Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UFashion: The fashion club UMass didn’t realize it needed

If fashion is your passion, consider checking out UFashion

By Cynthia Ntinunu, Assistant Arts Editor

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For a while on campus, there lacked a space for people interested in fashion. While creative spaces existed that allowed people to tap into their varied interests, there wasn’t a group dedicated to fashionistas. But all of that has changed with the soon-to-be registered student organization: UFashion. Started last year by now-sophomore Emily Reardon, UFashion is a space for people to express themselves through fashion and other means of creativity.

Though they’re still in the process of becoming an RSO, I decided to interviewed Reardon, the president, and Michelle Arbuzova, the vice president, to get a sense of what UFashion really is about and what their plans are for the group.

To start the interview off, I asked Reardon how she defined UFashion:

Emily Reardon: UFashion is something that I made to be a creative outlet for anyone with an interest in fashion who also wants to be a part of a community. Our group will do a plethora of things including hosting events [such as] clothing drives, student designer expos and local pop-up shops. So, we are not going to be a group of structure and rules for sure.

In order to understand a little more about what UFashion entails, I wanted to know what inspired Reardon to start a fashion club in the first place. Why did UMass need this organization?

ER: I love fashion and I love how diverse this school is, but as far as I knew (and still know) there is really nothing on campus that is solely devoted to self-expression through fashion and as a freshman, I just decided that this needs to happen. The diversity of this school is incredible but it’s easy for people to feel isolated because of it. I want UFashion to make everyone feel like a part of something no matter what they wear.

It’s safe to assume that the people who are in charge of a fashion club should have some type of love for fashion and style. I asked Arbuzova how she got into fashion.

Michelle Arbuzova: I slowly started to pay attention to designer clothes and what famous people on Instagram were wearing and didn’t think it looked ridiculous anymore; I started looking at it like art. I used to look at them and was like, “Oh my god, who would even wear that?” Just because the clothes they were wearing didn’t look practical.

While fashion can be fun for many people, we can’t deny that there are still issues that persist to this day in the industry. One of those issues happens to be a lack of diversity. Many companies continue to predominately hire white models. Knowing that fashion and even UMass are predominately white, cisgender, able-bodied spaces, I wondered how Reardon and Arbuzova planned to make the club and their Instagram page as inclusive and diverse as possible.

ER: This is a problem that we almost immediately noticed when we started our Instagram. We encourage people of all backgrounds to not only be on our page, but actively participate in our group so that we can truly represent the students that go here. Going forward, we will continue to do that.

MA: Yes, we absolutely encourage people of all backgrounds to participate. Each culture has something unique to offer in terms of trends. It is inarguable that European, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, etc. styles differ from each other drastically, and that is the kind of diversity we are looking for.

To wrap up the interview, I wanted to know what kind of events UFashion had in store. According to Reardon, they’re really trying to push for more events that include designers and student work.

ER: Something we are really excited about is having a student designer expo where students here can sell their clothing and just get some publicity for their brands. Another thing we want to do is a clothing drive and hire some guest speakers to talk to us about their area of fashion expertise. We also are planning a pop-up shop where local fashion vendors can come and showcase their designs for students to purchase. There is much more in the works.

Both Reardon and Arbuzova reiterated throughout the interview that UFashion is a space open to anyone. They want people from all backgrounds to be a part of the club. Even if you aren’t into fashion, you can still join. They’re constantly looking of graphic designers, models and photographers. If you’re interested, get involved. You can contact them either at the UFashion’s email ([email protected]) or Reardon’s email ([email protected]).

Finally, make sure to follow them on their Instagram page at @umasslookbook and on Facebook at U.Fashion to stay updated on their events, when their first meeting is and to see the fashion that UMass has to offer.

Cynthia Ntinunu can be reached at [email protected]

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