Students speak about how study abroad has influenced their fashion sense
Immersing themselves in a different culture gave these students confidence and inspiration
A pivotal part of the undergraduate experience for many students is studying abroad. Often, the experience of going abroad and immersing yourself in another culture can inspire new fashion.
Maria Slava Prymak, a senior in the School of Communication, studied abroad in Rome during the spring semester of her junior year.
“The way that my style changed is just being more confident in wearing whatever I want to wear,” Prymak said. She added that she also tries out new styles.
Prymak explained that she found inspiration from an Italian friend she met. “The people I was closest to when I was abroad was this group of Italian girls,” Prymak said. She said one of her friends abroad would always be dressed comfortably and fashionably, while also layering to keep warm.
“I thrifted almost every single day after school,” Prymak said. “Every Sunday there was a market in Italy that would block out the street right by my apartment and the pieces were all very inexpensive.”
Since returning to AU, Prymak said that she appreciates individual styles more. “There is no one size fits all, and there shouldn’t be, style and fashion is all designed around being comfortable and happy in your own skin,” she said.
Ruby Fair, a senior in the School of Communication, also studied abroad in Rome. For many students, the transition from where they grew up, to where they go to school, to where they study abroad can be significant. “I grew up in New York and I went to an arts school, so I think I have always been influenced by art-y street style,” Fair said.“I think I still have elements of the street style and I like kind of mixing and matching more elevated looks, which I definitely got from studying abroad in Rome.”
Building off current style by adding items inspired by a new city can be a great way to build a more sophisticated closet. “I think Rome definitely made my style more elevated and with more high taste,” Fair said.
Studying abroad provides students an opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and create new memories. “Looking back, even though I don’t think I realized it at the time, it was probably the best three or four months ever,” Fair said.
Paige Kaiser, a senior in the School of Communication, studied abroad in Copenhagen.
Before going abroad, Kaiser often shopped from fast fashion brands because they are inexpensive and convenient. It’s common for students to purchase cheap clothing in order to follow trends, even if that choice isn’t environmentally conscious.
“Copenhagen is very known for simplicity, minimalist pieces, and just durable and elegant looks,” Kaiser said. “I purchased a couple staples just at boutiques and shops there, that are part of my everyday wardrobe that I didn't really have before.”
When reflecting on the transition coming back from Copenhagen, Kaiser said, “I dress a little less revealing and a little more myself when I’m going out now.”
Study abroad programs not only give students the chance to visit another country, but allow them to reflect on other cultures. “I think everyone should go abroad if they have the opportunity. Fashion of course is one aspect of culture you’ll learn, but man, my horizons were expanded in so many other ways,” Kaiser said.
This article was edited by Annmarie Melsheimer, Kylie Bill and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Stella Guzik.