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Students launch College's first fashion magazine

The cover of the December issue of
The cover of the December issue of "theLook."

Connecticut College's first fashion magazine was a project almost eight years in the making.

Shelby Greeley '13 has been keeping sketch books of fashion trends, designs and layouts since she was in sixth grade, and as soon as she came to campus, inspiration struck.

"I came up with the idea for 'theLook' first semester of my freshman year. I've always wanted to pursue a career in that field and decided college was the perfect place to take the first initiative," she said. "My vision for this magazine is to break the 'preppy stereotype,' because Conn's student body is so much more than that."

The first issue of "theLook" was released in October, and a second issue was released earlier this month. It's an entirely student-run, quarterly publication that focuses on the fashion, art, trends and styles on the Connecticut College campus. The magazine currently only exists in an online form, but the students hope to have print versions soon. Meetings are open to all, and any student can audition to model the seasons' fashions, which the club receives from shops in the nearby area. Student photographers can occasionally be found snapping candids of fashionable undergrads around campus, or posing crisply dressed student models for photo shoots in favorite locations around campus. But however professional the magazine might look, its creators wants to make sure that it remains a fashion magazine for Connecticut College students, by Connecticut College students.

"It's definitely not meant to be a copy of Vogue, but rather a magazine about our fashion and lifestyle here at Conn - what we do, what we wear and what we like," explained Greeley, an international relations major with a double minor in economics and art. Greeley, who is currently studying abroad in Paris, co-founded the magazine with Kira Turnbull '13. Turnbull, who has also been interested in fashion and art from a young age, realized along with Greeley that Connecticut College was the perfect place to combine those interests in an exciting project.

"Shelby and I were both interested in fashion, photography and writing, but there wasn't really an outlet for all those things on campus, so we thought 'why not make one?'" she said.

Greeley says that she hopes the magazine can be used to celebrate everyone's individual personality and style. "Everyone wears clothes. They can be used to express one's self, raise awareness, or raise money for a good cause," she said, citing as examples articles in the October issue about TOMS shoes and recent fashion made for breast cancer awareness. Greeley and Turnbull also see the magazine as a way to expand their own academic interests.

For Turnbull, an art history major with an English minor, "theLook" was a perfect extension of her schoolwork. "Fashion is a form of expression … and it's important to look at it from an art history perspective. And English covers such a broad spectrum of interests," she said. Greeley's international relations major and economics minor may seem somewhat removed, but she believes they've given her a strong grasp of business. "And when you combine [art], I feel like I can easily fit in to a business position within a luxury fashion company."

The magazine has also caught the attention of the career office at Connecticut College, known as CELS. "CELS was very eager to get involved," said Greeley, "seeing it as a great opportunity to make stronger connections between students and alumni in the fashion industry." Greeley and Turnbull said the whole campus has been supportive, with new students getting involved at every meeting and the president of the student government even posing for a recent shoot. The students have also made connections to local shops and boutiques in New London and Mystic, which have donated clothes for photo shoots.

"It's a very collaborative project" explained Turnbull. "After everyone has submitted photos and articles, Shelby, Mia Rotondi '13 and I look over the articles and edit them. We work as a team along with our executive board to make the final decisions."

Greeley said she is especially appreciative of the College and its administration for their support. "Not only do they encourage students to pursue any and every academic and creative interest, but they also encourage you to push these passions as far as you can - to really make something out of them."

Meetings are Tuesdays at 10 p.m. in Harkness House Common Room, and students who want to get involved are encouraged to email or post a comment on "theLook" website. - By Sam Norcross '14

December 22, 2011