Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back to the Basics

After weeks of trying to reach out to the student body through social networks I decided to go back to the basics. I wanted to end the semester with interviews . I decided to make an announcement in my creative writing class asking people to be interviewed and have their photo taken to help with my blog and ongoing research project. Few people came forward at the end of class and the results varied. Many students said that they wear what they wear for comfort. Gnerally most students dress at Old Navy, H and M, Macy's and Outlets where thay can get discount clothes. Many of the students from the last group of students that I interviewed said that they do not spend much time preparing for class and the clothes that they wear to class do not reflect them. The student to the left described his current look as bad ass. He does not shop fro clothes based on ads and shops about every six months. The average price he spends on an outfit ranges from 100 to 200 dollars. A bit expensive for a college student. His wardrobe consists of mostly jeans and polo's and button up shirts. He spends about 5 minutes preparing for class and his outfits are motivated by his mood. The student defined fashion as a consumer culture and style is a personal expression. In addition, other students said that there is a difference between fashion and style answers varied from fashion is a trend that everyone follows but style is built from personality and mood to fashion is what is popular and what is in according to fashion magazines and run way shows for that season. There is a difference between fashion and style because style is personal, style is how you use fashion to reflect you. I found it interseting how male and female ideas of the comparison to fashion and style were very similar.

After interviewing what would be the last couple of the students for the semester many questions came to mind. Do people percieve others based on what they are wearing and could that be the reason why at Rutgers there are very few people if any that decide to step out of the box and be individuals in the way that they dress? After conducting this project I feel that I can conclude by saying yes. I always wondered why not just students people in general wear what they wear and why so many people tend to frown when they see some something different. Are we forced to believe that there is only a few ways of dressing and anything outside of that is wrong. During the entire semester I met one student who to me is the ideal of being an individual. She did not allow me to take her picture after I interviewed her but the way she dresses is very unique and different than what one might see on a typical day on a college campus. My challenge to you is to try something outside of what you normaly would wear together. Do not change your outfit once you are fully dressed because of fear of what other might say. If this semester has taught me anything it has taught me the importance of being an individual.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Collegiate Collection

This past week I had the opportunity to talk with several employees of Victoria Secret in refrence to the collegiate collection. Rutgers is the only school in New Jersey who has a line at Victoria Secret and I was interested in finding out how the line came about and does the line represent what college girls at Rutgers and other schools want to wear? The line consists of sweatpants, hoodies and t-shirts with emblems that represent Rutgers. When I asked the employees to use one word to describe the collegiate collection answers ranged from,"fun, girly, spirit ,affordable to exclusive". One employee said that she could not describe the collection in one word. She is a college student in NJ and she mentioned how she wishes that her school had a line at Victoria Secret. She stated that many Rutgers girls come into the store and those who did not know about the collection become extremely excited when they see the BIG R on a pair of sweats or a t-shirt. I asked if they felt that the line represented what college girls want to wear and the answer was yes from everyone. Many stated that the line is fun and unique. I wanted to know how a collegiate line might get the attention of a student like me who is not big on wearing sweat pants. Another employee responded by saying "the collection is for every college girl, even for those who are not big on "dressing down". The collection was made to attract those who like glitter and sparkles on their clothes to those who are basic and more simple in the way that they dress". The collection was made by the students for the students. Many students had an opportunity to help build the line from scratch. One employee mentioned that it is very important that students had a say in what a collegiate line would consist of. "You want things in your store that are going to sale, you want things that are going to catch the eye of other girls on campus and next thing you know every girl on campus is wearing a Victoria Secret Collegiate t-shirt and that is the purpose of the collection". After talking with some of the employees at VS I decided to ask around on campus and see what the girls who attended Rutgers thought about the collegiate collection. Sarah, who is a freshman at Rutgers said," I will wear the collection because I am a usual at Victoria Secret and I am excited that they have a collection that has Rutgers stamped all over it, represents school pride to the fullest". Other answers ranged from yes, of course to no because I do not want to look like everyone else on campus. Those who said no,mentioned how the line would not offer many styles to choose from. One girl even went as far to say, " I could be sitting in a class with 200 students and 10 of the girls can have on the same hoodie from VS and that would bother me". In the end I found it very interesting that VS decided to design a collection exclusively for college girls. I think it is brilliant and represents an everyday outfit for most college girls. For Rutgers students who are interested in taking a look at the VS Collegiate Collection visit,

Monday, November 16, 2009

The direct source

As I continue to research why college students wear what they wear, I have realized that the question has changed just a little to why do we buy what we buy and are we forced to follow trends? This weekend I decided to talk with the direct source and visit a store and interview the person who manages the store and has some idea of what clothes are picked to be sold. In the New Brunswick area I noticed that there are not many places to shop for men or women. When in need to find a quick outfit for a party all girls end up in a store best known as Finale. The store is privately owned and the only Finale in the world. Being so it is up to the owner who is a male to purchase the clothes that the girls want to wear. There are three people who have a say in the clothes that are being purchased for the store, two men and one woman who has never been to the store. It his the woman's job to shop for the clothes based on what the owner tells her is in style. When speaking to the manager who assured me that the items purchased for the store are simply what is going to sale. They purchase the clothes from California. I told me that if they notice that something is not selling in the store they will not order it again and sale it for cheap until the item is purchased. If something is in high demand they order tons of them in differnet colors. They use a report system which helps them to decide what is selling and what is not selling. Sometime they purchase unique clothes that can potentially surprise the shopper or to help create new trends. Other times the owner purchases clothes that are similar to what is seen on the stars. The manager told me that they once had a shoe that was similar to one that Beyonce wore and and spider ring similar to what Rhianna wore. The prices are affordable for college students and they try not to purchase items that can be found in stores like H and M and Forever 21.
The above picture is me wearing a shirt that I purchased from the store Finale. I like the shirt because it was fun and unique. I ended buying the shirt after showing it to a friend who I was shopping with and she said"I could never wear something that bright and colorful". Finale does have pieces of clothing that are both unique and fun. Their accessories are extremely different and affordable.

University challenges personal expression

This weekend I read an article in The Chronicle ,which discussed the reaction on Black Colleges and the way the students dress. The focus of the article was Morehouse College, which is an all male HBCU. The article discussed how the university put in place several rules "forbidding students...from wearing women's clothes,including dresses, tunics, and pumps". After reading this article several questions came to mind and I wanted to get the opinions of my college friends. I posted on my facebook, How would you feel if your university decided to come up with a uniform or dress code, what would be the reasons you agree or disagree with a dress code? Many people responded that they would not attend a university with a dress code. One response that stood out to me was " I don't agree with wearing a uniform, I am a very fashionable person and my clothes reflect who I am. If I had to wear a uniform there would not be anything to distinguish me from the rest of the students on campus. Uniforms take a way from individuality and cause people to conform to one idea". This response stood out because I noticed that the person who wrote it values clothes and individuality. They believe that clothes make the individual and if we all were to wear the same thing then college students could not have their own identity. I then challenged his response by asking, what if the students had the opportunity to create the uniform/ dresscode? He states, there are no two people alike on this campus or any other campus, by enforcing a uniform or dress code the university would be forcing students to be something they are not. College is not a team. I would not want to be a part of the uniform commitee because I am unique and I do not want anyone dressing like me". After I posted the question, I started to think about clothes and how people associate particular styles of dress with race. The fact that the article was based on HBCU, I wondered if this same article could have been written based on Princeton Univeristy? Are black Universities targeted for a reason? I started to think about the Rutgers community and how it seems very diverse but are there particular fashions that we associate with race. On campus I noticed that there are a few pieces of clothing that any and every race own; ugg boots and north face coats. Is there a reason for this, i have no idea but I will make that an interview question. Typically all the males dress the same but for the women I notice that we typically purchase the same pieces but wear them in a different way. In the end, is it fair that a Univeristy gets to decide what the students wear? In someways are we all dressed in uniform because we tend to follow trends and shop at the sam store as our neighbor?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Commercial Trends

In my quest to find out why college students wear what they wear I have noticed that my original question has taken a shift. Week after week I continue to read fashion books and magazines, observe students around campus, post daily questions to my facebook and I realized that the real question is why do we as consumers buy what we buy? In my previous post I wanted to know who controls trends? Who is responsible for the decisions that we make when we walk into a store looking for a coat with buttons but instead they all have zippers. Are we forced to follow trends based on what is available in the store? In chapt. 3 of Breward's book "Fashion" which can be found at he discussses fashion as a professional industry. Fashion is "a system of innovation engineered to meet and encourage seasonal consumer demands and fulfilling a cultural requirement to define ever shifting social identities and relationships"(pg. 70). In other words the designers are forced to acknowledge the demands of the market place. Latey, people are blaming the recession as an explanation for the choices they make when purchasing clothes and other items. Therefore in a sense the designer begins to design clothes which require cheaper materials and those in charge of purchasing clothes for the store shop based on what the consumer can afford. The designer as well as the store have to accomadate the consumer. Still all in all the consumer can only purchase what is available and is then forced into a system that does not leave much room for personal style but forces the consumer to follow trends.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


For the last three or so weeks I have been attempting to define fashion. Who would have ever thought that the term fashion, used on daily basis, would have so many different meanings. The first approach to defining fashion was to ask college students around campus. I would stop them in between classes on the court yard or in the student center and ask them to define fashion. I noticed that many people were in fact very shy and thought that there was a right or wrong answer or were just hesitant to answer. Once I realized this apporach was not working in my favor I tried to reach out to students in another way. I tried social networking and Facebook was the answer! Every couple of days I post a question pertaining to my project. I started with, What is fashion? Answers vary which makes the project even more interesting because I noticed that people challenge other people's opinions. A few responses were, "Fashion is not what you wear but how you wear it". "Fashion is not only confidence but knowing what works and what does not work for you". "Fashion is what you make it, it is a confidence within that you express by the clothes, hair, makeup and or accesories to compliment". Once I noticed that this aproach was working I started posting other questions. A constant debate that still exist is if there is a different between fashion and style and if so what are the differences? I posted that question and some responses that I recieved were, "Fashions are for the masses but individuality makes it stylish". "Fashion can be brought. Style one must posses. Style is already within each of us but fashion changes like the weather". In addition to posting questions on my facebook page I have been reading several chapters of Breward. Breward states that fashion has a "range of influences, it is not just artisticand emotional motivation but the effects of manufacturing and its technologies;distribution, retailing, marketing, and consumer demand; and the impact of cultural and societal change on the cycle of innovation and obsolence which characterizes the creation of modes and trends in clothing". What i got from reading Breward is that fashion is basically a process. It is not just the clothes that one wears but it starts from when the clothes are being made. Fashion exist because of demand and how it is being marketed. After reading Breward many questions came to mind. Are we as consumers be forced to be fashionable? Are people fashionable because of trends? Who controls trends of clothing?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


If I told you that the picture to the left was the Rutgers University Volleyball team would you believe me? Often we associate and identify people based on the clothes that they wear. Members of the team assured me that there is more to them than the uniform. If you see them on campus wearing their team outfits you would associate them as the volleyball team but each person has a unique style that makes them an individual. One member stated "Style is what you make it, fashion consists of trends that we put together based on what is in at the time". She goes on to mention that even though she is apart of a team and they are required to wear uniforms it is sometimes possible to put a twist on the uniform. I went to a volleyball game yesterday to support my roommate and while watching the game I could not help but to notice the many differences on a team. Some girls wear their hair pulled back while others wear their hair with a braid and a ponytail, some wear headbands. While hair and accesories help to make out who is who, the way they perform on the team helps to distiguinsh each player. You begin to associate them not just as number 15 but you put a name to the uniform; Victoria known for hitting the ball over the net and scoring points everytime she is in the game, while wearing pink wrist bands. In addition, even when off the court these girl have style which make them an individual. When not in season the girls are able to wear the clothes that best fit their personalities. They shop at stores like H&M, Forever21, Hollister and American Eagle. Therefore there is something to a team beyond the uniform. Each individual person helps to make up a team and though they are one on the court they are very much different off the court. It is often hard to get away of associations when being apart of a team but it is up to the individual to add a twist to the uniform. For the team the uniform represents business. They are in a winning state of mind. They look foward to Monday's when they do not have practice and can wear their "regular clothes".