Arts & CultureCover StoryFashion

Campus Style: Faces of Fashion



Strolling down 13th Avenue, the fashion on display can range from flannel shirts and Birkenstock sandals to football jerseys with running shoes, but even high fashion can be found on campus in the form of chic dresses and designer high heels.

Students from around the world attend the University of Oregon, bringing style influences with them, but adjusting to Eugene’s casual fashion standards and inclement climate can be a challenge.

The Emerald profiled four fashion-forward UO students about how their personal style has developed since moving to Eugene.

Students we spoke with felt that adapting their fashion sense to function in Eugene’s wet weather and casual clothing norms was a bit of a tricky process. Senior Macaihah Broussard advises embracing personal style regardless of location.

“When I think of somebody setting a trend or creating something that’s different, I think of somebody that’s not being afraid and not wanting to hold back. I just kind of wear what I want,” Broussard said.

Here’s what each of these four students had to say about their fashion identity and how they’ve adapted their styles to fit Eugene.

Alyssa Blackman

Alyssa Backman (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

Hometown:

Los Angeles, California

Major, Grade:

Public Relations and Advertising, Senior

Blackman: While living in L.A., Blackman worked for a small clothing boutique. She closely followed fashion trends at the time and took issue with how expensive many of the popular items were. Blackman realized that she could create and sell less expensive versions to her friends and customers on sites like Poshmark.com. Now that she is about to graduate, Blackman plans to continue wearing her personalized style as she enters the workforce.

Emerald: When did you first become interested in fashion?

AB: I’ve always really been into fashion. Ever since I was 6 years old, when I went to New York for the first time, and I fell in love with it.

E: How has your hometown influenced your style?

AB: I’m from L.A. and I would say that my style is a little bohemian. Just very chic, but I don’t really want to confine myself because there’s some days when I throw on an all-black outfit and look super grungy and then some days I’m like, ‘I’m gonna wear all white and look like the goddamn First Lady,’ though not exactly our First Lady now.

E: How do you adapt your style to fit Eugene?

AB: That was one of the hardest changes to my wardrobe, not only because of the weather constraints, but mostly the comfort aspect. People in Eugene dress for comfort and convenience and it was hard because my outfits are always the farthest from those two C’s. I tried to lessen aspects of my outfits, but soon I got over the shrinking of myself and decided to keep wearing funky clothes because it’s what makes me happy and confident. I wear the same outfits I would wear in L.A., but I just add a big fuzzy sweater or coat to it. To this day I still refuse to wear or own a rain jacket, even when it’s pouring rain. Whoops.

E: Where do you find your fashion inspiration?

AB: I’m constantly online shopping and looking at fashion blogs for different outfits. My biggest inspiration is a fashion blogger based in New York. She’s known as We Wore What, but her name is Danielle. Another really cool one is based in big cities and it’s called Citizen Couture. It’s a couple of photographers who go around and just take street-style pictures of people, and sometimes they’re influencers, fashion bloggers or people in fashion, but then sometimes they’re just random people who have really cool outfits.

E: What fashion advice do you have for students?

AB: Just think outside of the box. It’s easy to gravitate toward that sweater or that color that you like, but I think that putting yourself out of your comfort zone is a big thing with fashion.

— Leanne Harloff

 

Melissa Epifano

Hometown:

Banks, Oregon

Major, Grade:

Journalism, Senior

Originally from the East Coast, Epifano’s fashion influence primarily comes from childhood trips to New York City. Her chic, minimalist style sense is expressed through neutral colors and high-quality fabrics. Epifano writes for various fashion publications, including CollegeFashionista.com and Suitcase magazine. She hopes to write for a major fashion magazine like Vogue after graduation.

Emerald: When did you first become interested in fashion?

Epifano: I got more into it when I was a freshman/sophmore in high school. I thought it was a cool way of self-expression. I started going to different classes and camps over the summer at different universities to immerse myself in more of a fashion-oriented place, like Los Angeles or New York City. Then I started designing and illustrating my own clothing for a little bit.

E: How has your hometown influenced your style?

ME: I was born on the East Coast and since I got to take trips to the city, and people generally dress a lot nicer on the East Coast I kind of developed my style from that. Even though I moved to the Pacific Northwest and it’s very laid back and casual, I still like to dress up.

E: How do you adapt your style to fit Eugene?

ME: I think it’s about choosing pieces that aren’t too nice. You want versatile pieces that can go well in different settings. Throwing on a bomber jacket, oversized denim jacket or wearing a sweatshirt under a nice wool coat can tone things down for school. It gives it a nice contrast while being stylish.

E: Where do you find your fashion inspiration?

ME: Pinterest is a really big source for inspiration for me for fashion, but I also think it’s cool to do it the more traditional way and read magazines. I also think it’s fun to look at high-end fashion and see how you can downplay it and turn it into something you could wear every day.

E: What fashion advice do you have for students?

ME: My biggest advice would be to not be afraid to wear things because of what other people would think.

E: Spring trend that you can’t stand?

I can’t stand Birkenstocks, which people wear year round here, but more so in the spring. I also don’t like when people wear workout clothes to class. I change between my cycling class and my creative writing class because I can’t stand wearing workout clothes. If there are so many stylish pieces… Why not wear those?

E: Ideal Spring outfit?

ME: Something that’s all black but that still keeps me cool; an all black romper would be cute.

— Kara Thompson

 

Amber Villahermosa

Hometown:

Honolulu, Hawaii

Major, Grade:

Asian studies and International studies, Junior

Villahermosa’s sense of style is unique because she switches back and forth from casual pieces to more dressed up, girly pieces. Her fashion influences come from a mixture of her Hawaiian roots and interest in the fashion trends happening on the mainland. Villahermosa finds fashion inspiration from her friends and magazines like Vogue. Her ideal spring outfit is a dress or romper with a floppy hat.

Emerald: When did you first become interested in fashion?

Villahermosa: I started to be more aware of what I wear around my sophomore and junior years of high school. I started watching beauty bloggers and wanted to adapt my style to that and express myself through what I wear and how I do my makeup and hair.

E: How has your hometown influenced your style?

AV: Being in Hawaii really influenced my style because it’s a mixing pot of cultures and fashion styles. The weather is pretty much always the same but everyone wants to keep up with the fashion styles on the mainland. We like to wear ripped jeans but also give things a Hawaiian-esque feel, so we wear flowery tops or floral items.

E: How do you describe your style?

AV: I bounce back and forth between laid-back, like skater girl fashion. I like to wear khaki pants that boys would wear and crop-top sweaters or shirts. I also like floral rompers, spring dresses and heels. It really depends on what my mood is for the day and what the weather is like.

E: How do you adapt your style to fit in Eugene?

AV: I have more street fashion here. I like to stay comfortable and dry so that I don’t ruin whatever I’m wearing for the day. If I’m wearing a crop top and high-waisted jeans I wear a nice comfy sweater that will keep me warm and protect me from the rain. I have adapted to more waterproof, but cute outfits being in Eugene.

E: What fashion advice do you have for students?

AV: Go to any store in the mall and grab a bunch of different clothes that you’re not necessarily comfortable wearing, try them on and see how you feel in them. Don’t be afraid to try different styles every now and then because you never know what will interest you or look good on you if you don’t try it.

— Kara Thompson

 

Macaihah Broussard

Originally from Oregon, Broussard grew up observing the state’s laid-back fashion scene. As he developed an interest in fashion, the world around him became his main source of inspiration. Broussard is striving to promote self-expression through his willingness to take risks and embrace the styles that he loves.

Hometown:

Milwaukie, Oregon

Macaihah Broussard (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

Major, Grade:

Advertising, Senior

Emerald: When did you first become interested in fashion?

Broussard: I actually dressed really bad all throughout middle school and most of high school. In middle school I wore a lot of oversized shirts and in high school I wore a lot of athletic clothes. I really started to focus more on fashion when I lost 30 pounds and slimmed down a little bit. I became more interested in what was trending during my freshman year of college.

E: How has your hometown influenced your style?

MB: I don’t think Milwaukie has specifically. I would say a lot of my influence have come from my dad. At a young age, he taught me to have an eye for what goes well together. I think that’s kind of fueled me as well as a graphic designer since I take a lot of my inspirations from my surroundings. If it’s seen outside or in the natural world then it will work in a good combo.

E: How do you describe your style?

MB: All of freshman year my friends would joke around and call me Mr. GQ. Now my friends call me hipster or trendy. I don’t intentionally do this or think about it but I always have one piece of clothing that’s a bit out there.

E: How do you adapt your style to fit in Eugene?

MB: I guess a lot of people look at me as a trendsetter. When I think of somebody setting a trend or creating something that’s different, I think of somebody that’s not being afraid and not wanting to hold back. I just kind of wear what I want.

E: Where do you find your fashion inspiration?

MB: I pull inspiration from a lot of different things. It kind of depends on how my day is going and what the weather is like.

E: What fashion advice do you have for students?

MB: Understand that when you’re trying something for the first time, people will question it, but you just have to keep doing it. If you want to rock it, you’ll rock it. Just be confident in what you wear regardless of what people say. I would say just to get out in the world and pay attention to different textures. Be observant of everything that’s not fashion.

— Kara Thompson

Update: An earlier version of this article referred to Macaihah Broussard as a junior. He is a senior. The error has been corrected. 


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Kara Thompson

Kara Thompson