Welcome back to Fashion on Fifth, a beloved Free Press series showcasing New School students’ unique and wide-ranging style. After seeing how this creative community translated their personal looks to Zoom, our reporters are taking to the streets of Greenwich Village once again. This semester we are bringing you more in depth profiles and thoughts from your peers about their style evolution throughout the pandemic and since being back in New York City.
Via Ace, a second-year Strategic Design and Management student at Parsons who hails from New York City, described her style as “bold, in your face, and open. “I’m not scared of putting myself out there,” Ace said.
Growing up on the South Shore of Staten Island, a more conservative part of the city, Ace felt “confined.” Throughout her life, she has lived in Staten Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Ace was surrounded by predominantly white people with conservative political views wherever she lived. They would often judge her for being an Asian American woman in addition to how she dressed, she said.
Photographs by Alexandra Nava-Baltimore
On this rainy September morning, Ace wore platform boots from DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) and paired them with a chunky silver anklet. She has styled stackable silver rings from H&M with clip-on, gold hoop earrings from Amazon and a sleek high ponytail. “I like to mix my metals because I feel like no one does that,” she said. Ace tends to gravitate towards more oversized clothing, and here, she paired an oversized black T-shirt from Missguided with biker shorts from Aerie that have pockets along the side. To complete the look and protect her from the rain, Ace wore an army green bomber jacket from Zara.
Ace thrifts most of her clothing at the L Train Vintage in Brooklyn and on First Avenue in addition to other “random thrift stores” that she “stumbles upon.” She looks for her staples which include jewelry, tees, oversized jackets and jeans. Ace is constantly considering how her purchases will affect our planet and prefers to reuse and rework items over buying them new. She gravitates towards the men’s section in any store she shops at because she likes to mix more masculine pieces with feminine accessories and shoes. Overall, Ace said she draws a lot of her fashion inspiration from Rihanna and the “I don’t give a fuck’ attitude of NYC.”
During quarantine and subsequent online semesters, Ace said she typically put makeup on every day for Zoom class but stayed in her pajamas. She feels a sense of relief being back on campus for in-person courses, as she can now express herself fully in head-to-toe looks. “[The more] I feel comfortable expressing myself, the better my work will be,” Ace said. “I feel like I can conquer the world. I can do anything.”
Ace described a renewed sense of “motivation” when picking out her outfits each day because she knows they will make her more productive. At The New School, Ace feels like no one will judge her, and she can wear whatever she wants.
Annelise Cornet, a second-year Strategic Design and Management major at Parsons, sported an effortlessly chic monochromatic look. She wore Yeezy Foam Runners, thrifted white silk pants and a graphic sweatshirt. Her accessories included a necklace, which is a family heirloom, and a Madewell facemask.
Photographs by Shivam Sachdeva
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Cornet finds living in New York City to be extremely liberating. “There are certain pieces I can wear because no one cares! Versus a small town in the suburbs, where people would stare,” said Cornet. Comfort is Cornet’s guiding principle for all school outfits . “I don’t wear anything I can’t move around in,” she said. She shops at a variety of places, focusing on buying from small businesses and thrifting. Cornet is inspired to step out of her comfort zone by the breadth of fashion at Parsons. She said she is drawn to the intricacies of their outfits, and often feels inspired to incorporate similar elements into her own looks.
Reflecting on her style shift throughout the pandemic, Cornet said the main difference is her desire to experiment with combining pieces head-to-toe. On Zoom her outfits consisted of pajamas, sweatpants and leggings. “As long as I looked decent on top, that’s what mattered to me,” said Cornet. Now she is driven and excited about creating complete looks that illustrate her personal growth and renewed creativity. “Some days I am giving flower girl vibes and might wear a floral dress. Other days I’m giving more streetwear. It just depends on my mood,” said Cornet.
Cornet reflected on her personal growth throughout the interview and, like many New School students, she fully expects her style to evolve as she does. “Being in college, I think it’s time to try something different. I’ve lowkey been wanting to dye my hair! I also want to get into knitwear, specifically dresses, as well,” said Cornet.
In closing Cornet offered some advice on discovering one’s individual style. She said, “Just do you! People who appreciate your style, or appreciate you as a person, will naturally gravitate to you. So yeah, just be yourself, which isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you start doing it you definitely will feel better!”
Artist, musician and Lang student Ryan Minter shared their dynamic approach to style.
“I like looking like a cartoon character a lot of the time! But I also like to be simple and let my hair do the rest,” Minter, a second-year studying Culture and Media, said. Today, their look consisted of a chunky pair of ‘80s-inspired boots, thrifted women’s trousers, an Ed Hardy tank top and a Lacoste rain jacket that they found at a friend’s place. Minter said he is inspired by the oversized trend. “I’m really into oversized shirts [and] suits right now, which has been a big thing for me,” said Minter. Minter purchases most of their clothes from thrift stores at home in Atlanta, Georgia. “I don’t really have any favorite thrift stores in New York City, but in Georgia and Long Island there’s great thrift[ing],” Minter said.
Photographs by Shivam Sachdeva
They mentioned that they no longer feel pressure to constantly have the perfect outfit. Minter said, “I care a lot less. I remember before Covid hit, I thought I had to dress my best all the time. But after Covid I realized I really don’t need to. I can show up in a shirt and pants and call it a day!”
Minter describes picking outfits for class to be, “…kinda dreadful. When I wake up I am very focused on actually waking up, and everything else is on autopilot,” they said. “I have a bunch of go-to outfits – recently it has been big pants and a t-shirt.”
Their outfits often reflect work they’re doing in their classes. “In my advanced screen print[ing] class I usually leave with ink all over myself,” said Minter,“so I wear clothes I can get messy and be comfortable in. For my morning class, it’s my JNCOs and a t-shirt!”
Reflecting on the difference between Zoom and in-person classes, Minter said “I wear pants now, so that’s pretty wild!” Now that classes have finally returned to campus and there is a reason to be outside, Minter said they are excited to explore “interesting silhouettes,” and begin experimenting with layering as the seasons shift.
Minter shared with The Free Press that they, “came out as non-binary over the course of the pandemic, which has been a big step out,” Minter said. “I’ve learned that I don’t have to be over the top to look decent.”
This new found confidence in their identity has unburdened Minter’s relationship to fashion and their personal style, bringing about a new era of growth for them.“I can really, actually do what I want now and just be myself, which has been really good,” they said.
Paula Kim is a second year Strategic Design and Management student at Parsons with plans to minor in Fashion Communications. She described her style as a mix of girly, bohemian and chic aesthetics. “I think it’s kinda a good mix,” said Kim.
The outfit she wore for her interview with The New School Free Press highlighted the chic side of her personal style. She sported a pair of classic white, high-top Air Force Ones (which she thrifted for $15), linen Old Navy pants and a black turtleneck tank top from Uniqlo. Her necklaces hold a lot of meaning for Kim, as they were each gifts from her family. Most notably, the chain with her name, which was made from a baby bracelet gifted to her by her grandmother in her childhood. “The little bow is from the [original] bracelet,” said Kim. Her go-to outfit for school is anything comfortable. “I’ll probably do fun comfy pants and a cute little tank top,” said Kim.
Photographs by Shivam Sachdeva
Kim said of her shopping habits, “a lot of my wardrobe has been in my closet for at least five years, I have a lot of clothes that I’ve had since high school! This past year and a half, I’ve only been buying second-hand, taking my friends’ clothes or buying from consignment stores.” She is motivated by the electric energy and variety of the city’s street style. “I am always surrounded by inspiration,” said Kim, and described styling outfits for school as a double-edged sword: stressful yet exciting.
Kim said, “overall clothes are fun!” Her refusal to be yanked around by the chaotic pressures of the New School fashion landscape allows her to maintain a fun, carefree relationship to her personal style. “Experiment and do not let any outside factors get in the way,” said Kim, advice she is intent on living by herself.
Kim is looking forward to fall and plans to experiment with layering. “I’ve been styling for myself, feeling comfortable and confident,” said Kim. “I’ve been [getting] more into personal style and staying away from just wearing a white tank top and jeans!”
Maggie Keene, a fourth-year performing arts student at Lang, described her love of mixing classic and contemporary aesthetics as well as the nerves she feels getting dressed for class at an institution so renowned for its fashion.
On Tuesday, Keene wore white sandals and a pink skirt she paired with a rainbow belt. With it, she wore a bright, teal linen blazer with a white T-shirt underneath. To complete the colorful ensemble, she accessorized with butterfly earrings.
Keene, originally from Massachusetts, described having several iterations of her personal style that she rotates between and combines. She said she has an affection for more traditional “blast from the past” pieces. “I have a lot of things from the ’50s and ’70s that I like,” she said. “Very feminine, older, housewife style is what I call that.” She mixes this classic look with “super colorful modern street style.” Keene admitted she sometimes opts for a more laid-back look when she simply needs to get to class. Her go-to class outfit is a fun dress or graphic tee with bike shorts. Either way, she always loves a color-coordinated outfit, including her makeup.
Photographs by Harry Batalingaya
Returning to in-person classes has prompted Keene to put more effort into her looks now that more eyes are on her. Opportunities to showcase her style have been slim during the pandemic, so Keene is now trying to take advantage of the ability to wear something nice to her in-person classes. Last year, Keene opted for very colorful shirts on Zoom, but since she could only be seen from the waist-up, she often opted for pajamas on the bottom.
Since returning to campus after nearly 18 months of virtual classes, Keene described how her confidence and willingness to take risks grew over that time. “I used to worry about wearing things that would make me fit in, but now I just wear what I want and wear what I like,” Keene said. Her go-to outfit for class varies but is usually “either a dress or bike shorts and a graphic T-shirt,” she said.
Keene shared that picking out outfits for school isn’t always easy, though. “A lot of the people who go here have such good style,” she said. She said she feels a lot of pressure to measure up. Keene said she often thinks, “Oh my God, they look so good, and I can’t wear any of those things. I’ll look like an idiot.” However, Keene insisted that whatever pressure she feels is primarily overshadowed by the excitement of assembling an outfit she feels good in. “I’m usually very excited to pick out outfits and have people see them… other than my girlfriend,” she said.