In a world where fashion blogs are more immediate and influential than prestigious magazines such as Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, a Vassar-centric fashion blog is gaining influence on and off campus.
The College Catalogue, a fashion blog dedicated to archiving student fashions, was designed to showcase various fashion trends while maintaining an accessible appearance by keeping the clothing prices low and using models who are fellow students at Vassar College.
The College Catalogue was created on February 19, 2013 by Vassar students Maggie Zhang ’15, Nicole Alter ’13, and Daniele Selby ’13. Now that Nicole Alter and Daniele Selby have graduated, the team currently running the blog is Maggie Zhang, Katherine Cuan ’15, Laura Song ’16 and Ellis Kim ’16. “[We] started The College Catalogue because [we] felt that many blogs showcased only one person’s style and usually expensive clothing. The College Catalogue is a blog that attempts to show a variety of styles,” Zhang said.
The College Catalogue is a blog with a fast turnaround and has already featured over 60 students and their personal styles since its conception. The website’s timely posts make it an appealing resource for students looking for updates and inspiration with regards to campus fashion trends. Even more appealing for any college student: the reasonable price tag on many of the items featured. The labels that comprise these students’ wardrobes are generally affordable on a college budget with clothes from Forever 21 and H&M, as well as many pieces that are thrifted.
In addition to representing a breadth of brands, the website also represents the spectrum of styles seen around campus. The models use their own clothes in the photo shoots, and the blog selects students based on what they can add to the style diversity of the site.
Alistair Liu ’17, who modeled for The College Catalogue, said, “I was told that they asked me [to model for them] because I was wearing a specific style of clothing that they hadn’t represented in the blog yet.” This method helps avoid having any one fashion style or trend posited as being representational of Vassar as a whole. As Alistair put it, “It’s interesting to see the range of styles being represented on the blog, especially perhaps styles which would otherwise be underrepresented at the school.”
The blog is divided into different categories such as “Girls Night Out”, “Menswear”, and the four seasons. This allows them to cater to a wide audience as well as provide style options for a variety of different occasions. Brittani Skyers-White, one of the models for the “Girls Night Out” theme, attested to the fact that the blog encourages their models to wear clothes that would actually be seen on a night out at Vassar. In Skyers-White’s spread she lounges in Cushing’s Great Hall, wearing a turtleneck crop top, a black velvet skirt, thigh-high socks and wedges. She said, “The Girls Night Out theme is meant to showcase outfits that we would typically wear to TH parties on the weekends. When the stylists for the blog asked me to pick an outfit, they asked for something that I would really wear on the weekend.”
Having models pose in familiar scenes on Vassar’s campus puts students in their milieu, making the blog a kind of play on many of the well known street-style blogs, like Lookbook, that have been gaining increasing popularity. Showcasing these familiar Vassar locations turns quotidian routines—like walking to class or studying in the library—into fashion moments for the College Catalogue.
Though the target audience for the Catalogue is certainly Vassar students, the blog reaches fashionistas across the globe. The contributors of The College Catalogue said, “Looking over the statistics and seeing how many people we have reached around the world is always rewarding. In this way, we are able to spread different types of fashion inspiration globally and be connected with each other through fashion.”
Looking through the statistics on the website, there is a wide range of people who are sharing the blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and “liking it” on the website itself. Some articles have almost 200 interactions total, which includes likes, shares, and comments, on Facebook, and these are not only coming from Vassar College students. People all over the world are seeing these posts and spreading the fashion seen at the college. Zhang said, “We hope people enjoy our blog and continue to support us.”