Cindy Nguyen (she/her) is an upcoming junior at the University of Washington in Seattle. Due to COVID-19, Cindy has had the time and opportunity to explore her sense of style at her own pace. Being surrounded by peers can sometimes cause stress and anxiety when it comes to discovering who you are and how you want to express yourself which can also affect how you see yourself.
Cindy’s photo submission showcases an exploration of and experimentation with colours and patterns through her daily accessories. Y2K accessories, such as bold claw clips and rimless sunglasses, have recently been very prevalent in Cindy’s style. Her inner child loves pink, and she tries to incorporate it into her daily outfits, such as her new favorite beaded necklace, as it still has many neutral colours that match many outfits. Another thing that Cindy’s inner child loves are baby animals, and she believes this sweater is the perfect combination of pink and cute animals for a summer outfit.
Beaded necklace, claw clips, earrings, bandana from Urban Outfitters; mushroom necklace from Tilly’s; sunglasses from Princess Polly
Plate painted by me, silver earrings + gold necklace from Brandy Melville, pearl necklace from Amazon, gold earrings from Urban Outfitters
Sweater from Yesstyle, sunglasses from LaFonda, jeans from Urban Outfitters, purse from Shein
By: Audrey Chen & Naomi Chen
Artists: Audrey Chen and Naomi Chen | Photography: Audrey Chen | Clothing: Audrey Chen | Hair and makeup: Naomi Chen | Model: Naomi Chen
Audrey Chen (she/her) is a second year fashion design student at X University (Ryerson University) in Toronto, Canada; co-lead designer and production director at The Oddity Co., a sustainable fashion startup based in Toronto; and graphic designer at StyleCircle, a student-run publication at X University for all things fashion and culture.
Her alias, aud c: or audsmiley, encompasses how she views and approaches design: playfully. Stemming from a love of playing dress-up as a child, her creative work in fashion is constantly evolving and growing alongside her. Stemming from this core desire to play and explore, Audrey’s work is experimental and expressive, and she is excited to see what this will grow and evolve into.
These pants are a playful take on growth and decay, especially when it is not actively sought after but instead occurs naturally. The textured boiled shibori panels, created by tying fabric around objects and then heat setting it through boiling, are inspired by fungi growing on dead and living organic matter. As decomposers, the fungi literally break down organic matter in order to obtain nutrients and grow. This piece stems from questioning whether this is seen as evolution or destruction — positive growth or negative loss — of the original material. When change occurs, at what points do we mourn the death of the old or celebrate what is new?
Often, only time will tell if a change will lead to growth, decay, or both. Thus, with its bright colours and playful silhouette, this piece encompasses and embraces the beauty present in the process of change, regardless of whether it is ultimately damaging, developing, or both.
The Most Fun You'll Ever Have with Jewelry
By: Alessia Fathollahzadeh
Alessia Fathollahzadeh (she/her) is a newly graduated high school student that runs an Instagram jewelry shop. She is from Oakville, Ontario and has always been interested in fashion and creating, leading her to start her small business. She will be attending McGill University in Montreal next year for economics and marketing to further her career and knowledge on the fashion industry.
At some point or another, we all reminisce about the good ol’ days, not realising we’re in them until they’ve passed. Nostalgia acts as a way to comfort us in times when we feel like we’ve lost ourselves, looking to our younger years to rediscover what used to spark joy. As a wild kid at heart, Alessia’s jewelry business was born through reconnecting with her younger self and learning how to play again. Through what seemed like the endless quarantine boredom of May 2020, Alessia was cleaning out her art room and found an old bead kit that she used to love as a child. With nothing better to do she decided to start making some bracelets and then asking others if they wanted one, it kept her busy and gave her an excuse to go on bike rides to see her friends. Soon enough, everyone was asking for custom bracelets so Alessia monetized her work. All throughout summer, Alessia’s friends would text her with all their ideas and she would bring them to life, trying to keep an aspect of the creativity in her friends’ hands. She soon evolved to necklaces, and at that point realized that she could make what she was doing into an actual business. So in November of 2020, Alessia brought her Instagram shop to life, taking the namesake of her last name. Her main goal and message is all about custom jewelry made especially for you, by her, promoting creativity, uniqueness, and inclusivity. Alessia now offers anything that you can think of that’s beaded — if a customer can think of it she will be more than happy to make it. She uses social media to promote her jewelry as much as possible, and she hopes to bring light to people even if they don't purchase something. Alessia has received nothing but love and support, and she continues to encourage everyone's inner child to inspire the people they are today, letting us all know that it's still ok to play.
He puts outfits together and posts them on Instagram for the world to see for two reasons: 1) it makes him happy — he loves putting fits together so why not share that; 2) he is extremely keen on modelling and doing that in the near future. Right now, he just wants to focus on building an online personal brand for himself before he gets attached to any modelling agencies.
Jason’s style inspirations are Rihanna, Wisdom Kaye, and a bunch of other cool people he follows on Instagram. Stay tuned because he’s got so many outfits planned and ready to share to the world.
Jason Laryea (he/him) is 22 years young and a style chameleon. His addiction to fashion and styling started from when he was a child and would envision himself on red carpets and wearing all the clothes and shoes his parents wouldn’t get him.
Autumn 2018 is when Jason started to actually try and dress himself outside of what his mother would buy and even though he’s still doing it, he’s really revamped his overall sense of style and his wardrobe. University was the best outlet for Jason as he had time to sit down and really figure out how he wanted to present himself to the world. In his first year, he had an obsession with looking alternative and vintage and would roll up his trousers in every outfit and wear oversized sports jackets. Looking back, that era is funny for him to think about and he might revisit it again; just with a lot more taste. Summer 2019 marked the start of Jason really focusing on colour coordination and simply telling himself that he is limitless in all he does. Since then, he’s approached fashion fearlessly and he hasn’t been afraid to step out of his comfort zone and blend together masculinity and femininity.
Sahran Saleem (he/him) is an all around creative based in Toronto, Canada. For him, play means playing with colours, shapes, and concepts in spite of the restrictions that society places upon us. Being a South Asian gay male, his culture and upbringing kept him in a box growing up which resulted in him not being able to explore his own creativity. It wasn’t until recently that Sahran chose to invest in his authentic self, breaking free of societal expectations and norms. He now plays with his personal style, seeking to deconstruct gender-based clothing and choosing to incorporate pieces based on their colour and shape.
A love letter to Qingzi Gao SS21
By: Helayna Raffaele
Sustainable fashion is often spoken of with an iron fist. Of course, we must change the way the industry operates, focusing on the longevity of garments over fleeting trends — but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while doing so.
Qingzi Gao’s SS21 collection is where sustainability and playful artistry align. The collection is representative of the Chinese toys and commodity markets Gao grew up adoring. Vibrant colours allude to storefronts and fashionable doll’s clothes, while embellishments resemble toys themselves. When all put together, the garments become a recreation of Gao’s childhood “toy fantasy.”
By: Isabel Coleman and Julia Mistele
Toadbagz is an environmentally conscious, Oakville-based brand that sells hand-sewn and hand-painted tote bags. During the COVID-19 quarantine, Isabel Coleman (she/her) and Julia Mistele (she/her), two friends, combined their interests in sewing and painting to begin their small business. While aiming to lower their own carbon footprints, they sought to create reusable bags that were not only sustainable, but also fashionable. Toadbagz offers both ready-made and custom designs. Isabel and Julia pride themselves on their customer communication skills that help provide each individual with their ideal tote bag. Designs can range from motivational quotes to portraits of your favourite artist. Each design is then hand-painted with care onto a sewn canvas bag. Toadbagz environmentally-conscious bags encourage fashion-forward teenagers to make a small, sustainable lifestyle change. The average Canadian citizen uses approximately 350 plastic bags annually. By replacing your plastic bags with a handmade ‘Toadbag,’ you help protect the environment from harmful toxins and plastic waste. Toadbagz aspires to bridge the gap between sustainability and trendiness one bag at a time.
Return to Play:
Creative Director: Kelsi Lee | Styling: Tiah Dunstan and Kelsi Lee | Makeup: Sam Malec and Kelsi Lee | Models: Tiah Dunstan and Sam Malec
Play, as a noun, is defined as an “activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children.” The activity can be imaginative and fantastical, physical as well as lacking any sense of seriousness. Overall, the beauty of play is rooted in its foundation of pleasure, in which play is a freely chosen behavior purely motivated by the self. Many definitions of play include an underlying connotation that play ends after childhood; however, it could be argued that play does not disappear but merely becomes refined in adulthood through the change in self and newfound pleasures. Stating the obvious, the transition from child to adolescent to adult prompts a shift in the expectations set out for ourselves, the most noticeable adjustment being life taken more and more seriously with age. This summer lookbook was inspired by the importance of play in adulthood, and the benefits it brings to individuals who engage in it. Full of bright colours, activity, and imagined worlds, this collection aims to illuminate the freedom and escape that “play” can offer to those who seek it.