Style in the SEC

From the outside looking in, Tuscaloosa is overflowing with different cultures and contrasting styles as over half The University of Alabama’s (UA) students are out of state. Walking across campus, it is easy to see that every student has a personal sense of flair, whether it is a pair of trendy designer shoes or an overpriced t-shirt from the Supestore. 

Style is more than just the clothes on your back, it is a personal representation of how someone chooses to present themselves; it gives a person the ability to choose how others perceive them.

It doesn’t matter whether you are wearing a brand that everyone knows about or a brand that no one knows about, style is personal and numerous contrasting styles can be found across campus, just take a look at the quad on a busy day.

With the culture of social media constantly growing businesses and brands across the board have been building their social media followings on Instagram and Twitter. 

In recent years, the idea of ambassador opportunities for college students has become a widespread notion. Companies like Kendra Scott and Victoria’s Secret/PINK are hiring students across different college campuses to promote their brands. 

When a student is selected, their tasks usually include things like posting on social media, hosting virtual events and receiving products to giveaway or donate. 

Victoria Manson, a senior studying public relations at The University of Alabama, is one of two campus reps at Alabama for Kendra Scott. 

“I think my biggest goal is being able to bring more brand awareness to campus and bringing joy by being able to give back to my community with either donating jewelry products or raising money for local organizations. I also love being able to work with such an incredible company and brand that has the core three pillars of family, fashion and philanthropy,” Manson said. 

Not only is Manson able to show her own style with the help of an actual brand, but she represents the style and idea of a Kendra Scott “Gem” for girls across this campus hoping to help them find their identity.

Rachel Hughes, a member of Delta Gamma, walking inside the Greek boutique, The Trunk, located in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Yet a fashion sense and style aren’t limited to just women, there are actually many men on this campus with varying unique styles, but don’t worry, the cowboy hat and boots combo can still be found all around campus as well. 

A recent fashion trend that has swept all of social media and Tuscaloosa, is thrifting. Buying clothes from a thrift store is not a new concept, but recently has been discovered again with the idea that you can find cool and valuable apparel at these thrift shops. 

“I wear a lot of streetwear and I consider myself to have a more modern style. I feel like it is more about how you wear your clothes, rather than what name is on the tag because designer brands are nice, but I love Target and Goodwill, I love thrift shopping,” said Tyler Uy, a sophomore studying accounting at UA and an up-and-coming music artist.

Thrifting is just another fun way for students to express themselves, but each student on campus has their own, unique sense of style that represents more than just the clothes they wear.

At most southern universities, specifically at the University of Alabama, Greek life is extremely prevalent throughout campus life, roughly about a third of Alabama’s students have a Greek affiliation. When a student becomes a member of Greek life, it becomes a part of their day-to-day life and many students take pride in their Greek affiliation. 

That being said, sorority and fraternity apparel is a large business in the city of Tuscaloosa. There is an abundance of businesses surrounding campus that produce and sell different kinds of Greek apparel and accessories.

The Trunk, a staple that has been in the community for years, is Tuscaloosa’s largest Greek store, selling different kinds of sorority and fraternity apparel, a multitude of accessories and custom designs and orders. One of the biggest Greek events of the year, bid day, is the final day of sorority recruitment when potential new members receive bids to join chapters. The Trunk puts together hundreds of packages filled with goodies plastered in Greek letters for the newly initiated sorority girls.

Rachel Hughes, a member of Delta Gamma, shopping at The Trunk, a Greek boutique in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Rachel Hughes, a member of Delta Gamma, shopping at The Trunk, a Greek boutique in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The pandemic has definitely shifted the routine and familiarity of Greek life, but this hasn’t stopped The Trunk from operating for the community. When COVID-19 became serious, The Trunk updated and increased their online presence to allow people to use the website as the store’s main form of ordering. 

“It was touch and go and we didn’t know if we were going to have a bid day. Everything was last minute, and it was surprising because we actually had a good bid day, good as normal,” said Holly McCollum, an associate at The Trunk. 

Greek life is more than just letters to the members involved, it becomes a part of their identity and what better way to show your identity than through fashion and style.

The university is filled with students, all coming from different cities and backgrounds, bringing their fresh style and personality to the city of Tuscaloosa, but the one thing UA students have in common is: authenticity. With the ongoing pandemic, the rise of social media and brands continuously coming up with new ways to market their apparel, who knows which fashion trends will come next.