WALKING DOWN Baekyang-ro, what do you see along its endless stretch? Among the swarm of Yonsei students, there are no two identical outfits. In fact, the campus fashion scene is quite diverse; some look like they walked straight off a runway, while some are dressed in a more casual manner. These varying “campus looks” of Yonsei are one of the aesthetics and appeals of campus life. The Yonsei Annals asked Yonseians about their stylistic choices and thoughts on fashion.
Kim Je-won (Soph., UIC, Quantitative Risk Management)
“If I had to define my style, I’d say it is a hybrid of British punk, skate punk, and retro. It is both an aesthetic choice and [an artistic choice] inspired by my music taste. I enjoy jazz, old pop songs, rock, and hip-hop. I replicate and add on to the styles of artists I admire: Oasis, The Ramones, The Beach Boys, Chet Baker, C Jamm. I’ve only had interest in fashion for two years. So the change from “not caring” to dressing up properly was drastic. Although I enjoyed my change, the criticism was harsh; I’ve heard people deride my “sloppy and excessive” style behind my back. I think that fashion, identity, and self-esteem all affect one another. If you are satisfied with your style, you’ll feel confident about yourself. This continues until people look at you with reasonless hate. [With the drop of self-esteem], you adjust your style to fit society’s standards, until you feel confident to be your [whole true self again.] I don’t know if there will be an end to this ongoing process, but I guess that’s fashion.”
Hoang Phuong Chi (Jr., UIC, Comparative Lit. & Culture)
“I think fashion reflects one's desire to be included. The more you dress up, the more you feel the need to impress others. What I wear influences how I feel about myself greatly and I feel energized when I dress up. My daily style is semi-formal. I'm more comfortable in shirts and slacks, or short pencil skirts. I actually do not feel pressured to follow the latest trend. I have my own sense of style. I always stick to long-standing fashion, but I actually like having a trendy item in my closet each season because it shows that I take care of my image and that I am aware of the latest trends. Living in Korea does influence my style, but not significantly. The fashion environments are different. I think Koreans seem to pay more attention to how they dress. In fact, I have been dressing in a Korean-influenced style since I lived in Vietnam. I can get the items that fit my style more easily here and I prefer Korean clothing because it fits me better.”
Rustam Muminov (Fresh., UIC, Economics)
“I never really cared about the latest trends to be honest. I just wear things that I like and I feel comfortable wearing. I remember how many kids would laugh at me for wearing ripped jeans, chains and bracelets because I was different. Nowadays I prefer a rather more classic style with monotone colors. I sometimes like to match the smallest aspects in my wear; for instance, if my hoodie’s primary color is black and secondary is white, I will wear black pants and shoes with a primary black and a secondary white just to match the colors. I also like to match formal clothes with streetwear. Mixing and matching clothes allowed me to find this perfect golden middle between retro-classic and modern-street outfits. I either wear an oversized top, slim pants, and chunky shoes (like boots) or slim top, baggy pants, and sporty shoes (like Vans). By balancing out the size of my wear, I like to create a visually aesthetic picture.”
Moon Se-Bin (Fresh., Dept. of Chinese Language & Lit.)
“I am a person who tries to catch up with trendy fashion styles. Personally, I like wearing ggu-an-ggu* style clothes, since I can pursue looks and comfort at the same time. I usually get fashion information/ideas through an app called Zigzag and Zaful. I also want to try diverse fashion styles. However, when I actually try them, I ask myself questions like ‘Is this too much?’ or ‘Do I look okay in these clothes?’ Although I want to express myself through fashion and find a dressing style that fits me, it is true that I tend to be self-conscious about what others think of me. I believe that it is necessary to respect the fashion of people with different styles from the fashion trend.”
Jang Soo-hee (Fresh., Dept. of Systems Biology)
“Personally, I do not pay much attention to fashion and spend little to no money on clothes. My wardrobe consists of garments that my older sister handed down to me, which both satisfy me and are in a near-perfect state, so I do not see the necessity in buying new clothes. Also, I purposefully avoid following trends because paying attention to them can become a source of pressure and stress. In fact, I believe clothes are just one of the tools we need to survive: if you’re cold, you wear warmer clothing, and if you’re hot you wear light clothing.”
Kim Hwan (Jr., Dept. of Applied Statistics)
“I like neat, nondescript styles—dress shirts, slacks, sweaters in muted colors. I don’t purposefully avoid fashion trends, but I tend to stick to my comfort zone. Sometimes I get interested in fads that can fit my current wardrobe, but if they’re too unique I stay away from them. If I were to start following up-to-date fashion trends, I think I would stress out about other people’s judgements and become self-conscious about keeping up with the changing trends. Of course, this isn’t to say following new fashion styles is bad; I think everyone should choose their style based on what brings them the most joy.”
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A look into a Yonseian’s fashion choices tells a lot about the student’s identity, culture, or simple lifestyle of comfort. Each of the interviewees offers distinctiveness to the campus and the Yonsei identity. Beyond the collective of trendy, more casual, and unique students, there are authentic stories that represent who they are. What about you? What is your fashion story?
*Ggu-an-ggu: It refers to a style that is effortlessly chic.