Man of the Year: Trendsetter of the Year – Arianna Valbrun

Brycen Saunders, Staff Writer

You’ve maybe spotted her fuzzy dice earrings or her many pairs of platform shoes, and her distinguishable bowl cut has been styled in a myriad of ways. The point being, she is hard to miss. Her eccentric style sets her apart from the rest in the AUC and soon, the world will know who she is: Arianna Valbrun – an International Studies major, minoring in Photography whose style and personality have even caught the eye of i-D magazine. With the imagination and vision to make even the most obscure items stylish, Arianna cannot be boxed in.

Born and raised in Maryland, Valbrun spent a lot of her childhood in New York, as her parents are from Queens. From a young age, she realized that the beauty of Blackness is its ability to offer an unrestricted sense of self expression. She’s inspired by a number of subcultures, with Y2K aesthetics, and afrofuturism being huge determinants of her style. Characterized by a technical utopia and the intersection of the African diaspora and technology, her style is sustainably sophisticated.

Ariana purchases all of her garments from thrift stores and more thrift stores. Shopping sustainably is more than just a fad for Arianna, but a catalyst to promote action against the harm Black and Brown bodies are constantly subject to, in addition to its ability to minimize her carbon footprint. The unique intersections of social activism is how she found her style growing up.

“If I’m going to the thrift store, I’m not looking at pieces necessarily that are brand name,” Valbrun said. “I’m just trying to find what I like, and try to build my style off of it. [To] make it look the way I feel most presentable, and the way I feel the best.”
By incorporating pieces from different eras, Arianna revitalizes past styles, providing newness to pieces that are seemingly nostalgic.

Photo by // Cassidy Meyers

It all started with a commissioned photographer from i-D at Afropunk, and soon after, Arianna was contacted for further engagement. When the producers found out she was a writer, they wanted her to write a piece for i-D magazine, to discuss her take on beauty. As expected, the team loved her piece so much, that they insisted Arianna be featured in their online magazine. She was “flewed out” to NYC and the rest was magic. With a fresh nail set, to accent her signature bowl hairstyle, re-cut by Solange and Yara Shahidi’s hairstylist, Arianna was and is nothing short of a star.

Eccentric, whimsical, inspired by childhood, are all ways Arianna would define her style. As a triple pisces–meaning her Sun, Moon, and Ascendant are all in pisces–her incredible imagination allows her to draw inspiration from a wide range of mediums such as toys and CD jackets. As an aspiring fashion journalist, she takes pride in studying the intersections of fashion, global cultures, and sustainability. Arianna also makes it a point to center one’s need to actualize, and become their most authentic self.

Whether in i-D or on Brown street, her signature bowl cut, and vintage Muhammad Ali FUBU jacket signed by Daymond John, are always making moves, and keeping heads on a swivel.

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