Dark Academia could be the answer to the very problem it romanticizes – The Daily Free Press


The first fall showers have started to show up, and while that means the end of my heat styled hair, finishing a successful stint on Commonwealth Avenue, I can’t help but be excited about what it is. implies: fall fashion. From the era of the pumpkin latte and infinity scarf, fall has always meant more layers, more accessories and more style all around.

But after 2019’s endless rollout of “Christian Girl Autumn” Twitter memes placing an effective “you won’t do it” on core fall trends, not to mention the recent transition to college in person, a new subculture has taken over fall fashion: Dark Academia.

Yvonne Tang / DFP Staff

Dark Academia has its roots in the preppier style we all recognize as pleated skirts and cardigans, but draws inspiration from Gothic influence for a darker, more antique look. Think Harry Potter meets Greek culture and arts with a hint of economy as a personality trait. The result is vaguely reminiscent of playing dress-up with your grandpa’s old clothes while also carrying an iced coffee and a MacBook. Dark Academia represents all that is glamorous and distinguished in higher education.

Part of the reason I love Dark Academia is its harmony with college and studies. What better aesthetic than a tweed-filled book promotion to motivate you to study for the midterms on the horizon? And despite its reliance on leather and thicker fabrics, Dark Academia practically has a copyright in the overlay, which means the dressing of the room is quite comfortable.

These endless layers of cashmere houndstooth saddlebags all seek to do one thing: recreate the aesthetic of 19th-century private English boarding schools and New England ivy. Dark Academia repackaged these beacons of elitism and male privilege into something that can be saved alongside a photo of Draco Malfoy on a Pinterest board. And while I’m glad that the popularity of the aesthetic has made adaptation to higher education power and class much more accessible, romanticizing the bourgeois origins of universities shouldn’t make us forget that its separatist legacy lives on. .

Do you think the extent of the male exclusion organizations are the fraternities which you have given up on trying to involve your male friends? At Harvard, the final clubs – which are exclusive social clubs based on a variety of hobbies or traditions – carry on the 18th century legacy with quiet traditions brimming with privilege and socially selective memberships. After all, most of the members come from the same New England prep schools and last names.

Similar characteristics of the university’s elitist past continue in schools like Oxford, where drinking companies show some demographics will literally continue to consume alcohol to prevent socialization outside of their tax bracket. , and Yale, whose Skull and Bones Society made a flashy appearance on the ultimate example of academic elitism glorification, the show “Gossip Girl.”

Perhaps the most disgusting manifestation of this legacy happened this month when a white supremacist club at Amherst University sent a racist email to black organizations on campus slandering them in this way. than their presence. The letter seemed to suggest that the university belonged to only a certain group of people, and the university’s late response certainly did not help dispel that sentiment.

Sadly, these nefarious ideas about who deserves higher education have deep roots – from the very inspiring days of the Dark Academia when only white males could access education and continuing in the secret societies we have. today which are relics of this same origin.

Faced with the still-present implications of this era, Dark Academia and the era it romanticizes becomes less innocent than a simple photo shoot centered on strategically placed glasses and the semblance of reading.

Despite the rose-tinted filter that the subculture leaves a lasting legacy of harmful elitism, it has also expanded access to this selective world. Now, an outfit that a 19th-century Yale student would have worn is available to anyone who wants to save a few pins and visit the vintage store.

Beyond the clothes, everyone wearing their tailored tweed outfit also feels the sense of intelligence, focus and professionalism that dress style matters. I would venture to put on a tailored shirt and sit in the library because Aesthetics Wiki has told you that “studying and reading” are Dark Academia “activities” could be the impetus for a powerful academic pursuit or a useful social connection.

And because the aesthetic is so accessible, those who enter an intellectual framework through this style have many different identities. On college campuses, many of which are still homogeneous and predominantly white, these heterogeneous identities are desperately needed.

I’ve always believed that fashion has the power to change your reality. In the case of Dark Academia, various bodies claiming an aesthetic associated with power and privilege, and relying on their intelligence through their clothing, could be the first step in democratizing the environment that created Dark Academia in the first place.

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