https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liaz5aZrlSg&feature=youtu.be If this doesn’t hype you up for Culture Shock 2019, then maybe the semester end has gotten to you just a little too much. So, wake up and plan your outfit! Music festivals are a safe, fun place to step out of your fashion comfort zone, showcase your most authentic self, and just totally turn it out in general. Culture Shock is absolutely no different! I suggest you get your friends together for a clichéd (but loved by me nonetheless) outfit-test montage over some music by the official lineup. You can find out more about them here. With a lineup like that it is fated to be a great one – literally fated; as in the Co-Star app told me so rather specifically. Give that share button a quick little spank like you’re babysitting it and it fed all its vegetables to the dog, so that when you show up inspired by one of these outfits your friends will be there to see (and take pictures of you for some Instagram clout). We hope this lookbook provides you with the inspiration you needed for your Culture Shock look, or even buy some clothes that you particularly liked. Our goal is that you come feeling confident, proud, and knowing you’re stunting; that’s why we styled these possible looks to be perfectly alt music festival chic. I know I’ll be there, and I hope to see some of you picking up one of these incredible fits or inspired by them. It would fill my heart to the brim. But if you’re not sure what you’re wearing to Culture Shock yet, we quite literally have you covered! This lookbook has been in creation for almost three months at this point. Two incredible WIUX directors enjoyed my “WIUX but Make It Fashun” column and reached out with the opportunity to create a lookbook as a promotional project for Culture Shock 2019. Ultimately, I’d like to move into fashion and conscious advertising with my eye on creative direction, and the opportunity to do both at once with an organization I adore being offered to me with full creative control? A no brainer. I immediately dug into research, planned outfits, designed a consciously diverse vision, and dug deeper into fashion than I ever have. Without exaggeration, it has been an absolute joy. While it was a lot of work, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I may have been told time and time again “this is your project – you have creative control,” (literally a dream for a creative), but I’m ultimately collaborator at heart. I’m in smitten with the idea of collaboration, it creates more than I ever could have on my own. None of this would have been possible without the unbelievably beautiful help, hard work, and visions from my fellow two team heads, one makeup artist, eight models, one videographer, one editor, and one photographer. Three months, a smooth collaboration between thirteen total people, one club, and one vision created what you see here. I hope you find this lookbook just as engaging, inspirational, and thought-provoking as we did while creating it. The overarching theme is that of “subversion.” I’ll leave the majority open to interpretation and ambiguous to save you of pretentious artistic ramblings, but provide some brief background. The lookbook reflects on and subverts many aspects of our everyday American life that we live. This subversion of the “ideal” all-American extended family is seen through the lens of some of the biggest Spring/Summer 2019 trends as well as playful, yet satiric (and oftentimes metaphorical) visuals, actions, props, and prose. There is a strong focus on diversity as well because representation matters so deeply, especially in these subject areas. Through our diverse team was one of the only ways we could successfully create such an aware and exciting project. Throughout the lookbook video are powerful and touching sound clips from the respective models that were recorded during a round table discussion surrounding fashion and identity. With rebellious visuals and rebellious looks, this lookbook perfectly parallels the fashion world and society as a whole as we attempt, with our best efforts and intentions, to educate, learn, and change. Keep reading for an in-depth analysis of every outfit and how it plays into the Spring/Summer 2019 trends, as well as brief bio’s on our stunning and diverse models. If you’d like to buy any of these clothes, there is more information on how to do so as well. I hope to see you all feeling inspired by these looks and some of you modeling the outfits themselves in a brand new light. Again, it would completely fill my heart. Then, take these dope ‘fits further and wear them everywhere else too! Thanks for reading, watching, consuming – now go get dressed! I’ll see you at Culture Shock 2019! Festivalizing the Workplace: In my opinion, it’s high time athleisure takes a slight step back. It may have originated from the increase of working from home, but let’s be honest: your home office has never been a runway. But if you’re bold enough, the hallways between cubicles can be your catwalk. The Spring/Summer 2019 fashion weeks of last June and September saw an increase of playful suiting, in both men and womenswear. Keeping with our theme of “subversion” we’re taking these professional looks and making them appropriate for a music fest. These inspired twists on formal workwear is perfect for anyone to liberate themselves from The Company (even if only for a day) through sexy and comfortable looks at Culture Shock. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18182,18181,18180"] If you even try to tell me that Eliza isn’t leaving Ariana Grande shaking in her thigh-high boots I simply won’t believe you. She’s another model who you would never know hasn’t modeled before, because she gave us Office Cutie Realness, day in and out. Eliza Craig is one of the original “lil homies that planned this [lookbook]” alongside me and Eliza’s fellow Culture Shock marketing coordinator, Kenylnn Albright. They enjoyed my fashion column, reached out, and the rest is iconic. Eliza was a vital part of the team every step of the way, from finding on-point pieces to helping cultivate the vision to modeling the feminine version of this style. Eliza identifies as a white, straight cis-woman, but with majors in African American studies and Political and Civic Engagement her future goals are to “improve equal opportunity for those who are oppressed in America.” Knowing Eliza and her genuine kindness, she’s going to do this and more. Plus, she’s already making these moves as the incoming Equity and Inclusion Director for IU student government. Eliza has an enduring and infectious positive attitude and warm demeanor that makes her a fast and trustworthy friend. Her passion lies in “connecting with other human beings.” But most importantly, if you’ve never seen Eliza absolutely kill “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu at karaoke, then you haven’t lived. I’m beyond thankful to, and for, Eliza and Kenlynn for the opportunity and absolute blast. The last thing Eliza wants to share is a sentiment we all share at WIUX: “Come to Culture Shock 2019 in Dunn Meadow on 4/20!” Eliza didn’t put a chunky shoe on top of Ariana Grande’s gig for you to not come to stunt at Culture Shock. You Look So Pretty When You Smile: This outfit was exceptionally easy to shop, it was intended to serve for another look, and with full disclosure: it almost didn’t make the cut. I can tell you now with utter confidence that I would have slid right into my clown outfit had I cut it. It paired alongside its masculine counterpart so well and beautifully demonstrates some really cool SS19 trends. I always loved the pieces, but I was looking at the blazer and skirt separately until Eliza expressed her love for it and suggested a feminine “Festivalization of the Workplace” alongside Jack. Only then did I realize what a winner I had. Stay grateful, folks. Just like its pair, this look is a reflection high fashion’s answer of rebellion against streetwear: “neo-tailoring.” And just like the runways, this outfit caters to the younger generation with a comfier, sexier response to the more formal of wear. Not only was suiting seen in menswear collections, but womenswear collections also featured their fair share of lighter examples of suiting (Tibi, Marc Jacobs). The single-breasted blazer is particularly casual with a wide-notch lapel and four buttons that can be used for varying degrees of modest couture to sexy streetwear. The blazer fits comfortably which would not be out of place with the other looser “neo-tailored” looks on the runways (Dion Lee), but when buttoned can instantly offer a more fitted traditional look (Maryam Nassir Zadeh). The knee-length, high waisted, pencil skirt of this look is more tailored like some of the slimmer, sleeker suit examples showcased (Escada, Moschino), but still remains loose enough further down the leg to reflect the more comfortable looks (Chanel). The miniskirt is certain to stay dead indefinitely as longer, more modest skirts thrived on the SS19 runways (Escada, Chanel). The hem of the skirt, as well as the sleeve openings of the jacket, feature a sheer border that gives this hyper-femme look the ever-so-slight peek past the modesty and into the skin beneath. Ultimately, the sheer is more playful than sexy but is reflective of the sheer trend that was huge on the SS19 runways – revealing or not (Laquan Smith, Naeem Khan). These borders also feature embellishment made of beads and rhinestones. While the biggest trend regarding trimming this season was fringe (Coach 1941, Claudia Li), it certainly doesn’t mean that rhinestone and beads weren’t to be found – or even incorporated into the fringe trend (Givenchy). This is also featured on a ring around the circumference of the sleeve an inch higher. This princess-esque detailing gives the look just a touch of tongue-in-cheek and whimsical childlike appeal that also made some unique appearances, such as the circus themed collection from Moschino in Los Angeles. The two-piece set is entirely millennial pink because pastel colors were huge on the runways taking influences from ballet (Boss, Badgley Mischka) and as a millennial, I refuse to let it die, but also designers for the SS19 looks like Marc Jacobs refuse to let it die as well. Keeping this professional look one solid color is key when it comes to women’s suiting, as they often tended to pick a color on the wheel and stick with it (Matthew Adams Dolan). Eliza was styled with a black lace bralette to vamp up the sex appeal, contrast the softness of the rest of the outfit, and provide some cool comfort for a spring music festival look. Not only this but also to demonstrate another womenswear trend: lingerie worn as outerwear (Khaite, Brock Collection). This power femme look gave the SS19 runways a bold dose of sexuality and was paired alongside the suiting quite often (Sally LaPointe, Tom Ford). If you decide not to go with a bralette, I recommend taking cues from the runways and sticking with either a sheer or fishnet top (Sally LaPointe, Area). McKenzie designed a “dewy” look for Eliza, that gives her a fresh-faced, subtle air while accentuating the pastels of her outfit. To really hone in on the festival aspect of this look and to avoid looking too much like the cliched (and sexist) trope of the “office sexpot” (that term makes my skin crawl), pair this outfit with unexpected footwear. We styled Eliza in a pair of white chunky runners, as is so loved by both streetwear and high fashion alike as its place on the SS19 runways has remained unwavering (Escada, Alexander Wang). Crunched down white socks were also styled on this look to parallel it’s a masculine counterpart to a degree, but if you want to show off a touch more skin, no-show socks would work just as well. Finally, for this simply fun outfit we styled Eliza in simple silver jewelry; a simple necklace and hoop earrings sufficed without distracting from the simplicity of the outfit. This is the look for you if you have work in the morning and then Culture Shock 2019 at noon – just throw those uncomfortable work shoes in the trunk of your car, unbutton the jacket, and you’re ready to go. Millennial pink fitted blazer and millennial pink knee length pencil skirt will both be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. You betta work it. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18189,18186,18187"] Jack quickly became a favorite amongst the team (and not just his outfit): he’s gentle, kind, trustworthy, and when he speaks it’s always articulate and thoughtful. The closest I’ve ever heard him say something bad about someone behind their back was when he told me how proud he was of another model for doing so well. Jack Brown identifies as white and half Puerto Rican as well as a gay, cis-man. He has never modeled before, but obviously, you would have never known that because he killed it. (And just between us: it’s even one the toughest outfits to rock, yet he did it through and through). Jack agreed to model for us because he “wanted to step out of [his] comfort zone and try something new,” and we’re so glad he did! I’ve known Jack for quite some time now, and I knew once he got warmed up everyone would see the same entertaining and passionate friend that I see. A sophomore at IU, he majors in sustainability with a minor in business, so that he can follow his passion in green business and “participate in the fight against climate change by working with various businesses to decrease their environmental impact while maintaining profits.” Intelligent, palatable, and brave, he’ll most certainly be a huge success in his noble endeavors. But if you think that’s all then think again: I’ve seen Jack absolutely body more than a few dancefloors too – boy has moves! Jack’s excitement, willingness, and rightful pride in his work have shown through every step of the way. Oftentimes, it made me swell with pride and boosted my own faith in my vision. He loves “meeting new people,” “playing piano,” and evidently absolutely slaying the smize I asked him to give the video camera while Charli XCX played in the background. Meet Me By The Water Cooler: If you’re curious, this is my favorite outfit of the bunch (don’t tell the others). It manages to remain simple and chic but is still one of the most intricately thought-out outfits in the lookbook lineup. This look was inspired by the huge shift toward unique suiting that seemed to take over the SS19 runways (Dior Homme, Giorgio Armani). This attempt to cater formal wear to a generation more comfortable with athleisure was quickly dubbed “neo-tailoring,” as suiting saw shifts toward casual, sexy, and even diversions from the new look suit toward more comfortable, relaxed looks (Paul Smith). This anti-streetwear movement stays in touch with the rebellious theme of many of 2019’s trends. The authentically vintage sports jacket boasts wide notch lapels and flap pockets, which provide it with a more casual air than some of the tailoring seen on the SS19 runways, but nowhere near unseen (Maison Margiella). The jacket is most certainly the best of both worlds; it is slightly oversized to fit on trend with the looser “neo-tailoring” looks without looking unintentional, yet it still manages to fit well to look akin to more traditional formal wear without looking unintentional (Ermenegildo Zegna). Beneath the jacket we went with a sexier, bare-chested look to appeal to the menswear trends that urge to show a little more skin than before – oftentimes this overlapped with suiting and saw men bearing all beneath their jackets (Giorgio Armani, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy). The jacket can be left unbuttoned for a cooler, sexy look or buttoned once like Jack to leave just a little more to the imagination. With the spring heat fast approaching and inevitable dancing at Culture Shock, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to keep it breezy with this look. The jacket is a powdery blue to reflect how much of SS19’s colors were pastel (or blindingly-bright if not pastel) from light lavender to a creamy lemon (Kate Spade, Miu Miu). Speaking of skin and pastel, the jacket is paired with a pair of pistachio short-shorts. Shades of sage took over the menswear runways; it works with most skin tones and pairs well with other shades without serving “Swamp Monster Chic” (D2Squared, Oliver Spencer). Pistachio was a particular highlight of the SS19 shows as it plays nicely as both pastel and a shade of sage (Marc Jacobs); therefore, pairing it alongside a similar nuance of blue creates an appealing and springy look. Furthermore, my absolute favorite SS19 menswear trend was short shorts. Tying in nicely with skin being in vogue, short shorts were seen in every which-way from leather to patterned (Prada, Cottweiler), it’s almost hard to pick a side. To create a unique juxtaposition and feeling hugely inspired by Dior Homme’s Spring 2019 Paris collection, I paired the more formal jacket with a pair of casual and comfortable short shorts. We chose to roll them slightly to “festivalize” the look even further to keep it breezy, fun, and flexible if not just to show off a little more skin. Keeping with the “professional-man subverted” theme, the outfit is complimented with a clutch in a Prussian blue, another color that popped up all over (Tibi, Monse), with gold detailing to contrast the pastels and add a more mysterious edge. No longer are bags and clutches only for the feminine figure, as SS19 menswear shows saw mass amounts of baggage. If we as a culture can accept makeup on men (which is great, they all look so stunning!), then I urge you to accept the bag as well. It’s ridiculously useful to keep your phone and money in while staying stylish. The gold detailing on the edgier clutch pairs with the simple long silver chain and dangly, black earring Jack was styled in, to give it a more unexpected edge and avoid appearing too formal for a spring music festival. It’s important to note that when mixing metal colors, one should avoid mixing styles – these pieces are all rather modern with an “e-boy” twist. Finally, I styled Jack in a chunky sneaker and anklet socks (crunched long socks work well, too), which provides an added fun festival vs. sleek professional edge with a sly wink. Not to mention, “ugly” sneakers are here to stay as long as comfort remains a priority for young people (Roberto Cavalli, MSGM). Plus, if you want to see the stage a little better: here’s your chance to do it in style. Trust me, I’m 6’3”, but 6’6” in Filas. You don’t have to be a Kelley School of Business student to rock out at Culture Shock in this revealing and fun look. Powdery blue sports jacket, pistachio short shorts, and Prussian blue clutch will all be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th (that is, if I don’t snag this ‘fit first). Find out more here. Work hard, but also like play really hard too, dude. Genderless Fashion: Welcome to the future. It may be Culture Shock 2019, but you don’t have to look like you’re in 2019 (while simultaneously being perfectly on-trend for 2019 – am I making sense?). Genderless fashion is where the runways seem to be headed as men and womenswear becomes one and specifically, nongendered styles become more mainstream. With the overarching theme of “subversion,” the removal of gender in fashion reflects that rebellion against norms. This genderless look is perfect for the individualist to rock at Culture Shock if you’re looking to make a statement through sleek androgyny and edge but remain comfortable. [gallery size="medium" link="file" ids="18192,18193,18194"] During the first meeting for this project another WIUX director who just happened to be around suggested non-binary representation, and immediately I knew Rin McNutt would be perfect. Rin has such a warm, unique style and vibe about them, I couldn’t have been more excited when they agreed to join. Rin’s preferred pronouns are they/them and identifies as bisexual. Seeing them in a genderless outfit and knowing they loved it too (“I’m buying these pants after the shoot!”) gave me chills. Upon first arrival to IU, Rin majored in film before changing it “several times—four to be exact” and deciding to major in English with a concentration in creative writing. In fact, we met in a creative writing class and let me tell you, they write incredible poetry. Rin is nothing short of an individualist but still manages to be perfectly palatable. Intelligent, incredibly kind, and “dramatic” (their words not mine!) they’ll be beyond successful in their goals of working in publishing or writing their own novels. Rin agreed to model for us because they loved the concept and are “always down to work with creative people, especially when it has to do with something I’m passionate about like fashion.” Rin works alongside Connor with Season Magazine, a student-run organization on campus, to write amazing features for the magazine. Originally from the Nashville, Tennessee area, Rin has a love for “every form of art and every animal, to be honest” which extends particularly into horror movies and nature documentaries. When it was their turn, Rin came into the video shoot and without me giving any instruction to do so, channeled an angsty teen; and let me tell you it gave me all I wanted and more. Andogrynaut: This outfit is, for the most part, inspired by Yohji Yamamoto’s Ready-To-Wear collection for Spring 2019. Long a champion of genderless fashion, the Japanese designer’s looks are never explicitly masculine or feminine, often appealing to the unknowns of his designs. The silhouettes are boxier and the clothing relaxed, while still remaining stylish and appealing. The majority of his S19 collection is solid black, but because I’m a firm believer in a “pop color” and Anna Wintour once said she would never wear an all-black outfit: well then, the shoes are off-white. Feeling inspired by Yohji Yamamoto, so many of IU’s international student’s styles, and Gwen Stefani’s solo music, I wanted to pay homage to the Harajuku street style with the shoes, while still remaining gender neutral. As seen all over the womenswear SS19 catwalks from mules to boots (Givenchy, MSGM, Dolce & Gabana), the shoes have a sharply pointed toe that gives it a feminine and sleek edge, but it is balanced out by a more masculine and striking characteristic seen in the wingtip design: a men’s fashion staple. We continued with the boxier silhouette and layers while keeping it functional and sleek. The blazer features both a bow and a traditional lapel, maintaining Yamamoto’s signature asymmetrical, almost haphazardly draped, image. Beneath the blazer is a simple black dress shirt, yet oversized to avoid any accentuation of the upper body: a vital aspect of much of today’s genderless fashion. When Eliza found the pants and held them up proudly, I was so excited. I couldn’t have found a more perfect pair. The pants are sheer palazzo pants with additional panels of fabric that extend down both sides of either leg. With legs close, the pants could appear to be a skirt, but once the wind blows or the legs parted further, they’re quickly revealed to be loose fitting pants instead. The strips of fabric on the sides add to the gender ambiguity. Sheer was seen on the runways for SS19 for both menswear and womenswear (Dior Homme, Oscar de la Renta), as fashion rooted in queer culture is becoming more accepted and celebrated. Not to mention, the unwritten rule of SS19 seemed to be “less is more” (particularly for menswear as womenswear begins to transition toward modesty, but the overlap is still there), so any chance you have to show some skin – take it. Unfortunately not pictured alongside Rin, but this outfit is also paired alongside a black faux-leather and snake-skin clutch with gold detailing. Leather will always be a staple (keep it faux, please), but with the wide array of animal print in SS19’s trends – especially snake skin (Off-White, Altuzarra) – it’s a match made in heaven. You’ll never fail to see bags in women’s collections, but thankfully, bags for men are finally popping up more; and I don’t just mean cross-body saddle bags, but clutches as well (Dior Homme, Dunhill). Finally, we diverged slightly from Yamamoto’s frill-less designs and added a spiked choker to channel a little extra edge to achieve the rebellious, punk feel (The Blonds, Alexander McQueen) that 2019 is shaping up to have. It’s fitting to see this spiked choker and all black outfit as goth is always a staple (and pretty big on the SS19 runways as well) for the moodier of us all. Gender norms suck, so this is your chance to sock it to them at Culture Shock with at Culture Shock. Black sheer palazzo pants with panels, cream pointed wingtip shoes, black asymmetrical blazer, and black dress shirt will all be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. Binary be damned. 90s Pop Culture: Modern and couture twists on trends from the nineties could be seen in almost every corner of the Spring/Summer 2019 runways. It’s almost as if WGSN predicted the release of “1999” by Charli XCX too and took “I just wanna go back” straight to heart. Our social media fed search for nostalgia becomes us; you are what you consume, but it makes for some killer looks! Following in the steps of “subversion,” we clash patterns and step away from 2019 to a less tumultuous time, or that we at least consider less so through our nostalgia goggles. These outfits are a perfect fit for anyone wishing to feel like a kid (or at least younger) again at Culture Shock in trendy and colorfully fun 90s inspired looks, without the full-send commitment of frosted tips. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18196,18197,18199"] Manny is maybe one of the only straight men at IU I’d trust enough to step out of his comfort zone, take this fashion project seriously, and look this good doing it. Almost every person on the team told me at some point how Manny was such a “tall, cute, sweetheart.” Manny Sood was sat at a collaborative table for a class on environmental change, and from the start, he was incredibly well-liked for his humor, kindness, and out-of-this-world intelligence. Manny is from East Windsor, NJ and majors in Finance and Business Analytics here at IU. He would like to “work as an investment banker and then transition into working in asset management at a hedge fund” – whatever that means (I’m a creative type, lay off), I’m certain he’ll be great at it. He identifies as an Indian-American, straight cis-man and his passion lies in Powerlifting. On campus, he is involved with the Undergraduate Business Diversity Council as well as a co-founder of a new club: the Sports Analytics and Statistics club, where they “educate members on how to make strategic decisions regarding betting on the outcome of sporting events.” Manny had never modeled before (again, you would never know it!), but thoroughly enjoyed the new experience. He agreed to model for this project “because the bro, Nick, asked me to and I’m always willing to help a friend out.” See what I mean? Thanks, Manny! All That: I know I’m pulling inspiration from specific designers or looks for a lot of these outfits, but to be completely honest: for this playful look I found so much inspiration in the 1992 indie film, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. A shocking and certainly not playful? Sure. But did it create a killer 90s inspired outfit? Absolutely. This is another look that takes on the strangely all-encompassing SS19 trend of suiting with a casual comfort spin (Dior Homme, Paul Smith). The blazer fits Manny really well, while still remaining boxy enough to fit in with the rest of the comfy SS19. However, the rolled sleeves that reveal the sleek, bronze lining and broad shoulder pads add a masculine twist and 90s flair to this outfit, which also was not unseen on the runways (Raf Simmons, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy). The color of the blazer is a deep shade of green – a lusher, fun twist on the sage trend in menswear for SS19 (Ermenegildo Zegna) to contrast the bright colors of the under shirt. The golden buttons draw the eye to the midriff, and thus, the shirt under it. If we’re still talking 90s (we are) and you’re a purist then you could throw on a solid tee under this blazer, but it’s 2019 and in 2019 we love bold geometric patterns and rebelliously going against the norm. Beneath the blazer, I paired a cut-off button-up shirt in the perfectly 90s patterns that made their rounds on the SS19 runways that recall the opening sequence graphics of 90s television (Versace, Louis Vuitton). The colors are pastel – something menswear saw a lot of this year (Dior Homme, Acne Studios), and the design has a summery feel. This gives the look an exciting breath of air that tells everyone that you came to dance at Culture Shock. I styled the shirt with only one side of it tucked in to give a sense of asymmetry to contrast the blazer and yell “the nineties!” just a little bit louder in case you didn’t hear it the first time. The cut-off jean short shorts play nicely with the almost out of place love for denim this season. From three piece Canadian tuxedos to acid wash (Sacai, Balmain), denim made an unlikely and almost overwhelming appearance in the four fashion capitals. However, I always feel a sense of empowerment when pieces, like denim, that began with lower socio-economic classes are adopted by higher classes and shown on fashion week runways in a prime example of the Trickle-Up Theory. The short shorts talk the overbearing masculinity of the 90s down a bit and reflect my favorite menswear SS19 trend of short shorts (Prada, Cottweiler). If men can learn anything from the SS19 runways, it’s that it never hurts to show a little more skin (especially when you’re dancing in the April heat. I styled Manny in a pair of tube socks with neon green details. Not only does it pair three different greens, and does it well like a true mismatched, super masculine man would, it also works the trend of neon colors for SS19 (Versace, Alex Mulins). The socks are slightly crunched down toward his shoe, but not too much so as to show off the colors and length. Finally, the shoe is a classic white, leather sneaker for a more sporty and masculine air. Not only are they comfortable, but they also demonstrate the constantly revamped, sneakerhead inspired trend of streamlined trainer (Roberto Cavalli). If you want everyone to know you like to party, then this is the look for you, but you better hurry because Culture Shock is comin’ and everybody’s jumpin’. The deep green blazer will be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. Hit this outfit one more time. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18200,18201,18203"] Madelyn Kinyon and I actually met at a WIUX meeting and let me tell you: I don’t think anybody’s become my girlie quicker. I went in nervous about making new friends, but from that first moment, she was a blast in a glass. If you know Madelyn then you know that everywhere she goes she brings an air of absolute warmth with her. Every single person on location for the shoot warmed up to her almost instantly because of her genuine kindness and imitable sense of humor. She agreed to do this project because she’s grown such an appreciation for WIUX’s creative projects, loved the “family” concept, and “was so honored that [she] was chosen to model alongside such dope people. Thankfully she did because she came to stun in front of that camera! I don’t recall a moment she didn’t have her stunting abilities turned off. Originally from Richmond, Indiana, Madelyn is a senior at IU studying media advertising (she has the tea). After graduation in Fall 2019, her future is bright as she plans to attend a year of portfolio school before she heads into the creative advertising industry to work at an agency in Chicago. Madelyn is a feminist who identifies as a white, straight cis-woman. When I explained, the project had a focus on diversity she quipped “I wouldn’t want to white or straight-wash it, but I am 5’11” so I have that!” Clearly, she has the skill for her personal passion of “making others laugh.” She’s also passionate about discovering new artists and “creating and experimenting with video and audio content.” If you weren’t convinced of her warmth already, her personal philosophy is simply to “treat others how I want to be treated and do what makes my heart feel whole… making [others] laugh has become a priceless experience for me.” Madelyn channels all the Spice Girls for the lookbook, but mostly sugar. Wannabe: Call me Clarissa, because I’m about to explain it all. This look is inspired by the nostalgia search that fashion persistently follows through the decades. I remember the 60s inspired trends when I was in middle school, but finally, fashion has begun to hit a decade I can actually remember – or at least kind of remember its residuals. Which makes me feel old, and I’ve only recently turned 21 (or 31 in partying years)! To begin with, the tie-dyed shirt was reflective of one of the biggest (I don’t mean that lightly) SS19 trends. Tie dye was absolutely everywhere and tied into other trends like suiting and even beige (R13, Paloma Elsesser). It’s no longer just for your camp-out-for-Dave-Matthews-Band friends anymore, but they can still hang with stoner-friendly tee’s fitting right in (Stella McCartney). With all the rebellion I’ve been speaking of, I can say with total honesty that tie-dye is the most rebellious and surprising trend this season. The “Jamaica” embroidery adds to this even further with a sly wink. The tie-dye gives the look a bright and springy vibe, that clashes beautifully with the more professional skirt. Pattern clash was another sizeable SS19 trend that has been gaining traction in recent years. It’s best seen in Versace’s Ready-To-Wear Spring 2019 collection in Milan with unique pairings like gingham and stripes or conflicting florals with stripes but was far from unseen elsewhere (MSGM, Marni). The woven tattersall skirt is a slimmer fit like the more tailored, yet bold skirts seen on the runways (Moschino). Eliza cropped the skirt herself to add a grittier festival inspired vibe. This crop created a fun layer as well, further adding to the clever mixed media style. The jacket came with the skirt and proved to be quite the added plus to really get across the Versace x R13 x Moschino pattern clashing look as well as take on the 90s immense love for blazers. The shoes are the most unlikely mix of two SS19 women's’ shoe trends. I chose a combat boot to not only reflect on a grungier 90s trend but to contrast the bright and summery look the rest of the outfit carries for more of an indie-alt-girl edge. Nonetheless, combat boots were certainly on the SS19 runways showcasing a move from indie to rock and roll (Louis Vuitton, Celine). However, we ditched the sleeker look and heel to touch more upon another, a more playful trend to remind you to keep it sweet (but with some heat, because you’re looking fire in this outfit). While transparent shoes had their time of day on the catwalks (Balmain, Marc Jacobs), it was jelly shoes that stole my only-residual-insights-of-the-90s boy heart (Alexa Chung, Giorgio Armani). Madelyn was styled with brightly colored berets to hold her crimped hair out of her face, which is perfect when you’re bouncing at Culture Shock. Her statement floral earrings dangle, but not too low, just as Cher’s earrings would in Clueless. Finally, McKenzie designed her makeup with more of the modern era in mind, with an extending eye shadow, but a subtle reminder of when we were young with a simple lip gloss. If you plan to come to Culture Shock to look like you’re All That (because you are), then you gotta get with this outfit. Tie dye “Jamaica” tee, cropped woven skirt, matching woven blazer, and gel combat boots will all be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. No wannabes here, just straight stunners! Feminizing the Masculine: At times, femininity seemed divided on the Spring/Summer 2019 catwalks. Women’s wear seems stuck somewhere between modesty and baring all. As men and womenswear increasingly coincide to reflect a changing and rebellious society, I chose to showcase some of womenswear biggest Spring/Summer 2019 trends on a man to pointedly reflects the lookbook’s theme of “subversion.” This power femme look is great for anybody who wants to play up on their feminine attributes at Culture Shock while remaining comfortable, yet sexy while retaining an alternative edge. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18205,18209,18208"] Immediately, I knew I could rely on Connor Garcia when I thought up the idea of presenting the trends for women’s wear on a man; and did he come to serve. Connor identifies as a gay, cis-male “although, I think the binary is hideous.” Not once have I seen him shy away from his sexuality or ethnicity. When our make-up artist put on his designed look, everyone was obsessed (that is not an exaggeration) and he never once stopped serving it to us on a silver platter. Our makeup artist had so many people comment on both her skills and his ability to slay. Others may have said “what?” when I shouted “eyes!”, but Connor just turns them on without question or hesitation. If you ever needed an example of how to give the camera eyes then look no further. He also identifies as white, Cuban, and “I think I’m a brujo.” His style is so unique and deeply rooted in queer culture, it’s hard to miss him (not that you’d want to in the first place). With a naturally vibrant and encapsulating personality like Connor’s, you won’t go a moment without laughing from some meme he’s quipped. This may have to do with the fact that he’s pretty popular on “Gay Twitter.” Beyond that, Connor is an infinitely honest, trustworthy, and deeply caring person. When he asks you if you are okay, you can tell he genuinely means it. That’s tough to come by, but he has it. He majors in economic consulting and international business, but that heavy load doesn’t prevent him from taking time to do what he loves: photoshoots and fighting for “equality for all members in our community.” And yes, those eyebrows are completely natural. America Definitely Loves Women: This look is inspired by one of the looks Kendall Jenner wore for Alberta Ferretti’s Ready-to-Wear Spring 2019 collection in Milan. Like many other designers, Alberta Ferretti’s Spring 2019 collection was catered toward the younger generation. With sexier lingerie tops paired with loose shorts and jean jackets, the majority of her collection was more akin to casual comfort than the couture of her usual swankier designs. We took great inspiration from this softer feminine look but spiced it up for an added alternative edge so you’re not left feeling too emotionally vulnerable at a music festival. First and perhaps the first thing we looked for when we began shopping, is the teddy that serves as the statement top. The SS19 runways for womenswear were littered with lacy and delicate lingerie pieces worn as outerwear (Tom Ford, Khaite), this serves as a complete foil to the other sexually charged trend that commanded the catwalks: fishnet (JW Anderson, Nicopanda). The lingerie adds a power-femme touch and provides the outfit with the unashamed sex appeal that the bolder of fashion followers/designers love so dearly. In a post #MeToo world, much of fashion seems divided on a rebellious modesty or an equally rebellious sexual liberated twist. Originally, I intended on showcasing Connor’s harrier upper body beneath the dainty lingerie. However, upon adding the black, short-sleeve turtle neck and seeing how nicely it filled out the chest as well as created a sharp contrast between the two that was akin to an edgier, streetwear inspired look (Gypsy Sport), I was completely sold. A black turtle neck is a closet staple of women’s wear, but the short sleeves avoid looking like the modest-business casual woman and lend themselves to a more airy, festival look. While biker shorts may have ruled 2018, there’s a new style in town – and there’s enough room for both on the SS19 runways. From knee-length to tailored, looser and less feminine shorts were a popular choice amongst designers (Prada, Margaret Howell). These sensible shorts flair out to provide the comfort so desired this season, and I cuffed them twice to add room for movement to dance in and show off a little more skin in the Spring heat. Furthermore, they’re in a shade of beige, which saw every one of its shades on the runways (Rochas, Max Mara), which provide a solid and safe base for almost any outfit that works with almost every skin tone. They also sport a sense of sensibility and usefulness, which is reminiscent of this season’s trend of utility inspired wear for clothing that can multitask (Fendi, Louis Vuitton). The wedge espadrille sandals are a conglomerate of several SS19 women’s shoe trends, that all tie together fluidly. The lacey mesh toe is a hyper-feminized twist on the mesh and fishnet trend (Vivienne Hu, Salvatore Ferragamo) that pairs delicately alongside the lingerie. Speaking of fishing, the sandals also feature a woven rope bottom edge, as nautical influences seemed particularly inspiring on the SS19 runways (Milly, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini). The sandal has never really gotten the chance to stick as a “serious” piece before now (Michael Kors, Altuzarra), and the cork wedge gives them a slight wink to the clunkier scandal that frequently found itself on the runways for this season (Michael Kors, Anna Sui). To tie in even further with the nautical inspirations all over this season and add even more feminine edge, this outfit is paired with a fishnet raffia beach tote, which was also popular this season (Loewe, Jacquemus). I paired this look with gold jewelry in the form of earrings, layered necklaces, and an oversized gem-set ring to add further to the feminine delicateness of the majority of the floral, lacy outfit. Finally, McKenzie designed Connor’s makeup with bold, bright colors with a sleek sensibility to contrast to the neutral colors. If you’re looking to let everyone at Culture Shock know you’re soft, but with a bite – this is your honey and habanero. White floral teddy, black short-sleeve turtleneck, beige sensible shorts, raffia beach tote, and espadrille wedge sandals will all be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. Making money moves is so 2018 – in 2019 we’re making femme power moves. Masculinizing the Feminine: Masculinity that isn’t toxic is always a welcome invite, and for many, fashion is a place where that can thrive. As men and womenswear increasingly coincide to reflect a changing and rebellious society, I chose to showcase some of menswear biggest trends on the Spring/Summer 2019 runways on a woman to pointedly reflect the lookbook’s theme of “subversion.” This masculine look is perfect for anybody who wants to play up on their masculine attributes at Culture Shock while remaining relaxed, sporty, and trendy. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18210,18212,18213"] In my humble opinion, Shiloh Kachmann is nothing short of a creative genius. There’s an air about her that just screams “cool,” but once you finally work up the courage to talk to her, you’ll find she’s just as cool and creatively intelligent as she seems but also incredibly friendly and warm. I knew Shiloh would be an incredible fit when I came up with the idea of presenting menswear trends on a woman. She agreed to do this project not only because “I’m all for androgyny” and that it is an “honor” to help represent the queer community, but also a general love for the arts: “the rush of creation and seeing a project to its end is exhilarating.” Shiloh identifies as a white, cis-woman, but tries not to label her sexuality other than “fluid.” From Fort Wayne, Indiana, she has only recently found ways to appreciate her roots: “if I can say one thing, the Midwest is honest.” She and her triplet siblings “used and abused that limitless space [of my backyard] for artistic purposes… I never felt restricted.” She finds comfort in the track our society is on regarding mental health, which is something she struggles with as well: “[at times] the only way I felt I could get my point across was through creation; which was a far better alternative to destruction, I am so thankful for that. I am fearlessly open-minded because of it.” Shiloh was a huge help in so many aspects of this project: from location to vision planning to accessories to the photography you see here. As a film major, her passion is to “inform and entertain.” That she did and made it all an utter dream to work alongside her. Boys Will Be Boys: This look is directly inspired by Todd Snyder’s opening look from his New York Fashion Week Spring 2019 collection. Todd Snyder is known for his sporty yet chic looks, wherein he takes the traditionally masculine figure’s look and paints it with the same SS19 trends for which WGSN probably provided the brush. And Snyder certainly took note of the retro, bad-gone-good trends. The polo shirt is not only a reference to the men’s fashion staple but capitalizes on the huge SS19 color trend of marigold in all forms, from deep, true shades of marigold to creamier shades (Brandon Maxwell, Tome). The lighter shade of marigold provides a springy and light touch to the otherwise masc4masc outfit. The polo shirt is also a semi-formal look that can just as easily be dressed down for a spring or summer look, just ask Jacquemus. The buttons are on the feminine side of the shirt, which we see as a more meta-comment on menswear becoming increasingly more feminine despite more toxic forms of masculinity being paraded in the public spotlight. Regardless, the polo shirt fits looser and more akin to the boxier menswear trends (Dior Homme, Martine Rose), as compared to the tighter fits many womenswear collections showcased a shift back toward (Moschino). Furthermore, it touches on the oftentimes edifying pop culture references fashion loves so much with everybody’s favorite ineffective 90s anti-drug program’s logo embroidered on the chest (in fact in 1992, IU conducted a study that demonstrated at least a portion of the program’s ineffectiveness). Not to mention, embroidery made some appearances on the runways (Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana). To touch on so many aspects of fashion in such a simple piece was a win for us. The shirt is tucked in neatly to a pair of straight-leg khaki pants. They privilege the same comfort over sleek aesthetic that designers loved for this year. Khaki pants aren’t just business casual anymore; one of the bigger color trends of SS19 was varying shades of beige from the top to the bottom (Rochas, Fendi). The pants are belted with another shade of beige and brown utility belt. Utility-inspired pieces, often alongside pockets and more pockets, were seen in the least likely of places – and everywhere else too (Fendi, Proenza Schouler) – quite literally continuing the rebellion against “fashion over function.” Since the long-belt’s surge of popularity in 2016, it has not left the sight of the runways (Todd Snyder, Fendi), but for the most part, they no longer drag the ground. Not only did Todd Snyder’s look cuff the pants, but we did as well to avoid the crunching of pants and to give the look a more carefree look to add a touch of fun and to avoid looking like a faculty chaperone at Culture Shock. Although, looking like a chaperone would not be too far off the mark for SS19 as retro/clumsy-dad-at-a-barbeque vibes are certainly rather welcome (Todd Snyder, Versace). The shoes are a unique take on the more masculine, ever-enduring athleisure based trend of modifying the sneaker for the high fashion man (Off-White x Nike, Stella McCartney) while maintaining the beloved dad-sneaker aesthetic (Byblos, Coach) and perfectly matching the belt. They’re simple and understated, for a shoe that says “beige” – and I mean that with love. While I am personally a big fan of a strong sock game and it was certainly big in women’s collections, for this I recommend a simple white sock to stay within the masculine “dad” confines of this outfit. Shiloh herself chose to pair this look with a thick chain over the top of the polo, which I find to be a fantastic added touch referencing the 90s’ (did I mention that 90s wear is kind of popular right now?) love with over-the-top masculinity. Finally, we have a neon green bucket cap that pairs with it wonderfully, but unfortunately, just did not fit Shiloh right. Bucket caps are probably my least favorite “ugly” trend for SS19, but their presence on the runway is undeniable (MSGM, Versace). Furthermore, neon was another trend that not-so-unexpectedly popped up all over the runway, as rave-based looks are revived (Xander Zhou, Versace). If you want to come to Culture Shock to rave, but still keep it literally “daddy” for Culture Shock 2019 – then this is your moment to shine, sport. Creamy yellow anti-drug polo, relaxed khaki pants, neon green bucket cap, and beige slim dad sneakers will all be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. Masc4Masc not required. Modified Cowgal: Cowboy inspired looks, more often than not, emerge when America is either feeling very patriotic or feels it is in turmoil. This globally recognized all-American symbol found its way into Eastern fashion shortly before World War II as wealthy Americans chose to settle in ranches. Therefore, it has been seen in reiterations all around the fashion world. We decided to showcase this western symbol of white masculinity inspired outfit on a black woman to further our theme of “subversion”. This look is perfect for anybody who wants to feel particularly patriotic or make a subtle statement (or both) at Culture Shock 2019 while staying standing out in all the right, trendy ways. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="18219,18217,18216"] Nadia was the only model I hadn’t known previously, but of course, I trusted Eliza’s choice – and I am beyond glad I did. Not only is she absolutely stunning and killer in front of the camera, but she’s just an all-around warm, hilarious, and darling human. Nadia Burbank is from Detroit, Michigan, but as a sophomore, at IU she studies human biology and studio art with plans to be a pediatric oncologist. Naturally, she finds herself most passionate about “making art that represents the women of my community.” I can tell you for certain she’s successful in that endeavor from only the brief moments I’ve gotten to be around her. If nothing else her participation in this creative project and “playing” as the empowered character we envisioned was beyond powerful representation. Not to mention, seeing her braids appearing from beneath a long-held symbol of white masculinity gives me life. I felt empowered being in her presence. Her infectious personality and candid openness make her quick to catch on in any room she graces. Nadia identifies as an African American, straight, cis-woman. She agreed to do this because she wanted to “step outside of [her] comfort zone and try something new.” She loves “going on adventures” and kills “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. at karaoke (complete with well-timed dance moves with her partner) so hard that it almost seems rehearsed. If you’re not completely sold on this icon yet, then you’ll be pleased to know she was almost Chyna Parks in Disney Channel’s A.N.T. Farm. Yes, you heard me correctly. She could have been the one to release the timeless bop, “Calling All the Monsters.” We have decided to stan. Cowboys Are The Good Guys: This outfit is inspired by one of the most rebellious trends to come out of 2018 and revamp enough to stick around for 2019, too. Western-inspired wear may have been one of the biggest trends of 2018, but as it starts to slide away the SS19 runways proved there’s still enough room for cowboys in this season. Modification and honing in on specific aspects of Western wear is what kept it on our radars for this season. As maybe some of the biggest (that’s not an exaggeration) and all-encompassing trends, if you’re not leaning into these you’re going to be playing catch-up. The simple and fitted button up shirt has a navy and deep green paisley: a popular print on the Spring/Summer 2019 runways. For good reason, paisley has long been associated with Western wear and was a staple piece of nineties wardrobes. It was seen in casual sets, couture-inspired dresses, and as a means to achieve the pattern clash trend as well (Etro, Zimmerman, Chloe). The paisley shirt was then tucked into a pair of a light shade of beige short shorts to maintain a more traditional cowboy feel. While longer shorts seemed to run the show this season, short shorts certainly haven’t fallen out of favor and still made their fair share of catwalk appearances (Maryam Nassir Zadeh). These shorts stay in the realm of the 50 shades of beige trend that popped up in fashion weeks all over (Rochas, Max Mara). This trend managed to not be boring in spite of it being a neutral color by using monochromatic layering techniques (Fendi, Tibi), which I also made use of in this outfit. Speaking of beige, I styled Nadia in a fringe jacket of a darker shade that looks like it came hot off of Longchamp’s SS19 show. Now when I said “biggest,” fringe is almost entirely what I meant. Fringing was a favorite this season, from shoes to skirt hems to bags to jackets to hats, it was everywhere you looked. The styles of fringing could be made to match any mood ranging anywhere between sleek leather to soft silk to shiny rhinestone (Givenchy, Anna Sui, Sonia Rykiel). The fringing gives this look a wild and exciting spring look and looks great flaring out when you spin for your Instagram Boomerangs. The boots are perhaps the team leaders’ favorite item in this lookbook. We originally had a pair of snakeskin cowboy boots (which would have also fit nicely with the animal print shoe trend (Off-White, Burberry)), but as soon as we laid eyes on these boots. It was game over. These boots encapsulate a couple of SS19 shoe trends in one. Cowboy boots were 2018’s it-shoe, but there was a continuation of that trend this season through modification with specific aspects such as an added heel or clog style (Calvin Klein, Victoria Beckham). Modification allowed them to stand out even amidst the more common ankle boots. The heel gives the cowboy boot an added feminine edge for an even strong reclamation of a symbol of white masculinity. Boots, in particular, got the metallic treatment this season (Byblos, Victoria Beckham) taking cues from queer fashion and this outfit’s boots are perfectly reflective (no pun intended) of that trend. It gives the boots a spotlight as well as a sleek and modern festival-friendly edge, upping the ante from urban cowboy to space cowboy. Next, I styled Nadia in a legit luxury cowboy hat (in another shade of beige) that I borrowed from a dear friend who remains unwaveringly inspired by Tom Ford’s urban cowboy of 2014 – so I’m certain 2019, with all its Western wear, will be his year. Not to mention, hats and headgear of all kinds were all over the SS19 runways (Emporio Armani, Moschino). The hat gives this look that extra push into cowboy territory and provides some shade on the face from the April sun as you rock out in Dunn Meadow all day long. We paired this outfit with a pair of aqua ostrich feather earrings. Aqua to monochromatically contrast the shirt as well as the lip, and ostrich feathers because duh. If you haven’t invested in items with feather detailing, I’d do that now. Feather detailing was another all-encompassing trend from shoes to dresses to earrings (Calvin Luo, Gucci). The ostrich feathers provide a soft, feminine touch to the western inspired look. My best advice as you update your wardrobe is that the more feathers, and especially ostrich feathers, the better. Finally, McKenzie wanted to keep the eye a simple and smoky brown to be more representative of the hard-working connotation cowboys hold. However, she then served 2019 up on a platter in the form of a pink foil lip for a pop that ties everything together: head to toe. This is your space cowboy outfit if you want to feel all your Kacey Musgraves fantasies at Culture Shock. Paisley button up shirt and metallic cowboy boots will both be for sale at Culture Shock on April 20th. Find out more here. Yeehaw? More like yeewow. This collaboration with every single person listed in the credits has been an absolute dream. Seeing one of my greatest visions yet come to life by way of my passions has been priceless. Thank you. Thank you to the models, Kenylnn Albright, Eliza Craig, McKenzie Conrad, Matt Teden, Kathryn Jankowski, Shiloh Kachmann, and WIUX (who trusted us with a budget). And thank you for reading, watching, consuming, sharing, thinking, enjoying, growing, learning, changing, loving – I’ll see you at Culture Shock 2019. Culture Shock 2019 starts at noon, Saturday, April 20th, in Dunn Meadow. Admission is free, so just bring your person!
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Welcome back to the third installment of WIUX but Make It Fashun with Nick Comer! I’m back with another campus fashion icon, who you may have heard the name of a lot recently – unless you’ve been living under a rock (or have questionable taste in music that is). Like last time, we’ve also collaborated on a playlist inspired by this student and her style. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3yzlNnFRGUBsCytv9S9SqK If you’re excited for Culture Shock, smash that share button! With Saba, Lala Lala, SHAED, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and so many more amazing artists (that you can find out more about here) on the lineup, it’s basically destined to be a great one. And not to mention, this year’s lineup also includes the mad talented Bloomington local, ktfaithful. If you haven’t heard ktfaithful’s new EP yet, my best advice is to get on that. You can dance and cry to it; and if that isn’t the college experience, then I don’t know what is. These past two plus months, I have been collaborating with some incredible WIUX directors, models, and artists to create a dope, fashion-based promo for Culture Shock 2019. There has been a lot of thought, sweat, time, and just a touch of blood put into it. Certainly, be sure to be on the lookout for the Culture Shock 2019 Lookbook! It revolves around the subversion of many aspects of the American life we live by way of the biggest trends on the Spring/Summer 2019 runways. There's a strong focus on things we find important here at WIUX: representation, diversity, and some sick outfits you can stun with at Culture Shock. We hope you find inspiration for your Culture Shock look or even buy a ‘fit you love, so you can be certain you’re coming to stunt! Finally, we hope you find it just as engaging and thought-provoking as we did while creating it. So, if you’re not sure what you’re wearing to Culture Shock yet… well, we have you covered. Literally. I recently sat down and talked about fashion with this skilled and stylish IU junior and member of the official Culture Shock 2019 lineup. We’ve all heard that you should dress for the job you want, but for Katie Faith O’Neill, or ktfaithful, that’s a little more liberating than a mandatory Kelley suit. My WIUX B-Side co-host and ktfaithful have been friends for a while now, and I’ve never heard the end of how great she or her music is—and my co-host certainly isn’t wrong. I had met ktfaithful once previously in passing while I chatted with another mutual friend of ours. Right off the bat, she complimented my outfit (which always makes my day), so not only is she talented, but also noticeably and selflessly warm. Ever since my co-host loaded up ktfaithful’s song “In My Head” on our show I was hooked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mU8ASs3StQ “In My Head” simultaneously hurts my feelings like no other, but also makes me feel warm and like I just want to dance. When ktfaithful agreed to sit down for a chat with me at the Soma on 3rd street, I was overjoyed. However, I also couldn’t help but be a bit nervous about an interview with one of the Culture Shock artists, but within moments of meeting her, we had clicked over fashion, creativity, and of course, Charli XCX. Photo by Claire Frisbie Nick Comer: First of all, I want to say thanks so much for sitting down with me for this! I appreciate it a lot. You have such a dope sense of style. It’s something both Amanda [my WIUX B-Side co-host] and I have taken time to admire. ktfaithful: No problem, I wanted to! It sounds fun! It helps that I know Amanda and a lot of people with WIUX, so if I had said “no” I would’ve felt so mean (laughs). I wanted to do it anyway. NC: Not to mention, I am so excited to see your set at Culture Shock. Do you have an outfit picked out? ktfaithful: Thank you! Right now I’ve been going back and forth with a couple of outfits, but I don’t even have an outfit in mind, I just think of a specific clothing item I want to wear and then I’ll go from there. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know yet but I’ll try to make it pleasing to the eye (laughs). I’m trying to go for something more chill and not over the top because I’m definitely not a “Lady Gaga type” in the way I represent myself. Something like my usual look, but just a little more exaggerated. I don’t want to be super extra, but I’m definitely going for platform shoes because I’m 4’11” so… NC: If you wanted to go over the top this would be the moment to do it. ktfaithful: True, true. But I’m not an over the top person anyway. I like to dress a bit wild sometimes, but I think I want to represent myself as myself the first time, or maybe a more outgoing version. The ktfaithful version versus the Katie version. NC: When did you first get into fashion? Why? And how do you feel your style has progressed or changed since then? ktfaithful: To begin with, definitely my mom. My mom has always been really big into shopping. We would go shopping all the time; and not always buy stuff, but just go window shopping to stare and be like “that’s so cute!” And I’ve always been a more creative person, so I’ve always enjoyed any way I could express myself creatively. I think for that, clothing is an obvious choice, so I kind of just gravitated toward clothes because I wanted people to see that side of me. But my style has definitely evolved, because I used to wear stuff that could be considered kind of corny. I would wear Christmas bows in my hair during December or I would wear dresses with buildings painted on them. I had the intention to be weird when I was little. I wanted people to think “what are you wearing?”, but now I’ve definitely settled down. NC: So then you feel like fashion is an extension of self-expression? ktfaithful: Definitely, because if I didn’t have a certain style I feel I would be overlooked. I feel like I need to spice it up to show people who I really am: not just leggings and a sweatshirt – which I do all the time, but you can’t grasp my personality through that outfit. It’s your intuition that tells you someone’s personality by their clothes. NC: You feel that the way you dress affects the way people perceive you? ktfaithful: I’ve had people assume things about me and just come up to me and talk to me about something with the assumption that I will agree with them just based on their perception of me and believe in the same things as them because I replicate a style that they relate to. But on the other hand, when people do catch my vibe correctly it’s really nice because I feel understood by them. And I feel comfortable that they get me and understand what I’m doing and see my vision of who I’m trying to be as a person. NC: In that same vein do you feel fashion is important in regards to self-expression, validation, self-perception, and confidence? ktfaithful: You could be a person who doesn’t like fashion, so if you wanted to express yourself through fashion then you wouldn’t. Does that make sense? It’s up to every person to wear what they want, so wear what you want and people will see a more authentic side of yourself. If you try to force a certain style it can come off as slightly phony, not to say you can’t take inspiration from others or try new things, but be yourself. I can tell if someone isn’t dressing like themselves, but if you dressed like yourself then you would shine through, you know? It depends if you’re into fashion or not. You can’t just assume everyone cares about clothes. If someone throws on clothes in the dark that’s a fashion statement on its own. NC: So then could you detail to me a little about how you would describe your personal style? ktfaithful: My favorite mainstream store is Urban Outfitters – I feel a lot of people love that store. I would go all the time in high school and gather inspiration. That’s probably when I started to develop my own style because in middle school I wore uniforms, but in high school, I was beginning to socialize on the weekends so I began experimenting with it. Now, I tend to go with thrift stores. Maybe I’ll see something in a store or online and try to find something similar to it in a thrift store. But the type of clothes I gravitate towards usually have weird shapes and patterns, and then pairing it with blocked colors. I particularly pay attention to the way things are cut; like square shaped or boxy. I’ll cut up my sweatshirts a lot and change the way it flows on my body because I like unique silhouettes. I’m never really concerned about accentuating my figure, I just want it to look unique. It’s never too over the top though, comfort is my number one priority; if something’s not comfortable then I’m not going to wear it. That usually cuts out a lot of really over-the-top things for me, so I don’t dress like that normally. NC: That’s a really great answer. Usually, I would probably get something like “I like high fashion mixed with streetwear.” But right there you gave me: I like cool patterns and unique silhouettes. It makes you harder to pin down, which honestly, is great. Does your work as a musician and singer-songwriter play into your fashion choices? ktfaithful: I definitely take the aesthetic of the people who I follow in the music industry into consideration. When you’re an artist you have to kind of create a brand, it’s like dressing for a job. If you’re in Kelley you’re going to wear a tuxedo (laughs). No, not a tuxedo – a suit – but if you wore a tuxedo that would be cool, though. Now I’m just accentuating the style I already have and upping it a little bit for when I perform. But even if I didn’t make music I feel as though my style would be pretty similar, but it definitely enhances my style because it pushes me to be more creative and out there so it matches the vibe that I’m going for in my music. Photo by Evan Oak NC: You mentioned that as an artist you have to brand yourself with a style. How would you identify your brand as an artist? In one sentence? ktfaithful: I want my style to intrigue people, but not scare the general public like “you’re weird, I don’t understand your style” but at the same time be like “that’s kind of different, I respect it.” I want it to be easy-going. NC: You want something thought-provoking, but palatable? ktfaithful: Exactly! I don’t know who is listening to my music, so I think it is important for anyone to be able to relate to my music in any type of way. Even if they don’t get the message I’m trying to say. I want them to feel comfortable and relate to what I’m saying. I just want my brand to be “you are my friend.” NC: You also said you look at the musicians that you do follow, so then who are some of your fashion inspirations in the music industry? Why? ktfaithful: I really love Charli XCX. She is such a bad bitch, I love her. As a huge Charli XCX fan, I kind of gasped here. ktfaithful: I had a feeling you would like her (laughs). Her style is so amazing. It’s like party girl – obviously, she loves to party – and pink, flirty, cute, and frilly. She’s like “party” and glitter and, trust me, I love glitter. I also love Marina and the Diamonds – she’s my favorite artist. She dresses more classy, very clean-cut and simplistic. I like that. But Charli is like “party” and glitter and I love glitter. So I like combining both of those things, clean but fun. NC: If your music was a person how would they dress? ktfaithful: What I’m imagining right now is a light pink and lots of tulle; I love see-through fabric. Platform shoes. Definitely glitter. Tule mostly on the sleeves, I really love flowy stuff. Probably a really flowy outfit. Carefree, bubbly, and… the personification of a champagne bottle popping. Oh! Definitely piercings; nose, ears, just a couple, but definitely piercings. And it’s all just one solid color, maybe with pops of color with blue earrings or something. NC: I do always ask a fashion business question, so please bear with me. Again, it’s so great to have a Culture Shock artist on my column, because I’ve been working on a fashion-oriented promotional project for Culture Shock. It’s focused on S/S 2019 trends you can wear to Culture Shock, but includes a heavy element of diversity and subversion of norms. We’re seeing runways become increasingly more diverse, but ultimately not really diverse enough. There’s still a big push for more diversity, more transgender models, more models of color. Something that made some waves recently, was Adut Akech, a 19 year old Sudanese-Australian woman of color, winning Model of the Year (2018) over Gigi Hadid who was kind of expected to win. So, how do you feel representation within the fashion world matters? Or how could it improve or what is it doing great? ktfaithful: Right now, I think the great part of the fashion world is that it is including more people who look more like the everyday person. Even with just social media being a tool for brands to use and reach out to content creators that were self-made on social media doing fashion is more relatable to me than seeing a 6 foot 2 model, because I’ve never seen a 4’11” model. Not that short or tall is super diverse or divisive, but even that matters. I definitely think [Adut Akech winning] is a step forward from the past. Many people would have just overlooked it if Gigi won and probably just move on from it super-fast, but this brings it to the forefront. I do definitely think we should cater to every type of person and not put people in boxes. We should have clothes be able to be worn by literally any person and not just be shown on one type of body shape. I’d love to see a runway show showcase an outfit on three different people back to back – that would be so interesting – but instead, I’m only seeing this outfit on one body type or skin color and it’s not giving me the full effect of what clothes should be. Clothes should be: someone sees an item and they make it into whatever they want it to be to express themselves. NC: That’s awesome. Basically, it’s as if clothing is your tool, and if you don’t see yourself on the runways or on fashion magazines, those kinds of things, then how are you going to effectively use these tools to make yourself “you”? ktfaithful: Exactly! NC: Final question, as a student here at IU, who is very genuine from your style to your music to your personality, what kind of advice could share for other students regarding individuality and expression through all aspects? ktfaithful: College definitely is the place and time to just wear whatever you want because you’re never going to see the people you don’t want to see as opposed to high school. You can walk around and no one knows who you are. If you want to start testing out styles and stuff, then just wear it to class and see how you feel, the next day wear something else, and keep with trial and error until you feel comfortable in something. You don’t even have to overthink it, just let it happen. Photo by Claire Frisbie Essential accessory? Pants as a statement piece of outfits. My boyfriend and I have the sickest pant game! Favorite brand? Dolls Kill. Favorite fashion house? Burberry. My one goal in life is to walk in like a Burberry trench coat in a big city. Festival looks: hippie modernism or alternative chic? Alternative Chic Favorite red carpet look of all time? Rihanna’s giant pink dress for the 2015 Grammys (wearing Giambattista Valli). She has the best body, but decided to cover it all up. That kind of stuff is what I love about fashion: do what nobody expects you to do. Photo by Claire Frisbie Find more from ktfaithful on Instagram and Twitter. Plus, catch her music everywhere AND on stage at Culture Shock 2019 at 12:00 pm on April 20th!
The Mowgli’s stopped in Bloomington on November 30th off their fall 2018 tour following the 2018 release of their EP, I Was Starting to Wonder. I’ve been a fan of The Mowgli’s ever since I first heard “Say It, Just Say It” on the radio. Their infectious sound can’t help but make me feel like I’m lying under the warm California sun, despite the fact I’ve never been. Their signature sound, messages of love, and honest lyrics make The Mowgli’s a band you want to stick around for. I was lucky enough to see them before when they toured with one of my favorite artists, Lights. The first time I saw them, the show was energetic and warm. Almost exactly three years later, I can happily report that their show at Alumni Hall was no different. The Mowgli’s were the first concert in Alumni Hall in 13 years. Who better to open an on-campus concert than a local band? Everyday Fantastic made for an energy-pumping opener. While most of the songs they performed were originals, they still made sure to interact with the crowd with easily done sing-a-long lines. I somehow still have “oh, oh, oh now, please don’t go now” stuck in my head. However, the energy at Alumni Hall finally got its feet off the ground when they sang the song every college student can perfectly recite at a party: “Mr. Brightside.” They proved themselves to be an excellent choice to help pump up the audience for the headlining band. Every band member worked in tandem – complete with relatable lyrics, impressive vocals and harmonies, and an original instrumental sound – to create a great atmosphere. At the front, the huge fans were pressed up against the stage while people who weren’t as familiar were scattered off along the walls. I was about three rows back but I didn’t notice my location because The Mowgli’s were incredibly captivating. By the end of the first few songs, even those leaned against the walls like rebels at prom were pressed in closer and banging their heads. Coming onto to stage and immediately opening with “Spacin’ Out” from their most recent 2016 album Where’d Your Weekend Go? had the crowd immediately bouncing on their feet. Even the less than casual fan was singing the chorus by the second time around. From the very start, you could see how Josh Hogan, lead vocalist and guitarist, was genuinely into the music he was performing. His heel would leave the ground on every “spacin’ out” belted out toward the audience, leaving him strumming his guitar on his tiptoes. They followed immediately into “Bad Dream” from the same 2016 release. The Mowgli’s never had a lack of energetic music or energy, in general, to get the audience jumping up and down. They all dance along to their own music as if they are also hearing it for the first time themselves. Shortly after these songs Katie Earl, vocalist and percussionist, quipped to the audience, “I feel like I’m in Hogwarts in the best way possible. Thank you for such a beautiful campus!” Well, Katie, flattery will get you everywhere – we certainly love our campus! Following “Bad Dream,” The Mowgli’s played the first of three songs from their 2018 EP I Was Starting to Wonder. “I Feel Good About This” is a true The Mowgli’s song if you’ve ever heard one. As for “Kansas City,” it’s a personal favorite about finding and losing home that feels almost built to reverberate through a stadium. The setlist was punctuated by ten more songs from their previous three albums, a stand-alone single, and a lively cover of The Chainsmoker’s “Closer.” Among the best songs that The Mowgli’s performed live were the title track to The Mowgli’s third album “Where’d Your Weekend Go,” their 2015 hit “I’m Good,” and their breakout, sunny, love-filled, encore song “San Francisco.” If someone in the audience isn’t dancing in some capacity by the opening line of “San Francisco,” I could only think to ask: who hurt you? And hope they get better soon. After “Closer,” Hogan stopped momentarily and explained how he likes to call people out in the audience at their shows. He then pointed to me and said he saw me the night before. I was previously beating myself up because they mentioned they had been to Buffa Louie’s for Trivia Night the night before and I was there, but I hadn’t seen them. I was taken by surprise, I pointed at myself inquisitively and he replied: “Yeah you! Hi I’m Josh.” I was completely elated! I already had a smile on my face, but in Whoville Alumni Hall they say it grew three sizes that day. He continued “I saw him walking through the city last night and he looked so cool. And he had on the coolest hat.” I could barely muster out a “thank you so much” as I placed my hand over my heart to show my gratitude. Katie chimed in, “Hi, I’m Katie. You did look cool.” So, it’s safe to say, dear readers, I’m never going to wear a different outfit again. I was already feeling the love, but I couldn’t have felt it even more than right in that moment. I was soaring – rock stars told me I looked cool! I’ve simply peaked. Interestingly enough, they then played “Say It, Just Say It.” Full circle? I know of her. Just before performing “I’m Good,” Katie took to her microphone to share some words of wisdom and ultimately delivered The Mowgli’s take-home message. “We, The Mowgli’s, believe that just a little more love and passion can change the world. If we love ourselves more and have more respect for ourselves, then we will respect others. And maybe we can make this nation actually great.” This, of course, received uproarious screams and applause of affirmation. Love, positivity, and inclusivity have always been a part of The Mowgli’s. It has never once felt forced or disingenuous, but completely truthful and earnest coming from them. By the end of their set, almost everyone was sweating, grinning, and filled with absolute warmth despite the chilly weather outside. I know I certainly was. I left smiling, walked home smiling, fell asleep smiling, and even woke up smiling. Sometimes at concerts (especially if you go alone as I did), you’ll find yourself a bit uncomfortable and unwilling to dance but with The Mowgli’s that was never an issue. They make the entire experience feel as though it was being performed in your own living room. How do they do it? I can only logically assume it is some sort of loving, California magic. Watching them perform is a prime example of how live music can be so special when shared with the right band and fans. From Josh Hogan singing from so deep within he is left on his tiptoes, to the fact he was so into it that halfway through one of his guitar strings snapped – he was in no way half-assing it, and he continued to play through the song – to Andy Warren closing his eyes during a particularly drum heavy moment to Katie making sure she grabbed the hand of every single fan who reached out after the encore, it’s clear the entire band drips with genuineness. There is no room for apathy in the politics they preach or the music they play. For the entirety of the show, every single band member had a pleasant smile splayed across their face in a testament to the fact that they are very much happy people making happy music for other happy people, and they enjoy that. Not to say people who listen to The Mowgli’s, or even the band members themselves, can’t be sad, but it is virtually impossible to be sad and listen to The Mowgli’s simultaneously like trying to hold your breath and hum. So, don’t hold your breath, because trust me, humming their songs is exactly what you’ll be doing for days after seeing The Mowgli’s. The Mowgli’s kick off their Making Friends Tour February 26th in Carrboro, North Carolina.
Welcome back to the second installment of WIUX But Make It Fashun with Nick Comer! Check out the first installment here where I profiled senior McKenzie Conrad. I’m back with another campus fashion icon, who has the tea on how identity plays into style, his own hybrid style, and style tips. Like last time, I’ve also tailored a playlist inspired by this student and his style. Every other week I’ll write up a new student and their style, so stay on the look-out. I’m taking to the streets now; so, dress up before you head out and I might catch you for an interview! https://open.spotify.com/user/22ozto24xmwp5uy4s4nvuzmua/playlist/0KvUnfEv7QndATGfpD6Shn?si=au-Y4rweRQCXmLaDr3bECQ I think everyone can agree that personal identity plays a role in one’s fashion choices. Whether one chooses to follow their traditional clothing of their cultural heritage or keep up-to-date on current gender-bending trends, it’s a matter of expressing one’s identity even more outwardly. Connor Garcia, a freshman in Kelley here at IU, has no qualms about expressing his sexual orientation in every way possible and remains unabashedly himself. He often draws his own inspiration from queer icons in the music industry, never shying away from these influences. Connor and I became friends fairly late into this semester, but his unique, meme-based personality makes for a hit that sticks like grits. I distinctly remember rushing to a midterm and passing him, but having to slow down so that I could text him to tell him how great his outfit was. If you’ve seen him walking around campus (on literally any day – he never takes a day off), then you know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t help but sit down with him, ask some questions about all things fashion and the role identity plays into that, and get some shots of his best outfits! When did you first get into fashion? Why? And how do you feel your style has progressed or changed since then? I first really got into fashion when I was about 17 in high school. I used to watch fashion shows on my iPad during lunch. I think the way people express themselves [through fashion] is very interesting. Also, I am fascinated with fashion as an art form. Since then, I think my style has become more fluid and elevated. Fluid? Is that how you’d describe your personal style? Yeah, my personal style is very fluid. I pull a lot from things I see in the music scene and things I see on Twitter. One day you could see me in a mock neck and the next a crop top. It’s really all just a mood. Do you have any fashion inspiration(s)? Why? I draw a lot of my inspiration from music. I think when music and fashion are joined, it is truly the most beautiful experience. Some of my favorite fashion forward artists are FKA Twigs and Charli XCX. Otherwise, I’m not really loyal to any fashion brands or houses. Why do you feel fashion is important? And do you feel fashion is an extension of self-expression? Fashion is very important because it is how you express yourself to others and to yourself. To me, fashion is how I distinguish myself from other people and get attention. I think fashion is also a method of empowerment. I certainly feel more powerful when I stunt. How do you go about accomplishing your trendy, high-fashion mixed with streetwear inspired style while remaining on a budget? How could others on a budget go about accomplishing this themselves? I usually buy clothes and accessories with other peoples’ money (laughs). But a great way to save coin is to go thrifting or look to stores that offer discounts to students like ASOS. Or just get people to buy you nice things (laughs). What is your take on once low-priced products becoming trendy, and by consequence, the prices and desire for such products increasing (i.e. Fila, Champion, etc)? I think products originally aimed at lower-income people now becoming trendy is a result of the glamorization of lower-income living situations. I never really jumped onto this trend but I guess I can respect it - I love a good chunky shoe. Do you feel the way you dress affects the way people perceive you? The way I dress absolutely affects the way people see me. I think people are either intimidated or captivated by me when I am at my peak fashion moments (laughs). It’s normal for people to draw conclusions off what they see. I promise I’m so nice though! As someone outspoken about their ethnic and sexual identities, how do you feel various identities might affect people’s choices in clothing? And why is it important to you that these identities of yours come through in your own style? I think who we identify as has a strong impact on the clothes we choose to wear. I tend to follow more queer fashions trends over heteronormative [trends] because queer fashion is more advanced, in my opinion. I appreciate it more. Wearing clothing that comes from a community with which I identify makes me feel more secure with myself and proud of who I am. Fashion is a form of expression and everyone should be proud to show who they are through their style. As a freshman here at IU, what advice can you offer to other, and incoming, freshman regarding individuality and expression? In the beginning of the year, I worried a lot about what people might think of me based off of how I looked and acted. I allowed the people I was hanging out with to change how I saw myself and this was reflected in the way I expressed myself, especially in my fashion choices. After a few months, I realized this was unhealthy so I distanced myself and worked to remember exactly who I am. Basically, my advice is to never let anyone change who you are. Always be proud to express your true self. If the people around you cannot handle that: find new friends. Essential accessory? My essential accessory is my chain necklace with a crucifix on it. If you could only wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would it be? I cannot live without my white Adidas sneakers. Favorite brand? I usually don’t really get too much into designers but my top three are Thom Browne, Tibi, and Hermes. Streetwear or high-fashion? I’ll wear both in the same fit, baby (laughs). Favorite red carpet look of all time? I hardly pay attention to these events, but I like the crazy Met Gala looks the most. Maybe SZA or Lana Del Rey at the 2018 Met Gala. Connor Garcia, Kelley, Economic Consulting, 2022 - Find more of his captivating outfits and unparalleled confidence here: Instagram @theconnorgarcia
Welcome to the first installment of WIUX But Make It Fashun, with Nick Comer! For me, fashion serves as an extension of self; it’s an external outlet of expression for internal aspects of oneself. Not to mention, walking down the street knowing you look damn good is one of the best feelings! With fashion playing such an important role in not only my own everyday life, but also for many other fashion-forward students on campus as well, I couldn’t resist taking a moment to talk with some of these campus fashion icons about personal style, tips, and the fashion industry itself. Like my predecessor, WIUFLEX, I’ll also tailor a playlist inspired by the students and their style. Every other week I’ll write up a new student and their style, so stay on the look-out. After my next installment, I’ll be taking to the streets; so, if you’re sporting some dope clothes I might just stop you for an interview! https://open.spotify.com/user/22ozto24xmwp5uy4s4nvuzmua/playlist/0NYuN8K0ulC33O9cLjdzA1?si=Vo6Le8UwQE2sdAP8oOQuIQ Unless you’re living under a rock, then you’ve walked around campus and noticed someone who makes you want to stop for a second look or to even say “now, that is a look!” There is a fair share of sweats and hoodies on campus, but there’s also plenty of high-fashion on-a-budget outfits hanging on some impeccably stylish bodies. McKenzie Conrad is one of those people. Kenz and I have been great friends since high school, and in fact, we both were voted best dressed in 2015 and 2016 respectively. I often find a lot of my own inspiration for styles or ways of wearing certain items from her. If you’ve seen her walking around campus, then chances are you’ve figured out for yourself that she has a mind for fashion. Her unique and gentle style that comes without sharp edges, matches not only her exterior but her kind interior as well. So, I decided to sit down with her, ask some questions about fashion in her everyday life, and snap some pictures of some of her best ‘fits. I’d listen up if I were you, she has some pretty solid advice! When did you first get into fashion? Why? And how do you feel your style has progressed or changed since then? My sister who studied fashion design first ignited my interest in the art and business of fashion. I always felt a draw to it as a way that I could express who I was and how I didn’t necessarily want to follow normal style boundaries. I think as I’ve gotten older, especially in college, I’ve stopped caring about how people may perceive my outfit to be weird or unflattering because I know that it’s the easiest way to express my inner art. How would you describe your personal style? In a nutshell, I dress for how I feel. Most of my closet is thrifted, unique items mixed with newer trends to create a vintage, androgynous look that I love. “70’s grandfather meets modern steampunk” would be my ideal (laughs). Do you have any fashion inspiration(s)? Why? I really look up to Alexa Chung, who’s created a name for herself in the fashion industry as a writer and designer. Her style is very high-fashion with a vintage feel to her line. Katharine Hepburn’s use of menswear chic also was a huge inspiration even now. Why do you feel fashion is important? And do you feel fashion is an extension of self-expression? I believe fashion is extremely important. It’s wearable art, and although it’s merely external, we tell a story through our clothes. I think that many times we miss the opportunity to use style as a way to show who we are, not a specific brand name, but a combination of artistic nuances. How do you go about accomplishing a trendy, avant-garde, high-fashion inspired style while remaining on a budget? How could others on a budget go about accomplishing this themselves? Fashion is a cycle: thrift stores are your friends. As we begin to stray from fast-fashion, we have an entire realm of antique treasures at our disposal. Mixing quality pieces can easily give you a high-fashion aura while adding trendy details. I’ve found a Prada bag at Goodwill: anything is possible. Do you feel the way you dress affects the way people perceive you? Yeah, I think it can help attract people with more common interests when I dress like myself rather than a hoodie and leggings. Although it’s important to avoid snap judgments on appearance, you can learn a lot about what people enjoy by their style. How do you feel about fashion mergers such as brands collaborating with fashion houses (Supreme and Louis Vuitton), fast fashion with high fashion (H&M and Moschino), and “department store high fashion” with well-established high fashion houses (the buyout of Versace by Michael Kors)? I’m conflicted. I’m aware that the deals are making these brands more affordable and obtainable for lower-income fashionistas; however, part of the beauty of high fashion comes with the rarity of their creations. Mass-producing, especially with unsustainable companies may be the death of certain corners of the industry (and our planet). As a senior here at IU who has certainly found her footing, what are some tips regarding individuality and expression that you could share with those just beginning a new stage in their life? Don’t give a fuck. There’s a noticeable pressure to conform in every way at IU, especially externally. We’re young and our time is so short here, so change as much as you can, because you’ll create something beautiful. Speed Round! Essential accessory? Beanies. Favorite season to dress for? Winter. Favorite brand? I don’t have one! Favorite fashion house/designer? Jean-Paul Gaultier / Regina Pyo Gucci’s camp or Dolce and Gabanna’s “haute hippie”? Camp! Best dressed at the 2018 Met Gala? Lily Collins or Jared Leto McKenzie Conrad, SPEA, Arts Management, 2019 - Find more of her stunning outfits and dazzling personality here: Instagram and Twitter
Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir, Boy Erased is the seeming LGBTQ+ Oscar-bait film of 2018. Rather than a traditional storyline, the focus is on character and emotion without a shoehorned love story. It’s clear to see how performance was permitted to shine through a story about such a dark part of the United States. Boy Erased premiered on a rolling release beginning on the coasts, but as soon as I could, I rushed to the nearest theatre with my father in tow. I won’t put up a front for you: I sobbed. And I hope my dad isn’t mad when I say this, but I totally caught him wiping at his eyes, too. As someone who identifies as both bisexual and spiritual, this is a particularly moving film for me. I’m truly thankful to have parents who are accepting and open-minded, but as Boy Erased details, not everyone is as lucky. This is a film to watch with people that may get uncomfortable and allies alike because while they will see you cry (you can still be tough and cry, I promise), it also opens eyes as well as dialogues. Ultimately, if you want a film that can do both (make you ugly cry and also feel warm through the winter), then Boy Erased is your proverbial boy. Spoiler warning! The film follows Jared Eamon, played by Lucas Hedges – who the internet once joked was let out of A24’s basement to play yet another gay man, but not without protest from his cellmate: Timothée Chalamet. https://twitter.com/alyssaraetho/status/1021840872575590401 Jared is forced by his parents into a gay conversion program: Love In Action. Hedges is an exceptional, emotional choice to play the dramatized version of Garrard Conley – his ability to remain soft in the face of absolute hatred makes every moment touching. Yet, he can still command the screen with brilliant moments of, something clearly not anger, but rather, frustration when he boils over. The film begins in medias res, with the prior moments filled in through flashbacks. Through these the audience sees Jared navigating typical teenage emotional issues, but with the understanding, he is not straight. As he moves on to college, a fellow religious friend (Joe Alwyn), as ultimately a consequence of his own sexual repression, rapes and subsequently outs Jared to his parents. This the catalyst leading to Jared’s coerced enrollment at Love In Action. There Jared is met with tired and disproved rhetoric paired with both emotional and physical abuse. It is a harrowing look into a dangerous manifestation of extreme religious convictions and homophobic ideals still actively preached in 2018 as it was in 2004. And as the socially-conscious audience member is privy to, these things (to “fix” something unfixable) are harmful. Boy Erased director Joel Edgerton, also plays as the head of Love In Action: Victor Sykes. His performance is both understated and intensely angering. I would be remiss to not mention his ability to both completely fly off the handle, startling the audience and remain uncomfortably calm during tense situations, startling the audience yet again. Sykes is the physical manifestation of the true antagonist of this story: hatred bred from ignorance. Uncontestably one of the most gut-wrenching parts of the story is portrayed through Cameron (Britton Sear). Cameron is met with the brunt of Sykes abuse, and after helping Jared make his final escape from Love In Action, ultimately commits suicide. LGBTQ+ youth are already more than three times as likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual peers, with youth who experienced a lack of acceptance from family (such as conversion therapy) being another eight times more likely to attempt suicide. This is startling, but Cameron’s heartbreaking storyline has never been an anomaly. Nicole Kidman’s performance as Nancy Eamon was one of the standout performances, and her ability to cry at the drop of a hat does not go underused. She is sympathetic toward her son, yet continuously falls in line with the religious crusader of a patriarch of the family, Marshall Eamon (Russell Crowe). He continuously falls prey toxic masculinity and religious extremism (although well-intended, in its own twisted way), which comes between him and his family. Ultimately, Nancy takes a powerful stand against her husband and asks her son for forgiveness for allowing other men to take his life into their hands. In an overall, rather brief side story lies my favorite part of the entire film. There is a tender moment shared between Jared and a new acquaintance, Xavier (Théodore Pellerin), who asks Jared to stay the night with him, promises nothing has to happen, and gently comforts Jared saying: “I’ll prove that God won’t strike you down.” Jared ultimately agrees, lies in bed next to Xavier, simply holds his hand, and goes no further. https://open.spotify.com/track/6VJ4KhOJnvJrGiUbYUWDYF?si=JGGWCzJ0TJ6oNmkGjWh5Lg These scenes are punctuated by Troye Sivan and Jónsi’s “Revelation,” which has real potential to win Best Original Song at the 91st Oscars. Troye Sivan also plays Gary: an example of a strong-willed minor forced into this therapy, and willing to give up his family one day to live his truth. This moment is completely non-sexual and instead is entirely innocent, which gives a demonstration that these feelings are just as pure as those of a heterosexual couple. It is refreshing to see a completely innocent representation of queer romantic feelings, as heterosexual people have had for years. Thankfully, the film ends on a soft-sided note. Jared has moved to New York City and written a successful article exposing these programs. Nancy has stopped going to church where her domineering husband preaches, in apparent solidarity with her son. Upon Marshall finally reading the article after refusing to do so or take accountability, and just as tears begin to well up in his eyes, Jared extends an open arm; showing more strength in the ideals his father preaches than the pastor himself. Outside of the fact that this film lacks a strength in cinematography (but easily makes up for it in the story, the cast’s collective performance, and raw emotion), my biggest gripe of this remarkable film is that there is no explicit notion by any character that sexuality is not a choice. In a time of so much political polarization, it is important to take a clearly defined stance regarding LGBTQ+ issues. The film is filled with people who have been “fixed” and desperate to be “fixed” or people like Gary who don’t want to be “fixed” yet, not once is it explicitly said it cannot be fixed. This is something subtly implied but, especially as Jared finally confronts his father, leaves the audience left wanting more. Boy Erased is of the most emotionally taxing films I’ve seen in 2018. I left the theatre feeling completely drained. There are glimmers of hope within the film, but the fact that it is still legal in 36 states quickly stamps the majority of that out. This film draws attention to this issue as well as suicide among LGBTQ+ youth and the dangers of sexual repression, which in today’s society are all important topics to discuss with an open dialogue. I highly recommend seeing and supporting this film, if not only to spread the message but to offer even further representation of queer people within Hollywood. Not only is it a beautifully written and acted film, but for the LGBTQ+ community, it also means progress, exposure, and revelations. It is still legal in 34 states across the United States, including Indiana, to force a minor into gay conversion therapy. This is not just a statistic but is also over 700,000 individual faces that have been affected by this and an estimated 80,000 more in the coming years. Please, allow this film to upset you and make you emotional; then get involved to help put an end to conversion therapy. To learn more and how you can help, check out The Trevor Project’s campaign 50 Bills 50 States on their website.
Released September 28, 2018 RATING: 5/7 It’s safe to say boutique label, Neon Gold, gets music. The New York City-based label founded in 2008 has launched the debut releases and international careers of numerous illustrious, critically acclaimed artists including Broods, Gotye, Marina and the Diamonds, and Charli XCX. While the artists on their roster often tend to cater to “popheads,” experimental music lovers, and gay clubs across the nation, they’re also often credited with the discovery and initial support of numerous artists such as Lana Del Rey, Walk the Moon, and Grouplove. The label also hosts a string of monthly club nights, where they have further proved their foresight into the future of music and hosted the debut shows of now popular artists such as Halsey, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish. Pulling up onto Neon Gold’s website you are greeted by a humble roster of 12 artists, however, just below the roster the label proudly displays their alumni. It’s no wonder artists affiliated with Neon Gold, new, current, and past, have all come together to create the eclectic NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold, the label’s own retrospective compilation album of rarities, demos, covers, and exclusives. NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold is overflowing with talent and futuristic electro sounds, but relies too heavily on already released music. Neon Gold is known for its innovative artists but doesn’t showcase their talents as much it should have. Charli XCX, for example, is well known among her dedicated fan base to have a huge wellspring of unreleased music. Beyond this missed opportunity, the album showcases the cream of their humble crop without beating past hits over the top of listeners heads and instead treating them to new (or at least “rare”), innovative sounds – as Neon Gold has always done best. 1. "I Am Not A Robot (Clock Opera Remix)" - Marina and the Diamonds https://open.spotify.com/track/6W03yPIheiD0bedjC6hiKN?si=N9E321f7SmOMPc5KpT6w4g Coming hot off the tails of Marina announcing her upcoming fourth studio album and the dropping of “and the Diamonds” from her stage name is the second release of “I Am Not a Robot (Clock Opera Remix).” This time, however, with a proper release. The British indie rock quartet, Clock Opera, first saw their remix’s release in 2010 – one of the rarities NGX promises. As this proves to be one of the only weaker songs on the album, unfortunately, it sets the tone as it is the opening track. I guess in a compilation album of such an eclectic label, one has to accept the give and take. While the original focuses on the soft vulnerability of the lyrics, emphasized by simple piano chords and clean synth beats at most, this version of the song loses that intimacy in its production. It seems to begin as a build up to what is shaping up to be a powerful bass drop but never delivers. Instead, it builds excitement, with overlaying, crunchier synth beats throughout the chorus, but last-minute draws back to its roots for the second verse, only to repeat the same cycle. The only original lyrics this remix retains are the verses, which even in the original were the strongest parts of the song. The chorus of this song is exclusive vocals for this remix; the seemingly pieced together vocals still capture Marina’s characteristic irregular use of vibrato but come across repetitive. As useful as repetition can be to get a point across, one simply tires of hearing “never pick up, don’t hang up / our love faded, our love faded” over and over for two and a half minutes without adding new instrumentals. Rather than a professional remix, these aspects make it sound as though it is a just Garageband loop. However, I admire a remixer taking a song and putting their interpretation on it. The original was a plea to a man to overcome toxic masculinity and be vulnerable and the remix spins it as commentary on the distance digital and social media can create between two (human) people – both of which continue provide pertinent commentary on today’s world. 2. "Heart Attack (feat. Tove Lo)" - Phoebe Ryan https://open.spotify.com/track/2vXPR7LbE6aUKLhQqTcQ93?si=zjUGP_-hTqOBSgCxS3vFhQ This song found its birth during Neon Gold’s writing retreat in Nicaragua earlier in 2018, where Phoebe Ryan (critically acclaimed songwriter and electropop artist akin to Ellie Goulding and Lights) and Neon Gold’s very own Tove Lo (sexually empowered, dark pop songstress) met and immediately hit it off. With its smoked filled bubbles of synth beats and the run of the mill (in the best way) pop based claps, the collaboration between the two creates something just short of a pop hit. With a catchy dance hook and glimpses of vulnerability with lyrics such as “I can’t keep just giving my love out, baby,” it would have fit in perfectly with the pop soundscape of late – a surefire hit – had it been sent out to radios. Phoebe Ryan’s bubbly vocals paired with clever, sexually charged lyrics such as “heels over head for you” (that have Tove Lo written all over it) alongside Tove Lo’s grungier vocals, gives the song a very unique duality that could not work more in its favor. As one of the few exclusives on this album, it would have been a much stronger opening track. 3. "Make It Better (2018 Mix)" – The Knocks https://open.spotify.com/track/5Mdf31qb4fg5EVAyEsX74b?si=a9ZzYOAHTZ29weL_avX5Ug “Make It Better” is certainly one of the rarities NGX promises. First released in 2008 (appropriately so for a tenth-year anniversary album), Make It Better never received a proper digital release until now. It was only to be found & bought on the online music site: Bandcamp, yet found popularity after it’s usage in a Corona advertisement. With its first official digital release, it is remastered and given a “mix facelift” for 2018. The song retains its cheerful sound peppered with a catchy whistle tune as well as its positive, simplistic lyrics like “you can make it better, when you feel alright” that encourage better days. It’s so infectious and warm, that its fall release feels a bit inopportune as opposed to a summer release. For fans of M83, this is sure to hit a sweet spot. 4. "Sleepyhead" – Young & Sick https://open.spotify.com/track/4hro3pUuAq5O4TeLjOEy1U?si=TBO6-mxYTTqq2_WHz9fT6w Neon Gold saw its debut as a label in 2008 with alumnus Passion Pit’s debut single “Sleepyhead,” so it is only fit that frequent Neon Gold collaborator, Young & Sick, puts their own spin on the single for the retrospective album. Young & Sick is an LA-based music and art project; beyond music, they have designed the album artworks for Foster and the People’s Torches and Maroon 5’s Overexposed. The group has only released one eponymous album in 2014, which received universal acclaim. This cover of “Sleepyhead” sees a departure from the post-punk, psychedelic pop stylings of the original, and more of a shift into a more chill, island-inspired sound, recalling beaches and warm nights. It replaces the slick synthesized sound of the post-verse instrumentals with the sound of a sun covered flute. Lyrically, there is no change – they continue to detail an apparent death, but this time juxtaposed against cheerful island sounds. Young & Sick’s vocals leave the punk gate and enter a much gentler gate. Again, it feels a bit inopportune to release a song so summer inspired in the fall. I just hope listeners can remember to bring this one back out to soundtrack their drive to the beach once the heat returns. 5. "Tribulation (feat VÉRITÉ)" – Matt Maeson https://open.spotify.com/track/0HlQzD2TgtZJaFQcq9s2Fm?si=R9elmm-CT9aqK4fnmJNnrw This remix is a much subtler remix compared to its sibling remixes. Here label artist, Matt Maeson’s “Tribulations” from his debut EP, Who Killed Matt Maeson, doesn’t drown the roots-inspired instrumentals in a dub beat or island flutes, but instead gets independent artist VÉRITÉ on the track. It doesn’t lose any of the intimacy or emotional vulnerability conveyed through Maeson’s rockabilly voice and VÉRITÉ’s additional indie vocals and slight lyrical changes add the effect of a call and response between two lovers in a doomed relationship. While this song does not fit with as much musical cohesiveness as the rest of tracks, it certainly doesn’t cause damage. Rather, it creates a true standout, raw, acoustic track amongst electronically propelled bops. 6. "Reasons Not To Die (Demo)" – Ryn Weaver https://open.spotify.com/track/3En150nTrDH63Mu9U7skge?si=MztFdXhgQi2YmJU38lxkyQ With Ryn Weaver announcing she had left Interscope records shortly after the release of her debut album The Fool, she has remained unsigned since. As a fan of Ryn since the release of her debut single “Octahate” (co-written by Neon Gold’s Charli XCX), I could not have been more excited about the release of this demo. And with “Reasons Not to Die” being her first release of 3 years within NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold it begs the question: is she the newest addition to Neon Gold’s family? Reasons Not To Die sees a departure from Ryn’s usual sweeping pop songs, to a peeled back piano-driven ballad. While Ryn Weaver has always been glaringly honest lyrically (see: New Constellations from The Fool), this song takes the cake as her most vulnerable. This song finds her toasting to those who stick by her and keep her sane without stifling her emotions, even if she sits with nihilism on her lap. She gently whispers about lashing out at others in her depressed states leading to a soft choir-like chorus celebrating her friends, before the bridge sees a restrained, raw version of her usual sweeping vocals begging for “some reasons not to die.” Making this one of the strongest songs on the album, even in its demo form. 7. "Eyes A Mess" – Broods https://open.spotify.com/track/0yCKOipwNCa2xImsqjfzxO?si=cLW0EQefQBOX36HOGcwd6w As Neon Gold moves into a new era, a new decade of releasing quality niche music, it would feel appropriate their newest addition, Broods, who signed with the label in early August of this year, would help lead the way. “Eyes A Mess” is a cover medley of Neon Gold alumnus Gotye’s songs “Eyes Wide Open” from his album Making Mirrors and “Hearts a Mess” from Drawing Blood. It will appear on Broods’s upcoming album, Don’t Feed the Pop Monster, but gets its first official release through NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold. Not only does the label get to show off its newest talent, but also to proudly show off their alumnus Gotye as well; a perfect combination for a retrospective album. The cover finds Broods leaving the indie rock and acoustic instrumentals of the originals in favor of a minimalistic, electronic sound. Its punctuated by a persistent up-tempo backbeat as well as atmospheric piano chords and guitar picking. Lead vocalist Georgia Nott’s voice, well, broods over the music in a way that both pays homage to the oft melancholic sound of Gotye and creates an original sound exclusive to Broods. 8. "Don’t Save Me" – Winona Oak https://open.spotify.com/track/5qAExbfSot3fY20I6EDQT2?si=wTQ03Y68R5yyyuuC4WE6vQ Winona Oak, another recent signee to the Neon Gold family of artists, cemented her signing to Neon Gold at the same writing camp in Nicaragua Tove Lo attended. When recording vocals for a demo, the Swedish artist impressed more than a few people. New to the scene this cover of label alumnus HAIM’s “Don’t Save Me” from debut album Days Are Gone is only her second release following the collaboration, “Beautiful,” between her and electronic music project: What So Not. A far cry from the up-tempo, indie rock sound of the Haim sisters’ original, this version creates a somber, gentle atmosphere. The beats are minimalistic, with the occasional sparkling loop that creates a magical atmosphere, creating a world around Oak’s voice and the vulnerable lyrics. However, Oak’s distinct vocals (that recall Adele if she worked in the realm of whisper pop) float far above the instrumentals. In contrast to otherwise musically driven songs, the emphasis on vocals in this cover is like a palate cleanser so late in the album’s tracklist. 9. "Need Ur Luv (Japanese Wallpaper Remix)" – Charli XCX https://open.spotify.com/track/6so4LTcB4iJrC6Tp5RYdju?si=x1_ncPkuQ2-qyMhH_LHv3A I am, personally, a huge fan of Charli XCX. I’m normally a big fan of slow ballads, but from the punk rock of her sophomore album, Sucker, to the experimental pop of her second mixtape, Pop 2, you’ll be hard pressed to find a song that doesn’t make you want to jump and dance. Ballads have never been something I’d demand from Charli XCX. When I saw one of her more vulnerable songs, Need Ur Luv, was released with a remix, I was hesitant. Need Ur Luv is my personal favorite from Sucker, I could relate to it and I enjoyed the intensity of it. Not to mention it was one of the closest songs I’d get from her to a ballad. When I see “Remix” I immediately assume a fun, wobbly version and I felt that would destroy the sanctity of this song. However, I’ve never been more pleasantly surprised. Japanese House, an independent artist who releases music primarily on the website Bandcamp, had done this remix back in 2013 (one of those rarities this album showcases), and it’s getting a much wider release with this album. On this remix, we hear Charli’s stripped down and raw vocals – gentle voice cracks while she croons on the bridge and all – over a soothing xylophonic sound punctuated with gentle snaps and claps. This is a departure from her usual auto-tuned voice and energizing instrumentals, instead taking a song with a once powerful stance and exposing its soft underbelly. Japanese House took Charli’s sexy anthem of sticking through hard times in a relationship and revealed the more somber, dark aspects of the song previously lost in its anthemic qualities. This is one of my personal favorites on the album full of vulnerable releases, because of its refreshing take on a song I’ve already found myself in love with, almost like finding something new you love in your significant other one morning 5 years into the relationship. 10. "Closer Than This" – Your Smith https://open.spotify.com/track/0CTfK9Q4oy8xmeXMQYeGHa?si=Mnzum9gOROCD0jm7Q_ilow Previously known as Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, Your Smith is one more recent signee to Neon Gold after, once again, cementing her signing at their regular writing camp in Nicaragua. Five years after the release of her last album with her folksy R&B band, she has found a new sound (and label) in the comfort of soft, indie rock with the release of her Bad Habits EP. This cover of labelmate St. Lucia’s from his debut album When the Night sees a drastic shift from the eighties reminiscent, synth-pop original to a simple acoustic song consisting of just a few chords. However, Your Smith’s voice loses its unique quality that draws many people to her music beneath the almost overbearing layering. The It feels half-baked and stripped of originality compared to the sunshine filled original, making it feel more like a demo than Ryn Weaver’s addition to the album. As a saving grace, this cover allows the lyrics to bubble to the surface and creates a somber quality that the lyrics reflect without getting lost in a glossy, fun production. 11. "Colours (Captain Cuts Remix)" - Grouplove https://open.spotify.com/track/1GYGgbe90PRvV0TqWyjiiz?si=DHCKo6thS7aBa2qUa7hs2Q Frequent Neon Gold collaborator, Captain Cuts, put their own dance spin to Grouplove’s first single. As Neon Gold is noted for their initial support of Grouplove, it would make sense that this appear on their retrospective compilation. The original from their 2011 debut album, Never Trust A Happy Song, is an alt-rock song reminiscent of The Mowgli’s infectious summer jams. This version incorporates more dance beats, pushing the once forefront vocals to the background in favor of heavily produced dubstep wobbles. Coming from the gentler past few songs back into a jumping, club track brings the mood up once again. Promising “it’s the colors you have, no need to be sad, it really ain’t that bad” the penultimate track brings the energy that Neon Gold does so well back just in time for the final few moments of the record. 12. "Sun Goes Down (feat. The Knocks & St. Lucia)" – Icona Pop https://open.spotify.com/track/4wbXB47q6Z5QqZpYSKUf7e?si=l4DfOMoFQW-DEns6ltPJ1g While probably considered a rarity for this album, I would probably consider it far from one. “Sun Goes Down” was the opening track of alumnus Icona Pop’s debut, eponymous album which contained the smash hit “I Love It” that boosted both Icona Pop and Charli XCX into the public eye. The song also received a music video, which makes it feel as though it is a filler track. However, this doesn’t stop me from adoring the song. Taking what was originally an opening track and making it the closer, worked in NGX’s favor and highlighted the diversity of the album as a whole. Beginning with a bass guitar reminiscent synth before Icona Pop’s characteristically darker, crunchier dance music kicks in lets the listener know a bop is incoming. The verses consist of the label’s own St. Lucia’s distorted, dark vocals as he delivers every word quickly. The chorus gives way to Icona Pop’s usual duet, choir-like delivery, alongside The Knocks’s production of brighter, bubbling synths. As a whole, it fosters a sound that recalls strobe lights and dancing in slow motion. “I’ll be waiting for you until the sun goes down, no tidal wave could turn me around” the duo sings on the final track, seemingly promising many more years of Neon Gold releases. Conclusions: Individually each track can stand alone, fostering their own individual vibe, message, and atmosphere, however, as a whole each song pushes the idea of vulnerability. Each artist rolls over and exposes their underbelly in a display of softness, even if it is seemingly concealed by a fun dance beat. NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold, demonstrates music is and always will be rooted in emotion and that as long as emotion and the desire to listen to music is around Neon Gold Records, as well as its innovative touch, is here to stay. Standout tracks: "Reasons Not To Die" – Ryn Weaver, "Tribulations" – Matt Maeson (feat. VÉRITÉ), and "Don’t Save Me" – Winona Oak. Neon Gold has been known for dance music and done it well, but the more stripped back songs on this album can’t be overlooked. https://open.spotify.com/album/4dFJMCzqBD5PRzUOJzfiaC?si=n_KdaN6aRrOxmB9sly77xA
Earlier this month Charli XCX released “1999,” but she unexpectedly came armed with Troye Sivan as well. This turned her single that has been long rumored on “stan twitter,” into the cute little duet bop it is today. The song immediately demonstrated to be one of her more successful singles of recent date as it quickly jumped to number twenty on the iTunes Charts. Then, on October 11th she released the music video for this song. Therefore, let’s talk about art, or the only thing Charli XCX knows how to make - pure, unadulterated art. https://youtu.be/6-v1b9waHWY Sure, you can probably tell I’m a big Charli XCX fan at this point, but that doesn’t change the fact that she likely has back problems from carrying the future of pop music on her back. In a world dominated by mumble rappers who don’t get held accountable for their misdeeds, we have a completely unproblematic Charli XCX releasing respected, well-written, fun, and intelligent pop music. “1999” is no different. With sing-a-long inviting lyrics that cater to the nostalgia search of recent years, the resurgence of 90s trends returning to be en Vogue, and a beat that plays perfectly to clubs and house parties: “1999” is pop perfection. Creating a duet with someone like Troye Sivan (he also picks up co-writing credits alongside Charli), who not only is slightly more mainstream but also challenges the mainstream sound and standard by way of unique music and normalizing gay sensuality in empowering lyrics was a lovely touch. I’m also a very big Troye Sivan fan. His music is intelligent, progressive, and fun without losing meaning, so I could not have been more elated over these two positively portrayed gay icons' collaboration. Their voices blend effortlessly, despite the stark differences in Charli’s signature auto-tune and Troye’s smooth vocals, to create THE party song for millennials. Not to mention, Charli’s ad-lib of “hee-hee” after Troye sings about Michael Jackson is undoubtedly the greatest moment in music history. The song is brilliant but it's the video where Charli’s brilliance shines. “1999” comes as the most recent of the three music videos under her direction after her music video for “Boys” in 2017. https://youtu.be/mPRy1B4t5YA This time she’s joined by co-director Ryan Staake, who edited and directed Young Thug’s music video for “Wyclef Jean,” which won the 2017 MTV VMA for Best Editing. But this music video comes as more of a nostalgia maker than a twist on social norms, with just a hint of social commentary. Let’s unpack that. Opening with a dubby beat (far from the clean pop sound of “1999”), we see Charli XCX in 2018 calling for a ride service. As soon as she gets in the car she puts on her headphones, ignores the driver, and begins texting Troye Sivan claiming she wants to "go back.” Within the first 30 seconds, there is product placement of Lyft, Mercedes, iPhone, and Beats headphones. Charli XCX is no stranger to social commentary in her music, social media posts, and visuals as seen with the self-directed “Boys” music video where she turned the male gaze on its head. Here she seems to be poking fun at the obsession with social connectedness on media (but our failing with the real-life connections), the prevalence of advertisement in everyday life, and the hypocrisy of the people who claim to long for the better days of the past. However, at the same time, she points out things were not much different in the past, as the following sequences are laden with advertisement callbacks, product placement, and an obsession with technology just the same. It could be all of this, or Charli could have just created a fun, nostalgic music video that I just read into way too much. Either way, it’s brilliant. Going from the iPhone X’s iMessage app to the Apple iMax G3 IM messaging is a unique call back to place the viewer in the right time and place. And right from the start, Charli is dressed as a young Steve Jobs in his signature jeans and black turtleneck. The music video continues to call back many 90s artifacts, including TLC’s music video for “Waterfalls,” the movie Titanic (where Troye plays Jack and Charli plays Rose), an all Charli ensemble of the Spice Girls, and an advertisement for Sketchers shoes. Next, we see Troye playing as each of the Backstreet Boys in the “I Want It That Way” music video (overexposure, patchy beards, and all) and Eminem, before presenting us with a Nokia phone. Charli returns recalling American Beauty before Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan’s infamous red-carpet outfits are referenced as well. In rapid-fire succession, we see visuals that call back The Sims (house fire included), an ad for a waterproof Casio watch, and the viral dancing baby animation, until that is, TLC Charli fires a bullet right into the Matrix (and the song’s bridge). As Troye and Charli finish slow-mo dodging bullets, Troye is seen as Justin Timberlake from his N’Sync days. After the bridge and in a brief, but possibly the best moment in the video, Charli plays out the final scene of The Blair Witch Project, tearfully quipping “I wanna go back” as the final chorus begins. Mixed in with previous visuals are a couple new visuals referencing a Hanes ad featuring a gorgeous Charli and friends, Surge Soda, and a final adorable wink from a JT costumed Troye. Finally, we see various familiar logos (eBay, Nickelodeon, Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape, TY Beanie Babies, and Netscape Navigator) remade to spell out “take me back to ninety-nine,” before the screen goes black and the familiar AIM soundbite saying “goodbye” marks the end of the video. Despite the fact I was born in 1998, almost all of the references in both the song and the music video of Charli XCX and Troye Sivan’s “1999” were strikingly familiar to me. Either I am exceptionally cultured regarding the 90s or Charli intentionally placed such well-known visuals to create the perfect nostalgia machine to entice even those who were too young to want to return and watch this music video repeatedly. Regardless, it marks yet another high-quality release from two of my personal favorite artists. With open arms, we must humbly welcome the saviors of pop music: Charli XCX and Troye Sivan.
'Tis the season! With Halloween just a day away, you need to stay aware of any potential scares. Use this scale of spookiness to dance away any ghosts or general ghouls trying to creep on your presence. Low Spooky: “Bad Romance” - Lady Gaga https://youtu.be/qrO4YZeyl0I While it starts a little dark and spooky, the lights get turned on less than halfway through to show off the flashy performance. This music video equates to the fear one would have if there was no imminent danger of a skeleton nearby: a low register on the spook scale. Medium Spooky: “After the Afterparty” - Charli XCX (ft. Lil Yachty) https://youtu.be/OM33anTtEVE Complete with bubblegum and soda pop zombies eating each other, this music video will definitely register on the spook scales but is still safe for the fainter of heart - as if there was only a slight possibility of a skeleton in your vicinity. Spooky: “Thriller” - Michael Jackson https://youtu.be/sOnqjkJTMaA The original spooky zombie dance sequence is sure to spook many, as well as help get you into the Halloween spirit. As for a rating with regard to skeletons, this would equate to the fear of a high possibility of a skeleton being nearby. High Spooky: “I Fink You Freeky” - Die Antwoord https://youtu.be/8Uee_mcxvrw If unsettling images set to South African rave music don’t spook you like a skeleton right behind you, then you’re beyond brave, but for the rest of us: don’t watch this alone at night. Extreme Spooky: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” - Marilyn Manson https://youtu.be/Ypkv0HeUvTc If Marilyn Manson’s depraved, distorted music video of this Eurythmics cover didn’t spook you out of your skin, then you could probably handle a skeleton being so close it is basically inside of your body right now!