Texas A&M University—Kingsville (AMK) is not a school that’s known to be diverse. After all, the demographics of the university mirror that of South Texas, with 62 percent of the students being Hispanic, 27 percent being white, and five percent being African American. Aside from that, with a student body of only 6,309 students attending, it’s hard to compare with the bigger schools like University of Texas-Austin or Texas A&M University—College Station.
However, AMK has an extraordinarily wide spectrum of people, with students coming from 35 different states and 43 different countries.
With all these students coming from all these different places, it’s no surprise that there are those who just stand out from the crowd. There’s that special handful of students that are so different that everyone else wants to know what their story is.
For example, there’s Steven Ogbeide, who wears a bow tie to class everyday. There’s Alex Maldonado, who is known for his Afro. There’s Luke James Duis, who is always seen carrying a walking stick. There’s Marco Garcia, who cross dresses because men’s clothes are just too dull for him, and there’s Josette Adame, who loves to dress like she’s from the Victorian era.
These five students use fashion to set themselves apart from the rest, making this campus just as unique as any other one.
Despite South Texas’ hot weather, Steven Ogbeide can’t even remember the last time he didn’t wear a bow tie to school. Ogbeide, president of the African Student Association, bought his first bow tie after seeing how cool James Bond looked with one.
“I was looking at a magazine of James Bond and I was like, ‘he’s fly’,” he said. “It just inspired me.”
Ogbeide looks at bow ties as a new way to look professional.
“When you see men who want to be professional, they have on their normal neckties. Ties are okay, but bow ties are professional and fancy at the same time,” Ogbeide said.
He found a green bow tie for $35, and after buying it, he devoted an entire day to learning how to tie a bow tie.
“My hands were so sore by the time I was through learning how to tie it,” Ogbeide laughed.
Ogbeide says he usually gets complimented for his fashion.
“I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I get complimented at least once a day,” he said.
He dreams of owning his own bow tie shop one day, and hopes to see that he has influenced others on campus to start dressing the way he does. His interests include African literature, playing video games, and listening to music.
Marco Garcia is the first to admit that he sticks out like a “sore thumb” on AMK’s campus. Garcia will wear women’s clothing most of the time, because he’s attracted to how colorful it can be.
“I’ve always like colors, prints and fabrics,” he said. “So I tend to stray away from men’s apparel because it’s so boring and plain.”
Garcia just loves fashion, and he’s always looking for new ideas to take on.
“On Easter, I challenged an Easter egg, so I was really bright,” Garcia said.
Once Garcia has an idea in mind, he’ll “challenge” it, which basically means he looks to add his own spin on the idea in his head. Though disapproval of his apparel comes from the more conservative side of Kingsville, many people will still compliment him and some even ask if he would style them.
Currently, Garcia is working on the male figure in his artwork, which takes up most of his free time.
The “goth girl” look wasn’t just a phase for Josette Adame. She knew she was different for a long time now, in fact.
“In middle school, I started to become well aware that I was a loner,” she said. “Everyone thought it was just a phase, but I’ve stayed that way ever since.”
Adame tends to dress with her emotions, but her attraction to the dark look is consistent.
“It’s very sophisticated, very pretty,” she said.
She has gotten mixed reactions. The worst she has been called a “Satan worshipper”. People do compliment her on her clothes though, and people have even asked to take a picture with her because of her fashion.
Adame admits she stands out, but mainly on hot days more than anything else.
Her interests are writing, and drawing. She believes that people should dress the way they want.
“If you feel happy with the way you look, then whose to judge you,” she said.
Luke James Duis
22 years old
Luke James Duis is a student who looks like he belongs on a campsite instead of a college. He wears a vest, green shirt, and cargo shorts every day. He is rarely ever seen without his walking stick. Many students wonder why he carries it around. A common misconception is that he carries it around because he used it to kill a bear. The truth is Duis’ only bear encounter ended with him running away from the bear. Duis carries that stick because he’s proud of it.
“I made it in my first month of being a boy scout,” he said. “I’ve carried it around since 2001.”
He wears what he wears not because he wants to make a fashion statement, but because it is practical for him.
“The vest is something that just goes with me because it carries everything I need,” Duis said.
Duis enjoys sailing, hiking and camping, but also doesn’t mind some activities that can be done indoors, like card games and board games. He goes by the motto, “Be Prepared,” also the motto of the Eagle Scouts.
21 years old
Growing out the Afro was sort of just a trial run for Alex Maldonado.
“One day, I just figured I don’t want a haircut anymore,” he said.
He had been living with short hair for most of his life, so he decided to change things up and let it grow. When Maldonado receives compliments for his hair, his response usually is, “that’s cool.” When he receives negative feedback from it, which mainly comes from family members, his response is still, “that’s cool.” Maldonado understands his hair might make him stand out, but he likes to think he’s pretty normal.
Maldonado used to play for the local band “Sistine Ceiling,” and one of his biggest interests is music. He also enjoys riding his bike and his longboard, which he is not without most of the time. Maldonado believes that people should make the best out of everything.
“If you’re not doing something to the fullest potential, you’re wasting your time,” he said.