Quad Style: Louis Levin
Meet Louis Levin, a second year originally from London who moved to New York four years ago. He is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities with a focus on fashion, and he's also doing a minor in French. He’s the Writing Editor for MODA Magazine and the Fashion Editor for the Blog. Louis is also a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style kind of occupies a grey area. Some of the pieces in my wardrobe have a little bit of a street vibe, whilst others are quite preppy or more avant-garde. I enjoy experimenting with how different items can change the way I'm perceived. That being said, I'm never black and white. I won't go all the way with one style, because I find that sometimes you lose the beauty of a piece if you drown it in similar numbers. Recently, I've enjoyed trying out monochromatic looks, as well as venturing into a more androgynous aesthetic.
Where do you find style inspiration?
As many of my friends know, I am a huge online shopper. I find my inspiration by browsing through quite literally hundreds of pieces of clothing a day. The obsession has given me an awful lot of information. I've learnt about everything from the directions fashion houses are going in, to which colors and crops work best together. I also read a lot of GQ, Vogue and The Idle Man, and all three have helped guide me in forming my individual style.
Where do you like to shop?
As I mentioned, I love online shopping. I find that the range of items is simply unbeatable, as well as the added ability to discover remarkable sales. My favorite site is Lyst because they compile a large majority of other websites' products. I also love FarFetch, as well as FRWD by Elyse (for amazing sales). For tees, I turn to Union LA and Bianca Chandôn, as well as any vintage stores I happen to walk past. I actually wrote an in-depth guide to online shopping last year if you're interested in checking that out!
With regards to brands themselves, at a high-end level my favorites are Marni, Maison Margiela and Stella McCartney. When I think about what links them together, I'd put it down to their refusal to be pigeonholed. They each do some pieces that would come across as 'brand culture,' but not at the level of Balenciaga. They also do some more street-wear items, without being comparable to Vetements or Off-White. And they do formal attire without being Tom Ford-esque. They enable buyers to be creative with their wears and go for lots of different kinds of looks and styles.
I also really enjoy finding new and different designers. Some of my favorite recent finds are Audrey Louise Reynolds, Bed J.W. Ford, Cobra S.C., Pierre-Louis Mascia and Sulvam. People, myself included, often lament the fashion of days gone by, but the wonderful thing about fashion nowadays is that lesser known brands can use social media to get the word out there. That's lead to a much greater diversity of creative thought in the fashion world–something I think is very important.
Finally, I'm a big fan of jewelry. The places I'd most recommend right now are All Blues, Le Gramme, Loren Stewart, Pearls Before Swine and Sidney Garber. Jewelry on men is something I've only started to delve into the past year or so, and I've so enjoyed experimenting with different rings, necklaces and bracelets and the way that they can change up an entire look. My own pieces have come to be a kind of safe space for me. I never take them off, and each one is precious to me in one way or another.
Louis is wearing a Nasa Seasons top, Vetements zip-around jeans, PS black boots and Mykita x Maison Margiela sunglasses.
Do you have any fashion regrets?
Goodness me, yes I do! Pretty much everything I bought more than two years ago is a huge regret (and is no longer in my wardrobe... spring cleaning is so key!). It wasn't that I was spending less money on fashion (though I was) or time (though I was), it was mostly that I was just practicing the wrong shopping model. I was playing into fast fashion and buying lots of things relatively cheaply. And at first I'd really like each piece, but then after three or four wears I'd grow tired of them and they'd lay dormant in the back of my closet. Only in the summer before senior year did I begin to buy less, whilst investing more time and money into the individual items I truly liked.
What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time?
My relationship to fashion is quite complex. Growing up, I experimented a lot with dresses and dress up. I loved clothes and it was clear to those around me that I had a passion. In my teen years, however, that changed a bit. I felt a push to conform and that resulted in my creativity being stifled. I wasn't expressing myself in the way I (subconsciously) wanted to. Two or so years back that shifted. I came into my own and began to delve into the world of fashion. It was a gradual journey, and it's still ongoing.
More recently, I have been investigating lesser known brands and more counter-cultural styles, and that's been a lot of fun. I've also started to look much more into the industry side of retail. Making use of resources like The Business of Fashion, The New York Times Style Section and BBC News Fashion - as well as an amazing summer internship with Tamara Mellon - I've gained an appreciation for what goes on behind the curtain, and that's lead to a more wholesome relationship with fashion. It's no longer just aesthetic-based (not that that need be a bad thing), and now involves thought, economics and business. I feel invested in the fashion world as a whole, and have seen that there is certainly a place for me in it. I just have to finish up with this rather tiresome thing called school first!
Louis is sporting a Balenciaga jumper, a GAP tee, acid-washed Gucci jeans, Common Projects suede Chelsea boots and Saint Laurent reading glasses.
Why is fashion important to you?
Fashion is important to me because of the power it offers. It provides me with an ability to shape the way I present myself and am perceived by others. I have an asymmetric face, curly brown hair, walk ridiculously quickly and I am 6’3” – but I hunch a little. Those are the things I'm pretty much stuck with. I'm also gay. As a member of an invisible minority, the way I am perceived by others has always been at the forefront of my mind. At first, that meant that I used fashion to hide. I shrouded myself in sweatpants and graphic tees, in River Island and Urban Outfitters, to try and blend in. Now, it means I use fashion to make my presence known.
One of the many wonderful things about being gay is that the pressure of conforming to gender expectations is slightly less present. I can play with my femininity more easily than some of my straight peers. And fashion has been a special way of doing that. Be it my newly purchased Beaded Lily ear cuff, the emerald green and pink flowery Marni shirt that I so love, or the Bed J.W. Ford short sleeve with that plunging neckline, I feel empowered by fashion to make a statement. To be open and overt about who I am, and what I stand for.
All Images Courtesy of Andrea Li.