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Joshua Abavomich

As Brown Fashion week continues, we had the opportunity to hear from four Gen-Z Youtubers who are defining internet fashion: Avery Ovard, Ava Jules, Luna Montana, and Kianna Naomi. The event was moderated by Fashion@Brown co-president, Emma Rosenkranz, as they discussed their beginnings in making videos, style, and identity.

Ovard’s channel is mainly dedicated to authentic conversations around her mental health, covering issues usually considered taboo like depression and anxiety. Since 2013, Jules has been posting videos in her hometown, O’ahu, Hawaii. She also talks about mental health, promoting her audience to have greater confidence in themselves. As a ballet dancer, Montana started her channel in 2014, which revolves around conversations on ballet, fashion, beauty, girl talk, and her own experiences. Notably, she delves into difficult conversations, such as mental health and body dysmorphia. With over 900,000 subscribers, Naomi shares vlogs about her life as an actress, style inspiration, visiting a new country, or product reviews.

Rosenkranz began the conversation by asking what the Youtubers wanted to pursue from the start. Initially, Jules wanted to be a space doctor. Montana said she always loved entertaining and dancing, which promoted a desire to be on stage. In addition, Ovard talked about how as a kid, she and her siblings would make intricate home videos with scripts, costumes, and music. This is indicative of her later success in making videos. Furthermore, Naomi’s personality as a child was shaped by the internet, leading her to want to be a mix of Demi Lovato and Zendaya.

Whether their initial passions hinted at video-making or not, all four speakers decided to pick up a camera in 2013 or 2014 and start channels. Naomi talked about her joy from watching Youtube videos, which prompted her to say “I can do that” and grab her dad’s camcorder. Interestingly, Jules' start on Youtube was initiated by her love for Justin Beiber. As a fan with cutouts of him decorating her bedroom, she saw girls online making videos of their posters and thought that she could do the same. Ovard mentioned that her older sister began making videos at 14, amassing viewers and friends. In response, Ovard started posting content at the age of 9 to obtain a similar community. Now, she’s surprised at how much she’s grown whenever she sees older clips of herself.

The four Yotubers are also interested in fashion, regularly sharing outfits in their videos. When asked about how their style emerged, Montana answered that she was content about not finding hers yet. As a result, she can change her mind about what to wear every day. She then explained that “fashion is such a great creative outlet” and she “sees no harm in pushing boundaries.” Naomi responded to the question by asking what is personal style. She then mentioned that she stopped doing clothing hauls because of their environmental impacts. For Ovard, her mom was a hairstylist. Consequently, her fondest memories were of her mom and her sisters “glamming her up.” She also brought up an interesting point that it's difficult taking inspiration from someone you look up to and make it part of yourself. Ovard also shared that she enjoys dressing comfortably, like wearing sweatpants to set.

On a more serious note, the four content creators are dedicated to destigmatizing topics of mental health by openly talking about them to their viewers. Jules said she just moved and accepts that over time, she will change. As a result, she is focused on the present rather than the future. She also brought up her videos on managing stress and body positivity. In Montana’s case, at one time she was in a horrible state and shared a personal video on Youtube. To her surprise, the response from her viewers was healing.

Naomi sometimes shares videos about her hair, even changing its style every day for a week. She elucidated that she believes these videos are important to make, as they provide representation for younger girls of color. Also, they depict her being who she is unapologetically. Similarly, Ovard released a video of her telling her mom that she would date a girl. Moreover, the goal was to depict a casual way of discussing this topic for her viewers.

It was encouraging to hear the stories of how four Youtubers started and gained such a large following by sharing about their lives and discussing relatable issues. To end, the speakers shared where they viewed themselves in the future. Ultimately, Jules is open-minded but hopes that Youtube stays a part of her life. Naomi answered that has no idea and doesn’t want to focus that far ahead. Montana stated that she wants to pursue what makes her happy, which is entertainment. While Youtube may not be forever, Ovard is interested in the fashion and editorial worlds and views her videos as a stepping stone for entering what she may want to do in the future.

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