Sliding Downhill with DJ Khaled’s fashion slides

2.05.2016

By Logan Gossett

In November of last year I began waking up thirty minutes earlier than usual. Soldiering through DJ Khaled’s Snapchat story may have only taken five minutes, but emotionally preparing myself for the viewing experience took a solid fifteen—plus I was unable to eat for at least ten minutes thereafter. Before November, I only knew Khaled as the guy who furiously garbled out his name at the beginning of nearly every track he produced (side note: listening to the evolution of Khaled’s signature yell is incredible. He goes from squealing it like a rebellious gopher on “We the Best” to growling it like a feral rottweiler on “I Changed A Lot”.) Now I almost appreciate Khaled’s Snapchat influence, but I still refrain from eating after viewing his Snapchat story for one reason: his $65 slip-on foot slides.

DJ Khaled begins every day by staring at his slides and bombarding Dee Hodges, his personal chef, with inspiration and an utterly sincere admiration for egg whites. Even while mixing tracks in the studio, Khaled finds time to plug his “We the Best” slides. When combined with his cultural prevalence, Khaled’s slides create a quandary. For example, Trump’s cataclysmic success in the caucus’ polls establishes an awful precedent for the republican party, media coverage, and all of humanity. Similarly, Khaled’s footwear has the potential to expand the prevalence of slides in fashion, which is arguably worse than president Trump’s America. Basically I’d rather see Trump as president than see Khaled’s “We The Best” slides at all.

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These “shoes you wore to soccer practice or in the shower at summer camp,” as Maggie Dolan called slides in a PAPER magazine article, have been popularized by other sources, but Khaled is central to expanding their acceptance. Jeremy Scott, a lauded high fashion designer, has contributed some Lovecraftian-looking slides to the fashion industry, but he also designed shoes that eerily resembled foot shackles worn by slaves, so not all of his ideas take off. Slides are unquestionably prolific due to Khaled’s promotion of them, and nearly all of his promotion occurs on his Snapchat story.

Here are some inspirational nuggets from Khaled’s Snapchat story since I’ve been writing this, just to put things in perspective:

  1. “I was taking a serious bath.”
  2. “Some days it’ll rain; some days it won’t.”
  3. “Lion! [Rain] makes you respect your mother.”

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There was a video of him staring at his aqua colorway “We the Best” slides with his “Another One” rug in the background. Words can’t even do that visual poetry justice. Even if you want to enjoy Khaled’s music for some cathartic reason, it’s impossible to separate his music from his slides. Both his songs and his snaps have more product placement than the Transformers movie franchise, so you’re going to hear shouts of “We the Best!” and “Another One!” anyway, reminding you that Khaled’s parasitic slides are just a Google search away.

Frankly, the best medium to enjoy Khaled is Snapchat—specifically showertime Khaled. When he’s gingerly scrubbing his chest in the shower he never dips the camera below the waist, which means no slides (among other things).

I like to lend Khaled the benefit of the doubt, though. Nobody has mastered Snapchat marketing like DJ Khaled. He’s a proud paradigm shifter. His lawyer drives a Ferrari. He received an iconic kiss from Madonna. And his slides are the reason I don’t eat breakfast.

Heard on the Hill

2.02.2016

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The SOTH spies are listening! A new semester means all-new hilarious snippets of random conversations we hear on the hill. These are some of our favorite out of context, inappropriate, and just plain funny quotes from the past week. Got one to share? Drop us a line on social media and be sure to tag @styleonthehill

  • “This pizza was a better investment than my textbooks.”
  • “Can we uber to class?”
  • Girl 1: “I haven’t been the the Hawk since Sophomore year.”
    Girl 2: “Where else do you get ass?”
  • “You guys, this is weird. I think we should all stop doing kegels at the same time.”
  • “Honestly, the best way to save the world is to be vegan.”
  • “It’s because we are too intimidating, that’s why we can’t find boyfriends.”
  • “If you like eating food and listening to jazz music surrounded by dead people, this place is for you.”
  • Guy 1 : “I don’t know why she expects me to text her back after what happened.”
    Guy 2: “Dude! She slept with your friend and then got mad at you about it. Safe to say you dodged the psycho bullet.”
  • “She looks like the type of girl that does Coke.”
  • “On Sunday I ate Chipotle. On Monday I had E. Coli. It was coming out of both ends.”
  • Girl 1: “Last night was horrible. I’m never drinking again.”
    Girl 2: “You said that three days ago.”

Style Without The Shivers

2.01.2016

By Audrey Danser

In any given season, our fashion choices are largely decided by the weather forecast. Unfortunately, when the temperature hovers in the mid-20s, a warm coat is unavoidable, and rather, a necessity for survival. But, by this time of winter, no matter how appreciative I am of my camel-colored, fur-hooded savior, wearing it day after day becomes suuuuuch a draaaag.

I don’t know about you, but I sure need a winter pick-me-up in the styling department. So, here’s a few ways we styled ourselves for the long winter ahead.

The Perfect Combo

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Shirt, Sweater, Coat—you’re good to go! There’s something magical about the sartorial combination of layering a button-down, perfect-fitted sweater, and winter jacket. One never gets cold (or too hot) and always looks put together. The combo is comfy casual, yet simultaneously dressy. We styled this look using a subtle pattern in a sheer button-down, texture and color movement in the sweater, and topped the look off with a glamorously rugged coat.

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Layer Two Jackets

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Sometimes it is just so cold that one coat doesn’t do the job. Layering two jackets is an option which allows for a lot of flexibility: two lighter-weight jackets can equal one heavy-weight, or you can unzip your winter coat to display your outfit underneath without sacrificing warmth. With either option, keep the patterns and textures contrasting. In this look, we styled with different patterns (neutral vs. plaid), contrasting color (dark vs. light), and paired the hip-length wool blazer with a longer over-coat.

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Pile On Those Knits

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Substitute your outdoor wear for multiple sweaters. Finally! Liberation from the coat that has seemed like a fashion burden these past two months! However, knits can be tricky. Keep in mind that it’s all about the proportions and balancing—balancing both weight and hue. Layering some snug fits with oversized knits helps to hold your shape and creates visual interest in your outfit. As for color, keep with the same color family to avoid emulating grandma’s yarn basket.

On our model, we layered a more form-fitting knit on the bottom for a tighter thermal barrier to the elements—that pesky wind sure knows how to penetrate. This garment can be a part of your original outfit, or a sweater you choose to layer on as an afterthought for your walk to class. Regardless, you’ll have built-in flexibility for unpredictable indoor conditions. Next, layer on top a warm, oversized boyfriend sweater which you can hug close to your body. Awe, cozy teamwork!  

Side Note: When wearing a dress, as our model is in this particular look, tights alone can sometimes be too thin a barrier, but that’s no reason to stick to pants. Embrace socks and thigh highs over your tights, letting them peek above your boots.

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Two is Better Than One

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Scarves are the ultimate winter-weather accessory, so why not try two at once! Layering multiples allows for extra warmth, while simultaneously creating visual interest, as you integrate surprising pops of color and pattern into your outfit. For added dimension, try scarves of the same color palate in different textures and textiles. Here we styled our models using a neutral knit scarf as our base and then interwove a lighter denier cotton piece, but you be the creative genius!

 

Photography by Hannah Pierangelo
Modeled by Holly Kulm and Audrey Danser
Styling by Holly Kulm and Audrey Danser

Earn a blackbelt at KU : Students learn martial arts and earn credit

1.28.2016

By Erica Staab

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There is a room in Ambler Recreation Center that even the most ambitious gym rats probably have never stepped foot in. On the floor are red and grey mats, rubbery under your bare feet. Flags line the walls. Korean, Japanese, the U.S., and of course the Jayhawk flags are proudly displayed. In one corner you’ll find a ceiling mounted punching bag, and on the mat, you’ll find KU’s martial artists. Some in traditional gi’s, some in sweats, and all practicing a form of martial arts.

Jiu Jitsu, one of four martial arts clubs at KU, can be found practicing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings in this padded room. The martial artists in these clubs may look like they are fighting on any given night, but in reality they are testing their strength, determination, dedication and sheer willpower against their teammates. And it’s thrilling. Just as thrilling are the classes offered at KU that allow students to train in a martial art not only for fun, but for credit.

Jiu Jitsu, Ki Aikido, Kumdo, and Taekwondo are the disciplines offered as club sports. Self-Defense for women and Taekwondo can be taken as 1 credit hour courses by any student. Martial Arts is an umbrella term, that all of these clubs and classes fall under. Broadly, martial arts are various sports and skills that originated from, and teach, self defense techniques that originated from many places throughout the world. Many of the styles that are popular today come from Asia.

Though all martial arts teach some form of self-defense, the techniques and styles differ widely between disciplines. Jiu Jitsu is mainly ground fighting, teaching takedowns and grappling. Ki Aikido and Kumdo both focus on the art of the sword, and Taekwondo is mainly stand up fighting that has a focus on punches, kicks and blocks. Despite these differences, martial arts as a whole boast themes beyond self-defense that are spurred from their practice. Some of these themes are humility, self-awareness, discipline, respect and dedication.

Stephen Ngatia, a junior from Kenya and the current president of the Jiu Jitsu club, happened upon the sport a year ago while watching a friend play soccer at Ambler Recreation Center.

Ngatia, who had been an avid rugby player for years, peaked his head into the martial arts room during one of the Jiu Jitsu club’s practices. The coach waved him in and told him to take a turn sparring with one of the members. Ngatia felt strong and thought he would have no problem taking down the smaller guy he was paired up with, but he was sorely mistaken. “It was a humbling experience,” Nagita says looking back on his first experience with martial arts where he was topped out at least five times during a 5 minute round. Despite this first loss, he has been coming back ever since.

“Practicing Jiu Jitsu has really taught me discipline and the importance of repetition,” Ngatia says. To learn a new move in Jiu Jitsu, you have to repeat it over and over again. He has really begun to apply this idea to his school life. If he doesn’t understand something in say, a math class, he looks for practice problems until he learns a concept, he says.

Though the mass of struggling, sweaty, straining bodies on the mat during practice may look intimidating at first, the club members are there to help guide, teach, and make eachother better. One member finds this camaraderie particularly important because she is often the only female at practice.

Taking a cue from one of the hottest mixed martial arts fighters right now, Ronda Rousey, martials arts is not only for the boys. Weather it’s Taekwondo, Ki Aikido or Jiu Jitsu, martial arts gives woman every chance to get in there and train with the boys.

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“I walk in here, and I think, you’ve got to have a different state of mind when you’re in a room full of men,” Deanna Ambrose, a junior from Frankfurt, Kansas, and the club vice president says. Because it’s a contact sport you have to be prepared to let a lot of your boundaries down, she says.

Ambrose, who also has been practicing Jiu Jitsu for about a year, says she feels like a much more confident, self-aware individual than she was before beginning to practice martial arts. She feels safer now, because if someone tried to grab or attack her, she has an understanding on how to get out of that situation hopefully unharmed.

Ambrose got the chance to show off some of her skills in an unlikely test of strength in a hostel in Paris. “I was wearing a skirt, we had all had a few drinks and this Australian guy didn’t believe me when I said I practiced Jiu Jitsu. He believed me after I beat him in a friendly sparring match. The owner of the hostel had to inform the Australian that I had won,” Ambrose says. Though her scuffle in Paris was all in good fun, she realizes just how much she has learned since joining Jiu Jitsu.

Every skill builds on itself, Ambrose says. You learn the moves, but then you have to work on getting quicker and sneakier. “I practice to make my moves more polished so when I’m rolling with someone just as good, or better than me, I can try and get the advantage,” she says.

Moving up in rank in any martial arts can take years of hard work, training and dedication to the sport. Your coach determines when you are ready and have earned the right to move up in belt rank. Often this change in rank happens after a test, but not always. Taekwondo requires a belt test to move on to your next rank, Jiu Jitsu doesn’t. It all depends on the discipline of martial arts one is practicing.

Jiu Jitsu club practices are pretty laid back, Coach Calen Born from Olathe says. He realizes students are busy and have crazy schedules, so he doesn’t punish students for showing up late to practices held from 5 to 7 p.m during the week. He sits on the bench after a practice on a Friday night with me, as his students begin to file out of the room.

“How many of you, have ever felt humbled within this room?” he shouts when I ask him what is the most important thing students gain from practicing martial arts. Nearly every hand flew up in the air. When practicing a fighting art, you put yourself in a controlled, near death experience. This can humble a person, letting your weaknesses and humanity show through, Born says.

Humility comes in many forms. When practicing martial arts, you become aware of your own weaknesses and abilities. You may have all the confidence in the world, but if you are matched up with a more skilled opponent, you are humbled by the work you still have to do to reach your full potential.

Overall though, training in a controlled environment is safe. Your teammates on the mat aren’t out to kill you, only push you to be stronger. Everyone in the room is looking out for each other, even though accidents do occasionally happen. Most of the time, it isn’t anything more than a few bruises or a bloody lip.

Joining is as easy as showing up to a practice. Any interested students are eagerly encouraged to stop by and see what they think. Ambrose particularly encourages other girls to show up and join her on the matt. This isn’t a sport solely for the boys, she says.

Tae Kwon Do class is offered as 1 credit hour courses anyone can take. Taekwondo, utilizes standing techniques with more of an emphasis on striking, kicking and punching, than Jiu Jitsu does.

“We learn the fundamentals,” class instructor Randy Laggart says. “That includes blocking, punching and kicking. I stress that is a self defense class and not learning how to beat people up.”

Taekwondo also incorporates learning forms, which are sets of prearranged attacks and counter attacks that would mimic a student fending off multiple attackers. Students use these forms to better understand how to react in certain situations. Often times, students must master a set of forms before they can earn a higher belt.

“Later in the semester, after you have learned a little control we do some sparring,” Laggart says. “We wear pads of course, to be safe. This allows students to be able to see how they would react to a fighting situations, but in a friendly atmosphere.” The main focus of the class is to teach self-defense and increase student’s physical fitness. But the biggest thing a student can take away from martial arts training is self-control, Laggert says.

“Students learn to take time to think about situations and not just jump right into using their fists,” Laggart says. “Most fights you can talk your way out of in the first place.”

There is a lot of camaraderie that forms between the students in the class, Laggert says. Which is only strengthened when students take the class for multiple semesters in a row. It takes about three years, or six semesters, for a student to earn his or her black belt through KU. Though not many students end up completing the program, due to students losing steam about halfway through.

Even if you don’t plan on becoming the next Ronda Rousey or a modern day version of Jackie Chan, taking part in martial arts can be a rewarding and humbling journey of self discovery, self awareness and self control. It can also be a way to let off steam, and break up the monotony of classes and studying.

“It’s an easy one credit hour,” Laggart says in encouragement of students enrolling in Taekwondo. “It’s a good break from the rest of your classes. It’s a great way to earn credit, stay in shape, make friends and learn how to protect yourself.”

 

Photos by Erica Staab 

2016 Resolutions

1.22.2016

Resolutions2016

Welcome back to campus! Now that we’re (sort of) back in the swing of things, at least in the sense that we’ve rolled out of bed for classes, semi-presentable in attire, and haven’t frozen in the process, it’s time for some reflection. The start of a fresh semester is just like the beginning of a new year–a perfect time to re-evaluate who you are, where you’re headed, and what you want to accomplish. We’re talking resolutions here! Sure, we’re a few weeks late on this bandwagon, but who says resolutions have to be reserved for a new year?

Here we’ve shared a few of our resolutions for the semester (it’ll help us stay accountable). Feel free to steal our ideas, share your own, and make this semester your best yet!

  1. Invite someone you’d like to get to know better to brunch.
  2. Learn how to do a French twist.
  3. Decaffeinate.
  4. Call instead of text.
  5. Perfect the messy bun.
  6. Enjoy the weather. Even the snow.
  7. Chill on the Chipotle. (It’s hard, we know.)
  8. Read more, and not just the Buzzfeed gifset “listicles” from Facebook.
  9. Speak your mind.
  10. #Confidence.

Tell us your resolutions for this semester on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

$20 Challenge: Downtown Dining

1.22.2016

By Cassidy Ritter

After eating home cooked meals over break, it’s tough to face microwave ramen or the dining hall menu again. But as a college student, you have the ultimate superpower: thriftiness. Time to dust off that budget sheet and see how far you can make your dollar stretch. This weekend, we’ve got a brand new $20 challenge to keep you from going hungry or going broke.

On average, KU students say they spend $10 to $30 eating out on the weekend. College students’ time is spread thin and their wallets are even thinner. With an average meal costing $12.75 according to The Simple Dollar, it is often a challenge for college students to eat out. So, I left my credit card at home and hit the streets of Lawrence with only $20 in hand. My goal was to eat out all weekend, a total of six meals, on a $20 budget.

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I spent $3 at Einstein Bros Bagels on a plain bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. For lunch I enjoyed two chicken tacos at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop totaling $4.34­­– my most expensive meal of the day. Spending only $9.84 on Saturday, day one, I felt I was off to a good start.

For Saturday’s dinner, my roommates and I went to McAlister’s Deli. We used our student football tickets to get $5 off our meals. With the coupon, the Stud Max, a baked potato, cost $2.50. This meal was a large portion of two loaded potatoes that could easily count for two meals.

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Student Money Management Services employee Deanna Ambrose, a junior from Frankfort, Kansas, says if students are going to eat out they are better off paying more money for a filling meal that can result in leftovers for a second meal.

On Sunday I knew I needed to be picky about where I ate if I was going to make it through the weekend with $10.16 left in my pocket. My roommates suggested I indulge in fast food restaurants. Andrea Fogarty, a junior from Chicago, and Abbey Leis, a senior from Leawood, Kansas, say they eat at Wendy’s or Taco Bell when they need to save money. I steered clear of fast food restaurants because in my eyes, they were a cop-out.

Choosing not to eat breakfast at a fast food restaurant, I spent $1.72 on a strawberry knot and glazed doughnut at Munchers Bakery Sunday morning. For lunch I enjoyed two slices of pepperoni pizza and free honey at Pyramid Pizza. The pizza cost $6.01. For dinner, I ordered a single burger at BurgerFi where add-ons like cheese, onions, lettuce and tomato are free. I paid $5.95 for the burger, borrowing $3.52 from my friend to cover what was left to pay when my $20 bill ran out.

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Over the course of the weekend I spent $23.52 on meals in Lawrence. After looking at receipts from the weekend, I talked to students at Student Money Management Services who had a few suggestions to other students eating out on a budget. Alex Alexander, a sophomore from Shawnee, Kansas, says if students can wait to eat dinner after 9 p.m. they should go to Chili’s for half price appetizers.

   Tips to Save $$$
Ask for a Student Discount: Though not many restaurants in Lawrence offer them, it never hurts to ask.
Drink water: Most places charge $2 to $2.50 for a soda, so always ask for a water cup.
Choose Carry-Out: Get meals to go to avoid adding a tip to your bill.
Use coupons: Whenever you can! Look for coupons in the student coupon book or planner, with football tickets, and through apps like Eat Street.

Ambrose recommends students to use the app Eat Street. “The more you use it to order food, the more coupons you get,” says Ambrose.

While it is nearly possible to eat out in Lawrence on just $20, it’s not the healthiest option. After six meals of doughnuts, pizza and any other bready delight Lawrence had to offer, I was ready to eat a homemade meal. My body and mind were sluggish and in desperate need of a detox. I ate bad meals because they were the cheaper option. I probably would not have made it through six healthy meals at restaurants on a $20 budget.

 

 

 

The Breakdown:

Saturday:

1)   Einstein Bros Bagels: Bagel with smear, water cup = $3
2)   Fuzzy’s Taco Shop: Two chicken tacos, water cup = $4.34
3)   McAlister’s Deli: baked potato (Spud Max), water cup = $2.50 (w/ $5 coupon from football ticket), could have counted as two meals

Sunday:

1)   Muncher’s Bakery: strawberry knot (.90), glazed doughnut (.60) = $1.72
2)   Pyramid Pizza: Two slices of pepperoni pizza (walk in), water cup, free honey = $6.01
3)   BurgerFi: single cheeseburger with onions, lettuce, tomato (all free add-ons) = $5.95

Total weekend costs = $23.52

Join our team for Spring 2016!

1.05.2016

Staff

The spring semester is coming up! We’re looking for some excited and passionate KU students to be a part of the Style on the Hill/The Hill team. If you love writing, photography, design, marketing, or social media and care about telling stories both on and off campus, SOTH may be for you. We’re an entirely student-run staff dedicated to documenting the fashion and culture of KU and Lawrence on our website, styleonthehill.com, and in our newly revived digital magazine, The Hill.

Joining our team is a great opportunity for professional experience with a publication (perfect resume builder!), plus it’s a lot of fun.

Here’s how to apply:

  1. Fill out this quick questionnaire so we can get to know you and your interests!
  2. Email us a few samples of your writing, photography, or design work at styleonthehill@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you and bringing our readers another awesome semester. See you on the hill soon, Jayhawks!

The Hill: Volume 3

12.11.2015

Volume 3 of The Hill is finally here! We are so excited to bring you a culmination of our best content of the semester. It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to publish a magazine. Though we couldn’t make it to print this time, we did everything in our power to make sure this digital issue happened.

Give our latest installment a read over at issuu.com or in the embed below! (Hint: Click in the center and it will automatically go to full screen). We’re so happy to finally be able to share this with you. Don’t forget to share on social media and download a free copy!

Thank you. It is with the utmost pleasure that I introduce you to Volume 3.

Heard on the Hill

12.08.2015

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It’s the final #HOTH of the semester, guys! Here are a few last laughs to get you through our last week of actual classes (We threw in a couple extra good ones). Good luck on finals next week! And if you need some chill tunes to keep you motivated while you study, don’t forget to check out our latest Spotify playlist. 

  • Girl: “My idiot ex just bought melatonin off of me instead of adderall. I hope he fails every final.”
  • Guy: “I’m going to a Star Wars movie marathon the day it comes out. It starts at 1 am the night before and then the new one comes out at 7 Thursday night. I already know it’s going to be the best 24 hours of my entire life.”
  • “That’s my goal in life. Not to be successful, but to be friends with successful people.”
  • “My new thing I’m looking for in a boyfriend is rich and comatose so I don’t have to talk to him and I can spend his money.”
  • I’ve taken enough DayQuil for an entire army but we aren’t missing senior night.”
  • “He was like ‘let’s go on a date’ and I said ‘dear god no.’ Was that too harsh?”
  • “My boobs didn’t grow in until my sophomore year of college, so there’s that.”
  • “I can’t get this guy out of my head, like ever since I saw him last…hey are those chips?”
  • Girl: “The most applicable study tip I read today was, ‘laminate your study guides so the tears roll off.'”
  • “I used to not like cilantro, but then I became an adult.”
  • Girl: “Like what the fuck did I worry about in high school? My job?”
  • Girl 2: “You couldn’t even drive there! You weren’t even a real human!”
  • “I’m taking this class for pass fail so I don’t give a fuuuuck!”

The Quest For a Thin Waist

12.07.2015

By Hannah Sundermeyer

Beauty is pain, but they never told me it would hurt this much.

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I shoved my skin into angry folds in an effort to make the eighteen tiny metal hooks meet one another. Taking shallow breaths, I sucked in until I could see my rib cage protruding in the mirror. I grimaced at the pain-stricken reflection looking back at me as I continued to try and wrap the thick black fabric around my abdomen.

In a quest for an hourglass figure, women across the country are going to desperate measures to achieve the look that many can only achieve through Photoshop. We live in a generation that seeks instant gratification and quick fixes, especially when it comes to our bodies.

The shape wear industry is expected to earn around $680 million dollars by the end of this year, with the help of celebrity endorsements booming the sales of modern day corsets, dubbed “waist trainers,” and spandex. In an interview with Net-A-Porter, Jessica Alba said she used not only one, but two different types of waist trainers to maintain her figure and get rid of post-baby chub. Amber Rose flaunts her miniscule middle on social media, and credits her Waist Gang Society corset for her self-proclaimed “milfin” body.

I was interested to see if the results that many celebrities advocated for were true. In preparation for a looming spring break trip, I also was looking for an additional supplement to my workout regimen. On the afternoon of September 12th, I ripped the plastic off my Premadonna waist trainer with both a sense of anticipation and dread. I spent four incredibly long weeks wearing the garment seven to eight hours a day. However it always felt like much, much longer.

Posted to thelingerieaddict.com, a waist trainer works efficiently because women’s rib cages are naturally flexible. Along with bones in the pelvis as well as organs, ribs and all of the above are malleable during pregnancy, which is why the rib cage is connected to the breastbone with cartilage. As a woman’s body grows and changes the internal components are able to adapt along with it. However, waist training manipulates that flexibility in an unnecessary way. Does it work? Yes. But it does not serve a natural purpose like that of carrying a child.

Corsets are defined as a fitting undergarment stiffened with whalebone or similar material and often capable of being tightened by lacing, worn especially by women to shape and support the body. Shockingly, women have been squeezing themselves into these contraptions for the last 500 years.

According to VictoriasPast.com’s “Mini History of the Corset,” “Women were thought of as the weaker sex, therefore their minds and bodies were weak. So the corset was deemed morally and medically necessary. Tight lacing was considered virtuous—a loose corset was probably a sign of a loose woman.” However, working class women were excluded from this trend, as a corseted waist often reflected wealth and social status. Smelling salts were also a commonality, as Victorian women fainted on a regular basis due to a lack of oxygen.

In Valerie Steele’s book “Fashion and Eroticism, Ideals of Feminine Beauty from the Victorian Era to the Jazz Age,” it is stated that on average, women’s waists have been recorded from as small as 14 to 22 inches. The designer Christian Dior later brought them back into popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s as a slim waistline and bigger hips became coveted in the fashion world. However the title corset was retired, replaced instead with girdle.

The corset comes equipped with three rows of bra like hooks. After a quick Google search, I planned out my “cinching schedule” according to the blog posts of fellow waist training enthusiasts, and with the extra strength of my roommate, strapped myself in. At the conclusion of each week it is advised to move on to the smaller set of cinches. My initial thoughts on the first day were that there was absolutely no chance I’d be able to fit into the smallest set anytime in the near future.

I was absolutely miserable for 99% of the time. I now know why Kanye West is never smiling in any of his paparazzi photos—because he has to put up with Kim in a waist trainer.

Cinching yourself into this modern day torture device is only half the battle. Once you have it on, everything becomes a million times more difficult. Sitting in class? It digs into your boobs. I had to get up for a “bathroom break” and take a lap around the building at least five times to get rid of the pain. Working out? I hope you don’t expect to breathe. Lying down seemed to be the only time during the day in which I felt somewhat comfortable.

I have to admit; there are some days where I just couldn’t bear the thought of spending 8 hours with my kidneys hand in hand and my stomach in my throat.

The impact on your organs is just one of the supposed factors that go hand in hand with this body-morphing trend.

“There is extremely little scientific data out there on this, but for a good reason.  Why would anyone suspect that this would do any good for you?” Dr. Mary J. Minkin of Yale School of Medicine said.

Manipulating your body in such a way could imminently suggest harmful effects on your inner organs; however she disagrees.

“There’s a lot of room in the belly for intestines to move around. Is somebody going to strangulate their bowels? It’s hard to imagine you could get anything tight enough to do that for you. So there isn’t any data suggesting permanent organ damage, it’s just awfully uncomfortable more than anything else. “

If somebody wants to lose weight, Minkin recommends simply adjusting your diet and getting a lot of exercise. When it comes long-term effects, wearing a waist trainer doesn’t do anything for weight loss. She says that wearing the heavier shape wear will increase your sweat production, but when you drink water, you will gain it all back. Waist trainers will not help you lose any fat.

“This is nothing new. If you go back to reading Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” Scarlett O’Hara supposedly had a 17-inch waist that she got from wearing a corset. Basically, people wore these ridiculous corsets in the old times, and they didn’t die,” Minkin said.

waist training

While I am far from a fictional 17-inch waist, I pride myself on being incredibly health conscious, especially when it comes to eating right. However I noticed when wearing the waist cincher I could barely finish my measured portions without feeling uncomfortable. The corset acts as a deterrent to overeat, which I’m sure plays, a role in the additional weight loss that wearers associate with the garment.  

Amy Schroeder, a senior from Colby, Kansas, has been wearing a waist trainer off and on for the last five months. Initially she decided to purchase it because she read the garment helped with posture. However, as a signed model with The I & I Agency, she decided it might also help her maintain her thin body type.

“I remember my agent telling me that I couldn’t be eating fast food and that there was no in-between, between being a model and a plus size model,” Schroeder said. “You have to either be incredibly skinny or noticeably plus size.”

Even after a few months of use, she noticed an improvement in her posture and waist size. Schroeder has now limited her corset use to her workouts only because she feels like she is getting the full effect when she’s active.

“It makes you sweat even more and I think it helps shape the changing muscle,” Schroeder said.

I’m going to be blunt. This thing makes you sweat like a portable sauna. The tightness of the garment results in a bit of, well, “drippage” all over your torso. I mean, what could be more attractive? I ended up cutting off the tops of old tank tops to slide over my stomach to create a makeshift barrier and soak up the sweat. This tight and moist environment can cause a variety of skin infections and irritations like yeast infections and folliculitis. (Imagine itchy, red bumps a million times more irritating than your worst case of razor burn.) In some extreme cases, irreversible scarring also can occur.

According to an article published in the LA Times in April, shape wear can also cause a neurological condition called meralgia paresthetica, “which causes painful burning and tingling in the thighs when there is too much pressure on nerves that run through the groin.” This can result in infertility and other reproductive issues.

I chose to not to tell my mom initially about my little experiment, as she worries more than the average parent. But one weekend when I came home to do laundry, I got lazy and she found it hanging from my hamper.

She started texting me to stop. You cannot be wearing that waist-slimmer thing. I have heard so many stories of all these women not able to have kids now and kidney damage. Hannah this is super serious and non-repairable.

Despite the maternal warnings I was receiving on an almost daily basis, I was determined to finish out my trial, despite the angst—both mental and physical—that I was experiencing. For the record, wearing a waist trainer for seven hours a day makes me a very grouchy individual.

Why the hell are women held to these outrageous standards? According to Bradley University’s The Body Project, “The compelling fact here is that just as women started to make dramatic gains in the areas of education, employment and politics, the ideal female body began to look like a malnourished preadolescent girl, weak, emaciated and non-threatening. Women may have been gaining in freedom and power, but they were increasingly encouraged to discipline their bodies through diet and exercise to conform to ideals that were almost impossible to achieve.”

By week three and sans roommate assistance, I could easily cinch myself into the last row of hooks, quite opposite of my initial prediction. I have to admit; despite the drastic measures you have to go to, it really does work. I started feeling more confident with the waist trainer on underneath clothing, giving myself the illusion of curves on my more naturally straight midsection. Whenever I wore tighter fitting clothes, I received multiple compliments on how small my waist looked—but at what cost?

Throughout my journey with a waist trainer, I feel as though it serves as more of a psychological reminder to eat smaller portions and get active, as much as the corset is a physical one. It’s not easy to forget that you are dieting when you spend most of your day in a state of semi-bearable suffocation—but my best advice? Eat right, hit the gym and skip the waist trainer to save your sanity.

Playlist: Study Motivation

12.01.2015

study playlist

Finals are around the corner…but that means the end of the semester is, too! We’re counting down the days. For everyone that has to shut themselves in their room with headphones on to get any real studying done, we made a playlist for you. A nice combination of chilled out songs and motivational jams, this playlist will help you through whatever hell finals week threatens to bring you. Featuring some favorites from Twenty One Pilots, Robert Delong, and Ellie Goulding, plus a couple re-imagined covers, you can spin this playlist until you pass out on your textbook.

Hang in there, guys. And good luck!

Heard on the Hill

11.24.2015

HOTH 2

  • “The best part about going home to Colorado for Thanksgiving break is that I can smoke weed right after I eat.”
  • “I’ll pretty much do anything for a quick 20 bucks.”
  • “Grades are important, but if you cheat someone will die.”
  • Guy #1: “Five Guys is pretty steak-and-potatoes: boring.”
    Guy #2: “But it’s still good.”
    Guy #1: “So let’s go ALL the time then!”
    Guy #2: “Serious, selection is not important when it’s that good.”
  • “It seriously didn’t work? Well, fuck me sideways…”
  • “I just want to get hit by a car. Because either I won’t have to deal with shit anymore or I’ll just be injured and I’ll make bank.”
  • “I was peeing my pants on stage when I was singing karaoke but I just kept going for my fans.”
  • “Yeah I made out with him for a while because he was nice. I like to think I’m pretty polite.”
  • Girl 1: “Let me drive you, it’s dark.”
    Girl 2: “No, I’m going to do a light sprint. Plus if I die you can have all of my things. Even the $10 in my bank account.”
  • “We need to start being aware of more shit, you know?”

Age of Athleisure

11.23.2015

By Hannah Pierangelo

Yoga

KU Fit Instructor leads a relaxing yoga class at the Ambler Recreation Center.

Among the rows of ellipticals, treadmills, and weight machines at Ambler Rec, fashionable gym wear strikes. Strappy-back sport bras, vividly patterned leggings, sleek-and-shaping yoga pants, and, of course, a sea of sneakers in every color combination imaginable.

Fashion meets athleticism, it seems, in a fast growing trend that’s sweeping the nation. According the global information company The NPD Group, US consumers spent more than $300 billion in the active wear industry last year. With the market expanding in a such a huge way, it’s not hard to see why an increasing number of companies are eager to jump in.

Stores like Forever 21, Gap, Free People, and H&M are among a few fashionable clothing stores that have joined the trend and added lines of active wear. In fact, H&M’s collaboration with Alexander Wang last year for sporty, stylish active wear and casual apparel was massively popular and sold out almost immediately.

The Business of Fashion guesses that the trend for wearing gym clothes beyond the gym most likely spurred from 80s aerobics culture, when sweatbands, legwarmers, and leotards were fashionable in every day outfits. Now, the trend has turned to yoga pants, athletic shorts, and stylish sneakers.

Yoga 3

For many, it’s comfort that reigns above all. Functionality still matters, and the added fashion is just a bonus.

“I typically wear athletic clothes on campus and while I am lounging because it is comfortable to me and looks better than wearing a big t-shirt and shorts,” says Lanie Leek, a senior journalism major. “It’s easy to wear in any weather. I am able to layer and sometimes I still feel like I have a sense of style while wearing workout clothes.”

Leek says she prefers to wear Gap athletic clothes because of their cost, but also wears Lululemon for its high quality clothing, despite the price tag. Her favorite item is a green Lululemon tank top that she wears all year long.

“I like to express my style with gym wear by pairing fun patterns together and wearing bright color in the summer and darker colors in the winter,” Leek says.

Since gym wear has suddenly gained a sense of style, it’s not uncommon for athletic clothing to be worn casually, too. It’s becoming increasingly popular to wear gym wear everywhere. Yoga pants are attending brunch with friends and fashionable sports bras are dressing up casual street style. While this is nothing new on campus (we’re all too aware of the important role Nike sneakers and leggings play in college day-to-day style), it’s also a hot trend with other demographics.

Dawn Dowers, 46, is a competitive bodybuilder from Wichita, Kansas, and also a health and wellness coach with Isagenix.

“I like to wear stylish athletic wear to the gym, but first and foremost, fit and function have to come first,” says Dowers. There are a lot of times I’m in my gym clothes almost all day long.”

Dowers estimates 90 percent of her gym clothes are Lululemon, and the rest are either Nike, Under Armor, and Victoria’s Secret.

“The reason is they simply hold up. Yes, you may pay more initially, but in the long run, it saves me money because they wear the best,” she says.

For Dowers, stylish and functional gym wear matter beyond comfort. They’re part of her job. “I take all of my gym clothes and have them branded with my company’s logo,” she explains. “Since my business is in the Health & Wellness Arena, I do not walk into a gym without being branded. That also plays into why I’m very aware of how my attire looks. If I look like I just threw something on this morning, it’s not going to make a very good impression for my business.”

From work to play, and everything in between in the day, gym clothes seem to fit almost any situation. According to The Huffington Post, we’re now living in the Age of Athleisure.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NDP Group, says, “Casual and ‘athleisure’ have taken on a life of their own. This is no longer a trend—it is now a lifestyle that is too comfortable, for consumers of all ages, for it to go away anytime soon.”

Photos by Hannah Pierangelo

Street Style: Blazer Daze

11.20.2015

christina lord christina lord street style

Christina Lord / French Literature graduate student

How would you define your style?
A lot of things, but more professional since I teach.
Where did you get that bag?
At a consignment shop before I moved here. 

Photos by Abby Liudahl

The $20 Challenge

11.18.2015

by Audrey Danser

I love thrifting; call it my version of a sport. The thrill of the hunt takes me back time and time again—sometimes I find a gem, other times I leave the shop empty handed. Of course, I often find myself among a sea of shoulder pads and nylon fabrics, but hidden between grandma’s silk tunic and grandpa’s old-fashioned knit tie is potential. Potential to create a style that no one else can mimic!

I attribute some of my most unique looks to my second-hand finds. It is easy to rationalize experimentation when you have a seeming endless supply of creative potential to pick from and the price tag is less than a cup of coffee. With $20, let me show you how it is done.

Look: Natural Monochrome

audrey full

arm edit

boots

audrey top

Tunic: Salvation Army, $2.99

Skirt: Salvation Army, $2.99

Boots: Goodwill, $9.99

Jewelry: garage sale, $3.00

Total: $18.97

There you have it. A quick, easy look that doesn’t break the bank. Think you’re up to the $20 challenge? Show us your look on social media (tag @styleonthehill).

 

Heard on the Hill

11.17.2015

HOTH 2

  • *Student on the phone*: “Yes mom, I’m studying for my tests. Okay, I will talk to you later.”
    *Turns to friend beside him*: “So how much are you selling the Adderall for?
  • “All I remember is my flask hitting the concrete and that’s when I came to.”
  • “Whatever, I don’t give a shit about him anymore. I hope he dies alone with his stupid man bun.”
  • Girl: “How old do you have to be to sign up for farmersonly.com? I’m getting desperate for a formal date.”
  • “I said, ‘did you smell my armpits?’ They smell like margaritas.”
  • “I can’t wake up this early anymore.”
  • “Poets probably hate it when we interpret their poems wrong. They’re probably like, ‘stop interpreting my flowers as vaginas.’”
  • “I’m so confused. More and more everyday.”
  • “I was like, ‘I’m either going to punch him in the face or flick him.’ So I flicked him like seven or eight times.”
  • “I’m so poor I had scrambled eggs and wine for dinner last night.”

Heard on the Hill

11.10.2015

HOTH 2

  • ​”Steak and Shake was a better decision than hooking up last night.”
  • “I just found out my dog is 5 pounds overweight. Now I’ll probably have fat children and a fat husband too. I’ll just have a reality show called ‘My Fat Life.'”
  • Girl: “Do you think you’ll get married after you graduate?”
    Friend: “Absolutely not, but he’s a great lay for senior year.”
  • Girl 1:”Does he like, say words?”
    Girl 2: “Yeah, I think he does, but he just doesn’t know a lot of them.”
  • ​”Animal crackers are weird because it’s like are they sweet or savory?”
  • “I just cried to my dad on the phone for hours because he keeps asking me what I’m doing after graduation.”
  • “Anthony Bourdain. That man could write a novel about a flip flop and I would read it.”
  • Girl: “I don’t want to gross you out, but I was totally throwing up all morning.”
  • “I’ve been thinking I should share something controversial on Facebook soon.”
  • Professor: “How many of you travel?”
    *Nobody raises their hand*
     Professor: “You guys don’t travel? What’s wrong with you guys?”
     Student: “Um, we’re broke college kids struggling to pay rent.”

Trending Buns—Man Buns, That Is

11.09.2015

By Cassidy Ritter

Man bun rocker Brogan Moroney’s hair rests a little below his shoulders at about 12 inches in length. Until this summer, Moroney, a senior from Overland Park, Kan., never put his hair up; instead he always wore a hat. When he woke up for the first day of his internship, he didn’t know what to do with his hair so he put it up into as much of a bun as he could. “It was kind of a pain in the ass, but I wore it and I was like, ‘Oh, everyone’s going to think I’m a huge hippie,’” Moroney says. This is when Moroney first partook in the man bun trend.

Brogan Moroney, a senior from Overland Park, Kan., wears his man bun with shorts and a t-shirt.

Brogan Moroney, a senior from Overland Park, Kan., wears his man bun with shorts and a t-shirt.

First, what is a man bun? It’s not the butt of a hot guy walking to class or breaking a sweat at the gym. A man bun is a hairstyle when a man with shoulder length or longer hair secures it in a bun towards the top of the head. Some men use gel while others use the unwashed look for a more rugged feel. Either way, it’s supposed to look like men didn’t put much time into their hair, even if they did.

“The man bun looks like you didn’t try, but it was such a pain in the ass to grow,” Moroney says.

Buddha is the first trendsetter of the man bun, which dates back to sixth and seventh century BCE. Next came the Terracotta Warriors from third century BCE, according to Male Standard, a men’s online magazine. These warriors were among the armies of Qin Shi Haung, the first Emperor of China. Fast forward through the samurai time period to George Harrison in the ‘70s and you’ll find male groupies rocking the man bun hairstyle, too.

After the ‘70s, man buns were labeled as hippie hair until 2003 when David Beckham reinvented the bun to a slicked back hairstyle signifying game time.

So when did the man bun become what it is today? This look combines hipster and hippie with a nice beard or scruff to top it off. Similar to other fashion trends, the bun became popular when celebrity actors started to wear it. Take Ivan Vanko in 2010, playing Whiplash in Iron Man 2, who wore half his hair in a bun and the other half down to his shoulders with a clean-cut mustache and small beard. Then Tom Brady wore a similar quaff in 2011. After Brady, many other popular celebrities followed suit including Colin Farrell, Jared Leto, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harry Styles and that hottie strolling to class on campus.

Today, there are more than 26,000 posts with “#manbuns” on Instagram and more than 40 accounts dedicated to this style.

David Cooper, a graduate student from Overland Park, wears a full beard to compliment his man bun.

David Cooper, a graduate student from Overland Park, wears a full beard to compliment his man bun.

Bob Brandt, owner of Malls Barber Shop, says he thinks the man bun is “for the younger people of this time.” Brandt has owned the barbershop for 47 years. “They [hairstyles] come and they go,” he says. “We’ve had some we didn’t like and we cut them anyways.”

Jeffrey Brown, a barber at Malls Barber Shop, thinks the bun will be worn in Lawrence for another two years, but he will be happy to see it go. Just like any other hairstyle, people wearing man buns will look back in 15 years when they are in a professional job and wonder what they were thinking, he says.  

Hairstylist Alyssa Keberlein first noticed the style transforming from actors to college students about nine months ago. Keberlein’s not a fan of the style, though, which could be why she thought it would only stick around for another year. She said the man bun is not attractive and looks girly. Katie Thompson, a freshman from Colorado Springs, Colo., says man buns frustrate her. “I don’t have much hair so it frustrates me when I see a guy with better hair than me.”

Contrary to Thompson, Natalie Schelbar, a freshman from Tulsa, Okla., says she loves the man buns. Schelbar said if she dated a guy with a man bun, she would make sure the two of them had matching buns.

Not all girls’ opinions of the bun are black and white, though. There is a fine line between a good man bun and a bad bun in my mind. A good man bun is defined by the his style. I, for one, am not a fan of the man bun in LFK worn by hipsters and hippies, but find it to be a sexy style among surfers in Australia.

I could never date a guy with a man bun unless he rocks the look with a surfboard in hand. The man bun in LFK looks like a lazy college look for guys who didn’t want to pay for a haircut. This looks says: “I woke up late for class and threw my hair up as I ran out the door.” If I was on the west coast and saw a man bun, I wouldn’t think twice about the look. Near any beach town, the man bun becomes a statement that says instead: “I wake up early to surf and don’t need hair in my face to catch a rad wave.”

If a guy wants to wear a man bun, he needs a strong, wide face with facial hair, says Monica Funk, a junior from Overland Park, Kan. She thinks the bun works on some guys and not on others.

Collectively, the challenge with buns seems to be having long enough hair. Christian Hardy, a sophomore from Derby, Kan., began growing out his hair 11 months ago. His hair now reaches the back of his collar but says he still struggles to put all his hair up. To compensate, he wears his hair half up, half down with gel on top and along the sides for a cleaner look, though occasionally he tosses on a hat to avoid dealing with the awkward length.

Brogan Moroney said he, too, went through many awkward stages and styles until reaching optimal length for a man bun. Moroney, like many, began with a buzz cut and let it grow from there.

“What you don’t know about man buns is you don’t just grow your hair, you have to cut it all the time,” he says. “So then I started getting a trim every couple months where basically they just cut the back so I wouldn’t get a mullet and then let the top grow and now it’s all even.”

It’s “been there, done that” for Mike Maicke, a junior from Chicago who regularly wears a compact man bun with minimal stragglers. Maicke said he didn’t know how to tie his hair when he began growing it out.

Mike Maicke, a junior from Chicago, sports his man bun on campus with a flannel and jeans.

Mike Maicke, a junior from Chicago, sports his man bun on campus with a flannel and jeans.

“It kind of took me awhile to get the routine down to do it myself, which is pretty embarrassing,” he says. “It’s something you should know how to do. But yeah, my hair was at an ideal length so after some practice I was just putting in beautiful buns daily right out of the shower.” Before learning how to do it himself, girls at bars would put his hair into a bun, he said. After about a month of practice, Maicke said he became used to putting it up and it now takes about 10 seconds to do.

Photos by Cassidy Ritter

                                                      Variations on the #manbun
Typical:
This look is a combination of ‘70s hippie meets today’s hipster. It’s an unwashed, just rolled out of bed look generally accompanied by a beard and mustache. A typical man bun pairs nicely with a flannel and leather boots or jeans and a graphic, faded t-shirt.  
Slick: 
This is for the professionals—think red carpet Jared Leto at the 2014 Golden Globes. A slick man bun requires gel along the top, sides, and sometimes bottom of the bun to contain stragglers. Unlike the typical man bun, this style calls for a suit or nice button down shirt with sleek dress shoes.
Shaved: 
This hairstyle may be hard to find around Lawrence, but it’s still part of the man bun family. This look is the reverse mullet—it’s all about party in the front (or top if you will) and seriousness in the back. Take a one or two length buzz cut along the sides and back leaving long hair up top. To style, use gel to slick the top in hair in place and create a clean cut bun with no stragglers.
Braided
This seems to be a popular look, but provides more of a challenge for men. Brogan Moroney once wore the braided man bun for a KU football game but says it’s not something he could do regularly even though he received compliments galore. Mike Maicke says, “I love the progressiveness in our society with the male hair so I guess I’m a big supporter of that. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to perfect the braid that might be a little bit out of my skill level. But if you have the right hair and the right slight of hand and can do it on your own then that’s something you should go for.” If you see this look, congratulate the guy rocking it because he put in extra effort this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campus Q&A

By Chiaki Tomimatsu

You might recall when Style on the Hill introduced a trendy new hairstyle called the man-braid a few weeks ago. Does that mean the man bun is a thing of the past? The answer is no. Here’s James and Shane, two KU students, to share their experiences with the man-bun.

Shane  james

Why did you choose to have a man bun?

James: “Do you know Jon Bellion? Because of him. Also, it makes me feel pretty.”

Shane: “I chose to have a man bun because I enjoy many aspects of having long hair. Buns are a good way to style long hair and very convenient in most situations. Also girls really dig man buns!”

How long have you been growing your hair?

James: “The top part, over a year.”

Shane: “I got a haircut about two and a half months ago to switch to the undercut man bun I have now. Before that I had a regular man bun for about half a year. It takes about a year for my hair to grow long enough to put it in a bun.”

When do you tie your hair in a bun?

James: “All the time except for when I go to bed.

Shane: “Right now I have it in a bun about 50 percent of the time and wear headwear the other 50 percent. When I had a full man bun I wore my hair down much more.”

Do you like having a man bun?

James: “I do, I like being referred to as the man bun guy.”

Shane: “I really enjoy having a man bun. It lets me express myself and isn’t as plain as other haircuts.”

Photos by Emma Creighton

Dejembe is for joy: A tribal beat for KU

11.05.2015

By Erica Staab 

It’s a Monday night and about ten people are gathered in a semi-circle, each with a tribal drum between their knees. Their hands slap the head of the drums, playing along with the director, Dylan Bassett, in a warm up that sounds more like a heartbeat than an exercise. The rhythm transports us from the stuffy practice room in Murphy Hall on the University of Kansas campus, to a far away country in West Africa. This is where the music and drums being played originated from.

“Slap tone tone, slap tone tone,” Bassett says in a voice just loud enough to be heard over the drum beat, instructing the group on the rhythms and songs to practice next.

The African Drum Ensemble at KU, known as ADEKU, performs on campus to bring a sense of community to students and beyond. You may have heard their tribal sound at a Hawk week event, or danced to the rhythms at the annual KU Dance Marathon, where they perform every year. ADEKU was founded in 2007 by Khalid El Hassan, the Associate Director of the Kansas African Studies Center, through a grant from Chancellor Hemenway. The ensemble plays music from three main areas in West Africa: the ancient empire of Mali, Wolof of Senegal and Ghana.

This year, the group consists of around twenty members. There are two sections within the larger group, an advanced group for those who have experience playing, and a beginner group for those who might not have ever touched a drum before.

A sense of community
The drums, ornate and earthy, are called djembes. They are held between the knees and played with the fingertips and palm. There are also the dunun and the djabara, both of which are slightly larger and are played with a mallet. These are the drums from the ancient empire of Mali. Wolof of Senegal and Ghana have drums of their own that the group also plays.

“Traditionally, these drums were played by tribal members in order to celebrate different occasions,” said Kimberly Simonetti, a KU graduate. All the rhythms have their original purposes. Some were played at weddings and ceremonies. Others were part of a right of passages.”

One traditional rhythm the group plays originates from the dance of the strong men in North East Guinea, Bassett says. When two young men within a tribe had an issue with one another, they could get together and fight it out. This particular rhythm was played while they fought. Now, this ceremonially piece is played at parties and other gatherings to dance to, he says.

Traditional West African music isn’t written down, it is passed down from generation to generation. This is still how much of the music is learned and spread across the world today. Drummers travel to West Africa and watch others playing the rhythms in order to learn them for themselves. Traveling to West Africa and seeing rhythms that were familiar and learning new rhythms was an inspiring experience for both Bassett and Simonetti. Bassett took videos of his own to help the group here at KU learn more of the traditional rhythms.

One of the original meanings of the word djembe means to come together in peace, Bassett says. Playing together is a way for people to come together authentically. “It hits you in a deep place when you are playing music together. It speaks in a way words can’t speak.”

This music is for everyone
At the beginning of each semester, interested students are encouraged to stop by and participate in a class. No matter what your experience level is, this group welcomes you in. If you are interested in joining, make sure to come to the first meeting of each semester. After that, new members are no longer accepted.

Leah Stockton, a freshman minoring in African Studies from San Antonio, Texas discovered ADEKU while browsing the different KU clubs related to Africa. She had no prior instrumental instruction before wandering into the first ADEKU rehearsal of this semester. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be any good at it at all,” Stockton says. “I don’t want to say it was easier than I thought, but I was able to do it.”

Learning a new lick takes time and repetition. The group’s hands fumble as they try to get it down. But when the rhythm comes together, it’s a powerful sound. “When you play it’s relaxing, but you’re also focusing really hard,” Stockton says. “And once you fall into the rhythm it just feels really good.”

Along with beginners, the group also has a place for advanced drummers to really get their groove on and learn new skills and techniques.

A well seasoned percussionist, Donovan Miller, a KU sophomore from Woodbury, Minn., says a friend of his got him involved in the group. He has been playing drums since he was 3 years old.
“Drums are just fun,” he says.

Watching Miller play, you can see his passion as his body is overcome by the beat and he dances along. As the group strikes the drums, their whole bodies seem to be engulfed by the sound. The connection with the rhythm is palpable as the players smile and laugh with each other. When the song ends, there is nothing but joy and quiet as the last reverberations settle.

“Djembe is for joy,” Bassett says with a smile on his face.

Heard on the Hill

11.03.2015

HOTH 2

  • “Taste that Kansas City cock in your mouth New York. It tastes like barbecue.”
  • “Who needs sleep when you can overdose on coffee?”
  • “She’s kind of cute I guess if you’re into trolly bitches.”
  • Girl: “My blood’s pumping beer at this point.”
    Guy: “Isn’t that a normal thing?”
    Girl: “It has been since last night.”​
  • “Of course they bring out brownies on day 1 of my diet.”
  • “I feel like you would have fun in a room by yourself.”
  • “I need four shots of Crown and four shots of something free.”
  • “We don’t give out free shots…”
  • “Acid, man.”
  • “These squirrels are way too fucking comfortable. At this point I could bend over and pet one.”
  • “Oh, I’m getting stressed, time to take my shirt off.”
  • “Freshmen keep you young.”
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