What fashion means for international students
College can be a very ugly place when it comes to fashion. It is a kingdom of sweatpants, hoodies, jeans and unisex Duke T-shirts, and for many people,
“picking a nice outfit” is the last thing on their to-do list. Sometimes, when I
say the word “vogue” out loud, my friends think that I’m speaking some kind of
For a long time, I believed that college fashion was dead. And then, when I was about to give up and buy 10 oversized hoodies on Amazon to fit in, I decided
to look around once more. And then I saw it. College fashion is alive and
kicking — just take a look at international students.
One such student is first-year Jamie Palka, who, despite her American passport, is Canadian at heart. We recently sat in her room in Bassett, laughing
about a photoshoot we had the day before, and whenever Jamie talked about
Canada, her entire face lit up and her pale-blue eyes started to sparkle.
“I live in Buffalo, New York. It is 20 minutes from the Canadian border,” Palka said. “Canada has always been an extension of my home — more like my
backyard than a different country.”
As Palka’s childhood was equally split between America and Canada, her style now accurately reflects the clash of these two different cultures and their
somehow similar influences. A summer camp in Canada is the inspiration behind
both of the outfits that Jamie assembled for our photoshoot.
“Growing up, a lot of the girls I looked up to had this very distinct Canadian style,” Palka explained.
When she was a kid, she used to go to a summer camp in Algonquin Park, which was popular among Canadian and French girls. They had a very outdoorsy and
rugged style that Palka slowly grew to love and appreciate.
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