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CollegeFashionista highlights campus trends

Kristen Durbin | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The chill of winter may have overtaken South Bend, but Notre Dame’s fashion scene is heating up with the launch of its CollegeFashionista webpage earlier this month.

Indiana University graduate Amy Levin founded CollegeFashionista in 2009 as a fashion blog site for style-conscious college students around the world. Since its inception, the site has expanded to include more than 180 college campuses in the United States and Canada.

Student “Style Gurus” represent each campus, contributing blog entries and photos of the “Fashionistas” and popular trends they find on campus, according to CollegeFashionista’s website. These blog entries take on a different focus each day of the week, from “Style Advice” on Mondays to “Accessories Report” and “Fashion from Abroad” on Fridays.

Sophomore Elizabeth Willis became interested in bringing the site to Notre Dame after hearing about it from a friend at another university.

“My friend worked for [CollegeFashionista] last year as a Style Guru, and I’ve always had an interest in writing and especially fashion after doing fashion internships in the past,” Willis said. “I decided to apply to be a Style Guru this semester, so I wrote to [Levin] and recommended Notre Dame for the site.”

Willis applied for CollegeFashionista in November and found out in December that she was selected to be one of Notre Dame’s two new Style Gurus, along with senior Katherine Lukas [Note: Lukas is the Advertising Manager of The Observer].

Levin said she felt the time was right to get Notre Dame involved in her site, especially based on Willis and Lukas’ enthusiasm for the idea.

“We felt a need to showcase the fashion at this Midwest college and found two perfect candidates to help us launch CollegeFashionista at Notre Dame,” Levin said. “Katherine and Elizabeth both reached out to us about their interest in launching a Notre Dame page. Their photography, writing and social media skills were totally in line with what we were looking for in Style Gurus and we quickly brought them on the team.”

Willis said her focus as a Style Guru is on accessories, while Lukas gives general style advice in her posts. Both girls submit a blog entry directly to the site once per week, including their campus fashion findings for that week.

“We both walk around campus and look for people whose style catches our eyes,” Willis said. “We stop them, take a picture and interview them about what they’re wearing and why.”

Willis said she has already received positive feedback from her Notre Dame peers.

“A couple of my friends here had read CollegeFashionista in the past, but more attention is drawn to it when I post my blogs on Facebook and Twitter,” she said. “As Style Gurus we’re required to do that, so that promoted it and got people asking about the site.”

As the site gains popularity at Notre Dame, Levin said she hopes to expand CollegeFashionista’s presence on campus by developing a full team of five Style Gurus. In the meantime, she said she is optimistic about the site’s potential impact on fashion at Notre Dame.

“We hope students at Notre Dame will be inspired by their peers and use CollegeFashionista as a place to learn about trends happening not only at their campus but at college campuses around the world,” she said.

Willis said she hopes her contributions to the site will help dispel stereotypes about Notre Dame student style and encourage them to display their individuality as well.

“Notre Dame often gets the reputation of having a ‘uniform,’ so I want to bring attention to various styles and interesting things people are wearing on campus,” she said.