Of all of nature’s gifts, snow is the one I want to take back to the store and exchange for something else. Winter is pretty, but very uncomfortable, and I much prefer sundresses and sandals to being bundled up in long johns and scarves and ten pairs of wool socks. So when the snow finally fell this year I was, as usual, in the depths of despair. After the requisite amount of pouting, I did the thing I always do when the snow falls for the first time: I pulled out my Really Giant Boots.
My Really Giant Boots are not what I would call the height of fashion. I got them for a highschool trip, where we did wilderness-y things like snowshoeing and hiking. They kept my feet warm and dry, and their gargantuan size, thick, heavy soles and general construction-worker aesthetic made me feel secretly tough — like I could kick down a door or fight off a bad guy should the need ever arise. After that weekend, I wore them every single day.
I had a teacher who used to shake his head, bewildered, every time my boots and I clomped into the classroom. “Hailey,” he would say, “those boots are just so curious.“ He explained that they reminded him of a girl he knew in university who was fearless and outspoken, and while I am none of these things – I’ve always been a shy and quiet kid – wearing the boots make me feel like maybe I could be. I’ve worn them every winter since. The last time I wore them home, my mom took a look at them and said, “I’m glad you still wear those. They look like old friends.”
interview by Anna Fitz
photography provided by Yokoo
Atlanta-based designer Yokoo has been picking up steam on the internet, gaining recognition not only for the oversized chunky knitwear that she makes and sells but also because of her eclectic sense of style, minimalist self portraits, and that trademark haircut.
Where did your name come from? Was it inspired at all by Japanese designer Tadanori Yokoo?
Years ago, I had fallen in love with my college freshman English professor, and he had decided to give me a Y for my birthday. It was wonderful. The next day I broke up with him.
The three “O”s were not always so cute. They actually started out as zeroes. When I found them they were rather humble little things. They used to tell me how they were all going to be big, big movie stars one day. I told them if they wanted to be movie stars then they had better change their names, because no one would ever give an Oscar to someone named Zero.
Finally, they agreed and decided to call themselves Oscars. I told them that was just plain stupid, and then they settled on just “O.” Oh, and I fell in love with K because she can cook. But don’t tell her that because she’s really sensitive.
How did you dress when you were in high school?
One has to understand that high school used to be nothing like it is today. Dressing up was not a part-time job the way it is today. You had maybe like three or four kids that put a lot of time, if any, into chiseling a look out for themselves. Because it contrasted so drastically with my environment, I was fascinated with the whole preppy lifestyle. I had a certain fondness for United Colors of Benetton. Then I would incorporate a lot of the underground hip hop hippie movement into my style as well. People like De La Soul had a huge impact not only on my way of dress, but also on how I started to perceive the world. I wore the hippie hip hop haircuts, the big medallions, and a lot of Nikes.