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Students and fashion experts look at the influence runway trends have on our everyday fashion choices.

Graeme Melcher, ArtSci ’12, said he doesn’t look to trends to influence his personal style.
Graeme Melcher, ArtSci ’12, said he doesn’t look to trends to influence his personal style.

Trends, from the ubiquitous (skinny jeans, big scarves, knock-off Ray-Ban sunglasses, plaid shirts) to the more ‘unique’ (harem pants, crocheted headbands, Breton-striped shirts), they’re inescapable. Student style is dominated by concerns over cost, comfort and weather, but trends are a huge influence over what’s available in stores, and what students see their peers wearing.

According to Fallon Collett, ArtSci ’13, the Creative Director of Muse Magazine, most fashion trends originate in haute couture, and then trickle down through ready-to-wear designer lines and eventually end up in mass clothing retailers.

“It takes a while for people to adopt trends,” she said. “People like to see their peers wearing something before they’ll start wearing it.”

Collett is skeptical about the average student’s ability to avoid trends.

“People aren’t necessarily choosing what they’re wearing,” she said. “It’s what’s there, and what’s available to you – what you see your peers wearing instantly becomes more appealing to you.”

Collet said the Queen’s community has an interesting fashion sense because a lot of what students wear are “big city trends that are a few months old.”

“People go home and pick them up and bring them back here,” she said, adding that while the typical Queen’s girl uniform—Uggs, flannel shirt, leggings, Canada Goose jacket, Longchamp bag—will probably exist in some incarnation, what other people wear will change in ways they won’t expect because of the influence of trends.

Fashion houses subscribe to trend forecasting companies, who help them determine upcoming trends. Gail McInes, a Toronto-based fashion marketer said the forecasters look to street fashion to make their predictions.

“[Trend forecasters] scout the streets of the major cities around the world, sourcing innovative ideas, which range not just from fashion, but also other design areas, including architecture, interior and packaging design as well as trends in economics, politics and the environment,” she said.

When asked if she consciously follows trends, Jayne Wang, ArtSci ’12, shrugged and said that she does and she doesn’t.

“I guess you could call me a hipster,” she said with a laugh.

Wang said there are definitely trends she likes and follows, but she doesn’t do so religiously.

She said she usually finds most of her style inspiration in blogs and music. She said she particularly likes the style of singers Jenny Lewis and Zooey Deschanel, adding that their girly, vintage-inspired aesthetic is the one that she usually tries to evoke. She also reads blogs such as A Dress A Day, which she said she finds more inspirational than fashion magazines, because she can see how people actually wear their clothes in everyday life.

Graeme Melcher, ArtSci ’12, is more hesitant.

“If I found a trend I liked, sure, I would follow it—I just haven’t found one yet.” He said he doesn’t like current fashion trends, remarking that he looks ridiculous in skinny jeans.

“I never really saw the point in having to sell [my] entire wardrobe every two years and buy new clothing,” he said.

In his two and a half years at Queen’s, Melcher said he has been mistaken for a biker, a convict and a homeless man. He attributes this to his multiple tattoos and ear piercings, as well as the fact that he doesn’t dress like the average Queen’s student. Melcher said punk bands are the dominant influence on his personal style.

“Everyone wants to look as much like their influences as they can,” he said.

For Melcher, this has meant maintaining a Mohawk of varying colours, wearing a patched denim vest and having leopard print hair.

Rebecca Schidlowsky, CEO & Co-Founder of Ezia Couture, said runway trends are more about fashion as performance.

“So much of what you see in haute couture is impossible to wear in everyday life,” she said. “Instead, it’s about taking inspiration and translating it into what you wear every day.”

When designing, Schidlowsky said she looks to both magazines and popular retailers. “I’m very influenced by BCBG, Juicy Couture and Betsey Johnson,” she said. “I like to look at my favourite designers and if I like what they’re doing, I incorporate it in my designs.”

She said she also takes note of what her peers are wearing, and that if she sees that a material or colour is really popular, she tries to design headbands that complement that trend.

“For instance, I’ve noticed a real surge in crocheted headbands, so Ezia is looking to expand into that, and we wouldn’t be doing that if it wasn’t for what my peers are wearing.”

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