Student Fashion Spotlight: Ruben Murray PO'19

Former model Ruben Murray PO ‘19 models his everyday style in his vibrant vintage Nike bomber. (Lusajo Mwakibete • The Student Life)

For many people, fashion is a constant evolution. The things we find cool are constantly in flux as trends change. I’ve fully discarded pieces in the past, deeming them uncool, only to find them buried in my closet years later and absolutely love them.

In retrospect, some trends are perceived as juvenile, but it’s always important to remember that fashion is cyclical. I doubt that in the 2011 peak of skinny jeans people foresaw the current burgeoning trend of straight fit jeans and slacks. People evolve, and the clothes they wear evolve simultaneously.

This week I spoke with Ruben Murray PO '19. Ruben recalled his self-proclaimed 'hypebeast' days at his Parisian high school, and discussed his new style philosophy. Although he has evolved towards a more minimal, laid back approach to fashion, Ruben’s style certainly remains noteworthy. Draped in his yellow Nike bomber, Ruben rocks a look that is unquestionably cool. Check out his instagram, @rubenmurray, to observe his style.

TSL: How did you become interested in fashion?

Ruben Murray: Well, I always wanted to be different from the other kids. And my difference — I grew up in France — so my difference was to be more oriented to what was American at the time. That’s what was cool for me. So, instead of soccer, I got interested in basketball, in wearing basketball shorts and Timberlands. And my dad would bring me cool stuff from New York that I’d wear in school.

So that was elementary school, that idea of what was American and what was cool. And then when I grew up, I started dancing a lot. Dance and style, there’s a big relation between the two. So, I started dancing when I was maybe 12 or 13. Every Saturday I’d go to a dance meetup and you would show your moves and show your gear. You’d need to be fresh in what was cool at the time. And it just continued.

What I realized in the last five years: a lot of my friends that I went to school with, or friends that I met from dancing, would transition themselves, recycle this into fashion. A lot of them are now working in fashion, studying fashion. I used to be like really into fashion. I used to camp out for the latest pair of shoes. And I just detached myself two, three years ago, and decided I wanted to do something else. I think the peak was high school. It was all about wearing Supreme, wearing the latest Air Maxes. I was one of those kids in high school.

TSL: What are your favorite brands? Who inspires you?

RM: I’m going to do a plug, but my sister is actually really into fashion. She’s the one you should interview! She’s part of this crew called the Gucci Gang. They've been featured on Vogue. They DJ at the fashion weeks. And she’s only fifteen. So her and her friends do that. It’s funny, she got her inspiration from me when I was a teenager. And she’ll still wear my jackets for photo shoots.

From that inspiration, she grew into something way out of proportion. She’s going to art school right now. She was just in the latest Converse ad. So that’s my little sister, @crystalmrr. Basically, when I left for school here, I realized I hang out with the same type of people. Have the same friends. I used to model. Two of my friends started a clothing line and I used to model for them. They would give me gear and I’d wear it for them.

So my inspiration would be anything that is simple and casual. I really like very minimalist stuff. Like Uniqlo, which is great because I can afford it. COS too, whenever there’s a sale, I jump on that. All of those brands, kind of laid back, good quality. I basically stopped buying clothes when I got to college. Because I had so many clothes that I could live off of. But yeah, my inspiration would be dancers when I was a teen, dancing. They use to put their pants on backwards and two different shoes. And I thought it was really cool when I was thirteen so I did it a couple times.

And as for fashion I don’t think I have a fashion inspiration because I don’t follow trends that much. I don’t like the Yeezy trend. I don’t think I have a personal … I wouldn’t say Kanye West is my fashion icon, basically. Maybe like in 2008, I really liked what he wore. Working jackets and pastel colors were cool.

TSL: What is your creative process like for design/putting together outfits?

RM: Well, in high school, I used to be one of those kids that would carefully choose what to wear. What shoes would go with what shirt. The peak of my hypebeast days, I used to wear bape camo and the bape shoes that go with it. So that was me in high school. Right now, if I have to dress nice to go somewhere, I’d put some dark jeans on, either leather boots or white shoes, white shirt, and a pullover. I think what defines me, I guess, as a person, is the jacket I wear. I have a lot of jackets. Kinda like my mother, she has a lot of jackets too. I think I got it from her. The jacket would make the difference. Which is kind of a pity, because here it’s so hot all of the time.

TSL: How would you describe your personal style?

RM: It depends on location I guess. My everyday for school: I have two pairs of shorts I wear, a white shirt, I always wear the same Nike Cortez. I’ve been wearing those since I got them. So I guess my campus style is pretty chill, pretty comfortable. And when I go to parties I wear my best clothes.

I like to mix dress pants and some nice Nike shoes, a black shirt — I don’t like graphic shirts — so a plain shirt, and maybe a trench coat. Something that’s very versatile. What people would wear and feel comfortable. Like nice Nike and a nice coat. You can basically go anywhere with it, and you aren’t constrained to a certain demographic.

TSL: What are your favorite pieces?

RM: I have maybe two or three jackets that I really like. I remember when A$AP Rocky, I think around 2012, started wearing leather jackets. During that period, he and Kanye West made Perfecto leather jackets cool. So I got a Perfecto. I’ll wear it to school and it’ll be totally okay. So I really like that piece, I still have it here so sometimes I wear it out.

And I have another vintage Nike jacket. I think I got it back in 2014. I got it from basically French craigslist. And I got it for like $20. And I got stopped on the street twice at fashion weeks by people saying, “I would spend like $200, $300 on that jacket.” It’s a bomber jacket, a bright yellow one with the Nike on the back. I’ve tried to find it but can’t find it on the internet. So yeah, I think that’s my favorite piece. I left it in my closet for a year and a half and only brought it this winter. And my sister rocked it in this feature of her on different magazines.