Fashion is not only about beauty and design, but it has a deeper meaning and impact for Bianca Garfinkle ’20, Jakob Adler ’20, and Juliet Colitre ’21. Acting as a means of self-expression, it can provide the ability to outwardly express their personality and feelings. The students said fashion helps to better their lives on a day to day basis.
Beyond the aesthetics, fashion helps to relax Garfinkle, she said. When taking a break from homework or studying, Garfinkle said she often thinks about her outfit for the next day.
“It clears my head because you don’t really have to think about anything,” Garfinkle said. “It’s just whatever looks right to you.”
Additionally, Garfinkle likes to incorporate this relaxation through the actual clothes she wears. When it comes to picking out her outfits, being comfortable is her first priority. Garfinkle also said that she values the historical aspect in fashion.
“Obviously fashion has changed over time, and I think it’s interesting to see how history affects people’s tastes,” Garfinkle said.
Design number one seen below, which was showcased on Ulla Johnson’s runway during New York City Fashion Week 2018 and chosen by Garfinkle, provides this sense of history for her.
“I like that this look is kind of old-style,” Garfinkle said. “I love old music and things, and I wish I lived during that time. Fashion is another way of bringing it closer to me. I think this look makes it more interesting because it allows me to feel what life was like when my parents were younger, before I was born.”
For Colitre, fashion serves a different purpose — it provides a sense of control by being a constant in her life. She said her outfits allow her to make a bold statement.
“There’s never a day when I’m dressed down very much,” Colitre said. “I always want to go all out. I have a big personality, and I like to express that through my clothing.”
Beyond expression, Colitre described her style as an important aspect of self-acceptance. The comfort Colitre finds in fashion has more to do with feeling balanced and comfortable in her own skin than anything else, she said.
“I’ve struggled with mental illness for most of my life, but learning to find my personal style really helped me cement my confidence and learn to live with and love myself,” Colitre said. “When you dress yourself, you get to decide how you present yourself, and that influences how other people see you. When you’re confident with what you wear, other people respond to that.”
Through discovering her aesthetic, Colitre said she has developed a sense of pride in the clothes she wears. The second design below, created by Alexander Wang for New York City Fashion Week and chosen by Colitre, reflects her bold style.
“I feel drawn to this design because of the story it tells,” Colitre said. “It’s very modern, almost space age, and it feels adventurous and new age.”
Adler, similarly, said fashion is an essential part of his life. If it were taken away, Adler said he would not feel like himself. He uses fashion to stand out and be different.
“There would be a huge part of me missing if I had to dress in shorts and a t-shirt every day,” Adler said. “I used to dress ordinarily and wasn’t comfortable with the way I looked. Fashion has helped me grow into who I am.”
Adler said he is also inspired by the innovation in fashion and how it is constantly changing.
“The idea that culture and countries are so different from each other makes clothing a uniting factor and something that people can relate to each other with,” Adler said.
For Adler, in particular, Japanese fashion is a staple. Design number three, seen below, by Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garçon HOMME Plus’ Fashion Week show, stuck out to Adler because of its representation of this Japanese style and the inspiration he draws from that.
“Although I don’t wear Comme des Garçon often, I love the pieces they do,” Adler said. “It’s so out there and bright and in your face, and the loud colors are equivalent to the way I act, and the way I talk. It correlates with my personality, and who I am.