Home to a diverse student body, Condé Nast College is a vibrant melting pot of style. Discover how relocating to London has shaped the fashion choices of international and UK students at the college with BA (Hons) Fashion Communication & Industry Practice student, Ying Xuan Ling.
Fashion In London
London has long held its place in the fashion spotlight as a trendsetter and a fashion capital alongside Milan, Paris and New York. From the rebellious punk movement of the 1970s to the eclectic and gender-fluid street style seen today, London has consistently been a breeding ground for fashion subcultures. The city’s dynamic and ever-evolving fashion scene draws in creatives and style enthusiasts from around the world, including students at the college.
“London has profoundly impacted my style. I find everything here is so inspiring and I truly believe London has the quirkiest fashion sense in the best way,” shares Ellie Gallacher, comparing London to her hometown in Leicestershire.
“London has profoundly impacted my style. I find everything here is so inspiring and I truly believe London has the quirkiest fashion sense in the best way.”
London’s black uniform
The striking contrast in colour choices emerges as international students from warmer climates adapt to London’s fashion norms.
“One thing that surprised me is the amount of people that just wear black all the time,” Damilola reflects on the prevalence of black attire in London, a stark difference from the vibrant and culturally-rooted fashion palette in Abuja, her home town in Nigeria. People there often don their traditional attire with brightly-coloured prints, alongside jeans and tank tops, for everyday wear.
“In Nigeria, if you were to wear black all the time, people would think that you’re depressed. But here, it’s like the norm.”
In contrast, the colour black stands as the favoured choice for many Londoners. Beyond its associations with sophistication and timelessness, black proves to be a practical choice for formal professional settings and adapts effortlessly to outfit layerings — an essential in London’s unpredictable weather.
What shoes to wear in London?
London’s daily hustle which includes navigating the Tube and escalators forces one to go down the path of utilitarianism. “Whenever I take the tube, I’m just scared that I’ll have to walk up the escalator in my heels.” Jamie shares that she leaves her heel days in Amsterdam and opts for boots in London.
Likewise, Amrita emphasises the significance of footwear in London as she relies on “a lot more public transport for like larger distances”. Her Nike Air Force One trainers and Dr Martens are part of her London-fashion-survival-kit which she wears religiously. This footwear choice is a far cry from her flip-flop days in Singapore – thanks to the humid climate and laid back culture.
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The freedom of style in London
Beyond practicality, London’s subculture scene fosters experimentation and self-expression, fostering an evolution and maturation of students’ styles. Damilola and her peers find themselves becoming “a bit more experimental” as they embrace a more adventurous approach on their fashion journey, reflecting on the broader access to fashion styles in London compared to their hometowns.
“I used to hate leather jackets, but now, in thrift stores, I love to play with leather jackets,” Arian expresses excitedly, illuminating how the thrifting scene has diversified his wardrobe choices since arriving from Switzerland.
Conversely, being able to express oneself truthfully and discovering true identities has “given me a lot of confidence and I think that is going to drive me to dress differently when I go home,” reflects Amrita. Students are free to dress up, be bold and “live by being overdressed” as Ellie says.
In this fashion exchange, London’s influence on students from diverse backgrounds emphasises fashion’s adaptability and universality. It is a testament to the global nature of fashion and its power to transcend cultural boundaries.
By Ying Xuan Ling, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication student
Photographs provided by featured students via Instagram