This story originally appeared in our March 2017 Expressions Issue.
The word "transition" comes with many connotations and reasons for change. It acts as a direct response to a change in attitude, scenery or even belief. At Northwestern. students use their physical appearances to express these changes in both large and small ways — a pair of glasses, or even pink hair. Meet two of NU's most stylish students and their reasons for changing their style.
When you look at Avril, a theatre major from New York, you could never tell that she has been a pink pixie or a purple mermaid. No, I am not talking about parts in a play, I am talking hair. Avril uses her hair as a means to express herself through large (or small) changes in her life. She has changed her hair so many times that it is surprising that she currently sports a short blonde cut. She’s been blonde, orange, pink and even her natural brown, to name a few. For her, changing her hair means changing her outlook, demeanor or even reflecting a change in season.
Why your hair?
“I feel like it’s when I need to change something, I definitely first go to my hair. I’ll change it a lot when I’m feeling good or stressed out or when I’m over something. I’ll try something out with it because it’s easy and not permanent.”
When was the first time you dyed your hair?
“The first time I ever dyed my hair was in 7th or 8th grade. I somehow convinced my mom to dye my bangs purple, so I had purple streaks in my bangs, but the purple would wash out really quickly, so I would start coloring it with marker so I could experiment with color.”
Can you tell me about the time you had pink hair?
“The pink was just on a whim. I was bored and it was spring quarter, and I’d also just gotten done with auditions and I wasn’t going to be in anything in the spring so it was a good time to do something, because when you’re in shows you can’t dye your hair.”
What do you do when it doesn’t go like you planned?
“I dyed it junior year of high school when I was abroad on an exchange program, and I was with a bunch of girls who bought a box of dye from the local supermarket and it went completely orange. The stores closed right after we had gotten it and so I went to school with orange hair the next day, which was a great lesson in learning that even if you mess up your hair, your life doesn’t end.”
Colin Clayton’s fashion sense is explorative and wide-ranging, from his round, wire-rimmed glasses to his love for black leather underwear. You would never guess that prior to NU, Colin shopped at his local mall’s American Eagle and Aéropostale. Coming from small-town Illinois, he never got inspired because he “didn’t really know anything” about fashion influence. Since coming to college, he has used his peers, social media and even thrift stores to become his most comfortable version of himself, showing that coming to college was his best fashion ~inspo~ yet.
How have you changed your style since coming to college?
I do thrifting and weird stuff on the Internet; sometimes I’ll even make my own clothes. I’ll cut it up or do something to it that makes it different, but men’s fashion is kind of lacking, honestly. Also, on Instagram there are a lot of cool New York gays that I will find from the explore page.
As far as being influenced by campus, would you say that’s a big part of it too?
There are for sure some people here that I’ve taken a few tips from. Paul Salamanca, for example, we have very similar styles. Overall, Northwestern is a little more preppy than I am. But, there are definitely people who are more up to my speed with the DIY and that kind of stuff. Northwestern has a more interesting fashion culture than where I’m from.
What has been the most drastic change you’ve made?
Thrifting, specifically. Here, there are so many places you can go because there are all of these different neighborhoods that you can go and find all of these really interesting pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. I think that’s one of my biggest things because I really use basics but then something interesting.
You mentioned that you’re into DIY. Have you created anything recently?
I made this wild pom-pom sweater that was a trainwreck but was also incredible. I was with my friend and we were like ‘oh, let’s make a sweater.’ Neither of us knew how to sew or stitch at the time, so we were like ‘what can we do?’ So we went and bought a black, crew neck sweater from WalMart and a bag of pom poms and literally hot glue gunned them in this weird pattern down the front and then down the elbow and down the arm. I did wear it once, and got a lot of weird looks because it looks very shoddy. Also, the pom pom colors were bright green and blue. It was a little rough.