Closets@Brown: Chloe Kibble
November 7, 2016
Interview by Clarice Brough and Adam Malkin
Photographs by Lauren Shin
Chloe Kibble '17 is a public health concentrator from Nashville, Tennessee. Chloe has quite the presence on Brown's campus, both as the co-director of IMPULSE Dance Company and as a member of the band/artist collective "richard". We hung out with Chloe to learn more about the thought process behind her unique style.
So, Chloe, can you tell us about what you’re wearing today?
Sure. I got these white pants in Japan, and I’m honestly surprised that they’re still white. Japanese and Korean street style really influence my wardrobe. I got this shirt online back in high school from a website called yesstyle.com, which includes a fusion of East Asian name brands. At the time, I was just looking for a basic long sleeve black tee. I like the lace pattern on the sleeve, but I don’t wear the shirt too often because it’s a bit more on the basic side for my taste. This fit is kind of in the middle of what I normally go for--either super, super tight or super, super baggy. And then I literally just bought these earrings yesterday. I was looking for a Halloween costume, but I bought these instead.
Awesome. How would you describe your closet?
I’ll call it eclectic. My style used to be very colorful with a bunch of loud patterns, especially upon first arriving at Brown. Now I’m more interested in grayscale color schemes and minimalism. So it’s all sort of mixed in together. Now that I think of it, my style has kind of mirrored the transformation of fashion trends in Japan, from what I’ve observed. Coming into Brown, I was into a harajuku-esque bright and multilayered style. I’m very inspired by anime, and I identify as an otaku. Anime is the origin from which I generated an interest in Japanese culture, but my interests have expanded well beyond the country’s pop culture.
But speaking of Japanese street style, let me show you this book called Fresh Fruits. It’s comprised of a series of street fashion shots in Tokyo. This edition is from 2005, which is pretty evident from the style. For instance, in this photo there are lots of pastels and bright colors, layered articles of clothing, and an exorbitant amount of accessories. Very similar to the stereotype of harajuku fashion we see here in the U.S. I find the purposeful clashing of patterns to be very interesting. I’d say harem pants were starting to get popular at this time, though I’ve noticed in the last couple of years, solid wide leg pants have replaced harem pants with more bold patterns.
Come to think of it, I’ve been influenced by a sort of “90s hip-hop” street style as well, especially with the baggy pants/tight top combination. I’m also really inspired by the aesthetics seen in the Afro-punk community. I’ve always thought of my style as being on the edgier side, and when I first discovered Afro-punk, I felt affirmed in my black identity and quirky style. I’ve been trying to find ways to merge my black identity with this interest in Japanese and East Asian culture. I enjoy thinking about the intention of Afro-punk aesthetics and how they can be political, while also drawing connections with some of the aesthetics I see in Japanese street fashion.
Really interesting. So then what piece or outfit of yours best reflects this personal style?
I feel like my style fluctuates, but I’d say this outfit is pretty iconic. These are the kind of harem pants that I was referring to before, and they follow a grayscale color scheme. I like the layering of checkered and striped patterns. This is a tight crop top with cut-outs on the shoulders. I got this short-sleeved button-down at Goodwill back in Nashville because I wanted something oversized and thought the pattern was nice. It goes well with a lot of black pieces that I have in my wardrobe.
Got it. What’s your go-to outfit?
This, because it’s comfortable. All baggy. These denim wide leg pants are from Tokyo, and this oversized top is from yesstyle.com. If I remember correctly, the top was on the men's section of the website. Something I really like about shopping in Japan is that I can find suitable clothing in both the men’s and women's lines. In my opinion, the former is much more androgynous than it is in the U.S., and the latter is more hyper-feminine. This outfit is comfortable, but that isn’t to say I don’t have an agenda when choosing to wear it. I feel more mature, mentally at peace, and refined in it. I would definitely want to go out in it, too. It's not just something that I would wear at home; I’d want to show it off.
Absolutely. What piece or outfit do you wear when you want to stand out?
We aren’t in the right season for this at all, but this romper is definitely one of my bolder pieces. Guess where I got it? Tokyo! The shoes came from dollskill.com, a site that is very influenced by Japanese street style as well, I’d say. However, the website is definitely more whitewashed and westernized. It tends to include all of the pop cultural elements that have been marketed directly towards the U.S. You wouldn't necessarily see those elements in Japanese clothing stores, but it’s everywhere in Japanese pop culture. Like Hello Kitty, for example.
What outfit of yours are you currently obsessed with?
Both this top and these pants. I guess these pants kind of provide a glimpse of the hyper-femme aesthetic that I like to go for on occasion. The top is more minimalist and mature. The pants are from a really famous store in Japan called WeGo--sort of the equivalent of Forever 21 here in America.
Dope. Are there any other pieces that you want to show us?
I guess this cap? I ordered this at some point in high school, when the style had just started becoming trendy, believe it or not. My style was very edgy and punk at the time, and I haven't worn it at all since. It’s just so aggressive, but not in a good way. Once I saw fuckbois wearing it, I was done.
Ok, so one thing you’re known for on campus is your ever changing hair. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Sure! So I have it like this today because I’m trying to wear a fro for Halloween, and I also have to keep it heavily moisturized during the winter. I’ve only recently started experimenting with bantu knots. I learned about them through watching other friends with my hair texture do them. I don't know much about the origin of bantu knots, so to be a responsible borrower of the style, I should definitely look into that.
I started experimenting with really bold and colorful braids during freshman year (once again very influenced by Afro-punk and even Hirari Ikeda, a Japanese fashion blogger). I started out with maroon, then went to dark blue, and then mixed red and orange in what I called my “fire braids.” I’ve done it all: pink, violet, cyan, lavender, white, various shades of green, some ombre tones. Because I’ve kept a record of surprising people with a new color every semester, I decided that for Senior Spring, I’d go out with a bang and do rainbow braids.
Can’t wait. Have you ever committed a major fashion faux pas?
Honestly, I can’t think of anything that I’ve regretted. Maybe back in sixth grade, when I tried to do this layering technique that just clashed in this really awful way. Nowadays, if I notice something is off about an outfit, I’ll catch myself before going out.
Sounds good. Lastly, what is one piece of style advice that you can share with our readers?
Embrace fluidity. If one style is really working for you, then go with it, but don’t be afraid to try out new things. I say that because I’ve experienced a lot of fluidity with regards to my own style, and I know that it has influenced my understanding of my own identity. Fluidity of style can reflect a fluidity of emotion, experiences, attitudes. Embrace that. Be proud of it.
Well there you have it: your behind the scenes look at artist and performer Chloe Kibble.