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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Perspective: Jules Cullinane, Campus Fashion Icon

Parker Burchfield
Row of different colored t-shirts on hangers.

All eyes stuck to Jules Cullinane as they stood there, laughing without a care.

Adorned with vibrant red lipstick and dramatic red eye shadow surrounding their brown eyes like ruby encrusted rings. The makeup was hidden behind silver round-lensed glasses. They seemed to stand over everyone else in the black 5 inch, platform boots. They leaned onto one side of their hip, wrapped up in a statement of a red leather jacket. 

Jules’ embodiment of calm, cool, and collected appeared to be a threat. A challenge of the status quo. A challenge of fashion. A challenge of gender. 

Something so unfamiliar, you cannot help but pause and consider, what does this mean? As Jules stood in the Westfield State Dining Commons, among friends, next to the ice cream cooler, an internal battle broke out around them within the people looking. One had confusion, and then frustration flashed across their face, only to be replaced again by confusion. Another student smiled, but then furrowed their eyebrows together, their head pulling back slightly. Confusion was rampant, Jules’ indictment of the binary effective.

“I don’t really care how people are perceiving me,” Jules explained. “If me putting on a little outfit makes me happy, then that’s great!”

At the same time, they also expressed their joy when them living their truth helps someone else begin to discover their own. “I’m happy to be able to give that to somebody.”

This echoed their calm confidence seen during that night at the DC as they seemed happy and unbothered. “To hear somebody validate that I helped them feel more comfortable being themself by just putting on my silly clothes every day makes me happy.”

For Jules, their fashion is a way to express their truth. As an art and philosophy major in their last semester at the university, they have come to gain a deep understanding of how art, truth, and philosophy overlap. It defines the way they see those types of moments. “Curiosity is one of the most human qualities.”

Their background in philosophy shined through with the provocative questions they prompted. “People that are looking at me, and looking at the way I dress, and going ‘oh my God, that’s embarrassing,’ should really consider why it’s embarrassing, or why it’s weird.”

Through it all though, one thing that remained striking was Jules’ hope for people to ask questions. “No one asks questions, they just kinda shut up and get nervous.” 

True to Jules’ nature, they left with a mammoth of a statement: “You have to learn at some point to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, because if you cannot learn to do that, you cannot grow.” 

And just like that, they walked away with their friends laughing, disappearing into the crowd from which they came, ice cream in hand, heads turning the whole time.

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