Despite being two years into his NYU education, this is Slater Stanley’s first year in New York. He lived and studied in NYU’s Shanghai site before coming to Manhattan, and he had the opportunity to practice his Mandarin, which he has studied for the past six years. Stanley picked up some Asian fashion during his college career.
“I was introduced to the drop-crotch loose harem pants in China,” Stanley said. His gray harem pants have patterns that resemble a white, Siberian tiger. “These pants are one of my favorite bottoms to wear because they make a statement without too much effort.”
Aside from adopting fashion, Stanley also developed his personal philosophy in China.
“Interacting with the migrant Chinese peasant population caused me to realize that I was very privileged and the instances where people get angry back in the States were trivial,” he said. “China taught me fluidity. If things didn’t work out the way I wanted, there’s nothing to get angry about because there are people with bigger problems.”
His flexibility contributes to his enjoyment of mixing gender-specific styles.
“I always portray myself as a man. I wear jeans and a jacket,” said Stanley. “But to juxtapose, I’ll add [something else] such as wearing nail polish.”
When the city greets him with warm weather, Stanley can be spotted wearing his fishnet stockings frequently, paired with six-inch plastic heels.
“I would pull [the stockings] all the way up to my chest and wear a crop top over them and accessorize with heels. I like the idea of heels and fishnets,” Stanley said. “I break the traditional male clothing role in the sense that fishnets and heels are stereotypically for women, but I’m wearing it. The dichotomy of the absence of gender norms in that expression is interesting.”
His favorite artist and idol, Brooke Candy, also influences Stanley’s fascination with gender blending. Candy, an underground rapper, is known to promote acceptance in oneself and sex-positivity. Stanley embodies Candy’s fashion by wearing his own one-of-a-kind platform shoes.
“I tried to make myself a pair of homemade platform shoes by stacking a bunch of foam beach sandals under some sneakers and gluing them together. But I bought the wrong size sandals,” he said. “The shoes were five inches tall and functioned for a little while until I fell off the stairs and they broke apart.”
Despite his platforms catastrophe, Stanley isn’t worried about the future.
“China was where I first accepted the very internal issue of my sexuality. Now, a year after having come out to my friends and family, I’ve accepted more things about myself,” Stanley said. “I’m currently interested in getting a job as a nude model for art students. I think the experience would help me to come to accept my body even further.”
A version of this article was published in the Tuesday, March 12 print edition. Lily Chin is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]