Welcome back to Fashion on Fifth, a beloved Free Press series showcasing New School students’ unique and wide-ranging style. After seeing how this creative community translated their personal looks to Zoom, our reporters are taking to the streets of Greenwich Village once again. This semester we are bringing you more in-depth profiles and thoughts from your peers about their style evolution throughout the pandemic and since being back in New York City.
Evan Harzer, a third-year history major at Lang, characterizes his signature look as “true vintage.” Harzer revives a variety of 40s to 80s military and workwear clothing, mixing industrial fashion roots with the Japanese Americana phenomenon – a unique blend of Japanese denim and streetwear with classic American fashion culture.
Harzer lives in Northern New Jersey, where he spent his first and second year of college attending remote classes during the pandemic. Harzer dedicated his free time to developing his fashion sense. “I was able to explore my style more [and] create my wardrobe,” Harzer said.
“I ended up buying a lot of vintage clothes at thrift stores like UDelco, Grailed, and Value Village and developed my personal style more than [I did] high school, where I wore whatever was on trend like slip-on Vans and tight jeans,” Harzer said.
Commuting from his suburban hometown into the metropolitan landscape of New York City every day has motivated Harzer to experiment with statement pieces inspired by mid-century Americana and historical photography. He preferably wears Herringbone woven pants, flannels, sweaters, and combat boots.
Harzer is wary of outfit repetition, and feels pressure to interject at least an original aspect to his outfits each day. Harzer lives for the satisfaction of showcasing a new thrifted or vintage piece and combining different looks.
Harzer has a top three list, ranking his celebrity style icons who he aims to resemble with his current personal style. He admires American rapper and former member of the hip-hop duo Outkast, André 3000 for his iconic nonconformist style. “I think he has a super interesting personal style with a lot of vintage pieces,” Harzer said.
Second on Harzer’s list is ASAP Nast, a member of the ASAP Mob hip-hop collective. “I really like the way he fuses vintage and high fashion pieces in his outfits. I think he draws on a lot of different subcultures in his style, from 70s menswear to 90s streetwear style, and that’s something I really try to emulate in my own style.”
In third place on his list of fashion idols is the late American actor and filmmaker, Dennis Hopper who Harzer loves especially for his bohemian, Western-inspired style in the 1969 film Easy Rider and the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
For his interview with The Free Press, Harzer wore 1940s inspired leather army boots. Harzer paired his 50s-era, U.S Army-branded trousers with an un-branded crewneck sweater he found in his dad’s closet which he layered over a 70s Ringer graphic tee. He accessorized with a rainbow beaded necklace from Depop and prescription framed sunglasses from Warby Parker.
Harzer keeps up with the work of certain designers and brands like Kapital, Bode, Dries Van Noten and Bare Knuckles, which he turns to for inspiration. Harzer prefers to find pieces from these brands, or similar pieces, on the second-hand market. He stitched his crossbody bag by hand, which was inspired by an ethical clothing brand called Ground Cover. “I couldn’t find this [Ground Cover] bag, so I found an old grain sack from the 40’s, cut it and made my own bag,” said Harzer.
Meghan Rolle is a second-year drama student at the College of Performing Arts. Rolle hails from Nassua, Bahamas and for her interview with The New School Free Press, she wore her favorite pair of light washed jeans, a white corset top, a patchwork flannel button-up and hightop Converse sneakers. She accessorized with a Marc Jacobs mini tote bag.
Rolle believes style is a reflection of personality and always dresses with comfort and confidence in mind. Rolle had to wear a uniform every day of high school, so she was excited about the process of creating outfits once she got to college.
“I love wearing clothes that make me feel confident in my body,” said Rolle. She shared with The Free Press that “building confidence was such an experience for [myself] and I want my clothing to represent that.” Rolle shared that as her self confidence grows, her desire to explore the realms of fashion does too. She enjoys trying to incorporate new trends into her outfits.
Rolle reflected on how her personal style changed during the height of the pandemic. She said that like many people, comfort became her top priority during quarantine. Now that life has returned to some kind of normality, Rolle still finds herself dressing down more.
“I put comfort before looks. I love finding ways to make cute outfits out of comfortable clothes,” said Rolle. She was excited to return to school after a year of Zoom classes and experiment with adding comfortable elements into her current style. “I wore sweatpants most of the time and never really put a lot of [effort] into what I wore for online class,” Rolle said.
Rolle’s go-to outfit for class “depends entirely on how much sleep I got the night before.” She said, “If I’m sleepy I wear leggings and a sweatshirt, but I’ll try to wear jeans, a nice shirt and a jacket.”
Rolle chooses outfits that are practical and do not interfere with her daily activities. “I like wearing something that I can move around in or sit in for hours,” she said. Rolle does not experience stress when picking outfits for school, and said she has no problem just “throw[ing] something on” if she is in a rush.
Rolle enjoys people watching and is inspired by the vast array of styles that The New School community presents. She is excited to see how her style continues to develop with new confidence, inspiration and values in mind.
Erryle Miranda, a fourth-year photography student at Parsons, describes his style as a work-in-progress. Currently Miranda is experimenting and trying to move out of his comfort zone, which has been defined by neutral colors and silhouettes.
“I recently started working on myself, figuring out what I really like and investing in stuff that makes me happy,” Miranda said. “It’s still not definitive, but it’s still me.”
Miranda took inspiration from his friends, who told him to throw in new colors, patterns, and silhouettes. Miranda’s friends encourage him to depart from his typically muted style which has opened the door for him to play with more masculine or feminine flair depending how he feels that day.
A year in online classes helped Miranda too, giving him time to experiment with his fashion away from public scrutiny. “It was kind of like a cocoon, if you will, for finding my style,” Miranda said.
Miranda, a Jacksonville, Florida native, said that in his experience, people back home are a bit more judgmental about style than New Yorkers.
“Coming from Florida, nobody really goes out of their way to really experiment,” Miranda said. “It’s always just Vineyard Vines and Chubbies shorts and anything other than that is kind of…weird. [Even the] simplest outfit could be weird to them just because you’re not wearing what they’re wearing.”
Now that he’s attending classes in New York, Miranda has appreciated the confidence with which people dress in the city and the myriad of styles. “I feel like New York … brought out the best in me,” he said.
Miranda’s go-to outfit for classes usually includes a button-up, flared pants and boots – most of which he collects second hand, either by thrifting or from friends.
For his interview with The New School Free Press, Miranda wore a black knit sweater emblazoned with a daisy that he thrifted, a leather jacket with removable sleeves, Calvin Klein dress pants and Vagabond chunky loafers, along with a necklace featuring his name from Tres Colori.
Miranda said he doesn’t feel pressured to meet any standard of dress or measure up to other students, but he does feel driven by the fashion-minded community at The New School to find his own style.
“I feel like a lot of people [at The New School] know themselves,” Miranda said. “It’s more of a pressure to find my own style.”
Miranda said he believes students should follow their unique intuitions when developing their style, and disregard any pressure they feel around what other students might think.
“That spark that you get when you see a piece of clothing that you really like and you’re really excited about … follow that intuition,” Miranda said.
Grace Kelly, a second-year Politics and Global Studies major at Lang, describes her style as clean and professional, hinging on pieces that help her get into “work mode.”
To her interview with The New School Free Press, Kelly wore platform Dr. Martens which have become a staple for her, “anytime I don’t wear a platform, I just feel so short,” Kelly said. She paired her boots with black slacks from LOFT and a gem toned argyle sweater from The Attic, a vintage store in Brooklyn. Kelly finished off the look with a black Calvin Klein blazer, gifted to her by her mother. Her mom wore the jacket to one of her first interviews out of college and gave it to Kelly as “a good luck charm.” Kelly accessorized with gold hoop earrings, a dainty gold necklace and rings in mixed metals.
Kelly spent last year, her first year at The New School, in online classes. Her motivation to dress up for Zoom class was low. Kelley opted for pajamas or comfortable lounge clothing more often than not. While comfort is still important to Kelly, she has been putting more effort into her looks since returning to in-person classes. “[I am] certainly wearing pants now,” said Kelly.
Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Kelly was limited to what she could wear due to strict school dress codes, especially for femme-presenting individuals, there is a very narrow scope of what is “acceptable” to wear.
“Providence is a city, but it’s a very small city, and some people have very small minds,” Kelly said. Since moving to New York, Kelly has felt more at liberty to take risks with her style and dress the way she wants to.
Kelly’s outfits typically consist of neutral toned garments, a color palette she feels lends itself best to the professional aesthetic she’s going for.
Kelly has been able to avoid feeling intimidated by the fashion scene at The New School, for the most part. While she did feel pressure in the first week of being on campus, Kelly said that has gone away. “[I] definitely don’t care anymore,” said Kelly.
Kelly has been excited to get dressed every day since being back on campus, and her fashion is symbolic of her goals for each day. If she wants to be productive, she will dress more formally and generally put more effort into what she looks like as it makes her overall outlook better for that day.
One of Kelly’s primary fashion inspirations is her mother, who collected antique fashion items when she was in college herself. Kelly gets a lot of her clothes from thrift stores or as hand-me-downs, but going through her mother’s closet is “a thrifting experience in itself,” she said.
Kelly does her best to be eco-friendly in her fashion. “Everything I wear has probably been worn by someone else at one point,” she said.
Kelly felt limited by small-minded people growing up, and has discovered so much about herself and her personal style since moving to New York. “I truly enjoy being able to see everyone’s different fashion choices. I think that’s one of the highlights of living here,” said Kelly.