Name: David Ruff, 18
Location: New York, New York
d.RT: First off, happy holidays. What are you gifting this season?
David: I am gifting all my close friends different fragrances. I think that selecting individual scents—specific to each person—is a really unique and intimate gift.
d.RT: How do you best express yourself? What is your emotional outlet?
David: When I was in high school—before I felt comfortable coming out—I put a lot of my creativity in to my clothing choices because I felt like fashion was a way for me to express myself without having to verbally declare who I was. Now, I am more comfortable and honest about my identity, but I still use style as a way to push boundaries—especially when it comes to what is perceived as masculine and feminine
d.RT: What aspect of being part of Generation Z are you most proud of? Most scared of?
David: I am really proud of how accepting and inclusive we are as a generation. It doesn’t matter somebody’s gender, sexual, religious, or racial identity—everyone gets the same respect. We all recognize and honor each other’s differences and backgrounds and I think that is something that is really special about us. The same can’t be said of other generations, sadly.
d.RT: What is your go-to outfit if you’re dressing only for yourself ... not the internet, not your peers, not trying to meet anyone else’s expectations?
David: I am most comfortable when I feel like I am drowning—in the best way—in my clothes, so I’d have to say that my go-to outfit is an oversized hoodie and a pair of sweatpants. To me, there’s nothing better than getting home after a long day and snuggling up in your favorite sweats and binge-watching something on TV with a bowl of your favorite ice cream. Thankfully, oversized loungewear is currently “in trend,” but even if it wasn’t, I’d still post these instances on social media when I am not perfectly put together because that’s real life. I mean, who isn’t wearing hoodies and sweatpants all the time these days?
d.RT: What social justice movement are you currently moved by the most? How do you get involved?
David: There isn’t one social justice movement in particular that I dedicate all of my time to because I am passionate about a lot of issues, like: racial equality, gun control and climate change—to name a few. I surround myself with a lot of people who also want to see the world change, and who—like me—challenge our elected officials to take a stronger stance on the things that matter. Actually, I have a group chat with some of my college friends and we send each other articles, petitions and other action items to help keep each other informed and active. I also regularly write letters and call my representative because most civil servants actually really want to hear from their constituents on the issues they are most passionate about. That’s their job—to represent your concerns—so don’t be afraid to be vocal in your own communities, too.