Amanda Foushee’s “Granola Slay” Style—Exploring Sustainability and Gender Expression in Fashion

Foushee thinks of fashion as a “bomb against what’s difficult or tiring about daily life.”

Foushee owns different colors of the same outfit and enjoys many variations of it.

Warm autumn tones and loose silhouettes come together to create the light academia-inspired aesthetic of Amanda Foushee, Instructor in English. Embodying a style that her senior elective students have deemed “granola slay”—a woodsy, earthy vibe—she accentuates her comfy knit sweater and beige jeans with an assortment of gold accessories. According to Foushee, these
elements of her outfit all work to highlight the priorities of her style as a whole.

“It makes me feel a lot more energized to be in something that I like to wear that feels both comfortable and also powerful. I think a lot about color and volume. I enjoy playing with proportion [and]… with a lot of neutral colors, but also having sort of a monochromatic outfit,” said Foushee.

During high school, a large part of Foushee’s fashion inspiration came from inhabiting the queerness of her identity, specifically functioning as her way to “physicalize [the] sense of otherness” that she felt. As she and her style have matured, Foushee comments that her clothing and overall appearance are still inextricably linked to gender expression.

“The strange thing about queerness is sometimes, it feels really visible and tangible, and sometimes it’s really invisible. I think that in the time that I was growing up, a lot of my personal style and its evolution was about wanting to appear legibly queer and sort of gender-nonconforming. As I’ve gotten older, I still think about that a lot: how different elements of an outfit or my hair create a composite experience of gender and the particular gender that I want to inhabit,” said Foushee.

In examining how fashion connects to her identity, Foushee now emphasizes the importance in its ability to act as a vessel of self-empowerment; as such, she specifically focuses on choosing clothing that represents her most authentic self. While Foushee acknowledges that it may be easy to become superficially fixated on outward presentation, she reaffirms that fashion is, nonetheless, an integral component of her identity: one that allows her to tangibly connect with communities that are important to her.

“I think that especially as a woman, as a queer woman, and as a woman who is not particularly feminine, a lot of my clothing feels like armor. Like a point of pride, like something that I’m putting on to sort of be ready for the world or for the day. I think that’s a lot of how I see it as being centered or important to me in my life,” said Foushee.

In addition, Foushee also works to buy clothing sustainably and combat the environmental impacts of fast fashion. Generally, she enjoys wearing pieces from small designers instead of larger, mainstream companies. While exploring eco-conscious alternatives, Foushee also found new inspiration in a variety of platforms, from craft fairs in Providence, Rhode Island, to Instagram thrifting markets. Foushee believes that an increased awareness of climate change has also been influential in defining her current style.

“As I got older, I started to think a lot more about fabric and natural fabrics and eco-friendly clothes. I wear a lot more clothing from really small-batch designers who don’t make a lot of clothes, so don’t make a lot of waste and make clothing that lasts a lot longer. Increasingly, as I’ve gotten older and as the climate crisis has become more and more acute, I’ve also thought a lot more about clothing and personal style in relation to sustainability,” said Foushee.

Looking to the future, Foushee hopes to introduce creativity and greater awareness of sustainability into the fashion scene at Andover. In particular, she proposed an Andover “style blog,” which she believes could center around celebrating unique aspects of students’ fashion. She would also want to contribute to on-campus sustainability initiatives for recycling and reusing clothing.

“I would love to have a [Andover’s] style blog… I feel like a lot of [Andover] students have such an amazing sense of personal style and find their clothes in really cool ways, like thrifting them in really cool ways. I really love to think about used clothes and sustainability and recycling clothes instead of having them sit in landfills. I’d love to think about ways on campus that we could do that sort of more effectively,” said Foushee.