Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
Karim Morgenstern (20, German), Biomedical Sciences, 1st year. Describes his style as: “alternative and vintage”.
“At secondary school, I wanted to be as ‘normal’ as possible. I wore jeans and T-shirts; had short hair. Anything not to be noticed. I thought by doing so I would feel more self-assured; the opposite was the case. It felt like a mask. My mother encouraged me to find my own style. She is an art teacher and finds her inspiration in the England of olden times; she wears long dresses and blouses with flared sleeves and laced-up ties. I noticed that the feeling of being looked at didn’t depend on my outfit and that I would be better off wearing something that suited me. That has an effect on how I come across.”
Creative and introverted
“Expressiveness and creativity are important to me. I draw and paint. I can express myself by doing that, putting part of myself on paper. Style is like art to me: I draw myself through clothes. In doing so, I no longer allow myself to be limited by so-called rules: the fact that some things are supposedly only for women or for certain occasions. I want to wear what appeals to me. Even if that is a woman’s blouse or my grandmother’s coat. Because I am kind of introverted, you will never see me in neon colours. Bright colours feel as if I am screaming at people. I love beige, brown, burgundy and black.”
“In Kaiserslautern, where I am from, there is a second-hand shop called the ‘Die Schatzkammer’ (The Treasure House). That is how I see vintage shops; nothing is sorted on the racks; they are all unique pieces. I don’t like most of them, but sometimes I discover something that blows my mind. That can be something that I didn’t even know existed or that I would like it. The search and the surprise, I love that. Such an item has a lot of emotional value for me. I know exactly where I bought each item of clothing. They remind me of places where I lived, studied or went on holiday.”
“I don’t have fixed outfits; I do have items that ‘belong together’. Sometimes I get clothes ready the evening before; usually I don’t. If I am in a hurry, I will randomly pull a pile from my over-full wardrobe and choose something from that. The combination is determined by my feelings. When I am sad, I want comfortable clothes that wrap around me and make me feel safe. On days when I am feeling more self-assured, I show more of myself. I bought a pink polo shirt once when I was in such a mood; I still wear it when I am in that frame of mind.”
“As a man, you are traditionally limited in your accessories, while they actually finish off an outfit. That is why I polish my nails since I left secondary school, black or dark burgundy. I also let my hair grow. It is really curly and I twist it and put it in a bun or I let it show from under a beanie or small casual hat, indoors as well. My glasses are vintage style, the exact same frame as my granddad’s.”