As I watched the innumerous curls bounce around Lauren Bello’s beaming face, I remembered how I had long admired her purely original energy. Having known the creative mind behind the stunningly beautiful face, I was sure she was perfect to open this issue’s fashion section.
The influence of fashion has been quite relevant in Bello’s life, and much of this initial influence actually stems from her mother’s frequent “you can’t wear that” comments.
“I love pushing boundaries,” says Bello, confidently. “When someone says I can’t do something, I’m going to do it.”
And, boy, does she push boundaries! In everything Bello does, she makes sure to go above and beyond — even if it isn’t visible on the surface. There is a great amount of thoughtfulness that goes into the decisions she makes.
This thoughtfulness is clear in her early acceptance to Schreyer Honors College through the Paterno Fellows Program. Her passions led to this outstanding achievement and are going to be what continue to drive her through the program, right up to the completion of her thesis: a femme-fatale film noir screenplay.
As an English and comparative literature double major, Bello agrees that fashion is, indeed, comparative. Runway fashions are compared to those who wear them on red carpets and then compared to those who wear the same exact thing on other red carpets. She strives for a style that remains completely true to herself so that she cannot be compared, only appreciated.
“I like being bold,” says Bello. “I like colorful, I like black, I like white, I like anything in between; lace, [shirts] with collars, all the way buttoned up, but I want to change it so that it’s not something [store-bought]. I’m going to knot something up or tear something off or I’m going to add an accent piece.”
Bello believes that it is important to dress as an individual and to wear what makes you feel confident. Her opinion on this is strong and has grown with her as she and her style have evolved over her 20 years of life.
“I’m not someone who’s looking for the validation of other people to say ‘Oh, I like what you’re wearing,’ I want to look in the mirror and say ‘I look good,’” says Bello. “Anything I put on my body, I am not wearing it for someone else — I am wearing it for me.”
It is clear that Bello does not believe in wearing what the mannequin wears. She has the creativity and passion that deserves recognition within the fashion world. The innovation that she employs with each garment she strides down College Avenue in is exactly what VALLEY tries to emphasize.
Now, no conversation with Bello in regards to fashion is complete without her fashion icon, Rihanna, being brought up. Bello tries to “think like Rihanna” in her daily life and sees so much truth in the utterance: “it’s ugly until Rihanna wears it.”
“Her essence as just a figure, just a being, is so powerful and so magnetic and that’s something that I want to emulate,” says Bello.
Our conversation trailed off into the realm of Rihanna-in-tulle and the direction of our dialogue was suddenly lost. When we found ourselves exhausted from our own ranting, I asked her what she wanted out of fashion from here on out. I know, quite the loaded question — she thought so too.
“Ugh,” she sighed, “that’s so heavy. I guess just a concept of appreciation and craftsmanship because it gets overlooked. The thought process, the creativity that comes from fashion and trying to envision what it is that [the designer] wanted for this piece and then making it your own and going out into the world and being your beautiful self. That’s what I want for everyone to get out of fashion.”