Pandemic Evokes Richmond Citizens to Costume Their Way

24 Aug Pandemic Conjures up Richmond People to Costume Their Way Oghenetaze Etibo embraced a a lot more vibrant glimpse just after COVID-19 built him feel like he was dying. Tale by Maria Bernal | Pictures by David Meza Electric powered blue hair, a shiny pink bomber jacket, and a […]

Pandemic Conjures up Richmond People to Costume Their Way

Oghenetaze Etibo embraced a a lot more vibrant glimpse just after COVID-19 built him feel like he was dying.

Tale by Maria Bernal | Pictures by David Meza

Electric powered blue hair, a shiny pink bomber jacket, and a blond eyebrow are staples of 26-calendar year-old Richmond artist Oghenetaze Etibo’s glimpse, but that wasn’t normally the case.

As the pandemic has adjusted many people’s garments behaviors, individuals in Richmond and beyond have decided to specific on their own in techniques by way of manner, putting on extra of what can make them really feel at ease and self-confident.

Etibo’s fashion, which he now describes as hippie and colorful, modified simply because he bought COVID-19 and said he felt like he was dying. That motivated him to “dress up.” So he begun dyeing his hair distinctive hues and carrying interest-grabbing assertion parts.

“COVID really taught me that I could die at any time. Enable me just costume up. It taught me that anybody can just die,” he said. “It variety of felt like I was dying, so I was like, you know what, I’m just dyeing my hair. Permit me just do this and this, due to the fact it felt like my lifetime was ending.”

In advance of COVID, Etibo would wear “a large amount of hoodies” and dark colors and would purposely cover his birthmark, but now he wears T-shirts that showcase the birthmark he calls art.

“I like to show my birthmark, and then just express myself extra. So, yeah, I in no way appreciated to gown up or even like eyes on me and stuff. Now, I’m like you know what, … I don’t treatment I like that,” he stated.


But not everybody appreciates his new glance.

Initially, someone reported him at the clinic the place he will work. Then, he was asked to tone his style down due to the fact it was considered unprofessional. In fact, Etibo has experienced several individuals choose him for his decision of outfits. Nonetheless, he says he will get more compliments than criticism and will go on to categorical himself.

“It may be way too colorful, not specialist. I test to specific myself the far more damaging suggestions I get,” Etibo reported. “I’m like, nobody’s complaining, but only a few persons about there are just striving to wreck me or making an attempt to put me in a shell. I just do it because I just want to move my art to my vogue.”

Also in Richmond is a Maya wood carver’s daughter who picked up Maya art as portion of her wardrobe. Ixchel Contreras, just 7 a long time previous, wears a Maya-impressed black crewneck made by her parents, for illustration.

She also lately received a necklace depicting the Maya goddess for whom she is named. In the Maya religion, Ixchel, whose name implies rainbow lady, was the goddess of the moon and more.

“When I was going to university, I cherished attire,” she claimed. “I wear dresses each and every working day, and then now, COVID, I wear far more shorts for the reason that I’m now starting to like shorts — shorts, tank tops, sweatshirts, hoodies, all that things.”

Ixchel stated she prefers to don comfy outfits as effectively as clothes her moms and dads created for her. She likes that in manner individuals have the independence to be artistic like her father.

“I like how most people will make their have types, stripes, circles, maybe even stars,” she reported. “[My dad] painted my jean skirt, and he place a great deal of Mayan things like butterflies with the sunshine, the moon, the rainbow, all that things. And a good deal of flowers.”


Ixchel reported she is the only particular person in her school who makes use of Maya artwork in her wardrobe. She has not witnessed her classmates mainly because of COVID and cannot showcase her outfit on the web.

“Everybody there just wears various trend things,” Ixchel claimed. “It’s just like a society that I really like and it is just, perfect and all the things and almost everything I put on is just so great, since like it’s all, it is my society, most of it is just my lifestyle.”

Dr. Dawnn Karen, a manner psychologist, informed CNN that the traits inform us about our point out of intellect and how outfits can be applied to carry the temper.

Looks from the 1970s and 2000s are well-liked now due to the fact these eras characterize escapism and a kind of therapeutic, Karen mentioned.

One particular resident throwing it back again with vintage outfit options is 21-yr-outdated Jonathan Leal. They attract inspiration from their aunt and sister’s wardrobes from the past. Leal also does not conform to gender norms of dress and will dress in brassy, geometric earrings they uncovered at the flea current market.

“Change the stigma of feminine outfits and male clothing. The entire detail of clothes acquiring genders. ‘Oh, fellas need to have on this.’ Concern that,” Leal claimed. “But in actuality, you should put on whichever you want, what will make you come to feel snug.”

>>>Read: All Outfits Are Gender Neutral, If You are Not Worried

During the pandemic, Leal started experience much more snug carrying brighter apparel and a lot more jewelry. They mentioned that remaining by itself reworked the way they categorical them selves by way of garments.

“Wear anything various. Something colourful. Yeah, like I’m telling you will truly feel 10 situations greater, 1000 periods improved, so be oneself. Never stress about what folks acquired to say about your outfit.”


They don a black Star Wars bomber jacket accessorized with pins gathered at situations. Leal paints their nails and often carries an electrical blue canvas bag made by a neighborhood artist, as a memorial to a friend who died.

“Learning to be with myself and dependent on myself — that boosted my self-esteem … I just felt like a entire diverse individual,” they claimed.

Type also altered in the course of the pandemic as general public spaces closed and folks begun doing the job from property. They did not have to gown up, so relaxed clothing turned a go-to search.

Sales of sweatpants went up in the course of the pandemic and they were at a peak of acceptance in December 2020 for Google queries. Slippers, loungewear and pajamas also peaked in Google look for recognition at the identical time.

Richmond artist Gabriela Diaz, 30, embraced two traits, adopting a minimalist everyday search all through the pandemic and searching to the previous for inspiration, namely Hugh Hefner. She admires how the Playboy publisher recognised for carrying a silk gown and pajamas was in a position to dwell a lifetime of satisfaction and luxurious.

“That’s the mentality that I have when it comes to trend,” Diaz claimed. “But other than that, I genuinely strive for convenience and to glimpse like myself.”


She stated she is drawn to loungewear, silk comfortable fabrics and sneakers. She loves the basic principles at Target simply because they are economical and appear in a selection of relaxed options.

Diaz reported she wishes “to make the finest with the minimum amount of effort.” Prior to the pandemic, she would put on denims and would use “comfortable outfits” and makeup with the “uncomfortable strip lash.”

“I feel like [during] COVID, persons type of tone it down, and if you see what’s trending now, is, like, definitely pure: definitely pure eyebrows, pure pores and skin make-up, incredibly negligible eye shadow,” Diaz mentioned.

Diaz will dress in “pristine white” pieces of apparel and include a pop of shade with accessories. She also prefers to stay a more healthy way of living that includes drinking drinking water and finding ample workout.

“This new way of leisure and best wellness in get to appear great, is definitely amazing to me and I actually, genuinely appreciate that,” she reported. “As any person who likes to consider treatment of their wellness and their skin and keep wanting younger for as prolonged as possible, it’s truly encouraging to see people hopping on the trend.”

Mellie Mebane

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