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Style > Fashion

Fashion & St. Andrews: How Trends Reveal the International Student Body

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

Fashion! Look good, feel good, am I right? Although style differs from person to person based on preference, there is an evident influence from one’s background. Whether someone’s grown up in a small suburb, big town or bustling city, location heavily shapes fashion and trends, so how does fashion here at the University of St. Andrews reflect the international population of students?

As a fresher, one of the first things I noticed stepping foot into St Andrews this September was the diverse yet extremely fashionable culture. I admired every person I walked past, quickly observing the creative mix of scarves, trench coats, loafers, long skirts, sweaters, and patterned pants. It seemed as though I was the only person missing the very obvious memo that lectures weren’t just lectures but a chance to dress your very best. As I’ve spent these last six weeks adapting to life at St Andrew’s, I began to recognize how the international student body influences the stylistic choices of students. Recognizing how different students dressed in accordance with trends exemplified the differences that culture brought. While trends were similar in form, these trends were moulded by students’ backgrounds.

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Coming to St. Andrews as a Native New Yorker, I was nervous, yet ecstatic, to experience the brand new cultures of the diverse student population. Just in the first week, I met people from Budapest, Barcelona, Milan, London, Paris, Madrid- the list goes on. The trends I noticed in the students at St. Andrews were style choices I had begun to see in New York over the summer. Long skirts, sambas, bows on shoe laces, vests, cowboy boots, onitsuka tigers, low-rise jeans, ballet flats, and leather jackets. Here they all were, on the everyday student in this small town in Scotland. Although everyone seemed to be dressing to the trends, they made universally popular style choices. People I had met who had come from these cities were reflecting their backgrounds in these everyday outfits. These trends I see every day are mostly on the newer side, meaning the majority of people wearing them every day must be from the larger cities as these trends could not have possibly made their way to each and every town yet.

The wide variety of East Coast Americans and Californians also becomes obvious to me in the appearance of these fashion trends, as these trends often appear in the major East and West Coast cities of the U.S. far before anywhere else in the U.S.! I reflected on a rather shell-shocking conversation I had with a friend from Chicago, a major city in the Midwest of the U.S., in which she reminded me that I had grown up in one of the most populated cities in the world, where trends often spread outward. My friend had mentioned how she had just recently invested in a pair of New Balance 550s because of the newly rising trend in her town, while my sister had owned the exact same pair for about six months but was just beginning to retire wearing them out and about in New York City. Yet, here we are at the University of St. Andrews with many new fashion trends at our fingertips, presenting the many different cities and places we Saints come from. 

The international mix of students at St Andrews allows for the eruption of new and exciting trends, making it a hotspot for fashion lovers alike. The unified participation in these trends provides an insight into students’ backgrounds and the demographics of the student body! With a 36% international, 55% percent UK and 9% EU student population, St Andrews is a melting pot of cultures, all reflected in the many stylish fashion trends we see walking down the street each day. Whether sambas, long skirts or ballet flats, urban trends have made their way to St Andrews through the diverse student population, forcing us all to ask – what’s next? What new and exciting trends should we expect from the fashion scene heading into winter and how will these emerging trends incorporate peoples’ diverse backgrounds?

Tricia Merone

St. Andrews '27

Tricia Merone is a first year French student at the University of St. Andrews and from New York. She has previously been a writer for her high school's newspaper in order to pursue her interest in writing outside of academics. Besides writing, Tricia loves reading, fashion and traveling, as well as any sort of exercise.