Photo Story by Katie Culbertson
Audrey O’Farell arrives at our photo shoot with her arms full. Soft knit sweaters and shimmery blouses in shades of pink, mauve and black spill out of her hands in a snuggly, wintery waterfall; she lays the sweaters over the sofa and hands me a bag. “I have more stuff,” she says, “and that bag is just shoes.”
Pink velvet booties, black pointy-toed shoes, gold loafers–for a second I’m a little jealous, but my attention shifts like a magpie to the vintage suitcase of fantastic statement pieces twin sisters Erica and Amanda Guest have just opened. These two appear to be inspired by menswear: I see cropped dress pants, striped turtlenecks and beautiful oversized coats in subdued tones of camel and gray.
I’ve given the models freedom to choose whatever they want to wear for this project, and what they select is a beautiful and intimate glimpse into their identities. What inspires them to dress outside the lines at college? “Part of me likes to stand out a little bit, but I also don’t want to be too…is ostentatious a good word?” said senior Maddie Hayes, ”I kind of like the double take. Like, ‘oh, that’s kind of cool.’” Hayes describes her approach to style as classic with a splash of edge; on a typical day, she’ll layer combinations of chunky knits, high-waisted trousers, and softer pieces in chiffon or satin. “I like to take certain silhouettes and kind of expand on them,” she says.
Junior fashion design student Johnny Kang’s favorite color is pale pink, a color he’s drawn to in his designs and in his wardrobe. O’Farrell, Erica, and Amanda style an outfit for him that include his favorite go-to’s: black straight-leg jeans, a black tee, an oversized denim jacket and, of course, a cozy hoodie in ballerina pink. “I don’t want to dress like every other guy,” he says.
For Kang, Hayes, O’Farrell, Erica, and Amanda, clothing represents self-discovery, art, and freedom to express themselves boldly. Each one of them finds uniquely artistic way to communicate their complex selves using fashion.
As we wander into an empty field to take pictures, the models blend into the Northwest landscape almost magically. The wind whips their coats about, and they laugh; their smiles and confidence are just as beautiful as the mist tumbling over the mountain behind them.