First Week Fits: A Close Look at Loyola Fashion

With the increased attention to appearance that back-to school season often brings, The Phoenix asked students about the importance of personal style and the meaning of fashion. 

The sidewalks of Corboy Law Center and pathways of the east quad are walkways for some and runways for others.

As students returned to campus for the first week of classes, they brought with them the eclectic, diverse style of Gen Z, donning everything from athleisure to fishnets and leg warmers in the persistent summer heat. Alternative styles found their home across Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, complimenting the edginess of the urban scene. 

With the increased attention to appearance that back-to school season often brings, The Phoenix asked students about the importance of personal style and the meaning of fashion. 

Kat Gray

Gray said they view themselves as an avatar and their fashion as a customization setting. (Holden Green / The Phoenix)

First-year Kat Gray said they have always had an alternative style, sporting fishnets, stockings and Dr. Martens boots since they were young. 

“Fashion for me is something that’s definitely part of your identity,” Gray, 18, said. “I would say a lot of people aren’t comfortable dressing the way that maybe they see themselves in their head.”

While Gray said they shop mostly at thrift stores, they have friends with completely different aesthetics. 

“Surprisingly, I have so many friends who are Lululemon girls and they love to wear Uggs and it’s great,” Gray said. “Even if we dress completely differently and she looks like my soccer mom, we’re still best friends. Even if fashion is a part of your identity you can still be friends with other people.”

Kat Gray, First-year

Delaney Kemp

Kemp said her style and expressive, colorful appearance garnered “controversy” amongst her family. (Holden Green / The Phoenix)

Delaney Kemp, a first-year, was struck by the difference between the fashions of her hometown of Clarendon Hills and the diverse fashions across campus. 

“I feel very out of my element here,” Kemp said. “I came from a predominantly white, cishet town and coming here where it’s a lot more diverse i’m like ‘Dang, I gotta step up my game a bit, I don’t feel very cool.’”

Kemp said she gravitates toward students with a similar sense of style and has made many friends based on her appearance.  

“I don’t like to say that dressing is an indication of whether or not someone’s a good person, or anything about their personality, but I noticed the people that I interact with who are dressed a little more like me, I find I get along with them better,” Kemp said. “It’s indicative of having similar personalities, similar interests.”

Delaney Kemp, First-year

Maeve Callahan-Murphy

Coming to Chicago from Kentucky, Callahan-Murphy said she was surprised by the diverse fashion across Loyola. (Holden Green / The Phoenix)

First-year Maeve Callahan-Murphy said she gets most of her fashion inspiration from TikTok. She described her aesthetic as “grunge and alt.” 

“Being able to show who you are to the world just through the way you dress is important, because first impressions are everything,” Callahan-Murphy said. 

Sulaiman Kazi

Kazi said he became known for his Hawaiian shirt collection, which he amassed from his grandfather in high school. (Holden Green / The Phoenix)

Sulaiman Kazi said he didn’t pay much attention to his style until the pandemic, when he moved schools. 

“After covid i definitely tried dressing up more I was like im not gonna try to fit in, i’m gonna stand out a little more,” Kazi said. 

Kazi said it became easier making friends as a first-year when you can compliment someone’s outfit to strike up conversation. (Holden Green / The Phoenix)

“I think it helps express myself a lot better and it really helped me come out of my shell, because a lot of times conversations start and it’s like ‘Oh, I like your clothes’ and stuff like that, and that way it leads to like a basis, like a friendship,” Kazi said.

Sulaiman Kazi, First-year

Erion Malone

Malone said her “alternative” style depends on how she feels that day and that she doesn’t plan out her outfits ahead of time. (Holden Green / The Phoenix)

Donning a white flower choker and an ethereal skirt, 20-year-old Erion Malone said she mostly shops at Andersonville’s Buffalo Exchange and Village Discount Outlet. 

“As a person, if you’re just dressing based on others then you’re not really fulfilling your own needs because you’re just going based on other people,” Malone said on the importance of personal style. “You can’t really feel comfortable in your own skin if you’re just chasing others. 

Tim Richie

Richie said his style is grunge and experimental. (Hanna Houser / The Phoenix)

Tim Richie said most of his fashion inspiration comes from rappers and the nu-metal/post-grunge scene.  

“I feel like it’s important to express yourself through clothing because I feel like clothing and fashion is one of the gateways to the soul,” Richie said. “It’s a way of showing people what makes you unique and gives others insights to your interests and what makes you happy or comfortable.”

Richie described fashion as one of the “gateways to the soul.” (Hanna Houser/ The Phoenix)

Having graduated from an arts high school in Chicago, Richie said he values self expression communicated through the clothes across campus. 

“I like to see the school outfits mixed in with all the people wearing grunge, sophisticated, and trendy outfits,” Richie said. “It shows all the community we have going and showcases all the unique styles going into the Loyola melting pot.”

Hanna Houser

Hanna Houser