Quad Style: Kira Leadholm
Meet Kira, a fourth year painter and artist majoring in Creative Writing and Visual Arts. Beyond her classes, she is part of an a capella group called Men in Drag and designs for MODA, in addition to leading their Designer Boot Camp. program
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is really variable, depending on factors like the weather and my current stress levels. On my best days, I aim for classy-chic. An over-sized sweater, skinny jeans or slacks, and some sort of platform heel always make a great ensemble. I’m also into 70s-inspired pieces, especially during the warmer months. I’m thrilled that flares are back in, and I love pairing them with striped turtlenecks or flowy blouses. When my schedule becomes heinous, it’s harder to plan outfits every day and my style errs on the side of wannabe hipster. I turn to reliable pieces like mom jeans, blanket scarves, thrifted sweaters that probably belonged to someone’s grandpa and Chuck Taylors.
What inspires your style?
I’m most inspired by the people around me. I’ll see someone on campus wearing a cool outfit and think “I could probably emulate that.” I also read lifestyle blogs like Refinery29 and Goop, and I skim the New York Times fashion section every morning.
What are your favorite places to shop?
My all-time favorite store is Aritzia, because it carries classic brands like Wilbur and Wilbur Free, Tna, and Babaton. However, I interned at a fair-trade fashion company last summer and I learned a lot about how my purchases impact the environment and contribute to inhumane labor practices. Since then I’ve been more conscious of where I buy my clothes. I prefer to shop sustainable brands like Reformation and Amour Vert. Unfortunately, sustainable clothing can be really expensive, so I’ve begun to thrift more frequently, and I abstain from shopping unless I really need a new piece.
Do you have any fashion regrets?
I went to a preppy high school where kids wore brands like Vineyard Vines and Lily Pulitzer. As a fourteen-year-old wanting nothing more than to fit in at her new school, I acquiesced to this fashion standard. I regret wearing most of the clothes I wore from ages 14-17. My closet consisted of garish, printed dresses, cable knit crew necks, and Sperry Topsiders. Not that anything is wrong with these brands—if you love a good polo, you do you—but this style was decidedly not me. I was trying to squeeze into an unfamiliar mold, and that’s what I regret the most.
How has your relationship to fashion evolved over the years?
As I stated above, I spent a sizeable portion of my life acquiescing to trends that were touted by society. My fashion sense became more autonomous my senior year of high school, when I began to reject fashion mores. I didn’t show up to school in a meat dress or anything like that; I just wore clothes that I liked and that I felt good in. I’ve been designing for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always been interested in fashion as an art form. During my second year in college, I had the opportunity to participate in MODA’s Designer Boot Camp (DBC), where I learned to sew and was able to make a collection for the annual show. DBC changed my life, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop creating clothes now that I have this skill.
All images courtesy of Aisha Rubio