“Not everyone has to like what I am wearing,” says Darienne Madlala, a sophomore pre-med and History major.
She only has a few minutes to discuss her unique sense of fashion. Between labs, we convene over Grab n’ Go sandwiches behind the vending machines in the basement of Keefe to talk.
“I have never cared. I always think you should just wear what you want to wear. And I am really not that type of person to judge what other people wear.”
“Clothes can be from any store,” Madlala continues. “It is just a matter of looking.”
Color is the first thing that draws her attention, although she admits that too much color can be a problem. Her style is defined by her love of vintage, but she also warns about not going overboard: “vintage things are cool, but you have to have a balance.”
Madlada prefers loose and flowy clothing to “figure-hugging stuff.” But what is the real secret to her unique sense of style? Madlala admits to throwing pieces together in the morning without giving too much time to focus on what looks good together. Somehow, magically, it always does!
Madlala says she is not a big shopper and could not even remember the last time she hit the stores.
“Anyway,” Madlala notes, “I always find my best things when I am not looking.”
That said, when it comes to sorting through racks, she maintains her patience and shops with a sense of purpose: “I have patience. You have to. Otherwise you are just going to walk out of the store with boring stuff.”
Madlala recalls a recent shopping trip to Forever 21 when she spotted a fantastic pair of heron pants on the other side of the store. She and her friends were blown away; the pants were incredible! They all wanted to get them, but Madlala had found the last pair.
“It’s a matter of where you look. And it is a matter of patience,” she reminds us.
Madlala has many fashion icons and admits to finding inspiration from anywhere she can get it — from her sister, Rachel, to her mom and Agyness Deyn; fashion model. Madlala’s mom taught her how to sew when she was young and encouraged her fashion sensibilities, while she says her sister was the one who pushed her to try new things. In fact, Madlala says that her sister still pushes her today, both in terms of her fashion choices and as a person. Madlala’s favorite go-to pair of pants once hung in her mom’s closet. She credits Agyness Deyn as her inspiration for her first pair of shin-high black Doc Martin boots, which she bought when she was 14 years old.
“I get my greatest source of fashion inspiration from Agyness Deyn. Oh, my gosh! Love her! Google her! There was a point in her fashion career when she was better known for her street clothing than her actual fashion modeling. She does not have a stylist; she dresses herself. She’s my style icon.”
When asked about tips for springtime fashion, Madlala recommends a good lipstick. As Madlala jokes, “It’s important to brighten up ones’ days … at least brighten up mine.”
In fact, one of Madlala’s best friends, who joined us during our conversation, notes that Madlala is the one who got her into lipstick. And what about looking forward to summer? Madlala favors city sports shirts and shorts — and that’s it. As far as her favorite beachwear, Madlala is very firm about wearing a one-piece bathing suit.
“One pieces are my personal thing. I am at the point where I am just over two-pieces.” She has already purchased her summer suit and the good news, as Madlala declares, “It’s sexy!”
As time for Madlala’s lab is fast approaching, she notes, “I have always appreciated when other people appreciate what I wear. But I do not expect the things that people have said or the compliments I have received.”
Madlala continues, “I used to say that clothes have to give me life … in a way. I think if everyone likes what you are wearing then you have done something wrong. Not everyone is going to like the pants I wear — they are crazy. I admit it. If people appreciate what you wear then that is fine, but if everyone likes what you wear, then, like, you are just generic.”
And what do I like about Madlala and her fashion style? Madlala is who she is and she is not afraid to take chances. She exudes confidence: “In five years, I will definitely be in medical school — somewhere in the world.”
This confidence is apparent in her fashion style as well: Madlala knows who she is and definitely knows where she is going.