By Chasity Hale
A sweet orange-colored sun enveloped in smoke; a cartoon television with the words “FAKE NEWS” across its screen; people with multicolored paint smears on their bodies, standing in front of matching backgrounds — these are some of the many topical and evocative images contained in MINT Magazine’s fall 2018 issue.
As stated on their website, MINT Magazine is “Stanford’s only student-run print fashion and culture magazine.” MINT publishes three issues per year, one at the beginning of each academic quarter. The fall 2018 edition of MINT magazine centers around what creative director Annie Ng (‘20) calls “the politics of inversion.” In accordance with the theme, MINT’s staffers reimagine the world by transposing the state of things. In their articles and editorials, they consider how our customs, roles and scripts could be different, and what the world might be like if they were. In 10 pieces, MINT allows its readers to occupy realities different than their own.
Some of these alternative realities represent better worlds. Magazine publisher Condé Nast recently launched Vogue Africa; in response, MINT’s Ryan Wimsatt (‘21) wrote and photographed a piece titled “Vogue ‘Africa,’” which celebrates that the 110-year-old company finally recognized African fashion and culture, but also critiques their decision to cluster each of Africa’s diverse countries together. The MINT Magazine piece features photos of “[Stanford] students with heritage from” various African countries such as Egypt, Rwanda and Sudan. These photos emulate Vogue covers by making the models and their fashion the focal point of each image. Through rich and thoughtful representations, MINT presents its readers a more inclusive world, one where lovers of fashion can visit the magazine isle of any bookstore and purchase a copy of Vogue Nigeria — and what a beautiful world that would be.
Other realities are much like our own (in all of its imperfection), and exist to highlight, question and challenge what is. For example, in “Flipping the Frat,” MINT’s Sarah Panzer (‘22) photographs women recreating images from “The American Fraternity” by Andrew Moisey, a book of photographs of men partaking in fraternal activities like rituals and social events. In the photo series, MINT models — like the men Moisey photographed — do things like sit with pillowcases over their heads and mingle laxly beside an unconscious person splayed on the couch. Through these photos, MINT calls attention to issues such as hazing, drinking culture and more. Additionally, by switching the gender roles and placing their exposures adjacent to Moisey’s, they prompt their readers to wonder why this kind of behavior, when it occurs within the context of an American fraternity, often goes unchecked.
Through this issue, MINT explores outside the bounds of their regular content, and examines how fashion and culture interact with the facets of human identity, politics and more. “Swipe right, i’m a catfish” — the first editorial in the issue — photographed by Sarah Ohta (‘21) and written by Eunice Jung (‘21), pushes back against common portrayals of East Asian womanhood by delving into the complexity of East Asian woman. In “Think before you thrift,” Paula McCloud (‘19) writes about “the politics of thrifting.” She explains how, because of appropriation and popularization by the wealthy, thrift shops have become exploitative of their workers, less affordable and ultimately, distant from the communities they were created to serve. Another MINT writer, Allison Oddman (‘21), notes the emergence of “apocalyptic apparel,” which are clothing items, such as decorative respirator masks, made to protect against environmental factors. Oddman also writes about the current climate crisis, and the United States’ failure to address it.
In their opening letter, MINT’s editors-in-chief Eilaf Osman (19’), Iman Floyd-Carroll (‘20) and Mirna El-Khalily (‘20) write, “Around the world, the country, the Bay Area and Stanford, things are changing — for better and for worse.” This issue encourages its readers to notice those changes, and to continually envision what the world can be and how to get there.
Only some of the many articles and editorials contained in MINT’s fall 2018 issue were mentioned in this review. To read the magazine in its entirety, and see the full list of contributors, visit stanfordmint.com, where the issue is available in digital form. To acquire a hard copy, contact Mirna El-Khalily at [email protected] and/or Daniel Sanchez (‘19) at [email protected]