MFA student Yahdon Israel wants to know why society sees fashion and intellectual pursuits as mutually exclusive. That's why he started the #LiterarySwag movement: to celebrate reading in style. Israel asks, "Why can't someone really like Thom Browne, but then also love Tom Wolfe?"
Some may ask why a campaign like this one is important. Surely no one really thinks fashionable people are illiterate, right?
Wrong. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked why we should care what an actress, model, or singer's favorite books were, or on what authority she was reporting, I'd be able to afford that vacation I've planned to the South Tyrols. Society largely still views fashion as vacuous — the polar opposite of literature. Ergo, people who love to be stylish — *cough* women *cough* — can't possibly love books as well.
The reverse is more well known, of course. Whole films are devoted to the idea that nerdly girls don't succeed at being attractive. Yes, you can love books and art, Laney Boggs, but you just try getting Zack Siler to love you while you're wearing those overalls! In The Breakfast Club, Allison Reynolds has to give up her personal style and artsy passion in order to get Andrew Clark's letter jacket. The message is clear: fashion equals love, but books and art cramp your style.
So yeah, I'd say Israel's mission is pretty damn awesome. The #LiterarySwag hashtag is already taking off on social media, with over 9,000 posts on Instagram alone. Check out some great posts from Israel and other #LiterarySwag believers below. (And can we just note: His book tastes are perfection.) If you need me, I'll be picking out my outfits more carefully from now on.