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SWAN | Unpacking the Frat Aesthetic

During events like homecoming or reunion weekend, I love listening to the older alumni of my fraternity tell stories about their time at Cornell. I suppose that I’m a nostalgic person — an old soul — and I really enjoy trying to discern the similarities and differences between the campus dynamics of now and then. Some of them, the “’80s brothers,” share memories of their flippant college years, of wild parties, inside jokes and ridiculous traditions. All of their memories conjure in my mind an image of Cornell, 1984, like some Richard Linklater movie where boys will be boys and chase girls, Van Halen is always playing in the background, Ronald Reagan is president and it’s morning in America again – think Everybody Wants Some!!. Of course, this world excluded a lot of people, dismissed much of the agency of women, and cast away individuals of minority cultures to mere supporting roles.

A gown by Robyn Reynolds that was recently displayed in the Barbara L. Kuhlman Student Scholars' Fiber and Wearable Arts Exhibition

Senior Designer Profile: From Pre-Med in Atlanta to Eveningwear in Ithaca, a Chat with Robin Reynolds ’16

Robin Reynolds ’16 believes in the personal, the intimate, the individual — and their capacity to triumph over conformity and conventionality through design. Compelled to pursue a career in clothing design as a result of her experiences as a pre-professional dancer, creating and altering clothing for herself and other dancers, Reynolds seeks to articulate wearers’ multidimensional identities and depth, through her luxurious detail, defining surface elements, textile layering and deliberate construction. Her senior collection will feature eveningwear and lingerie inspired by the shapes and subtleties of glass in its various forms. The Sun had the opportunity to speak with Reynolds about her design aesthetic, senior collection, and the journey of her transfer to the Cornell Fiber Science and Apparel Design from a pre-medical track. The Sun: When did you first start designing? How did you end up at Cornell for design?