By Sierra Petro
Do you ever pass by that same person with a personal style that makes you want to find a reason for an introduction? The excuse is Purch Style Share, a Facebook group founded by Gio Martin, which connects students over style posts.
The group doesn't only serve as a way to meet fashionable students; it gives students the chance to seek advise on how to be more expressive with their style. Though Martin is graduating this year, the mark they left on the fashion culture at Purchase is here to stay.
Martin, a senior painting and drawing major, started the group last spring to get more traction for Fashion Club. After leaving the club, they continued the group because of the encouraging environment it fostered and their passion for highlighting fashion on campus.
“Students can look forward to dressing up because they’ll be excited to post on the group later about how good they felt that day. If someone puts in effort, they deserve a little congratulations,” Martin said.
Lizard Buckley, a freshman theatre and performance major, joined the group as a senior in high school after committing to Purchase. They mostly wore jeans and tees in high school, but the group encouraged them to be comfortable to not need a special occasion to be more expressive with their style.
“I always loved fashion growing up, but fear of sticking out and upsetting people for dressing too outlandish always kept me from dressing how I really wanted. The group helped me be more confident, and I love drawing inspiration from what other people post and being able to give that to others with what I share. It’s a nice little wholesome supper system,” Buckley said.
Martin, who is an eccentric dresser now, was also not always as comfortable being expressive with their style. Before they started the group, Martin used online outfit simulators (like the app ZEPETO) to explore different styles.
“I didn't want to be perceived too gay. Then, when I realized, ‘I am queer; I can wear all the colors I want,’ I started doing that with great gusto. I love looking other and celebrating the fact that I’m different and a little outside of the binary,” Martin said.
Sporting purple hair, a metallic shirt, and floral-printed leggings, Martin’s class attire is certainly unrestricted today.
A fellow rainbow-toned dresser who also had some issues with people’s perception of their style is Em Hampton. The senior visual performance student can struggle with style as someone who identifies as non-binary.
“I’m either ‘too femme’ or ‘too masc’ in other peoples’ eyes, so posting my outfits in a supportive group environment helps me feel better about the way I present to the outside world. Knowing that this little inside group supports me no matter what my fashion choices are is really helpful,” Hampton said.
The supportive environment on Facebook translates onto the Purchase campus, since Martin, Buckley, and Hampton all became quicker to give compliments in-person due to the group. Even though Martin is graduating, they plan to keep harvesting these connections after graduation themself or selecting someone to inherit it.