6 New Yorkers On The New Way Women Want To Dress

There is a thing happening right now with fashion that's exposing a wide divide between What Was Cool and What Is Now Cool. It's informed by the fact that those who have effortless, enviable style seem to be shopping more at Goodwill than they do at Bergdorf Goodman. They're paying less attention to how skinny something makes them look, and more attention to how interesting it is. Alpha fashion girls are more likely to be nice than mean, and while it might seem to outsiders that members of this new gen all look equally bizarre, among those living this life, individuality and uniqueness are valued above anything else.
To say that the internet is the catalyst for this shift is too easy — especially when you consider the fact that much of the actual shopping is happening entirely offline. But some of the values that the internet's nurtured and made the norm among the fashion community online are taking hold IRL, too. In conversations, diversity, open-mindedness, and sensitivity are assumed (not just something nice that happens every once in a while), and an entrepreneurial, make-it-happen-just-because mentality has empowered thousands of hobby designers to actually make some really great shit, to create a retail landscape that's more vibrant than it's ever been. In short, people are wearing what they want for more complex, interesting reasons.
In the spirit of collaboration, inclusivity, and spontaneity, we did things a little differently with this shoot. We found most of these models from the Explore page on Instagram. On set, our models worked with our stylists to pick out outfits that spoke to their personalities and tastes. And afterwards, we asked the models to write the story for themselves. Below, find the women, their looks, and their outlooks on what's happening right now.
How often do you use the internet to gather outfit inspiration, discover new designers, or shop?
Lily Ives: "The internet has 100% taken over fashion. Nowadays, if you flex hard enough on the 'gram, you can be seen as an 'influential fashion icon of Generation Z.' It's almost too easy. I find myself following some people who have the funds to throw on Gucci shoes with the matching bag, but I’m someone who pulls together vintage designer pieces, mixes them with a funky oversized T-shirt, throw on some sneakers, and hope I look dope. I’d say I don’t spend too much time using the internet for inspiration as I continue to develop my own image. My friends and I all have variations of the same style, and it never comes from us looking to popular movies or TV shows for inspiration. Now that our generation has Tumblr and Instagram, we don’t need to keep up with 'on trend' looks via TV shows. Just because we are all fiends of baggy logo shirts and thrifted camo pants doesn’t mean we approached it by what’s most popular on social media today."
Manya Capoluongo: "I’ve tried the internet path for shopping and inspiration, and it wasn’t successful for me. I’ve had the most luck just scanning people’s outfits on the street (and complimenting them if it’s an amazing piece, of course), and spending lots of hours in thrift stores trying on five million things that don’t fit, 20 that do, and buying five."
Dounia Tazi: "The internet inspires my fashion but in a way that it promotes subjectivity rather than specificity. The eccentricity of style on the internet allows me to be as bold as I please without worrying about it being too much or if it's going to be viewed favorably."
Nedra Washington: "I feel like the internet is the gateway to honing in on your personal style."
Anastasia Genicoff: "I wouldn't I say I scour the internet looking for outfit inspiration, but I will often stumble across inspiration, especially on Instagram. I follow many interesting, beautiful individuals and I'm often inspired. Even by just scrolling through my explore tab, I'll see an amazing look, and I'll think to myself, How lovely is that? I love Etsy for handmade jewelry, but as far as clothes go, I usually stick to thrifting. Can't beat the price, as well as all the unique pieces that have a story."
Lulu: "The internet is a huge clothing inspiration for me. What I wear on a daily basis is hugely impacted by social media. My outfit [from the shoot] had origins that were completely from the internet, actually! I found Unif years ago before their rebranding, and they’ve definitely been a part of my style throughout the years. My pants are from an online vintage shop run from Southern California called Shop Tunnel Vision that a couple of my friends work at. I found them a while ago as well on the internet and ordered those pants for a little personal Christmas present this year and I wear them constantly! They’re definitely a staple in my wardrobe."
When you think about how fashion used to be 10 years ago and what made an outfit or a look valuable (via movies and TV shows like Mean Girls or Sex and the City), do you think you and your friends have a different approach to fashion now?
DT: "I think we're drifting away from what's necessarily trendy and carving out our own space in fashion. There's definitely less of a focus on conforming/buying what's deemed cool and more a focus on being original and authentic."
L: "I remember fashion in the early 2000s being a little less expressive. Nowadays. I feel like people really relish in the idea of dressing up."
AG: "I think some people took fashion way too seriously... My friends and I like to have fun with it. We're always experimenting and trying new looks. I go with whatever feels right. I usually can't even keep my hair the same way for more than a week, so I alternate between my fro and braids. I haven't even worn matching earrings for quite a while now."
NW: "There's a fearless approach to fashion now in the way that people are willing to DIY things, or just create their own variations of pieces they see on TV or on the runway."
LI: "Nowadays, it isn’t about who the hottest fashion icon is, and how we can all 'be her,' but how we can be a better version of each other; it’s competitive, and we inspire each other."
Companies today believe that nostalgia is an important feeling to tap into for youth culture. How relevant is nostalgia to you?
MC: "A lot of my clothes are clothes that belonged to my parents in the '90s, or things I’ve purchased at thrift and consignment shops, or are clothes from my childhood that I’ve reworked to make fit me again. Almost every item I own has had memories made in it before coming (or returning) to me. I’m not sure if the message is meant to be publicized and advertised as much as it is an internal sense of comfort and a constant reminder of how much people help each other. Without systems of circulation, like thrifting, clothes would go to waste and so much of the past would be lost. A sense of nostalgia gives an item authenticity, which makes me a thousand times happier to be wearing it."
LI: "Nostalgia is key. When my girls and I step out at night, we're always channeling a street version of Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss from the '90s. In my opinion, it’s important not to look too modern and clean; every girl needs some Rayanne Graff in her wardrobe."
NW: "Nostalgia adds a comfort to your wardrobe. Wearing tees featuring your favorite artist/TV characters, or just replicating an outfit worn by someone [you remember] from your childhood is a way to show that your childhood rolls into your adulthood."
DT: "It's important to an extent. I think alluding to the past occasionally is cool and necessary, but it's also important to recognize and embrace the time we're so fortunate to be in. We have to leave our mark and make this era just as defiant and colorful as the ones we so often look back at for inspiration.'"

That's what makes NYC's fashion scene so fun. The audience is nonchalant, and the look-servers are ruthless.

Dounia Tazi
Do you think the NY fashion scene is different from the rest of the country? How so?
L: "There’s definitely a different contagious vibe in the fashion scene here. It’s sort of an indescribable melting pot of constant inspiration and ideas. Groups of people and friends are constantly inspiring each other and blending and spreading fashion between themselves."
NW: "In NYC, people are willing to push the envelope and just be themselves no matter the stares or rude remarks. People are unapologetically themselves."
LI: "New York City fashion can’t be compared to anywhere else. We are fast-paced and work hard to get what we want. This being said, it’s all a competition. Everyone has access to the same brands, it’s just a matter of how you wear them."
DT: "[New Yorkers] have seen it all, and we're rarely impressed or offended. That's what makes NYC's fashion scene so fun. The audience is nonchalant and the look-servers are ruthless."
What's the worst thing someone can say about your outfit? What's the best?
LI: "The worst thing is my when my mom tells me that something is 'cute,' and the best thing someone can say is said without words — it’s just a look you get."
DT: "It's also frankly irritating when people call something unflattering, as if I dress for my body and not the creativity behind it. The best thing I've ever heard is from my friend Aliya. We have very different styles, but she saw me wear this peculiar outfit once and said, 'Wow I wouldn't have thought of wearing it like that.' Implying that I pitched a new concept or idea is definitely the biggest and most gratifying compliment."
NW: "The worst thing someone can say about my outfit is that I shouldn't be wearing it because I'm too big. The best thing someone can say is that I'm rocking the hell out of that tight dress, and my curves look amazing."
L: "When I was a kid, the worst thing would be someone saying my outfit made me look fat or weird or something, but now I think the worst thing someone could say is that my outfit is boring. I try not to focus on people’s bad opinions or negative energies; we all have them, but if they’re not constructive, there’s really no reason to focus on them. I think the best thing someone could say about my outfit is that it’s unique! I love hearing that. Sometimes girls tell me that when I share my outfits online it gives them confidence to wear what they want in public, which means so much to me. It’s so cool to think I can help women feel comfortable in the fashion they love."
MC: "The worst thing someone could say about my outfit is that it looks uncomfortable, because then I’m fully aware I’m not doing a good job hiding how uncomfortable I am. If Vivienne Westwood ever told me I looked like a cute punk angel, I melt on the spot because no one would know better, and that’s always the look I’m going for."
AG: "Someone can say whatever they like, but what matters most is what I think of myself...self-love forever! The best thing they could say is that they think my outfit is dreamy. A compliment from anyone is always lovely, but if it's from my mom it's especially special!"
Do you and your friends operate by any fashion rules?
DT: "I've never been one to surround myself with people obsessed with following rules. Someone who's naturally rebellious and carefree seldom cares about fashion rules. None of my friends operate by any fashion rules, and I think that's why we gravitate toward each other."
AG: "The first rule is there are no rules! We wear what we like, wear our hair how we like, do our makeup how we like. It's all self expression — 100% authenticity. Art. We are blank canvases and we adorn ourselves in the most genuine way. Some people want/need guidelines, and I respect and understand that. I just don't want to limit myself based off of someone else's opinion."
LI: "There are no rules to fashion (unless you think it’s okay to appropriate another culture, in which case, please educate yourself)."
MC: "It’s sort of looked down upon if you don’t go somewhat out of your way to wear something unique. It’s unspoken but it is easy to tell when your friends think you look very basic."
Do you try to say something with your clothes?
NW: "With me being plus size, people feel like I should only wear certain things. Like, I 'can't' wear tight things, I 'can't' wear certain prints or short skirts and shorts. I honestly wear anything I want, and everyone should. People should stop letting people put them in a bubble, and wear what you want. So my message is wear what you want and be happy, if you want to wear that tight dress or that short skirt or no bra — do it! And wear it with confidence."
AG: "I think the way I dress definitely sends a message... I'm typically a very shy, soft-spoken person, but through my clothes I am able to express myself without words. Not everything needs a meaning or explanation, but I think my personal style comes from my heart and speaks for itself."
DT: "My style is definitely indicative of how little I care to blend in. It screams, 'I am here, I don't care if you think I'm weird or unattractive and I'm happy in what I'm in.'"
LI: "I think flexing dollar signs is boring. The message I send with what I walk out the door in says that I can pull off a sporty vibe while still rocking the vintage Fendi boots. If you can’t take risks with fashion and you’re stuck in a Brandy Melville top, then you’re going to blend in. My advice is to go against the crowd and thrift some badass pants."
September is typically a time when fashion publications definitively tell you what’s in, and what’s out. Fuck that. We’re dedicating the next couple of weeks to celebrate all the iconoclasts, independent thinkers, and individuals with unique personal styles who’d rather say Fuck The Fashion Rules than follow them.

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