BY NYA WYNN
Fashionability was at an all time high on Dec. 3 with the debut of UDress Magazine’s annual fall fashion show to promote their upcoming magazine issue.
Students gathered in Trabant Student Center to see the student-styled outfits inspired by this semester’s issue, following the theme of “New York Minute.” The looks were meant to exude maximalism and promote the idea that in New York City, you can be whoever you want to be.
UDress, a registered student organization (RSO) on campus, releases a themed magazine every semester partnered with a fashion show to celebrate the launch of each issue. On top of featuring the latest fashions, the show included performances from Impact Dance Team, Happy Camper Band and Khari Hayden.
According to members of UDress, this issue of the magazine is like none other, pushing the boundaries of what they have done in the past.
“With the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, people [in our generation] are sharing their creative visions and there’s so much more thought into these ideas,” Spencer Lawson, member of UDress’s beauty team, said. “We’re doing things that we never would’ve even thought of before; like if New York Minute was the theme four years ago we never would have done a photoshoot in ACME with bright blue eyeshadow and a crazy tulle pink dress.”
UDress challenges the typical commentary that college students are seeing in the media today about fashion, beauty and culture, according to Ava Charlesworth, editor-in-chief of UDress. Articles in the fall magazine issue range from more light-hearted pieces about how to build a capsule wardrobe after college to more serious pieces about how some popular beauty trends can be problematic for certain groups.
“I think first and foremost we get to write about things that college students care about. We’re culture and fashion related, but we get to talk about a lot of social issues,” Charlesworth said. “It’s different from reading Vogue or something like that because UDress is more student-centered and I think that’s really unique.”
On top of being able to discuss student-related trends and issues, members of UDress execute photoshoots based off of the stories that the writers come up with, fostering creativity for everyone working on the magazine.
“I think honestly it’s just an explosion of creativity […] People are less afraid to do something that’s completely different, and because of that I think UDress in itself is unique and we’re making our way to becoming more and more unique as the years go on,” Lawson said.
For many members, UDress is much more than a fashion publication, but a place to express their creativity and feel welcomed by their peers.
“Countless people have said they do not feel like they fit in at Delaware, whether it be their sexual orientation or their race or how they identify, but UDress is a safe haven for creativity and friendship at UD,” Charlesworth said.
Making friendships and connections are what many members cherish the most about being a part of UDress during their time at the university.
“It’s really amazing connecting with people on campus that are interested in fashion,” Alyssa Merlino, UDress style director, said. “A lot of close friendships have been made working with [the models] and the other executive board members, so working with everyone is amazing.”
UDress members are not just fostering fruitful relationships with one another but with industry professionals through partnerships with various brands. This semester, the show was sponsored by Banana Republic, PATCHEDDUPP and Bead Happy.
“I think it’s so cool to have people in our age group involved in this collaboration [with Banana Republic], especially since many of us are fashion majors, and get more of an idea about the industry by working with industry professionals,” Lawson said.
One of the main goals of this semester’s magazine issue and fashion show was to be inclusive to everyone regardless of race, nationality, sexuality and ability. This ensures everyone feels welcomed and can see someone like them represented in the fashion space, according to Marcaela Allen, UDress’s model coordinator.
“Showcasing people of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and gender identities was the main thing for me,” Allen said. “So with this show, we have students of a lot of nationalities and races as well as different abilities by bringing in models from Runway of Dreams on campus.”
Runway of Dreams is a nationwide nonprofit organization which has an RSO on campus. They work toward a future of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities.
According to Merlino, many members of UDress are so proud of the work they did in the magazine and the show, as well as being able to express the beauty of a “New York Minute.”
“I’m so excited to see all the hard work come together in the magazine and the show,” Merlino said. “Everyone’s styles are so different and diverse and that’s the beauty of ‘New York Minute,’ it could really be anything.”