In the Closet of: Ethan Kokesh

Meet Ethan:

Ethan Kokesh is originally from Los Angeles, but moved to Dallas, Texas, last year. He came back to sunny California this past semester to study business marketing here at SDSU. Ethan’s most listened to artists are Drake, Big Sean and Travis Scott. He hates country. His favorite food is mac-n-cheese, he loves acai bowls and he can’t stand Texan style. You can always catch Ethan at the beach, and he and his mom were in one episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County”. In 10 years, you’ll find him living in either L.A. or San Fransisco, being a stay-at-home dad.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Topshop, H&M, PacSun. I worked at Hollister for a year during my senior year of high school, so I like to think I know the ins-and-outs of how retail stores work. Those stores just meet my standards: their clothes are made of good quality [material], for the most part, and they’re affordable, which is important because I’m a broke college student.

What does your everyday outfit consist of?

A t-shirt, flannel, chino shorts and Converse. I like my colors to be monochromatic. I like the way it looks – it’s chic, sophisticated and mature.

You’ve lived in three different places this past year (Los Angeles, Dallas and San Diego). How has your style changed, or stayed the same?

My style has gotten more “beachy” since I came to San Diego. I still like my monochromatic look, but my style has evolved. I don’t necessarily mean that I wear less clothing when I say “beachy,” but there’s definitely more color in my closet. I wear more vintage, washed-out t-shirts, and I’ve branched out from Converse to Vans.

What are the biggest differences in style that you’ve noticed between California and Texas?

People in California are more dressy. They look more mature and put together. People in Texas dress more casual, with oversized t-shirts, running shorts and Chacos. I like California style better. I personally think it looks more attractive.

What are you favorite things to do in San Diego?

Going to the beach, exploring different neighborhoods, eating at In-N-Out and walking around downtown. You can find a lot a of cool, random places walking around Little Italy. My favorite restaurant is Cheesecake Factory – I always get their margherita pizza. I definitely recommend looking around North Park, Kensington and Hillcrest.

What is one thing no one really knows about you?

I hate when my shirt is the same shade as my shoes. If I have a white shirt on, I have to wear dark converse, and vice versa. I just think it looks weird when I’m too “matchy-matchy.”

Featured Image by Sabrina Kim.

Make a Statement

Let’s be real people, jewelry is SO important. It a way for people to express their unique style and personalize outfits. Something that I find super cool about jewelry is that each and every piece can hold significant meaning to someone. The meaning behind a necklace, ring, or bracelet is what makes it so special, and it is a tangible object that can last forever. Or, jewelry can simply be something that you saw at a store and decided to buy because you liked the design. Regardless, jewelry allows you to make a statement and let out your inner creativity.

One of my roommates, Sarah Formato, has mad style when it comes to jewelry. Let’s take a closer look at some of her staples – a few she even hand-crafted herself!

Rings! The essential accessory. Rings can add a pop of color or a touch of class to an outfit. Sarah has a large assortment of rings- she loves turquoise or jeweled rings, simple gold bands, and those with little designs (like the sun on her left middle finger). Don’t her hands look so pretty?

Photo by Rachel Joseph.

This next necklace she made herself. Inspired by the brand Free People, it is a delicate velvet choker wrap. I think this necklace looks great paired with denim to create a bohemian vibe.

Photo by Rachel Joseph

This silver statement piece definitely spices up any outfit!

Photo by Rachel Joseph.

This simple choker gives a bit of an edge to the clothes.

This one is my favorite, and it is also hand-made by Sarah and inspired by Free People. This dark choker can be worn many ways: with a basic outfit, for a night out, or paired with a cute dress for a day outing.

Hopefully this has inspired you to get creative with your jewelry!

Featured Image by Rachel Joseph.

Sdyle: Madison Santos

Today I was at the library and ran into the lovely Madison Santos. Madison is a Sociology major here at San Diego State, and she for sure dresses with spunk. We had a chat about some of her style inspirations, views on trends and how to dress with a difference by adding your own flavor. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Are there any people or profiles that give you inspiration?
I do, I follow a lot of photographers mostly, and then some models who I think have really good fashion sense. This is one one of my favorite profiles: shoptrendyandtipsy. I am actually making a top similar to this at the moment:
via shoptrendyandtipsy's Instagram

Do you often recreate your own clothes? 

Yes, and no. I am really skinny and a lot of clothes don’t fit me the right way. So I sometimes have to redo clothes to make them suit my body type. If I have extra fabric left over, I like to make little tube/tank tops or whatever.

One time I didn’t have any pants so I stole my boyfriend’s jeans, cut them, took them in at the sides, and made them into high waited shorts and they looked really cool.

What are some of your favorite places to shop in San Diego?

I guess there is nothing specific to San Diego, but I mostly shop at Brandy Melville, and when I can afford it, at Urban Outfitters. I also like a lot of boutique stores because I love clothes that people can’t find. I hate it when I buy something from Forever 21 and then see five people wearing the same thing. It’s nice having some individualism. I buy a lot of stuff when I go out of the country, too.

Do you have a favorite brand?

It definitely changes, but I am into things that are cottony, soft and cozy. I am starting to get more into ‘pretty girl grunge’ or ‘hipster girl grunge’ type stuff.

What’s one piece of clothing you have made the biggest splurge on?

There was this one time with my step dad when we were going to a funeral and he was trying to make things seem happier. My sister and mom had also gone away on holiday and I couldn’t go. So we went shopping at Nordstrom and I tried on a dress that he let me get. I get scared to wear it in college though, because I feel like everything we do is very sloppy and I don’t want to damage it. I haven’t had a chance to wear it a lot since I got it [in high school], but I’m sure I can still I can still rock it.

“I don’t really like wearing dresses and skirts… because I like to sit like a guy”

What’s your favorite staple?

I am definitely into skin tight leggings or sweat pants and then just a cozy tiny little tank top— that’s like my go to. I don’t really like wearing dresses and skirts… because I like to sit like a guy.

If you could swap wardrobes with anyone in the world, who would it be?

I can’t think of anyone in specific but definitely some boutique stores— and I would wear every single thing in the whole store.

Do you have anything that you want to share with everyone reading this?

I would say learning to dress to your body type is really important because your clothing is a way of expressing yourself. I take a lot of pride in the individualism that I put into my clothing and outfits. I also notice people who express themselves through clothing, so it’s a good way to connect with people. Everyone can look good; you don’t only need to look like skin and bones– like me– to look good. There are some things that I can’t pull off because I’m not curvy enough. Whatever you have, just flaunt it and be confident! It’s definitely a confidence booster to wear your clothes and feel good in them. You feel comfortable because you are finally being yourself.

I’m all for new trends, but I also like to make them my own. You should make it your individual thing—otherwise that’s just basic.

Check out Madison’s Instagram @ m.a.a.dycity

All I want are some cheap black jeans: a (moral) broke girl’s essay on fast fashion

For the past three weeks, I’ve been questing a specific garment — a pair of black jeans, women’s size 4. The denim-stuffed aisles of not-for-profit thrift stores are usually troves for someone like me, a staunch supporter of Canadian tuxedos and well-crafted designer goods. My best friends are Bill Blass and Tommy Hilfiger. A beautiful pair of cuffed Calvin Klein shorts and I met each other just the other day, and wed (for a small fee of six dollars) soon after. While some kids proudly flash their college IDs at movie theaters or football games, I never skip out on using my student discount at Goodwill. As I walk out of a thrift store, I’m always at least twenty dollars poorer and two blouses, a leather purse, and three vinyl records richer. My shopping sprees are fruitful — one could argue that I thrift like it’s a sport. So, these last few visits in which I’ve left the building empty handed and with cash still in my wallet have been unsettling.

All I’m asking for is a pair of black jeans — high-waisted, straight-fitting, free of holes, and one-hundred percent cotton. For fashion-forward folks of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, this denim variety was the standard, easily found at any clothing retailer, and I tell myself it shouldn’t be this difficult for me to find a once-college girl’s aged, dark Levi’s. But between the revival of past trends and the normcore surge of the 2010s, what I need is, without coincidence, what everyone else also wants (and has found before me). For the first time in a while, I’ve seriously considered taking people’s advice, which typically sounds something like, “Syd, just go to the mall already.”

Earlier this year, they wouldn’t have had to tell me twice. Yes, my wardrobe is eighty percent hand-me-downs, but I’ll be the first to admit that the balancing portion is symbolic of my past vice, my affair with fast fashion and its array of devilish enticements like wearable crop tops, faux leather things, and an inestimable number of shiny accessories. I was that teenage shopaholic who interpreted Urban Outfitters’ black, reusable bag as a trophy, and if Forever 21 was having a ‘free shipping, no minimum’ event online, I heard about it first. Investing faith in the fast fashion industry’s capacity to deliver loveable styles at wallet-friendly prices didn’t seem regrettable. Sure, the clothing I bought from these retailers wouldn’t hold up after more than a dozen cycles in the wash, and most items were deemed passé before they even had a chance to come undone at the seams, but for a full-time student who worked crummy part-time jobs, I found solace in fast fashion’s offerings.

At that time, not once did I ponder the fact that the dynamism and affordability of fast fashion is possible only at the expense of both humanity and our environment. Some know this stuff already: that fast fashion chains choose to produce in countries were worker’s safety and rights are undermined and wages are nearly unlivable; immigrants who work in metropolitan sweatshops in our country even struggle to gain basic rights; unregulated, overseas textile production uses millions of tons of coals, and over a half trillion gallons of fresh water are used for dyeing every year; major fast fashion retailers have been caught not donating or reselling, but destroying and dumping unused clothing — items in good condition, but didn’t sell in stores — in order to maintain ‘brand image.’ Nevertheless, people still support these companies, and the dollars handed over for every purchase, big or small, fuel the fire of the fast fashion industry’s immorality.

When I opted out of fast fashion, I chose humanism and sustainability. But a proud conscience doesn’t soothe the monetary anxieties of an expressive, fashion-besotted college student who works part-time making lattes. It’s true, that only purchasing clothes from resellers has made shopping more stimulating and comparable to a treasure hunt. With every secondhand gem added to my closet, my style evolves, and my faith in fashion as a method of achieving distinction further swells.

Still, no amount of love for thrifting negates the unfortunate reality in which particular things — say, a pair of high-waisted, straight-fitting, hole-less, black jeans in a women’s size 4 — are only guaranteed to be available at particular places. It’s the frequent absence of simple, necessary garments at thrift stores that continuously poses itself as a problem that I can’t ignore, but don’t know how to address. In these instances, I wish I could afford to shop for new pieces ethically. American Apparel is my favorite brand — just ask my friends and family, whom I drag with me into the store every time I see its iconic Helvetica font sign lit up and calling my name. The company’s practices are humane and sustainable, and of course, their garments are well-constructed and timeless. But all that goodness comes with a price: the exact pair of jeans I need, the ones I’ve been casually eyeing since I was eighteen, are 94 bucks. And after I meander around the store for a few minutes, glancing at price tags as if they’ll display lower figures than they did two months ago, I’m disheartened and off to the sale rack, where the brand’s quirkiest, least-basic prints and designs always seem to end up. My forbidden love for American Apparel largely reflects my interest in all retailers that manufacture with ethics in mind.

Aside from socks or underwear, I can’t tell you the last time I purchased brand new clothing because, thanks to my anti-fast fashion mentality, I just can’t afford to. I’m uncomfortably wedged in a space where morality and practicality fail to get along with one another. And as I drive around the city from thrift store to thrift store in my tiny, fuel-burning, climate change-contributing car, I wonder if it’s silly to look for a pair of jeans that may never actually surface. If my disregard for the mall stores across the way is helping planet Earth or the underpaid laborers overseas. If the way one girl chooses to do one thing makes any difference.