These Ducks are creating a fashion community at UO

Senior advertising major Matthew Sorensen and graduate Rachel Ellam co-founded the fashion-forward creative project Modish Mint. (Photo provided by Matthew Sorensen.)

My love for fashion began at a young age with treasured Barbie overalls, Dr. Martens and neon jelly shoes.

The University of Oregon is a school with programs that are highly ranked in a national context. But there’s no program for fashion. Instead, I combined my keen eye for design and style with my love for writing in the advertising program. 

Many UO students are finding similar solutions in combining their majors with their interests in the fashion industry — from blogs to creative projects to successful clothing lines.


Design and Entrepreneurship

A number of UO students and alumni, especially those in business and/or product design, have successfully started their own fashion lines and businesses.

Kelsey Curtis, a product design major, aims to be one of them. She handmakes clothing, jewelry and other goods and plans to open a shop called Cedar & Pine with her roommate, Anna Post, also a product design student. Last June, they even sold these items at a booth at the UO Campus Block Party.

To those interested in creating your own brand, Curtis suggested, “Immerse yourself in other cultures and environments with a wide variety of people. The internet is also a great resource. I find a lot of inspiration from style icons, clothing brands and photographers.”

Creative Projects and Photography

Another way these students have begun to break into the industry is through various creative projects — many involving photography.

One of those students is Matthew Sorensen, a senior advertising student, who was also on the Emerald’s photobooth team last year. His latest work is on Modish Mint, a fashion-centric photography project. The group was co-founded with Rachel Ellam, who is the featured model and a recently graduated advertising major.

“We found that we had so many of the same artistic interests and wanted to keep a partnership going. That’s how Modish was born,” Sorensen said. “The feedback we’ve received has been amazing and we can’t wait to share the next few sets we have lined up.”

Sorensen’s advice for those interested in photography is this: “Go for it. If you have any doubt in your mind that you can’t do something, you won’t.”

Blogging and Publications

Students who are interested in writing and fashion have plenty of opportunities to publish their work both on and off campus.

On campus, Dressed Up Ducks is a great place to start. The blog showcases outfits of UO students about three times a week and is run by a group of current students mostly in the UO School of Journalism and Communication. Similarly, Her Campus Oregon, the UO chapter of a national online publication aimed toward college-aged women, hires a handful of student fashion writers each term.

Kaitlyn Garish, a recently graduated sociology major, interned for six months at College Fashionista, an online website that helps collegiates keep up with the latest trends.

For other students interested in a fashion career, Garish suggested, “Find opportunities and internships that can help you and teach you some important things about fashion. Starting your own blog will help you gain experience as well.”


Surprisingly, these students have yet to form any kind of official fashion club or group on campus. But keep your eyes peeled — I’m sure it won’t be long.

Follow Hailey Geller on Twitter @hgeller30


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