Essay Procrastination - Right Shoes, Wrong City

As students in London, the city's attitude is our status quo. But when Luke first came across the pond from the University of Kentucky, “horribly located” in the town of Lexington, London gave him a new awareness and his first opportunity for sartorial self-expression. A year on, Luke is counting down the days until he arrives for a semester of study here in London, and he talks us through the reasons he feels more at home in this different continent than at college in his home state.

Whilst some parts of the city are more conservative than others, and the average Londoner’s attitude is by no means representative of the country as a whole, should you frequent Shoreditch by day or Soho by night it’s unlikely that an aesthetic not in keeping with that of the general population would earn you a second look, let alone a shriek of abuse. Of course, not every student on University of London grounds adheres to the strict code of fashion, and why should they? But is an undeniable fact that the people walking around our campus use what they wear, even on days crippled by hangovers and essay deadlines, to display their personality.

This is an entitlement that, according to Luke, we perhaps take for granted. “If I attempt to dress well, I am definitely looked on differently, usually negatively. What I wear has to be slightly conservative in my current social climate. If I do dress how I want people typically don’t verbally respond, but they definitely stare for a while. I really don’t, and can’t, dress very avant-garde, but my mere acknowledgement of the fashion world – exclusive of their daily choice of offensively bright blue athletic get-up or pajamas - seems to catch people off-guard. Recently I even overheard my roommates talking negatively about my clothes and I just don’t feel like that’s okay. Most days I just wear a pair of utility boots, and in spite of the fact that they are in every magazine published, they are not seen on a single soul here! I don’t understand how people without fashion authority can comment on someone who at least has awareness. But then I am happy that they are at least exposed to someone like me, whether they like it or not.”

Despite being generally considered a fairly conservative southern state, with icons like Lady Gaga and countless fashion bibles at their disposal, it’s still shocking to think that our college-student counterparts over the Atlantic are yet to master basic levels of acceptance and, understandably, it’s hard on those in the minority. “There are definitely days when I am insecure; I might appear to be angry or upset. I can become very antisocial at times. I love days where I can just drink and read and be alone.” This alienation isn’t purely emotional; whilst Luke’s peers strive for muscle and live for sports he embraces the unspoken thinspiration that seems de rigeur in fashion’s many circles, seen in tweets that state “Sometimes I just open up Photo Booth and watch myself eating cookies” andAll of this heavy lifting is making me so scared I might actually get an arm muscle.”

Luke’s attitude regarding his situation – aphoristic in his desire to be set apart in Lexington but well-placed in London - is refreshing despite the moments of depression, and the combination has given him a new level of melodramatic, comedic cliché that further distances his mentality from his classmates’, and will make him even more at home in our very own fashion capital. “Fashion is said to be an extension of who you are. This phrase is tired but it holds truth; if everyone at my university is content is wearing the same thing then they must be content with all having the same life. Luckily that’s not who I am. I am happy to be different from everyone else. My fortune cookie yesterday said, ‘The kite rises against the wind,’ and I smiled as I knew this was true.” He ends with a dry laugh in a cynical drawl, more London than Southern: “I had also had a bit to drink so my smile was amplified.”

Follow @lukeaporco on Twitter for more cultural insights:

“An 80 year old man wearing purple leggings. The boundary has officially been pushed in Kentucky.”

“Since when was it acceptable for such a significant amount of the US population to leave the house in pajamas?”

“C’est Vendredi! Best day of the week. Make a fucking friend.”

Jessica Wilde


  1. hahaha wow. You go to UK why? All of that horrendous blue color you see everywhere is called SCHOOL SPIRIT!!! And you apparently have none. You picked the wrong school to go to if you were looking for something other than school spirit. And heaven forbid people that literally live 100 yards from their classroom don't want to get up early and play dress-up at 6am for an 8am class. You want us to give you all of this respect for being different and having some sort of "knowledge in fashion" (fashion is a personal opinion on style) however you post things like this that insults other people. This clearly shows that you are no different than everyone that talks about YOUR style. You have to give respect before you receive it.

  2. Luke absolutely respects the people he attends school with. You must have either not read the entire article or misunderstood that the reason he feels so distant from his classmates is because of the disgusted looks and negativity he receives when he dresses in the way that he wants.

  3. I get offended when someone acts like where they live or the school they go to is horrible. And when it is a fashion crime when students wear blue (because it is their school colors). That is one of the underlying points I thought that was trying to be made. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe in being different and wearing the things that YOU want. I am not going to verbally attack someone for that. It grinds my gears when people wear certain styles just to fit in! However, saying "if everyone at my university is content is wearing the same thing then they must be content with all having the same life." is kind of offensive to me.

  4. okay first of all... great article Jessica. Being somebody who grew up in the south I completely relate and see where Luke is coming from. The south lacks the kind of diversity and personal expression that places like New York, London, and other major cities offer. Some of us in the U.S. don't have the means or capability of leaving our home states due to college funds and therefore we are stuck in an environment that we don't necessarily agree with. In conclusion turdfergusen, my reading of the article was simply a reflection on southern culture in America and how it can effect the individual and over all our country.