“I think fashion is an attitude, which is about who you try to be,” said Siyue Deng, when asked to define fashion. “Only you can define yourself.”
Deng and Zhongqi Ma are both seniors studying apparel merchandising at Auburn University. Both are also international students from China.
After graduation, Deng would like to go to a master’s program in the UK, and Ma is starting to apply with different brands in their merchandising departments.
Fashion and style are two words with vague concepts that play a big part in how someone expresses themselves. Fashion varies not only person to person but also culture to culture.
What you choose to wear can be influenced by many factors.
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So how have two people’s senses of fashion and style been influenced by the two very different cultures they have lived in?
Ma explains that when he is in China his clothes are more fitted and put together. He says his typical outfit in China is long pants and a well-fitted shirt. What he wears in Auburn is very different.
“More like sports fashion, a little bit oversized,” is how Ma describes his style while wearing a bright blue oversized shirt, gym shorts with a pattern on the side and blue Nike sneakers.
To complete the look he added a long silver necklace and a beaded bracelet; plus the tips of his hair are dyed pink.
Accessories are a key part of an outfit in Ma’s opinion, because they can add just a little something different to a look that everyone is wearing.
“If you want to be distinguished from others, try to add some accessories,” Ma said.
When asked to name three things everyone needs in their closet, all of Ma’s items were accessories.
“You should have a handbag,” Ma said. “Another thing is I think you should have some good looking socks… For fall you should have a beanie.”
His description of the perfect fall outfit is a beanie, a hoodie and jogger pants.
In contrast, Deng says the perfect fall outfit is an oversized trench coat, high-waisted skinny jeans and Dr. Martens. She also says everyone should have an oversized hoodie in their closet.
Deng describes her typical outfit as high-waisted jeans, an oversized shirt or jacket and either sneakers or Dr. Martens. She says she doesn’t have a typical style though; what she wears crosses the spectrum from casual to high end.
“I always try to dress comfier and cozier when I study in AU, just like native, some days I am wearing oversized sweatshirts and leggings,” Deng said.
Just like other international Chinese students, Deng added, she enjoys wearing luxury items, high heels and skinny jeans, too.
When asked about trends for this year, she said, “Just like last fall and winter season, fuzzy jackets are still going to be trendy. Also, small shoulder vintage bags will be more popular this season.”
Although certain things are in or out of style at any given point, both Deng and Ma point out that style is subjective.
“Style is something you feel comfortable with, and it is your safe zone,” Deng said.
Me agreed with Deng.
“Style is freedom,” Ma said. “It’s kind of like freestyle, whatever you like to pick."
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