‘SLU Style’ shows off student fashion


Did you ever feel like you had a great outfit and not enough people saw it?

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Like most, Jared Castillo, a recent graduate from Saint Louis University, found himself wondering this same question. This came to be the inspiration behind the famous SLU Style Instagram account, founded by Castillo in his sophomore year. What started out as a class project led to something on a much larger — and more public —  scale. “It started out with a class assignment for Media & Society, and I thought of creating some sort of fashion-oriented website. I was thinking of names, and I came up with ‘SLU Style,’” said Castillo. The online project had to wait a few years until its revival, when he moved the publication to Tumblr. Graduation was soon upon him, and hoping to keep the account alive, he turned to Arlin Torres, a senior international business major, to help run the account. “I graduated and still wanted to have some sort of creative outlet, so I contacted Arlin, because we have the same interests in fashion, and I needed someone to be here while I wasn’t around.”  They decided to move it from Tumblr to Instagram, to provide a more accessible and mobile-friendly platform for viewers.

But what seemed like an easy concept, turned out to be not be such an easy task. “It’s still a little nerve-wracking to just go up to a random stranger,” said Torres. “It was tough [at the beginning] because no one knew what SLU Style was, and we would have to explain the account to them.” Some of the struggles even included rejection from students who did not want their picture taken for the account.

The style bloggers state that they never have a particular goal in mind while scoping out the campus. “It’s honestly whatever catches our eyes. It could be a gold zipper on a jacket that just makes the outfit. Some people just carry their own individual energy,” said Castillo. Adds Torres, “Sometimes it’s not even about the outfit, it’s about their personality and the way they wear it.”

With Torres graduating soon, they both have plans to expand the team to keep the account going. As well, they hope to soon start an actual style publication that includes giving affordable style tips.

“It’s just a creative outlet. It’s a way to express how we see things, and it’s great to showcase students and show off their individuality,” said Castillo. Adds Torres, “There are some outfits I see where I realize I never would have thought of putting that together, but it’s great that someone else thought of it, and we just get to help show them off.”

Mary Rose Hefner, a junior studying theater, was one of the lucky few to be featured on the style account. “When SLU Style found me, I was so excited!” said Hefner. “My entire day was brightened after and it was great to think that other people appreciated my style as much as I do.”

Both Castillo and Torres state that even if fashion isn’t accepted by everyone, it can still go a long way. “Even if it’s just sorority stuff, it’s the colors that you put together — I feel like everyone is a little bit involved in fashion, whether they want to be or not,” said Torres. “If I had on a great outfit, then I felt great in class and just participated more. It can really change your whole day and perspective,” points out Castillo.

But one might ask themselves, “How can I be featured on the account?” The answer is a little more than just loitering around student hangouts, hoping to get noticed. “You don’t need to dress up for SLU Style,” said Castillo. “It’s that magic moment of being recognized and catching that moment is great. You want to dress for yourself.”

“We all know about the college uniform of oversized T-shirts and sweats, but bold choices and clothes that make you feel confident are always the right answer,” points out Hefner. “Also, walking down West Pine as if it’s your runway couldn’t hurt.”

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