River City Fashion; Vol. 1, Issue 1; "She's the one."

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THE ULTIMATE “IT” GIRL she’s the one

meet the team


Growing up, I looked to fashion as an escape from reality. From going back to school shopping with my brothers to thrifting with new found friends in Richmond, clothes have always meant more to me than just fabric. After years of following runway shows, memorizing The Devil Wears Prada, and reading countless Vogue articles, it was no shocker I ended up at River City Fashion. I’m excited to introduce our first ever print magazine. We, as a staff, compiled a love letter dedicated to our various iterations of fashion. This wouldn’t have been possible without a devoted team, endless collaborators, and the friends we made along the way.

River City Fashion was produced at the VCU Student Media Center, Richmond, VA Honorable mentions: Jessica Clary (Director of Student Media), Owen Martin (Business Manager) and Mark Jeffries (Creative Media Manager) editor

stephania jugo in chief carolina gomez creative director caera harrison social media specialist summer deciucis junior editor in chief gabe molina lead graphic designer julia karns contributing writer megan kesner social media director alyssa carman junior creative director kristina wise head of outreach

Since the introduction of the masquerade ball in Medieval France, there has been an air of seduction and allure around these typically high profile events. With the original parties surrounding royals and court goers- prestige and power, rendezvous and intrigue are the core of the masquerade. After all, doesn’t anything go once you put on a mask?

Carnival season, the period of heavy indulgence before the onset of Lent, was the birthplace of masked debauchery- the streets filled with disguised individuals hoping to give into their temptations one last time before they must rebuke their sins. During this time, the wealthy and the poor were able to celebrate together due to the anonymity provided by the mask. By the 17th century, the ball had been adopted by nobles involved in high fashion, using the events to premier the newest, most decadent styles to the ever watchful eye of the royals. In an age without the internet and social media, the allure of obscured identity was pure and enticing, leaving guests tantalized by the question: who asked me to dance last night?

Unmasking the Art of the Masquerade

Photography by Josh Brown Modeled by Sophia Rudy, Catherine Nguyen, Julia Sweeney & Colin Brown

Madden cook

Stepping into senior Virginia Commonwealth University student Madden Cook’s closet was a high honor. Straight out of an early 2000s film, the space was littered with strategically placed bags, shoes, and impeccably eclectic pieces. It was practically begging to be captured.

Her extravagant collection of pieces, mostly thrifted, show a long history of fashion dedication. Cook’s closet has everything you could ever need; fit for the ultimate it-girl.

With a wardrobe that thrives off of second hand clothing, and an emphasis on sustainability, Madden often upcycles her thrifted pieces. Not only giving them a new life, but also assurance that she’ll never run out of new outfits.

Madden prides herself on an esteemed collection of Dr. Marten shoes, which are showcased beautifully in her magnificent closet.

The clothes can’t take all the credit; beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case Cook is a fashion mastermind.

Majority of the time she is able to whip up a look with low effort and high creativity, occasionally spending entire evenings thinking up enough looks for a whole week.

From dressing up in her moms clothes with her sister, to now having a closet the size of an antique store,

vintage garments has Sex In The City star Carrie Bradshaw, her main fashion inspiration, written all over it.

From fabulous coats, to slinky slip dresses, the 90s called and said Madden is killing it.

Flirty dresses add a perfect feminine flair to edgy outfits, complete with Cook’s knee high, lace up Dr. Marten And understandably, many plaid skirts have found a home within Madden’s stockpile.

Walking into Alex Gabitan’s wardrobe brought back all sorts of girlhood nostalgia. This fashion merchandising senior uses garments to call back to her earlier years of playing dress up. Gabitan even recalls one of her first experiences with fashion involved curating outfits for her Bratz dolls in her imaginary store.

She further describes her style as feminine and soft as she carries herself in a more playful manner. Her closet reflects her use of color, specifically pastels often paired with a darker staple. Gabitan favors lace, frills and girly patterns to add the perfect feminine touch to any plain outfit. She scavenges secondhand online websites, like Depop, to find her pretty perfect pieces. Gabitan takes pride in her thrifted garments as she gives them a new life in her wardrobe.

not to take anything too seriously. It also doesn’t hurt that one of her top artists, Olivia Rodrigo, has been seen rocking a similar style.

Looking more into Gabitan’s prized possessions, her mother’s 2009 North Face puffer jacket makes an appearance. The coat, passed down by love, is not only keeping Gabitan warm during the winter months, but


As the air gets colder and the days get shorter, the Carrie Bradshaws of the world wonder: is it time to pull out the fur coat and leather gloves yet? And the answer is always yes! Sprucing up winter basics with layers and warm accessories is the way to go. Combining patterns and bold colors within these accessories can almost convert an

everyday outfit into something that stands out. Fur coats have always been part of a classic winter wardrobe. This year, fur coats have been heavily emphasized in the fashion industry. While nude and black are staple colors for these jackets, leopard print fur coats have been peaking this season as the print becomes a “neutral” for

some. Cheetah and leopard prints can be seen in almost all accessories from coats to boots to scarves.

This specific print, in addition to a red pop of color, has been a match made in heaven this season.

As for shoes, trends have transitioned from fall to winter quite smoothly.

Taller boots with a chunky heel can be part

of an everyday cozy look. Slingback kitten heels can be warmed up with tights for elegant nights or with leg warmers for a more casual look.

Remember the world of pattern and texture mixing isn’t as scary as one may think! You can always start small with accessories and work your way up.



Classics and creativity come together seamlessly in Ryan Benson’s closet, creating a sensational wardrobe for the junior graphic design student.

Ryan’s closet would be far from complete without his star collection of vests; the perfectly functional and versatile layering staple.

You can regularly see Ryan sporting one of his favorites alongside his Levi’s bootcut jeans, fun platform boots, and the perfect spread of jewelry.

taste littered with chic staples and playful attire.

Fashion and expressing himself has become muscle memory for Ryan. Even for someone whose closet is mostly thrifted and sourced from secondhand retailers, a boy could still dream big!

streetwear meets eclectic statement pieces creating Ryans perfect variety of garments.

Finding your personal style is all about playing with different pieces to see what you like. With the use of Pinterest for inspiration every morning, Ryan’s style is ever in Benson’s daily looks.

His closet is composed of moody basics, stunning knits, and dark statement pieces; the selection inspired by his favorite style icons. From pop king Troye zSivan to instagram star Tyler

Ryan’s dream fashion purchase is a Loewe embellished long sleeve polo and high waisted jeans as seen on Troye

Accessorizing is one of the biggest factors in Ryan’s effortless looks; the perfect necklace finishing off most of them. From sunglasses to jewelry to the perfect bag or coat, he’s got the accessories department

Ryan shared his personal style growth from preppy cardigans, chelsea boots and tucking everything into his favorite pair of skinny jeans, to his now expansive and creative

Caera Harrison

Fashion Merchandising senior, Caera Harrison, gives a whole new meaning to maximalism in this digital age of fashion. Inspired by the looks of musician Rina Sawayama and Instagram influencer @saracamposarcone, Harrison uses fashion as a form of self expression as she combines layered pieces and funky accessories. Caera is all about giving second-hand clothing a new life. Like many in this generation, Harrison counts on thrift stores and secondhand online shopping platforms, like Depop, for her everyday wear. Whether she’s on the hunt for a certain item or just browsing,

Harrison will make anything work to her and using varying textures

dimension to a regular outfit. She loves a solid statement piece to complete an outfit as she emphasizes her love of jewelry and oneof-a-kind pieces. When she can’t find specific pieces at a local Goodwill, she isn’t afraid to make them herself! Her collection of crochet and knits capture the essence of self expression in her daily life. Harrison has spent hours not only crocheting accessories for herself and her loved ones, but also the environment. In a

semester, Harrison and others in the fashion department started a yarn-bombing project, making Virginia Commonwealth University more colorful and vibrant. Harrison, with the help of other students, used her unique taste in fashion to make the community a little brighter. Now, how does one replicate this funky and colorful style? Harrison’s style, or as some have deemed “CaeraCore,” is just about exploring pieces to their full potential and getting creative with how one wears a certain piece. Harrison just loves to play around with clothing and accessories. As for her current favorites, she loves a pop of color and pattern, especially green and pink.

perfect look. Having go-to pieces in your wardrobe, such as a favorite pair of jeans, or a perfect sweater allows you to always feel good in what you wear, but also leaves room for statement pieces to steal the show.

Ruby showcases elevated classics and sentimental accessories such as her grandma’s 1940s ring, in her daily looks. This combination results in her outfits always looking perfectly thought out, doused with a hint of character and creativity.

Ballet-core is a highly popular aesthetic which originates from the appreciation of the grace and beauty of ballet. The trend-wave was set in motion when Italian brand, Miu Miu, showcased their famous ballet flats in their Fall/ Winter 2022 runway show. While ballet-core has certainly become all the rage in high fashion, it has trickled down into more accessible brands, such as Zara and H&M.

The aesthetic loving platform, TikTok, served as an instrument for creating wide-spread obsession over the newly coined “ballet-core”. But, balletomania has been seen in fashion before, most notably in the 1930’s and 40’s when women’s dress hem-lines rose and the need for things

like stockings became more necessary- and therefore an opportunity for the fashion industry.

The influence of ballet on fashion can be seen all

throughout history from Coco Chanel’s love for tulle in the ‘30s and ‘40s to John Galliano’s Spring 1996 runway to Ming Ha’s beautiful Spring 2023 Ready-toWear collection.

Leotards and Lace: Defining Ballet-Core

Photography by Josh Brown Modeled by Nathalie Santis, Lealani Vila & Meghna Vemuri

Whether you start by finding an old bin of dance clothes from your childhood, or by sifting through the lingerie rack at your local thrift, capturing this beautifully feminine look, is absolutely achievable. The key to accomplishing the look is to lean into usage of articles of clothing that might be worn by a ballerina such as tights,

leotards, and legwarmers. Choose a starting piece to work from like a wrap top, then add details: lace, bows, your favorite ballet flats. A true ballerina knows the art

of layering and you should too. Look to designers like Sandy Liang and Simone Rocha or watch movies like The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Sugar and Spice (2001) for inspiration. For ages, women have been shamed for their silliness or fragility and therefore forced to suppress their femininity. Ballet-core is an appreciation for an art that is so intrinsically feminineundeniably beautiful, but riddled with pain. The popularity of this girlish aesthetic is a liberating celebration of the beauty of womanhood.


Fashion merchandising alum, Sadie Kinzer, took us on a journey through her style evolution in the way of vintage hats, thrifted boots, and classic turtlenecks. From growing up in Kenya to playing dress up with her American girl dolls, Kinzer reminisces on her first memories in the fashion world and how they got her to where she is today. Kinzer has always had a love for unique and


Far Out in the 60s

Vibrant and bold colors, silhouettes that catch the eye seemingly without trying, and patterns that make you question what time period you’re really in - are all aspects of the infamous 1960s Mod Fashion.

60s Mod Fashion can be described as a revolution that originated in London, driven by the youth. Mod, an abbreviation from “Modernist”, was coined in the 1950s. Despite the fashion, it’s

tulmutuos era, politics were changing, young people wanted to be seen and be able to express themselves in a new way, and they were attempting to free themselves of the traditional expectations from previous generations. What better way to express a change of attitude than with fashion? Instead of muted and pale tones that were seen in the 50s, bright colors and bold patterns were making their way onto the scene.

For this shoot, we had the privilege of styling the models with a local business - Bygones. A vintage clothing store located in the heart of Carytown. The internal setup of Bygones is something similar to a fashion lover’s dream - vintage pieces separated by decade lining the walls. Each piece chosen takes us back in time to the far out 60s. Each one is paired with the necessities for a Mod look: tights, sunglasses or belts, and effortlessly cool hairstyles and makeup looks. As the warm spring weather makes a staggering entrance

this season, there is no doubt the trends of the 60s will be sneaking into Our closets. Embrace all the funky accessories, asymmetrical silhouettes, colored tights and the fun that comes with the styles of decade known for peace, love, and rock and roll.


Vemuri Meghna

Virginia Commonwealth University alum, Meghna Vemuri, proudly shared her meticulously crafted collection of clothes, shoes and accessories. Describing her style as playful, eclectic and sleek, Vemuri checks all the boxes as someone inspired by Bella Hadid and the Y2K Bollywood scene. Mixing textures, styles,

Every piece hanging in her closet is purposeful, and every shoe displayed holds great value; at least I think being pretty to look at is valuable enough. Meghna’s closet is full of fun, glitzy pieces, which fit perfectly with her daily basics, and her most cherished

hues of pink is a treasured pass time. With her highly worn black knee high boots, she easily can diversify and add a tone of grunge to any girly outfit.

Having an overpopulated closet is not something easily done on your own; it often takes a village, or friends who also have too many clothes. Meghna often shops from her friends’ stockpiles, and finds herself scouring clothing from swaps sales.

Meghna’s wardrobe is full of life and versatility. She has love and admiration for each piece occupying her space, and understands the value of beloved items, such as her leather jacket from middle school. She exudes vibrant cool-girl energy; a modern Carrie Bradshaw if you will, and she does it effortlessly.


After a brief childhood of being taught to scorn the concept of girlishness, we as a generation are finally ready to embrace and love the color pink. This theme of the childlike innocence of the doll has been highly present in this spring’s couture shows, predominantly with Maison Margiela’s Parisian nod to porcelain dolls and Marc Jacob’s 1960’s paper doll inspiration. The concept of the “doll” not only celebrates all things in cotton candy shades and frilly silhouettes, but speaks to the idea of self autonomy, consciousness, and reclamation of innocence.

“With the Barbie movie there’s been a narrative flip where women are coming together to embrace their femininity in their own ways and not caring what society has to say That’s mainly what I was inspired by when I was concepting this photoshoot in the winter and seeing that [luxury] designers had the same inspiration is very telling of how impactful this almost “movement” was,” said our Creative Director Carolina Gomez.

In lavender silk, knee socks, and Mary Janes, we incidentally pay homage to the couturiers who spea to a larger crowd reverberating their imaginings of what a human doll may look like.

Odd proportions? Chic stilettos? Perfect glass-like skin? Inhuman. Just like the expectation of the little girls who play with dolls and suddenly grow into women.

While progress in this front is undeniable, America Ferrara echoes this notion in “Barbie” by saying, “it is literally impossible to be a woman.” But with small things like dressing up how your 8-year-old self would and experimenting with color and pattern, we can reteach ourselves that when it comes to fashion, it can be joyous.


Gammaro Dyanna

Dyanna Gamarro, the fashion it-girl of Richmond, has a to-diefor collection of kitten heels, blazers, and trendy accessories. This fashion merchandising senior describes her style as young, chic and feminine with a plentiful closet to prove it. The fun color palette in her garments keeps her style playful as she combines them with vintage household names.

Drawing inspiration from the one and only Carrie Bradshaw, Gamarro’s shoe collection ranges from thrifted Milanos to almost-brand new Ralph Lauren boots. Gamarro thrives in second hand shops, both in person and online. While some may say a diamond is a girl’s best friend, Gamarro’s go to confidant is second hand designer sites, like the RealReal. Gamarro loves to spend her free time browsing one of a kind pieces and adding them to her wishlist. She’s also a professional

thrifter. One of her most unique finds thus far has been two Mugler powersuits from a local Goodwill. One of her favorite 80’s pieces, however, doesn’t come

While it may take her awhile to put an outfit together, Gamarro never forgets her accessories and a pair of heels. She can always be seen wearing a statement purse, and sometimes even heard, walking in a pair of her hottest high heels. As she struts down memory lane reminiscing on some of her fashion regrets,



Claros gave us a tour of her collection, displaying all sorts of timeless pieces she loves so dearly. While Claros looks to content creators, like Franny Arrieta and Ashley Alexander, for inspiration, she isn’t afraid to look back to older classics as well. Claros thrives in mixing new with the old as she varies her looks and pieces depending on her day!

Claros’ love of fashion started through making doll dresses with her grandmother. Her love of styling has only grown. She searches thrift stores for notable, one-of-a-kind pieces and the mall for longlasting basics. Some of her favorites even come from her mom’s stylish collection. Claros integrates these pieces to create a classic, everyday wardrobe. From starting with tops to playing around with bottoms and layering garments, Claros elevates simple garments to make a trendy look.

Whether it takes her half an hour to an hour, Claros knows how to pull pieces together! Her latest combinations play with a balance of feminine and edgy. Claros rocks her favorite black leather jacket to

make any outfit more daring. Her last touch to any look is always jewelry from her expansive collection and her everyday black bag. While Claros draws fashion inspiration from internet creators, her dream purchase comes from one of her favorite musicians, pop icon Sabrina Carpenter. She’s been looking for the perfect Naked Wolf platform boots to replicate Carpenter’s onstage presence.

Claros’ love of music can be seen on her as her must-have accessory is any pair of headphones

she can find.

Regardless of the topic, from fashion to music, Claros has taste in the new and upcoming trends and a deep appreciation for the good old classics.

Tales of the Rockstar Girlfriend

Smokey makeup, effortless charisma and grunge fashion are just some of the reasons everyone wants to harness the look of the rockstar girlfriend. All aspects of this style are alluring; it’s the older, cooler sister of the hyper feminine 2000s aesthetic, which is also making a comeback. But is it a bad name for a good trend? The title immediately places the girlfriend as an accessory to her rockstar counterpart, attributing all aspects of her look to the support of her partner. The entire trope of this aesthetic is how cool the girlfriend looks at rehearsals, during concerts, and even at after parties. None of this includes the partner, so why bother including them? The rockstar (girlfriend) has all the traits of an it-girl. She is effortlessly cool with an easy-going personality, a knack for lighting up the room, and the grungiest closet around.

But where did this trend come from?

Photography by Summer Deciucis Modeled by Sophia Rudy


Tasteful sex appeal, effortless elegance, and sleek street style come together seamlessly in VCU senior Grace Marchosky’s closet. Marchosky graciously gave a behind the scenes look into her charisma filled wardrobe and space. Through mixing new and old treasures, oddities, and charised pieces; she has perfected the recipe to be the nonchalant it-girl.

Posh Spice meets Pamela Anderson in Grace’s ultimate haute collection. Marchosky has put in the work to achieve her dream wardrobe. Spending hours scouring resale sites like Poshmark and Depop is a frequent passtime of hers. Grace’s favorite finds being a vintage cobalt blue varsity jacket, and a pair of black Nike Shox. Grace has had a deep love for fashion since she can remember. She rarely regrets fashion

Describing her style as contrast, vintage, and curated; Grace often gravitates towards statement pieces in which she mixes with elevated basics. Pairing feminine and masculine pieces through creative layering which makes for inventive, unique looks.

Large pendant necklaces, statement belts, everyday jewels, and slouchy bags are staples in Marchosky’s trove of accessories. Grace has had a deep love for fashion since she can remember.

Karns Julia

The culture of 90s fashion is ever present in VCU sophomore Julia Karns’ closet. With style icons from prominent 90s and early 2000s pop culture such as Loreli Gilmore, Buffy Summers, and Jackie Burkhart, Julia’s wardrobe is nothing short of exceptional. Filled with classic silhouettes, rich earth tones, and soft grunge pieces, Julia’s closet pays homage to the illustrious decade which brought us the whimsigoth aesthetic.

Karns’ has a knack for highlighting sleek, feminine elements, while adding flair with unique, grungy pieces; she does this through her collection of romantic maxi skirts, never-ending leather jackets, and one of a kind accessories.

Julia’s day to day staples include her classic black Jeffrey Campbell platform boots, and her quintessential shade of wine colored lipstick

which rounds off any look.

Making outfits her own has been routine for Karns since she was 7-years-old, dressing up in a burnt orange corduroy suit, in lieu of a party dress. Julia’s wardrobe is full of personality and spunk from her vast collection of shoes, to her reservoir of vintage outerwear.

Julia’s stockpile of thrifted jewelry, belts, and curated handbags allows her to truly wear her clothes, instead of her clothes wearing her. Whether she dreams up an outfit days in advance, or spends hours going through her closet swearing she has nothing to wear, Julia consistently looks put together, thanks to her closet full of curated, quality garments.

Karns effortlessly showcases her individuality through her one of a kind wardrobe,

and continuously absorbs inspiration from new and old pop-culture. (Very) frequent thrifting trips have allowed Julia to perfect the sport that is sourcing vintage clothing, resulting in a very full yet unique wardrobe.

Roadtrip With River City Fashion

Western Americana and the sense of exploration radiate from the photographs captured in the greenery of Barker Fields. With 70’s influence, models lounge in brown corduroy flares and lots and lots crochet. Freedom and discovery are the of the road trip. With a car and a roadmap, discover the hidden boutiques and flea markets Virginia has to offer. With the edgy Saturn Return and Boho to Go, Richmond itself is bursting at the seams with vintage and second hand stores. Moving outside of the WRiver City, stroll through the

Hillsville Flea Market on their enormous Memorial day and Labor day weekend markets or go to Verona and check out Factory Antiques, the biggest antique mall in America. Global Threadz & Thriftz, located in Fredericksburg, is a hidden gem of high quality curated vintage. Finally, peruse Vintage Mirage in Alexandria, which is a treasure trove of nostalgic pieces. Grab your partners in crime, a stack of iconic CDs and a suitcase of marvelously mysterious attire- leaving room of course for what you pick up along the course of your travels.




Sleek style and flirty femininity come together seamlessly in junior Fashion Merchandising student, Nathalie Santis’ closet. While incorporating classics and staples in her wardrobe, Santis’ style is far from basic. Accessories shine in her collection; from bags to belts to the perfect

Hadid, and the iconic 2000s style of the Olsen twins, there is never a shortage of inspiration. For Santis, picking out

from her mom’s best friends. Santis has effortlessly perfected her style, which she describes as trendy,

Ryan Carson

Richmond native, Ryan Carson, takes us on a tour of her expansive, curated closet. Following the likes of her favorite style influencers @madisonxwild and @briidgetbrown, Carson has her own unique set of staple items and outfit formulas.

Carson describes her specific style as “chic” and “feminine,” as she’s drawn to silky tops and long skirts. She’s also not afraid of accessorizing to give life to an outfit as her favorite pieces come in the form of silver jewelry and patterned

From trying on her mom’s vintage heels as a little girl to adding Sandy Liang’s newest sling backs to her wishlist, Carson has always had an eye for fashion. This fashion merchandising alum grew up grasping trends right at her fingertips by playing every single styling game on her treasured Nintendo DS.

Carson went on to expand her fashion horizon through experimenting with her school outfits. She reminisces on how confident she felt putting on certain pieces that she wouldn’t even touch today

Carson defines her style evolution as a “learning process,” as she continues to draw inspiration from all sectors of the fashion industry. She loves to shop second-hand , either consignment or vintage, because of this. Carson enjoys finding older brands to show off in combination with her trendy pieces.

She’s not exclusive when it comes to where she buys

become a master of mixing and matching garments to fit her aesthetic. No matter what new patterns or elements come in and out of the fashion world, one thing is for sure: Carson will never go out of style!

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