Sofia Sanchez

Faces of Rebellion

Sofia Sanchez
Faces of Rebellion

Adia Fielder

Hometown: Somerset, NJ // Year: Freshman // Major: Psychology and Gender Studies Pronouns: They/Them // Instagram: @fakedeepcentral

How would you describe your style?
Queer, in every sense of the word.

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Who or what are your influences?
I spent my preteen and early teen years being super emo – like, My-Chemical-Romance-and-gauged-ears-and-crowd-surfing-at-gross-venues-in-New-Jersey emo. So that’s definitely something that has stuck in some shape or form fashion-wise. But at the same time, I would like to think I’ve somewhat evolved from that, so I can also appreciate when Yara Shahidi steps out in something absolutely fabulous.

Often people reject rebels without a cause – what inspires you to go against the grain in terms of fashion?
Gender representation plays a huge factor into how I dress. As somebody who falls outside the binary, that plays a big role in how I pick what I’m wearing, in terms of fit, pattern, etc. Sometimes I feel more like one thing than the other, so I use my clothes and makeup as a big part of expressing that.

Is rebelliousness a phase?
Depends on who you are, and what you’re rebelling against. As a black queer non-binary “female,” my very existence in a heteronormative, white patriarchal society forces me to be a rebel. If the future society is all about afro-futurism, though, then you’ll find me going along with it completely.

Where does the confidence come from to express yourself? What is the inspiration behind the visual choices, such as the the colors you choose to dye your hair?
I think it heralds back to my adolescence and loving punk rock music where you were weird if you didn’t have a bunch of tattoos or colored hair. Now I have the means to express myself that way, so I do, but kind of with my own spin. Being able to go to Afropunk Festival for the last couple of years also plays a big part in how I express myself clothing and hair-wise. All the joy and self-confidence I see in the people there every year is super motivational.


Sharmain Siddiqui

Hometown: Morton Grove, IL // Year: Sophomore // Major: South Asian Studies, Environmental Policy & Culture // Pronouns: she/her/hers // Instagram: @antisharmain

Define a rebel.

Rebellion is simultaneously resistance and vulnerability and truth. Rebellion is engaging in politics of compassion and self-love and community building.

How would you describe your style?

My style is reflective of me in that it changes constantly. There are days when I feel invincible and militant and am decked out in all black; days when I want to cultivate and create and dress eccentrically; lots of turtleneck days too. I always wear the gold earrings my grandmother got me from Mecca – I'm a big fan of over-the-top Pakistani earrings, and in the summer I put three triangular dots on my chin to ward off evil eye. Being adorned in traditional desi gold at all times, especially when coupled with western outfits, is an intimate reminder to me of the almost exiled nature of my identity. Honestly, the most consistency I had in wardrobe choice was my Avril Lavigne phase in middle school, but I've been told I have a tendency to dress like Angelina Jolie in “Gia” post-addiction!

Who or what are your influences?

I grew up being embarrassed to go to the grocery store with my mom if she was in Salwar Kameez, and for a long time I would refuse to put mehndi on my hands during Eid because white kids at school would make fun of me. As I got older and more invested in social justice, though, I had an awakening – this understanding that while I was bathing in my internalized self-hatred, the same folks that created it within me were wearing kurtis for fun, bindis on their forehead to festivals, henna tats on their hands, even darkening their eyebrows although continuing to make fun of brown girls for being hairy. Not only were they complicit in this form of cultural imperialism and bastardization, it was also without any repercussion. I think this infuriation allowed me to create my own, quiet revolution – one rooted in fashion.

Often people reject rebels without a cause, do you have a "cause" or something that inspires you to go against the grain in terms of fashion?

Although I am not formulaic at this point, I always go back to what feels simultaneously good and uncomfortable. I wear Jhumpkas, I wear kurtis as dresses, and you can hear the payaals on my ankles jingling from miles away. I am not intentional in what I wear necessarily, but I am always intentional in wielding the ways the world has oppressed me into tools and products of self-love. It is a confrontation of my identity that refuses to hide or bow down doubly to the whims of my oppressors and my internalized racism. So in that sense, my cause is my own decolonization, while engaging in the project of self love.

Is rebelliousness a phase?

No. Rebellion is the student of the revolution, a soldier in the army of the people everywhere.


Samuel Berston

Hometown: San Francisco, CA // Year: Sophomore // Major: Gender & Sexuality Studies and Social Policy // Pronouns: They/them // Instagram: @bidet.buffet

How would you define a rebel?

A rebel is someone who acts in opposition to an existing social order. In terms of self expression through fashion, this means resisting the codes which bind us to certain identities and subjectivities which are most legible and incorporated into social spaces – at NU, the respectable, pre-professional – someone who is taken seriously by professors and potential employers, which often fall into the dominant class and racial identities.

How would you describe your style?

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I try to look sophisticated and thoughtfully-constructed because I do want to be taken seriously – even if I am going against the norm. I'm very into an aesthetic of reappropriation, and I think that's necessary as an androgynous person, because clothes aren't really made for us. By reappropriation, I mean repurposing garments that maybe were originally intended for a certain gender and demographic, and incorporating it into your own style. This doesn't necessarily mean being ironic, I actually find that annoying and apathetic. But instead cultivating a uniquely queer aesthetic.

Often people reject rebels without a cause, do you have a "cause" or something that inspires you to go against the grain in terms of fashion?

I want to problematize the sense of intention and militance that is associated with the "rebel." I think for lots of people, their culture may not align with the dominant one, and so to say they are actively rebellious doesn't really feel right. Deviant self expressions can be rebellious when compared to the normative culture, but to the individual who expresses them, they simply reflect their true nature, or the environment and people that've most shaped them. I'm fortunate that my class and race identities ordain me with a legibility that allow me to f*** around in the gender realm. But still, it's not something that fulfills a political agenda or something like that, but rather an expression of a more essential self.

What does fashion mean to you? Are trends something you are conscious of when putting an outfit together?

Fashion is culture and the material codes through which we perform our subjectivity. How we dress is entirely shaped by our environment and our proximity to power.

Your style gives off an androgynous vibe – what's the process behind putting this vibe together through clothes both mentally and creatively?

I started to buy clothes for drag and through that process became more in tune to women's fashion. Now I only shop for women's clothes. My makeup style definitely reflects drag artistry in terms of highlighting and reshaping features. Beauty is all a performance. There's nothing natural about it.


Sayeed Sánchez

Hometown: Gurnee, IL // Year: Sophomore // Major: English & African American Studies // Pronouns: He/him // Instagram: @beauxho97

How would you describe your style?

I like to joke with my friends that I’m “poor couture.” I really like mixing elegant and decadent pieces that I can find from the thrift store, through borrowing from friends, and making it look upscale. Generally, I don’t like wearing something that’s too tight or that inhibits mobility so a mixture of comfort and out-there style.

You mentioned that you don’t like a rebel without a cause, what’s your cause?

Fashion doesn’t have to cater to one gender. I’m very much aligning myself with a feminist-oriented theme and a queer-friendly theme. I want to make clothing more accessible to all types of bodies and people. I got to a point where I was like, ‘Screw it. Clothes don’t have gender. It’s marketed, yeah, but if I put on a dress, that dress isn’t going to be like don’t wear me. It’s a piece of cloth.’ Someone else in the room might feel more comfortable taking a chance with style on something they feel insecure about when they see that I’m being true to myself and dressing how I please. I push myself especially when I go out in more public spaces [because] it’s definitely easier, I think, on campus to experiment [since] college kids are more open minded, but sometimes going out into Evanston, the city or even when I’m back at home can be a little bit of a risk. But I know that I might be giving some more visibility to someone else that may need it.

How has Northwestern affected your rebelliousness?

I think it gave me gave me a space where I could push the envelope a little bit more. I started being more of myself back at home too. I’ve noticed that when I dress the way I please, I feel more comfortable saying what’s on my mind.

Can a rebel be a follower?

I would hesitate to call rebels followers, but I think they can appreciate others. A rebel can have community.

How do you feel when people call you “extra”?

Often times the people say that are projecting. It’s vicarious because they want to do that but they’re too scared to take the risk. So when my friends are teasing me for that, I’m like, “Shut up. You’re just salty because you didn’t have the courage to do it.” I’m going to have fun and yeah, I like some of the attention, but who am I hurting?


Ken Doll Gender

Year: Sophomore // Hometown: McLean, VA // Major: Theatre, Performance Studies minor // Pronouns: he/him/his, she/her/hers in drag // Drag insta: @kendollgenderofficial

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How would you describe your style as a drag queen?
My style as a drag queen is an embodiment of the mission of my character, Ken Doll. She's a supermodel who's a double agent of whatever nation you think she serves. She's a rogue who's going to use her wit and her stunning looks to vanquish fascist d*****bags of all shapes and sizes the world round. She's a black widow, so she has to give a little warning with her clothing that says ‘I'm gonna end you either way, but if you try and come for me, it'll end even worse for you.’ I'm talking lots of leather, latex, vinyl, ripped denim, and truly sadistic heels. But make it fashion.

Do you have a "cause" that inspires you to go against the grain in terms of fashion?

One of the other core concepts of my character is that she appropriates the aesthetics of, say, a Kendall Jenner (Get it? ‘Ken Doll Gender’ sounds like Kendall Jenner, except I'm a gorgeous man who's disrupting notions of gender) while subverting everything that she is – a completely apolitical, ignorant, bourgeois idiot. I can spend $10 at Lost Eras and Dollar Tree and make a look that makes me look and feel like Kendall Jenner about to hit the runway, and with that, I'm exposing how powerless she truly is. You don't have to be Calabasas born-and-raised to be a supermodel – you can be a 6'2" dude wearing thrift store couture who's living the fantasy. Anyone can do it!

How has Northwestern affected your style?

People at this school really love to bestow certain titles upon themselves ("feminist," "radical feminist," "intersectional feminist," "woke") without actually doing their research into what those words mean or making the choices and taking the actions that are necessary to be in service of those ideals. We as white people need to do better and hold ourselves and each other accountable for that s***, among many, many other things. The trend of clothes that tout really reductive "woke-isms" and are, like, without a doubt sold at Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters are as "rebellious" as McDonalds' food is "100% all-natural." Care about actions and results rather than earning (or wearing) labels. Resisting fascism in all its forms should not be an aesthetic – it's a set of choices and actions that can indirectly influence your aesthetic.

Is rebelliousness a phase?

Rebelliousness is a way of looking at the world, and a title that's earned everyday. If someone describes themselves or their style as "rebellious," it's probably a phase. We need gatekeepers like STITCH to bestow the title upon people from an informed standpoint. Thank god for academia.

What inspired you to start doing drag?

A pathological need for attention, sublimated into a desire for being a living, breathing work of art that can delight and inspire others. But again, I have to earn that s***. Being a drag queen doesn't mean you're changing the world just by existing – you have to think and work harder if that's your goal.


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