Books and liquor -- often two of the more abundant elements of the Harvard undergraduate experience. That "work hard, play hard" attitude resonated with Emily Xie '12 and her roommate, Colin, and became the striking title of the Harvard Square style blog they launched in 2010. The project began organically, with a lifelong passion converted into action. Emily, who hails from a small town in Maine, studied History of Art and Architecture at the College and was the photography director for a campus publication, but decided she wanted to devote more time to one of her major passions: capturing street style through photography. She and her roommate, Colin, with the help of some tech-savvy friends, took those photos viral by launching Books&Liquor, Harvard's only street style blog. I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Emily, now a Harvard graduate working at an art technology start up and living in the Square, and learn more about the blog's inspiration.
One of the first things I asked Emily about the blog was simple: beyond the obvious element of personal location and surroundings, why Harvard Square? What makes the Square such a unique case study for style? She credits it, in part, to Cambridge's international draw. "Harvard attracts people from all over the world: tourists, visiting professors, students from other campuses, people in town for a business trip, and traveling politicians alike," she says. "It really colors the area with such a vibrant energy." Painting a portrait of the eclectic personalities embracing the area aesthetic has been one of the ultimate aims of Books&Liquor from the start -- along with breaking conventional stereotypes about the style of Harvard students. Emily recognizes that "while there's no denying that students tend to gravitate toward boat shoes and J. Crew, there's a lot of diversity in sartorial expression here." She describes her own personal style as "a mix of classic and vintage pieces, influenced by the bright colors of the 1960s, but also by the warm tones of the 1950s Ivy League." While you'll certainly find some likewise inspired looks among Books&Liquor's repertoire, the blog represents a wide spectrum of distinctive (and fabulous!) fashion choices.
Emily does not use any set approach in the selection of styles featured on the blog -- while running errands or en route to a cafè, if something catches her eye and she has a camera on her, she'll snap a photo for the site and engage the fashionista in a quick conversation. Due to the spontaneity of the process, Emily has gotten to meet and photograph some seriously awesome people, ranging from Japanese politicians to artists to house masters to Kanye West's fashion adviser. As for her most memorable encounter: innocently photographing a couple who within hours would became engaged takes the cake! The stylish pair sent her a message the following day thanking her for being a part of (and documenting!) their special day.
Here at Her Campus, we're enthralled by the blog's edgy photos and close-to-home focus (can you blame us?) and are so excited to debut our collaboration with Books&Liquor this week! We look forward to bringing you the unique fashions of our Cambridge community by sharing Books&Liquor photographs via our Campus Style Blog section each week, and our fashion correspondent, Chloe, will show you how to replicate each look. Check out this week's delightfully colorful pick and dare to spring into spring!