LETTERS This issue of POLISHED is a special issue. Not only is it our twentieth year, but it was also created during a worldwide pandemic. Our dedicated team made it a mission to complete this issue under extraordinary conditions: under a nationwide stay-at-home order. In this issue, we celebrate a new openness about gender and purpose in fashion. This is the first issue in the history of POLISHED to be dedicated entirely to men’s fashion. Inspired by the New Romantics, the spring 2020 men’s runway collections, and a new era of men’s fashion, we explore a more feminine man who defies typical fashion standards for men. We look at men who have fun with fashion, taking risks and discovering new modes of selfexpression; these men are the New Romantics. As fashion continues to evolve in new and exciting ways, the world around us seems to have come to a standstill. During these challenging times, we at POLISHED want to highlight those in our industry who are making a difference and are lending a helping hand. We extend our gratitude to all who have made and donated masks, and we applaud the incredible essential workers who labor tirelessly to help those in need. It has been my absolute pleasure to be a part of the POLISHED team for the last four years. Although my time as creative director has come to an end, I am honored to have worked with such talented and kind people. I know POLISHED remains in good hands.
CONTRIBUTORS Publisher Lasell University Founder Richard Bath Creative Director Cassandra Moisan Managing Editor Victoria Capone Art Director Emma Helstrom Associate Art Director Brianna Ricker Art Editor Margaret Brochu Editors Kiersten Brown Lead Stylist Mattias Voltmer Stylists Madison Paloski Sydney Nekoroski Emma Ingenohl Emily Garcia Joshua Michna Editorial Photographer Margaret Brochu Models Mattias Voltmer Media Directors Rachel Stankus Alyssa Butkiewicz Brianna Doody
Social Media Team Madison Cormier
The start of a new decade calls for a reinvention of tradition. This anniversary issue of POLISHED is a reflection on menswear, past, present, and—most important—future. Not only is men’s fashion changing, but so are the men consuming it. Exploring menswear from different angles, this issue will take you all over the city of Boston, detailing what we are adopting as the new normal. The features “Alan Rouleau Couture” and “Laced” juxtapose two brands—of the many brands catering to the subcultures of menswear—that remain innovative at the turn of the decade and are adored by their loyal clientele. The trend report, “Will You Break the Norm?” takes a new spin on traditional trends, exploring the social dilemmas men are facing today in a superficial and critical world. “Under the Wig” explores the inner workings of the Boston drag scene through the eyes of a beloved drag performer. Rounding out this issue, “Something Sweet on Hudson Street” gives credit to locals trying to better the Boston community. I would like to thank all of the writers, in addition to the entirety of the POLISHED team, for their tireless efforts. Against all odds, we have continued to produce something wonderful, something we should all be proud of.
Abigail Detrick Simone Landry Madison Whiteley Jacqueline Minasian Alexandria Bettencourt Sophia Mazzone Alexandra Stevas Hannah Chawla Abigail Brown Ashli Roberts Jacqueline Cordeiro Blog Director Avery Stankus Blog Writers Samantha Vega-Torres Alexa Madeiros Faith Costa Francesca Carr YouTube Team Rachel Lucas Samantha Jenkins Samantha Vega-Torres Faculty Advisors Lynn Blake Stephen Fischer Becky Kennedy
1844 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, MA 02466 | lasell.edu polishedfashion.com | polishedblogger.wordpress.com Polished Magazine | @bostonpolished @bostonpolished
6 14 COVID-19 RESPONSE 4
34 VINYL DESTINATION 30
LACED 10 Designer: Nicole Solano Writer: James Smith
Designer: Kaitlyn Johnson Writer: Skylar Diamond
TREND REPORT 12
FLIPPING BURGERS 32
Designer: Margaret Brochu Writer: Marissa Spagnoli
Designer: Emma Helstrom Writer: Kiersten Brown
ALAN ROULEAU COUTURE 6
NEW ROMANTICS 14
SOMETHING SWEET ON HUDSON STREET 34
Designer: Joshua Michna Writer: James Smith
Designer: Hunter Spencer Writer: Catherine King
ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HERE... BUT ONLY FOR NOW 8 Designer: Anna King Writer: Griffin Bryan
Model: Mattias Voltmer Photography: Margaret Brochu Location: The Forest
Designer: Dylan Wilson Writer: Jessica Spillane
THE TIMELESS TRIDENT EXPERIENCE 36
UNDER THE WIG 26 Designer: Nicolas Brown Writer: Kiersten Brown
FOOD FIGHT 28 Designer: Griffin Bryan Writers: Griffin Bryan & Victoria Capone
Designer: Brianna Ricker Writer: Emily Ohlson
BRINGING ART BACK TO THE BOSTON STREETS 38 Designer: Victoria Capone Writer: Jessica Spillane
ON THE COVER Mattias Voltmer Photography by Margaret Brochu
The mission of POLISHED Magazine is to promote and highlight the diverse and vibrant culture and fashion scene of Boston and the surrounding area.
POLISHED Magazine is produced by the Lasell University School of Fashion with graphic design support from the Graphic Design League at Lasell University. Visit us at graphicdesignleague.com POLISHED Magazine is printed by Wing Press - email@example.com
ince the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, many nations have implemented mass quarantines. The social isolation that has followed has had a disastrous effect on national economies. Workers are being laid off, restaurants either are closed or are offering limited service, and companies across all industries are being forced to shut down. During this time of crisis, the fashion industry has been contributing to the fight against the coronavirus in a variety of ways. Major businesses have stopped or have slowed down production of their usual products in order to create face masks, gowns, and hand sanitizers to donate to workers on the front lines. Though it was forced to shut down its Boston factory, New Balance has been using its Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Norridgewock, Maine, factories to produce upwards of 100,000 medical masks per week. Every mask is donated to healthcare personnel. New Balance is only one of many fashion companies that have shifted production to create products for healthcare workers; the high-end brand Chrome Hearts took to Instagram to announce that its factories in Hollywood would be producing masks. Hand sanitizer has become a scarce commodity in high demand, so the luxury jewelry brand BVLGARI began producing hand sanitizer, which was donated to workers across Italy. Hermes has donated over $20 million to the public hospitals in Paris. The relief these brands are providing is making a difference across the globe.
Alongside well-known names in the industry, local designers have been doing their part as well. At Lasell University, Assistant Professor of Fashion Gail Jauregui started making face masks for her local community, after the coronavirus pushed Lasell courses online. Using Facebook as a platform to reach out to the community, she received replies from many healthcare workers in need. She made 67 masks during the first week, and 20 the following week. Soon, she was put into contact with Good Shepherd Hospice. Hospice employees were in dire need of medical masks when Boston patients were transferred to their facilities. Many members of Professor Jauregui’s community supported her work by dropping materials at her front door. “It’s the silver lining that comes out of this . . . so much despair and sadness. But then I even look at my situation; I’ve reconnected with so many people from when I was a small child. It’s kind of nice to see that sense of community in all different aspects,” Professor Jauregui said. The face masks Professor Jauregui made for the nonprofit organization were designed to be worn over N95 masks, as nurses were receiving only one mask daily. Shortly afterward, the director of Good Shepherd Hospice asked if protective gowns could be made for nurses as well. Professor Jauregui took on the challenge, creating 25 gowns. However, the demand for gowns, growing from 600 to 6,000, became overwhelming. As the
number of requests continued to rise, Professor Jauregui remembered something that might help her fulfill them. At the start of her mask-making adventure, Professor Jauregui was messaged by an unnamed source regarding affordable labor in South Carolina that might aid in production; she then connected her source with Good Shepherd Hospice. While addressing the challenge of managing online courses, Professor Jauregui also found ways to help her community and support the front lines.
Photography Courtesy of Professor Jauregui and Diana Coluntino
Local businesses like New Vestures have been providing aid as well. Located in Lowell, Massachusetts, New Vestures pursues a mission centered on sustainabiity in fashion design and production, raising awareness and bringing people together. The brand was established by Diana Coluntino, when she noticed the growth of the DIY and maker movements. She had always contemplated creating her own maker workspace, and in 2013, she decided to turn her idea into reality. In this workspace, aspiring designers receive assistance in grading and patterning, and they have access to tools. Normally, Coluntino promotes sustainable fashion, creating clothes that minimize production and consumption waste. After New Vestures closed its workspace due to the COVID-19 outbreak, business shifted. “Textiles are an important building material now, being involved with the Fabric Discovery Center where they’re creating new textiles for different reasons: medical use, military. . . . They invited me because they saw that the Fashion Maker’s Space had an attractive connection to utilizing new textiles. Sometimes I do prototyping for military projects, never thought
that would be what I was doing. But textiles, sewing, and fashion are going to have a surge of new interests and new recognition that is going to change,” Coluntino said. On March 20, Coluntino joined the fight against COVID-19. At first, the team comprised Coluntino and four volunteers. As time passed, Coluntino’s partners in the Fashion Maker’s Co-Working Space helped her to find more volunteers, to seek funding from different sources, and to use equipment like laser cutters to make processes more efficient. At a time when materials seem scarce, Coluntino obtains donations and scraps from companies with deadstock fabric. The only material that has been hard to get is elastic. To circumvent this problem, Coluntino uses shoelaces when making masks. This is a benefit, as elastic deteriorates over time and healthcare workers are wearing the same face mask for many hours. “Everything is all connected. This will help support some of what we’re talking about when we talk about sustainable fashion. When we talk about how to make changes in the industry, we are seeing a surge in makers, like myself. All kinds of makers and people with skills. That is the economy, that’s what runs communities, and that is what will get us out of trouble if there’s anything worse,” Coluntino said. As COVID-19 creates uncertainty and fear, it is important to come together as a community. Confronting the negative effects of COVID-19, fashion businesses big and small, alongside faithful volunteers, are doing everything they can to support those on the front lines.
James Smith 5
ewbury Street is home to a number of flashy retailers who are quick to fill your social media accounts and inboxes with superficial pictures and cheap deals, but the personal experience that so many search for can be found only at Alan Rouleau Couture. Entering the establishment, you can relax on the comfortable leather couches and choose a drink from the array of scotch and bourbon while you speak with Alan Rouleau, award-winning and Massachusetts-born custom tailor and style guru. Originally a restaurant and bar owner and a licensed realtor, Rouleau sought out a new career at the age of 32, after studying custom tailoring and pattern making with some of the most distinguished tailors in the industry: William Fioravanti, Giacomo Trabalza, Anthony Maurizio, and Joseph Centofanti. Rouleau’s original retail locations were Faneuil Hall and Nantucket, until he decided to become a full-time custom tailor in 1991, settling on Newbury Street. Rouleau has perfected his craft, designing one-of-a-kind custom menswear from suits and slacks to jeans and personal accessories, and anything in between. Thirtythree years later, Alan Rouleau Couture has been included in Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston Tailor in 2009, in the Improper Bostonian’s Boston’s Best Tuxedos in 2014, and in Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston in 2015. In 2016, Rouleau received the World Humanitarian Award for his work with the Courageous Faces Foundation. “We are such a hands-on, face-to-face business. That’s where it differentiates from going to a department store. We don’t have to sell what’s on a rack because we don’t have a rack. You have to spend time with me. I enjoy having the one-on-one time; I like seeing people come in and getting the chance to meet them. . . . I develop style. A real lifestyle place to come to is what we’re looking to do,” Rouleau said. Alan Rouleau Couture offers a wide selection of luxurious and rich wools, cashmeres, camel hair, vicuna, and more, all imported from high-end mills across Europe. Rouleau takes the time to sit down with customers and learn about their lifestyle, taste, and personality. From this conversation, he handpicks the fabrics and materials that will best complement their lifestyle needs. “In my business, you get to actually develop a style for the person coming in. For every person that comes in, they usually have to spend 90 minutes with me. I ask a lot of questions. I talk a lot about the business, and I am looking for your reaction. I am looking at you;
I am pinpointing your personality, your eye color, your skin color, your physique, and what you want to do with the clothing you wear, so that by the time I’m done measuring you after the 90 minutes and we are picking out fabrics, I can see you in the finished products,” Rouleau said. All garments are made in small factories in the United States that Rouleau has toured. Rouleau visits the mills in New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Mississippi, Texas, and Massachusetts in order to meet the garment workers. Quality is essential to his tailoring, so he will go out of his way to ensure that each garment will be the very best. By creating American-made apparel, he knows that his customers are getting superior clothing and fit, while he is still promoting his American values. “We are definitely a made-in-the-U.S. business. That is my identity. It is more expensive, but we have more control over what we do and the quality is much better. We support jobs here in the U.S., so it is really
crucial to make things happen. . . . I can actually take a client and go to a factory. If you ordered a coat, I can actually bring you down and watch that coat be made,” Rouleau said. In addition to fashion, Alan Rouleau Couture is home to Rogue Barbers, which opened in 2018. Rogue Barbers addresses the stigma associated with men’s grooming and self-care practices. Rouleau uses the shop as a way to promote the lifestyle that he believes every man is capable of enjoying. By creating a comfortable and welcoming environment, he offers his customers a space where they can feel at home. They may rarely feel pampered in their everyday lives, making the Alan Rouleau experience all the more memorable. “Somebody walks in and says, ‘I feel like I’m in someone’s living room,’ and that’s exactly how I want them to feel. To be able to come in here and bring in something that needs to be tailored, get a haircut, come back to order some shirts, sit down and have a bourbon, and chill out before leaving here and going back to your normal routine,” Rouleau said. Alan Rouleau uses his brand to promote the values that are most important to him. He gives time and energy to charities like the Courageous Faces Foundation, showing how his passion for tailoring and style can change lives. The Courageous Faces Foundation improves the lives of people who are living with rare or severe disabilities and medical conditions. Through the foundation, Rouleau was able to meet Reggie Bibbs, who is living with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder; Rouleau gathered a team of tailors and surprised the 51-year-old man, who had never owned a suit before, with a whole new wardrobe. “It is a great way to give back to the community I am actually working in. So if I can donate and raise money for people, it’s nice . . . and it gives me
a chance to be philanthropic. . . . We don’t do much nationally; I wanted to stay local. We ended up meeting Reggie Bibbs, . . . found out what the disease was, found out how uncomfortable it was, . . . and he was just so happy to have me make him a pair of pants. . . . After he left, I went to people in my industry and said, . . . ‘I can’t have him just wearing a pair of pants; we need to make him a wardrobe.’ So I got the people I have done business with for 25 or 30 years to donate fabrics and labor, and we made him a wardrobe and didn’t tell him. . . . The gift back to the charity wasn’t just from me; it was from me and all those other people. . . . The clothing transformed him,” Rouleau said. During its 33 years of business, Alan Rouleau Couture has flourished. Rouleau never expected his tailoring to advance as far as it has, let alone change the lives of his clients every day. There is a lot more to come from Rouleau and his team. “I’m going to expand it. We want to add more grooming services for men. We are toying with adding ready-made sizes for sportswear that we design and make at a lower price point, so people can come in and pick it up. The next step is to figure out our client base and getting the word out there, where we will add more grooming services for men and make it a real lifestyle place to hang out,” Rouleau said. Alan Rouleau Couture has been in business for over three decades; its styles, products, and image have changed to keep up with the fastpaced fashion industry. But no matter the change in consumer tastes, lifestyles, or personalities, one fact stands true. Alan Rouleau Couture is like no other tailoring or couture business; it is a family. It is only at Alan Rouleau Couture that you can walk in a stranger and walk out knowing you have become part of something incredible. @alanrouleauboston; www.alanrouleau.com
Photography by Kelsey Jones
he Seaport District is home to many high-end shops, but none quite as unusual and innovative as For Now. Just over the Evelyn Moakley Bridge lies a creative retail space unlike any other. What separates this store from the crowd is the fact that the store’s owners personally curate all the merchandise. Items are made by artists and designers and are featured in the shop for a limited amount of time, so the store always has a fresh look and a product selection that a typical big-box retailer could not achieve. For Now is trying to do more than just sell clothes and artwork, instead creating an experience in the store for the consumer. For Now’s founders, Kaity Cimo and Katherine ReQua, are kind and intelligent. Cimo, a Massachusetts native, was raised in Framingham and is an alumna of Boston University. After graduating, she took a few marketing jobs that did not offer her the satisfaction she wanted from her career. In 2016, she left her job and set out on her journey to open Boston’s newest specialty boutique. Because she had spent time in the fashion industry, Cimo was able to connect with a wide network of individuals. She reached out to her contacts and brought some talented artists on board with her idea, and just like that, For Now was born. Through innovative approaches, For Now has helped many local and underground artists share their art and sell their merchandise without needing to rent their own store. The artists reflect the creative, trendy, and self-made aesthetic that is important to Cimo and represents what For Now embodies. Many of For Now’s partners are local to the Boston area as well. This is intentional and is consistent with the goal of supporting the community that makes up For Now’s backyard. As For Now grew in popularity and established a network of brands, the store turned its attention to customer relations. From the moment customers step into the store, the employees go the extra mile to make sure they feel welcomed and appreciated. For Now is aware that traditional brick-and-mortar retail may be facing challenges posed by ecommerce; by treating its customers like family, the enterprise hopes to combat this shift in shopping habits. When a customer enters, the boutique feels much like an elegant gallery, with walls and racks displaying fine art. Unlike a gallery, however, For Now encourages the customer to interact with the art. The customer is invited to pick up items, try them on, and view them from a different angle, in order to appreciate the artistry. This aspect of shopping is absent when a customer browses online. For Now’s stylists play matchmaker between the consumer and the best selection of the store’s offerings. The For Now team members are experts; knowledgeable about each piece the store carries, they work closely with each featured brand and create relationships rather than just a business partnership.
Photography Courtesy of Tom Curry
Given the Internet’s ever-growing presence, the owners are always paying attention to emerging trends. Brick-and-mortar stores can compete with online retail only by striving to make the store experience the best it can be. The first trend that For Now implemented was the creation of an experiential shopping environment for its customers. By selling exclusive and contemporary merchandise, the store serves a niche market and offers customers a reason to keep coming back. The store currently stocks 40 different brands and has worked with over 75 in the past. Though For Now is competing against technology, many retail trends involve technological benefits; updates to equipment like registers, stocking equipment, and customer account storage bring greater convenience to consumers and retailers alike. For Now is looking beyond the surface of technology and seeks to use software to better run the store and maximize the brand’s potential. For Now has been investigating technology that records shoppers’ physical movement through the boutique; the resulting data offer insight into ways to
arrange the store in order to maximize the customer’s experience. Looking beyond retail and considering the fashion industry as a whole, For Now is hoping that there will be more of a focus on sustainability. Among industries, fashion is one of the greatest producers of waste, and the owners want to make sure they do their part in minimizing their carbon footprint. This passion for a cleaner world drives For Now and inspires its team to work with local artists who have a shared focus on the environment. For Now’s unique stocking method leaves little chance for leftover items, therefore minimizing waste. Cimo has even been looking to hire a specialist to serve as a personal expert in sustainability. As sustainability becomes increasingly important, For Now hopes to be the go-to shop that people will turn to for art and fashion they can trust and support. For Now would really like its retail space to be more than just a place to buy a piece of clothing—instead, the store would like to be a site for a community that connects customers with unique and independent art. Events like For Now’s inaugural Female Founders Summit support this objective. The owners plan to make this event an annual occurrence, to inspire a new wave of young female entrepreneurs and teach them how to make a place for themselves in the world. For Now is also working on growing its event catalog and continuing to develop its community connections. Ideas are being developed for experiences centered on Earth Day and Mother’s Day. Clearly, For Now is striving to be far more than just your local boutique. Whether you are looking for a socially responsible brand, special and exclusive fashion, local artwork, or just a place to window shop, look no further. For Now is the place to be, but make sure to get to it while you can, because it is only there for now. @its.fornow; itsfornow.com
ver the past few years, streetwear culture has grown dramatically throughout the fashion industry, with brands like Supreme, Bape, OffWhite, and Yeezy leading the movement. Loyal consumers wait outside these stores for hours, just to purchase a piece of clothing. In the heart of Boston’s historic South End, Joamil Rodriguez capitalized on the hype around streetwear and in 2010 created Laced Boston, a unique streetwear shopping experience. The Laced brand was established as one of Boston’s first high-end sneaker boutiques. Within its first year of business, Laced gained a loyal consumer base that continues to seek out the luxury merchandise it sells today. Recently, Rodriguez spoke about the journey that both Laced and he have taken and that has created the lifestyle he has today. He saw a problem in his community: His local skate and snowboard shop was never open. This observation inspired Rodriguez to set a goal. Motivated by his own experience, Rodriguez determined to open a shoe store that would always keep the newest and flyest kicks in rotation. Rodriguez had always thought about entrepreneurship, owning his own real estate company, for instance. While he never envisioned himself as a designer, his enterprise turned out to be a huge success. “You’re better off just starting to do something. Just pick a name. I literally started with a name and an idea. I wanted to do it and I made some t-shirts and I looked for some space and just started,” Rodriguez said. The difference between Laced and other streetwear apparel shops is that Laced represents the people. Supporting local designers and artists is a mission for Laced, which helps create pop-up shops for small local brands. Additionally, many celebrities have come through the store to shop and meet fans. Laced caters to the underdogs, serving as an inclusive space for the community, rather than an exclusive venue; the store carries brands such as Supreme, Palace, Nike, and Yeezy. The Yeezy 350 Boost was released in 2016 with three colorways: Turtle Dove, Oxford Tan, and Pirate Black. The hype around these sneakers was tremendous, and the Yeezy brand still offers a variety of colorways that consumers go crazy for to this day. The enthusiasm is reflected at Laced as well; the 350s are the hottest item in the shop. There is no single type of client at Laced, with customers ranging from suburban kids to city hustlers. International students also make up a large percentage of the consumer base at Laced. The diversity in the clientele is further evidence of the inclusiveness at Laced, where clients from an array of backgrounds are all treated like family. The day-to-day customers are not the only people who shop at Laced. Celebrities have experienced the Laced lifestyle as well,
with the rappers Waka Flocka Flame and Mac Miller being the two most notable clients. When the late Mac Miller was at Laced for a meet and greet, so many fans attended that the police department had to shut down the event. Mac Miller still had the opportunity to spend $700 on shoes and hang out with Rodriguez and the employees. Waka Flocka Flame seemed to be Rodriguez’s favorite celebrity guest; Rodriguez described Flocka as animated, excited, loud, friendly, and very intelligent. Waka Flocka also left an impression, carrying around a Louis Vuitton dust bag filled with cash. Meeting celebrities and creating memories is a great perk of the job, but Rodriguez does not earn that perk without hard work. Rodriguez never has a humdrum day at Laced. His job requires him to pick up new inventory, stock shelves, hire aspiring workers, and run the Laced social media accounts, among many other responsibilities. During the nine hours the store stays open to the public, the workflow does not stop. Rodriguez is always thinking of innovations that will benefit Laced and the people he works with. During the years in which he has been running Laced, Rodriguez has regretted only that he did not make more Laced merchandise earlier in his career. When he started out, he thought he needed training in graphic design in order to create his clothing. That was not the case—his concern was just a mental obstacle that postponed his own success. His future plans for the business include transforming Laced into its own store, where people come exclusively to buy Laced merchandise. In addition, Rodriguez is working on stepping up his current game and improving the quality of the merchandise. “Honestly, one of the biggest tips, and it seems so stupid and underrated, is just start. Everyone puts these obstacles in front of themselves, like ‘All right, I want to start a business or do whatever. But I can’t do it until after I have this amount of money,
or after I finish school, or after I do this.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They try to qualify themselves for when they can [make a brand], and this wastes so much time. That is my biggest piece of advice,â&#x20AC;? Rodriguez said. When it comes to launching their own boutique shop, people usually create so many obstacles for themselves, such as the need to graduate first or to save up a certain amount of money. It takes time to establish a lifestyle boutique such as Laced; Rodriguez has been in the business for ten years and believes he is still trying to take his clothing to a higher level. All over the United States, there are enterprises like Laced, and there are young people who, like Rodriguez, have a dream and a formula for making that dream work, while supporting their community as well. Check out Laced for a welcoming, unforgettable, and one-of-a-kind shopping experience. @laced; www.lacedboston.com
Photography Courtesy of @laced via Instagram
hat is stopping men from normalizing beauty trends? Wearing makeup has always been regarded as a female norm. At a young age, women are taught that once a blemish starts to sprout, it is nothing a little concealer cannot fix. Opposingly, men are conditioned to believe that blemishes are something they have to live with to avoid tarnishing their masculinity. But we all, men and women alike, have mornings when we look in the mirror and wish we could cover up that one blemish. Thankfully, in 2020, we have seen multiple male pioneers like Timothée Chamalet, Harry Styles, and Ansel Elgort sporting masculine makeup trends. Men such as A$AP Rocky are also pushing nail art boundaries by adding nontraditional designs like yellow smiley faces or flames to their clear-polished fingers. With mainstream brands such as Chanel and Tom Ford supporting the men’s beauty movement, will there be enough impact on society to dispel preconceived notions regarding men in makeup?
“Introducing makeup products into an everyday routine should not be as intimidating or as emasculating to a man as society suggests.” Illustration by Emma Helstrom
Although headlines suggested that 2019 could be the year men’s makeup went mainstream or that men’s makeup might be the biggest 2020 grooming trend, this does not mean men are incorporating grooming trends in their everyday routines. Asking various male peers for their thoughts on men’s makeup trends, I received guarded answers: Peers agreed that we all can get that one pesky zit, yet picking up a tube of concealer or a stroke of eyebrow gel would put a dent in their masculinity. On the other hand, men
like Timothée Chamalet, Harry Styles, and Ansel Elgort are all praised for their boundary-pushing beauty looks. Ansel Elgort was even crowned Makeup King of the Golden Globes by GQ in 2020, with his messy iridescent eye makeup and white painted nails. The pretty boy trendsetter himself, A$AP Rocky, argued in a 2019 interview with Vogue that men should be able to do nail art without feeling feminine. Whether they are eyeballs painted on his index finger or flames and curse words on his middle finger, Rocky’s nail designs are far from emasculating and have been adopted by other famous male rappers like Tyler the Creator and Machine Gun Kelly. Though not every guy is all in for the #maleart trend, men are beginning to adopt and normalize a classic manicure and pedicure. It will be only a matter of time before those men add a nail design to their manicured fingers. Introducing makeup products into an everyday routine should not be as intimidating or as emasculating to a man as society suggests. A lightweight concealer—much like the one offered by Tom Ford—can be easily dabbed onto a blemish or wiped under the eyes while a natural look that enhances the skin is maintained. Whether it is from Boy De Chanel or a local drugstore, a brow gel can easily tame unruly brows without looking overdone. A man’s everyday makeup routine need not be a grueling or expensive process; the three steps of concealer, brow gel, and lip balm (and maybe a mani-pedi here and there) will do the trick. If Ansel Elgort can rock glitter in his inner eye corners at the Grammys while A$AP Rocky and Harry Styles can proudly show off their #maleart, men should be able to pick up some concealer and cover minor blemishes. Although celebrities pave the road toward normalizing men in makeup, it must be the men around us who break the mold and take the first step.
en are not what they used to be. The male archetype has become blurred, as menswear continues to evolve. Men are no longer simply bankers or lawyers; they are lovers and romantics. They are in tune with themselves, are deeply elegant, and, yes, actually exist. As time progresses, more and more men—both famous and fashionable—opt for slouchy slacks rather than jeans, switch their graphic tees for flowing shirts, and exchange their high-top sneakers for heeled boots. Over the past few years, we have been seeing new signs of tenderness in men’s fashion. Transitioning from more aggressive looks in 2017, today’s menswear beautification has reset the traditional ideas of masculinity for the new decade. Just a few years ago, menswear featured militaristic silhouettes, including bomber jackets, trench coats, and tough materials. Now, we see a greater interest in more delicate fabrics and lighter garments engineered for men. Inspiration for this movement has come from music, nature, and social change; these forces shape the ways we choose to dress. An emphasis on individuality has allowed men to see themselves in a different light and to express themselves in softer silhouettes and fabrics and warmer tones. In the years to come, we will be seeing an influx of soft suiting, escaping the clean lines of traditional tailoring and adopting a softer, more relaxed suit in a gentler color palette. Oversized and voluminous garments will continue to be in the limelight, accompanied by an explosion of simple graphics, traditionally feminine colors, and even a return to a minimalist wardrobe. International runway shows both influence and reflect trends, but it is often more difficult to gauge trends in society and to understand how they are interpreted by adopters. Men now have the chance to express a more carefree view of fashion, but with a flirty take on sensuality; they can be more comfortable in their skin as gender norms are blurred. As gender norms evolve, moreover, bold men become the individuals they want to be, ultimately leading the charge for change in fashion. Two key players who have been very influential in this attitude shift are musical artists Harry Styles and A$AP Rocky. These two artists have used their platform to leverage their trendsetting, most of which has been related to the changes in gender norms. A$AP Rocky faced backlash for sporting a headwrap and painted nails, but weeks later, fashionable men were seen wearing nail décor and sporting a grandmother’s bandana. Open in the past about the value he places on selfcare, Rocky also feels it is important to look one’s best at all times. When asked about his skincare routine in an interview, he replied, “You’ve got to exfoliate, you know!” Harry Styles is another fashion icon noted for pulling off some of the most influential red-carpet looks over the past few years. Starting out as a boyband teenage heartthrob, he has grown into his individuality and his personal style, embracing a look that is reminiscent of rock stars from an earlier time. Rock stars such as Mick Jagger and Jimmy Hendrix, who sought to make their mark with feminine vulnerability, paved the way for pop stars like Styles. It is through the efforts of past icons that men now enjoy the freedom to express themselves and their identity through fashion. Many designers who have worked with Styles praise his ability to communicate through clothing, conveying his message of kindness and acceptance in his fashion selections. As the menswear landscape continues to evolve and to become more experimental, definitions of gender and codes of masculinity change. This is an exciting time to examine menswear and its impact on the everyday man, looking beyond style at an increased awareness of beauty and skincare, observing traditionally feminine choices in accessories, and noting shifting ideas about what it means to be masculine.
Don’t Tell and became a full-time DJ working in the drag community. Though Diver was immersed in the world of high heels, they were originally terrified of doing drag. “I was terrified of learning makeup, and you have to realize you’re going to look a little messy right off the bat. I had always collected outfits, but I was really afraid of the whole shebang,” Diver said. Eventually, Diver started to learn. Coleslaw began as a funny joke; Diver would intentionally make themselves look bad and would call themselves a drag monster, but one day that changed. After a close friend of Diver passed away unexpectedly, Diver began to use drag as a way to cope. They attribute this dark place as the impetus that helped them to really begin to develop Coleslaw’s character. Diver describes Coleslaw as a mix of different parts of their personality; out of drag, they try to incorporate the social ease that drag gives them. Coleslaw’s style is bright and colorful, often featuring loud textures or patterns created from fabric scraps and remnants; Diver has a bit of fashion experience and draws on that to create unique looks with leftover cotton material. Diver finds inspiration everywhere but is most deeply inspired by life outside of drag. Though Diver looks up to queens like Divine and recounts cult classic films by John Waters, most creative growth has its source in their life experiences and their surroundings.
he world of drag is a fun, shady place to explore, but behind the spotlights and sequins lie the raw and empowering stories of the queens and kings who make drag possible. Ian Diver, known on the stage as Coleslaw, is one queen who continues to bring new and exciting ideas to the Boston drag community. Winner of Machine’s 2017 Next Drag All-Star Competition, Diver brings their talents as DJ and Entertainer to nightclubs all over Boston. For many queens, drag is an art form dedicated to self-discovery and creativity, and for Diver it’s no different. “It’s an exploration of gender. There is an archaic idea of man being woman, but it could be anybody. Drag kings exist, so it’s really about exploring character and pushing gender and androgyny,” Diver said. Diver first entered the drag scene as a DJ in their sophomore year of college, organizing and participating in a queer event called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. After a few years, Diver eventually split off from Don’t Ask
Often, aspects of these life experiences and of their environment are reflected in Diver’s performances. Aside from the many nightclubs and venues where Diver performs, they also organize shows and perform at Boston’s Museum of Science in a collaboration known as Coleslaw’s Corner. The event won a HUBweek Art Award in 2019 for Boston’s Best Provocative Performance Art. Originally, it started out as a typical drag show, with random and unconnected performances by different queens and kings, punctuated with witty and playful banter. But over time, Diver developed narratives for each show. Creating stories about morality and nature, they developed a special mix of science, technology, and storytelling, all through the lens of drag. “With performances, you can tell a story and create a connected narrative; between music and the makeup and fashion, it gets fun, but it is also there to make people laugh, make people cry, and to make people have fun,” Diver said. This storytelling would not be possible without the support of the Boston
drag community. Although drag is seen internationally, with the largest communities in New York and Los Angeles, the Boston drag circle is distinguished by its own unique qualities. Lately, the Boston drag scene has been expanding; drag kings are emerging. Drag kings are people, often women, who dress up as extravagant men, sporting colorful hairdos and bedazzled beards. As the community grows, it has become more diverse and widespread. According to Diver, when queens and kings from other drag communities encounter the Boston drag scene, they are often surprised by the level of dry humor and goofy antics in performances. “From queens outside the Boston circuit, we’ve been told we have a strange sense of humor, and they’re right. We are a bunch of goofy queens,” Diver said. Although Diver is supported by their drag community, they also receive tremendous sustenance from their family and friends. Although their family did not understand the idea of drag at first, they were able to grow with Diver and now offer constant support and love from the sidelines. Another great source of support for Diver is their partner. Diver and their partner met nine years ago through the drag scene, and Diver attributes this beautiful relationship to the power of drag, because without drag, their partner would never have entered their life.
Even though the job may be tough, without drag Diver would not be able to create art or, more importantly, to inspire others. Drag is very size inclusive, but it is still positive for younger viewers to see a variety of body shapes and sizes on a stage. “Drag makes it easier to talk to people and easier to socialize. More fun to be around people—it’s almost a confidence booster. But you find moments when young people will come up to you and say that you’ve helped them with their body issues, and you realize how important your work really is, ” Diver said. Drag is so much more powerful than many people realize, and Diver is one of the many big talents on the drag stage. Through their performances, Diver is able to share memorable and provocative ideas that resonate with people of all ages. @coleslawinthecorner
As fun and artistic as drag is, a good performance requires a substantial level of planning and practice. Drag may be glamorous and extravagant, but people do not see the struggle behind the scenes. “A lot of the time, drag is uncomfortable; your body is squished into uncomfortable positions, your genitals are tucked away, your feet hurt from the shoes, you have a corset cinching your waist, and just like any job, sometimes when you wake up, you say today is just not it,” Diver said.
Photography Courtesy of @coleslawinthecorner via Instagram
verybody loves a good food truck—the trucks are a quick and convenient way to fit in a meal, especially for those living in the city and leading busy lives. Alongside the guaranteed value and efficiency food trucks offer, the various trucks operating in the city provide a wide range of options. As the food-truck trend continues to explode in cities across the country, many truck operators worry that the market may become oversaturated. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese is a Boston-based company that has been serving busy Bostonians from its food truck for close to a decade. After joining the scene in 2010, Roxy’s has watched the food-truck business transform from a couple of trucks here and there to the booming industry it is today. The creation of Roxy’s was actually an accident; it all started with a joke among the founders that they could live off bread and cheese. After consideration, they decided to take the idea and run with it, eventually becoming a huge success. At the time of their establishment, food-truck operating was illegal in Boston. But through persistence with the Boston Parks Department, the Roxy’s team was granted a food-cart license. Technically, this made Roxy’s the first food truck ever to grace the streets of Boston. Food is necessary to sustain life, and like everything else in our lives, we try to make it as convenient as possible. What could be easier than walking up to an inexpensive hot meal on the side of the street? This helps to explain why food trucks have been around since the 1800s, and why the modern food truck has recently become a popular dining experience. Not only do food trucks provide convenience, but they also give people a reason to gather, enjoy some fresh air, and maybe even try a new type of cuisine. In an era of entrepreneurship, food trucks have served as an inexpensive platform for people to venture into their own businesses. However, this business model may not be sustainable for everyone in a flooded marketplace. Erin Jackson, assistant operations manager at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, shared some of her knowledge about the food-truck industry, as the Roxy’s food truck has been experiencing the ebb and flow of the industry for a decade. Only a limited number of businesses can operate successfully within one industry. As more players enter the game, the number of customers per truck decreases; patrons may migrate to a new truck for a change. In addition, as competition rises, there is less physical space available for operation; only so many trucks can fit into
“Food is necessary to sustain life, and like everything else in our lives, we try to make it as convenient as possible.”
one hotspot area. These are just a few obstacles competitors face in the current climate, while trying to differentiate themselves and keep their customer base happy.
“The biggest challenge is the saturation of the market and the lack of development of new locations to accommodate them.”
“The biggest challenge is the saturation of the market and the lack of development of new locations to accommodate them,” Jackson said. Due to rising competition on the Boston streets, many food trucks that, like Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, began operating with one humble truck are now expanding into the brick-and-mortar restaurant business. This gives brands a chance to operate out of a home base, so that patrons can visit the eatery rather than tracking down the truck. Not only must trucks compete against one another for customers, but they are also battling restaurants and fast-food chains, two established and lucrative industries. Restaurants have been around much longer than have food trucks and are the go-to place for a high-quality hot meal. On the other hand, fast-food chains challenge the dining scene by sacrificing quality for convenience and speed. Food trucks find themselves in the middle of this dining spectrum. They host a casual outdoor-dining experience, less refined than that at a sit-down restaurant. While their service may not be as quick as that in fast food, their cuisine is usually much higher in quality than that of a McDonald’s or a Burger King. The challenge is unique, as food trucks are battling for attention from two distinct areas in a divided market. Reflecting on the food-truck scene in Boston, Jackson agreed that over time, the number of food trucks on the streets has only been rising. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese continues to find success in new areas; like other food trucks, Roxy’s has started breaking into the private-event scene. Concerts, sporting events, and the plethora of fests that take place around the city permit food trucks to widen their consumer base. At events, the trucks will draw customers who are searching for a suitable meal to sustain them during their day of fun, giving businesses a perfect opportunity to connect with a new group of people. As the warm weather returns to the city of Boston, the food-truck scene will reach its high season. Common city hotspots to enjoy a carousel of cuisine include Dewey Square, the Rowes Wharf Plaza, and the Boston Common. As the competition rises, more and more variety is available, ranging from vegan options to gluten-free dishes and even dessert and bringing more smiles to hungry faces all across the city.
By Griffin Bryan & Victoria Capone
Photography Courtesy of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
usic is a universal language. Whether an album is 5 years old or 50, listeners discuss the complexity of the instruments or the range of the vocals. Over time, the distribution of music has also experienced its own complex journey. 8-tracks, records (LPs), CDs, and cassettes have all come and gone as the most popular ways to listen to music. Despite those changes, the nearly 40-year-old hotspot known as In Your Ear invites any fan of music to take a step back in time. The underground shop located in Boston (and at its other site in Warren, Rhode Island) is jam-packed with music from wall to wall. Since the shop’s establishment in 1982, In Your Ear has always carried a variety of music forms, but it primarily advertises its new and used records, CDs, and DVDs. The three owners of In Your Ear, Reed Lappin, Mark Henderson, and Chris Zingg, did not always have a physical store from which to offer their records to the world. “We were kind of earning a living selling records at colleges and flea markets for a couple years. Then a lot of those locations got closed down, so we opened up a store, and that was around 1982. Before that, we sold at BU and Northeastern. At the time, you could pull up with a truck full of records and just set them up. Once in a while, they would tell you to move along but you know, back then, a lot of that was more open and freewheeling and you could do things like that,” Lappin said. The genres In Your Ear carries are diverse and extensive. Whether the consumer wants classic rock, disco, jazz, metal, folk, punk, or music by local artists, In Your Ear most likely has it. In Your Ear aims to please the public, yet the store would not maintain its expansive library without consumer support. Without its constant record purchases and sales, In Your Ear would not sustain the level of inventory it carries. “There’s always movement of things. Sometimes people move their location and have to get rid of things. Sometimes there’s a warehouse of stuff somewhere and they want to sell things…There were the records that sold many copies and the records that sold less copies, but if you realized that these are records that people would want eventually, you could sometimes tap into buying things like that. Sometimes somebody passed away that had a big record collection, or
somebody brings it to the flea market and you might be there. So there were all kinds of ways that things could happen but a lot of them were not predictable,” Lappin said. More often than not, In Your Ear draws on intuition when pricing records, and it has been that way for years. The popularity or the physical condition of the record will figure into its price tag. Given the wide variety in records at In Your Ear, the stock includes uncommon LPs or music from other countries. When unfamiliar titles surface, the owners might access internet resources or price guides to determine the appropriate price tag. However, despite the efficiency of a quick online search to see what others suggest, In Your Ear has favored an intuitive assessment of a record’s value. With the arrival of the digital era, downloading songs and streaming albums on online platforms have become popular ways to listen to music. However, In Your Ear has no concerns that listeners are not interested in an authentic product. “There are people who like to have a few things and acquire things, and then some people can get all of their information off of that [a phone]. Some people are, like, ‘Well, I want to have a little bit more than just that; I don’t want that to just be my whole grade.’ People
decide that they like to have a few things around, or they get the touchyfeely thing and want to have something they could look at that’s not just on the screen. There’s always something about having a real thing that means something to people,” Lappin said. In Your Ear strives to preserve music. The world is constantly changing, and certain things go in, go out, and then come back into style. Records have gone through surges of popularity over the years but have never completely disappeared. In Your Ear notes that what goes around will come around again, and the enterprise tries to protect the little bit of history it possesses through its records. “In time, everything could just disappear; a lot of culture and art came at certain points and it’s only also probably been like 100-plus years of the recorded music era, which is pretty amazing. Maybe in 1,000 years, everybody won’t care, but for now it still has some value, or maybe these [records] will be very valuable artifacts. Who knows which way anything will go, but it’s still close enough to the history of things that it still represents something. If you don’t have books or music, then you’ll just have to do everything with your screen,” Lappin said. Listing to music affects everyone, and the owners of In Your Ear are no different. Setting up a record on a turntable, sliding a CD into a CD player, or queuing up a playlist on iTunes or Spotify, the listener enters a special kind of mindset the moment music comes through those speakers. In Your Ear feels that exploring different genres and discovering new music are critical. “It [music] helps to shape your knowledge and personality and what you like. If you have limited choices or limited direction, you can only choose between so much. Then you have the problem with unlimited choices and then how do you find things you like? Everything takes an effort to figure things out. It can be very exciting learning what you like. Sometimes people just like what their friends like, and they don’t really develop much taste in anything. That certainly was part of the excitement of growing up in certain periods of time when things like music were very ‘Wow, this is exciting. I haven’t heard anything like this,’” Lappin said. In Your Ear provides a gateway into an experience that has united people around the world for so long. Lappin and his partners are not going to let vinyl or other forms of music die out any time soon. They provide the music scene with an establishment that caters to all types of listeners and genres, and that is what has helped them stay relevant for all these years. And their message to the world?
Skylar Diamond Photos by Anna King
t has been said that every woman should have an arsenal of statement pieces, most notably the little black dress, or LBD. But have you ever heard of the LBB? LBB is not the latest fashion trend, but it is currently changing the game in the food industry. LBB, or Lola Burger Boston, is a twist on the classic burger joint, bringing high-quality flavors at an affordable price. It belongs in everybody’s arsenal of good eats. Although Lola Burger Boston is new to Boston’s restaurant scene, the original Lola Burger in Nantucket has been around since 2008. The Lola Burger was an original menu item at its parent restaurant, Lola 41, founded by Marco Coelho. Once Coelho witnessed the widespread popularity of the Lola Burger, he decided to create the spin-off restaurant with the same name. Lola Burger Boston is located on the edge of Boston’s Seaport District, offering an intimate setting for people to enjoy the reinvention of a classic American specialty. Although “burger” is in the name, Lola Burger Boston also offers a variety of sandwiches and vegan options. “We wanted to create something different from a McDonald’s or Burger King; we wanted to create a casual dining experience that also emphasized affordability in a district like the Seaport. You’ve got so many high-end restaurants like steakhouses that when you go in there, you spend 75 to 95 dollars a person. Lola Burger Boston isn’t just somewhere you have to go up to a counter or wait for a buzzer; it’s combining great service and quality to create a great relaxing atmosphere, without paying an arm and a leg,” Mike Maranan, a member of the Lola Burger team, said. When you first walk into Lola Burger Boston, you are immediately welcomed into a relaxing atmosphere. Gorgeous chalk drawings of burgers and fries plaster the walls, with one accent side displaying the extensive menu. As you walk further into the dining room, you can poke your head into the inner workings of the kitchen, in a nod to the layout of a classic fast-food burger joint. But this is not just a place where you can get a decently priced burger; Lola Burger Boston is a place where you can find the best part of being human. It is a place to make meaningful connections. The service is warm and welcoming, and the small, intimate atmosphere provides families with a space to make long-lasting memories. “Daily, I see someone like an executive at a company sitting next to an intern, and typically they wouldn’t know each other. First, they start talking about ‘Well, what did you get?’ which then leads to the
conversation, ‘Well, what do you do?’ and all of a sudden, you hear, ‘Oh, you’re an intern? Here’s my card.’ I’m not trying to be melodramatic here, but especially nowadays, there’s not a lot of opportunities to network face-to-face, so the fact that it’s our unique food bringing these people together, it’s something really amazing,” Maranan said. The menu at Lola Burger Boston remains constant, offering a wide variety to please anyone’s taste buds. The namesake Lola Burger is an eight-ounce beef patty, dressed with aged cheddar cheese, a red onion compote, and a foie gras sauce, served on a toasted English muffin. This combination of ingredients creates a sweet and earthy flavor, as the red onion compote and the foie gras act as a bouillon would in a French dip sandwich. The signature truffle fries represent a savory complement to the sweeter notes of the burger. But what makes a burger and fries that much more classic? Well, a milkshake does, of course. Lola Burger Boston offers a selection of milkshakes that could pair easily with any item on the menu. Although Lola Burger Boston is revamping the flavors and image of the traditional hamburger, it still pays homage to the original. If you are not looking to dive deep into some foie gras sauce, you can still indulge in the classic burger with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and American cheese. If you are eating on a budget, do not worry. Lola Burger Boston has plenty of affordable deals for anyone looking to experience the restaurant for the first time. Lola Burger is rapidly expanding across the U.S., most recently opening a Lola 41 in Palm Beach, Florida. Just as Lola Burger Boston brings a unique personality to the Boston food scene, Lola 41 Palm Beach is doing the same in Florida. No matter where you go, the craving for a Lola Burger will always be on your mind. “I think that we bring in a fresh perspective onto the Palm Beach restaurant scene. You’ll see places focus on one thing or theme, and we challenge ourselves to focus on multiple things and put it all in one. But for the two months I was down there, I was craving a classic burger from Lola Burger, because at Lola Burger, it’s completely different, and it’s something you can’t find anywhere else,” Maranan said. Whether your burger escapades are flavorfully adventurous or rooted in tradition, Lola Burger Boston has something for everyone to enjoy, as it continues to celebrate the importance of food in the American culture. @lolaburger.restaurants; www.lolaburger.com
Photography Courtesy of Lola Burger
ave you ever craved a waffle while drinking boba tea? You will after you hear about this remarkable Boston-based shop. Sweet Waffles + Boba opened its doors in April 2019, after Phillip Ly and his family decided that they were spending way too much money going out for boba tea every night. They knew they would be able to make tea just as well as any cafés in the city and decided it was time to stop giving money away. To make their shop unique, they decided to sell churros to accompany their tea. Ly and his family maintained their business for about seven months until they discovered that they were not permitted to have a fryer in their store location, as it posed a fire hazard. The day after they received this bad news, Ly’s aunt returned from Belgium with an excellent idea: What about waffles? It had taken three months to perfect the boba tea recipe; Ly and his family now dedicated a long five months to their waffle recipe. Three hundred recipes later, they finally found the ultimate one. For those who are unfamiliar, boba tea (bubble tea) is a Taiwanese teabased drink that often includes milk, sugar, and boba. Boba are chewy tapioca balls that float in the bottom of the tea and add flavor to the drink. With almost a year under its belt, SW+B has received a lot of attention from American tourists. Ly was surprised that most customers were American, since the shop was selling boba tea. He figured the clientele knew what to expect, since the store name was so straightforward. “You know exactly what you are getting,” Ly said.
People see “Sweet Waffles” in the name and know what the specialty is. Everything down to the music choice in the café is strategic and is designed to make customers feel welcome. With its popular waffle flavors, SW+B has also been seeing a substantial influx of catering orders. The café started receiving orders for 20 to 30 waffles but is now receiving requests for up to 500 waffles. SW+B was also invited to be a vendor at Boston Night Market, a popular weekend event with over 60 food vendors. This is a dramatic achievement for a café that has been open for only one year, and Ly and his family are excited and honored to be taking part in the event. A main source of inspiration for SW+B is the Californian restaurant scene. Ly’s family travels to California quite often, and their trips always seem to lead them to unique and very popular eateries. This has inspired the family to bring the California vibe to Boston. “Whenever I go to a new place, I always try the bubble tea and if I like something or see something, I say, ‘Oh! I can make that!’ So I go back to my store and I make it, and it tastes good, and we sell it,” Ly said.
Some of SW+B’s most popular tea flavors are Brown Sugar Bubble Milk, Pinky Promise, and Strawberry Matcha Milk Tea. Their popular waffle flavors include Churro Crunch (with vanilla ice cream) and Strawberry Shortcake (with shortcake cookie crumbs); Ly makes the toppings for these waffles in-house. While running his successful store, Ly is also a full-time student; he is studying management at UMass Boston. Serving as the general manager for SW+B, Ly receives support from his family. His uncle takes care of the financial side of the business, and his brother and his youngest uncle manage the store when Ly is not around. “We have our ups and downs. Being a family, we argue a lot, but we all have a common goal and that’s just to run a successful business,” Ly said. They hope to franchise the store one day; Ly believes this is possible, as the whole family is willing to help out. Family is a significant part of SW+B; the enterprise works to create a sense of togetherness in employees and customers. Photography Courtesy of Sweet Waffles + Boba and Rebecca LeBlanc
“Another reason why Sweet Waffles is different from every other store is that our customers are our family,” Ly said. In the store, after hours, SW+B has hosted many events such as hot pot night or pumpkin carving. Employees and customers alike participate in order to get to know one another better. Ly hopes that activities like this can occur more frequently in the summer, with some fun events already in the planning stages. The next time you are walking aimlessly through Boston, stop by Sweet Waffles + Boba to say hello to Ly and family. Dare to taste their unique flavors and specialties, so that you will understand why this is the café that everyone is talking about. @sweetwafflesandboba; www.sweetwafflesandboba.com
n one of Newbury Street’s historic brick buildings resides a lively bookstore with an inviting atmosphere. Boston’s own Trident Booksellers & Cafe provides its customers with an array of services; in case you are in need of a new read or a freshly served meal, Trident has you covered seven days a week. With a mission centered on nourishing the mind and the body, Trident has been serving the local Boston community since 1984. Frequented by students, Back Bay residents, and visitors, Trident provides a unique experience that makes everyone feel like a local. The café offers a social and friendly atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and monthly events; it will even host your next big gathering. Trident is home to a fully operational kitchen that runs daily from opening to closing. The menu is extensive; the options cater to all individuals, accommodating those with food allergies, gluten sensitivity, and other dietary restrictions. The inclusive menu, crafted to meet the needs of Trident customers, satisfies all cravings. Whether you are in the mood for Trident’s renowned Eggs Benny or a Trident Bowl, the choices are endless. The café section of the menu offers a variety of coffees, espresso drinks, tea lattes, juice shots, and smoothies, as well as a selection of beers and wines. Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance at Trident, so it offers many delivery services as well as an online preorder option to make dining convenient. Trident works with food delivery services such as Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats to ensure convenience and fulfillment for customers. Trident Booksellers & Cafe hosts an array of events throughout each month. These events include trivia nights, movie screenings, self-care nights, speed dating, silent book clubs, and game nights. Each month
has an event for every interest, and each event is welcoming to all. Likewise, Trident is a trendy spot to host your next special occasion. Serving as a distinctive place to host a birthday party, a holiday, a business meeting, a bridal shower, or any other social gathering, Trident offers its clients the opportunity to customize themes and menus for private parties. With customer service and enjoyment as a top priority, Trident encourages everyone to get creative for the next function. Many successful businesses face unexpected dilemmas at some point during their operation. For Trident, the unexpected occurred late at night on February 28, 2018. A frantic 911 call revealed that there was a fire on the second floor of the bookstore. Fortunately, the fire department promptly responded and extinguished the flames. The fire postponed the reopening of Trident by six months. While closed, the store rebranded and reinvented the company; a new children’s book section and a first-floor seating area were part of the renovation upgrade. During Trident’s six months of rebuilding, improving, and reestablishing the company, customers continued to show their everlasting support. Trident distinguishes itself among privately owned bookstores offering coffee drinks. The business has managed to form a community within its Boston neighborhood, while offering a range of services. It makes every effort to constantly stay engaged with customers by using social media platforms to promote upcoming events, stay in touch with customers, and give the latest scoop on all things Boston. Although Trident started out as a small company solely selling books, it has worked to modernize along with society while preserving its roots. By offering food delivery services and hosting
events revolving around current hot topics, Trident is incorporating modern approaches into its traditional style. The bookstore has managed to thrive on the demand for a physical copy of a book rather than an e-book or audiobook, while its community floods its Yelp and Facebook pages with reviews and recommendations from tourists and Boston locals alike.
Photography Courtesy of @tridentbooks via Instagram
Trident makes its own notable contribution to the Bostonian lifestyle. A trip to Back Bayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beloved Trident Booksellers & Cafe provides any tourist with a new perspective on Boston culture. That the store caters to all age groups and dynamics is demonstrated by the diverse selections in books, menu items, and exceptional service. Despite any challenges it has faced in the past, the business continues to flourish and to improve each day. Trident is booming with a lively staff passionate about all things related to books, delicious food, and customer satisfaction. Whether you are searching for a coffee, a place to relax, a pleasant atmosphere, or a book, Trident is your one-stop shop. @tridentbooks; www.tridentbookscafe.com
ithin the last few years, art programs have slowly begun to disappear from school systems because of budget cuts. Students are losing options for creative expression, as there are not many arts-based classes available. Artists For Humanity is a Boston-based organization dedicated to providing under-resourced teens the opportunities to express their creativity through paid employment. “Bridging economic, racial, and social divisions, Artists For Humanity enriches urban communities by introducing young people’s creativity to the business community,” Frederick Plowright, communications strategist at AFH, said. AFH was started in 1991 by artist, teacher, and entrepreneur Susan Rodgerson. She recognized the limited arts opportunities in the Boston Public Schools. Her idea was to give young people a chance to use their talents to serve a wider community. Working at different schools, Rodgerson noticed that young students wanted to use their voices to empower themselves and the people around them. This led her to develop an organization that could make this desire a reality. Rodgerson recruited six young, talented people to collaborate with her to bring her mission to the world.
Artists For Humanity impacts the lives of its members in many ways. One of the most significant accomplishments of the organization is that it provides constructive engagement for students outside of school. The members work from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the school year, hours during which, without structure, teens tend to get into trouble. A meaningful afterschool activity keeps the organization’s members out of trouble, while they continue their education beyond the classroom. Members work with art and design mentors, earning commissions on projects such as multimedia installations for offices and hotels. Their achievements have included the designing of four giant flower sculptures (complete with lighting) in order to attract visitors to businesses in the Assembly Row Shopping Center. “AFH promotes active learning and advances 21st-century skills development in creativity, media, collaboration, technology, critical thinking, problem solving, and STEM to their youth employees,” Plowright said. AFH is one of the largest youth employers in Boston, a fact that the AFH team is very proud of. The team values its family approach, providing a safe and supportive workspace for employees and mentors. In addition, AFH prepares its members for life after secondary education by teaching the skills that are most prized by today’s employers. Finding that most youths seek a way to use their voices so that people will listen, mentors encourage the young artists to install interactive, creative, and sustainable projects in and around Boston. Part of the Artists For Humanity office is the EpiCenter. The EpiCenter provides a large studio, gallery, and event space for the teens to display their work. The recent expansion of the EpiCenter exceeded expectations, enabling AFH to address the needs of lowincome teens every year and double its employment; by 2021, AFH hopes to employ over 500 teens. The EpiCenter was named Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston 2018 – Best Industrial Venue. The space
is currently open to the public to host events, and the rental costs fund the organization directly. Artists For Humanity works on building a community within and outside the organization. Every month, AFH holds an Open Studio tour so the public can view the teens’ work and meet the artists. It also holds monthly Open House tours for prospective teens who wish to apply for the program, in addition to working with middle schools on art projects to engage the entire school community. “AFH is developing a new initiative, AFH STEAM to Schools, to share the AFH model and creative studio access with schools, maximizing the use of our space during the day, bringing in additional revenue, and expanding the potential for creative collaborations,” Plowright said. Plowright says that the organization hopes to continue its expansion during the next few years. AFH wants to expand studios in order to extend to members more production opportunities and enhanced access to new technology, while increasing its own sustainability efforts and community involvement. With support from public leasing and business partners, Artists For Humanity will be able to see accelerated growth and will continue to change lives for generations to come. @afhboston; www.afhboston.org
Photography Courtesy of @afhboston via Instagram