As the first beams of sunlight peek through sleepy Ohio winter skies, the anticipation of spring fashion flutters in the air.
Archit Agarwal ‘17, a communications and biology major from New Delhi, India, finds spring wardrobes exciting. “Colors! Lots of colors and the opportunity to transition into wearing lesser layers,” he said.
Agarwal, accustomed to wearing uniforms throughout his schooling, prefers to dress up for class, accenting his relaxed, breezy style with comfortable pieces of solid colors. What’s even more important is that they are crafted from natural fibers of cottons, wools and silk. “Primarily because natural fibers provide employment to Indian farmers.” he said.
In contrast to the earthy, clean-lined staples from Agarwal’s wardrobe, Anna Yokuah Teye ‘16 prefers “PRINTS, PRINTS, and more PRINTS!”
A women’s studies and international studies major from Accra, Ghana, Teye draws inspiration from a multitude of sources and cultures, explaining that she was obsessed with the style choices on shows such as “Fresh Prince” and “A Different World.”
“When I came to college, I wanted to hold on to more of my culture back at home, so my style shifted to incorporate fabrics from home and the trends I saw here in the U.S.,” Teye said.
Teye has been able to weave the rich and colorful pieces from her home into her wardrobe largely through items created by her and her mother, founders of the J.M.A.A.T Designs label.
To complement her self-described style of “a colorful mash-up of Ghanaian fabrics and style trends from the 90s,” her accessory staples include Africa-shaped earrings and glass beaded bracelets from her hometown in Ghana.
Also understanding the power of accessories, Gabriele Bieliauskaite ‘18 says that her wardrobe staple is jewelry.
“Jewelry is very effective; it can dress an outfit up or down. It can change the way the same outfit looks, as well.”
Bieliauskaite, a computer science and international studies major originally from Kaunas, Lithuania, sees beauty in the versatility of fashion by “wearing an outfit that can work for multiple occasions, that can be transformed from a day to night look because you never know how the day is going to end once you leave your house/dorm.”
She attributes her chic, classy style to her consistent use of black with a pop of brighter, accent colors to make an outfit her own. Bieliauskaite utilizes the timeless color in many of her looks, and references fashion icon, Coco Chanel, who said “Fashion changes but style endures.”
One thing Bieliauskaite never forgets are shoes. There are “so many different styles and possibilities to make an outfit, the outfit.”
Though Agarwal, Bieliauskaite and Teye take unique approaches to express their style, one thing they can all agree on is that there need not be agreement for what truly defines fashion. Bieliauskaite explains that fashion “is about finding what works for your own body type and personality.”
Agarwal echoes this sentiment.
“Fashion means anything that you can be comfortable. Fashion gives me confidence.”
As for trend rules, Teye does not see the need for them.
“I honestly do not pay attention to the ‘rules’ of fashion, like not mixing prints or not wearing certain patterns because they do not ’compliment my body type.’ I find those rules very restrictive. Therefore, fashion is whatever you make of it.”