Is there a dress standard at UAL?

4 Mins read

The University of the Arts, London is Europe’s biggest arts university; it specialises in media, design, fashion and performing arts and is, of course, home to your very own Artefact.

UAL students have such beautiful, bright and bubbly personalities and outfits worn by them are just as vibrant.

The university is made up of six, very different, colleges, including those fashion hotspots London College of Fashion (LCF) and Central St Martins (CSM), and we’ve always been intrigued about the dress-standard at different campuses.

Many students will argue that UAL does have its very own campus dedicated to fashion so; of course, students are going to dress in a certain way to express their passion for fashion.

However, does this mean that all UAL students have to live up to a certain dress code?

Lauren Hadley, 19, is a second year Fashion Journalism student studying at LCF, and Artefact asked her about whether she felt pressurised to dress a certain way considering the campus she studies in.

London Fashion Week

Lauren Hadley, 19, London Fashion Week 2016

“I don’t think there’s any pressure, I wear what I feel comfortable in. For me it’s more important to feel confident in what I’m wearing rather than it being because I attend UAL. But I can understand why some people may feel pressurised.”

Around 80% of students know what it’s like to have to come into university for a 9:00am lecture after a long, drunken night out, so how do students still manage to look their best every day?

“I take my hat off to people who try hard to look good for university. To be honest, I’d rather have more time in bed.” Hadley jokes. “It takes stamina and dedication to constantly make a lot of effort in the morning, so good on them.”

Fashion Management student, Rachel Smith, 19, also studying at LCF gave Artefact some insight on whether she thinks UAL students have a dress-standard to live up to.

“People may feel inadequate if they don’t own designer bags or aren’t wearing the latest Chloé sunglasses. It’s certainly a flashy uni which leads some individuals to think that the labelled clothes they have puts them at a higher social status.”

Artefact wondered how much of an impact attending LCF had on the way students dressed.

“Being part of a fashion uni makes a huge difference, it makes people constantly aware of what the current trends are. This could possibly make students feel as though they have to keep their wardrobe up to date.”

Artefact spoke to the young fashionista, Jimmy Cumming, another Fashion Management student, about how he decides what his university attire is going to be for the day.

London College of Fashion

Jimmy Cumming, London College of Fashion

“It depends on the day, even if I want [to wear] something more casual, I won’t turn up in what I went to sleep in. I know a lot of people [that] don’t care, but it’s something I that I do care about.

“I’ll probably come into uni with a pair of sweats or even slides but it’ll be more fashionable.”

Cumming told us how he enjoys making an effort when it comes to dressing for university.

“I don’t think it’s an issue. Honestly, I put effort into what I wear on a daily basis. This isn’t because I feel like I have to make an effort or a point, it’s because it’s something that I enjoy doing and I’m passionate about.”

Artefact thought it’d be a good idea to ask a few students who are not part of a fashion-based course to find out their opinions.

Artefact asked Emma Shore, 19, a first year Graphics Design student studying at London College of Communication (LCC), whether she felt that she needed to dress a certain way when she started there.

“No, not really. I felt like you could wear what you like and not get judged for it.”

Shore explained that it’s “unavoidable” for people to not feel pressured, but it’s important for people to “be happy with what they wear and not care about how other people look at them.”

Public Relations student Rebecca Virgin, 22, has always made an effort with the way she dresses, at all times, whether it be to university or just a trip to the grocery store.

“I have my own style and I mix it up a lot. I think it’s great to make an effort with what you wear, you never know who you’ll meet.”

We asked Virgin whether she thinks UAL has a dress-standard, “I don’t feel as if there is. I think UAL is very individual.”

Artefact asked the UAL students that we spoke to about what advice they would give to fellow students who may feel pressurised to dress a certain way.

Rebecca Virgin, 22

Rebecca Virgin, 22, Public Relations student

Lauren Hadley told us: “Experiment, make mistakes and find out what works for you.”

Rachel Smith was similarly equivalent about expressing your own individualism: “Be yourself. There’s an array of people at the university, so never feel pressurised to dress a certain way for the sake of image, you will 100% find people that you’ll fit in with.”

Jimmy Cumming added: “Don’t overthink, wear what you think represents you best. Dress to please yourself, not others.”

Rebecca Virgin said being yourself may mean making a virtue of your individuality: “It’s okay to go in with last nights make-up or a top you wore last week. Make effort for yourself and feel confident in whatever you choose to wear. Start your own trend!”



Featured Image by Naveena Patel 

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