Maya Peterson ’18 has brought her love for activism and creative writing to campus, and her rebellious creativity shows in what she wears. Coming from The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, Peterson called the transition to college easy, but she was taken by the diversity and openness of personal style here as compared to her high school, where a rigid uniform policy was enforced for all students. The Manhattan native sat down with The Argus to discuss the styles she’s seen on campus these past couple of weeks.
The Argus: To what extent do you consider yourself interested in fashion?
Maya Peterson: I would say I’m pretty interested in it. Like, I don’t know any specifics about fashion at all. My mom works in street wear, so I’m around it a lot.
A: What does she do in street wear?
MP: She works for Billionaire Boys Club, Pharrell’s fashion line. I get a lot of stuff for free, so that helps out with my fashion sense. I’m not too interested in it but I enjoy it. It’s fun; I like to make clothes….I don’t make, I just like to destroy, I guess, on my own. I wear a lot of jeans and jackets that I just like to cut.
A: Describe your personal style in three to five words.
MP: The joking term that my friends use is “Hobo Chic.”
A: How does the fashion scene at Wesleyan compare to that of your high school?
MP: It’s drastically different, because we can wear whatever we want here. At high school, the guys had to wear a collared shirt, and the girls [had to wear] “nice clothes” everyday. So it’s much different just being able to wear, like, anything that I want here. And people at my high school dressed a lot more preppy; I guess people here are a little bit more “hip.”
A: There is some noticeable division between what students call “jocks” and “hipsters” on Wesleyan’s campus. To what extent do you think this typology of style differences speaks to a greater ideological split on campus?
MP: I guess that distinction is pretty clear, since the jocks are always wearing athletic stuff. I’d say I haven’t really noticed the division that people have been talking about. Like I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot myself, and I heard there’s apparently divisions within Usdan? But I personally haven’t seen it.
I think that when it comes to the clothes I like to wear, in terms of seeing divisions in people and in fashion…at Lawrenceville, at least, the people that wore the preppy clothes saw what I wore as, like, ridiculous and absurd. And they talked about it a lot. I’m very adamant about challenging standards of appropriateness and what’s deemed to be “fashionable” and what’s deemed to be appropriate. I think that [at Wesleyan] you can wear literally whatever you want, which is pretty awesome. Like that girl, Karmen [Karmenife Gomez-Paulino ’16]! Yeah, she’s awesome.
A: On that note, where do you draw style inspiration from on campus?
MP: I saw this philosophy professor, and I don’t know what her name is, but I saw her at the course fair and I’ve been trying to find clothes similar to what she was wearing. It was very “philosophy-esque.” On campus, I would definitely say [Gomez-Paulino]. I totally want to start wearing hella chokers and stuff like that. I like to be pretty punk sometimes, so I think all the leather stuff is really sweet. I’m gonna get some more leather, for sure.
A: Where do you draw style inspiration from off campus?
MP: I like grunge-like fashion, I guess, so I like a lot of ’90s things. [There’s] something about baggy clothing and clothing that’s not pressed and clean. I like that a lot.
A: Is there a current trend on campus you love?
MP: I really like the use of carabiners on campus. I love carabiners, like these things. [Holds up her own carabiner.] Really excited about the amount of Birkenstocks on campus, because that’s not at all what I saw during high school. I really love when [anyone] wears boots with thick heels on them. I see those a lot here; those are really awesome to me. I want a pair of those.
A: Is there a current trend you dislike?
MP: I generally don’t like athletic attire or athletic wear; it’s not my thing.
A: What would you like to see more of in the fashion scene at Wes?
MP: I’d like to see a lot more costumes, a lot more people wearing things that are a little bit more outlandish. The fashion here wasn’t as outlandish as I was expecting it to be. I’d like to see some people just messing around. And maybe it’s early and they’ll bring out some funky stuff. I just like dressing up for fun.