Red Brick Runway: Mel Tuerk

By Mikayla Silcox

Elm Staff Writer

It would be hard to live at Washington College and not notice freshman Melchior Tuerk and their unique sense of style. From thrifted skirts to button down shirts and their signature carabiner, here is how Tuerk’s style came to be.

“My style has evolved throughout high school, and as I’ve come to my own and discovered who I am, it’s finally become what it is today,” said Tuerk.

Coming out of a private school with uniforms, Tuerk gone through many different stylistic phases and changes, including vintage 1940-50s and grungy alt eras, that moved to their self-proclaimed, ‘camp-counselor and body neutral’ adaptation we are seeing today.

One of Tuerk’s favorite parts about their style is the comfort.

“When you don’t see your body, you don’t think about it too much, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Tuerk.

Evident by their flowy pants and skirts, Tuerk intertwines style with a sense of code. By not wearing overly tight or revealing clothes, Tuerk can focus more on pattern and feeling instead of insecurity.

In putting such rewarding effort into their clothing, it’s no surprise that Tuerk ties much of their identity to their clothes.

“My non-binary identity in particular plays a huge role in how I dress.”

Mel will bend outfits, combining both masculine and feminine aspects of fashion to pull off looking “pretty, like a guy.”

Tuerk is a firm believer that first impressions based on outfit choice and looks do exist, so by queer coding their outfits they can attract both accepting and similar people, and an essential like their binder with a tank top would help accomplish this.

Tuerk also feels strongly about fast fashion. According to The Good Trade, fast fashion is “…a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing.”

The practice employs child labor, with 170 million children estimated to be employed in the textile industry according to a report published by the International Labor Organization. Fast fashion also has a negative impact on the environment. According to a study conducted by Princeton’s Student Climate Initiative, “The fashion industry is currently responsible for more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.”

As someone who thrifts their wardrobe, Tuerk is aware of the expense of clothes, yet acknowledges that as we know so much about the harms of fast fashion.

They believe it is “our moral responsibility” to stop it while we can, as fast fashion is known to profit from child labor and harm the environment.

They understand the necessity of fast fashion is situational, but if you are able, they feel looking into sustainable fashion is it must, and it also is something that keeps Tuerk’s style so unique.

Tuerk also believes that no one is completely unique in their style.

“We all draw inspiration from someone. Maybe that’s not a particular someone, but the vibes of those you surround yourself with.”

While Tuerk admits to admiring Florence Pugh and Stevie Nicks outfit choices, the rest of their inspiration is a collage of looks from those around them that resonate with their style.

Tuerk shows how one’s fashion can help reflect them as a person, and this fluid trait continues to evolve as one finds themself.

Their wardrobe tells a story of identity, individuality, and personal belief, which is possible through developing a personal style.

Photo courtesy of Melchior Tuerk.

Photo Caption: Freshman Melchior Tuerk models their relaxed, comfortable style while on campus.

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