Look of the Week Malcolm Mason Rodriguez ’11

With a love of fitted caps and extremely over-the-top sneakers, Malcolm Mason Rodriguez ’11 has a style unlike any other on campus. His style is daring, bold and in-your-face. Hailing from Harlem, New York, a part of the city considered home to pioneers of outrageous clothing, it comes as no surprise that Mason Rodriguez’s style is radically different from that of many PA guys. While plenty of Andover guys wear muted colors of navy and khaki, especially in the dreary winter months, Mason Rodriguez manages to incorporate a splash of color into whatever he wears, thereby adding something of a trademark. He puts a spin on the common casual outfit, donning a dress shirt with sneakers, or a nice cardigan with a fitted cap. His outfits are predetermined by his mood, but he said, “It’s not really a conscious thing…If I’m in a bummy mood I go straight to the sweatpants and any t-shirt I pick up. This applies more to the school year, but when I feel very prepared for the day ahead of me, I might put on a button-down or collared shirt. I would say I definitely dress better when I’m in a good mood.” And with button downs and collared shirts being among the most classic pieces of clothing in history, Malcolm admitted to preferring classic pieces to trendy ones. He said, “Trends come and go, and even though they might reappear, I like knowing that I will be able to wear something in a year, or even ten years, that I’ve recently purchased, and still be considered fashionable for wearing it.” “If I see something that’s interesting, regardless of its origin, I’ll try and add it to my closet,” Mason Rodriguez added. “There’s not one thing that really inspires my style.” He articulated that PA influenced a change in his look. “I take my style from whatever I see around me, and when you’re in Andover you’re placed in an environment with people from all over. As a result you inadvertently can pick up or develop new styles.” According to Mason Rodriguez, the boys in his dorm refer to him as a mixture of Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, two rappers from Chicago who are praised by their fans for putting a spin on typical hip-hop fashion. Both West and Fiasco are known to be among the best-dressed rappers of our time, wearing suits and bowties in a time when most young men dress more on the casual side. To quote Kanye: “Ralph Lauren was boring before I wore him.” Mason Rodriguez wears classic pieces and puts his own contemporary spin on them, which makes his look hard to duplicate. “So in a way I would say I look up to Kanye and I guess name him my style icon.” It came as a surprise when, after naming Kanye his style icon—the man who coined the moniker “Louis Vuitton Don”—that when asked what item of clothing he could not live without, Mason Rodriguez went with sweatpants. He said, “I never wore sweats until a while ago, and I’m amazed by how comfortable they are. In all honesty, I’d pick comfort over style any day. After all, clothes were meant to be comfortable.” Then he told me what I had been expecting all along: “My sneakers are one of my most favored pieces of clothing. [Shoes are] really important to an outfit—they can make it or break it. They speak the loudest of any piece of clothing. If you see someone with nice kicks you’re instantly drawn to them. I don’t even have to know the person; if their sneaker game is good, I already like them.”