THE AVENUE Spring 2018 Vol. 7 Issue 1
outsider A NEW NORMAL
THE AVENUE Spring 2018 Vol. 7 Issue 1
President Danny McGorry
Treasurer Meredith Fisher
Editor-in-Chief Shelby Robin
Videographer J Brimeyer
Senior Creative Director Samantha Isaacs Creative Director Tova Lenchner Communications Director Halle Butler Communications Associates Victoire Cointy, Kaitlin Jahn and Mikaela Amundson Deputy Editor Dana Dworkin Beauty Editor Morgan Chemidlin Lifestyle Editor Phillip Zminda Menâ€™s Fashion Director Michelle Rodriguez Womenâ€™s Fashion Director Valerie Butler Senior Graphic Designer Fernanda Fiszner
Head Photographers Greg Hackel-Johnson, Alec Suthy and Lindis Barry Photographers Louise-Audrey Zenezini, Claire Cramm, Meryl Prendergast, Sofia Bergmann, Ho Yan Ho, Diya Khullar, Riley Robinson, J Brimeyer, Simran Gvalani, Jill Kligler, Nguyen Phi Dieu Hang, Jacqueline DeVore, Fernanda Lopez, Sunny Na, Hanna Cormier, Christina Philippides and Kate Coiro Writers Melissa Wells, Jessica Varner, Jill Kligler, Salma Falah, Catherine Barna, Maddie Casey, Anne Koessler, Madelaine Millar, Dipshika Chawla, Amarie Calovini, Sade Adewunmi, Jessica Tabor, Halle Butler, Kiley Choi, Sofia Bergmann, Cheyenne Tang, Kaela Anderson, Brittany Clottey and Louise-Audrey Zenezini Stylists Alexa Portigal, Moana Yamaguchi, Emma Cubellis, Abigail Manos, Jackson Wang and Catherine Barna
Associate Graphic Designer Sarah Porter
Models Grant Auber, Karen Tran, Andrew Farrar, Josh Humphries, Elisabeth Holliday, Brittney Ifemembi and Sasha Shenk
Graphic Designers Karina Masri, Phoebe Lasater, Claudia Bracy, Hannah Wolfenson and Sarah Ceniceros
Makeup & Nail Artists Dana Dworkin, Rebecca Lustig, Diya Khullar, Karli Brush and Halle Butler
letter from the
president An outsider can be anyone. It can be you. This issue is a celebration of our differences in identity and style. We are here in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, immigrants, curves, frizzes, fly-aways, rebels and everything in between. As writers and readers, we must acknowledge and respect each other’s points of uniqueness and address divisive conversations about our identity. It is time to reject the fashion norms of whitewashing, Photoshopping, uniformity and silence. The Avenue is inspired by “the outsider” to call out injustices and to speak up for the marginalized individuals in fashion and society. Everyone has a voice and style that they deserve to share with the world and we are lucky to have this platform to do so. The Avenue believes beauty is having confidence in your differences. No magazine editor, blogger or Instagram account should have the right to dictate what beauty is to a heterogeneous world. Beauty is conviction, self-respect and the feeling that you deserve to feel every day. I say let’s start with a sensible heel and a smile and go from there.
Danny McGorry President
table of contents
Harajuku at Home
Beauty Beyond the Binary
If Twiggy Was â€œCurvyâ€?
Between Two Sides of the World
Clothes Have No Gender
I Love My Hair
Balenciaga and the View from the Bargain Bin
Blending In: Finding Home on a Foreign Campus
Why I Wear Ugly Clothes
Minimalism Through Fashion
The Beauty of Imperfections
One Risk in Every Outfit
Confessions of the Weird Euro Girl
Shades of Color in the Beauty Industry
Count to the Beat, Not the Pound
Measuring Up: A Closer Look into Clothing Sizes
Hint of Hue
When Your Niche Is Nowhere
Rebellious Art and the Fashion World
harajuku AT HOME
written by Anne Koessler photographed by Claire Cramm
I can still picture the unique essence that everyone exuded while walking down the streets of Harajuku, Japan. Despite the three years since my last visit, these memories of the Harajuku vibe are as fresh as the moment I became part of this exciting crowd. Just imagine it: bright pink shades complementing an unexpected pastel blue, heels at a staggering six inches and most of all, the adorableness found in anime culture expressed through dress. With wearers known as Harajuku girls, this style encompasses every aspect of the word “kawaii,” the Japanese word for cute. In the 1980s, Harajuku fashion became very popular among the Japanese youth and tourists flocked from all over the world to witness this unique expression of creativity. Street performers and teenagers dressed in crazy outfits occupied Takeshita Street, home of numerous fancy boutiques featuring Harajuku-inspired clothing. The popularity of Takeshita Street marked the beginning of a movement that Harajuku girls created, inspiring people of all backgrounds and ages to step out of their comfort zones. Since Harajuku fashion has few boundaries, the possibilities are endless. Most importantly, creativity is the main feature of this style since its purpose lies in self-expression and uniqueness. Likewise, confidence is key when styling this look since it can be as bizarre as wearing a waist-length pink wig with mismatched printed clothes. This look of mixing-and-matching different and unusual patterns is crucial to Harajuku identity. So don’t shy away from wearing a black and white polka dot shirt with red striped flare pants—this embodies that kawaii quality Harajuku girls masterfully convey!
Gothic Lolita, a specific look within Harajuku fashion, became popular in the late 1990s. Despite its outlandish and bizarre dress code, it still remains popular today among Japanese youth. Originating in Japan, this style is heavily influenced by Victorian fashion. It features dark colors, Gothic makeup, and often channels punk style with the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. On the other hand, Sweet Lolita is a variation of the Gothic Lolita. Still channeling Victorian style, this version is a feminine and innocent twist on the original dark Gothic look. Pastel colors, ribbons and childlike clothing are usually seen in this style. Despite sharing identical names, Gothic and Sweet Lolita have no connection to Vladimir Nabokovâ€™s controversial novel Lolita. Because many cultures, including American, are defined by a more simplistic wardrobe, most people shy away from sporting the Harajuku look. Other than on Halloween, how many times have you seen someone walking down the street wearing pink head-to-toe with a bright blue wig
and dramatic makeup? This unique style calls for more widespread use in everyday fashion rather than remaining a novelty in the streets of Harajuku. Globalizing this fashion trend allows a special part of Japanese culture to saturate and spread everywhere it hits, whether it is across the world in America or closer to home in Korea. While this look is representative of Japanese culture, it can easily find its place elsewhere in the world. Channeling a Harajuku girl does not necessarily equate to dressing in a loud style completely from head to toe. Implementing some of this eccentric style into a basic wardrobe easily spices things up and creates a beautifully intriguing look. An outfit can be as simple as wearing knee-high socks with a baby pink mini skirt and a cute graphic tee you find lying around. Likewise, Harajuku makeup always makes a statement: pair an everyday look with extra-rosy cheeks, dramatic false lashes and soft pastels on the eyelid to make the eyes pop.
models: Ally Baker and Moana Grace Yamaguchi
For the more adventurous trendsetters, the Gothic Lolita or the Sweet Lolita style never fails. This look is easy to include in everyday fashion due to its focus on a uniform color code. Pairing a black dress with a lacy and flowy bottom with knit heather-grey tights and a light grey scarf is a perfect winter look. Topping it with black boots and an oversized beige coat softens the quirky aspect of the look while remaining cozy during the frigid weather.
Style has always been an expression of a personâ€™s identity, whether we intentionally dress a certain way or subconsciously gravitate towards different types of fashion. Harajuku fashion is considered one of the most unique styles due to the intricacy and thought behind every piece of the look. Instead of conforming to predictable leggings and oversized sweaters this season, it is time to let Harajuku girls fill our own streets. With its jarring and head-turning aura, Harajuku fashion has inspired an empire of individual creativity that has no limit to this day.
beauty beyond the
written & photographed by Jill Kliger
People use makeup for an endless list of reasons. Some use it for a confidence boost, to enhance their features or to creatively express themselves. But when did these purposes only start applying to women? From the ancient Egyptians to European kings, it used to be perfectly acceptable for men to wear makeup. Only in the recent century has makeup been branded as gender-specific. However, in the past decade, huge strides have been made in the beauty industry to include everyone else in the equation. Nick Bodi, a Boston college student, has been wearing makeup since his freshman year of high school. He had started caring more about his appearance and wanted to enhance his features with basic products like powder foundation and mascara. For Bodi, makeup is a form of self-expression that has given him both confidence and clarity in his identity. He states, “Makeup has allowed me to become 100%, unapologetically, me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.”
Granted, his journey of self-discovery through makeup wasn’t without obstacles. “It feels like there are certain groups of people who tend to stray away from me, and other men who wear makeup, potentially due to them being uneducated about us or simply uncomfortable. This is something that can easily be fixed, as we shouldn’t be feared for looking different from other boys or because we wear makeup.” Although our society has become increasingly open-minded and accepting in recent years, there is still a stigma surrounding men’s beauty. Fortunately for Nick, he has a strong support group including his family and friends that have fully backed his choice to wear makeup. This stigma around men’s beauty is continuing to die out from increased exposure and awareness—and the media is to thank for that. Male celebrities that embrace makeup have taken over social media and are completely reinventing traditional beliefs about makeup. This list includes popular YouTuber Michael Finch and makeup
artist Mario Dedivanovic. These widely successful men have acted not only as drivers of the men’s beauty movement but also as role models to men. Nick Bodi sees a lot of professional makeup artists as role models, like Pat McGrath and Kevyn Aucoin. Bodi says he looks up to these people, “as they have always been staples in the fashion and beauty industry. Everything they did was no less than perfect and they built their own empires. I’ve also recently, in the past few years, started looking to many drag queens for makeup inspiration, like Trixie Mattel, Milk, Naomi Smalls, Miss Fame and Kim Chi, just to name a few.” The once-strict definitions of masculinity and femininity have blurred, and gone are the notions that you have to present yourself in a certain way because of your gender. This societal shift sparked by the media has led to significant changes in the beauty industry. Makeup brands and retailers such as Sephora are now providing cosmetics
catered to men. Magazines have sections educating their readers about men’s beauty by suggesting products and creating tutorials. Even men’s magazines have jumped on the movement, encouraging their male readers that makeup is for men, too. Major makeup brands like L’Oreal and Maybelline are including male models in their advertisements; CoverGirl made history by appointing the infamous YouTuber James Charles as the first male spokesperson for their brand. It’s 2018, and the idea that it’s only socially acceptable for women to wear makeup has become antiquated. The media and beauty industry have seemed to welcome men with open arms, and it shouldn’t be long until the rest of the world does, too. Nick’s advice to any men considering makeup is to “find a good foundation and work from there. You’ll see great results in how you look and how you feel about yourself. You never know where it could take you.”
“makeup has allowed me to become 100%, unapologetically, me.”
model: Nick Bodi
written by Salma Falah photographed by Simran Gvalani Once upon a time, a size eight woman named Norma Jeane Mortenson managed to become the biggest icon of her time. Today, her 5’5” frame would be too “average” to ever be called a model, but back then she was just Marilyn Monroe. The fashion industry has changed exponentially since Marilyn Monroe’s time. Today, working models are expected to be a size two or less. It goes to show that society’s image of what is beautiful is subjective and merely an opinion, not a fact. One supermodel that changed the industry starting in the 1960s is Twiggy. Her nickname is pretty self-explanatory; she was shaped like a twig. With her big eyes and tiny, boyish frame, women around the world envied Twiggy. Slenderness became ideal and you were only beautiful if you were skinny. However, what would have happened to the world if instead of Twiggy, we had idolized a woman nicknamed Curvy? Would we be fighting the same movement on a different side? Would slim women feel underrepresented in the media? To be clear, the body positivity movement should never shame people who are slender, but instead just dismiss the perception that only thin is beautiful. As a society, what we consider to be beautiful is inspired by the images we see in the media. For decades, high fashion brands have dictated what it means to have the ideal body. They promote tiny waists, thigh gaps and endlessly long legs. However, for most people those bodies are just unattainable. Not every girl is going to be born with Kendall Jenner’s long legs and that is not only okay but should be celebrated. It is a wonderful thing that as human beings we are all different. Diversity is artful and should be celebrated instead of ignored. The strides commercial fashion has made cannot be ignored. Brands like Aerie, Forever 21 and Good American do not retouch any of their photos and employ models of all shapes and sizes. However, high fashion is yet to make those attempts. On her show, America’s Next Top Model, supermodel Tyra Banks often tells the contestants the struggles she faced as a model starting out in the 1990s. In her modeling days, Banks’ agency asked her to lose weight. Instead of listening to them, she shifted towards commercial modeling and became the wildly successful model she is today. While her story has a happy ending, it is also pretty ominous. If high fashion could not make a place for the beautiful, successful Tyra Banks, who could actually change the industry? Fast forward a few years, and along comes Ashley Graham. She was the 10th highest paid model of 2017, and the highest earning plus-sized model. Ashley Graham is singlehandedly making strides in the industry. She teaches girls to love themselves, even when society does
models: Viviane King-Adas and Cia Mirrione
not think they should. Regardless of her success, Graham has only appeared in high fashion a few times. She walked for the Michael Kors Fall/Winter 2017 show, she opened for Christian Siriano in this February’s Fashion Week, and she was the first plus-size model to cover Vogue. While those seem like major successes for the body positivity movement, they are not all that they appear. Graham did not cover Vogue alone, and they did not highlight her body in the slightest. It appeared that Vogue wanted the positive attention for having a plus-sized model, but they did not want to actually have a plus-sized model. Moreover, while Graham represents body positivity, one model cannot carry the movement alone. There is not just one type of body, nor should there be. The industry needs more models that represents all the girls out there. The sad truth is that plus-sized models have to work twice as hard, especially for runway jobs. Less than one percent of runway models are plus-sized. The fashion industry needs to be more diverse. It is unhealthy for children today to obsess over looking like their favorite models, when in reality everyone is beautiful. Across all industries, every person deserves to feel represented and anyone should be able to become a model.
Diversity is artful and should be celebrated instead of ignored.
Between Two Sides of the World written by Cheyenne Tang photographed by Nguyen Phi Dieu Hang
“Where are you really from?” is a question only a select few hear, but one I have heard at every stage of my life. I was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts and spent the first few years of my life in Dedham, a small town just outside Boston. From the get-go, I was an outsider—my peers immediately labeled me “The Chinese Girl.” Desperate to fit in, though, I played along, going as far as inventing things like “The Chinese Cartwheel” during recess in an attempt to seem interesting. After hearing the news that my family was moving to Malaysia at the end of first grade, there was little I wanted more than to feel like I actually fit in there.
“The constant questioning of my heritage made me desperate to understand how to talk about my background.” Unfortunately, my first year in Malaysia was the first time I began to understand the gravity of how in-between I was. I told everyone I was American, but one “friend” in particular constantly questioned my American identity. She told me it was wrong of me to identify as anything other than Chinese because my parents were from Asia. To defend my American identity, I constantly told myself: “I was born in America and lived there for 7 years. We have a house there. English is my first language.” But even with these core beliefs in my heart, the constant questioning of my heritage made me desperate to understand how to talk about my background. I have always considered myself Chinese American, but a part of myself is afraid to fully embrace my Chinese heritage. Growing up watching American TV shows and movies conditioned me to consider white and American as the ideal and all other things as undesirable. Asian characters were always portrayed as the goofy, nerdy friend. While these images never transferred to my daily life at school, it still made me embarrassed of my heritage. I wished I didn’t have Asian eyes so I could do the same eye makeup as my friends. I cringed when I heard Mandarin being shouted across the halls, or when I saw Chinese tour groups outside my apartment building trying to snap
photos of the Twin Towers. I shied away from people who hadn’t been “Westernized.” When people grouped me with “mainlanders,” I felt angry that they would even consider me to be one of them. I hate how ashamed I am of my own people—but the lack of non-stereotypical Asian characters in media distances me from the people I should be able to identify with. My feelings of being in between cultures came from more than just my peers and the media, though. In Malaysia, we had an annual “International Festival” that celebrated the origins of the students by having a presentation where you stand when your country’s flag is presented. Despite the stares I drew from my peers, I proudly stood for America, the country that I understood to be my home. After seeing me stand for America, my mom pulled me aside and asked if I stood up for Malaysia and Hong Kong as well. I was thoroughly confused—why would I stand up for Malaysia and Hong Kong when that’s where my parents are from, not where I’m from? To me, standing up for those countries would be claiming my parents’ origins as my own, even though they were never mine. I realized then that even my parents did not share my experience—that I was so in-between, even my parents didn’t know how to navigate it. Everything changed after moving back to Boston. When applying to colleges my senior year, I wasn’t sure whether I was technically an international student or a domestic student. Some schools said that since my high school education was abroad, I was international. Legally, I was domestic and didn’t need any visas. So what did that mean? Well, it turns out that Northeastern has a special inbetween—I was classified as an American student living abroad. During our special orientation, a guest speaker came in to teach us about “cultural acceptance.” I quickly realized that saying I was American wasn’t an acceptable identity here. They lectured us about how things are different here and how we may experience culture shock because we’re no longer with our “tribe” or “colony.” The guest lecturer made us rate how well we perceived our adaptability to new places and language—and while such assessments may have been well-intended, they only intensified my feeling of being out of place. If Northeastern didn’t categorize my experience correctly, how could I expect anyone else to? In Malaysia, I always introduced myself as American, but now, I feel like I’m lying about where I’m from if I don’t introduce myself as Malaysian. Living between cultures and locations in a world that so stringently categorizes people is challenging when there are no models for what that experience is supposed to be like. The media has little interest in highlighting the stories of people who are in-between, and although representation is a major discussion in society today, I don’t see people trying to represent stories like mine. A common mantra for people going through periods of struggle is “you’re not alone”—but what if I really am? model: Cheyenne Tang 11
Clothes Have No Gender
models: Nyx and Dane
written by Catherine Barna photographed by Ho Yan Ho
I recently sat down with two of my close friends to talk identity, society and all things fashion. Dane is a film and TV major and Nyx is studying holistic, eclectic Wicca healing practices. Both use they/them pronouns and identify as queer* and non-binary*, though Nyx leans more towards identifying as trans fem*. Instead of asking my interviewees to code switch* when speaking, I’ve included definitions of words that are starred for ease of reading. Who are your fashion and style icons? Nyx: Personally my style is Morticia Addams meets flower child meets Emo depressed scene queen. It’s a look. Dane: For me it’s Jaden Smith and Amandla Stenberg. What’s your favorite brand or place to shop? D: I don’t have a favorite brand, because a solid 70% of my closet is thrifted at this point. I love finding the weird things, the old man clothes and making them look like queer fashion because suddenly it’s on my body. N: I’d say I don’t have a brand either, but I’m sort of materialistic. I end up putting a lot of my money towards clothes, not just to own clothes, but more in the sense that it’s retail therapy. I’m shopping for things I can comfortably take up space in. These clothes allow me to take up space as a feminine energy. I’m not doing it for the male gaze, rather to empower my own femininity. What’s your favorite piece in your closet? D: It’s a cliché, but I have to say my denim jacket with all my patches and embroidery. Though I’m feeling detached to some of it because it was so long ago, I can physically see my past in this jacket. I can physically see my future in this jacket. N: It’s honestly so hard.There’s this pair of bootcut 1970s looking jeans. I don’t wear them much but I love them. It’s just the way that they really reflect that genuine freedom, happiness and love that came from that time period. Just like my freedom of existing outside the binary, it cannot be contained or stopped. It just is. Who or what has inspired your current style? N: For me, I really, really identify with the night and the cosmos. In the black, there are no perceptions. You can’t confine the night sky to one thing. I translate the night into the ambiguity of my fashion. D: How my fashion has come to be always gets me emotional. I’m grateful. I remember looking my freshman year in high school at white lesbians on Pinterest (for inspiration). Though it felt good wearing something that I liked, it wasn’t me. As the years progressed, as I started coming into my own, the more ‘me’ I let myself be, the more my fashion changed with it. With that my fashion has become like a show. It has become a production. I wear things because I like them, and that’s it. It makes me feel good and that translates more than words ever could. From where I started and where I am now, it’s ambiguity, it’s questions, it’s boldness, comfort, confidence...actual genuine confidence. I’m so glad to be here for that.
What are some challenges you face when it comes to fashion? D: Dysphoria* is a big one. Having or wanting to wear clothes that don’t fit you the way you want them to. N: Definitely, that’s a huge one. Just having clothes, especially for me being more fem, having an AMAB* body, the clothes don’t fit the way they would on an AFAB* body. It feels wrong, it feels embarrassing sometimes. Like “Oh no!” I’m not fitting these cis* beauty standards. People are going to know I’m not the gender I’m presenting. It’s this whole internal, crippling fear. I don’t want to leave my room because people will know. D: That’s a big thing, people will know. How do you make clothing your own in a society that is so rooted in the gender binary? D: I put everything I love about the outside (my appearance) and everything I want to be on my jean jacket. It’s a very queer staple. N: Right, I definitely do that with my faux fur jacket. I put pins, I put patches. It’s so people know that I am queer in your space. I look at clothing as more of an art. I’m taking the internal ambiguity and manifesting it externally to go beyond what I used to use clothing as, which was a mask. I use it as a means to take up space now as a trans person. D: With my clothing, I find myself often times trying to translate what I want to be seen as externally. Sometimes I want to be called “sir”, sometimes I want to be called “ma’am.” Trying to get that societal validation is ultimately very depressing, because in my specific situation I’m not on any type of hormone therapy. I may pass as male one day and need to pass as female the next day. It’s a very volatile relationship.
AMAB: Assigned male at birth. AFAB: Assigned female at birth. Cis: Stands for cisgender, identifying as the gender assigned at birth. Code Switch: The practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation (Oxford Dictionary). Dysphoria: Clinically defined as significant and durational distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify (Adams, 2016). Non-binary: Identifies neither as male nor female. Queer: Used to express fluid identities and orientations. Can be used instead of “LGBTQ.” Trans Feminine: Describes people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity (National LGBT Health Education Center, 2016).
i love my
models: Sade Adewunmi, Olive Toren and Shantavia Craigg
written by Sade Adewunmi photographed by Hanna Cormier
When I walk into a room, my hair catches everyone’s attention. The vibrant hue and unfamiliar texture bring all eyes on me, as many wonder who I am and how I got my hair to do something this extraordinary. Before I even open my mouth, my hair speaks for me. My hair tells you that I am bold and brazen. My hair exclaims that I am the adventurous type, the creative kind and a bit different than everyone else. My hair is my statement piece, and it is the perfect reflection of who I am. Red symbolizes both power and seduction. The way in which power can seduce, and how seduction can lead to power, is harmonious—my ruby red hair best allows me to harness that energy every day. As I step into the world as an African American woman, my red locs best represent who I want to project. Dyeing my hair was the change I needed; when asked if I will ever go back to my natural hair color, I always answer, “No.” I could never imagine returning to such a boring look.
“It is in the moment we stop focusing on what others will accept that we can truly start embracing ourselves.”
I feel freer with this color; compared to my typical brown hair, this color marks a change in how I see myself. Rather than working to fit into someone else’s lines, I embrace the carefree girl that I aim to be. The color of my hair speaks to my personality and my essence. When I was younger, my father’s girlfriend at the time put extensions in my hair, and when my mother saw me she was furious. She didn’t want me to grow up believing that I needed to change my hair to be, and feel, beautiful. She never wanted me to straighten, press or put fake hair in my own; she wanted me to embrace the beauty of my natural hair without needing things that didn’t belong to my heritage. In eighth grade, I decided to permanently stick with my locs, and ever since, my hair has been introduced to new hairstyles that I could not do with my naturally curly hair. My locs have given me the confidence that I exude today; my hair has influenced so much of
my personal style, and although my hair can be seen as outlandish, I have grown to stop caring what people think and how they may view me. This confidence has been infused within my everyday life, and if my hair has taught me nothing else, it is that I must do what I wish with my life, and throw away the preconceived notions that people may have about me. I constantly deal with my locs being misidentified as dreads, and there is definitely a difference between these two styles. Although dreads and locs start in the same way as twists, locs require maintenance and care to keep the hair healthy and neat; whereas dreads require no management. There is a clean and distinct difference in the management of these two styles. In the seven years I have had my locs, I have stopped trying to correct and educate people on the difference. It has become too exhausting and I feel as if people would never truly grasp the difference. My mother, on the other hand, always corrects people when they call her locs dreads. Growing up, I only ever saw two other African American women with locs: my mother and my sister. I did not see other African American women with hair like mine, or even similar, until I came to the East Coast. But even on the East Coast, my hair is still seen as unconventional and untraditional. Nevertheless, my locs allow me to express my heritage and background without words or statements. My locs are a familial statement piece, connecting us to one another as well as to our African American heritage.
I become uneasy when people compliment my hair, wondering if they even know the name of what they are commenting on, or if they only like my hair because they have never seen anything like it before. I do like the attention, but sometimes I feel like an exhibition piece: something for people to point at, stare at and grab at in a way that can make me, and my hair, feel like an object. And yes, my hair may attract an eclectic variety of people, but I can never know whether people are drawn to my hair because of true wonderment, or as a new fascination for them that will soon fade. I could not think of changing my hair to fit any desired mold. There are people that have judged me simply based off of my hair, and there have been people that have told me I should take my locs outâ€”but I have always held the same motto: I will not change my hair to fit anyoneâ€™s mold. It is in the moment we stop focusing on what others will accept or deem appropriate that we can truly start embracing ourselves and loving our appearance. The color of my hair affects me from the clothes I choose to wear to how I style my outfits. Since the red hue is the most eye-catching part, I try to style my wardrobe in a way that
wonâ€™t draw attention away from my hair color, but rather accentuate it. I have learned which hairstyles look best with certain outfits, and I have even begun experimenting with accessories in my hair to enhance my already-bold look. My hair, unlike clothes, is always speaking for me. My red locs are aspirational because they project the person I desire to become, as well as remind me to never settle for ordinary. I exclaim to the world that I will not hinder and confine myself to a stereotypical mold; I will defy these conventional standards and rebuke the notion that I must look like everyone else to be beautiful. I will continue to project the bold and powerful woman that I am today. I love standing out. I love my hair.
icon photographed by Alec Suthy
Jaden Smith portrayed by Josh
Grace Jones portrayed by Brittney
Marina Diamandis portrayed by Sasha
Balenciaga and the View from the
Bargain Bin What do grunge flannel button-downs, mom jeans and power blazers have in common? All are major trends with humble, thrifted beginnings. Before Urban Outfitters saturated the market with vintage band tees and Balenciaga was making bank off ugly sneakers, they could be snagged for pennies at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. So what happened? Our story begins at the thrift store, mainly frequented by teens and young adults on a limited income. Most young people canâ€™t afford to buy high-end, especially if they want any volume of clothing. The money spent on one high-end piece can buy dozens, if not hundreds of secondhand alternatives. Additionally, part of being young is experimenting with different looks, and shelling out for high-end investment pieces before developing an aesthetic
written by Madelaine Millar photographed by Kate Coiro
to invest in is impractical. By shopping at thrift stores, limited-income young people can buy enough clothing to have fun with their look while still paying rent. What they consume and how they construct their style is often dictated by what is available in-store, so if lots of people are donating secondhand overalls, thereâ€™s a good chance overalls will begin to catch on. In modern American pop culture and the fashion industry in particular, young is code for cool. In fact, more than half of all models begin their careers before age 17 and the industry pays particular attention to catering to young people.
As a result, when a thrifted trend begins to catch on, bigger brands sit up and take notice.
recoil from the open commercialization of high-end designers stealing their looks. Young thrift store shoppers move on to the next thing that they can get for cheap, and the cycle begins again.
A great example of this is the grunge movement of the 1980s and 90s.
So if you’re looking for the next big thing, go to a thrift shop. What can you get a lot of for cheap—nylon windbreakers? Oversized button-downs? Chunky plastic jewelry? Chances are whatever it is, it won’t be long before you see it on the runways.
Grunge was the iconic anti-fashion movement of the 1990s. The basic uniform was loosefit jeans, a t-shirt, a button-down flannel and Converse sneakers or Doc Martens, all readily available at secondhand shops. Mainstream 1990s fashion meant that people were getting rid of anything that wasn’t sparkly and colorful. The look was embodied and pioneered by Kurt Cobain, who formed Nirvana in 1987. His music appealed to lowincome youth, and his style could be easily mimicked by a trip to Goodwill, so the look caught on until distressed denim and faded t-shirts flew off of thrift store shelves so quickly that high end designers couldn’t help but notice. In 1992, Marc Jacobs debuted grunge on the runways for Perry Ellis’ SS93 collection, giving the look its big break onto the high fashion scene. The look continued to grow in popularity until Cobain’s death in 1994, at which point the youth had lost an icon, couldn’t afford designer flannels, and were moving on to something new. There are more modern examples, too. The most topical is Balenciaga’s ugly sneakers, which have now been picked up by everyone from Givenchy to Yeezy. As recently as the beginning of this decade, thrift store shelves were overflowing with dirty, function-overfashion dad sneakers that no one wanted. It only took thrift-shopping young people in search of a bargain and approaching them with a new, ironic eye for them to move boldly into the realm of streetwear. Once they went streetwear, big brands wanted a piece of the profits. Today, a pair of sneakers that began their aesthetic lifecycle in the bargain bin can easily run you $400. As thrift store trends go mainstream they tend to lose popularity with young people, their initial target audience. Increased demand makes the look harder to find at a reasonable price. What’s more, young people do rebellion like no one else, and tend to
models: Sreya Mudigonda and Kismet Seekond
Shout-out to The Garment District for clothing and location
Finding Home on a Foreign Campus According to Northeastern’s admissions website, roughly 20% of Northeastern’s students are international, but you might not be able to tell if you walk on Northeastern’s campus. After moving to the United States at the age of seven without a word of English in my vocabulary, I desperately wanted to blend in and assimilate into American culture. Years later, though, I found my differences to be my strengths. I began to take pride in my mother’s Belgian accent and my so very “euro” decorated home. I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider for the first few months after moving to America, though, embarrassed by stumbling over terms that seemed to come so naturally to all my classmates. I still feel that shame at times today, more than a decade later—so I asked international students on Northeastern’s campus about their experiences, if they felt like outsiders, and if they too would ever feel like they blended in.
written & photographed by Louise-Audrey Zenezini
How have you met new people at Northeastern?
Where do you feel like you fit in the most?
Alice: I’ve met people in classes mostly, being in group projects. Most of my friends I’ve met in International Village, though—we all live together, eat our meals together. We’re all in the same situation and get along.
A: For me, International Village, when we’re all together in the common areas, that’s where I feel the most at home. It’s really funny, we all met in September, but since we’re together all the time, they’re my second family. It has helped me not feel too homesick—knowing that there are so many people living the exact same experience.
Pauline: I live off campus, so most people I’ve met are from my classes. I met my roommates the day I moved in, but I’m much closer to my little French group. Danish: Bars, clubs, mutual friends, classes. I’d say, the first week of university, all those club meetings…that’s it. How has meeting those people helped you integrate into Northeastern? A: Discovering the American culture with my friends [has made me feel more a part of the city]. I signed up for NUMA (Northeastern University Marketing Association) too, and instantly felt more involved. P: [Being] surrounded by friends in the same situation... is super fun. The American students—they’ll never be the people [I] call if [I] need anything. I’ve had my friends in France for years and we don’t pretend to like people, we’re more honest. But then again, we’re colder when you first meet us. D: Meeting other students from similar backgrounds has helped me integrate, as we all moved to Boston for university. I have a lot of American friends as well… I spend a lot more time with international students, but that’s probably because I connect with them more. My American friends are far more straight up, less drama, but also a lot lazier. Do you feel like you stick out on campus? A: Not really, there are so many international students at Northeastern. In classes with a lot of Americans, they interact with the teacher differently, they laugh at different jokes. But other than that, no, I never felt out of place. P: Yeah, but in a good way. Sometimes you’re in class and you don’t understand a cultural reference and they love to show you. When you are able to share a different experience, it makes you cool in class.
P: When I’m at my place and my friends and I have dinner together, and we’re just chilling and watching movies, talking and joking around… there’s peace. D: I’d say P.F. Chang’s with my friends. In Dubai, I’d go there very often. Dubai has almost every westernized food chain you can think of. Not to mention that P.F. Chang’s is delicious. Are people generally welcoming on campus? A & P: Very, very welcoming. I feel like it’s kind of a façade... It’s easy to make acquaintances, but to call them friends… I don’t have any close American friends here. In France, when we say hang out, we reach out. They don’t do the same thing. ‘What’s up?’ or ‘How are you?’ are just passing phrases; they don’t really care how you’re really feeling. D: Yeah...Almost everyone. Do you think Boston will ever truly feel like home? A: No, I don’t think it will ever feel like home. Thank god I’m here though, I want to experience it all. But I would never consider spending my life here. The culture is too different from what I’m used to. P: I think I could live in the States, I want to work abroad at the beginning of my career. If I love my job here, I want to stay [in the States]. But in a different city—I’d rather experience somewhere else after living here for two years. D: That’s a tricky one...I’d say no. It’s too cold for me, I need sun. But in other ways yes, because I’ve lived here for a long time. Sometimes I miss Boston when I’m in Dubai—I mostly miss the friends. I call Boston home mostly because of the friends more than the city itself.
Why I Wear Clothes written by Maddie Casey photographed by Fernanda Lopez We’ve all experienced that feeling of seeing a piece of clothing, acknowledging its hideousness, and still, for some reason, really, really wanting it. I am very familiar with this sensation—I wrote my college essay about the fact that I wear Crocs. That’s not a joke, and no, I’m not sure why Northeastern admitted me after reading it. Now, Crocs are undeniably (almost) universally hated, especially in the fashion community, and understandably so. They’re brightly colored, made of rubber, have holes everywhere and Crocs specifically makes cartoon-image charms to stick in those holes. There’s nothing to like. Except I do—I wear my bright blue Crocs all of the time, and not just as shower shoes. When it’s not below 50 degrees outside, you can find me sporting them around campus, to the beach, walking around the city, on walks in the woods—I’ve even worn my Crocs to parties. I know they’re ugly, but I love them. I think they’re so fun. They’re comfortable; they make me happy and they are genuinely one of my favorite pairs of shoes to wear (weird stares and all). I know that this sentiment is not shared by many. It got me thinking, though, why do people wear “ugly” clothes? And what other ugly things do other people love to wear? So, I spoke to a few fellow fashion lovers to try to figure it out. One item that came up plenty of times is Birkenstocks. Now, I know my mom thinks that these are ugly (she tells me all of the time). However, Birks, as they’re called by lovers of the shoe, are so trendy these days that it’s hard to think of them as ugly in the same way as Crocs. Really, though, so many things that are on trend were once viewed as ugly by the majority of people (or still are). Birkenstocks are a prime example, and people still refer to them as “Jesus sandals” all of the time. Another good example are oversized, brightly colored windbreakers. An item that was popular in the ‘80s, they were abhorred as incredibly ugly for a while, but have been back on trend
lately with the rise of thrift style. Another item that fits this bill are bulky sneakers, which are really in style right now, but are also viewed as hideous by a lot of people. Plenty of high-profile brands are creating similar styles, like Fila, Reebok and Adidas (whose collab with Raf Simons really started this trend), so they must be loved for some reason. Other people I spoke to about their favorite ugly clothes mentioned very unique, true-to-theirstyle pieces. Among these were Tevas, a fuzzy pink shirt, patterned leggings, UGGs, “dad” sweaters, clear boots and oversized, striped henleys. After thinking about all of these pieces, what does “ugly” even really mean? We all have our own personal styles, and just because something is viewed as ugly by many doesn’t mean there aren’t people who think it is amazing. People choose to wear “ugly” clothes all of the time, whether they themselves agree that they are ugly or they see them as a genuine fashion statement. Sometimes people even wear utterly hideous things just because they’re on trend or done by a major designer (I’m looking at you, Balenciaga Crocs). There are also people who view some of the trendiest items as ugly. As of late, one could even argue that ugly has become trendy. To wear a piece of clothing that others view as ugly that is completely off trend, though, it can take guts. Dealing with jokes from friends and stares from strangers is not something everyone is willing to do. Those who are, however, embrace and express their true selves and true style, and choose to wear what they love, despite the opinions of others—and isn’t that what fashion is really about? Since we all have our own tastes, nothing can really be “ugly” (except, maybe, Crocs). Whether it be for comfort, style or fun, there are so many reasons to wear “ugly,” so maybe we should all just embrace the fashion outsider inside of us.
models: Roman Distefano and William Goldstein-Hoye
minimalism through fashion written by Brittany Clottey photographed by Riley Robinson
“less is more”
In 2015, a painting entitled “Bridge” (1980) by Robert Ryman sold for $20.6 million at a Christie’s auction. What’s shocking about this concept is that to the naked eye, this painting seems like just a white canvas. What would a plain white canvas be doing in a museum when people have spent time and dedicated themselves to creating intricate pieces of work? How is a white canvas equivalent to Basquiat’s tortured work or even a Picasso? The truth is, up close it’s not just a white canvas; it has been described by art curators as “more about the idea than of art itself.” It has been a practice coined by many artists for the desire to “pull back” their emotional attachment, as stated by Vox.com, so the art “exists as an object.” But this is not enough to convince many art lovers and that’s exactly why art critics see it as credible. The controversy behind its credibility is the reason why critics view this piece of art as meaningful. It reinforces the concept, in a rather harsh way, that art is fluid and it doesn’t have to look a certain way; that purpose and skill are independent of each other. Minimalism has become the new contemporary art. It arouses comments which allow both the common person and art critics alike to question the validity of art; what is good and valuable art and what is just bad. It is easy for us to see intricate pieces of work and dismiss this new idea, as minimalism does not fit in the concept of art we have internalized. People tend to forget that art is a spectrum. They’ve forgotten that art exists in many mediums and styles, even the ones that do not assimilate to our initial definition. People have chosen that the definition of art, or at least, “meaningful” art, is composed of a myriad of feeling and emotion. We often attach the artist to the art which triggers us to interpret the piece, because we associate art with interpretation. Many people believe that art has to take on certain clear emotions and a large interval of time has to be invested in it in order to be credible and oftentimes technical skill becomes a necessity for “good” art.
So we question, what does a red dot on an all-white background signify? How does a collage of shapes or basic patterns mean anything? Minimalism challenges our mind and forces us to understand that the art is not created to evoke a specific interpretation, but instead allows the piece of art to provoke a reaction within us. It is an innovative step for us, the viewer, to start interpreting art, or even everyday concepts, for ourselves and not allow society to determine that for us. Designers are the artists of the fashion realm, and just like people have made assumptions as to who an artist is, this mold is also expressed within fashion. It is easy for people to make such assumptions because we inherently believe that if the work was more intricate, and more time and money was spent on it, therefore it is more valuable. Designers, especially Comme des Garรงons, have been notable for their minimalist influence within the fashion realm. As stated by The Guardian, this Japanese brand introduced their concept during the Japanese Minimalism Movement in the eighties and has influenced the fashion
models: Brittany Clottey, Mya Brown and Sarah Porter
scene with their use of basic shapes and patterns. In fact, with the emergence of minimalism, musical artists have begun taking interest with the experimentation of shapes and structure. Singer and producer Solange Knowles has been credited for her minimalist influence in fashion and pop culture. Her use of color, structure and pattern which can be seen significantly through her music videos is how she provokes an emotional attachment from her audience. For example, in her music video for “Don’t Touch My Hair,” she expresses scenes in which people are uniformed and grouped together in monochrome outfits staring ahead with similar hairstyles. This concept is effective because the people staring into the screen exist not as an expression but just exist, thus forcing her audience to create their own meaning of the video.
making statements, and minimalism is an example of this. The reaction it evokes from its audience is enough to keep designers and many fashion icons relevant. The interesting part of this concept of minimalism is probably how it’s been contradicted through history. Minimalism throughout history has revealed “the five stages of grief” within its audience. At first, people have rejected this concept of minimalism, and now it has been accepted as art. Just like Solange’s music video, and minimalistic statements from brands such as Comme des Garçons, people have accepted and begun to see and articulate a piece of minimalism as being artistic. What has been seen as so basic and simple has become a method for creating a statement.
Since the emergence of minimalism, the term “less is more” has become its slogan. And this holds true because the more simplistic a piece, the more reaction it evokes. This is the reason why it has become so popular within fashion. Fashion has always been controversial and about
photographed by Greg Hackel-Johnson
The Beauty of Imperfections
written by Jessica Tabor photographed by Sunny Na
Growing up, I rarely saw people with birthmarks, scars or disabilities. If I did, the birthmarks looked like shapes, and the scars were from scraping knees on the playground. As a six-year-old, my entire world was changed when I found out that I have scoliosis, causing a curved and rotated spine. I was required to wear a plastic back brace for twenty hours a day, seven days a week. Throughout my nine years of wearing the back brace under my clothes, it was relatively easy to conceal; I could wear jeans and loose tops without anyone noticing. However, to avoid the mystery behind my condition, my parents encouraged me to present it to my classmates in a positive light, explaining the condition and how prevalent it was. Instead of making fun of me or treating me differently, the children felt comfortable asking questions and wanted to know more. This level of acceptance changed as I reached middle school and high school. I had to change in locker rooms, physical appearance became increasingly important and I no longer wanted to wear baggy clothes. Girls in the locker room would stare at me; I was frustrated that I couldn’t wear what I wanted and that I had to save my “brace-free time” for gym class and extracurricular activities. I had switched from being the girl that would show off her brace to the girl that was insecure and embarrassed about it.
had stayed with me, but my peers’ response to it had changed. Instead of asking questions like they did in elementary school, they now quietly judged and wondered what was “wrong” with me.
“I think scars are like battle wounds—beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.” - Demi Lovato Through my change in attitude, I gradually gained my confidence back. I chose to stop feeling insecure, because that wasn’t who I was or wanted to be. I was the dancer that could strut on stage, and make her friends laugh by doing crazy dance moves in public. I decided to live my life as if I had no brace on. Making this change made school more enjoyable and allowed me to focus on my education. This experience taught me to stop hiding my imperfections and to start showing them off with pride. I decided to view my brace and scars as additions to my appearance, instead of distractions from who I am.
Following my spinal fusion surgery, I was hoping to be done with my brace forever. However, it only got worse; this time I had to wear a different brace over my clothes, for everyone to see. I dreaded my first day of sophomore year. Walking from class to class became ten times harder and I could feel people watching me everywhere I went. The confidence I had within me from the past 15 years was gone. As I had grown up, the brace
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” - Kahil Gibran Of all of the people I have met, those that have experienced pain or struggle have often been the most sincere, kind and open-minded individuals. My close friend, Sae Oh exemplifies this ideal. Sae was born with a birthmark around and on his left eye. Although he is known to be
extremely friendly, welcoming and kind, his birthmark and appearance have affected the perception of him throughout his life. Sae took the time to sit down with me, and discuss how his birthmark has affected him and his outlook surrounding his appearance. Sae recalls,“Every time I meet new people at the gym or an extracurricular activity the first thing people ask me is, ‘Who punched you?’ or, ‘How did you get your black eye?’ [Because of my appearance,] people ignore me, are afraid to talk to me and assume I get into fights. I am competitive while playing basketball, so people don’t say a word to me unless I talk to them.”
Sae shared how this perception can make it difficult to introduce himself or make friends: “Sometimes it’s a conversation starter, and sometimes it completely blocks conversation.” As Sae became older, his attitude towards his birthmark changed. Sae explained, “When I was younger I felt insecure because it was something that only I had, and no one else had. But as I grew older, it made me more of an individual.” Sae contributes part of his change in attitude to the environment that he grew up in, and the people he surrounded himself with. “I was always in a supportive environment, and with people who didn’t judge me based on appearances.”
“Scars show us where we have been; they do not dictate where we are going.” - David Rossi Appearances and first impressions can be extremely important for job offers and future success. I asked Sae if he was concerned about the perception of him and his appearance impacting his future success in the business world. He answered, “I do not think it will impact my success because I believe that I will be given chances based on my ability, not based on how my face looks, no matter how bad it looks.” Sae shared how his birthmark has changed him as a person: “I have learned how to become comfortable in my own skin. Since it’s something that became a conversation starter anyways, it helped me become more extroverted instead of introverted. By talking to people, it has served as a stepping stone for me to become more extroverted.” His advice to other people struggling with differences in their appearance is, “Always think of it as something that is unique to you. It is something you can most likely not change; embrace it and allow it to shape your identity.”
sources: wiseoldsayings.com and goodreads.com
models: Jessica Tabor and Sae Oh
Risk in Every Outfit written by Dipshika Chawla photographed by J Brimeyer
Do you ever get dressed in the morning and that one final look in the mirror just fails to please you like it should? Breaking free of the monotony and feeling the rush of excitement you deserve everyday is what you will reap from this article. So here are some simple yet effective ideas to spice up your outfit, to help you begin your day with sheer confidence. Unconventional Formal Breaking stereotypes has been a large part of the 21st century and that brings us to unrestricted and unformulated fashion. No rule states formalwear is conditional to the situation. A great way of mixing things up would be adding in a formal piece to your outfit—a shirt, a blazer or even shoes. Blazers have more to do with being fashionable than ever before. Another elegant and accessible trend is low-heel oxfords for women—a shoe that has evolved from being formal to bizarrely versatile and wearable. Mules and moccasins also can add a similar effect. Using this trick will also allow you to rock your ‘formal’ apparel more than you otherwise do!
Comfort with Confidence The increasing popularity of sweatpants amongst college students and the ‘keeping it low-key’ mantra of this generation has made a once upon a time loungewear piece an extremely socially acceptable or perhaps even extenuating look. Broadly speaking, as young adults heavy on responsibilities and other concerns, we begin to appreciate comfort a lot more. It’s safe to say that it’s time you invest in a pair or two of comfortable bottoms—ranging from joggers, printed flowy pants or even something from the pajama section (they won’t know unless you tell!). The Power of Color With age, a lot of us forget to play with colors and don’t realize the impact they have. A bright color or two can completely change the vibe you bring into the room. Exploring, experimenting and perhaps discovering colors that complement you and help you step out of your comfort zone can really boost your look. When was the last time you looked at a color you don’t already own and considered buying it when shopping? When was the last time someone said to you “that color looks fierce on you”?
models: Arushi Sood and Muylin Loh
Play with Denim Denim has been around for a long time and the endless styles it comes in have us shook. Maybe you believe yourself to be a black jean, no rips kind of person and that’s totally cool! However, all the options you have to choose from should tempt you to dive in. Recent favorites include color-blocked denim, embellished denim and the floral frenzy. Other cuts such as mom jeans and classic denim overalls have made their way back on shelves too! Print Over Print Over Print Layering is a win if done right. If you find prints and colors that just blend right, you’re bound to make a statement outfit. Printed scarves and shirts can look the right amount of crazy without making it seem like too much is going on. Prints and patterns allow you to mix-and-match to your heart’s desire and such autonomy should be enough to drive your look! Go Back to Your Roots Lastly, just be confident! One fashion risk and walking out the door with a something-new feeling once in a while should really get you hooked onto trying new things. Personal style and traditional garments play a huge part in our lives. Fashion is arguably a representation of your identity. Experiment with fashion from your origins, play it pure or fusion!
Confessions of the
Weird Euro Girl written & photographed by Sofia Bergmann
“What are those?” A question asked one too many times to a young, first generation immigrant navigating suburbia with a funky European wardrobe. Eating lunch in the bathroom isn’t just scene out of Mean Girls, and it turns out that pink hair isn’t a hit on the playground. My parents had me the same year they moved to America from France and I essentially was born into a mini-Europe: a home full of outsiders. My mom being Italian and my dad German, the Italian leather shoes and traditional German dresses had me frolicking recess like a medieval fairy—and I was not in good company. I still remember the puffy sleeves, checkered pattern and red apron that tied those German dresses together. My shoes were always Italian and my grandma in Germany would take me to the local boutique every summer, to pick out my favorite dirndl (dress). My extended family from Europe used every birthday or Christmas as an opportunity to infiltrate my wardrobe with the latest European trends. I looked like nothing my school full of GAP Kids frequenters had ever seen. I grew up in Silicon Valley and unlike the ‘hippie freespirit’ stereotype given to San Francisco, the suburb of Menlo Park/Palo Alto is the complete opposite. It is home to Apple, Facebook, Google and so many other corporations we hate to love. My friend used to ride horses with Eve Jobs— yes, Steve Jobs named his daughter Eve. And I’m not joking when I say that the most commonly seen car is a Tesla; Suburbans and sports cars come in close second. Growing up where the expectations are not only high but very specific, there is no place for outsiders. With a European closet in up-tight suburbia where all my friends dressed the same, elementary through middle school was a jungle. Unlike most other mothers at Oak Knoll Elementary, I was raised by a hard-working Italian who wasn’t in the PTA or the gardening club. She didn’t drive a Range Rover, she didn’t wear a Louis Vuitton purse and her name was not Carol. Elisabetta worked, drove a Volvo and picked me up speaking Italian, while other moms were asking if she was my nanny. My dad did not work for Apple or drive a
Tesla and he wasn’t a Steve—Uwe was a nerdy (but super cool) scientist with an old smelly beamer and a German accent thicker than LA traffic. In middle school, I had fallen in deep with insecurities. After showing up the first day with pink hair and no friends, I decided I wanted to fit in. Popularity became a defining factor and I was convinced that I would be happier if I just dressed like everyone else. I destroyed my parents with pressure to buy me UGGs and Abercrombie, but nothing could hide that I was different and the bullying just got worse. By the end of middle school, the role of the laughing stock in a group of suburban cloned princesses was one I was well familiar with. By the end of high school, I learned that my younger self—the fearless freckly, four-eyed theatre kid rocking dirndles to school—had the right idea. Of course even today, I still get stares in gold velcro sneakers or red leather mary-janes, but is that not the point? To open people’s eyes to something new? I embrace the fact that no one dresses like me, and I’m filled with pride for my heritage instead of embarrassment. Being an outsider isn’t about screaming for attention, it’s about showing the world what they haven’t yet seen. It’s not about wanting people to notice you, but knowing that being happy means being yourself. Self-love was a process—it involved a lot of tears, my mom had to repeatedly convince her little girl that she was good enough, and to ignore the teasing. It made me learn that if I wanted to live free of judgement, I had to surround myself with people who also did not fear judgment. By growing up with European parents who embody individuality, and who encouraged the dirndles and sparkly belts, I inherited the ‘outsider’ badge that I wear proudly everyday.
models: Sophia Meynard and Jessica Phoebe
Shades of Color in the Beauty Industry written by Melissa Wells photographed by Christina Philippides
America has a long history of catering to a very specific type of person—white, just as the beauty industry is guilty of catering to a very specific shade—fair. Since its conception, colorism has been a deep-seated issue that continues to plague the beauty industry. In 2018, people of color are speaking out against colorism and racism within this industry with voices that can now be heard. Prior to the launch of the highly anticipated Tarte Shape Tape Foundation, PopSugar and Tarte Cosmetics posted photos of the fifteen shades from both hydrating and matte foundations that were set to release. The shades were swatched on a person of color (who, ironically, didn’t even have a shade that matched her skin tone): eleven fairto-light, two medium-to-tan and two fairly deep. A social media storm ensued. According to PopSugar’s “exclusive” with a Tarte representative, Tarte planned on dropping ten more foundation shades...seasonally. As stated in the story, it “...makes sense because your complexion tends to be paler in the Winter and darker in the Summer months.” They might as well have admitted to the colorism that drove this launch—and frankly their company, as reflected through their whitewashed social media and advertising. The consensus from the beauty community was that Tarte’s statement regarding a later release date for the full range of colors implied weighted importance for light-skinned customers, making darker skin tones wait. But people of color aren’t going to wait for Tarte to come up with a more thoughtful excuse for its neglectful shade range. In her article criticizing Tarte’s defense, Revelist writer Marquaysa Battle wrote that “the brand has already shown which customers it cares about—and it’s not those of us with dark skin.” From Jackie Aina and Shayla Mitchell to Nyma Tang and Alissa Ashley, black beauty YouTubers, vloggers and influencers alike spoke out about the broader issue
that this release brought to the forefront. The common buzzword: afterthought. The uproar fueled by this launch revealed what the beauty industry fails to comprehend: the powerful impact that inclusivity has on society as a whole. In her article, “Un-Palette-Able: Colorism in the Makeup Industry,” Arianna Lewis wrote that “it sickens [her] that society views dark women of color in a way that suggests that not only are they not beautiful, but they are not even worth acknowledging.” Shayla Mitchell, known as MakeupShayla on her social media platforms, was one of many popular Black American beauty gurus who posted a scathing critique of the limited shade range. Addressing Tarte directly, five words she stressed would become a trending Twitter hashtag: #MySkinIsNotSeasonal. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line did not “usher in a new era of inclusivity” like W Magazine would like you to believe. Instead, it allowed this generation to recognize that a lack of inclusivity is prevalent and highlighted brands continue to disregard communities of color in their target audience. This deliberate choice to neglect other shades is about race. An industry that “doesn’t see color” enables a system of oppression in denying those colors exist. As Nigerian American beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina emphasized in her video, “I Don’t See Color—A Makeup Tutorial,” “I am someone who’s sick and tired of seeing people who look like me get stepped on constantly. And I’m not just talking about black women, I’m talking about Latin women, I’m talking about Asian women, I’m talking about Native women…for literally anyone who is told, ‘I don’t see you.’” The makeup industry’s failure to validate people of color is unacceptable. Beauty encompasses men and women of all different ethnicities and undertones. The beauty community isn’t fifty shades of vanilla, but a gradient from paper pale to dark as night. It is this outrage—of people of all colors—that holds the power to bring about change. In 2018, the industry suffers from not catering to everyone.
model: Melissa Wells
James Charles, a beauty Internet personality, touched on this in his own review. “Women of color equate for 80% of all money going into the beauty industry. But for some reason, they are still overlooked. The lack of inclusion is a lose-lose situation...” Using their privilege, the white audience that are targeted by companies like Tarte can help send a message by refusing to buy their products until their shade range is inclusive. The beauty industry benefits from acknowledging that money can be made from communities not made up of the limited fifteen shades Tarte’s Shape Tape Foundation reflects. Tarte released an apology via Instagram story following the controversy. It was important for them to say “for those who feel alienated in our community, we want to personally apologize.” The carefully worded apology hit all the right notes but didn’t address the entire problem. Moreover, it was played on a platform designed to disappear after 24 hours, as if their stance against the colorism and exclusionary practices in makeup that they engage in was just as temporary. Beauty brands must work on communicating sincerity, displaying inclusivity all around and just getting inclusion right the first time. Apologies promise resolution, but actions speak louder than words.
It was Shonda Rhimes who said, “you can waste your lives drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them.” The beauty industry has crossed the gender line and tentatively started to cross the line of color. Why? Because everyone, no matter their color or gender, should be able to enjoy beauty. People of color are just as entitled to try beauty products as the limited few who fit into a beauty brand like Tarte’s shade range. It is because it’s not just about makeup, it’s that people of color are underrepresented in many other brands, companies and industries. It is because this is much more than a complexion issue, it is a heart issue, and now is the time for the world to stop seeing people as less important merely for having darker skin. The black beauty community matters. Black beauty matters. If the reaction to Tarte’s Shape Tape Foundation has demonstrated anything, it is that people of color have had enough in 2018. In the words of beauty YouTuber Alissa Ashley, “we’re going to hold you accountable.”
COUNT TO THE BEAT, not the pound
written by Amarie Calovini photographed by Diya Khullar
One of my first memories is tumbling about as a threeyear-old, ballet slippers and leotard intact. I can still recall the drills of somersaults and cartwheels that allowed me to explore my body’s agility. The barre that allowed my body to lengthen and compress with the shift of my weight. The mirror that allowed me to examine and appreciate my body’s natural shape of movement.
My insecurities ruled me for nearly six years. My sense of worth demanded more than a mirror’s reflection and so it was meticulously calculated by a scale: apply pressure, wait to recalibrate, step on, look down and prepare yourself for who you are to the tenth of the pound. What that scale told me dictated how I saw my life.
No matter the style of dance or setup of the studio, this mirror was a constant. The mirror is instant visual feedback, a means of gauging if the body is properly aligned and executing the desired texture. To those who value how movement looks just as much as how movement feels, the mirror is an accomplice. But to those who are preoccupied with their body image, the mirror is a vandal. For far too long, I was the latter.
Will they notice you’ve gained 2/10ths of a pound?
Do you deserve another serving?
Are you allowed to wear that? Every day was a cluster of uncertainty. Every moment was a disconnect between who I was at my core and who I was seen as. Somewhere down the line, vindictive distortions of reality became my world. Every article of clothing looked
back from the mirror with disgust. “You aren’t worth it.” Every calorie of food exhausted my perceived self-control. “You don’t deserve me.” Every movement castrated by the 80-pound excess that hung from my skeleton. “You can’t ever be enough.” With fixations of weight preoccupying my mind, I was practically floating through my own life—but I was so desperate to keep these insecurities a secret that I had to keep up an air of stability. So, I gained those pounds when teachers, peers and family started to express concern. I pretended I didn’t mind when the double digits became triple digits. And in what felt like a matter of moments, I was here: Northeastern University. In theory, I was excited by the chance to start fresh, but by the end of the first three weeks of college I had rerouted to a point of self-destruction. I had doubled in size, the scale reading numbers at me in ranges I only associated with nightmares. Something had to give, so I did. I stopped attending classes, acknowledging people, even working towards my future. After years of trying to escape my body, I had reached my limit. I called it. Enough. I took time away for the next year and recalibrated. I had to reset my metabolism, damaged from years of dramatic eating habits. I had to rewire my mentality, engulfed in so much shame that self-worth seemed unknowable. I had to relearn my hunger cues, disoriented from the extremes of starvation and overconsumption. I had to restore my identity, contaminated by the idealization of unnatural numbers.
Once I recalibrated, it was time to step into reality with clarity this time. I returned to college guided by my passion: dance. I realigned myself with the girl who didn’t think twice about whether music or a caloric deficit made her happier. I joined Kinematix Dance Troupe and immersed myself in a community of people that connected through movement. At first, I couldn’t help but fall back on what I knew best. “Whose arms are more slender than mine?” “Whose legs are more defined than mine?” “Whose waist is more concaved than mine?” But these disordered voices no longer blared in my head. I learned to suppress twisted thoughts to a hush. I learned to recognize the energy in a room, the intention in movement, the individuality and inspiration that dance cultivated. Dance is a life in its own. We tap into our joy, our pain, our power, our frustration—and dance empathizes. Dance intertwines emotions with movement, giving no regard for how thin or how thick, how light or how dark-skinned, how feminine or how masculine we are. Dance accepts.
models: Kinematix Dance Troupe
I no longer hang my head in pursuit of an ever-declining number. I no longer scan a room for validation that I am of the most insignificant mass. I look up to learn how to bring texture, dynamics and musicality to my movements. I scan a room for charisma and compassion. I accept.
Measuring Up: A Closer Look into Clothing Sizes written by Halle Butler & Jessica Varner illustrated by Sarah Porter
One day as I was folding jeans at my former retail job, a customer came in and asked me a very alarming, dreadful question. “What size jeans do you think I am?” she asked. I froze in my tracks, carefully considering how to tackle this usually sensitive topic. I barely know what size jeans fit me, let alone somebody else. We ended up finding the right fit after trying a couple pairs, but the question remained: why is it so hard to find the right sizes? Whether you’re petite, overweight, or even an actual model, we’ve all got a nuanced relationship with apparel. Even Angela from The Office is “forced to go to the American Girl store and order clothes for large colonial dolls.” Okay, while our situations may not be quite that wild, we all experience frustration when the Large is too big but the Medium is too small. Without checking your closet, I can bet that you’ve got some Smalls, Mediums, and Larges in there. We should know that clothing size does not define us, but it’s hard to navigate all the numbers and letters that determine what will or won’t fit. It’s even harder to feel good about yourself when you no longer fit into your usual size. Many brands are encouraging body positivity and expanding their size range, like LOFT and recently Madewell and J. Crew.
sources: today.com, bustle.com and bust.com
While these are great strides to inclusivity, brands like Brandy Melville are still on the other side of progress. Catering to a select group of girls who fit into their onesize clothing, Brandy Melville ignores anyone who is too big or too small for their clothes. Brands like this are foregoing a massive portion of the market and millions of dollars in sales—for what? Brand image. Apparently it’s okay to only want certain people wearing your clothing if it reflects your ideal customer. Stores like Lululemon thrive off of equating thin bodytypes with health. Their sizing does not extend beyond a 14, and according to an article on Bust.com, they don’t even display these double-digit sizes in stores in an effort to keep up their image of only super thin, athletic girls wearing their products. After purchasing my first pair of Lululemon leggings two years ago, I have found that their sizing over the years has become smaller and smaller. Otherwise, how would one explain my legging size increasing while my jeans stay the same? An unfortunately classic response to overweight women is that they should lose weight in order to fit into the clothes at stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Brandy Melville, but ironically, athletic brands also neglect to carry their sizes. What most people would never guess based on sizes
available at popular stores and the models we see in fashion magazines is that the average women’s size in the US is a size 16, according to a recent study done by The International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education. This statistic shows how stores like LOFT, where a size 16 is considered an XL (and sizing in general only reaches size 18), are out of touch with the reality of what women need. Widening the range of sizes would only bring in new customers, so what’s the hold up? While retaining a skinnier brand image may be a despicable reason for poor sizing choices, there’s actually some business behind the lack of size diversity.
Clothing labels can save money and enjoy a more efficient supply chain when they only have to make four different sizes rather than eight. According to the Wall Street Journal, a size small is more likely to sell out than a size 4. But this isn’t what shoppers want. Sure, a Small might claim to fit sizes 2-4, but it will never be the perfect fit for a size 2 or a size 4. Brands that do this are simply cutting corners, and it’s time to take our business to stores that carry more sizes. Representation of different sized women is increasingly growing in the fashion industry and more brands are lengthening their product lines to include more sizes. These improvements show progress, but there is still a long way to go.
nail art by Halle Butler photographed by Lindis Barry
models: Halle Butler, Fernanda Fiszner and Jack Mazzeo
Diversity at Northeastern
written by Kaela Anderson photographed by Jacqueline DeVore
When I applied to various colleges and universities across the United States my senior year of high school, I had three goals for my college experience: I wanted to be in a city, I wanted to travel and I wanted to be in a diverse environment. By receiving my invitation to N.U.in and the eventual stay on Bostonâ€™s campus, my first two wishes were quickly granted.
Unfortunately, my final wish has not been granted. Since being here, the harsh realities of the lack of African American representation in higher education have set in. Instead of admiring the beauty Northeastern possesses, I constantly find myself scrutinizing the student body. In my classrooms, at the gym and around campus, I find myself searching for any kind of evidence that proves my third wish will eventually come true.
Despite Northeasternâ€™s size and prestige, its admissions website says only 6% of students enrolled in their undergraduate program are African American. This means that, in my lecture of 150 students, I can count on two hands the number of African American students in the room each class. As for my smaller classes, I am usually the only African American student in the room.
I suppose I could be proud of this, and see these statistics as some sort of triumph, but I don’t. And I never will. Considering that the census lists 13.3% of the population as African American, Northeastern’s measly 6% reveals the apparent systematic faults of higher education in the United States. The lack of diversity at even a world-renowned institution like Northeastern suggests that it is not an isolated case. I am grateful to attend such an esteemed university and the modern job market makes it imperative for my success that I receive an education. But being part of a successful academic community doesn’t make up for the lack of diversity in the classroom.
Northeastern prides itself on its “diverse” community, even highlighting its level of diversity for prospective students on its admissions website. The school alludes that it’s filled with a student body from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds—but housing students from across the globe does not make it an ethnically inclusive environment. During the winter club fair this past January, I scanned the event hall for clubs that I would be able to identify with. The only one I found was the Mixed Student Union, but even then, I have been reluctant to attend one of their meetings. Although I want to meet people who understand my experience as a woman of color
in the Northeastern Community, I want it to be throughout the entire school, not just in one room. I don’t want to have just a place where I can go once a week to fill my void of diversity—it would just remind me of the one wish that hasn’t been ‘granted’ by this university. Unfortunately, my wish for diversity within Northeastern is not unique. Students of color at colleges and universities across the nation are in the same shoes as me, with no one that understands their experiences to turn to in times of need. 6% of African American undergraduate students is not enough. Students should never have to feel like an outcast in their community and we desperately need this to change.
models: Kaela Anderson and Sade Adewunmi
sources: northeastern.edu and census.gov
Rebellious Art and the fashion world written by Kiley Choi photographed by Meryl Prendergast
As I open the heavy glass door and step into the Lineage of Eccentrics exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, I am immediately struck by the eruption of color and dynamic movement in the first piece of the exhibit; a modern take on Soga Shohaku’s “Transcendent Attacking a Whirlwind.” Although Shohaku’s original largely mirrors traditional 1700’s Japanese art, this paneled work by Takashi Murakami incorporates an entire spectrum of bright colors collaged into sharp, purposeful lines—a truly contemporary take. The rest of the collection reflects this theme by taking art pieces rooted in Japanese culture and expressing them in such a way that they rebel against the norm at the same time. The exhibit was put together through a combined effort between the renowned Japanese “pop” artist Takashi Murakami, the prestigious Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji and the senior curator of Japanese art at
the MFA Anne Nishimura Morse. This expert team made sure to juxtapose Murakami’s modern art against classical Japanese art pieces. But why? There are a number of ways art can be interpreted, but one generally agreed upon motif is that of freedom of thought; what the mind, and the world, would look like if all of the cultural boundaries and rules were removed. Murakami himself notes this idea as his main inspiration, telling Esquire in an interview, “My aesthetic sense was formed at a young age by what surrounded me: the narrow residential spaces of [postwar] Japan and the mental escapes from those spaces...” This unabashed rebellion against confinement and social norms is extremely important to society, as it inspires the kind of mindset that propels the world forward in all sectors. Art somehow has a way of spurring this way of thinking—and this is exactly why the fashion world will forever be dependent on it.
Think about some of the world’s best fashion designers and try to analyze what makes them so successful. Although they may keep their roots in their original vision, they are constantly innovating and creating standout collections. They also always make sure to have their finger on the pulse of modern culture, incorporating it into their clothing in a manner that resonates with people and inspires them to further push society forward. In many ways, fashion designers and artists have the same goal, but where the art world does not have many restrictions on how you can express yourself, the fashion world is often subject to volatility and short-lived trends. As any industry driven heavily by capitalism and monetary gain, competition is fierce and everyone is fighting to be the most influential. So how do the top designers manage to stay on top? By being inspired by, and collaborating with, disruptive artists. Be it Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali, Yves Saint Laurent and Piet Mondrian or, currently, Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh, the best designers and artists
have developed a symbiotic relationship with each other. The designer is able to keep their clothing lines impactful and imaginative, and the artist is able to use clothing as a vessel to spread their art and ideas. And the marriage of these two fields is so seamless that you might not even notice that it is happening constantly. Did you know that Rei Kawakubo had artist Jean-Michel Basquiat walk for her 1987 Commes des Garcons show because she was inspired by his style? Did you notice that Louis Vuitton handbag was the brainchild of Marc Jacobs and Murakami? Did you process how that 2012 Rodarte collection incorporated Vincent Van Gogh’s work, or how Kanye West’s 2015 Adidas collection was inspired by performance art by Vanessa Beecroft? The fact of the matter is that artists and fashion designers depend on each other, now and always, to push each of their industries forward, breaking boundaries and spreading inspiration with each new expression and collaboration. After visiting the Murakami exhibit, I want to get some expertise from the fashion side of the matter on what impact art has had on individual style and the industry as a whole. In Boston, there is no better place to go than Bodega, the city’s most famous underground streetwear shop. At first glance it just looks like a convenience store, but if you walk in and make your way to the vending machine, it will slide over and reveal the entrance to this iconic boutique. models: Shreya Mudigonda, Christian Culbert and Madelaine Hicks sources: artsy.net, we-heart.com, esquire.com and mfa.org
When I walk through this hidden entrance I immediately hear The Life of Pablo playing in the background, and I am surrounded by exclusive shoes and clothes worth more than my current salary could afford. Before I even interview anyone, I see references to artists Warhol and Kaws on a couple of books the store has for sale. “Artists are finding ways to get their art out there through fashion,” Mykhayla Thirkill, Sales Floor Manager at Bodega L.A., explains. She agrees that fashion, in turn, is kept fresh and current because of art. When asked about why artists like Kaws are her favorites, she replies, “[They’re] not too hype-y. And I like that.” Especially in the streetwear industry, this seems to be a common theme—the trend-setting consumers are drawn to clothes that go against the grain and defy the expected, and artists are often the ones that fuel the creation of this clothing. Cameron John, a front and floor associate from Australia, supports this when he told me Mark Gonzales is his favorite artist because “he doesn’t care what anyone thinks.”
“Shepard Fairey, Kaws, Andy Warhol…What they brought to the fashion industry along with the culture…It is just incredible in my eyes. They were just very controversial in times when it wasn’t as accepted. Just the fact that they pushed the boundaries and forced a new comfortability level in fashion is just insane,” mused marketer for Bodega, Eddie Herrera-Sanchez. His favorite designer and artist collaboration currently? “Right now, it’s the Dr. Woo X Converse shoes that are out. It’s a tattoo artist, Dr. Woo…I’ve just never really seen someone tattoo on a shoe.” I laugh and agree with him and start to think about how impressive unexpected projects like these really are. In a world with so many advancements and constant floods of information surrounding us on all sides, creating something unlike anyone has ever seen before is no small feat—and this is precisely why the relationship between artists and fashion designers is so brilliant.
THE AVENUE Spring 2018 Vol. 7 Issue 1
Northeastern University's Fashion Magazine, The Avenue - Outsider Issue