It is very easy to spot a stylish
student on campus—a rare gem in a sea of bro tanks, Brandy Melville dresses
and flip-flops. Cameron Cook PO ’15 is one such individual: a tall,
boots-lovin’ religious studies and politics double major from Seattle, Wash.
Currently the RA of Sontag Hall, Cook completed a Summer Undergraduate
Research Program (SURP) on black political thought and is an avid comic book
reader. The two of us are in a religious studies senior seminar class
together, and I’ve noticed his awesome and eclectic style from day one. I
immediately knew that I had to interview him to get a better understanding of
his fashion inspirations and style icons.
TSL: How would you describe your
Cameron Cook PO ’15: I would say that it is a mash-up. I like
to combine different items, patterns and textures that might not normally go
together but end up working for me. For example, I like pairing blazers, which
are usually structured and classic, with combat boots.
TSL: I’ve noticed your love affair with
boots—are they your favorite accessory?
CC: I love boots. Even if I’m wearing all sweats, I’ll end up
putting on a pair of boots—I just can’t help myself. Mariah Carey always says
that she was born to walk in heels, and I feel the same way, except my feet
were made for boots.
TSL: If you could trade closets with any
person, alive, dead, fictional, cartoon etc., who would you choose?
CC: Holy shit, that is such a hard question!
I’m going to have to go with two people. The first would be—and this is purely
in an ideal world, and I already know that I could never pull off anything she
owns—Rihanna. I’m so obsessed with the way she dresses; her style is fabulous.
In a practical sense, I would choose Kanye’s closet; I really love his
aesthetic. Even though he as a person and his past style can be foolish, I
think what he’s wearing currently is really awesome. I like the monochrome
aspect of his wardrobe, and he incorporates a lot of boots into his style,
which I’m obviously down for.
TSL: If your dorm room caught on fire
and you could only grab one item, what would it be?
CC: My boots, no question. My pair of brown
TSL: In terms of your fashion
sense, who or what inspires you?
CC: Growing up, I was very self-conscious of what I wore for
multiple reasons. The first being that I was queer and closeted, but I was also
black growing up in a mostly white environment. I wanted to only wear ‘masculine’ clothing, so nothing was fitted, and everything was baggy. I never
wore hoodies or sports jerseys; I was over-conscious of stereotypes and didn’t
want to portray any of them. Now I wear whatever the hell I want to because I
owe it to myself. I spent too much time policing myself in terms of my dress,
and now, especially in college, I can wear what actually speaks to my
personality. If I see something I like—even if it is loud, bold or
stereotypical—I’ll wear it without thinking about others’ opinions.
TSL: Can you name anybody that you look
to, for style inspiration?
CC: Well, Rihanna—I mean, any time she steps
out of the house, she looks fantastic. I love going through red carpet
photo albums; that’s always fun. I also look to other people on campus for
TSL: On the topic of the 5Cs, how would
you describe the overall style of students?
CC: This might be a bit problematic, but I would have to say
the overall style is lazy. There are hella amounts of bro tanks and flip-flops—these
don’t equate to stylish at all. But I can say that there are a few people
sprinkled about who do have good, intentional and individual style that I
admire. I would say there’s also a group of people who put a lot of effort into
looking effortless—the messy chic.
TSL: Do you have any advice for
Claremont students, especially those without a keen eye for fashion?
CC: Buy a pair of boots [laughs]. But seriously! Buy a pair of
boots; it will upgrade your closet instantly. More importantly, wear whatever
you are comfortable in, otherwise your insecurity will overshadow the outfit. I
don’t mean comfortable in the sense that, “Oh, this sweater is soft.” I mean,
wear something that fits your identity and makes you say, “Hey, I look good!”
TSL: All right, now we’re going to do
some rapid fire questions—in the sense that you have to choose between one
thing or another to wear for the rest of your life.
TSL: Dr. Martens or
TSL: Band tees or button-down shirts?
CC: Button-downs, all the way.
TSL: All black wardrobe or vibrant
CC: Ironically enough [Cook is wearing a pretty colorful
palette], all black.
TSL: Cashmere or merino?
TSL: Polka dots or stripes?
CC: Polka dots.
TSL: Switch closets with either Prince
or Kurt Cobain?
TSL: Blazers or sweatshirts
CC: [expletive… serious contemplation] No, this is too hard! Blazers.
TSL: If you had an unlimited gift card, would you hit J.Crew or Karmaloop?
CC: Dang, for the rest of my life, I would go
with J.Crew. I’m thinking of myself as an 80-year-old man wearing
Karmaloop, and it’s a bad sight. So definitely J.Crew.
Chabrina Bruno PO ’15 is a
religious studies major with a minor in studio art. She loves to collect
vintage clothing and jewelry.