In Good Fashion: Samara

By Hannah Pridemore

Staff Writer

As minimalism and eco-friendly companies are on the rise, it’s no surprise that these ideals have made their way to the handbag industry. As a token collectible item, wouldn’t it be nice to know that the bags collecting dust on the shelves when they’re out of season are going to a good cause and were ethically made?

Samara, formerly known as Be Samara, is a Canadian-based company that creates vegan luxury goods. With simplistic designs and functional features, Samara checks off all of the conscious-consumer boxes of 2020. Their goal “to create better fashion, implement more efficient supply chains and use and create more sustainable materials” is paired with a desire to create durable products that will never go out of style.

While vegan leather is essentially just plastic, Samara tries to limit its use of PVC by using water-based products and microfiber where possible. This creates fewer toxins in production. Their plan to be entirely plant-based, which seems completely possible as they just dropped a backpack completely made out of recycled plastic bottles, and have currently found luck by using apples. Uniquely made, their apple leather comes from a European factory by using the skins that are leftover from juicing companies. Apples and water bottles aren’t the only products they upcycle, though. Castor seeds, bamboo, and recycled ocean plastics in general can be found throughout their products as well.

If you’re playing Millennial Company Bingo, also mark off the “Led by Women” box. Samara prides itself in having an all-female leadership team as sisters Salima and Samara run the company with their mother in mind. And of course, they give back to the community with a portion of their profits, because why wouldn’t they? With the foundation of The Soular Backpack by Salima, children in East Africa are provided a backpack with a solar panel. This affords them the energy to do their homework with kerosene.

As the company has grown in popularity, they have also branched out and widened their product inventory. While you can still find a sensible tote, backpack, or duffel bag, they now offer so much more. Travel jewelry boxes, scarves, sunglasses, planners, and loungewear have now been added to the collections.

While they might be a stereotypical millennial company, Samara embraces the label and does good for the planet while doing it. With timeless and elegant pieces to add to any outfit, buying products from them can be done with a clear conscience.

Back of the Closet: Don’t Sweat It, Cozy to Couture

By Jylian Herring

Staff Writer

What does a typical work-from-home outfit look like? Has anyone found an acceptable way to pair a blazer with plaid pajama bottoms yet, or button-downs with boxers?

Instead of dwelling on the new working environment, celebrate it by getting creative with work-from-home outfits. Leisure and loungewear have changed the fashion industry (and revolutionized the new workday,) so stay in comfy sweatpants and sweaters if the job allows. If any old pairs are just lying around the house, give them new life with some tie-dying. Up until now, everyone’s lived by a socially constructed dress code, but not anymore.

Now is the time to have the creative freedom and wear whatever to work. The beauty of virtual meetings is that people can only see from the chest up, allowing the opportunity to stay in pajama bottoms all day. The only person that might shoot a couple of weird looks at a dress shirt and elastic-pant combo is a furry friend at home.

There are many opportunities to still look presentable in virtual meetings while still being comfortable. Challenge the old saying, “when you look good, you feel good,” by thinking “when you’re comfortable, you feel good.” Brands such as Loft, Aerie, and Nordstrom have created specific online shopping categories that sell clothing catered to this new lifestyle.

“It’s really nice because the leggings and sweatshirts I’ve been buying are a lot cheaper than the dress up, bar scene clothing I usually buy,” Ohio University senior Abby Dawson said.

If wearing makeup these days just isn’t the move, Zoom even has a feature called “touch up my appearance” that polishes faces, almost like a filter, for others in the call to see.

Sitting in pajamas all day can be easy, especially if there’s no need to virtually sign in and actually see other people. However, changing out of pajamas can psychologically trick the brain and trigger productivity.

Dr. Karen Pine, a fashion psychologist and professor at the University of Hertfordshire, told Forbes magazine that people form associations with clothing and the activity they wear pieces for.

The article reported, “A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear.’ So when we put it on, we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”

Rolling out of bed to sit behind a computer screen for class or work can feel less than motivating, so make it a challenge to get ready or create a schedule for days to dress up on. Having different themes such as, “polka dot Monday” or “denim Tuesday” can make it fun to get ready for the day. Look on the bright side; getting more sleep and not having to drive to work is saving time for other activities.

Finding a new routine is the key to being successful when working from home. Making even the slightest change in the work-from-home outfits can help benefit overall happiness and promote productivity. While we can, stay comfortable!

Back of the Closet: Black Lives Matter

By Hannah Pridemore

Staff Writer

Black Lives Matter. Plain and simple. They always have and they always will. The marches and demonstrations held over this summer, in the middle of a pandemic no less, emphasized just how much still has to change in this country as we strive for racial equality. It’s easy to be a performative armchair activist. Just post a little black square on your Instagram, repost cute infographics to your story, and call it a day. While it’s great to spread awareness and information, we have moved beyond this form of activism. Black people are still dying every single day, and the information posted on an Insta story isn’t going to stop it from happening anytime soon. So, what’s the next step? Keshawn Mellon, an Ohio University senior who you might have seen in some theatre performances these past four years, organized the Athens Black Lives Matter march this semester, and he’s offered some advice on how to start a BLM movement in your area.

Hannah Pridemore: What is your personal history with the Black Lives Matter movement?

Keshawn Mellon: My personal history with BLM stretches back into my junior year of high school, when I really started to become aware of the issues within our country and began making art about it. The summer of my junior year, I made an original performance piece about BLM which I think launched me into my passion about using performance art to discuss BLM. This continued into my senior year and eventually into college, where I now regularly make art about BLM, assist in activism related to it, and educate others about it. 

HP: What made you want to host one in Athens?

KM: I wanted to host one in Athens because we are in a community that’s mixed with students, faculty, and families. People view Athens as a safe haven from these political movements when it isn’t. Black students and members of this community are putting in so much work to make this area safe and comfortable for Black people, so it’s unfair to view this place as one that is a “safe haven” from it all, because for those whose livelihood is affected, it isn’t. Something has to be done about that and it needs to be done by more than just Black people. 

HP: What did you have to do to organize it?

KM: Organizing it was fairly simple. We had to figure out the date and time, reach out to people, then organize the advertisement of it so that it flooded social media. After that, it was about collaborating with people who wanted to help, personally inviting people, and taking charge on the day of the event. 

HP: Who all was involved?

KM: Avery Pope [also an Ohio University senior] and I were the ones who organized it. Although people reached out to provide resources and donate, Avery and I did everything for the protest. That includes making the poster, the FB event, and the social media flood on Instagram and Twitter. 

HP: Would you do another one?

KM: It truly depends. If I feel capable, then sure. But the stress it puts on me is unmeasurable and I would prefer not to because it isn’t healthy. I’m more than willing to do one but only if I’m 1) capable to mentally/physically/emotionally and 2) if the time is right. 

HP: Any future plans for march organizations?

KM: Not at the moment. Who knows what the future holds and until I feel like the pressure is on, I don’t plan on it. However, when my community needs me, I’ll be there to help. 

HP: What do you think is the best way to get communities involved and to spread the word?

KM: I think you have to do community outreach. Meet people where they are. Go into their neighborhoods. Go to their events. Talk with them. Invite them out. Listen to them. You have to ask what they need and find a way to provide it. Getting a community involved is to make them important. A community won’t feel that way if there isn’t someone putting 100% effort into it all. The simplest way to bring people together is to break bread with them. 

This topic is never easy to discuss, but it must be done. Organize with friends, post about it on social media, and get out in the streets and march. Exercise your rights to fight for our freedoms. All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter.

Feature: Gone Too Far, Is a firework worth a forest fire?

By Riley Runnells

Staff Writer

On Sept. 17, a firefighter died in the line of duty while putting out the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino. Though dozens of wildfires are burning on the West Coast, El Dorado sparked because of a smoke-generating device used during a gender reveal party, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The tragic incident poses an ever-burning question: have gender reveal parties gotten out of hand?

Gender reveal parties initially began in 2008, when Jenna Myers Karvunidis got pregnant and wanted to throw a party. She asked her midwife to keep the baby’s gender a secret, and she brought a cake to the party filled with pink icing. When the family cut into the cake and discovered it was a girl there were gasps and tears, but also the unknown notion that her party would spark a chain of theatrics revolving around a baby’s gender reveal.

Since Karvunidis’ cake, parents have used confetti cannons, piñatas, balloon darts, and smoke bombs. Name it, and there’s probably been a gender reveal party with it. Steve Swaggerty, a father of three from Sylvania Ohio, did a March Madness themed reveal for his twin sons.

“It was just wanting to celebrate with family,” Swaggerty said. “We were very excited. We did a March Madness NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) bracket and put 64 names on the bracket lines. People filled out their bracket, came over, and we just hung out and had a few drinks.”

For most, that’s all a gender reveal party is: a way to celebrate with family. There are the prim and proper celebrations of baby showers, where the parents receive gifts from their registry and the mothers are able to celebrate their miracle of life, but the gender reveal party is more of a traditionally-relaxed way to make a fuss about one’s pregnancy.

Diving deeper, gender reveal shouldn’t even be the party’s name at all, as that is biologically inaccurate. What the parents are actually revealing is the child’s sex, which is based on genital anatomy. Gender is about identity, and may or may not match the sex assigned to the child at birth.

The American Psychological Association refers to gender identity as a person’s deeply-felt, inherent sense of being a boy, a man, or male; a girl, a woman or female; or an alternative gender (e.g., genderqueer, gender non-conforming…) since gender identity is internal, a person’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.

Simply put, gender is how you identify yourself: boy, girl, nonbinary, or otherwise.

Patty Stokes, an associate professor of women’s gender and sexuality studies at Ohio University, had children before the tradition of gender reveal parties was born. Regardless, she is adamant that she wouldn’t have had one for any of her kids.

“I don’t want my child being stereotyped or pigeon-holed before they’re even born,” Stokes said.

Though she worked to avoid stereotyping for her kids by not conforming to specific gender associations, i.e. the color pink for girls and blue for boys, she still found that people were making assumptions.

“For my younger son I had this sweet little lavender blanket,” Stokes said. “I remember somebody one day telling me while we were out, ‘Oh, you’ve got an adorable little girl,” and I said ‘Thanks, he’s my little boy.’ I wasn’t trying to educate her on gender or anything, it was just a public interaction, and she was visibly offended.”

Back in the Victorian era, babies would all wear white so that if they made a mess, the garment bleached clean easily, Stokes said. Boys and girls would even wear similar dress-like garments, further showing that clothing and babies in general weren’t as gendered.

Stokes also attributes a lot of the excitement around gender reveal parties and the thorough gendering of children to the large stake capitalism drives into the system. A blogger on bumpreveal.com details the budget of an average gender reveal party, breaking down the costs for each part of the occasion. She estimates an average of $100 for food, $20 for the reveal method, $50 to $100 for decor, $1 per invite, and $15 for a miniature cake instead of a larger one. Even with the cheaper methods like the blogger suggests, it’s still over $200 in charges.

“I think they are a waste of money,” Rachael Bracken, a mom of three, said. “I feel like there’s so many parties and so many this or that. There are a lot of things that are overdone. For me personally, I’m just like ‘Yay, it’s a boy,” or ‘Yay, it’s a girl.’”

Bracken didn’t have a gender reveal party for any of her children, and emphasizes the fact that it wouldn’t matter how her children wanted to identify, she would support them.

“I think with any kid, you support what they like,” Bracken said. “So if Charlie liked to wear dresses, then I would support that. I think it’s up to the parents to support [their children] in what they want to be and let them be themselves. And if that ends up changing… love your kids no matter what.”

Not all parents have that same open mind. In a 2011 study from FORGE, 57% of transgender children experienced some level of familial rejection when coming out and being true to their identity. Many in the LGBTQ+ community regard gender reveal parties as harmful because they perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes. Though it may not have as large of an impact on the child because they aren’t born yet, there is the potential that it could contribute to the closed-mindedness of parents when it comes to gender transitioning or fluidity.

The El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino proved that the extravaganza of gender reveal parties aren’t just an emotionally-taxing problem, but a safety issue as well. As parents continue to work to outdo themselves, their methods increase the danger of the occasion. The El Dorado Fire burned down four homes, six other structures, and burned throughout 22,576 acres, according to an article from LAist.

To answer the question; gender reveal parties aren’t getting out of hand, but are already out of hand. Swaggerty, Stokes, and Bracken feel the cons outweigh the pros.

Swaggerty counters the question of whether gender reveal parties make parents narrow-minded, saying “[Do] we have a gender reveal party because our minds are already narrowed based on our own experiences? I didn’t have to live through that type of experience where you had that internal struggle going on of what society expected of you versus how you knew you were. So I don’t know that it narrows my mind; I think my narrow mind is what led me to have a gender reveal party.”

Campus Casual: Ways to Enjoy Fall While Staying at Home

By Jadyn Profitt

Staff Writer

Quarantine Fall, Your New Favorite Season!

This fall may be different than usual, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better than ever! Have no fear, there are still some fun ways to enjoy fall at home. Here is a quick list of activities for all the spooky season lovers out there!

Pumpkin Decorating

If you have yet to chisel through a seed-loaded pumpkin, now is as good of a time as ever. Not only will your flashy jack-o’-lantern make for a great fall and Halloween decoration, but it’s just the thing to get you into full spooky season mode. Simply sketch out a spooky face on the pumpkin and carve away. Not into the gooey mess of carving? No problem– grab some paint and unleash your inner artist!

At-Home “Theater

One of the biggest components of fall is, of course, Halloween! Quarantine and social distancing has most of us staying home, which means no scary movie nights at the theater. The classic way to enjoy a movie at home is to snuggle up on a comfy couch with snacks and popcorn. However, a fun way to spice up movie night is to invest in a projector! Grab some pals, hang up a white sheet, and stream your favorite scary movie with any compatible device. 

Fall Photoshoot

Who doesn’t love putting together cute new outfits? This fall is a special one, and we are here for it. For the first time in history, almost everyone has gone digital. Whether it be working from home or online schooling, this fall has taught people the importance of community. That being said, this year is definitely one to remember. Slap together some photo-worthy outfits and find your favorite spot in town, or even your backyard. Invite over a friend or use the self-timer – no shame in self photography – and pose. Now you have an excuse to wear that new piece you’ve been saving for just the right time.

Autumn Delights

Yes, I mean s’mores and apple cider. Fall is a great time to enjoy a campfire with some friends and family, but these sweet treats make it even better. To create the most delicious s’more, begin by roasting a marshmallow over a fire. Now, smash that marshmallow between two graham crackers and add your favorite chocolate candy. It’s that easy! Not to mention, a warm cup of apple cider to top off the campfire hangout.

DIY: Album Art

By Olivia Strauss

Staff Writer

Stuck at home watching TikTok all day? If so, you’ve definitely seen the trending Spotify glass art on your For You page. You may have also seen a million of these personalized glass pieces for sale on sites like Etsy. Whether you’re looking for some decor of your favorite artist or you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for that special someone, this project is super easy and affordable! 

Materials Needed:

  • Glass frame piece (can be any size) 
  • White paint pen
  • Printed photograph (either one of your own or the artist/album cover, you choose)
  • Something sticky to attach the photograph (you can use hot glue, tape, sticky tack, you choose)
  • Printed play, pause, and skip images (optional, unless you’re planning on drawing them)
  • Song you love (choose wisely)

Step 1: Take out the glass piece from a frame. 

You can get frames at the dollar store for this! Don’t toss the frame if you want any easy way to display your beautiful work when you’re done. 

Step 2: After you’ve printed out a picture and sized it to an appropriate square, attach it at the top center of the glass with your choice of sticky stuff.

Tape works easiest on the glass for this step. 

Now for the hard part: the buttons under the song. 

Step 3: If you’d like, you can find, print, and cut an image out with an exacto knife to attach onto the glass. If you’re going freehand, take your time! 

Step 4: Write out everything with the paint pen from the song name and song length to the shuffle, previous/next, play, and repeat buttons.

That’s it! Now attach your work to the wall, give it to a friend, or display it on your desk. Whatever you choose, this cute piece is the perfect decoration to celebrate you and your bestfriends’ favorite song, the song that played at your graduation, or your favorite going out song… the possibilities are endless.

DIY: What’s the sitch with cross-stitch?

By Hannah Pridemore

Staff Writer

As the semester comes to a close, the much-awaited free time can seem like a nice reprieve from the chaos of the past few months. The first few days will be blissfully light without any stress about due dates or assignments, but eventually boredom will take over. Between playing Animal Crossing and trying your hand at TikTok trends, picking up a new skill like embroidery can be a helpful way to fill the free space in your days. It doesn’t have to be super complex and can be used as wall art and make for cute personalized gifts.

Supplies

·  Embroidery hoop(s)

·  Fabric

·  Needles

·  Scissors

·  Embroidery Thread

·  Pencil or Pen

Steps

1. Sketch or trace the desired letter onto the fabric in any font.

2. Bring the needle and thread up through the bottom of the fabric at the top of the design.

3. Bring the needle back down through the fabric. This is one stitch.

4. Repeat step 2, but leave a gap about the size of a grain of rice between the first stitch and the start of the new stitch.

5. Repeat step 3, but put the needle through the gap created in step 4. This should create a straight line.

6. Repeat until done.

That’s how to create a hand-embroidered letter using a backstitch.

Celeb Style: Travis Scott

By Riley Runnells

Staff Writer

Travis Scott is one of the most notable rappers of this generation. With numerous Grammy Award nominations, a Billboard Music Award win, and his relationship and child with media personality Kylie Jenner, Scott is well known in many circles. With his level of influence, it’s no surprise that Scott’s style is wildly popular.

 Looking at Scott’s fashion sense, it might look like it would be easy to imitate. However, his specific street look has more to it than one might think, and not just anyone can pull it off. His typical look features baggy clothing with lots of denim. He’ll pair jeans –– usually ripped –– with an oversized shirt and a denim bomber or puffer jacket, and even sometimes a hoodie.

Creating the outfit is just one piece of the Travis Scott fashion puzzle. To truly make it complete, he adds a hat, typically from his own merchandise, a pair of sunglasses from the Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collection, and a stylish pair of sneakers from Nike, Vans, or the adidas + KANYE WEST Collection. For jewelry, Scott sports Rolex watches with most of his outfits, no matter if it’s formalwear or everyday outfits, and constantly rocks chain necklaces varying from his Rodeo logo pendant to Nick Bhindi sets.

Scott has been an ambassador and collaborator with several brands going back as early as 2014. His first was with Been Trill, with whom he released a long sleeve t-shirt. Since then, he’s had collaborations with Diamond Supply Co., Helmut Lang, Virgil Abloh, Nike, Saint Laurent, Readymade, New Era x Houston Astros, and there might even be an Evisu jeans collaboration sometime in 2020.

Though on the surface his style seems more casual, there’s a lot of work that goes into his outfits and the collaborations he gives to his fans.

Celeb Style: Meg Thee Stallion

By Riley Runnells

Staff Writer

Megan Thee Stallion is arguably one of the only highlights of 2020. Between her iconic “hot girl” tagline, millions of Tik Tok videos sampling her songs, and earning the number one slot on the charts with “WAP,” Megan has definitely had a successful year.

Like her hit single, Megan’s wardrobe is “Savage.” Other than promoting her music and posting for her several ambassador roles for Savage x Fenty and Revlon, Megan uses her Instagram to show off her striking styles. Typically, Megan goes for brighter colors or monochromatic blacks and grays. If it’s tight-fitting and curve-friendly, queen Meg is rocking it.

The rapper is typically seen wearing extravagant ensembles, varying from gothic biker looks, to a frilly spice girl, and everything in between. The looks typically count on loud patterns and cropped or low-cut tops. She pairs them with lavish nail designs that she takes care to have done frequently, sleek hairstyles, like straightened with a clip or slicked into a ponytail, and natural-looking makeup she does herself.

Her iconic style has garnered a lot of attention from the fashion and beauty world. Megan has fronted campaigns for Savage x Fenty and is currently the Revlon global brand ambassador. She also recently announced a collaboration with Fashion Nova to create jeans for all the “tall hot girls.” The ripped, ombre jeans in her Instagram post about the collaboration are the first sample of the jeans she’s creating to specifically tailor to tall women, so their denim fits their curves and legs.

Megan is by far the most iconic female rapper to come on the scene in a while. She’s branded herself as this take-charge, strong woman who isn’t afraid to stick up for what or who she believes in. Her fashion reflects her boldness, and no one can ever call her a follower, but rather a 100% trend-setter.

Runway Realway: Lirika Matoshi

By Hannah Pridemore

Staff Writer

The iconic strawberry dress: everyone knows it, everyone’s seen it, and celebrities and animated characters alike have all been drawn wearing it. But what about the designer and the other pieces she’s worked on?

Lirika Matoshi, born in Kosovo, relocated to New York City and started her fashion career in 2016, when she began selling her handmade accessories on Etsy at just 20 years old. She started with chokers before expanding to dresses and socks with sparkly add-ons and the detailed embellishments she’s known for. Matoshi is a great example of learning by doing, and that formal training isn’t necessarily needed to succeed.

There is a Matoshi pop-up shop in New York City that rotates the showroom displays with current products. Every piece is made ethically, and pictures of the products can be found on Instagram (@lirika.matoshi).

Dreamy and romantic, these soft outfits with a hint of sparkle here and there are marking their place in the world of fashion. Matoshi’s style is easily recognizable, and after adding masks to her portfolio to match her brand’s best-selling designs, there are even more ways to wear Matoshi.

Now a cottagecore staple, the $490 strawberry dress comes in a light pink or black with a deep v-neck, ruffles, tulle, and, of course, the sparkly strawberry pattern. There are some DIY tutorials on how to make it on YouTube, but it might be easier for those who aren’t as skilled in embroidery to try to find it secondhand if the price is way over budget. There’s also a strawberry shirt available for $160.

There’s much more to the brand than the strawberry design, though. Matoshi has patterned pants, embroidered face masks, and loud extravagant dresses for any occasion (even if the occasion is just dressing up to feel better about being in quarantine.)