Fashion writing has charged forward in the print to online media migration with a new generation of writers who show off their sartorial tastes in blogs and fully integrated web magazines.
One of these sites, CollegeFashionista.com, is a college kid-meets-“style guru” haven for the budding fashionistas at universities across the nation. With over 75 schools participating, this site is the perfect mesh of personal style and campus trendspotting.
University of Miami senior Kelly Fitzpatrick has been interning with the CollegeFashionista since the start of the summer.
“I love that I can work on my own time. It gives you a lot of leverage to really find things you like,” Fitzpatrick said. “You don’t have to force it.”
To Fitzpatrick, the appeal seems to be that the Web site brings fashion down to the level of typical college students, making it something that is accessible for everyone.
“A lot of designers still sell to the well-off, white-collar adults, but I think they’re starting to notice that our demographic is a lot edgier; we’re more likely to take risks and try new things, and that’s definitely something that CollegeFashionista really tries to capture,” she said.
While neon bright and laidback fashion is still prevalent on campus, Fitzpatrick sees the style tides becoming more urban.
“I think a lot of our school’s style comes from the northeast and city influences, a lot of the Boston and New York vibe,” she said.
A single post usually includes a photo snapped of someone on campus whose outfit is unique, along with a write-up that explains how his or her style is à la mode.
“Blogging is much more expressive and interactive than any other type of writing; it’s easy and fun to read,” said sophomore Christine Freeman, who also blogs for the site.
Freeman also likes the visual nature of blogging.
“You can really see what I’m talking about if I show a picture of someone’s outfit,” she said.
The site’s creator, Amy Levin, has been a crusader for college fashion since her years at Indiana University; she saw an untapped niche in college fashion writing.
“As a frequent magazine reader, I often feel like the clothing being showcased is highly unrealistic for someone who isn’t model-thin and ready to shell out tons of money,” Levin said. “I saw firsthand at Indiana University the love that students have for fashion and making it work within their budget.”
Levin has used the media shift from online to print to her full advantage, reveling in the day-to-day, hour-to-hour currency that is provided from online blogs.
“With magazines or print media, we have to wait each month for the newest issue to come out, whereas with blogs the turnaround time on information is much quicker,” she said. “Our Style Gurus are always on the street taking photographs that immediately go on the site, readers don’t have to wait weeks or a month to see their photo appear.”
The site does not aim to show off the content of someone’s closet; instead, it focuses on highlighting the individuality behind the clothes and the reason for the style.
“So many sites are style diaries whereas our Style Gurus never show photos of themselves. They love capturing others,” Levin said. “I think ordinary people on the street are so inspiring.”
For Levin, style is constant and evolving all at once, which is why it is so fun to document.
“My style is always changing,” she said. “Ask me in a month and I’m sure I will be onto something else.”
Read the fashion reports of your fellow students: Kelly Fitzpatrick, MacKenzie Green, Caterina del Rossi, Christine Freeman and Michelle Leibowitz.
Also, check out the UMiami styles reports by logging onto Collegefashionista.com, and clicking on University of Miami from the “Select School” tab.