Dress to impress: TMU students are expressing themselves through campus fashion

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By Chloe Bard

For the first time in two years, Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) campus is fully open and packed with students shuffling around to their classes. Now that they’re finally back again, students have the chance to show off their unique styles.

Second-year professional communication student Danika Mikic said she is very excited to be on campus for the first time. She is looking forward to finally showing off the clothes she hasn’t had a chance to wear due to the pandemic.

“When I got new clothes and stuff, it felt so silly to wear them in front of the Zoom class,” she said. 

Being back gives her a chance to bring her outfits out of the closet. “I get to wear all these clothes that I’ve been collecting during COVID.”

“Now everyone’s got their own style, I want to show off my style too”

Mikic said she’s been waiting to show off the outfit she was wearing at the time of her interview with The Eyeopener. Her outfit consisted of low-waisted jeans she thrifted, paired with a white t-shirt and matching white sneakers. She dressed up the outfit with layered gold jewellery and a blue two-tone tote bag to carry her school supplies. 

When asked about the bag’s functionality, Mikic laughs and shakes her head. “Yeah, no, it’s been killing me. So I definitely will be switching to a backpack,” she said. “But on my lighter, fun study days, I will totally bring the tote bag.”

Spotted on campus was another tote bag carrier, Kiera Gray, a second-year creative industries student. 

She described her colour palette as including a lot of earth tones, evident by the linen skirt she was wearing with a funky brown and green mesh top. 

Gray cited Pinterest as her main source of fashion inspiration.

“Mainly I use Pinterest when I’m trying to pick out an outfit in the morning and I’ve lost inspiration with the clothes that I have in my closet,” she said. “I’ll go through [Pinterest] and get some inspiration from other people. ”

Seeing other students’ styles on campus has also given Gray inspiration. “I’ve been noticing a lot of Y2K style,” she said. “Lots of big pants, then they pair it with the small top. I think it looks really cool.”

Second-year professional communication student Sofia Stadler also gets her fashion inspiration from social media. She named TikTok as her number one source, getting outfit ideas from what others are wearing on the platform. Stadler also credited TikTok as her influence to start making her own clothes.

“TikTok definitely inspires me to make my own clothes because I see so many people being creative on there,” she explained. 

For Stadler, fashion is a way to express themselves and push the social constructs of gender. 

Stadler described using fashion as a way to express how they feel about their identity. “When I step out into the world, I can really just think about what I’m feeling that day, in terms of whether I’m wanting to dress more feminine or more masculine.”

Nathan Ferracuti, a second-year professional communication student, also uses clothes as a way to express himself. He explained that an essential part of his style is thrifted and vintage pieces. 

 “Thrifting just offers a unique aspect to fashion that you can’t really get when you’re shopping with mainstream stores,” said Ferracuti. “It just allows you to build identity from finding clothes in a personal way.”

Ferracuti’s outfit consisted of entirely second-hand pieces, from their white teddy bear graphic tee to their green cargo pants. 

He hopes to acquire more denim this fall, inspired by campus streetwear. “One thing that I’m really liking right now is jean jackets. I’ve seen them all over downtown and on campus.”

“I get to wear all these clothes that I’ve been collecting during COVID”

Second-year English student Mackenzie Walsh said she has also been a fan of the influx of denim this fall. She recalls seeing so many baggy jeans she was inspired to go to her local Value Village and find her own. 

“I have a Value Village near my apartment that I’ve shopped at a lot and [I’ve] got a lot of good jeans there.”

Walsh has been looking forward to in-person classes and a chance to wear something other than her pyjamas she favoured during virtual learning. “Now everyone’s got their own style, I want to show off my style too,” she said. 

The return to campus has many students looking forward to using their style to showcase their identities. 

“I love seeing people not be scared to wear what they want and seeing so many different styles,” said Mikic. “It’s super refreshing and nice.”

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