Getting dressed for class: Are clothes more than material?
How AU students use fashion to express themselves and their beliefs
Fashion is used to express a sense of self and empower identity. It’s an art form, where one can use their creativity to project how they feel about themselves onto the world. Style is impacted by outlook on life. Clothes can reflect confidence.
“I think that [fashion] says that ‘I care about what I wear’ and that ‘I put thought into what I wear’ and that ‘I hope this is a reflection of myself as a person,'” said Nairobi Toombs, a rising sophomore in the Kogod School of Business.
Sophia Gianoplus, a rising sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, expresses her creativity through fashion by choosing one unique article of clothing to style for a few days before changing to another. When she tries to buy popular styles she says she doesn’t feel like herself, which mirrors the importance students place on individuality.
“When I’m shopping, I look for things if I were to wear I would see myself in my reflection. Sense of self is the most important thing,” Gianoplus said.
Students also find themselves taking inspiration from famous fashion connoisseurs on social media. However, they still use their personal experiences to maintain individuality in their own style. This combination elevates their creativity, students say.
“I follow a decent amount of influencers. I get a lot of my inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest. I see what people are wearing and draw inspiration from that, like a color palette,” Toombs said.
Clothes are chosen by AU students for more than just appearances. Garment material is taken into consideration as a result of the growing concern towards the impact the fashion industry has on the environment.
“I think the main problem with fast fashion is overconsumption,” said Toombs.
Overconsumption and poor quality items are a big problem when it comes to fast fashion. Fast fashion is when companies mass-produce trends that will soon go out of style and get discarded shortly after. Consumers are tempted to spend more money on cheaper, less well-made pieces of clothing than investing their money on better quality garments.
Many students look to thrifting as a sustainable alternative to purchasing clothes. Thrifting is both affordable and environmentally friendly. Instead of discarding old clothes for landfills, thrifting gives the opportunity for others to give the pieces of thrifted clothing a new life.
Although it may be tempting to buy cheap fast fashion, thrifting is a way to save money. Although buying clothing from fast fashion brands like SHEIN can be a cheaper way to shop for the latest trends, it is less sustainable.
The appeal of thrifting not only lies in sustainability but there is also a special charm about owning a one of a kind garment. Students are able to find their niche style and make their outfits their own.
Emma Walker is a senior in CAS and the President of Wonk Trade AU. Whether complimenting a piece or asking a question, she believes that fashion starts conversations which then leads to new friendships over a shared love for fashion.
“What’s up with National Parks?” is a quote from one of Walker’s favorite shirts. She wants people to ask questions about what she is wearing. Talking about fashion to others allows students like Walker to express their passion.
Fashion is a way of bringing the AU community together, with many people on campus using fashion to express deeper aspects of their personalities that aren’t always seen at the surface level. Reacting to someone’s outfit is a quick way of getting to know them, either through what they wear or how they dress. Especially on a college campus, fashion is an important way to connect and bring people together.