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Fashion Spotlight: Olivia & Shahadah


It’s the most wonderful time of the year: fall fashion season. With a chill in the air and the holidays around the corner, I sat down with two Goucher students Shahadah ‘24 and Olivia ‘24 to interview them about the state of fashion, the season, and Goucher’s fashion culture. 

Shahadah is an interdisciplinary arts major, we sit across from each other in Mary Fisher and she’s the most colorful person in the room, with her signature dyed hair and glitter eye shadow. Instagram: @shahadah.jpg

Olivia, a sociology major joins us later, with her trademark pearls and vintage jacket. I rope her into talking to me since her social media is full of outfit pictures. Instagram: @oliviaalexxander

Starting off easy; do you have a style inspiration? 

Shahadah: Not really, maybe Rihanna

Olivia: The people I’m around back home…New York…and my mom.

Is your mom the inspiration behind your pearls? You wear them alot. 

Olivia: In my family, everyone has a set of pearls, I used to wear pearls from Walmart and my mom was upset about it so she got me pearls. I broke them my first week here so she gave me her pair. In my family it’s a rite of passage..I’m probably gonna die with pearls on.

What about a favorite designer?

Shahadah: Oh,  Iris Van Hurpan. I think her clothes are cool, there’s also this young black designer who makes bags out of denim (she pulls out her phone) – Rovell Gaither on Instagram 

Olivia: I actually really do like Coach’s new stuff, they make wearable stuff every season, they align with trends but also not.

Do you have a decade that you take inspiration from? 

Olivia: Yes, it’s a cross between four depending on my mood…the 70’s and 80’s like Cher era, then the 90’s and early 2000’s. 

Shahadah: 70’s, flare pants, afro’s, etc. 

What do you think of the state of fashion right now?

Shahadah: Um, I do like it alot. I like the variety, no one person dresses exactly the same. But I also feel like there’s not a lot of individuality, there’s a lot of y2k and bling trending, we’re seeing things like tracksuits or collabs with Baby Phat which is great, but not original.

Olivia: I guess fashion is more flexible because we have so many decades to look through and then we have the current loungewear and people who are hypebeasts and artsy people and people who are very bougie in the way they dress, but then you still see people in like, sweatpants. 

What’s the most expensive thing in your wardrobe? 

Shahadah: My tiffany necklace

Olivia: My skates, my athletic wear, I was an athlete so a lot of my athletic wear is from lululemon. My vintage fur jacket is probably expensive because my mom got it in SoHo.

Tell me about your outfit in this photo

Shahadah: I thrifted my shirt and pants, shirt was five and jeans were seven. My shoes were $21 from Forever 21. 

Olivia: Pants are dickies, the shirt is probably fast fashion – my guess is Zaful. My jacket is my grandpa’s old Levi jacket. 

Do you factor in sustainability and affordability when shopping?

Olivia: Definitely, most of my closet is thrifted and if it’s not thrifted it’s really high quality that my mom got me. I actually don’t go shopping a lot, I just have a lot of basics and make it look like I have new clothes. 

Shahadah: Affordability is important because…I’m broke. With sustainability it’s hard to pick and choose, kinda finding a happy medium between the two. 

Are there any pieces in your wardrobe that are sentimental?

Shahadah: I have this really long black coat from my great grandmother. It’s been a year since her passing so it’s sentimental. She left her tissues and her breath mints in the pockets so it’s a nice reminder of her 

Olivia: Yeah, most of my jackets are very sentimental. One of them is my grandpa’s old Levi jacket (pictured below), the other is my faux fur jacket. I love it because my mom got it for me. My Yankees jacket, too, because I thrifted it but bargained it down. 

Harder question: Does going to a predominately white institutions affect how you dress?

Olivia: I think because I’m around white people more I care less about what I wear. My highschool was mainly black and hispanic, we were more aware, and it was a competition for who was the best dressed. I dress for myself now more than other people.

Shahadah: I definitely felt like it affected me when I cut all my hair off. I felt like I overcompensated for my short hair, I’m hyper aware of how I’m presenting because my peers are white. I felt like I had to have my makeup and hair on point because people love to stare.

Written by Nia Anthony ’24

Olivia (left) and Shahadah (right)

Nia (she/her) is a junior and Opinion Editor at The Q. She is an International Relations Major from Millersville, MD. Outside of The Q, she is a choreographer for the Goucher Dancers of Color Coalition (DOCC) and a singer for the Goucher Choral Society. She has had work published in the Maryland Theatrical Guide and was the former Opinion Editor for the Elm. Nia currently works for Warby Parker and has a podcast called Wisegal Podcast (@wisegapod on Instagram).

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