Beat from the street (February 19, 2014)

Photos by Larisa Karr.

Austin Davis, a sophomore anthropology student at UNC Asheville
Tell me anything about your style: 
“I’d say my style is a mix of Goodwill sweaters and skinny jeans, and then sometimes I like to add the high socks with boots. It really just depends on my mood. Sometimes I’ll wear a more eclectic bohemian style or maybe dress modern and sophisticated. It really depends on the weather outside and what I’m feeling. But I really like sweaters with patterns and then a solid jean, or then I’ll reverse it and do a really crazy jean with a solid black top.”
Do you feel Asheville has changed your approach to style?
“Definitely when I was in Raleigh, I did not wear this. I was more of a peppy, preppy child, and then when I came here, I saw everyone wearing really loose sweaters.”
As an anthropology student, what kind of correlation do you make between people, clothing and style?
“I would definitely say that when you meet people, I feel that you gain a connection and that’s what happened when I came to Asheville. I gained connection with people, not only with their intellect, but I’ve seen it through their fashion and I wanted to make that part of my identity when I came here. So I would say my fashion is cultivated by Asheville. Yeah, it definitely inspired me to wear clothes that I’ve never considered wearing and now I love it.”
What are your creative inspirations?
“I honestly don’t wanna read magazines or anything. It’s more visual for me. Maybe I’ll go to the mall today and see what’s on the mannequins. I like going to Goodwill and re-creating the looks I saw on the mannequins and changing it up. If it fits me well and it looks good, I just go out and there it goes.”

Amanda Fulton, prospective shoemaker and designer
Tell me a little bit what you like about shoes. 
“I’m going to want to make shoes that fit my identity to an extent. I’m queer, but look incredibly femme because I feel like I’m not a girl, so it’s more fun for me to wear eyeliner than it is for me to wear clothes that make me look masculine.”
“I want to do that with shoes eventually, which is to figure out how to do leatherwork and make shoes in a way that is kind of genderf***ed. The pairs that I’ve made so far and the designs that I have so far are really tough and masculine, but have cutouts in places where they wouldn’t normally be, and I need to figure out how to do that with shoes that would traditionally be for men. Specifically, I would like figure out how to make them sexier and a little more feminine.”
Describe your relationship with style.
“Because of my weird gender dysphoria that I get sometimes, the way that I want to dress changes every hour.  I have decided recently that if I keep black as a staple, it makes it a lot easier to get dressed. I’m kinda all over the place right now, but I like to have a lot of furs, which is kind of weird because I’m vegan. I like to have a lot of furs and lots of leather and things like that as accessories. Everything else is just like cuts that I like and necklines that I think are good. I also like to look mean if I can. I’m kind of small and super feminine and get approached by people that I don’t necessarily want to talk to. Since I’ve been wearing all black and looking angry, people sometimes are a bit wary to talk to me. I tend to launch into hyper-political angry speeches about stuff, which is scary to a lot of people, to be sure, and it’s probably made a lot more intense by the fact that I’m dressed like death.”
Describe your style evolution. 
“When I first moved here, all my clothes were from the bins. I don’t even know what I was thinking. I was going through all my old clothes from the last few years and all of them have holes in them and they’re all just super s***ty quality things. I just decided that I need to grow up a little bit and start dressing better and looking like I want to look every day. I feel more motivated when I look well.”
Creative inspiration?
“Anarchism and, I don’t know, anger. Just really f***ed-up feelings inspire me creatively. It’s nice to have an outlet where you’re making something that you can be excited about after the fact. It’s nice because if I feel stressed out about something, I just lock myself in my studio for four days and I come out with all these wallets and bags. It’s really fun to give them away to all my friends, especially when they’re stressed.”
This column was originally published in The Blue Banner.