Section: Features

Weaving hometown threads into Gambier life

Weaving hometown threads into Gambier life

by India Amos

The Hill can see students sporting anything from knee-length coats  to crop tops regardless of the temperature. For some students from warmer climates, a fall semester at Kenyon might be the first time they ever experience snow. For midwestern natives, though, the cold weather is hardly anything new. But regardless of the place they call home, most students and faculty agree that, when they’re on campus, it’s important to find a balance between style and functionality.

Professor of Classics Carolin Hahnemann joked about the relationship between her style and her hometown in an email to the Collegian. “I am from Munich, Germany, home of Lederhosen and braided up-dos,” she wrote. “Obviously, my apparel involves neither.”

On the other hand, Associate Professor of History Glenn McNair, a Savannah, Ga. native, is using his time in Ohio as a way to wear items he would not be able to if he were at home. “As a transplanted southerner, I like the opportunity that midwestern winters offer for wearing a much wider variety of sweaters, coats, jackets and scarves than I would get to wear back home,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian.

Noah Weinman ’16, who comes from Los Angeles, also dresses differently at Kenyon than he would at home. “I didn’t have any warm weather gear,” Weinman said regarding the primary difference between his California and his Ohio style. He added that his reason for purchasing the warmer clothing he did was based on functionality and comfort instead of fashion. “I don’t wear coats I can’t wash in the washing machine, because I don’t want to deal with dry cleaning in college,” Weinman said.

The styles and trends present on campus are just as varied as the people wearing them. Jackie Hsu ’17, a New Jersey native, describes her style at Kenyon as a marriage between pieces she purchased at home and those she’s accumulated in Ohio. “The only source of clothing is Goodwill [in Mount Vernon],” Hsu said, “so now I have all my old clothes from Brandy [Melville] and Urban [Outfitters] mixed with Goodwill stuff, which is cool. It keeps me cozy.”

While some draw their style inspiration from necessity and location, others draw from their childhood. Professor of English Ted Mason wrote in an email to the Collegian, “Both my parents had jobs requiring them to wear dress clothes to work, so that has always seemed usual to me.” He also explained his reason for wearing such professional clothes in the classroom: “I think of a class as a business meeting. It makes sense to wear what I might wear to one of those.”

Ben Marakowitz-Svigals ’17 also finds himself gaining inspiration for outfits from his youth. Marakowitz-Svigals’s mother, a concert violinist, toured Europe during his childhood. “I would go with her on these tours when I was three or something, and [my parents] would get these outlandish outfits from various countries, and they would dress me up,” he said. He attributes his current style to this introduction to eccentric outfits. Marakowitz-Svigals also has an unorthodox aversion to a common piece of clothing: blue jeans. “I’ve got some black jeans, some gray jeans, some purple jeans, but I’ve always had an opposition to blue jeans,” Marakowitz-Svigals said. “I don’t know why.”

Marakowitz-Svigals is not the only one who has an aversion to certain trends. Sarai Martinez ’15 dislikes crop tops, and McNair dislikes “skinny fashion.” “You will never find a skinny tie, suit or pair of pants in my wardrobe,” he wrote.

While fashion can sometimes be quantified in actual pieces of clothing, for Associate Professor of English Ivonne García, style is a statement. “I think everyone should wear what they feel empowered in and that’s what guides me,” she said. “As a feminist Latina woman, I love to wear what makes me feel empowered.”

Guy Bailey ’17 has a similar philosophy. “As long as someone attempts to convey their personality and who they are through their style, I think they are effectively expressing a part of their personality,” he said. “I guess the only thing I hate about style is when people don’t try.”

With all the trends floating around, the concept of being stylish can be overwhelming. But for García, a person’s sentiments are more important than what fashion markets would deem “stylish.” “For me, fashion is about a feeling,” she said. “I want to walk into a classroom and exude that intellectual power. That’s my guiding light.”

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