'I am the Cosmos'
Katz exudes positivity, spirituality in her personal style
Alexis Katz, a junior english major, reflects her spirituality through her bohemian style. Katz believes the crystals she wears have healing properties; she’s also a stylist at the store Free People. Courtesy of Madeleine Alexander Browning
With her crystal rings, sparkling laugh and starry eyes, her parents have always said, "all that glitters is Lexi."
Alexis Katz, a junior English major, has been drawn to all things shiny and positive since she was a little girl. She is one of many UB students unafraid of sporting uncommon style.
Her style reflects her spirituality - she believes the crystals she wears contain healing qualities, and the handmade clothes in her wardrobe contain a sacred story, linked to creation and self-expression. As a stylist at Free People, an artist and a poet, Katz believes true beauty comes from a sense of freedom and happiness.
"I operate under the enlightening mindset that I am the Cosmos," Katz said. "That sense of wonder resides within my being as well. Spirituality and style are linked within my life because that sense of wonderment can be explored through a self-expression of dress."
Katz nurtures her spirituality through the practice of crystal energy healing on a daily basis. She believes crystals have the power to clear toxic energy holes within people, transforming them into clean and open energy fields. During Katz's morning meditations, she works with crystals to maintain a sense of balance in her life.
Crystal healing is an example of "alternative medicine," meaning the procedures and ideologies practiced are alternative to what most Americans turn to when they need health care. According to the findings of Marcel Vogel, a former research scientist at IBM and the establisher of the Psychic Research Institute in San Jose, Calif., crystals can be used to balance and harmonize the body's energy field. The tradition is mostly inspired from ancient cultures, and Katz incorporates these long-revered crystals into her everyday wardrobe and rituals.
Although the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology does not currently consider crystal healing valid medical therapy, Katz says the practice has helped her emotional and physical sense of being.
"All the jewelry I wear has a journey with it, a sense of itself within this world, especially crystals," Katz said. "Sometimes I'll be with a piece of jewelry and feel the sense that the specimens that make up the piece have been on this earth much longer than I have. Wearing them brings a sense of balance for me."
Matthew Gelb, a senior environmental studies major, has been dating Katz for two years. He said her style was "absolutely a part of what drew [him] to [her] at first." He first saw her on the dance floor at a jam club party, while the band was covering Phish's "Wolfman's Brother."
"I loved her style," Gelb said. "I could feel some of her vibes just from her style ... it was an instant connection on many levels."
Katz draws inspiration from many fashion icons, and she is especially drawn to the style of Jade Castrinos, the tambourine player for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Katz's own style has inspired and influenced others, including Gelb.
"My style has definitely been influenced by Lexi," Gelb said. "Before I met her, my style was completely different - plaid shirts, spiked and messy hair and whatnot. She introduced me and made me comfortable with a style that has been within me for a long time. She opened that part of me up."
Lindsay Stickney, the senior stylist at Free People Buffalo, has worked with Katz for a year and a half. She also appreciates how Katz's style influences customers and coworkers, affectionately referring to her as the "Janis Joplin" of the store.
"Her style is distinct and perfect for the company because she embodied one of Free People's 'girls' - 'Meadow.' Meadow is a very boho, '70s-inspired feel: maxi skirts, prints, hats," Stickney said in an email. "She always has an earthy vibe and relays that through stories and motions. She brings a naturistic side to the store."
Katz has gone through many fashion "phases," and her current style was prompted with an exploration of self-love, a philosophy she never intends to abandon.
"Once I re-focused my pleasure on my own comfort and not an outside source for what I should be wearing, things shaped up," Katz said. "My bohemian nature began to show in my outer expression. I have always been fascinated with textiles and fabrics, and the beauty someone's hands can create will always amaze me."
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