Spreading District Style
Nicole Aguirre, BA '09, flips through a copy of the new D.C. fashion, art, and style magazine she founded and stops at a photo of three men in business suits skeptically eyeing a colorful outcast in pink pants. The quirky scene that Ms. Aguirre styled and photographed is one of her favorites, and it also gives a glimpse into why she started Worn Magazine with the help of a 2010 Young Artist Grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
"There's this culture of seriousness. I understand that; I went to the Elliott School and I worked in government," says Ms. Aguirre, who has interned at both the State Department and Vanity Fair magazine. "There is a fear of standing out and looking not as intelligent. But I want to show people that it's ok to have fun with fashion."
Ms. Aguirre grew up in Los Angeles and chose GW because, as a student interested in politics and international affairs, she wanted to be "closer to the source."
"I really wanted to be a diplomat," says Ms. Aguirre, who transferred to GW. "I studied political science for one year in California, but no one wanted to do what I wanted to do."
Now, she is drawn to D.C. for both its political and creative scenes. As editor in chief of Worn Magazine, she has also become involved in the local arts community by doing things like judging a mod fashion show at the Textile Museum, hosting fundraisers, and promoting other local creative happenings through the magazine's blog.
"I'm so proud of the fact that Worn is 100 percent grassroots," says Ms. Aguirre, who works on the magazine with a small staff, including GW students who have been interns. "It serves people in the creative community and is by people in the creative community. It's sort of from the bottom up."
The magazine is sold at small businesses throughout D.C., including in Foggy Bottom at the new alumni-owned market and sandwich shop on campus, FoBoGro.
Although moving to D.C. to attend GW sparked an interest in the local community, she discovered her passion for photography while traveling abroad. She received a National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship to study in South Korea as a junior. During her yearlong stay, she also traveled to Japan, China, and Cambodia.
"I realized photography could really marry art and international affairs," she says. "You know the background for the issues you are photographing."
Ms. Aguirre's lens has recently stayed focused on the local community, however, with the second issue of Worn Magazine coming out this fall.
"When I started the magazine, I felt a responsibility to do it right since it wasn't being done," she says. "We're trying to be a record of what's going on creatively in the city."