Fashion editor Rosie Steer interviews the founder of cult blog, CollegeFashionista
CollegeFashionista is a fashion blog and social networking site which captures the latest style on university campuses all over the world. A hub for all things related to student style, the site is an authoritative source of student trends from all over the globe. Each university has several “Style Gurus”, the students who observe and record the best student style, post pictures and give tips for how to get the look. Browsing the site there are an eclectic range of looks and a constant source of inspiration for your own wardrobe. The site is currently recruiting Style Gurus from St Andrews and I spoke to Founder and Creative Director Amy Levin to find out more.
Rosie Steer: How did you come up with the idea for CollegeFashionista?
Amy Levin: CollegeFashionista started as a personal blog I was running at Indiana University during my senior year of college. Prior to entering my senior year I had studied abroad in London where I was first exposed to trend reporting and street style photography. Coming into my senior year I wanted to continue my love for this sector of the industry and created a small personal blog. One thing lead to the next and when I graduated in May 2009 I decided to turn my little blog into a website taking what I did at Indiana University and spreading it across all college campuses. The rest seems like history at this point!
RS: What do you think makes student style unique?
AL: Their confidence level. Most people enjoy fashion to some extent and wearing nice clothes but it takes a unique individual to really dedicate time to making themselves stand out and dress outside what the masses are wearing. Whether it’s accessorising your look differently or taking a simple piece from H&M and altering it yourself. Whatever it may be you need confidence to accomplish it and to look like a million bucks!
RS: Do you think student fashions impact on designers at all?
AL: 100 percent. The college demographic accounts for a large portion of who brands are targeting their merchandise to. Sites like CollegeFashionista and trend reporting for this age group is extremely influential for designers to reference what real people are wearing and what they should create. The end goal for a designer is to sell their merchandise so making it as appealing to this demographic is definitely key.
RS: What do you think are the differences in style between Fashionistas on the US site and the International site?
AL: I am biased simply because I love traveling and love fashion outside of the States so seeing what other students are wearing overseas always impresses me. With that being said I think the major different with students in the States vs let’s say Scotland or London is there are a lot more risks being taken abroad. During my whole experience studying in London and through my opportunities traveling I never saw students wearing sweatpants to class. Too often this type of casual, comfortable almost pajama like clothing becomes a part of college students norm. I like that students abroad take things up a notch and show a bit more appreciation for their ensembles. And after spending time in Tokyo last year I don’t think I will ever look at fashion the same. The youth there know how to work it and really push the boundaries.
RS: How would you describe your own style when you were at college?
AL: I can’t define my style in one word but college was definitely the point when I feel in love with vintage clothing and taking inspiration from the past. A typical classroom outfit for me consisted of an oversized, vintage flannel with black skinny jeans and a worn in T-shirt with loads of jewelry. I sometimes jazzed things up and would wear a vintage dress but truly lived in flannels all of college. On the weekends I got creative and would dabble with $5 vintage finds to try and make them look innovative and unique. At indiana University the girls tend to try and dress alike, at least when I was there. I was definitely that girl who never wanted to fit in with my clothing and always made a point of standing out through vintage attire.
RS: What do you predict to be the biggest CollegeFashionista trend this summer?
AL: White on white and maxi skirts. We saw a lot of both these items on the runways and I have a feeling students aren’t going to hold back on either of these trends.
RS: The fashion industry is notoriously difficult to break into. Do you have any tips for students pursuing a career in fashion?
AL: Have thick skin. The industry is tough and will eat you alive if you aren’t ready to fight to the top. There are a million girls dying to be apart of the “glamorous” world of fashion. If you aren’t willing to give it your all chances are someone else is right behind you who will. And know your strengths. Know what you are good at and hone in on that. Find a niche in the field that will sing to your strengths so you aren’t fighting against yourself but accelerating with the things you are good at.
RS: Which blogs (if any) do you read? Do you have any tips of your own for blogging?
AL: The Selby is my go-to site for inspiration on photography and really daily inspiration in my life. He showcases artistic individuals in their workplace and how it’s an extension of who they are. Also, The Sartorialist, Jak and Jil, WhoWhatWear and of course, CollegeFashionista.
Tips for blogging- Find a unique voice and something that sets you apart from others. It’s good to see what you like/dislike from other blogs but don’t just copy others. Make something creative and your own. If you do that chances are a following will come.
RS: What will you be wearing this Spring/ Summer?
AL: My T by Alexander Wang nubby T-shirt and trousers. I am all about functional, quality clothing at the moment. Alexander Wang and Jenni Kayne are my two favorites who make pieces that fit just that description.
I have been a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista in St Andrews since the start of the year and spotting the most stylish students in our town and analysing their looks has been a source of inspiration for me as I begin my career in fashion. CollegeFashionista are currently recruiting Style Gurus in St Andrews, if you are interested in applying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images with thanks to Collegefashionista.