The Kenyon Sartorialist

Photos by Howard Korn, Text by Eric Gaskins '80

When you remember college, clothing probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Then you look at the old photos, and snicker. Love beads. Platform shoes. Acid-washed jeans. Leg warmers. Cargo pants. Kenyon's personality in every era owes something to fashion, whether it's the formal wear of Dance Weekends in the 1950s or the baseball caps-once forbidden in the classroom by many professors-that eventually became almost as common as jeans. What about today's campus scene? Looking at the photos that one of our favorite photographers, Howard Korn, took at Kenyon last year, we were struck, not just by the inner spark animating students as they went about their work and play, but also by the creative external statements that they made in what they chose to wear. We asked fashion designer Eric Gaskins '80 to take a look and offer an expert's opinion on the fashions-or, as he prefers, the styles-that give the campus its sartorial character. -The Editors

This is timeless. Looking at this man is like looking in my mirror when I was a student at Kenyon thirty-three years ago. The Breton fisherman's shirt (I lived in mine), the fire engine red trousers, and smart shoes speak volumes. His is a look that's practical and dynamic. It was the same before I landed at Kenyon and will live on for generations to come. Fashion is ephemeral, but style is forever.

Artists create their style-as they create art-outside the box. It strikes me that this young woman, standing in one of the College's new art studios wearing an almost tribal dress with bold colors and graphic details, is making a clear statement about her unique choices. Fearless and fascinating, she's willing to step outside the pack.

Here I see so many disparate parts that add up to real confidence. I love the baby-doll dress over the black leggings. Then, to add a bit of toughness, she's tossed a green fatigue jacket on top. This young lady not only possesses style, she exudes confidence and sophistication. It doesn't hurt that her red hair is the perfect foil that makes the whole look sing.

In my day on Middle Path, shorts were rarely anything other than the gym variety or cut-offs. Baseball caps were for outside, not indoors. And none of the above was considered fashionable or stylish. This guy has transformed what was once simply functional into a statement of style. The rolled hem shorts, the easy shirt, and the ubiquitous baseball cap are all pure style. You see this look all over the planet now,
and it never looks anything but cool.

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