make saying goodbye to old clothing even more complicated, an inherent component of what we wear that gives old pieces an incredible amount of power over us: size.


The most common issue with holding on to clothing is it usually has something to do with sizes.

“The most common issue with holding onto clothing is it usually has something to do with sizes. ‘I used to be a 10, now I’m a 4, but I’m sure I’m going to gain the weight back and I don’t want to have nothing to wear’ or ‘I’m going to lose this weight someday so throwing out my old clothes would be a waste even though they don’t fit.’” Another common way that material possessions become entwined with emotions is through our memories. Associating memories with objects, pieces of clothing in particular, is something we all do to varying degrees. While browsing an online forum full of stories shared by people who fall into this category and want to get to the bottom of it, I was moved by what I read. There are men who just can’t get rid of their late wives’ t-shirts, mothers who are unable

to let go of their now-adult children’s baby clothes and daughters who cling to their deceased fathers’ baseball hats. For many people, letting go of the object is letting go of the person associated with it. It’s no wonder that saying goodbye can be so hard. In her book “The Price of Privilege,” Dr. Madeleine Levine describes a woman who decides to clean out her house while going through an extremely difficult divorce. “My patient was losing a lifetime of connection, and yet her grief centered on the things, not the people she was losing.” While some argue that this practice is bad, even unhealthy, Vines says there is no wrong here. For her, it’s all about identifying pieces for what they really are.

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These are the clothes I keep that I wear, that I love, and these are the clothes I keep just purely for sentimental reason.” “There is a critical fork in road where you realize, ‘okay, these are the clothes I keep that I wear, that I love, and these are the clothes I keep just purely for sentimental reason,” Vines said. “Pieces like that are the equivalent of printed photographs. I always say, ‘okay, let’s take it out of your closet, because that’s where your functional wardrobe lives. This is not a part of your wardrobe. This is a keepsake. So, where do you keep your keepsakes?” For those of us who recognize that we are guilty of these habits, of giving our clutter far too much power, where do we start? The internet is full of tips and tricks, but one that stood out to me was to begin by simply taking photos of your closeted keepsakes and writing down why it’s so important to you, describe the memory associated with it, how you felt when you wore it: everything that you are so afraid of forgetting the moment the item is gone. If the photograph and description are able to serve as a complete substitute for the object itself, you know it’s time to let go. Organization, Vines says, goes beyond the stuff itself. You can get rid of the stuff, but the habit might still be there, lying dormant until you start accruing the extra things all over again. To truly cure your clutter, a mental shift is needed. You need to figure out where you are right now, where you want to be and what you are going to do to get there. Vines left me with this last hint: “I always ask my clients: what do you dream of the future? Is that going to happen? How much are you willing to dedicate to it? What do you want the future to look like?”

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written by First Last photographed by First Last

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Devotion to Beauty: Walking the Line of Narcissism written by Isabelle Hahn photographed by Louise-Audrey Zenezini

The first time we meet someone, we take them in visually. We stare into their eyes, notice their color, shape, whether or not they’re wearing mascara. We notice the curves of their face, the freckles or moles that decorate it. We focus on looks. It’s only later, in conversation or getting to know someone, does personality become the defining factor of an interaction. It may seem selfish—but it’s psychology. We’re hard-wired to focus on the outer details first. We innately focus on beauty. I spend a lot of time thinking about different products and services that make us better versions of ourselves. Admittedly, I spend a lot of time thinking of beauty as a superfluous but highly personal aspect of my life. I often worry that I come across as vain or narcissistic in my pursuit of beauty, because the line of separation between selfcare and vanity feels too thin. Beauty becomes a game of commodification and satisfaction, and sometimes it’s hard to determine a middle ground. A friend of mine, Alec MacLean, is an admitted product maximalist like myself. Besides products like makeup and skincare, he indulges in monthly maintenance services that include eyebrow threading and gel manicures. “There’s a tendency to want to explain some of my spending away, since beauty spending is seen as superfluous,” he writes to me via email. “Considering all of it is somewhat uncomfortable, (think of the flights I could have afforded!) but the spending is so much about empowerment and self-esteem that it seems absolutely necessary.” When adding one more product or service into the rabbit hole to achieve perfection, we unlock what is referred to as a positive feedback loop. The relationship that exists between

buying and beauty mirrors the effect of exercise on the body. When something makes you feel beautiful, you see a change in yourself, so you continue buying to repeat the process—even though the effect may come across to others as minimal. This could be something as simple as applying concealer under your eyes or getting your peach fuzz waxed every now and then. But self-perception plays a huge role in beauty. “I’ve had a very positive experience over the last few years of feeling more confident which has led to better self-esteem, which inspires me to take more risks,” continues Maclean. “Because of the ubiquity of the beauty industry and the overt nature of wearing makeup, it’s led to a lot of great conversations with strangers in every area. It presents an opportunity to talk about what and why we consider things to be beautiful.” Product maximalism has garnered a bad reputation. We associate elongated beauty routines with high-maintenance divas who can’t leave the house without their fix. At the same time, the world champions people who meet the current standard of beauty—and people who are perceived as beautiful are more likely to achieve financial success, as Psychology Today notes. We exist in a paradox that promotes perfection while simultaneously shunning the money, time and energy it takes to get there. The details in how the process happens are what many consider to be in the realm of vanity. Marcella Kukulka doesn’t shy away from luxury products or days of self-care, but also wouldn’t consider herself a true maximalist. To her, maximalism is more a reflection of the unnecessary. “I think there is a difference between having products that compose a skincare routine versus having five face creams that do the same thing,” she says. “Skincare is something I do for my 13


health, and beauty is something that makes me feel creative, expressive and beautiful. I don’t do it for anyone else.” We collectively buy into the theory that vanity develops out of feelings of inferiority, that a fascination with beauty is akin to an obsession with appearance. And while I love the way my products make me feel, and will continue to invest in them, I have never been someone who cringes at the thought of going a day sans makeup, nor have I hated myself for the way I look without them. “While I’m very comfortable being completely bare-faced in public, I realize there are many people who feel the complete opposite,” says Kukulka. “If makeup makes you feel better about yourself then that’s amazing but I also think viewing makeup as a necessity can be equally dangerous to self-image

models: Maya Puar and Bronia Bogen-Grose

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and self-esteem. Your appearance shouldn’t have the power to throw off the rest of your day.”

esteem, rather than covering negative feelings or spending money to hide from myself.

Beauty, self-care and vanity circle each other often. Of course, makeup pales in comparison to drinking enough water or getting a good night’s sleep. That being said, confidence is necessary for your mental health. It only follows that beauty routines that are described as self-care may be doing us good. Focusing on yourself fully for 10 to 20 minutes a day while you wash your face, put on makeup or spend money to get your nails painted doesn’t make you narcissistic, it makes you human.

In researching this piece, I asked a handful of people to consider the amount they spend on beauty. I then followed up with how that reflection made them feel. Ashley Van Eyk was able to summarize everything I wanted to say in one go. After detailing her daily products and hair care—which includes the occasional salon trip for a highlight touch-up and trim—she wrote:

The pursuit of beauty, then, should be linked to more than the desire to be perceived as an attractive person, but as the act of celebrating yourself. I find that most of my beauty practice is rooted in positive feelings of expression and self-

source: psychologytoday.com

“I’ve never asked myself how much I spend in a month on these products and services because I view them as an essential part of my self-care identity. Answering made me reevaluate if I truly needed all of these things. At the same time, they keep me feeling happy and looking my best. I probably spend more than the average person on aesthetics, but this doesn’t bother me. I prioritize myself and how I present myself to the world and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

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high vs. hype exploring the juxtaposition between the loyalty to classic high-fashion houses and the loyalty to the ephemeral hype beast culture photographed by Calem Robertson

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On Reclaiming Functionality written by Aidan Baglivo photographed by Lauren Walsh

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Stylistic choices are often grounded in the all-too-familiar mantra, “If you look good, you feel good.” People embrace the idea that a solid outfit will improve their self-confidence and overall mood. In that sense, people yield a certain power to the clothes they wear on their backs. Yet, how a person truly feels in their clothes is often overlooked. The norms for formal attire promote the idea that we must sacrifice comfort for the sake of keeping up appearances. To be “fashionable” is frequently associated with discomfort—be it a restrictive tie, an itchy sweater or excruciating high heels. Yet there is beauty in comfort.

In seeking out functional clothing, one shows a higher devotion to self. A propensity for well-fitted, softer fabrics does not degrade a person’s fashion sense. Fashion and function are not mutually exclusive; they are harmonious. Discomfort is both visible and infectious. It is incredibly difficult to remain present when distracted by ill-fitting shoes or a rash-inducing collar. Conversely, clothes have the ability to soothe, empower and recharge—which makes texture and fit crucial. The comfort of cotton makes any outfit cozier while the durability of tweed brings practicality and sustainability to the flamboyance of formal wear.

models: Soja Moore, Jessie Herdman and Zach Weiss

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Comfort and wearability are trending, as feeling good in your clothes catches hold.”

As the world of fashion embraces inclusivity and caters to a wider audience, comfort is key. Traditional rules are being broken in the industry as the accessibility of high fashion increases. Comfort and wearability are trending as feeling good in your clothes catches hold. The fanny pack, once a laughable accessory sported by middle-aged parents, has emerged as a coveted piece of accoutrement. Similarly, the sneaker now commands a certain foothold, as more people embrace the chunky “dad” shoe. These sporty and comfortable options have been adopted by luxurious brands like Chanel and Balenciaga. Utility is the backbone of high fashion and functionality is authentic because it appeals to all. Designed by people and for people, clothes can emancipate or confine the human spirit. An uncomfortable outfit restricts a person’s ability to think beyond what is perceived about them. Attire should be designed to let the wearer breathe. Fashion should transcend pseudo-confidence in favor of true confidence. Flexibility, as a pillar of this generation, has seeped its way into how clothing is designed. People need to actually feel good in their clothes to maneuver through the stresses of everyday life. Comfort in the fashion industry should demand attention because it offers a glimpse into how society is shifting. By disrupting the rigidity of formal wear, people can reclaim what has been lost to centuries-old social constructions dictating behavior. Function deserves its place in the world of fashion because clothing should make the wearer feel powerful, rather than powerless.

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corporate

callout: profit and social capital written and photographed by Taraneh Tabib-Azar The discourse between fashion as a consumer product and fashion as an artistic beacon emerges along the ambiguous line of social consumerism. The role that fashion plays in society balances between its visual concept and the industrial movement of mass consumerism. The pliant nature of fashion as art lends itself to wide implication and serves as a testimony to the expression of a socially and culturally transparent generation of consumers. The intersection of function (even one as simple as covering your body) and

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stylistic choice places fashion in a unique position between cultural expression and art. The catch arises when brands fuse their products with contemporary issues. In reality, even though garments can signal social identifiers to those around us, the houses producing these products are ultimately still corporations. They support political parties and social movements for the reason that any corporation does anything—to drive profits and capitalize off of a target consumer market.


We live in a particularly image-driven society. The result is that we are what we wear. Whether actively choosing to buy into that view or not, our natural snap judgements of people are shaped by what we see, and garment choice comprises a large segment of that appearance. Fashion must be addressed as a form between two oftentimes opposing forces—the corporate sector and the identity-driven consumer. Understanding that houses already recognize this unique feature of their industry is key to understand what those Burberry rainbow stripes or “We Should All Be Feminist” Dior t-shirts are all about.

Virgil Abloh’s collaborations with Jenny Holzer, with key themes of social justice and cultural revolution, are tinged with irony. Lest we forget, Abloh is running the key house of LVMH, which is one of the largest and highest grossing cultural conglomerates globally. Holzer is known in her work for questioning the accumulation of power and the abuses that corporate entities inflict on the masses through exploitation and capitalization. Abloh has a reputation as one of the biggest corporate mouthpieces today, stealing designs from lesser-known designers and failing to award credit when warranted. Abloh assumes the role of corporate fashion personified while Holzer has been revered for her

model: Dana Saltz

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opposition to those very phenomena. It is hard not to see the blatant dissonance between the pair as Abloh assumes an air of social awareness within his S/S 18 presentation through his collaborations with Holzer, a long-revered feminist and social commentator, while Abloh himself stands for a corporate sector which abuses the power that Holzer is so well known for calling out. The corporate sector is telling consumers what to wear, even if one actively opts for garments with ‘socially aware’ imagery or only chooses to dress in a way that signals their position as an ally and someone who endorses what’s right. The corporate sector is telling consumers what to care about and therefore wear, and we as consumers are the

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engine reinforcing this largely new principle. That being said, corporations are choosing key social movements to represent when looking to drive up sales and sell what’s cool and what everyone wants—a big red flag that screams “I’m socially aware; I’m cool.” We are our image and we devote our time, money, energy and lives to shaping not only who we are and what we do, but more importantly what others think we are and think we do. It’s easy to deny and say “no, not me.” But the truth is, corporations are only able to capitalize off of social movement and cultural need because we allow them to.


We swap image for actuality, appearance for reality and social direction becomes, by default, empty. To resist the trend of appearing to be down with the revolution, acting when needed to defend social progress and change is the only way to combat the dilution and appropriation of the movements that drive progress and change. In buying into corporate social capitalization through opting for the appearance of social awareness that is void of action we, by default, intercept the very movements that corporations— and we who feed them—deem attractive enough to appropriate. Awareness and the ways in which one actively participates in being culturally aware are forms of social capital. Revolution and social movement are selling points– selling points so attractive and appealing that scores of individuals are flocking into the realm of inactive awareness without standing up for the movement when it comes time. While some of the consumers eager to buy items from Burberry’s LGBTQ+-centered Fall/Winter 2018 collection are those whose identities are finally being represented, others are people who continue to misgender trans women (I’ve experienced it firsthand).

Off-White’s SS18 collection attracted a crowd of individuals eager and willing to endorse the fact that “The Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise,” but they still revere corporate America as the center of the fashion world. They watched wide-eyed and inspired as models walked the runway among abusive influencers such as Ian Connor, who has been accused of sexual assault by 21 different women over the past two years. And to go back to the irony of Abloh and Holzer’s collaborations, note that Connor has appeared on Abloh’s Instagram page time and time again. Connor even sat front-row for Abloh’s debut Louis Vuitton collection. One has to consider the implications of letting him sit next to the most influential people in the fashion world for one of the most highly anticipated collections of 2019. Holzer, on the other hand, has been a championing voice for, and inspired a generation of, intersectional feminists. You get the picture. The appearance of devotion is one that consumers and corporations alike choose to support. By enabling legacy houses like Dior and Burberry to create a culture of appearance while lacking accountability or action when it comes to social movement and revolution, social movement becomes empty—it means nothing more than what you post on Instagram or what rhetoric you spew at parties. Identity must be reflective of action and consumers need not endorse the image of social awareness before the oppressed, but rather the true meaning behind any given social movement.

source: thefashionlaw.com

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The Pet Pedestal written by Kathryn Norris photographed by Angela Tzen

Our pets provide unconditional love, are an outlet for our attention, depend on us and cannot express judgement. The dependence in a pet-owner relationship can be twosided—on one hand, domestic animals rely on their owners for food, shelter and support. But on the other hand, owners have a unique dependence on animals based on a deep emotional attachment. The acceptance we are looking for in society, some can find in our furry friends, as pets can provide owners with the positivity and compassion they may be lacking in the human world. As relationships with our animal companions grow easier than the human relationships we cultivate, they are no longer valued as just a four-legged best friend, but have become a cherished creature to whom owners now devote themselves. Three years ago my aunt and uncle got a puppy they named Ove, who promptly lost both eyes because of a genetic mutation. My aunt struggled to appreciate the dog because he is difficult to care for. My uncle, on the other

hand, developed this sudden and overwhelming devotion to Ove. He’s in awe of Ove’s ability to function despite his disability, and will usually shift all of his attention from the other humans in the room to the dog. My uncle’s relationship with Ove has changed the way I see pet relationships from a simple love between a man and his dog, to a relationship resembling dependence. Two Northeastern sociology professors, Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke, conducted a study in 2013 with 240 participants to test if humans were more sympathetic towards dogs than other humans. To test this theory, Levin and Arluke presented participants with four fictitious stories, each focusing on either a battered puppy, a 6-yearold dog, a baby or an adult. What they found was that “subjects were very much distressed by victims who were puppies, infants and even full grown dogs, but not so much by the victimized adult humans.” Additional studies have found that humans have an evolutionary biological response

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to small and vulnerable creatures that we deem as cute. An article on Rover.com explains that we are drawn to cute and helpless things because of an innate need to nurture and protect. Puppies and babies both have large eyes and small and defenseless bodies, and these two qualities are ones that create an instinctual response of protection and care. The American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans spent more than $72 billion on pet expenses in 2017. There are spas for pets, specialty foods, expensive dog walkers, grooming salons, strollers and outfits. In researching some of the newest pet products, I found amenities like pet

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dating services (both for animal-oriented humans to connect with each other, and for dogs to find playmates) and pet memorial space flights (which blast a symbolic portion of a pet’s cremated ashes into the universe before the vessel returns to Earth). These findings have led me to question if we’re prioritizing the health and wellness of our dogs over that of our two-legged friends. While pets can provide an outlet for compassion or love that may otherwise be lacking in human society, furry friends can also connect humans to each other. Pet Instagram accounts have become incredibly popular recently, and “pet


It’s important we make sure not to place pets on a pedestal, so that man’s best friend doesn’t become man’s only best friend.” influencer” accounts can amass millions of followers and provide their owners with a full-time job as their manager. These pages can help connect people with similar interests and provide a new network of people to access. In everyday life, humans can easily find a common interest with a stranger by talking about pets. Furry friends are an easy topic of conversation and can quickly establish a connection between owners as they bond over a shared love of animals, relatable stories or even the same breeds of dog owned. The American devotion to animal companions surrounds us—from dressing domestic animals in human clothes to mirror their owners, to walking them in strollers, to taking them to spas or sending out Christmas cards featuring their furry friends. It’s a dependence that seems completely self-explanatory at first; pets are cute, vulnerable and can provide companionship. But when critiquing this dependency, it’s more obvious that there is something lacking in our own human relationships that drives us towards animal companions. The expansion of social media and the influence it has upon our methods of communication has sparked a search for new forms of companionship. With the newfound ability to interact via social media without face-to-face contact, there seems to be a lack of genuine closeness. With a constant cycle of bad news from all over the world and the struggles people may face in everyday life, there is a desire to find a channel that can provide an escape from this negativity. We are able to displace the negative realities and feelings of the world onto our pets, and receive love and support back. It’s our own alienating society with its growing reliance on interactions that are no longer face-to-face that is driving us to find refuge in animals. It’s important we make sure not to place our animal companions on a pedestal, so that man’s best friend doesn’t become man’s only best friend.

sources: bostonmagazine.com, rover.com

models: Lineyah Mitchell and George the dog

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branding the new norm

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written by Maxine An & Dana Dworkin photographed by Dalia Sadaka

There are certain items in our wardrobes that every woman needs—jeans, a plain white tee and of course, the little black dress (or LBD, as it’s commonly known). When Vogue published images of Coco Chanel’s simple black dress in 1926, the magazine knew exactly the ripple effect it would cause. As Penny Goldstone recounted in Marie Claire, Vogue predicted that the little black dress would become “a sort of uniform for women of all tastes.” The continued success of the LBD in the decades to come was right on track with Vogue’s prophecy— you can find one hanging in nearly every woman’s closet, and it has even earned its own Wikipedia page. In recent years, it seems that the “must-have” items have strayed away from being a particular type of item, like a power suit or a pair of flare jeans, to being an item from a specific designer. While every decade has designers whose clothing is highly coveted, the idea of heavily-branded and easily identifiable clothing as the most important wardrobe items is a newer trend. My sister declared to me at age fourteen that her friends would not be caught dead in anything but name brand clothing. I was puzzled. Where were teenagers learning the idea that the only clothes worth wearing were the ones that others would recognize as expensive? The fashion landscape has undeniably changed since the days of Coco Chanel, although it’s up to interpretation whether that change has been for the better. Despite her love of the designer’s work, you would be hard-pressed to find a picture of Audrey Hepburn wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “Givenchy” across the front. These days, it’s hard to scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing a celebrity representing their favorite brand. Who can forget Rihanna’s $1300 socks with the Gucci logo studded across them in rhinestones? It’s not far-fetched to imagine that viewers are influenced by these images.

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In fact, I see the effects of such social media posts all the time. Every day on Northeastern’s campus, brand names go by on the backs and feet of fellow students: Hermes belts with a giant “H” buckle, the infamous brown and tan print on Louis Vuitton bags and my personal favorite, a fluffy parka with the phrase “Gucci Gang” scrawled on the back. It made me wonder where these brands came from, and if there is still room in the landscape for the classics to maintain their foothold. While it may come as a surprise, many of today’s trendiest brands came onto the fashion scene in the early 20th century. Take the sportswear brand Champion, for example. While they came to notoriety in the 1990s and have enjoyed a recent comeback, Champion was founded in 1919. Gucci, the brand perhaps most guilty of writing their own name on their clothing, was born in 1921. There are certainly exceptions; Supreme is just starting out, with its inception in 1994. Largely, however, the brands we revere today have been around the block. Although it’s hard to pinpoint just where logomania began, it has moved forward full force in the past few years. Some purists may be offended by the choice these heritage brands have made to conform with the trends of the day, but high fashion is a dog-eat-dog world. When a brand has been around for a century it’s all too easy to get stuck in the

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past, but in order to maintain their status as a staple brand, adjustments have to be made. It may seem sacrilegious for Dior to create a dress with its name repeatedly embroidered on the straps, but details such as the beautiful craftsmanship in the tulle skirt and careful tailoring in the bodice have remained constant through the many iterations of their branding. Brands have just been keeping up with our demand, but why is the demand so high? Many of us love the idea of proudly sharing our ownership of name brand clothing, but why does it matter if our shirt is from YSL or Goodwill? Some of us may simply like the way it looks. If the way that Supreme wrote their name across those pants looks cool to you, then you should wear them with pride. By no means do I want to discourage you from wearing the things that make you happy. But we should be wary, especially those of us with champagne taste but a beer budget, of the fallacy that wearing designer clothing will make us appear wealthy and successful. Just like the perfect lives of the celebrities whose clothes we covet on social media, appearances are not always reality. It’s important not to test our financial health in order to give off the same air of wealth we perceive from influencers and friends alike. And in all of this, I would encourage you not to lose sight of the classics. The infamous Hermes belt looks amazing styled with a pair of well-fitting dark wash jeans, and although Coco Chanel may not have approved, that Gucci jacket could bring some much-needed modernity to a little black dress.


...appearances are not always reality.�

model: Liana Orfonidiy

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devotion to simplicity accenting one’s dedication to simplicity through all-white minimalistic pieces photographed by Alex Chua


how beauty products become cult classics written by Allie Kuo illustrated by Calem Robertson

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The word “cult” is one that evokes the thought of people following a charismatic yet extreme leader with sinister motives. Now, use it as an adjective to describe beauty products. Suddenly you’re looking at the headline for every listicle about must-have serums and mascaras; think “19 Cult Classic Beauty Products You Need In Your Life” (Bustle), “The 25 Best Cult Classic Skin-Care Products of All Time” (The Cut) and “14 Cult Beauty Products To Score At The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale” (Refinery29). You get the point. There is nothing vaguely malicious about MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick or Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser—both products that no cult beauty roundup is complete without. So how have we all come to understand this term as a synonym for beauty’s holy grail items? And how do products earn the coveted distinction usually reserved for Heaven’s Gate or devoted Rocky Horror fans? Looking at the word “cult” itself, its origins aren’t rooted in the maniacal devotion that it has come to stand for. Cult stems from the Latin word cultus, a noun with meanings that ranged from “tilling, cultivation” to “adoration” in the 17th century, according to Merriam-Webster. The latter definition is one that fits more closely with how the word is used in reference to subjects such as fashion and movies, but further iterations of “cult” shifted in following centuries. Its earliest English uses, also recorded in the 17th century, denoted worship and typically referred to specific branches of a religion. In the next century, cult became a secular phrase, finding usage as a term for admiration or devotion to non-religious things like fads and ideas. By the 19th century, the word came into its final use of “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious.”

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...the following that products like these have could be evocative of worshippers of a religion—or in a cult’s case, an unconventional belief that unites its followers.” Beauty lovers may not be attending the church of Benefit’s “Better Than Sex” mascara, but the following that products like these have could be evocative of worshippers of a religion—or in a cult’s case, an unconventional belief that unites its followers. While there isn’t a recorded first use of the phrase “cult beauty,” this can be considered a colloquialism that has developed from the way products can quickly gain a following through word-of-mouth and social media, especially with the effect that reviews and influencers have on a product’s popularity. However, even this phrase has seen a shift in meaning, particularly from the pre- to post-Internet era. In a Racked piece from 2018, Zan Romanoff explains that the colloquial use of the word “originated in a pre-internet era, when models and makeup artists would get hooked on Parisian drugstore products or Korean essences you legitimately couldn’t find in the US. Then, cult often did mean secret, or at least hard to know about, much less find. It was imbued with the glamour of insider knowledge; it had the air of the savvy and well-traveled.”

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Now, the “cult” label signifies a product that everyone and their mother knows about; it’s the NARS concealer with over 10,000 reviews on Sephora and the iconic pink Beautyblender that apparently sells 10 units per minute. There is nothing exclusive or hidden about a modern-day cult product—except perhaps how it managed to stand out among the aisles and aisles of lesser products that never achieved this distinction. Who is the authority in determining when a face cream will go down in history as one that is essential to every skincare routine? As it turns out, we all get to have a say. This is a world where others’ opinions play a large role in our buying journey. Psychology professor Robert Cialdini coined the term “social proof,” a psychological theory that describes how we rely on the behavior of those around us to affirm our own. This is not to say that these products don’t hold their own in terms of tangible effects, color payoff and other qualities that create fans who are more than happy with the results they get out of them.


However, there is an incredible power in mass amounts of positive reviews and endorsements from people who hold influence in the beauty world. The number of searches for the term “cult beauty” has steadily increased in the past 15 years, reaching its peak in November of 2017, with New York and California holding the highest number of searches. This makes sense if you consider the media and influencer meccas that can be found in New York City and Los Angeles, which are both populations that hold a lot of power in determining what’s hot and what’s not. But while not every person can describe themself as an influencer in the way that Kylie Jenner or Huda Kattan might, glowing comments about a product still hold plenty of weight when viewed collectively. A Bustle article, entitled “35 Cult Favorite Beauty Products Reddit Users Swear By,” points to the popular online forum as a source for cult products to emerge.

Sources: merriam-webster.com, cosmopolitan.com, trends.google.com

“Comments with the largest amount of likes get pushed to the top, so on the best beauty Reddits specifically, it’s really easy to see which products are cult favorites among the communities,” writes Maria Cassano. The key here is the volume of people who find that a product is worth talking about on the Internet, and having this sort of mass agreement serves as a testament to a product’s value. It’s these large amounts of individuals who share the same opinions—they, or we, are the ones who increase the validity of a product and potentially skyrocket it to a well-known and well-loved status. So if you consider how cults function, in their steadfast reverence and shared beliefs, the way in which beauty devotees view some of the cult beauty products isn’t too far off from these unorthodox social groups.

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artificial by design


written by Syeda Hasan & Colin Thompson photographed by Aditi Lohe

This article was written in collaboration between The Avenue and NU Sci, Northeastern’s student-run science magazine. Look for NU Sci’s Issue 39: Synthetic, on campus and online now at nuscimag.com! If you’re remotely fashion-inclined, you may have noticed that many designers are co-opting more renewably sourced fibers. In fact, this idea of “greenwashing”— the phenomenon describing companies disingenuously advertising green production, practices and policies—has plagued not only the fashion industry, but has also made its way into corporations such as PepsiCo. Organic cotton is in, and it may just be our way out of a toxic textile industry. More and more brands like Everlane and Able are discovering the magic of livable wages and safe working conditions. But what exactly are renewably sourced fibers? What makes them any different than the man-made, highly commercialized polyester or nylon? Does sustainable material always entail ethical production?

“Eco-friendly” materials include naturally sourced fibers, like bamboo and hemp. Alternative fibers, like Ingeo fiber, are also eco-friendly synthetics but do not rely as heavily on finite oil resources as polyester and nylon do. These options are undeniably more sustainable than utilizing fossil fuels to manufacture polyester and other unsustainable materials, but what are the long-term environmental implications of these products going to be? In 2008, NatureWorks began manufacturing textiles like Ingeo fiber, derived from plant material in an effort to curb the constant use of petroleum in synthetic textiles. This process used 62-68 percent less fossil fuels than traditional methods. Not only could these materials also be composted, but they reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90 percent. Imagine what a world with these sustainable practices could look like!

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As it stands, current practices around the manufacturing of synthetic textiles raise concerns over microfiber shedding, which leads to to microplastic pollution. That’s not to say that natural fibers like cotton and wool are perfect, either. In fact, natural fibers also require significant amounts of water. However, the impact of microplastic pollution is a heavy one. Synthetic textiles account for 35 percent of microplastics entering oceans. In a 2016 study looking at microfiber waste collected from conventional washing machines, it was estimated that a population of 100,000 people can produce almost 1.02 kilograms of microfibers every day and 793 pounds every year. These microplastics inevitably reach the ocean, where they can enter the diets of marine life. About 73 percent of fish caught at mid-ocean depths were shown to have microplastics in their stomachs. As for the waste that isn’t eaten by marine life, a lot of it ends up on the ocean floor or other inaccessible parts of the ocean, making it hard for researchers to fully understand the environmental impacts they impose. While novel ideas such as these are now hitting the mainstream, there are a few companies that are taking sustainable textiles and building entire brands around them. Stella McCartney, a brand using vegan leather and polyesterbased fur, has advocated for the use of sustainable synthetics. In 2017, the brand began working with Bolt Threads, a startup that specializes in the synthesis of artificial spider silk. The yeast-based protein threads are able to hold dye easier, requiring less water and dyes during the dyeing process.

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The more you know about the ethics of your clothing, you’ll undeniably be happier wearing them.” 69


While this news is very exciting, it’s pretty common for these experimentations to be squirreled away to the high fashion industry. It can be said that the use of such textiles is more of a public relations stunt than a product that can be purchased by the general public. This definitely was the case with Stella McCartney, as these artificial silk products have yet to hit stores. Nike, with its global brand recognition, has also moved towards sustainable production methods. While traditional leather manufacturing involves the disposal of portions of cow hides, Nike instead uses the discarded leather and turns them into fibers. From there, they are combined with synthetic fibers and fused into one material. While Nike is still operating in the space of traditional leather making, these efforts to integrate the use of synthetic fibers in products help to alleviate environmental impacts caused by industry. Ingeo fibers, manufactured by NatureWorks, use plants like corn, sugar cane, cassava and beet to seize carbon dioxide and transform it into long chains of sugar molecules, known as polymers. Glucose is then extracted from the plants and turned to dextrose. Dextrose is the naturally occurring form of glucose that is derived via the use of small catalytic molecules, known as enzymes, and a chemical reaction with water, known as hydrolysis. Dextrose is fermented using microorganisms, and produces lactic acid. Rings of lactide, essential to the synthesis of Ingeo fiber, are derived from the lactic acid and polymerized. Finally, long chains of polylactide (PLA) polymer, known as Ingeo fiber, are created from this process.

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models: Millie Wang and Syeda Hasan

If the long-drawn and meticulous manufacturing process of Ingeo fiber tells you anything, it is that a large investment of time and coinage need to be made for its production to be possible. Despite these textiles reducing greenhouse gas emissions and revolutionizing the face of sustainable fashion, Ingeo fiber has its drawbacks. According to Maria Burke of Chemistry World and Josef Spikyers of CIRFS, the European man-made fibers industry association, “[…] they are so far only used in niche markets because they cost several times more than regular polyester and their performance properties are not so good.” Ingeo fiber is not alone in its struggle to entice the excitement, and quite frankly, the pockets of consumers. The company Lenzing, based in Austria, uses wood pulp in the making of Tencel. Tencel is 50 percent more absorbent than cotton, but requires a third more viscose, which is used to manufacture rayon. Now, the only question that remains is whether consumers are as devoted to their environment as they are to their wallets. With all of these barriers to becoming an ethical consumer, it can be easy to think of the effort as obsolete. The greenwashing of labor practices can essentially render any allegedly sustainable production as paradoxical. Unsafe working conditions are still a common occurrence, and women represent 80% of the workers enduring these potential health hazards. Additionally, while many companies

implement minimum wages as per their countries, they do not implement livable wages that consider garment workers’ abilities to afford food, rent, healthcare, transportation and education. Brands that emphasize paying their workers minimum wage are only doing what is legal, the bare minimum, and not necessarily what is ethical. As a consumer devoted to holistically sustainable fashion, it can be hard to come across brands that check all the boxes. Brands that ensure living wages for their workers are not always devoted to producing sustainable materials. Alternatively, there are existing brands that boast sustainable products but are only accessible to niche, more elite communities. At what point do we delineate corporate responsibility and personal responsibility? Brands like Stella McCartney that aspire to revolutionize sustainable fashion only seem to be doing so for those who can afford it. Nike, despite all its efforts, still perpetuates only partially sustainable models and owes more transparency to its consumers concerning factory working conditions. While it seems like we might be moving towards policies and practices to protect us from falling victim to greenwashing brands, there are still a number of things that we can do to ensure our fashion is fair. Washing our synthetics less can cause less detriment to oceans. We can try to shop less and, when we do, to shop local or second-hand. And lest we forget, being an ethical consumer means doing your research. The more you know about the ethics of your clothing, the happier you’ll be wearing it.

sources: forbes.com, ran.org, hej-support.org, rsc.org, portals.iucn.org, pubs.acs.org, frontiersin.org, qz.com, nike.com, natureworksllc.com, goodonyou.eco

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THE NEW

selfcare

written and photographed by Natalie Hill

My mom had never heard the term “self-care” before I mentioned it to her, at least not in the way we think of it today. For her and my aunts, who are a part of the baby boomer generation, self-care was a new but growing attention to nutrition and fitness. An anti-smoking sentiment had just begun, women’s gyms were starting to pop up and Jane Fonda was reaching her peak popularity. My aunts also joked about book clubs being a great excuse for them to collectively escape the demands of housekeeping for a night to spend time with friends, not unlike the nights I spend with my friends gossiping and doing face masks. Mostly, though, they collectively identified with the sentiment that they were supposed to put themselves last, after housekeeping and raising children, and maybe even a career. As more and more mothers remained in the workplace, new magazines like Real Simple highlighted “simplifying your life” to ease the juggling of competing roles. Especially when the media constantly portrayed women effortlessly “doing it all” (see: “Leave It To Beaver’s” June Cleaver, who always wore heels and a string of pearls while dishwashing), taking time for oneself was seen as overindulgent or lazy.

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Fast forward to today—you open Instagram, head to your favorite lifestyle and beauty blog’s page, and click on the Story Highlight titled “Self-Care.” An energetic young woman guides you through every step of the process: first, light a few candles in your room; then, draw a bath (don’t forget to toss in a bath bomb or two). Remove your makeup and replace it with a face mask—you choose one labeled “detoxifying.” Grab a book of poems or your favorite Netflix show and melt into the bath water as all the stressors of the week dissolve into steam. You plan to wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow so you’ll have time for a session of appguided morning yoga. Congratulations, your self-care routine is complete—at least, according to Instagram. Most of us would agree that in reality, caring for yourself includes other things, too, like turning down burdensome responsibilities, cutting out toxic relationships and not beating yourself up over a subpar final exam grade. Much of the dialogue surrounding mental health emphasizes “selfcare” as a means of managing emotional and psychological wellness. While Instagram and beauty bloggers’ suggestions aren’t bad—taking a bath is a completely valid way to relax—we should ensure that we do enough to achieve the actual goal of self-care: to fully clarify and re-center physically, mentally and emotionally.


It’s important to remember that self-care looks different for everyone...”

It may seem like an important and prevalent concept in our lives, but our contemporary notion of self-care hasn’t been around for very long. The notion initially surfaced as a tool to maintain oppression by labeling certain groups as unable to take care of themselves; it was used to discount the agency and humanity of enslaved African people, immigrants and women during the suffrage era, as noted in Slate by Aisha Harris. It resurfaced in the late 1960s and 70s in the field of medicine when healthcare providers encouraged mentally ill and elderly patients to adopt various everyday self-care practices to manage their symptoms and regain

models: Brooke Glatzhofer and Emma Ledesema

some autonomy. Academics began studying how workers in high-risk and emotionally daunting professions (like trauma specialists and emergency response specialists) managed stress caused by their profession. Here emerged the idea that one cannot adequately take on the problems of others without first taking care of themself, which remains the underlying notion of self-care today. During the civil and women’s rights movements of the 1960s, self-care became a political act. As a reaction to the shortcomings of a highly white, patriarchal medical system,


“

Caring for myself is not selfindulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.�

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sources: bitchmedia.org, hellogiggles.com, slate.com


women (in particular, women of color) took their health into their own hands to reclaim bodily autonomy and wellbeing. It also sought to combat the notion that women must always appear effortlessly pulled-together without showing signs of effort or distress. As Audre Lorde, prominent activist and writer, wrote in her 1988 book “A Burst of Light,” “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Changing the narrative from self-indulgence to selfpreservation has been crucial for the rise of self-care. Kira Wolpow, a Northeastern student, claims that for her, self-care is anything that allows her to relax and clear her head. She does this by getting outdoors, and feels that most messaging about self-care is too much about products and brands trying to sell products. My friend Julius BallHeldman doesn’t quite feel the same way. He noted that as a male, self-care gets a lot less attention, from basic hygiene needs like moisturizing to the more indulgent idea of treating yourself. “A lot of the positive self-care rituals I’ve come to practice are direct results of what my parents have learned and taught me,” he told me over coffee.

The rise of social media and beauty influencers has certainly played into how self-care is defined today, but many feel that a stressful political climate is to blame, too. The 2016 election coincided with the introduction of the idea of tuning out the news as an act of self-care. Many also attribute seeing a therapist to the normalization of selfcare; as my aunts noted, it is far less stigmatized now (being covered under insurance plans helps, too). Self-care has helped many understand and embrace mental health, too: to be encouraged to pay attention to and prioritize yourself can do wonders for young people who don’t typically receive such messaging. There are shortcomings, too: often, the dialogue around selfcare doesn’t extend beyond a skincare routine, leaving more serious measures (like confronting a friend about an issue) behind. It also can be difficult to draw the line between self-care and actual laziness or overindulgence. It’s important to remember that self-care looks different for everyone; the same practices aren’t beneficial or accessible to everybody. Above all, keep in mind the goal: give yourself the time and respect that you deserve to live your best life.


Georgia: Fashion’s Next Destination

written by Elena Chivadze photographed by Gilbert Wong

“Where are you from?” When you start university, this is the question you’re most frequently asked, usually followed by a polite nod and mutual acknowledgment. My answer, however, is most often followed by a blank stare. Most people don’t know about Georgia, a small country in eastern Europe, and I frequently find myself explaining that no, I am not American and I am not from the state of Georgia. Known for its extraordinary wine and delicious cheese boats, Georgia lies between Russia in the north and Turkey in the south. Although not very well known, it has recently been thrust into the spotlight of the fashion industry. Demna Gvasalia, a fellow Georgian, has transformed the fashion industry and made contemporary streetwear the next big thing as creative director of Balenciaga and founder of Vetements. With his newfound fame, he has also brought

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awareness to his home country and the ongoing Russian occupation of Georgia. If you look closely, you’ll see that the symbols and letters in his latest Vetements Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection are all connected to Georgia. Coats adorned with Georgian flags and letters emblazoned with “free borders” in the country’s native language all relate to the bombing and terror perpetrated by Russia in 1993, which led to the loss of a vast amount of land for Georgia. However, the Georgian letters are not the only familiar aspect of Vetements’ shows. Take, for example, the Vetements Granny Bag. The name of the bag can be taken literally as they are an exact replica of the bags carried by older women in the 80s for the purpose of storing fruit and vegetables from local food markets. This has not been the only time Gvasalia has taken inspiration from the grandmothers of the Soviet Union. When looking at Vetements long floral dresses, Georgians can clearly recognize the exact type of floral fabrics that previously adorned grandmas strolling through their neighbourhoods.


models: Nicko Beridze, Giorgi Beridze, Nino Chikovani and Elena Chivadze

Another piece from this collection was especially reminiscent for Georgians. What looks like a plain white shirt for men with random handwritten notes on them is actually a take on a Georgian high school tradition. Teens in Georgia wear these types of plain white blouses at graduation, and take turns writing goodbye notes and wishes for the future in colorful markers. As a Georgian, seeing familiar symbols and letters plastered all over social media and knowing that foreign viewers don’t realize the significance is meaningful.

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With the success of Gvasalia, Georgians have turned their attention to rising local Georgian designers such as George Keburia, a Tbilisi-based designer and creator of the famous skinny sunglasses. Celebrities have also taken to Georgian designers, such as Lady Gaga, who wore a red wool dress from Avtandil Spring/Summer 2018 Ready-toWear collection to a Lionel Richie concert. Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid have also sported earrings by Georgian designers Lako Bukia and Natia Khutsishvili.


I’ve not only witnessed these changes from the outside, but working with another Georgian designer, Avtandil, allowed me to learn about Georgian culture and its views towards fashion. Working closely with the marketing director and the merchandiser of the brand, I discovered various characteristics specific to the Georgian consumer. With the influx of streetwear due to Vetements and Balenciaga, Georgians have shifted their style from elegant, put-together outfits to rugged looks. The streets are filled with expensive brands and on-trend outfits. Georgians enjoy the feeling of eliteness, knowing that their statement pieces are not going to be repeated easily by someone else. Therefore, they are difficult consumers to accommodate. While working at Avtandil, I encountered many customers who ignored the store’s main products and asked the designer for a sneak peek at his latest collection pieces from shows in Berlin. This quality leads to a perception of Georgians as snobs. But what can we say? We like to express ourselves and we like to do it well.

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HOLY GRAIL accentuating the grace and poise of the divine while celebrating its lavishness photographed by Rose Ajegwu

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#canceled(?) written by Dea Davita Krisanda What does it mean to be canceled today? We find ourselves in a world full of allegations and polarizing responses as the result of a movement that is both empowering and devastating. The phenomenon that is “cancel culture” encourages us as viewers to hold the figures we see on our screens to a higher standard than we have in the past, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Many previously respected celebrities and public figures are abruptly “canceled,” which leaves fans heartbroken and confused. Hollywood and the many films and television shows it produces have such a strong and compelling power towards its audiences that when confronted with such revelations, we hesitate and question: to cancel or not to cancel?

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According to Meredith Clark, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Department of Media Studies, cancel culture is “an act of withdrawing from someone (or something) whose expression—whether political, artistic or otherwise— was once welcome or at least tolerated, but no longer is.” Therefore, one can see cancel culture as a situation when you fully abandon your admiration of something or someone. With the context of #MeToo movement in mind, cancel culture became an essential step towards intervention and protest. Moreover, “canceling” has contributed to the need for social awareness and political correctness that has finally led to people being held accountable for their actions. After years of being ignored, it is time to fully realize what is underneath the gloss on which the entertainment industry so heavily relies.


With all of the allegations made against prominent Hollywood figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey, sometimes it is hard to let go of the admiration we once had for them. In particular, I am struggling to wrap my head around Woody Allen’s decades-old sexual assault allegations by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. For someone who is a cinephile with a love of Allen’s romantic comedies, these allegations are a hard blow. The more critical investigations and comparisons that are made regarding his life and filmography, the more alarmed I am with their similarities. His portrayal of the characters he played and the on-screen romances with his female co-stars, usually characterized as young, weak and unstable, made it clear that Allen’s life is no longer an inspiration and is now more of an opportunity for reflection. As difficult as it is, the notion of “separating art from the artist” should no longer be applicable in Allen’s case or anyone else’s. Woody Allen is just one of the countless other public figures who have been accused of sexual assault, such as Ed Westwick of Gossip Girl, comedian Aziz Ansari and even notable fashion photographers like Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier.

As difficult as it is, the notion of ‘separating art from the artist’ is and should no longer be applicable in Allen’s case or even anyone else’s.”

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But how do we know when and who to cancel? In a world with such rapid exchange of “heavily-subscribed” information, it is harder to ignore our own biases and others’ opinions. Social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, that first helped launch the cancel culture movement can now populate the web with overuse of the original concept. The term “canceled” itself has become common in insignificant contexts and no longer serves its original purpose. While it is important that we can find a connection to a place where we feel safe, it is also important to ask, “Where is the line?” We can’t simply follow every other bandwagon, nor can we allow our favoritism to take over. A hesitation becomes necessary for us to process the situation by ourselves and to make a decision that is both critical and rational.

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Nevertheless, another positive outcome from cancel culture is the opportunity for replacement of the accused, post #MeToo. While it is unfortunate that it takes such discoveries to do so, the takedown of powerful men leaves the door open for more diversity in Hollywood and other industries. The most significant of these of these replacements would be women. In connection to “the glass ceiling,” which is a barrier women encounter when assuming leadership roles, “the glass cliff” occurs when women are more likely than men to be appointed to leadership roles in times of crisis. In this political climate, hiring men is considered to be more of a liability to a company than hiring women. One can still argue that women are underrepresented and that this might resemble tokenism, lessening this step forward. Even so,

sources: www.nytimes.com, www.theodysseyonline.com, www.esquire.com


we should still embrace the situation as an opportunity to start a new conversation about representation and inclusion. Decreasing the representation of toxic men and replacing them with new voices of the next generation is precisely the target that we have been aiming for. Now, as a film enthusiast or even for those of you who are superfans, it will probably take a long time for you to accept cancel culture. I know by experience that it is hard to let go of your devotion, even if you know that every part of it is wrong. That is why this phenomenon is important— it reminds us to critically evaluate what the media and Hollywood presents to us. Cancel culture also shows just how easily our beliefs can be exploited, either by the media, the people around us or even ourselves. It is important to keep in mind that sometimes taking a moment to think and develop our own opinions is okay. Stop, take a step back and ask: to cancel or not to cancel?

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Feminist Statements Through Clothing: Then & Now written by Olivia Mastrosimone photographed by Avery Roche

Clothes are powerful tools of communication. From something as small as supporting a favorite band to something as large as aligning yourself with a specific political movement, our clothes are how we communicate identity. When it comes to the history of women’s fashion, women have been taking their gloves off to fight their oppression through fashion–literally. Whether it was the Gibson Girls causing a stir by stepping outside with bare hands or Mods sparking hysteria with their miniskirts, women have been using fashion to change and challenge the limitations of gender for decades.

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It’s easy to overlook how hard the women of the last two centuries fought so that women in 2019 could go gloveless in public without making a political statement. It may seem crazy to us now, but there were times where the zip of a trouser or the flash of a thigh could garner quite the pushback, sending society into a tizzy whenever women decided for themselves what it meant to be female. During the first wave of feminism, Suffragettes made a statement with their clothing by not making one at all. These women conformed to the traditionally feminine Edwardian fashions to ensure their style would not distract from their already radical message. Yet, there was an exception to this:


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models: Kylee Roberts and Hope Swanson

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the Bloomer dress. Thought of as one of the first feminist pieces of clothing, the dress, created by Amelia Bloomer in the 1850s, was a loose tunic over baggy trousers. The trend was championed by Suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony, who promoted the style as a less restrictive, more comfortable everyday dress, removing one of the many social restrictions women faced in the 19th century. Some feminist styles are a bit more accessible to us now than bloomers. For instance, women’s fashion during the 1920s was as subversive as it was chic, with many styles from the era still being worn by women today. During the 20s, women socialized with unprecedented boldness, ushering in a new era of boyish styles. Chanel’s straight silhouettes went mainstream, while hemlines rose. Flappers rejected corsets

and adopted bobbed hairstyles, breaking away from centuryold ideas of femininity. Because women historically progressed their agenda through feminist fashion, it is hard to determine trends that speak to feminism in 2019. There is a dilemma that exists when comparing feminist clothing of the 2010s to that of the 20th century. It isn’t fair to say that our “Girl Power” t-shirts from Forever 21 are as much of a political statement as the miniskirt was when women left their houses bare-legged for the first time. Because these trendsetters fought so hard for us, does our clothing still need to be revolutionary? Yes—but in different ways. Women have come far since the days of the Bloomer dress. Not only have we gained social, political and economic freedom, but we’ve gone through a sartorial liberation. In the Western world, we have the freedom to essentially wear whatever we like. It’s a statement to dress stereotypically feminine, it’s a statement to dress androgynously—as women of the 21st century, everything we choose to wear is a statement because we have the right to choose how we present ourselves. The most feminist thing we can do now is acknowledge the history that has brought us to this point and celebrate everyone’s unique perspective that can be showcased through what we wear.

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Working Hard or Hardly Working? Do Millennials Know the Difference? written by Sara Chen photographed by Izabella Comstock

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The entire scene of my everyday morning routine could be turned into a GIF with the caption “#MondayThings.” I blindly fumble around my nightstand to silence the sound of my alarm, seldom let myself drift back to sleep, robotically gather what I need to make a cup of coffee—a little bit like an assembly worker from the 18th century—and am out the door in a scramble of minutes. Regardless of the context, this scenario is applicable to anyone in a highstress type of working environment, and we all relive it at the beginning of every day. On campus, I see co-ops drown themselves in coffee while balancing a multitasking frenzy, and students weaving through oncoming traffic to avoid missing a second of class. No matter the situation, we have all devoted ourselves to a grueling, fastpaced routine—the keyword in this toxic cadence being fast. Welcome to the twenty-first century, where every Millennial and Gen Z member is feeding into the mentality of “work hard, play hard,” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” The idea of being a “hustler” is simply subscribing to a mindset that glorifies the hardships of working. Words of encouragement can be a coping mechanism to help others persevere through challenges of a working day. However, a mantra built around neglecting long-term health should not

However, a mantra built around neglecting longterm health should not be shrugged off.”

be shrugged off. There has been a massive shift in the past decade of integrating the “hustle hard” mentality into daily working culture. In the halls, I hear others boast about only getting three hours of sleep to study for a test. The reigning idea of “paying our dues” builds a misconception that there is some sort of equivalent exchange at the end of a corporate rainbow. Somehow, a universal belief was built under the false pretense that the amount of work we exert into daily life will, in turn, create the exact corresponding results we crave. Now, I have limited understanding in the realm of math, but even I know this is a naive dream. The reason we fall prey to the delusion of “what you give is always equal to what you get” is because, at the core, we are all ambitious dreamers. Millennials and members of Gen Z are passionate. We have witnessed the implementation and then rapid growth of technology, and we know firsthand that the possibilities for the future are limitless. Our seemingly innocent passion for changing the world has actually allowed us to be easily manipulated by corporate culture that has seeped into the mainstream.

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According to a Harvard Business Review article authored by Leslie Perlow and Jessica Porter, in the 19th century, the regulation of limiting work hours and workdays actually increased outputs as expensive mistakes and accidents decreased. When applying this to the business world, having strategic breaks and time off actually makes teams of consultants more productive. Sleep deprivation and long overtime hours are detrimental to your output, resulting in exhaustion in exchange for disappointing work. Companies have started making a change to shorter hours with incentive to maximize efficiency in the given period of time. Time is a resource we seem to take for granted, caught up in the rush for innovation and future success. The root of the problem is not simply “working too hard,” but, in actuality, is frankly wasting time working for the wrong things. We decide to become interns to observe a real-life work environment. We go to school to learn from professors. What if we tried learning from mistakes? What if we tried learning from our own experiences? I realize that internships and co-ops are an important place to start, but that is just it— a start. They should never be the routine we mindlessly comply with because if we want to be great leaders in our industry. We should work on taking risks and doing things that are worth taking notice of. In the world of hustle, acknowledging the issue of the word is only the beginning.

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We waste our time in the simple tasks of demanding work, but there is a stark difference between work that is hard and work that scares us.”

The true crime here is the obedience we have devoted to a routine for the sake of the word “hustle.” As a generation who prides ourselves on working towards breakthrough changes, we rarely apply this mentality to our lives. We waste our time in the simple tasks of demanding work, but there is a stark difference between work that is hard and work that scares us. We should be pursuing the projects and passions that would make us immensely vulnerable. A fashion intern may find it easier to fade into the shadows as a lowly assistant instead of using their time to work on designs. A student in school studying literature can, instead of only exhausting themselves studying past writers, start writing their own novel. The work ethic of millennials is far from the source of the problem. Our work ethic is admirable. The problem is that we sacrifice our longterm futures for an outdated, short-term idea that blindly following the traditional path our parents took of submitting our individuality to a conventional routine will lead to an innovative result. We should be working hard, but hard work needs to include allocating our time in an smart, efficient manner while pushing our interpersonal boundaries to promote long-term growth. The drive of our generation could be exponentially more impactful if we devoted our time to ourselves.


model: Megha Rao

sources: econ.yale.edu, hbr.org, salon.com

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Borrowed Stories what imitation takes from us

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written and photographed by Olivia Laskowski “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” -Oscar Wilde There isn’t a word for the uncomfortable hesitation I feel when someone asks where I got my shirt or if they “can borrow it sometime.” My initial pullback is met with immediate guilt. Why am I being petty about where my shirt is from? It’s just a bag, of course you should let your friend borrow it! I have seen this narrative unfold for myself and others since we learned to want what others have. In middle school, I had a friend who confessed to me that she lied to other people about where all her shirts were from to preserve their uniqueness. In high school, my best friend bought a purse on the spot upon discovering that it was the last available in the state. Late in college, with my purchases constantly popping up in the shopping cart of a friend of mine, I resorted to heavily shopping in the vintage section or keeping items out of my Instagram until they sold out. In all these instances, we were trying to protect our image from replication. The trap feels even more precarious when someone doesn’t even make the request, effectively just taking what you had—oh, the discomfort of seeing your friend show up with something you’ve donned to let you know with a grin that they have one now, too! The shirt you had, that you lovingly chose and carried home, has lost something. It isn’t as special now. Why does this replication, a purchase of something likely produced in the thousands, make some feel uncomfortable without the words or concepts to explain why?

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models: Emma Kaeser, Ashley Juliano, Anya Losik and Sofia Shmeleva

Our outward presentation, as much as we want to downplay it, is part of the voice we use to present ourselves to the world around us. It can contain a multitude of our little commitments: to who we are, to who we want to be, to the unique things we want people to notice about us. It is why we have an attachment to our favorite things. Whether it is a colorful item to say we don’t take ourselves too seriously or a color-coordinated Instagram to display you care enough to put yourself together, we follow these practices which intrinsically have little consequence and are displayed to communicate with the world. We are in a time where being seen as an individual, for who you really are, is an ever-present challenge and aspiration. As Instagram rose, many of us did our best to find our place in the shuffle. Now, it appears the pendulum swings back, and a focus on authenticity is gaining ground for those of us who previously bought the trendy shirt, ate at the photogenic restaurant and aligned with a “theme” on our page. These practices, which we originally used to fit into a visual clique online, have become our tools to twist and bend to differentiate ourselves. However, while some harness visual tools to break the mold, others’ “follow-the-leader” mentality perpetuates the recycling of what others are doing.

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It is rarely about a particular item or practice at all. Our outward presentations are a confluence of how we dress ourselves, how we speak, how we share and what interests and concepts we tie publicly to our identity. Our personas are living and robust, formed by our lived experience, and are rarely able to be shaken by an item or aesthetic being co-opted. This is especially true with the reality that there is a finite number of trendy items available to us. Yet, when the commitments we’ve made to our visual identity manifest in those of others, we experience discomfort. This paradox presents the core of the issue: it isn’t about the item or specific thing being copied, it is about having that layer of ourselves removed, recycled and re-packaged by another person who did not decide that aesthetic choice actually meant something. The reason why it hurts when someone skims something surface level from us, then, is because we know how we arrived there. We know what experiences, what inspirations, what thoughts or what aims were put into presenting that piece of ourselves to the world. We question, “Am I that easy to copy? Is what I’ve built really so easy to do? Is it even unique at all?” This is the way things work with aesthetics; they are easy to replicate yet require experience that makes


them difficult to achieve. It’s not unlike someone looking at contemporary art and asserting they, or anyone else, could have created it. Yet as the adage goes, “but, you didn’t.” Of course now that you have seen the final piece, you could collect the materials, trace the lines and fill the space in a similar fashion. However, what you couldn’t do was have the experiences that inspired the work’s conception in the first place. You didn’t wake up one morning with a concept and you couldn’t have imagined the form without a template to trace over it. Without the artist creating it first, you really could not have “done that.” You could buy her outfit; you can look just like her if you have the money and take the time to track down the pieces. But you didn’t play around with layering and re-layering to do so. You didn’t envision the palette she brought to life. You could have taken that photo, but you didn’t conduct the trial and error to find the right angle. You can fashion your Instagram feed’s tone and subject matter to project the aura of another creator you admire. But, you can’t see the world through their eyes to understand why the editing resonates

with them and how they see the world that way. You can perform someone’s interests or hobbies, but you can’t replicate their passion for them, or the joy that they get from something for the sake of doing it. Because an imitator only sees the end result—the cool outfit, the great line drawing, the best five photos of a shoot—they don’t see the actual work that went into creating these things. To a creator who spent the time and effort to make something, the copying has much more gravity than to someone who did it in five minutes after seeing it. There is no way for the imitator to know what they might have taken from you because they take it at face value. Because they don’t think about the behind-the-scenes, it may seem like you throw a hissy fit over the bag, the pair of jeans or the composition of a photo. How can you discuss a theft with someone who doesn’t know what they took? The lines of imitation, inspiration and creative exchange are incredibly tangled and very blurry. While social media’s marketplace of information and exchange has some


beautiful results, it also has an ability to alienate us from our own identity. Due to the nature of constant sharing, a rift has grown between the way we see others and the consideration that goes into how someone presents themselves. So, when someone imitates that outward presentation, is it flattering or is it a form of identity theft? It depends. Imitation ranges in insidiousness from somewhat innocuous creative exchange all the way to plagiarism or creative theft. When the product we are selling is ourselves, navigating these blurred lines is challenging, emotionally taxing and deeply personal. It is hard to swallow how we feel when something that is a piece of who we are is reproduced, and even more so when we question whether or not we have a right to be upset. Material possessions, technically, are simply no more than things. But, these things are often the physical manifestation of our inner lives. They become mementos of ourselves that we can share and exchange with others. It is why we have particular attachments to certain clothes that represent ourselves while other items lie meaningless in our closet drawers. It’s why we have the feeling of not being true to ourselves when we try on a specific shirt or pose a certain way, only to discover that while it may look cool in theory, it isn’t really you at all.

If our outward expression is a collection of things we haven’t really chosen for ourselves, we have effectively separated our inner qualities from how we are seen. In some sense, when imitation is used as the primary tool to create a visual identity it is unrepresentative of who we really are. We have missed an opportunity to present who we are or who we want to be to the world. Not every moment of dressing, posing or posting carries the weight of self-explanation, but if our entire persona becomes a collection of things we have copied with no personal value, we have done ourselves a great disservice. The accumulation of things we surround ourselves with, and the choices we make about our outward life, say important things about us. When we are attracted to facets of others’ public lives, we have an opportunity to engage with and understand who both they and we are. Inspiration can be an incredibly powerful tool for self development and creativity because in inspiration, reflection is implicit. To ask, “How did you think to do this? What inspires you? What is the story of how you found that?” is to pay homage to the experiences someone has had to create something you are feeling connected to. To consider this is to connect not only to others, but to ourselves and consider what is driving us and who we want to grow into. Breaking down these moments of discomfort and fear of imitation can be a powerful tool to spur new creative change. When we skim someone else’s visual identity and repackage it as our own, we rob ourselves of the value that comes from building something for ourselves and putting thought and stories into our presentation of self. It seems apparent that the most intoxicating and fascinating pieces of others’ identities are derived from their novelty and uniqueness—which likely could be only the result of the confluence of experiences that make them who they are. Sometimes, these beautiful things are not one size fits all. The most beautiful part of someone’s identity is the fact that it is theirs.


How many

LIKES

do we need to

LOVE

ourselves? written by Amanda Haroutunian illustrated by Juwon Lee

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At this point, it’s effortless. As you apply the final touches to your morning routine, you can’t help but notice the way the morning sun reflects off your face, illuminating the newly applied highlight on your cheeks and the glitter on your eyelids. The initial thought that comes to mind is to document the notable moment with a selfie…or ten. After careful consideration and numerous filters, a picture is chosen, and anxiety builds as you hit the “share” button. A moment of hesitation follows as the ratio of likes per minute doesn’t adhere to your usual standards, and you begin to consider deleting the post. A weight is lifted off your shoulders, however, when a follower comments a heart-eye emoji under the post, and your picture is deemed to be “insta-worthy.”

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Instagram has flourished beyond expectations since its debut in 2010, climbing up the social media ladder as one of the most-used applications of this generation, with approximately 1 billion monthly users. Everyone has an account now; millennials, parents, celebrities, companies, dogs—you name it. It has given a platform and a voice to anyone who has something to share. Despite its modest beginnings as a means of sharing photos of one’s day-to-day life (with preset filters on top), its growing popularity has created a society obsessed with validation. Dedication to maintaining a good profile is evident across demographics, and the tendency to document our lives has increased from the culmination of technology and social media. It has led to a lifestyle that revolves around

“selfie culture .” The cultural phenomenon surrounding social media isn’t all negative though, because selfie culture and Instagram have actually given many women around the world a newfound sense of confidence. Women who fall outside of the common beauty standards are celebrated for their confidence through likes and follows; and as a result, are gaining attention from mass media. Instagram provides a platform to post about self-love and empowerment which inspires other women to do the same. Trends like “#NoMakeup” or “#NoFilter” have encouraged women to post natural pictures of themselves and their bodies although they may not be deemed “perfect” by pre-existing societal standards. Women are celebrated for their beauty outside of mainstream convention, and trends have grown into movements as various companies are in the process of rebranding through the recruitment of a wide range of models, diverse in size, culture, height and more.

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Photo


Despite the positive impact of this newfound concept of empowering natural beauty on Instagram, it does not come entirely without controversy. It’s difficult to determine the authenticity of “influencers” through their online profiles, as it’s hard to tell whether someone is staying true to themselves or if they’re merely posting to give followers content they crave. Someone may post a picture in their bedroom, exuding effortlessness and claiming that they just woke up. But how natural is a picture if it was edited and posed? How toxic is it when someone with a large platform falsely portrays natural beauty? If an influencer is claiming to veer from mainstream standards, it can be degrading to the audience’s confidence if they aren’t actually staying true to the image they’re branding. This problem is demonstrated by celebrities who claim to celebrate their natural bodies but ultimately alter images to make themselves appear thinner and edit their skin to make it look clearer. Although people are free to post whatever content they choose, how is this affecting the views women, especially young women, have of themselves?

It’s evident that there is a fine line dividing the pros and cons of a platform like Instagram. While it can provide opportunities for empowerment and reassurance for people seeking inclusivity, it can also become toxic when people begin to compare themselves to edited and unrealistic images of women. It’s important to understand that Instagram can be immensely filtered and often curated to simulate perfection. Although we’d like to believe platforms like Instagram and society in general have progressed past portraying unattainable beauty standards, is Instagram really that different from photoshopped models on magazine covers? It definitely can be, and it’s important to attempt to maintain a feed that boosts your self-esteem as opposed to making you feel lesser than. Surrounding your social media with positive content and remembering to periodically step away from your screen can help avoid feelings of inadequacy and empower you to love yourself as you are.

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photographed by Simran Gvalani

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model: Kristina Kiseleva

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