a young man standing on an El platform with red shoes and wearing a baseball cap
Cole Glover Credit: Isa Giallorenzo

“Thrifting is huge right now—being able to go pick out your materials and put things together like Frankenstein; mixing a lot of elements to make something special,” says Cole Glover, 19, a student of designed objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Glover perfectly embodies what’s going on in fashion right now: a combination of the comfort we got used to during COVID times, and what he calls “dopamine dressing”—a style that embraces fun and bright pieces, meant to bring us back to life in this (hopefully) post-pandemic spring. 

Credit: Isa Giallorenzo

Many people also got a bit craftier during the lockdowns, which is reflected in the DIY flavor present in the latest trends, and in Glover’s outfit as well. He made his pants himself, complete with a strategic leg zipper that reveals a hidden pocket in the hem. His hat was made by his brother, and most of his other garments were either gifted or thrifted. His yellow hoodie was designed by Gaudmother, a Philadelphia-based label that accurately displays the anarchic and anti-capitalist spirit of our times. That sentiment is echoed by Italian brand Level XXX, the maker of Glover’s jacket.  

Credit: Isa Giallorenzo

“I think a lot of people are reacting against fast fashion and lower quality stuff,” says Glover. “I like things that are handmade and upgraded, and also things that have an element of decay to them, that change over time.” In his work with designed objects, Glover highly values sustainability, and adopts the “cradle-to-cradle” concept—which means designing things that will have continued use beyond their life expectancy, and not simply get thrown out. “I think there’s so much extra stuff in the world right now, so much waste, that it’s really wise to find new uses for that waste,” he says.