Avant-Garb Mag interviewed Dani Hove ’20, who shared about collared shirts, the influence of high school, and the inevitability of fashion as self-expression.
Interview by Lola Motley
Photos by Nick Sarni
LM: What’s in your closet?
DH: Oh… wow. Too much I guess? Most of my stuff these days is thrifted things. I guess I’ve got an alt-crunch thing, with the occasional loud, weird pierce, or the occasional kind of nerdy piece. Lots of collared shirts, lots of sweaters and warm things, and I’ve got a fuck ton of jackets.
LM: Would you say your style has changed over time?
DH: It has to a degree. There was a point during sophomore year where I became more confident in trying weirder things that weren’t as based on, “oh what’s that person wearing?” Also, definitely the fact that I’ve been able to go to Salvation Army as much as I have has definitely colored my wardrobe a lot, because you end up getting things that are a little more rustic, a little more worn in. But there was definitely a transition from only modern, streetwear stuff to integrating the rustic look into it.
LM: What factors inform your daily outfit choices?
DH: I’m always picking up new things and discovering things in the labyrinth I call my closet, so one of the big factors is making an outfit around those pieces. Sometimes that’s what guides me in the morning, and other times I’m like, “Oh, I remember this particular outfit felt really comfortable to wear, and I don’t really want to put much thought into something today”, so I’m just going to toss that on. When I’m going to breakfast in the morning, I’m always thinking of how to make my outfit pop. I always feel like it needs to have a hook of some sort.
LM: Is there a specific item in your that’s your favorite?
DH: This vibrant little bastard (holds up shirt). I got this on one of my first trips to Salvation Army and it completely sold me on the concept of going to thrift stores like that. This was such a lucky find, and this shirt has been so good to me.
LM: Do you think fashion should be discussed, and if so why?
DH: I definitely think there’s value in it. One of the things I’ve noticed recently at least is that as we start to have prospective students come onto campus and first years really start to integrate into Bowdoin life, I’ve come to realize that fashion, even for people who don’t think about it all the time, is something that manifests itself regardless. One of the easy markers for telling if someone has been here for a while is how they dress. After a certain point, no matter if you’re eccentric or conforming in your outfits, you can feel the ‘Bowdoin’ on it because you’ve found your niche and you start to dig into it. And it’s not a thing of people peer pressuring each other, it’s just that what you’re gonna gravitate towards is the thing that’s kind of familiar or what you think will be socially acceptable wherever you’re going.
LM: Do you think your style changed when you got to Bowdoin?
DH: Oh definitely. Back in my high school, we had a dress code. So myself and my parents over-invested in collared shirts, which I don’t think I’ve worn in the better part of four or five years now. But because of that I had a bit more regimented style, lots of things that you could easily flip into a business casual look. Since then I’ve kind of expanded.
LM: Why is style important to your identity?
DH: I always like to curate my presence to a degree. I’m not judgy of other people and the way they present themselves, but because I know about fashion and trends, I feel obligated to use that knowledge. Also, it’s just fun and as a STEM major, there’s only a few ways for me to express my artistic side. But a lot of it is just using style as a form of personal expression and a way of making my presence known. Plus, if I feel like I look good, I just feel good regardless. It doesn’t matter if I get a compliment that day, if I thought an outfit looked good, I’m sticking with it.