Students at Howard University have been setting fashion trends for decades. Whenever a fresh fit hits the yard, it’s not long before the person is going viral for posting the “flyest” and “drippiest” outfits. The fear of being judged for expressing themselves, particularly their fashion choices, fades when students attend HBCUs.
Freshman marketing major, Brian Woodley, is known for capturing the perfect yard pictures while also wearing eye-catching outfits. In his opinion, fashion is a sense of freedom and expression that identifies you as a person.
“To me, fashion means to express what’s inside of me internally,” Woodley said. “Fashion in a sense is like your ID card, the way I dress is what identifies me internally.”
While it’s evident that fashion can help one express themself, there are some who believe that all Black people rock the same style aesthetic. However, Howard students typically prove that stereotype to be false.
The gothic aesthetic is a style that consists of mainly dark and gender non-conforming clothing. This look isn’t for everyone, but for those who do decide to rock it take inspiration from trends popularized in the ‘80s. Freshman international business major, Zenobia Wiley, calls their style “dark fluidity”.
“I’d call my aesthetic dark fluidity because I wear mostly black, and my style is fluid like my gender expression and energy,” Wiley said. “As an enby (non-binary person), going to Howard and seeing people as fluid and extra as me warms my heart. It makes me happy to see people living like me because the way I exist makes me happy.”
Social media pages such as @fitcamhu on TikTok capture the “pop-out” culture at Howard. Students are shown walking on the yard, which serves as a runway for favorite outfits to be showcased.
Howard students took the opportunity to showcase their outfits during a rare warm day during the winter season in February. Damaris Moore can attest to the various fashion styles she witnessed on the yard that day.
“Today I noticed a lot of people comfortable with wearing bright colors and adding shapes to their hair,” Moore said. “It’s just out of the box. I think on an HBCU campus you get to see all kinds of Black people be whatever “brand” of Black they want. To me, I think it inspired us all to experiment with style and try different color combos or texture mixes.”
At HBCUs, the freedom of expression and styles have not gone unseen. Every person’s style is different and unique from the colors and textures used to how you decide to wear your clothes; fashion is for you and you only.
Senior marketing major, Lauren Eckles, reiterates that nobody can tell you what the perfect look is.
“Don’t think about what anyone else will say when you are dressing yourself,” she said. “Fashion is for the individual. If they are talking about your fit then you did something right.”
It doesn’t take much to step outside of your comfort zone to find the aesthetic made for you. Woodley gave some of his favorite brands that he recommends adding to your wardrobe to take it to the next level.
“Of course I love high fashion brands like Prada, Gucci, Telfar,” he said. “But I do have my favorite brands made by HBCU students. High Roller Club by fellow Howard freshman, Mory Mills, Blaxk and an HBCU staple, Legacy History Pride by former Howard alumni Tahir Murray.”
The narrative that fashion is subjected to one style is entirely false. As seen at Howard, the students of the Mecca are okay with expressing themselves and wearing what they want with zero regrets.
Copy edited by Lauryn Wilson