Quad Style: Tyler He
Hi, I’m Tyler and I’m a 4th year majoring in Public Policy Studies! I’m a co-president of Phoenix Survivors Alliance and I’m involved with other activism/organizing groups on and off-campus. I listen to so much music, think about tattoos all the time, am obsessed with Twitter, and I also love to box and work out.
How would you describe your personal style?
I feel most of the people that do these shoots say this, but I actually don’t know how to describe my personal style. I do think about it a lot though, and I think at this point I want to say that I always aim to be in the gray area where I am visually and aesthetically pleasing but still look out of the ordinary and unique. I want people to look at me and think that I look weird but in a good way.
Where do you find style inspiration?
I pay a lot of attention to what other people around me are wearing all the time, particularly what my female and gender non-conforming friends are wearing because I find that they often are way more stylish and creative in their style than men. I also follow a bunch of artists and other creatives on social media and often find myself trying to emulate pieces of their outfits and changing up my own fashion through them.
Where do you like to shop?
I spent my whole life buying clothing from retail stores and online until about a year or two ago, but now I essentially buy all my clothing through thrifting. I’m from Chicago and there’s a thrift store in my neighborhood that has a 50% sale on everything every Monday and I usually go at least once a quarter. Before I stopped shopping retail, a lot of old T-shirts and other pieces of clothing that I still wear frequently are mostly all from Uniqlo!
Do you have any fashion regrets?
I think most of my fashion regrets really stemmed from my self-esteem issues and lack of body confidence, but I did spend a significant portion of college wearing a lot of sweaters and sweatpants (no offense) even though I wanted to look different and be more visually stimulating. A couple things do stick out though. In high school all the other popular guys would pinroll their jeans really tightly, and I definitely spent a ton agonizing over that. I was also obsessed with whether the ankle of my jeans looked too big or weren’t tight enough because everyone else wore skinny jeans, so I always tried to buy and wear tighter jeans even though they were incredibly restrictive and uncomfortable for my body!
What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time?
When I was younger I would often get very anxious and stressed out about following the latest trend or conforming to what other people around me were wearing, and I spent a lot of time feeling insecure about my body and how well I can appeal to others through my fashion. I think a lot of that intersected with class; going to high school on the near northside of Chicago with my background, I internalized and connected so much of my dissatisfaction with my life with being poor and unable dress as (arguably) well as the people I was surrounded by. As I’ve matured emotionally and changed physically I’ve gained a lot more self confidence, and I finally feel like I am in a place where I can experiment with fashion, feel comfortable with myself, and look good no matter what I wear or do.
Why is fashion important to you?
I’m constantly engaged with my surroundings and am always paying attention to what people around me are wearing, and I assume that everyone around me does the same. I think a lot about how “the personal is political” and how it relates to fashion; fashion allows me to make a statement about myself and my being without uttering a word, and I think that’s incredibly powerful. Fashion is endlessly changing over time, but what I’m wearing every day is just a singular instance of my life experiences, my relationships with people around me, cultural shifts, and so many other things. Also, I just love looking good and feeling good about myself!
All images courtesy of Dasha Aksenova.