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With Austin Fashion Week beginning Thursday, the city will be brimming with innovative new clothes, and, with the introduction of new looks, the dress of the past seems even more antiquated.

Today, UT students boast a wide range of personal styles — varying from oversized T-shirts and Nike running shorts for women to the more expressive attire that one might see on the runway this week. Rarely will a student sacrifice overall comfort for style, and, if he does, it tends to be the exception to the norm rather than the trend.

Such a relaxed clothing paradigm, however, was uncommon 50 years ago. In the Aug. 16, 1963, edition of The Daily Texan, an article titled “Fashions Reveal the Collegian” surveyed a variety of clothing trends on campus. The article, part of a special edition welcoming incoming freshmen, reported that students were taking a more formal approach toward outfits in academia.

“Dress at the University can be described as casual for women and more formal for men, a reversal of the usual state of things,” the article said. 

Some students, embracing their newfound freedom, chose to physically alter their appearance as an expression of liberation from parental subjection. The first section of the article, titled “Blondes have more fun,” said: “College life is likely to go to the head of the newly entering girl. With Mama far away in Pflugerville, the forbidden wares of the dye merchants cause many a coed to succumb, and it is the rare maiden’s tresses which aren’t at least tipped or frosted.”

Women’s clothing tended to be much more modest at the time of the article’s publication. 

“Wear a raincoat over your shorts if heading to the Women’s Gym,” the article said. “Otherwise save them for picnics and retreats. And though short shorts may be coming back in vogue nationally, they have never been in vogue with housemothers at women’s residence halls.”

For men, the dichotomy between now and then in terms of fashion is even more pronounced. 

“Campus dress for males is usually very ivy: if jeans are worn at all, wheat jeans are preferred to blue jeans by most,” the article said. “Both solid colors and conservative prints
are acceptable.” 

Today, one might view the fashion trends of 1963 as old-fashioned. However, at the time, they seemed innovative and freeing. 

“Coeds have become for footloose of late, breaking the bonds of black suede loafers and white crew socks,” the article said. “These are still very popular, and the wise coed should have at least seven pairs of white socks — tops turned UP.”

Perhaps the most different aspect of clothing between 1963 and today doesn’t even relate to fashion trends. 

“The most important part of the wardrobe, considering Austin weather, is rainwear,” the article said. 

With only 83 rainy days per year, the “trenchcoats and black umbrellas” UT men carried in 1963 seem out of place.

Members of the UT community begin the 3rd Annual Longhorn Run on campus Saturday. Photo courtesy of Mark Tway. 

With the firing of Smokey the Cannon by London Olympic silver medalist and UT alumnus Trey Hardee, members of the UT community endured a run of two miles or 10K for a campus fundraising event.

More than 2,100 people registered for the 3rd Annual Longhorn Run, with about 80 percent being UT students or alumni, according to Jennifer Speer, associate director of RecSports.

Speer said this year’s event focused on UT traditions with more student organizations becoming involved — including Texas Blazers, Orange Jackets, Texas Cowboys and Texas Soccer Club — compared to last year.

“We incorporated different spirit and tradition groups along the route,” Speer said. “Last year, we had Longhorn Band and Smokey, which was great, but we really wanted to enhance that to give a very UT event, not something you would find in the city of Austin.”

For Saturday’s event, UT spokeswoman Cynthia Posey said UTPD did not have any reports that were filed. Last year, members of the Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition protested for the University to agree to join the Worker’s Rights Consortium, an organization that monitors the working conditions of appeal manufactures in foreign factories. UT joined the consortium on July 18, 2012.

Student Government and RecSports co-sponsored the event, and Nike helped organize it. All proceeds of the run go to the Student Government Excellence Fund, which goes out to student organizations to put on social equality and social justice events, according to Speer. She said the amount of money raised will not be known until June because the organizers still have to pay invoices, but last year’s run brought in $30,000.

Angga Pratama, civil engineering honors senior and student chairman of Longhorn Run, said the event has multiple parts to its purpose.

“This is a run that we wanted to do both to give back to students and the University where everybody’s active,” Pratama said. “This is the case, on campus, to run around and be active.”

Accounting junior Simi Mathur said her interest in running and her professor Brent Iverson — chemistry and biochemistry department chairman — inspired her to run the race.

“I really like running and I think it is great to get everyone out and join in on this run,” Mathur said. “Even though you can make it as serious or as fun as you want, it is kind of more like uniting us together to do something that is really good for us.”

Top male runner in the 10K run was Scott Rantall of Cedar Park with a time of 32:25. Jessie-Raye Bodenhamer finished first as the top female in the 10K race at 35:27. Christopher Ramirez was the top male in the two mile run at 10:02 and Corey Timmerman of Austin completed the race as the top woman with a time of 12:04.

Some of the race prizes included custom boots, a belt buckle and Nike FuelBands. Pratama said he hopes that the Longhorn Run becomes a staple for the spring semester.

“When people look through their calendars for the spring semester,” Pratama said, “We want Longhorn Run to be something that they check and be like ‘I need to save that day for the Longhorn Run because it’s something I look forward to in the spring time.’”

The other day, while wearing an oversized T-shirt and Nike shorts, I read the column titled “Don’t short your identity.” As a sorority member, I was upset that I was being judged based on my wardrobe choices. It is bold to assume that all girls who wear this “uniform” conform to a certain personality and lifestyle.

Women all over campus wear this outfit for a variety of reasons. It is low-maintenance and convenient for the active lifestyle that Austin encourages, and it is comfortable, especially on hot days. These are all good reasons to wear shorts and baggy T-shirts, but it is also obvious to any observer that the “uniform” is a trend. In the ‘70s, people wore bell-bottom jeans to mimic stars like Farrah Fawcett. Women imitating Madonna in the ‘80s wore leg warmers and shoulder pads. In the ‘90s, women clothed themselves in accordance with the female cast members of the TV show ‘Saved By The Bell.’

Big shirts and Nike shorts fulfill a social role established long before our time. Trends  in every generation reflect the styles of powerful and famous women. Big shirts and Nike shorts reflect the importance of comfort and the dedication women these days show to school and learning. The UT campus is not a runway; we should spend our time studying rather than shopping and preparing our identities for display.

College women of previous eras dressed to impress. Judging by the photos in old Cactus yearbooks, UT women appear to have spent a long time preparing their poufy hairdos and perfect outfits. I think it speaks volumes about the sense of self that college women on this campus have advanced that now we don’t feel the need to be ‘made-up’ at all times. The shorts and T-shirts suggest college women have grown more confident and are leading more independent, goal-driven lives. Beginning in the 21st century, women took on a new role in school and at work. We work hard and expect equality without handouts or special treatment. I wear loose-fitting clothes to demonstrate that I have more to offer than just my looks. I challenge people to see me for my mind, beliefs and ideas rather than the curves of my body or style of my clothes.

It is hypercritical to make assumptions, draw conclusions and criticize a group of people based on their apparel choices. Now, more than ever, women on this campus are proving they are individuals with unique characteristics and personalities. Have a problem with big T-shirts and Nike shorts? Don’t wear them. But don’t draw a conclusion about me and many others based on an outer appearance.

Grimes is a journalism freshman from Midland.

Editor’s note: The best voices, the people’s voices. That is the why of the Firing Line. The true measure of any newspaper is its critics, and we want hard-hitting ones. Nothing is taboo except falsehood and libel. The editor will never change a letter’s meaning, but she reserves the right to shorten it so that others may also be heard. Letters should be under 150 words if possible. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you think, and send your letters to firingline@dailytexanonline.com

Greek bashing needs to stop
These Greek life bashing articles need to stop. They’re beyond offensive and completely untrue. For a section of the student body that can hardly be considered a majority, your staff certainly spends a lot of time showcasing us. Have you ever thought about showcasing all the good we do? The hundreds of thousands of dollars we raise annually for charities and non-profit organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish and Breast Cancer Awareness? Or how about all the Greek members in Student Government?

Speaking of tolerance, stop mocking what sorority girls, or just girls in general, choose to wear to class. Nike shorts and large T-shirts are comfortable. We earned our letters and are proud to wear them and represent our affiliations. They’re not meant to make us seem elitist or snobby. We genuinely feel comfortable and wish to spend more of our energy on class and extracurricular activities than getting ready in the morning. As far as “exchanging my shorts for my personality,” I’m pretty sure I still have the same morals and goals as I do when I wear jeans, or sweats, or a dress. My Nike shorts do not define me. I used to wear Nike shorts and large T-shirts in high school. It’s comfortable. Get over it.
— Sarah Ryburn, rhetoric and writing sophomore

Why do you care what I wear
Sorority girls may wear workout clothes, but so do a huge proportion of the women on campus who aren’t in sororities. To declare that none of them want to “waste time or effort” creating their own identity is absurd. I didn’t realize clothing was the most accurate indicator of personality and individuality. Stereotyping people based on their choice of clothing seems both petty and a cut below the quality of journalism the Texan should be publishing.
How should members of sororities dress, if their current style is so “conformist”? Maybe they can start dressing like Elle Woods, at whichpoint the Texan can publish an article on the vanity of conformist sorority girls, who waste their time dressing up for class instead of wearing something comfortable like everyone else.
— Lillie Noe, Plan II and textiles and apparel sophomore


Petty and below the cut
As a member of a sorority I have to ask, why is The Daily Texan so concerned with what I wear to class?
Why is it a pressing issue on the UT campus what a group of young women wear? Loose-fitting running shorts and oversized T-shirts are not sensational, sexy, body-revealing or politically charged with meaning. Were you going for an “eye for an eye” thing, playing off Mr. Maly’s front page article about the Fiesta party? Did you think, “two sororities [allegedly] made fun of a culture’s dress so we’re going to make fun of the way they dress”?
If there was some subtle, underlying editorial point you were trying to make with that cartoon and column, please enlighten me. I will be sure to pass your explanation along to my incensed sisters and friends in other sororities.
— Helen Hansen, Plan II and public relations sophomore

Is engineering the answer
I enjoyed your article on how men lag behind women when it comes to graduation rates. I think it serves as motivation to guys all around campus, including myself. I also think you’re probably right that women naturally adapt to new situations while men are tunnel-visioned and have a hard time changing with the situation. One thing I would’ve liked to know was the ratio of men to women in difficult majors such as engineering or MPA/BHP business programs. I myself am an engineer and while I came into college with over 20 credit hours, I am going to have a difficult time graduating in four years. The sheer amount of courses in rigorous majors could bring down those four-year graduation percentages and if there is an overwhelming male/ to female ratio I think that certainly accounts for the offset.
— Nick Burrin, electrical engineering sophomore

Free and insensitive
I just have a few statements I want to bring up about today’s paper. I read The Daily Texan every day on the bus on my way to campus. I am very appreciative of The Daily Texan because I can see the news outside of campus as well as what is going on here for free and all in one paper!

But today I was a little offended.  One of the first articles I read was about the fiesta-themed party criticized because people wore “ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches.” The article discussed how this is disrespectful to the Latin and Hispanic cultures. I kept reading to discover that  two guests of the party were wearing T-shirts that said “Illegal” or “Immigrant.” That is extremely disrespectful and tasteless so it made sense why people were offended and why the article was published. I kept reading the paper and skimming the other articles for what I should read next.

I came along to page four to see a giant comic making fun of what sorority girls wear around campus. This is offensive to me because I am a sorority girl. I personally feel that everyone has the freedom of speech and the freedom of choice, including to choose what one should wear. A person has the freedom to express themselves and should be able to do it without criticism.

I just find it ridiculous that The Daily Texan features an article of people being offended because their culture was targeted and then goes and targets another culture for the same reason. It’s hypocritical and disrespectful.
— Casie Clay, psychology sophomore

Old arguments, new twists
I am very disappointed with the article on East Riverside that you ran. As a member of the working group for the EROC Corridor Plan, I feel that you do a disservice to our efforts to bring a new vision to the corridor. You trot out the same old arguments from the same old people with new twists.  I do not really know where to begin with how you folks have missed the boat on this one.
— Larry Sunderland

Soon after I arrived on the UT-Austin campus, I saw a group of girls wearing striped Nike Tempo shorts, tennis shoes and oversized t-shirts. I thought they were part of a feminist organization rebelling against revealing miniskirts, cleavage-baring tops and high heels. Before coming to Austin, I’d lived in a town on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany, where most women wear jeans and an outdoor jacket in the evening and consider themselves down-to-earth and unpretentious for doing so. Going to class in a gym outfit, however, is a level of informality that German women haven’t reached yet. I was impressed by that group of girls who were, in my eyes, setting new standards for independent and unencumbered wardrobe choices.

But after seeing another group of girls in identical shorts, and then another and another, it dawned on me that this was a uniform for these girls — just like miniskirts, revealing tops and high heels are for others.
Both uniforms serve the same purpose: by wearing them, you identify yourself with a group. You don’t have to waste time or effort building your own identity. When I asked girls why they wear such sorority regalia, they all had more or less the same answer. A biology sophomore, who I’ll call L, said, “This outfit is cool and comfy, and I can give it a personal touch, like shoelaces in my favorite color.” An undeclared sophomore, who I’ll call C, agreed and added that wearing the same style as her sisters gave sorority members a feeling “of being close even when we are spread over the campus”. L said that she thought exactly the same thing. Or was it the other way around? Did C say it was cool and comfy and then L agree and add that it made her feel close to her sisters and then C say she thought the same? I really can’t remember; they looked so similar they were nearly interchangeable to me.

After hearing my peers’ opinions, I wanted to form my own, so I headed to Barton Creek Mall. To my surprise, there is not yet a specialty shop that sells these uniforms. An entrepreneur could make serious money selling piles of Nike shorts ($30 each) and matching shoes (at least $100 a pair.)

I finally located a sporting goods store with the uniform on offer. As soon as I stepped out of the changing room and looked in the mirror, I knew I looked good in my neon shorts and shoes with matching laces. I resolved to buy ten more sets of the uniform in exchange for my personality at the check-out counter. “What shall I wear today?” and “What shall I think today?” were two birds that I was about to kill with one stone. I would belong to an elite group of the coolest girls on campus.

Just joking. No question, the stuff was comfortable, but so were my off-brand-slightly-different sport shorts at home. To anyone out there who wears Nike shorts and oversized t-shirts for the mere comfort of it, keep doing so! But I doubt that very short shorts and a t-shirt are a comfortable outfit for all occasions. While I was sitting in a supermarket parking lot all night to get an Austin City Limits ticket, wearing jeans and a sweater, right behind me in the line was a group of girls equipped with dozens of blankets wearing shorts. I’d rather wear something warm than follow the herd instinct and freeze, but that’s everybody’s own decision. Or their group’s decision, if they’ve given up deciding for themselves.

Hardt is an English junior from Freiburg, Germany.

Joah Spearman, creator of the boutique Sneak Attack, sells sneakers that can’t be found elsewhere in Austin. Spearman and other “sneakerheads” view sneakers as a status symbol of cool.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goldsmith | Daily Texan Staff

Joah Spearman opens the door to Austin Java Cafe, brushes the late-afternoon drizzle off his leather jacket and wipes his limited edition Livestrong for Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop black and yellow Nike’s on the restaurant’s welcome mat. The back of the 28 year-old sneaker fan’s kicks proudly read “Austin” and “Texas” on the left and right shoe, respectively. Just minutes after he leaves the table with our photographer to shoot some photographs, complete with poses that scream confidence, a woman comes up to me and asks if he’s famous. He laughs.

A doppelganger for Outkast frontman Andre 3000, Spearman confesses that he’s gotten into nightclubs pretending to be his celebrity look-a-like. It’s a far stretch from who he was (or wasn’t) growing up.

“When I was in school, you know, girls didn’t really like me. I had big glasses, and I was four-foot-ten-inches,” Spearman said. “I knew I wasn’t going to play basketball or football, so for me this was never about being an athlete trying to identify with shoes.”

While puberty may have been a likely culprit for Spearman’s transcendence from nerd to fashion-forward cool guy, there’s another factor that played a major role: his love for sneakers.

Spearman is the brains behind the cleverly-named Sneak Attack pop-up boutiques that sprout up at events in town such as FunFunFun Fest, South By Southwest and local concerts. He is also the creator of the SXSW fashion trade show, Style X.

“It’s aspirational, so for me it’s a sign of cool, and this idea of making it,” he said.

Most other “sneakerheads,” (people who are enamored with sneakers), agree that they view sneakers as a status symbol; not necessarily a symbol of wealth but of something money can’t buy: the rare commodity of cool.

Spearman started Sneak Attack by buying shoes off private collectors and failing shoe boutiques, which allows him to sell styles and brands that no other Austin sneaker store carries. His unique buying strategy lets him carry only one kind of each shoe, so that a customer is likely the only person in town with that specific shoe.

He recalled the infamous 1985 launch of Nike’s now sneaker staple, the Jordan, which was the turning point where sneakers became a true phenomenon.

“People talk about luxury brands like Prada and Gucci, but growing up, Jordans were like a luxury brand to me,” Spearman said. “I saw this video once of this guy who was like, ‘Yo! Mom, I made it. Look at my Jordans!’”

In the last decade, sneakers outgrew their obvious connection to sports and made a name for themselves in the fashion and music worlds, proving that now, sneakers are more than a means to walk from point A to point B.

According to Spearman, there was a clear moment when sneakers slipped into the music world. When Michael Jordan retired, the sneaker companies were spending a lot of money looking to cultivate the next Jordan, a new shoe that would sell out the way the Jordan seemed to do every year like clockwork.

“At one point, companies like Nike decided they were going to spend a lot of money that would be traditionally spent on athletes, and spend it on Kanye West because music is where it’s at,” Spearman said.

Nike’s first sneaker collaboration with a non-athlete did just that. At the 2008 Grammy awards, Kanye West performed in a pair of mystery Nike’s which he later confirmed were the “Air Yeezys.”

That summer, West rocked the shoes on tour until their eventual sold-out release in 2009.

According to Complex magazine, West’s second Air Yeezy installment, complete with dinosaur-spiked backs and glow-in-the-dark bottoms, will launch this June. It’s likely each pair will retail for about $200, and spark early-morning storefront lines comparable to that of a new iPhone launch at an Apple store.

The new trend among sneaker companies relies on the quick turnover rate of talent in the music industry to complement their long-term athletic collaborations.

For Colin “C.Biz” Biz, founder of sneaker blog KicksAddict.com, growing up with a love of hip-hop music influenced his appreciation of sneakers as a fashion statement.

“Once I saw my favorite rappers wearing Jordans and Adidas, I knew it was cool,” he said.

Other sneakerheads feel the glamour of a celebrity endorsement pales in comparison to the actual style and “colorways” of a shoe.

Jesús “J.Star” Estrella, founder of SneakerShoeBox.com, admits that he puts more energy toward deciding which sneakers to wear than the rest of his outfit.

Like the fashionista who prefers a limited collection of wildly expensive Christian Louboutins over racks upon racks of Steve Maddens, most sneakerheads base their purchases on the sophisticated sartorial theory of quality over quantity.

“Men have always been afraid to adopt women’s shopping behaviors because, for men, everything has always been about function. Sneaker culture has made it about style, and you’ve got guys who have more shoes than their girlfriends,” Spearman said. “And I’m probably one of those guys. I think I have like 50 pairs.”

As more people look to sneakers as a gateway to embracing their own style, sneakers have become mainstream.

“This culture is very diverse, all nationalities, men, women, young and old are into it. It’s not just an urban thing, it’s everywhere,” Estrella said.

Tuesday’s firing line from Ally Motts titled “Simply embarrassing” is a striking highlight of how so many residents of the Forty Acres lack a proper understanding of what a newspaper is and what it is not. Journalists, even at the collegiate level, are tasked with reporting the news. That obligation is not restricted to feel-good fluff stories that give the reader a sense of collegiate cheer. The story regarding jersey sales was a piece of news that related to one of the most prominent figures on the UT campus. Missing from the article were tough questions such as why the University and Nike are profiting off merchandise that is obviously linked to a specific student athlete, who consequentially won’t see a dime of those profits.

The Texan has a history of reporting on controversial or thought-provoking issues, even in the face of censorship by the administration. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t run a story because they find it “distasteful.” There are far more “distasteful” issues in this country, and more often than not, those are exactly the issues that belong on the front pages of our newspapers. Now if only we could get alumni such as Ms. Motts to read a newspaper...

— Tom Moreland
UT alumnus

Men's Golf

Coming off a fifth place finish in their first tournament of the year, the Texas Longhorns men’s golf team is headed to Vestavia Hills, Alabama to take part in the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate on Oct. 3-4.

The tournament is a two-day event held by University of Alabama that will host to a 12-team field. Texas, No. 7 in this week’s GolfWorld/Nike poll, will send a strong team of five golfers to Alabama with its eyes on a first place finish.

The Longhorns will be led by senior Dylan Frittelli, who finished second among all competitors in Texas’ first tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago last month. In 2009 at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, Frittelli recorded a score of 68 to help the Longhorns place second in the tournament.

In addition to Frittelli, junior Cody Gribble, who recorded a 66 in 2009 in this tournament, will be returning to Alabama for the event. Freshman standout Jordan Spieth will compete in his first tournament of the year for the Longhorns this week as well, and junior Julio Vegas and sophomore Toni Hakula round out the Texas lineup.

After dropping two spots in the GolfWorld/Nike poll following their fifth place finish in the season-opening tournament, the Longhorns will look to climb back towards the top spot with a solid showing this week in Alabama.

Printed on October 4, 2011, as: Texas builds off season opening tourney, looks to improve rank

Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster, No. 23 above, is one of seven underclassmen on the team. Webster and the rest of the Longhorns will look to get back to their winning ways when they travel to California to take on Florida and Penn State or Stanford.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns are coming off of a pair of disappointing straight-set losses to Minnesota last weekend on their first road trip of the season.

With Texas’ tough non-conference schedule there is no rest for the weary, as it might face three top-10 teams in the Nike Big Four Classic this weekend in California.

In order to quickly turn things around from their rough weekend up north, the team has hit the practice court with authority.

“We’re working on a lot of things that we may not have done as well in the Minnesota games. It’s been going really well,” said outside hitter Bailey Webster. “We’ve been really open to the coaches’ feedback and things they’ve been telling us to do ... We’ve had some great practices this week so it’s been really exciting. We are looking forward to this weekend.”

The Longhorns have worked to get back to the basics: passing, blocking and serving. While every position on the court is working on different individual aspects of the game, it always comes back to those basic tenants.

“We’re taking it step-by-step and realizing what we did wrong and it’s been going great so far,”
Webster said.

This weekend’s tournament features some of the best teams in volleyball, with No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Stanford and No. 7 Florida. Texas isn’t intimated, though. Instead, the players are excited to test themselves against such tough competition.

“All of the teams in the tournament are great and we may play them,” Webster said. “A good team is a good team, and that’s everyone at that tournament so we’re just excited to play anybody there because the caliber of this tournament is great.”

After their first game against Florida, the Longhorns may play Penn State, the team that knocked them out of the last two NCAA tournaments, including the national championship game in 2009.

While the players are downplaying this potential match-up and talking in coach-speak, it is easy to see they would love to get another shot at the Nittany Lions.

“We’re really excited,” Webster said. “Practice has been going so well.”