Fashion Forward and Driven

Name: Derek Ong

Age: 21

Hometown: Phoenix, Az

Major: Retailing and Consumer Science

Year: Junior


So, tell me a little bit about your fashion blog, It's getting pretty popular.

I started my blog almost a year ago now as a creative outlet. I have been inspired by many other fashion bloggers and decided to start my own to hopefully inspire others as well. My blog is mainly about my personal style, traveling, and DIY (projects). Though I am unable to blog as much as I would want because of school and work, I try my best to take time to post something when I get the chance.

How did you get into the world of fashion?

To be honest I haven't always been in "the world of fashion." If we could go back in time from elementary school until about my junior year in high school you would see a totally different person. I have always thought fashion was fascinating but didn't start focusing on it until after my braces were taken off. Since then my style has been evolving and changing throughout the years.

What sorts of fashion-related clubs are you involved in on campus?

I am involved BRAG (Black Retail Action Group) where we promote the inclusion, acceptance and participation of minorities at all levels of retail and related industries. I have recently taken the role of being their PR. I was also involved in Trend which is a club catered to the business side of the fashion industry.

What noteworthy things have you done so far?

I have been featured on College Fashionista (a fashion website that features stylish students on campuses around the world) twice now, which has been flattering and exciting each time I was asked to be on it. I also was able to go to New York City with BRAG for their annual scholarship gala where I met Fern Mallis, creator of New York fashion week, and June Ambrose, a celebrity stylist who posted a picture of me on her Instagram. Also, I was invited as a VIP guest to a local Tucson fashion show “All That Glitters: A Night of Beauty,” where Haute Chocolate designer Terysa Ridgeway and Too Beautiful Cosmetics founder Tonya Strozier collaborated to mix fashion and makeup. I was so honored to be invited and put on the VIP list as an up and coming blogger.

What does style mean to you?

Style is everything to me. It's a way of expressing myself without having to say a word.  You will never see me in sweats or without my hair done. That's just how I am. I feel that if I don't get ready in the morning, I didn't take time to make myself presentable. You never know whom you are going to run into so you always have to look your best. An opportunity can come at any time so you always have to be prepared.

Who is your inspiration?

Besides my family and friends, my biggest inspiration hands down would be Lady Gaga. From her over the top fashion to being a social activist, she is my biggest inspiration when it comes to my fashion and how I carry myself. She has taught me to be brave and to not care about what others think of me. As well as reminding us all that we were born this way and no one can define our lives besides ourselves.

Post-graduation plans?

My dreams after graduation would be to move to San Francisco and do something in product development, visual merchandising, and even possibly designing for a company or brand that I truly believe in. I really want to be more on the hands on creativity part of the retail industry so hopefully I will be able to accomplish it.