In his essay, “What is Art?” Leo Tolstoy defines art as “a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward the well-being of individuals and of humanity.” That being said, art is not limited to paintings or on-stage productions. Photography, prose, poetry, graphic design, and even fashion can be considered art when employed to bring people together and better society. The student-run fashion and lifestyle publication, Trend Magazine, combines these elements to convey cultural messages to readers—messages that ultimately build connections between students and serve the community by raising awareness of matters relevant to the student body. Trend is entirely student-centered, reflecting the interests, personalities, and experiences of students. I sat down with Trend’s editor-in-chief (EIC), Akanksha Kevalramani, to discuss Trend’s growing presence at UC San Diego.
Founded in 2007, Trend began solely as a fashion magazine. Over the years, however, it is evolving more into a lifestyle-oriented publication. “We want to be relatable to every student and have everyone find something for themselves,” Kevalramani explained.
Trend consists of editors, stylists, artists, writers, and photographers—all of whom are students—who publish two issues a year, each with a different theme. Each theme unifies this multifaceted team of creatives. The students working for Trend come from many different majors and backgrounds. For example, the editor-in-chief is a Computer Science major.
I inquired about the possible difficulties that Trend may encounter with having such a diverse staff. Kevalramani responded, “It’s definitely a lot of work because we’re all students and we’re all busy. There are always going to be creative differences, but having a theme for each issue puts us all on the same page.” Regarding creative liberty and restrictions, Kevalramani described her staff having plenty of freedom, but within the thematic confines. “I try not to dismiss an idea just because it’s not my personal taste. It’s always about if it goes well with what we’re trying to do,” she elucidated.
Nonetheless, the staff members, though equipped with different skill-sets and artistic abilities, all have one thing in common: the passion to create. At the end of the day, the editor hopes “every person in the staff to have a sense of ownership of the magazine and have their voice heard.” Naturally, the mission of this diverse and talented group is to showcase diversity and talent on campus.
Holistically, art has proved to have a significant impact on the cultural climate at UCSD, shaping campus into a place where all types of people belong. Trend Magazine embodies the importance of art in catalyzing connections between people different and alike. For example, in their previous “Unrefined Issue,” Trend did a photoshoot called “Reclaiming Your Culture” in which they photographed three models of different ethnicities. Dressed in “fashionable and normal clothes,” each picture “incorporated a piece of their culture that were generally frowned upon.” For instance, one model of African descent wore her hair in its natural afro style, reminiscing how she was once told to tame her curls.
Last spring’s installment, “The Self-Love Issue,” had a share of culturally-relevant pieces as well. In an article titled “The Freedom of Solo Travel,” Trend writer Rafii Ramadhan revisited her solo trip to Mammoth Lake, and gave tips for travelling alone, specifically regarding what clothes to pack. The issue also featured a poem with illustrations called “Anxiety Art.”
As the “Unrefined Issue” focused of themes of individuality and cultural empowerment, “The Self-Love Issue” also stimulated conversations of travel and anxiety, using fashion and art as vehicles for these messages. Noting the similarly empowering themes represented in the past two publications, I asked Kevalramami how she hopes readers will be influenced from reading an issue. The EIC added that “it just so happens that our previous issues were all about empowering students and self-love, but we don’t want to be too repetitive. I think our overall goal is just that every student can find something that they can relate to.”
What makes Trend so innovative is its success in utilizing something as material and accessible as fashion as a medium of communication. Kevalramani elaborated: besides Trend’s purpose in being a creative outlet for the staff, they are also “raising awareness for how art and fashion can be used as a means of communication and expression through our magazine.” In the everyday world, many people express themselves through their personal style. Trend goes an extra step, using clothing and aesthetics to represent UCSD. “We’re featuring their art, their talent, and also talking about the students, and issues and topics that might be relevant to them,” Kevalramani explained when asked about Trend’s contributions to the student body.
Although this community currently consists of the staff and readers of Trend, the staff hopes to eventually spread to a bigger community. According to Kevalramani, the staff at Trend wants to engage with their community through “more workshops and events for creative people.”
If you want to be a part of this community, the second issue of Trend is scheduled for release late in spring quarter with the theme “Sincerely Yours.” Whether you are fashionably savvy or not, this publication is worth reading (it’s also free!). Trend readers should have an open mind and expect to relate to the topics covered. As a publication made by and for UCSD students of various backgrounds, Trend is projecting the cultural climate on campus through the unique and aesthetically appealing lens of fashion.
Jenna Desai is a contributing writer for the A&C section of the Triton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.