Between the Issues: Flop or Serve? SF State students talk fashion
October 7, 2022
Two reporter-cluttered, newspaper-plastered classrooms sit side by side in the Humanities Building on the third floor. Dramatic keyboard clicks leak from the rooms, serving as the hallway’s consistent ambient noise.
These are the magazine and newspaper production rooms, and the single door separating the two finally opened this semester.
Welcome to Between the Issues, the very first collaborative podcast between the Golden Gate Xpress newspaper and Xpress Magazine. Editors from both publications sat down with the SF State fashion account that has gained over 2,000 followers in just over a month, Fits of SFSU.
The two students behind the page, Breanna Miller and Esperanza Vaquiz, dish about their favorite fashion trends, online haters and why they created the page in the first place.
Check out our first episode of Between the Issues.
Oliver: Hi everyone and welcome to the first episode of Between the Issues. I’m Oliver Michelsen, one of the editors for Xpress Magazine and I’m joined by the editor-in-chief of Golden Gate Xpress this semester, Lisa Moreno.
Lisa: Hey, everyone.
Preview of the show
Oliver: For those of you who don’t know, SF State’s Journalism department hosts two student-operated publications: the Xpress Magazine and the Golden Gate Xpress newspaper.
Lisa: Yeah, we both have our own newsroom and staff. But after a solid month of reporting and about 20 years of coexistence, we decided to come together to discuss some of our favorite stories and get you excited about what we have coming.
Recently on Xpress
Oliver: Alrighty well, let’s just hop right in.
I would really love to talk about some of the reporting over at newspaper first. Myron Caringal, your guys’ actual managing editor, wrote a little bit about the former chancellor of the CSUs being given a raise post-resignation. And I just thought that was a really well-reported story. And some of the stats that he referenced in there were crazy. I mean, in that eight or nine months since he’s been retired, he was making more than Gavin Newsom, the governor of California. But I also noticed just from the newspaper, you guys have been doing a lot of coverage on CSU faculty, SF State administration and stuff like that. I was curious, was that a concerted effort you guys had going into the semester to cover more of the institutions of the CSUs? Or are those just the stories that have arisen to your guys’ newsroom?
Lisa: Oh, definitely, I would say it was an effort from the start to kind of just reflect on student and faculty struggles here at SF State. We really just wanted to reflect our community and dive in and, I don’t know, just kind of get to the bottom of things that people have been struggling with for years.
Oliver: I feel there’s a sense of accountability you guys are trying to hold and I feel this semester in particular you guys have done a good job with your guys reporting in that regard.
Lisa: You know, similarly, I really liked mag’s story, “Impawsters,” by Nadia Castro, about people with emotional support animals on campus and imposters they’ve encountered.
Oliver: Yeah, I thought that was a really fun story on the surface. But when you really look into it, I was really surprised by a lot of the stuff that Nadia came up with. With emotional support animals specifically, which she really gets into in the story, how there are people kind of taking advantage of this system to acquire emotional support animals. I thought it was really interesting that she brought up that with some of her sources, they seemingly, people who live on campus and around campus know who the real emotional support animals are and who the fake ones are. But there’s kind of just this legal loophole where you can’t do anything about it. And I thought that was really interesting. And Nadia did a really good job encapsulating that…
Selfishly, there’s also some very cute photos of animals in that story. And Juliana Yamada, the photographer for that story, just did a wonderful job capturing that.
Speaking of campus, you guys have been doing a lot of campus reporting. And you actually specifically Lisa have been doing some writing about these Christian protest groups that have been showing up on campus a lot since we’ve been back in-person. Can you talk about that a little bit? What does that look like for you in your newsroom?
Lisa: Yeah, definitely. I mean, this isn’t, you know, a new issue here on campus. I’ve heard from faculty, staff and professors that, you know, this has been happening for ages. But like you said, we’re back after two years and there are new students here, there are students that aren’t here from the area. And people just don’t know that this happens and they feel, they’re feeling a little bit scared. And they’re feeling a little bit targeted as what we’ve noticed and our couple of our editors, Zackery Stehr our campus editor and Isabella Vines, our diversity editor added on to my story, when another extreme Christian group came onto campus and they were specifically targeting Muslim women wearing hijabs. At this point, you know, Zackery Stehr and Isabella, are looking into how much of this is allowed on campus, because according to time, place and manner restrictions, these types of demonstrations – even if they do get a little bit rowdy – are allowed on campus. So Zack and Isabella are looking into that deeper, but I’m really excited to see what comes out of their reporting to see if we can get some names behind these organizations and find out who these people are because for the most part, they’ve been anonymous.
Oliver: Yeah no, I’m really looking forward to seeing you what reporting comes out of there. Like you said, San Francisco State, like a lot of campuses, has time, place and manner restrictions and how different groups work around that, I think is always a very intriguing topic.
Staff reporter feature: Giovanna Montoya
Oliver: Now joining us we have Giovanna Montoya, who wrote about ironic fashion for the magazine this past issue.
So can you explain to the people at home what ironic fashion is like loosely?
Giovanna: Ironic fashion is like, like shirts that have funny sayings, or things that you feel like would look ugly, but actually look really cute in a weird way. Just basically like a kind of anti-fashion. You think it would look odd but it just doesn’t.
Oliver: You interviewed a small fashion designer who goes to the SF State, she is a student here, or…
Oliver: What’s your relationship with her and how was working with her; how was looking at her process and stuff like that?
Giovanna: My relationship with her, or how I realized that she was doing all this stuff and everything. We lived in the same building freshman year, but we were- we didn’t really talk or anything, we just kind of waved acquaintance-ly. And then this whole story came up. And I knew I really wanted to write about fashion because I follow her on Instagram and I’ve bought a few things from her in the past, I knew she had this and I knew this would be a great story to do. Because I’ve had a few other sources that I was really looking forward to talk to about this topic. The whole ironic Y2K fashion, everything. And that’s kind of her forte is just funny sayings on shirts, on shorts on anything and she comes up with them herself. It’s really interesting.
Lisa: And I’m like, I’m wondering myself, you know, this is kind of a trend right now. But do you think this will like withstand trends? Do you think this is going to be like a little micro-trend?
Giovanna: I mean, I think it’s going to continue for a while. I’m obviously not a fashion expert, but it has been going on since around 2020, 2019. And it’s progressed a lot since then. I feel like the whole T-shirts on like, a few brands have been doing this. And they say really raunchy things and I feel like it just keeps getting raunchier and raunchier here. And even with like, high-end fashion brands like Balenciaga, you see them doing some kind of random weird stuff. I feel like it’s just going to keep progressing into eventually something new.
I would definitely like to do more stories about fashion in the future. As more things come along. I feel like what I see rising a lot is kind of distressed fashion, like distressed avant-garde type fashion, kind of grungy-looking clothing, like with holes and rips and neutral colors, but in a colorful way at the same time, if that makes sense. Yeah.
Oliver: I was gonna ask because in the story, you talked a little bit about Paulina, and then her struggle a little bit with some of her designs being taken or, you know, misappropriated. Do you see that as like a problem in fashion, like, largely?
Giovanna: People taking her designs, or that just happening in fashion in general, that is definitely a big problem that is just getting worse and worse. I was even scrolling on TikTok. And I found there was this girl had like a video and it was her closet. And there was one of Paulina’s shirts in her closet. And someone asked like, ‘Oh, where do you get it?’ And she did a separate video on it saying that she got it off of Amazon. And this was the link to it. So I commented and I was like, “Oh, actually, this design was taken by this small business. If you would like the actual shirt, the actual product, then probably go buy it from her.” So I saw that and I was like, I’ve seen that a few times actually now. She was showing me there was a link to an AliExpress product that was basically it was exactly her shirt. It was even the pictures that they were posted in like, Sydney Carlson had posted wearing her shirt and they took those pictures from our Instagram and posted them on AliExpress and were selling Paulina’s shirts. She does everything herself. She creates the designs, prints them, presses them, packages them, then mails them out and she gets thousands of orders on the regular. And I think it’s really interesting that out of nowhere she got all these she had all these social media influencers and celebrities posting in her designs. And I think that contributed a lot to probably her work ethic since she started gaining a lot more orders after that and she had to speed up on it. And she also manages her school doing all that which I thought was really interesting. Because that takes a lot of time, both of those things, doing school and running a business by yourself.
Oliver: If you guys want to read more about ironic fashion, you guys can check out our first issue of the semester up online now at xpressmagazine.com.
Lisa: Thank you so much.
Oliver: Thank you, Giovanna.
Giovanna: Thank you.
Special guest: Fits of SFSU
Lisa: Okay, before we close out, one Instagram page has recently strutted onto the scene and captured the attention of SF State’s unique student body. Fits of SFSU has over 2,000 followers in less than a month and has been documenting SF State student fashion this semester.
Lisa: We’re sitting down today with Fits of SFSU.
Fits of SFSU: Hey. Hello, hello.
Lisa: All right, we’ll start off easy. So, who are you?
Breanna: I’m Bree [Miller]. I’m a second-year majoring in apparel and design.
Esperanza: My name is Esperanza [Vaquiz]. Most people call me Espy, I’m also a second-year. I’m majoring in journalism. I’m an Aquarius. And yeah, I’m just simply capturing, you know, students all around campus.
Lisa: What is Fits of SFSU?
Esperanza: So I made the Instagram because I was just walking around campus and I just love seeing people’s outfits. And I was just thinking, “how can we don’t have one?” and I was just so done waiting for someone else to make something. So I was like, I’m gonna just do it myself. And if it’s a flop, it’s a flop. It’s a– it’s working out fine now. So yeah, I’m just going around campus.
Breanna: Honestly, it’s such a fun thing to do. And that’s the point of this account. You know, we made it for fun and hopefully that people their energy like we give what they get, so.
Lisa: And how did you two meet?
Esperanza: We’re sorority sisters. No, I’m just messing with you. But yeah, we did actually meet. We actually did, we actually did.
Breanna: We actually met. So basically, we flew to London, we met Beyonce. We talked to the Queen and then we met through tea. Yeah.
Esperanza: So I, so she’s, I didn’t see her in our sorority last year. But I saw her and she had the coolest outfit on and I just was thinking like, “oh my gosh, like, I have to talk to her.” Like she’s so cool.
Lisa: What was she wearing?
Esperanza: Yeah, I don’t remember what she wore. But I just remember it was cool. And then the next day, I saw her on campus, and I was just like, “do you want to get coffee and just like chit chat?” And we just clicked so quickly, so well. And then, like, the next day, I was like, yeah, so I made this account. Do you want to help me? She was like, yeah, so
Breanna: She was actually like, really funny, though, when she asked because we clicked really fast. She literally asked me, she goes, “What’s your signs and stuff?” And I literally had to Google it. And I was like looking it up. I was like “What time was I born again?” And I was like, I told her and she’s like, Oh my God, this makes so much sense now. And then the next day when she asked me, she’s asking me, I was like, Oh my God. Yeah, but like I was in sweats and stuff. So I was like, Man, I kind of wish I looked better when she asked me but no, like.
Esperanza: She doesn’t give herself credit.
Breanna: No, but we like, we just clicked immediately. Yes, crazy. It’s like we knew each other for like, it’s like we knew each other for years and stuff.
Lisa: What did it look like at the beginning? Did you just start like, oh, I’m gonna ask this person or like, you know, how did that go?
Esperanza: I was like, how can I like, build on this? So? And I was like, too shy to ask people that I didn’t know. Because like, there was no, they’re like, they’re gonna be like, what? So I asked these girls in my class because I like kind of knew them. They were really nice. And they were like, yeah, and then they reposted it on their stories. I posted it on my story. I like posted my friend, too. And then I was like, gaining, like 20 followers. And then I was like, “How can we build followers or whatever?” Like, how can I get this to people? So I reached out to the SFSU Confession page because I know everybody be going on that. Everyone likes seeing the chisme and all the tea.
So I was like, “hey, like, I just started this account. Do you guys mind giving me a shout-out?” Yeah. And they were so sweet. Whoever they were. They were like, oh my gosh, yes I love the concept. So they reposted it. And then just literally overnight, boom, boom, boom, boom, like followers just came in. And I was like, from there. I just, I just got the confidence and I just went up to random people and I was just like, “hey, really quickly. I know you’re going to class, but I love your outfit. But can I post you on Fits of SFSU?” Some people were like “we have we have an account?,” like, I’m like, now we do. And then I just started talking to people through this too. And we just kept on growing from there. So it was a really, we grew really fast.
Breanna: The reason that we grew so fast was like not only because we got SFSU, or some of our friends to really be like, Oh, I’m willing to take the picture. It’s because people have been so like, reciprocating of our energy. They’re like, “Oh my god, like you want to take a picture of my outfit?” And we’re like, yeah, we do. And they’re like, oh my god, like I’m down like, how do you want me to pose really like, You’re fine, you’re fine. Also, too. It’s some people like they’re not feeling like the day but when we ask them sometimes they’re having a bad day and they’re like, oh my god, you just like made my day and like.
Esperanza: I think that’s the best part.
Breanna: Yeah, like even to like people that you know, they’re not feeling it that day. It’s all good. you know, we it’s never personal. It’s all for fun. And if they don’t feel comfortable, like we don’t feel comfortable taking it up them.
Lisa: No, yeah, that’s what I was thinking that we always joke about waiting for y’all to take our picture but like that’s–
Oliver: You guys are almost 2000 followers. And I know 1000 was already kind of a big deal for you guys. Do you guys have any milestones on the horizon that you’re looking forward to any plans with that kind of stuff?
Breanna: We definitely do.
Oliver: And how did you guys celebrate like the early ones, if you guys did at all?
Esperanza: So this is like, we’re like, we’re like, we’re at 999 followers. And I put like a Q&A thing. And people were like, “oh, can we figure out who you guys are?” And at first, I didn’t want people to know who I was because I didn’t want them to prejudge me, go on my account and be like, girl, like, your outfit is not it, like what do you know about fashion? So I didn’t want people to like to do that. I just want them to see the work first. But when we hit 1,000, we’re like, Okay, well, we’ll secretly follow ourselves. And you can secretly see who we are. So when we hit 1,000, we followed ourselves.
Breanna: No, but it worked though because people still get surprised when they see us.
Esperanza: Yeah, they’re like, “Oh, you’re that girl?”
Breanna: Oh, you’re from that account.
Esperanza: Yeah. But when we hit 2000, we hope to capture students in Y2K outfits, because it’s like a 2000s theme 2000 2000 buying nothing too much about it, you have to go on our Instagram to find out more information.
Yeah. And then we’re also hoping to work on doing a student-led like flea market and like students can have the opportunity because, you know, as a college student, we’re on a tight budget. So if you don’t have the money to buy the clothes, you can definitely have the option to exchange or swap.
Breanna: You know, nowadays, you know, vintage-like stuff is really expensive, even at like, you know, flea markets and stuff like, you think it’s going to be good price. Now, because tell me why this ring? They were like, “Oh, we can give it to you for 20.” I was like, No, you can give it to me for five. You know, students these days are on a tight budget. So we got to make sure it’s accessible to everybody.
Esperanza: But we do have- that’s just a little bit of what’s coming up.
Lisa: You know, you’ve made a lot of people’s days, but what’s been the response to the page overall? Have you had any difficulties yet?
Fits of SFSU: Yeah.
Esperanza: Where do we begin? Okay, actually, I’ll tell you like a rundown. So I thought it would be cool to post this, because it’s like Latin Heritage Month. So I thought it would be cool to like, give a quick fun fact about some of our like, trends going on now come from Chicano culture and stuff like that. And I got a lot of DM’s that were like, “This isn’t it, this is offensive.” And I was just like, how is it offensive? And then people are like “Cholas are offensive” and I was like how are they offensive? and then the person’s like “they were a part of gangs” and I’m like, you know, can never win and then with the Queen [Elizabeth], I thought it’d be cool to post her outfits. But then we realized like she is a flop, her lifestyle is a flop, like we fucked up so we deleted it and we got some hate comments from that which like valid.
Breanna: They were valid like honestly like sorry, like Queen is a flop but we were just posting it for funsies honestly, we should have done flop or flop, flop or flopper flop or flopper or it was our it was our mistake, but you know, sometimes you have to have mistakes, in the beginning, to learn from exactly.
Lisa: I heard you say that fits are on another level here. What do you think makes SFSU kind of different?
Breanna: People don’t care what you wear here, it’s like there’s no judgment at all. And honestly, we like go up to people, we appreciate each other’s outfits and like we’re very open-minded and very welcoming towards other people.
Esperanza: SF State is so diverse and so inclusive. I love it. No tea, no shade, just facts but like I went to Berkeley the other day everyone was wearing jeans and just a white shirt. It was super basic, we came in and everyone was like giving us dirty looks. Like we’re like crazy. But here, everybody is the baddest fucking bitch. Like there’s not one person that looks bad. We just are so stylish. We are so awesome, so inclusive, so diverse. So loving.
Rapid fire questions
Oliver: We did want to throw some fashion trends at you and then just yes or no, or what did you guys do?
Fits of SFSU: Flop or serve.
Oliver: Okay, flop or serve. Bucket hats?
Esperanza: It depends. Is it like denim? Is it furry?
Breanna: Yeah. I’ll say Flerve.
Esperanza: It’s a flop or flerve.
Breanna: It’s a flerve.
Oliver: Okay, ski masks or balaclavas?
Esperanza: Flop, I want to see your face.
Breanna: That’s a flop, I’m sorry.
Esperanza: Unless it’s a knitted one. I think that’s cool. But if it’s not like flop.
Oliver: Air Forces?
Fits of SFSU: Serve.
Esperanza: They’re just like essentials
Oliver: Platforms, just in general?
Fits of SFSU: Serve
Oliver: Low-rise jeans?
Esperanza: Serve! Serve!
Breanna: Serve, all the way.
Esperanza: I know people are like, Oh, don’t bring it back, but I think it looks good on everyone. Like–
Breanna: No, it’s literally so flattering. It’s sexy. It’s awesome. It’s casual. It’s cool.
Breanna: I don’t know.
Esperanza: Sorry. I’m like–
Breanna: Nah cause like, I lowkey like certain things of athleisure like the body suits or whatever.
Esperanza: People look good.
Breanna: Yeah, but like certain things I’m like, girl like, that’s not an outfit.
Esperanza: We’re in 2022 and you’re wearing Lululemons. And you think that’s the outfit? You know what I mean?
Fits of SFSU: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Breanna: Those are serve.
Esperanza: But also.
Breanna: Serve in the right way.
Esperanza: It’s like, I hate to be a hater, but I’m also a hater. Like it’s slowly like becoming overused, but it’s still a serve.
Breanna: I’m wearing a Baby-T so I will say serve all the way.
Esperanza: Serve, but if it has a graphic design if it’s like Taco Tuesday: FLOP!
Breanna: Forever 21, yeah.
Oliver: I think I already know what you’re gonna say here but, SHEIN?
Esperanza: FLOP. Major flop.
Breanna: Flop. Please do not shop there. It really is a bad place to shop. There are so many better places. Even if it’s a bit more pricey, it lasts longer. It’ll last you years that’s for sure. Like invest. Honestly, investing is the best way to save.
Esperanza: Investing in yourself is the best investment. Stop investing in SHEIN
Breanna: Self-care doesn’t anybody know about self-care Sundays like that is your self-care don’t shop at SHEIN.
Oliver: And then last one, we have Dickies?
Esperanza: Serve. Like baggy Dickies, yes. TightDickies? Like no.
Breanna: I can’t do it. Yeah, don’t don’t do tight Dickies. I don’t know what’s wrong with you people. But honestly though, like, you know, we’re saying this stuff. This is personally this is our opinion, this is what we think if you think otherwise. Don’t worry, guys, like you guys all have your opinion on your style, just own your style, own your style. We love that you own it. Just own it.
Oliver: Well, thank you guys again, for sitting down with us. It’s been so much fun. And I think last thing I would want to ask you guys, do you guys have any like closing advice for the SF State student body? It’s someone who perhaps would like to be on Fits of SFSU, what can we strive for?
Esperanza: Wear what you want to wear, wear something you feel confident and like, if I go up to you and I’m like, Can I take a photo of you? You better be striking a pose. I don’t want this like oh… you should be able to feel so good in that outfit. And just feel so iconic, whatever you choose to wear.
Breanna: Honestly, if you feel confident in what you’re wearing, show it off. Like there’s literally no reason to hide an amazing outfit. Like even if other people might not agree. Like, if you think it’s amazing, who cares. That’s you. We think it’s amazing. You think it’s amazing. Yeah, we want to show you off and you know, also to just, you know, FYI for all my shy people out there. I’m so shy too. It takes me a lot of courage just to even come up to you guys. And the fact that you even want me to take your picture. I’m very appreciative of all of you out there.
Lisa: Thanks for tuning in. This has been Between the Issues. I’m your host, Lisa Moreno.
Oliver: And I’m Oliver Michelsen. If you want to read more about Fits of SFSU, be on the lookout for our fall issue and check out our websites xpressmagazine.org and goldengatexpress.org. Until next time.