ASG leaders Claire Lew and Hiro Kawashima show off their fashion sense in an exclusive spread with STITCH Fashion Feed. Check it out!
Photographer: Can Efeoglu
Graphics: Sophie Friedman
On April 14 dynamic duo Claire Lew and Hiro Kawashima became Northwestern University’s 2010-2011 Associated Student Government President and Vice President, winning the election with 67.1 percent of the vote. Two months into their term, the SESP junior and Weinberg sophomore sit down with STITCH to talk fashion.
CLAIRE LEW, ASG president
STITCH: What do you think about NU’s fashion style?
CLAIRE LEW: I think everyone here is pretty much diverse and [has an] eclectic fashion sense. I think everyone pretty much retains their own personal sense of style, but they probably get a little more collegiate. North Face jackets, Ugg boots, or Longchamp purses, those are kind of like the college staples of any college in America.
S: How would you describe your own personal style?
CL: I would say it’s pretty preppy. I get comments all the time of “Claire where’d you get that? Did you get that from J.Crew like always? Oh you did, didn’t you”. It’s classic, simple, not very complicated or dressy, kind of no-fuss.
S: Do you think your “no-fuss” style helped you with your campaign?
CL: One would hope that fashion sense doesn’t have a lot to do with who people think would make NU better. But I’m sure whenever you do job interviews, or whenever you interact with people in general, first impressions matter and so making sure that for whatever situation what you’re wearing is appropriate is important.
S: Who or what has the most impact on your sense of style?
CL: My mom for sure. My mom is really big on wearing classic, very simple, modern, streamlined clothes and she picks out all my clothes for me. I borrow clothes from her, which might be weird cause she’s my mother, but she has an awesome sense of style and I can’t buy anything unless I call her and ask her if she thinks it’ll look good.
S: What are your tips on wearing professional attire? How can females look cute and serious at the same time?
CL: Always overdress. So in terms of going into professional wear, if you don’t know if it’s going to be business casual or formal, always air on the side of being the most dressed up in the room. For girls I would say being conservative is always important if you want to be taken seriously, but at the same time have fun with it. Show your personal styles [with] colors or different fabrics or jewelry.
S: Explain to us your interest in menswear.
CL: I pick out clothes for my younger brother. I like picking out clothes for boys just because, well I like doing it for my brother because I think it’s cool when people ask him “Hey Pat, where’d you get your shirt? Where’d you get your hat? Where’d you get your shoes?” because they compliment him all the time and he’ll say “Oh, my sister got it for me” so I like to take credit for that. But I [also] think it’s a really nice way to be nice to him. I just think that what boys get to wear is often more simpler than girls and it takes so much less time for them to get ready. I like to live vicariously and pick out things for my brother because of that.
S: How would you want your boyfriend to dress?
CL: The thing that I value the most is being genuine, and that’s just in any person. So making sure that they dress in a way that expresses who they are and they’re not trying to be someone else or conform to what other people think. I think it’s just understanding who you are as a person and what you think expresses your personality because I think that’s ultimately what fashion is, expressing who you want other people to see you as and kind of your truest identity.
S: What’s your favorite outfit?
CL: My favorite outfit to wear is, like I love sweaters and cardigans. I’m like an old woman, like I love cardigans. Sweaters, skinny jeans and boots. You can’t really go wrong with that.
S: What’s been your biggest fashion faux pas?
CL: Well, I would just say I have difficulty wearing white because I spill everything on it. So like if you look at anything I own that’s white there’s something on it, whether it ‘s an ink stain or a food stain. And I have a Tide pen, but it’s too small to cover up my stains.
S: How can someone emulate Claire Lew’s style?
CL: I would say, like my favorite stores are probably J.Crew, Martin and Osa, and Anthropologie. Just always think less is more. I’m all about being super, super simple. I don’t wear a lot of patterns, I wear a lot of solid colors and classic cut things.
HIRO KAWASHIMA, ASG vice president
STITCH: What do you think about Northwestern students’ sense of style?
HIRO KAWASHIMA: I think Northwestern students have a great and varied sense of style. I wouldn’t change it one bit.
S: How has working in women’s shoes affected your fashion sense?
HK: Working in women’s shoes definitely did not affect my day-to-day fashion. However, it definitely affected my professional fashion. You had to look good and project confidence to sell well.
S: What’s something in women’s fashion that annoys/bugs you?
HK: Shoes. Why so many, ladies?
S: How important do you think having a good sense of style is?
HK: It is important if you are in an important role or need to project a certain aura. On an everyday basis, I’m really not sure if it matters that much. However, I do think that “feeling good” definitely improves your confidence and some say that having a good sense of style and being satisfied with it helps with that.
S: Do you think others view men who have a good sense of style as less masculine?
HK: No. I think that men who have a good sense of style are more masculine than feminine. Prime example, George Clooney. I don’t think anyone would say that he is less masculine.
S: What are your favorite items in your closet?
HK: Dress Clothes. Let me elaborate. I love suits, dress shirts, dress shoes, and ties. Dress clothes are what make a man. Not his polo shirts or deck shoes, his dress clothes. If you can look good in dress clothes, you’ve got what it takes to make it.
S: How do you change up the typical guy’s “dress clothes” — or do you just stick to the classic pant, jacket, shirt, tie?
HK: It depends on the occasion. In a professional setting, it’s recommended to stick to classic wear: a solid or pinstriped suit, a solid dress shirt and solid tie. French cuffs and cufflinks are optional. In a less professional setting, I think it’s great to have a little fun with your dress clothes.
S: Do you think your style affected how people thought of you during the campaign?
HK: I think it did. My everyday clothes are just like what everyone else wears. When I went door-to-door, I didn’t dress up. I didn’t want people to think that I was removed from them because I’m not. I am just a student, not a full-blown politician. And I wanted people to be sold by what I said and what I was going to do, not by my fashion sense.
S: What’s your most embarassing fashion story?
HK: I was playing on a horn section for a rock band my senior year. I was wearing really baggy shorts because that’s what we were asked to wear. I was kind of bobbing around backstage and my shorts completely fell. It was pretty funny, it made everyone laugh.
Shop the Spread
Look 1. On Hiro: Caravelli jacket, Geoffrey Been button down, Old Navy jeans; On Claire: Necessary Objects dress
Look 2. On Claire: Martin & Osa tank, Anthropologie sweater, Rock & Republic jeans
Look 3. On Claire: J.Crew blouse; On Hiro: Caravelli suit, Geoffrey Beane button down, Donald Trump tie
Look 4. On Hiro: Champion Northwestern hoodie; On Claire: oNe Nothwestern T-shirt
Look 5. On Hiro: Geoffrey Beene button down, Old Navy jeans; On Claire: Nordstrom dress
Look 6. Same as Look 5.