Fashion can hold many meanings throughout different cultures. For students, it can be used as a way to create a daily identity and to express their very own brand of individuality.
Americans constantly try to embrace the latest styles and cheapest trends to show to society. But through foreign eyes, style can be viewed as something desirable, necessary or anything but fashionable.
International students travelling to America for a higher education constantly find themselves studying American fashion but not necessarily finding a liking to it. Although they show curiousness to shop huge American malls and
explore the wide variety of popular brands, in their perspective, foreign fashion is just not the same.
“When I see Americans and the way they dress, I feel very well-dressed,” said University of California, Berkeley graduate, Renaud de Peretti. “Overall, because of the warm weather, American’s cannot dress well. I feel, the colder
a place, the better people dress because they have more clothes on.”
Peretti, 24, traveled from France to obtain his master’s degree at UC Berkeley. Even though he believes American’s lack a sense of fashion, he finds himself frequently
shopping for large clothing brands worn in America.
“I don’t really want to have the American style, but European style is not too far from New York fashion so it is complicated. I would prefer the French style,” said Peretti.
According to many international students, brands such as, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Zara and SuperDry are heavily desired due to their affordability and high quality.
To some SF State students, brands are less important and fashion is viewed in a more straightforward way.
“When I shop, I try to make sure the clothing will be used more than once,” said SF State communications student, Anissa Campa. “I mostly look for comfortability and versatility, so overall my style is very simple.”
Campa, 23, enjoys shopping at well-known clothing stores, American Eagle Outfitters and Forever 21.
“I am inspired by cute gym clothes and try to get away with being comfortable everywhere I go. I don’t try to push my fashion limits because I don’t like to stand out too much,” said Campa.
Vladimir Kozlow, 22, an environmental engineering graduate student from Russia is very insightful when it comes to
dividing the style of foreigners and Americans. After living in the U.S. for two years, he has noticed that the manner of dress varies in different countries.
According to Kozlow, even if the garments are the same, the way a European person would wear them will probably be incompatible from the way an American or an Asian person would.
“I think fashion is the first way to express yourself and show your personality to your acquaintances,” said Stanford student, Kozlow. “I try to adapt my lifestyle and my clothing to my environment without fundamentally changing it. Indeed, American brands are the most represented brands in the world and it is impossible not to wear some of their garments.”
SF State geography student, Chi Yen is also an international student but possesses less of an interest with clothing and trends.
Yen, 23, traveled from Taiwan to attend school in the U.S. Her frequently visited clothing stores are Hollister and American Eagle Outfitters.
“I’ve always considered myself as someone who doesn’t really care about fashion that much, I don’t really follow fashion trends, I always pick clothes that look good on me instead of ‘it-items,’” said Yen.
As an international student, she believes that Americans tend to dress in the style that is best suited for them. Even though she has no interest in embodying the latest trends, she finds herself missing certain styles from home.
“I guess what I miss the most is the opportunity of wearing summer clothes and shorts because the weather in San Francisco most of the time is not warm enough for me to walk around in just a t-shirt and shorts,” said Yen. “Taiwan is a subtropical region, so it gets really hot for quite some time throughout the year.”
SF State business major, Kenia Cruz has no real interest in fashion compared to other SF State students. Her taste is incredibly simple and views clothing as nothing other than an everyday necessity.
“The only brand I really like is Vans. However, I don’t know if that counts since I mainly shop their shoes,” said Cruz. “I really don’t care about brands though, as long as I like the clothes.”
Overall, fashion is not about appearance, it’s about who you become when it is embraced.