For the last three years of my life, I’ve spent a good chunk of my time building a little Boston University campus fashion magazine, Off the Cuff. For those of you that don’t know, Off the Cuff is not just BU’s only award winning fashion publication, but it’s also been my baby.
Quite literally, I have nurtured this organization from absolutely nothing into the 150+ staffed team of innovative individuals that really strives to push the limits. I’ve fought to the death about what I believe in for this magazine, had falling outs with people and have even had to whip out the stereotypical Italian anger a few more time than I’ve wanted. And let me be clear, the Italian attitude always comes from a place of love and protection.
Now let me tell you a story…
I will never forget how frustrating it was to be a part of BU’s Fashion and Retail Association (FAB) where their lack of innovation, creativity and common decency pushed many individuals out the door. I would not let that happen. I remember talking to my founding Executive Board about making a new organization that would work as FAB’s antithesis: a positive, all-inclusive, forward-thinking creative collective. And I will never forget that moment when I told the former President and Vice of FAB about that plan.
And let me tell you, FAB was ruthless. In the fall, we presented our case to BU Student Activities to be recognized. Instead of having a run-of-the-mill presentation, then-VP Alex came in and turned the meeting into a 45-minute debate between the two organizations. It was tasteless nonetheless, but a good representation of what FAB stood for at the time.
What Alex didn’t realize by her actions was that she only pushed us more. Instead of just becoming innovators, we became fighters. We fought to the death and worked our sophomore-year asses off to create the best organization we possibly could. We changed our mission, we rewrote our constitution, we changed our name – we pushed boundaries.
And after months of fighting, Off the Cuff succeeded. We became recognized and it was generally smooth sailing. Some hiccups in the road, but otherwise we stayed on our steady path up the BU food chain. And for the last two semesters, Off the Cuff has actually been sponsoring FAB with our magazine in their gift bags. Listening to Alex list our name at the end of the event in Spring 2015 was satisfying to say the least. (She cringed as she read our name, and I sat front-row VIP with the widest grin).
So now that the truth is aired, hopefully people understand where my drive comes from for OTC. When you have people constantly trying to tear you down, instead of just giving up and moving on, keep fighting! It’s that fighting drive that leaves with some of the most rewarding outcomes.
And let me tell you, the good that has come from OTC has been astounding. Some of my best, most rewarding college memories have come from this organization. From New York trips, to launch parties, to directing photoshoots and even (finally) getting to a star in one.
So now that the real truth is out to more than just the fewest people around me that know and have witnessed this story, let’s focus on the main point of this post. It’s not about me leaving, it’s not about how OTC started, but it’s about recognizing the end of an era and being excited for what the future has to hold. For me, the other members leaving, and for the new Executive Board about to fill some pretty big shoes.
I know that once I officially hand off the reigns (once I see them in action in the Spring) to the entirely new team, these new creatives will take Off the Cuff even further than I could have ever imagined. I trust them and they know it.
To close, I think I perfectly summed up my feelings about my time with Off the Cuff and what the future can hold with this sentiment from the Autumn/Winter 2015 issue:
“I’m not going to lie and say that after doing this for so long it’s gotten easier- it’s never easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing. I believe in a good challenge. I believe in pushing the boundaries. I believe in fighting for what you stand for and staying true to yourself and with what you create because not everyone is going to like everything you do, say, or make. After three years at Off the Cuff, I want to leave a piece of advice to anyone who picks up this edition: if you love something, don’t let anyone stop you from excelling at it. No matter how hard it may be, sticking to your passion regardless of adversity proves your worth more than giving up and leaving – especially when you have others counting on you and you know there’s a fresh start right on the horizon.”
And now that the newest issue has premiered and the New Executive Board has been announced, I’m off as the Editor in Chief.
Photography by Angela Francis and Priya Dadlani
Videography by Angela Francis
Bonus Video: my short film, “On An Evening in Boston” accompanying my last cover shoot of the same name.