By Miranda Chiechi Blonde strands of hair tinted with blue and pink dangle across psychology freshman Erika Evans's back. Her dreadlocks are embellished with beads and colored string that swing freely against her fairy-like frame. Evans’s skin is decorated with henna, and she wears striking pieces of earthy clothing.
Growing up in the eclectic city of Austin, Evans developed a style influenced by the diverse fashion around her. After seeing a man dressed head to toe in orange outside of a toy store she frequented as a child, she says she realized she could dress however she wanted and others’ opinions didn't matter. "Why wear the same boring, generic stuff everyone else tends to wear?" Evans says.
Evans isn't the only one in her family with a unique sense of style. Her brother, Rett, recently became more conscious of his clothing choices. She even borrows pieces from his wardrobe. Evans and her brother point out the connection between people and fashion and how you can approach anyone and compliment them on their clothing and instantly become friends. She says if someone is wearing a shirt with your favorite band on it, you immediately feel a connection with that person. "To me, style, like how you present yourself with your clothing and everything, plays such an impact in your life," Evans adds.
Evans didn't always see style the way she does now. When she was in public school,from kindergarten to fourth grade, she says she always liked the idea of uniforms. She thought they would be cute and simple to wear.
However, that immediately changed when she started attending private school in the fourth grade and was restricted to wearing the same outfit for the following eight years. All of the wild outfits Evans bought became solely weekend-wear. "I wanted to just wear crazy stuff," Evans says. "I was always getting in trouble for breaking dress codes."
After leaving private school for college, she felt free to express herself however she wanted. Evans dresses according to her mood, which is illustrated primarily through color. She describes an outfit of hers consisting of a lace shirt and a dark charcoal skirt, as being a somber look. "A lot of emotion goes into what I'm wearing," Evans says. “I'm an artist so I feel like whenever I put makeup on or put an outfit on, that it's just like a painting that I present to the world on me and so it means a lot to me."
Evans’ style is down to earth and eclectic. Her outfits draw from reusing old clothes and her brother's or sister's clothes to create different ensembles. One of her favorite stores to go to and hunt for reasonable, one-of-a-kind finds is Buffalo Exchange. "Any time I see something unique and crazy at the store or that is a decent price, I'll be like, 'Yeah, I'd wear that,'" Evans says. One of Evans’s favorite outfits is a pair of overalls from Marshalls. She loves them because they are versatile and can be worn as jeans with a shirt over them, or she can take the shirt off and wear them as overalls. They are an outfit Evans wears in playful environments and can be transformed based on the setting.
Another key aspect of Evans’ style is her hair. She debated having dreadlocks for several years, but she went for it this past July. She occasionally receives strange comments from people about her hairstyle. One time someone told her that they hadn't seen a white girl with dreadlocks since the 70s. But despite comments like these, Evans loves the mass of hair on her head. "It wards off superficial people, and it attracts positive, nice influences on my life," Evans says.
Evans says she doesn't understand why people conform to a cookie-cutter type of style. She says she values individuality more. "Be who you are, say what you feel,” she says, “because those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind."