International Perspectives

It’s the spring of 2019, and as I walk across the campus of University College Utrecht (UCU), I can hear laughter and chatter all around me. Springtime in the Netherlands feels like godsend after months of bleak weather, so it seems like everybody on campus is sitting in the grass, trying to soak up the warm sunlight. I catch snippets of conversation left and right; most are in English, many are in Dutch, and some are in French, or Spanish or German or Cantonese. 

UCU is a tiny university but its 750 students hail from over 70 different countries. As the semester went on, I started to notice that there was great diversity among the types of outfits worn to class on a daily basis. At WashU, I was used to seeing the standard ensemble of leggings and sweatshirts and blue jeans, but UCU did not adhere to such standards. Before I finished my study abroad, I decided to capture some of my international friends in their typical daily looks.

Ellie

Where are you from?

London, England 

What are some staples in your closet?

Half of my wardrobe is jackets and coats. They’re usually the favourite part of my outfit. England can get pretty cold so for about half the year I’ll be using one. I’ve never been one to just have one winter coat – I have about seven. I think a jacket can really bring an outfit together nicely, or can hide a bit of a boring outfit. So I’d say a nice jacket or coat is definitely my staple. Oh, and sunglasses! British weather is very temperamental.

How do you pick your outfits?

I’d say that most of my clothes are comfortable, but not like hoodie and trakkie bottom kind of comfortable. I try to keep lounging clothes and proper clothes separate. It is probably because in school my uniform was quite smart so I guess I associate productiveness with a proper outfit. Saying this I’ve done some of my best essays in pyjamas so who knows. And yes, I’m a sucker for outfit planning! My family live all over the place so I’m often travelling and outfit planning makes packing a lot easier.

Who inspires your fashion style?

If I had to choose someone it would probably be my Aunty. She’s in her 50’s but still puts an outfit together everyday.

Tell me about your outfit.

Admittedly, this picture was taken in the run up to finals so it’s not my most thought-out outfit but it was truly what I was wearing that day. My coat is from a charity shop and was £12. I think I bought it when I was around 15 and I remember thinking ‘I don’t think I’ll wear this now, but one day I’ll be grateful I bought it’ and I really am! It’s so comfortable and looks pretty fancy. I’d say about one third of my wardrobe is second hand which I really love – it’s cheap and unique, not to mention better for the environment and the money usually goes to charity. My t-shirt is just a plain white tee and my jeans are pretty plain too, except the wide-leg makes them a little different. Sometimes I kind of like plain outfits like this just because they look effortless and simple but still kinda stylish. The jazziest part of my outfit is probably my dirty trainers, which I have now had to replace! And of course I’ve got my sunglasses. I’ll often just wear my sunglasses on my head and never actually put them on!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I think the UK, and particularly where I study in Bristol, has such a vast array of styles and there isn’t one particular one that is more fashionable than the other. I think in some ways I dress ‘British’ and my outfit is a British style, but there are also so many other completely different styles that are also viewed this way and I think that’s what I really love about the British fashion scene.  

Cheryl

Where are you from?

Singapore

What are some staples in your closet?

Loud shirts with vibrant prints, graphic t-shirts by Japanese designers, oversized thrifted t-shirts, tie-dye, wide-leg pants, bucket hats. Sneakers, sneakers, and only sneakers.

How do you pick your outfits?

I usually wake up and throw anything on, depending on what has already been washed. I often wear long wide-leg pants to school because the lecture theatres can get really cold. When I go for parties, I spruce myself up with my most colourful pieces.

Tell me about your outfit.

My favourite part of the outfit is my denim overalls. It is really a life-saver when I’m lazy because it’s just a one-piece and I still look cool (at least in my opinion). Honestly, nothing can ever go wrong with overalls!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I sweat so much in the sweltering heat of Singapore in some of my outfits, but it’s all worth it!

Mathilde

Where are you from?

Arcachon, France

Sofia

Where are you from?

Modena, Italy and Halmstad, Sweden. 

What are some staples in your closet?

Both simple and colourful pieces. Usually comfortable and baggy clothes. During summer I like to have colourful things, while in fall/winter I tend to go for the most comfortable and classic stuff.

Tell me about your outfit.

The outfit reflects my idea of comfortable, cozy and a bit colourful. All of it (okay, perhaps not shoes, socks and underwear) is second hand or ‘recycled’ from friends/relatives. I think that is REALLY important! There are too many clothes out there just sitting in a shop while way too many resources are used to make clothes so that we can change up our wardrobe once in a while.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Since a year or more I have stopped buying new clothes and only buy second hand. I try to swap them around with friends or put some pieces away for a while in order to avoid getting bored of them and “discover” them again a while later. I think that is one of the main reasons people shop– the “need” of something new and exciting.

Elena

Where are you from?

Mexico City, Mexico

Willemijn

Where are you from?

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

What are some staples in your closet?

I loI love combining more ‘formal’ clothes with casual pieces, like pairing a formal blouse with ripped jeans or combining a fancy dress with a bold jacket and Vans. I’m also a big fan of wearing as much colour as I can, because it always makes me feel really happy!

Who inspires your fashion style?

Honestly anyone who wears their outfits with confidence, from people on the street to students with fashion blogs etc. I’ve also really been into the show Euphoria lately, and I think the way they match so many colourful makeup looks with so many different layered outfits to fit with certain scenes and themes is amazing.

Tell me about your outfit.

I remember buying the blouse I was wearing from a really cute thrift store in Amsterdam that has since completely disappeared. I have a love for colourful patterned clothes so I had to get it! Seeing as it is a slightly loud piece, I paired it with comfy ripped jeans and a simple jacket I’ve admittedly had for way too long (the jacket has now been retired, sadly). Little things about the outfit, like the small jewellery and XR-pin (Extinction Rebellion, an environment justice group) are the things that really make this outfit mine. That, and the shoes. I absolutely love them. One day my friend texted me a picture of them, and we spent the rest of the afternoon with the three of us searching every Vans store in the area until we found them.

Anything else you’d like to add?

University College Utrecht hosts a yearly student-run fashion show, at the end of which the audience can bid on the pieces and the profits go to charity. After modelling for my designer, I knew I wanted to buy a jacket of hers, and it’s one of my favourite pieces I own. It’s bright red, with green stitching on the back, surrounding a beautiful painting. It reminds me of the lovely designer, and the hectic and fun memories from that day!

Bertille

Where are you from?

Lille, France

What are some staples in your closet?

Oversized sweaters and colourful coats.

Tell me about your outfit.

I love this outfit because the coat matches the sweater. Also it’s really warm, which I absolutely love. I have to wear these shoes with the pants I’m wearing, otherwise I’m too short and the pants do not look good on me. Also the coat is fake fur and it is THE SOFTEST !!!

Polly

Where are you from?

Bristol, England

Teresa

Where are you from?

Madrid, Spain

What are some staples in your closet?

My overalls, a pair of Nike janoski, and summer dresses.

Tell me about your outfit.

I really like this outfit because it was the most “summery” and representative of my style out of the ones I took to my exchange in The Netherlands. The top is from Zara (as is half of my clothing) and the trousers were my aunt’s, but she gave them to me. The hoodie was my sister’s but I also borrowed it because she barely wore it and it was that kind of clothing that I could use everyday.

Rachel

Where are you from?

Singapore 

Tell me about your outfit.

Most of this outfit came about mostly because of the pastel green shirt I wore. It was a vintage ‘blazer’ I got from Berlin but the buttons came off, so I always wore it as a shirt that I just throw on over a tube top. I like to combine different colors together and I thought the orange jeans/pants gave the look a more grounded-earthy tone. And to finish it off, just a pair of simple black pointed mules/slides which I only get to wear during summer seasons.

What are some staples in your closet?

White and black basics (T-shirts, tube tops, long-sleeved shirts) and prints with different colors.

Heather

Where are you from?

Barrie, Ontario, Canada

What are some staples in your closet?

Leggings and a hoodie are my go to, but for looking cute? A cute crop tank top and some jeans.

How do you pick your outfits?

I find whatever my eyes see first in my floor.

Tell me about your outfit.

I really like the big jacket I was wearing it’s super cozy and warm but it also is nice to wear out!

Xenia

Where are you from?

France, Britain, and Germany.

Who inspires your fashion style?

Parisian style. I like to mix classy, elegant clothing and somehow make it look sexy in a sophisticated type of way.

Tell me about your outfit.

I liked that top because it was sexy yet classy as well, keeping it dressy whilst still slightly seductive. Jeans are just a comfy staple.

Interviews by Lindsay Wang
Photographed by Lindsay Wang

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