Personal Expression Through The Halls of IBW


Nayomi Hendee (she/her), Staff Writer

As the seasons change so does fashion change and the students at Ida B. Wells High School are discovering their style through personal expression. A common idea through these students is that their styles have evolved from years prior. At this stage in the school year it is essential for students to discover their individuality inside and outside of emotional expression interpretation. 

To give a voice to students’ styles, it’s important to see the message they want to convey. Expressing themselves and the emotions they encounter is what their identity is. As you will uncover later, when many of these individuals have felt disconnected — whether that has to do with repressive nature individuals are facing, or just an impact that needs to be let out, the expression in their individual style is it to change the narrative that once was into what is.

Machai Runtz, a senior at IBW shares a take on personal expression within his style.  “I think style is a good way to say who you are without saying who you are, you know?” He says, “You can base someone, you can guess who this person is just like you know just by giving them a glance. But then you don’t know because it’s just a guess, you don’t know the person.”  To infer, it all falls within recognizing that presentation is impactful on presumption of levels within character. 

How people perceive you is based a lot on the clothing you are wearing. Runtz knows that people see him for his styles, but not everyone sees the full picture. 

“People that know me who know my style, know it is just for me, my style represents who I am,” Runtz said. “Like kinda wild but I’m kinda out there. I like to represent who I am”

Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Runtz, he said, “This might sound crazy like every good dressing black person I see. I fuck with that,” he said. “Before, maybe, freshman year, I was still trying to figure out my style, like what I could wear and what I could not, and it was very white based.” Runtz is finding himself and growing into who he truly is.

Sophia McMillan is a junior at IBW. Her message can be interpreted by many different perspectives. 

“This may sound really weird but I want old people to look at me and be appalled,” McMillan said. “I just wanna look confident and I don’t know but I care about my fashion a lot.” 

McMillan tries to focus on mainly darker colors for correlation, and that’s what her personal taste gravitates towards. 

“I wear a lot of black and like dark colors so it’s not usually that hard for me to find stuff that goes together because I don’t wear anything you need to match the colors with.” McMillian said.

To Rieli Hickey, a sophomore at IBW, fashion interpretation forces on different standpoint of expression, comfort as said, “Wear whatever you wanna wear it doesn’t have to look good together, just if you are comfortable with it” 

Hickey explains she is going for a certain look “Just kind of the more baggy look”

Sid Holems, a sophomore at IBW, really focuses on balance. This is the main takeaway when his message is conveyed through his outfit.

“I try to say just to keep it chill and not like showing off but not doing too little,” Holems said. “I really just look at myself and see what I think would look good on me, I try not to look at other people.”

This is how Trillium Huey, a junior at IBW, analyzes the meaning behind her fashion, and how it  has been in the making for a while. 

“When I was in middle school and elementary I just always tried to be basic and look like other people.” Huey said,  “I just wanna be able to dress like myself and show people that I don’t need to confine myself into the little basic outfits I used to wear. Now I can actually go out there and wear things that I want to wear now.” 

“I like people noticing I dress differently than they do,” She said. “I like people talking about it because then I get to talk about it I get to say like, ‘oh it helps me express myselfIt’s kinda just me.”

Adriana Ching, a junior IBW, tells her story through expression of style. 

“It kind of just portrays me,” Ching said. “My mom used to be really strict about my fashion. I couldn’t wear crop tops, if I wore leggings I’d have to wear shirts that covered my ass. And then she was all, you know what I’m a feminist now, and decided that I could wear whatever I wanted. So it was easier to express myself after that.” 

Ching has reflected on her journey through fashion and finding herself, and now she feels like she’s really discovered who she is.

“I am still learning my style, I’m still discovering new things to wear and how to pair things.” This has all led to her understanding of being unique in her fashion. 

“Hopefully my outfits are good enough so you can get a good idea of who I am,” said Ching. 

This all comes down to one essential understanding; to express emotions within personal creativity, there are multitudes in which these ideas are demonstrated through simple, personal expression. Inside the halls of IBW there is a creative contrast of fashion styles and expression.