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thewalk/ARTS&STYLE

You gotta believe in what you're wearing. That element of owning your outfit really just ups your confidence, your self-esteem, and also the way other people perceive you.

BY TIFFANY LU

On Ivy: Sweater, Vagabond, $12; dress, Vagabond, $28; belt, Urban Outfitters, stylist’s own. On Tiffany: Pants, Vagabond, $70; cross tank, Stephanie Seibel, stephanieseibel. com; vest, Zara; socks, stylist’s own; shoes, Jeffrey Campbell, stylist’s own.

here’s a certain set of parameters that seems to define members of the Excelano Project: passion, character, and integrity of style. Oh—and occasionally being mistaken for a hipster. But hey, it’s perfectly understandable (provided you consider that a compliment, which neither Tiffany nor Ivy does… no offense to actual hipsters). As Tiffany noted of her fellow poets, “They all dress so well, it’s pretty inspirational to go to meetings. It’s kind of like a given: If you’re in EP, you should come dressed in a way that’s distinct.” That search for a unique style parallels a poet’s search for his or her own distinct voice. It’s all about finding one’s identity, which Ivy pointed out is really the main point of college. “That’s one of the things I love about Excelano,” she added. “There’s no way you can’t grow.” Citing their own experiences, Ivy revealed that EP was her first time writing poetry collaboratively, while Tiffany credited the workshops with helping her write more honestly. Whether it was through performing intensely personal pieces or attending workshops like the ones above, the emphasis on baring one’s soul made self-discovery, and creativity, pretty much a given. Interestingly enough, fashionistas seem to cite the exact same things when reflecting on their passion for clothing. Could it be that writing style and sense of style stem from the same source? Might the way you express yourself actually carry over between literature and fashion? It’s an interesting notion, and these two artists delved into the topic with as much eloquence and insight as they would their performance pieces. Ivy began by labeling both her clothing style and her poetry as “free form. I’m really simple,” she reflected. “I like really clean-cut and classic-cut things, like Oxford shirts, boot cut jeans. But then there are days when I just do my own thing, mixing and matching.” She described her passion for prose poetry as a forum “where I let myself have free reign. Because of the free form that I like, not having stanzas per se or things like that, I think my clothing represents that a lot. On any given day, two days in a row, you’ll never see me in

a similar outfit.” Tiffany, on the other hand, expressed a love for combining colors in unusual ways. “I like doing a lot of neutrals with pops of colors,” she enthused. “On certain days I’ll go all black, other days I like doing bright neons with classy neutrals. People [call it] old school sometimes with a touch of bohemian.” In fact, she remixes colors the same way she uses language in her poems. “I have a very fractured, fragmentary metaphor-aftermetaphor-type style,” Tiffany explained of her writing. “I like distorting language; I like to be surprising.” She added, “I also like building around one idea. With poetry I’ll usually start with my ending line and then build around that. [For clothing] I won’t decide my outfit as a whole; I’ll decide one thing I want to wear for the day and I’ll build my outfit around that, so everything is driven towards that goal.” For Ivy and Tiffany, style translates smoothly from text to textile. So does something else: the confidence factor. The same way a spoken word poet needs to believe in what she’s spinning, “you gotta believe in what you’re wearing,” Tiffany urged. “That element of owning your outfit really just ups your confidence, your self-esteem, and also the way other people perceive you.” The Excelano Project is all about finding and expressing one’s voice. After all, voice is one of the most poignant things about a writer. In the same way, fashion is a means of making a powerful statement. If both literature and fashion can be catalysts for revolutionary social change—and, really just look at Jackie Kennedy—then the eight EP poets have limitless potential. All it takes is standing by your style, Tiffany shared. “Committing to something is empowering, whether it be an outfit or a poem or anything you do in life.” So take a page out of The Excelano Project’s book and their (supposedly) Latin derivation: “We march forth.” Whatever your style, whatever the medium, seek to find and express yourself. Whether you choose to lead with your words or your runway presence, all W the world’s a stage. Own it.

22 THE WALK / WINTER 2012

WALK Winter 2012.indd 22

11/28/2011 6:20:44 AM

The WALK - Winter 2012  

The WALK is the University of Pennsylvania's only fashion magazine. It is completely student-run, and our Winter 2012 issue was awarded "Mag...

The WALK - Winter 2012  

The WALK is the University of Pennsylvania's only fashion magazine. It is completely student-run, and our Winter 2012 issue was awarded "Mag...

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