WIUX but Make It Fashun: Connor Garcia
Welcome back to the second installment of WIUX But Make It Fashun with Nick Comer! Check out the first installment here where I profiled senior McKenzie Conrad. I’m back with another campus fashion icon, who has the tea on how identity plays into style, his own hybrid style, and style tips. Like last time, I’ve also tailored a playlist inspired by this student and his style. Every other week I’ll write up a new student and their style, so stay on the look-out. I’m taking to the streets now; so, dress up before you head out and I might catch you for an interview!
I think everyone can agree that personal identity plays a role in one’s fashion choices. Whether one chooses to follow their traditional clothing of their cultural heritage or keep up-to-date on current gender-bending trends, it’s a matter of expressing one’s identity even more outwardly. Connor Garcia, a freshman in Kelley here at IU, has no qualms about expressing his sexual orientation in every way possible and remains unabashedly himself. He often draws his own inspiration from queer icons in the music industry, never shying away from these influences. Connor and I became friends fairly late into this semester, but his unique, meme-based personality makes for a hit that sticks like grits. I distinctly remember rushing to a midterm and passing him, but having to slow down so that I could text him to tell him how great his outfit was. If you’ve seen him walking around campus (on literally any day – he never takes a day off), then you know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t help but sit down with him, ask some questions about all things fashion and the role identity plays into that, and get some shots of his best outfits!
When did you first get into fashion? Why? And how do you feel your style has progressed or changed since then?
I first really got into fashion when I was about 17 in high school. I used to watch fashion shows on my iPad during lunch. I think the way people express themselves [through fashion] is very interesting. Also, I am fascinated with fashion as an art form. Since then, I think my style has become more fluid and elevated.
Fluid? Is that how you’d describe your personal style?
Yeah, my personal style is very fluid. I pull a lot from things I see in the music scene and things I see on Twitter. One day you could see me in a mock neck and the next a crop top. It’s really all just a mood.
Do you have any fashion inspiration(s)? Why?
I draw a lot of my inspiration from music. I think when music and fashion are joined, it is truly the most beautiful experience. Some of my favorite fashion forward artists are FKA Twigs and Charli XCX. Otherwise, I’m not really loyal to any fashion brands or houses.
Why do you feel fashion is important? And do you feel fashion is an extension of self-expression?
Fashion is very important because it is how you express yourself to others and to yourself. To me, fashion is how I distinguish myself from other people and get attention. I think fashion is also a method of empowerment. I certainly feel more powerful when I stunt.
How do you go about accomplishing your trendy, high-fashion mixed with streetwear inspired style while remaining on a budget? How could others on a budget go about accomplishing this themselves?
I usually buy clothes and accessories with other peoples’ money (laughs). But a great way to save coin is to go thrifting or look to stores that offer discounts to students like ASOS. Or just get people to buy you nice things (laughs).
What is your take on once low-priced products becoming trendy, and by consequence, the prices and desire for such products increasing (i.e. Fila, Champion, etc)?
I think products originally aimed at lower-income people now becoming trendy is a result of the glamorization of lower-income living situations. I never really jumped onto this trend but I guess I can respect it – I love a good chunky shoe.
Do you feel the way you dress affects the way people perceive you?
The way I dress absolutely affects the way people see me. I think people are either intimidated or captivated by me when I am at my peak fashion moments (laughs). It’s normal for people to draw conclusions off what they see. I promise I’m so nice though!
As someone outspoken about their ethnic and sexual identities, how do you feel various identities might affect people’s choices in clothing? And why is it important to you that these identities of yours come through in your own style?
I think who we identify as has a strong impact on the clothes we choose to wear. I tend to follow more queer fashions trends over heteronormative [trends] because queer fashion is more advanced, in my opinion. I appreciate it more. Wearing clothing that comes from a community with which I identify makes me feel more secure with myself and proud of who I am. Fashion is a form of expression and everyone should be proud to show who they are through their style.
As a freshman here at IU, what advice can you offer to other, and incoming, freshman regarding individuality and expression?
In the beginning of the year, I worried a lot about what people might think of me based off of how I looked and acted. I allowed the people I was hanging out with to change how I saw myself and this was reflected in the way I expressed myself, especially in my fashion choices. After a few months, I realized this was unhealthy so I distanced myself and worked to remember exactly who I am. Basically, my advice is to never let anyone change who you are. Always be proud to express your true self. If the people around you cannot handle that: find new friends.
My essential accessory is my chain necklace with a crucifix on it.
If you could only wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I cannot live without my white Adidas sneakers.
I usually don’t really get too much into designers but my top three are Thom Browne, Tibi, and Hermes.
Streetwear or high-fashion?
I’ll wear both in the same fit, baby (laughs).
Favorite red carpet look of all time?
I hardly pay attention to these events, but I like the crazy Met Gala looks the most. Maybe SZA or Lana Del Rey at the 2018 Met Gala.
Connor Garcia, Kelley, Economic Consulting, 2022 – Find more of his captivating outfits and unparalleled confidence here: Instagram @theconnorgarcia