Cynic Fit Check: Cole Thorton

Sophia Venturo, Culture Editor

Cole Thorton is a senior studio art major and barista at the Cosmic Grind on Church St. You can find Thorton’s art on his Instagram @swimsinink

THE CYNIC: Describe your style.

THORTON: I’ve been described as pastel goth, but I also get fairy and vampire too. So I guess a vampire fairy? I don’t know. I get compared to anime characters a lot too, more than you might expect. 

THE CYNIC: Fairy and vampire is an interesting dichotomy…how do you feel you fit between those?

THORTON: I think it’s because I wear pretty heavy eyeliner essentially everyday people see me as darker? I also wear a lot of black clothing, so that probably plays a role. I also like really bright colors, I love purple and pink. They’re really great colors, I feel like it communicates something about me. I also like a baby blue color, like this! I think people lowkey are thinking I just walked out of a festival straight into a dungeon. I think that’s my vibe.

Senior Cole Thorton poses inside the Cosmic Grind on Church street April 24. (Elaina Sepede)

THE CYNIC: Can you tell me about what you’re wearing right now?

THORTON: We got these pink tie-dye Converse, and I like mismatching my socks. It’s one of my favorite things to do because you can make it look intentional but really it looks messy at the same time. These are black pants I wear excessively — I just worked a shift and they’re not stained. A very important, functional part of the wardrobe. The chains are not functional. One of them is, I have my keys connected to it. I wear this belt everyday, it’s good for utility and I got it from Champlain Leather. And I had this shirt, then I thought ‘What if it was half a shirt?’ so I cut half of it off and now we’re here. 

The tattoos. . .they represent a bunch of states I’ve been in, where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing the past couple years for the most part. But I have this ghost down here that’s just nonsense — I got that in solidarity with a friend.

THE CYNIC: I have to ask you about the jewelry too.

THORTON: I wear this Prince pendent pretty much everyday. Mostly because I really like Prince but also a lot of what he’s come to stand for in terms of sexuality and gender expression and fluidity. It’s cool, I appreciate Prince a lot. 

This is a sterling silver chain my boss gave me for working here at the coffee shop for two years. This is a quartz skull. Skulls are usually affiliated with death, definitely, but also with consciousness and it’s a good intellectual stone to have. Then I have this little moon stone that’s good for balancing feminine energy, and it’s set in sterling.

Thorton works at the Cosmic Grind on Church Street April 24. (Elaina Sepede)

THE CYNIC: And the ice?

THORTON: This is an JBW diamond watch with a crystal face, I got this for working here for a number of years, too. And these are all sterling rings with semi-precious stones. These two are amethyst, and I have aquamarine, garnet, and moonstone. These change daily based on the outfit, but this one has pretty much stayed on my right finger since freshman year of college, though. Those are the biggest components right now. Oh, and I have these cool, clear glasses that tint black, they reflect light weird. My hair is kind of wild, it’s so long right now. It’s like a cross between a mohawk and a mullet. 

THE CYNIC: Danny Zuko!

THORTON: Someone told me I look like Danny Phantom today! I was like ‘Okay, goodbye.’

THE CYNIC: Which parts are most meaningful to you?

THORTON: That’s hard to say. I’ve been wearing a Prince symbol around my neck since sophomore year of high school, so it’s been like six years. So I wanna say this. This definitely spurred a lot of my questions about gender identity and sexuality and stuff. Sort of leaving a Roman Catholic high school and going to a very liberal college, my understanding of Prince and sexuality really expanded by listening to his music and stuff. I want to say that long term it’s this [pendent], but I also love the rings. Semi-precious stones really carry energy and if I forget a ring during the day my shit’s off. 

THE CYNIC: So Prince is there, but what other style influences do you have? Who or what has made you change the way you want to dress?

Elaina Sepede

THORTON: I mean, I definitely used to be like button-downs and sweaters everyday. A lot of neutral tones and I used to crochet around town. Just like, total hipster when I was like 16 and 17. And then when I started working in a coffee shop black became a lot more practical. So I started shifting in that direction, and then I got depressed! So past that point I was wearing black and I gradually started incorporating more color. 

I do a lot of artwork, and a lot of the work I do is with black ink and I often wear a lot of black and white and throw in a pastel or a complimenting color. I think that spawned off of, I don’t know, wanting to incorporate color but maintaining the coffee-shop-slash-artist vibe. I stopped thinking about it at some point. I’ve gotten a lot of stuff from friends and have just built up an eclectic wardrobe.

THE CYNIC: What do you stay away from aesthetically, and why?

THORTON: Oof. Brand logos, always. I’m just really not a fan. Luxury brands…I’m just not into it in large part. I don’t think the Louis Vuitton logo is visually appealing and I don’t care about the brand to spend racks on a bag. Even something like a Nike logo I’m just really not into. I like band tees though. If there’s a band I like I’ll throw on a hoodie with their branding on it, it’s fine.

Thorton pays homage to the singer Prince with his necklace April 24. (Elaina Sepede)

THE CYNIC: Where do you get your clothes from? And jewels!

THORTON: A lot of it I get online. A lot of the sterling stuff I got from Bulgaria but some I got from Tradewinds. I find a bunch in vintage stores. The pendent, which I think is a keychain honestly, I got from a Prince merch store. This chain came with a vape, I will not lie. So yeah, it doesn’t take much. I’m very resourceful. Thrift stores a lot. Pants — pants shopping is a huge nightmare I feel like for everyone so that stuff comes more online. I have a friend who has an online vintage shop called Whispering Bells, she also used to manage this place with me. Also my friend at Downtown Threads, shameless plug because I’m working there this summer, I buy a lot of clothes there. 

THE CYNIC: Anything else important that we didn’t get to?

THORTON: I definitely think that being around the coffee shop, meeting my boss and being around some of the people I know from around here has definitely been an influence. Going to a Roman Catholic high school, I was wearing a uniform for years and years, and your expression is really hindered. Once I got to UVM, having the right people around me that accept how I want to express myself, I definitely feel a little split in terms of masculinity and femininity most of the time. I like that to manifest and for people to notice it. It’s definitely been influenced by having more androgenous presenting friends and friends that are open-minded enough to accept people how they are and being empathetic toward everyone’s situation. Yeah.