When you tie together the royalty of the late Prince and the boldness of modern fashion icon Travis Scott, somewhere in the middle you’ll find media studies senior Alexis Camel.
Prince once said, “Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.” The pop star message resonated with Camel, who draws from Prince’s nonbinary fashion that he brought into the public eye in the ’80s.
At 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, Camel struts into class with a leather trench coat, hoop earrings, pink nails, an eccentric white-and-blue, patterned shirt and shiny white eyeshadow highlighting his eyes. This is a regular day of class for Camel as he uses fashion to dictate his passion for creativity.
Camel describes his own style as, “a 1980s rockstar that has still managed to stay fly into the year 2020 while also picking up the best parts of trends up to 2020. Or the coolest Auntie in the family that you wonder what they do for a living and why they own that many fur coats.”
And his biggest inspirations? Prince, Travis Scott and old people.
“Prince for his gender fluidity and just how damn gorgeous he was. Travis Scott for tying together high fashion, vintage and the silhouettes that I grew up seeing my three older brothers wear,” Camel said. Also, most importantly, “older people, because they have their own distinct styles that they’ve developed throughout their long lives and they know what suits them best. Next time you’re out and about, check out what the grandmas and grandpas are wearing and tell me you don’t see it.”
Camel finds most of his pieces through recycled fashion at thrift stores, turning someone’s past into his future. Some brands he find notable are Costco’s Signature Kirkland plain-white tees and Ed Hardy, but most importantly his own hand-crafted clothing brand Wannabe.
What inspired you to get into fashion?
“So I spent my first semester of college at Sterling College in Kansas where I had nothing to do most of the time. So after spending my last two years of high school and first semester of college wearing nothing but shorts, sweats and t-shirts, I made the decision to make more of an effort because I was tired of not looking my best. That winter break coming back from Kansas, I started thrift shopping and the love for it has grown tremendously over the years. I spent my whole life as a football player, mainly, so once I stopped playing I needed another way of expressing myself and fashion has served as that medium since.”
What inspired you to get into makeup?
“As a kid, both of my parents marveled about the legend Prince, the most beautiful man in the world who would share clothes and makeup with his supermodel partners. I always loved that, but it wasn’t until I went to my second Coachella that I really felt compelled to step up my self-expression and use makeup to make my looks even better. Shoutout to the intro of ‘Purple Rain,’ that opening montage alone has inspired many of my makeup looks.”
Why is style important to you?
“Style is a window into the personality of the individual. I think you can learn a lot about a person just by analyzing their style. You see who is more laidback, who is more outgoing, what colors exemplify their character traits – I think you can learn a lot looking at someone’s style not just their outfit.”
What are the top three staple pieces of your wardrobe?
“My Travis Scott half-skull head t-shirt is the best fitting t-shirt I’ve ever owned and is the go-to top whenever I don’t know what to wear. You’ll almost always catch me accessorizing with my star ring, butterfly ring, my Anarchy chain and a beaded bracelet that my niece Maliyah let me have. My black combat boots are almost out of commission, but I’m still rockin’ them with any outfit I can until the soles fall off.”
How does being non-binary affect your fashion?
“Being non-binary is somewhat ironic because it’s a label of one not wanting to be labeled. I’m both very masculine and feminine but the two really fluctuate depending on my mood. Somedays I feel like being a man and wearing baggy pants and a t-shirt, sometimes I’m feeling real gorgeous and know the only way I can step out of the house is in my best blouse, some killer eyeliner and most likely some shiny or leather pants. I just want everyone of all genders to feel comfortable expressing themselves in whatever way feels true to them, so I do my best to exemplify that. Also, the women’s section has way better clothes and more options than the men’s section on any given day. Be who you wanna be!”