New York Fashion Week: Campus Sartorialist Tracks Street Style on Campuses From Harvard to Europe
Here we are at the beginning of New York's Fashion Week and the truth of the matter is most millennials will not be hitting the tent shows. We may love clothes, we may love high fashion, but getting into the tents is another matter all together. I chatted with Robert Wainblat, 24, creator of Campus Sartorialist a popular blog gaining attention in the fashion community. Wainblat's blog follows fashion in a much more user-friendly manner than the high-end shows: His blog covers fashion on college campuses in the U.S. and around the world.
I chatted with Wainblat to get a little insight into the world of collegiate fashion, the American aesthetic, and which political family is better dressed.
Elena Sheppard (ES): Tell us a little about Campus Sartorialist. What is it and how did you get started?
Robert Wainblat (RW): I designed and started Campus Sartorialist in the summer of 2010 while I was at home in Romania. I graduated from Duke University in May 2012 and I am now working in consulting in Boston. I became passionate about photography in 2010 and when I realized no website existed that showcased campus style from around the world I decided to start my own.
I would describe Campus Sartorialist as a medium of documenting campus/student style and a way of rewarding the students that are interested in how they present themselves to their professors and peers every day. Since each campus and country has very different styles that students wear, Campus Sartorialist allows for the diversity to show through and for students to see and draw inspiration from what their peers and school mates wear.
University of Alberta
ES: And the name of the site? There has been some controversy.
RW: I never wished for the debate over the name of our website to become public but The Daily Beast article brought our website to Scott Schuman's attention [RW refers to Schuman who created the fashion site The Sartorialist] and he e-mailed us the day before it was published asking us to change the name. I don't want to go into detail but after consulting with a few intellectual property lawyers we shouldn't have any problems down the road ... We had considered many names in the beginning but none sounded as nice or fit as well.
ES: If you could describe campus style in three words what would they be?
RW: Fluid, original, chic. And by those three words I mean to describe the students who get dressed for class -- not the whole student population.
Virginia Commonwealth Univ.
ES: Do you see that different college campuses have different style personalities? What are a few schools with a really defined style?
RW: Definitely, each school has its own vibe. SCAD, Parsons, and other Art and Design colleges for example will have students who like to be more eclectic and eccentric in their personal style while schools in the Ivy League and South like to don pastels and be perfect preps. California students on the other hand focus more on fit, comfort, originality, and prints.
ES: What are a few characteristics of American style? And how does this generation dress differently than our parents generation?
RW: What's great about American style is that its cyclical and innovative at the same time. American style is no longer insular and drab, taking in lots of influences from European and Asian designers. Our generation is willing to experiment with color and fit more; mix and match different style and generally dress more comfortably than our parents.
ES: I see that your site also covers high school. How does high school style differ from college style?
RW: We actually only have had two posts from high school so I can't really say anything about the difference other than a lot of students don't have the time or drive to define their own personal style until college. This leads to a more uniform environment.
ES: As fashion week is gearing up, what are some trends we can expect to see this coming season? What are the hottest trends for fall?
RW: We've definitely seen a lot of mullet dresses (hi-lo, lo-hi) and polka dots in college girls but when it comes to runway shows and designers anything goes. Fall trends are definitely vintage tweed for guys and print dresses for girls.
ES: As PolicyMic is a politically focused site, I can't help but ask one political question. Who has better style Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? What about the first lady vs Ann Romney?
RW: While it personally hurts giving Mr. Romney a vote of confidence in any matter, I must say that his style (or stylist) is better than President Obama's. Barack Obama likes to dress in darker suits that are almost always a half-size or one size too big with his pants having at least one extra inch and the bottoms of his pants bunching up. If President Obama took some advice from the king of "suiting up" Barney Stinson he'd be even more distinguished and admired.
When it comes to the ladies, Mrs. Obama is by far my favorite. She is not afraid to experiment with colors, prints, patterns and fit and she manages to look splendidly without being a designer-only first lady.
Many photos provided by Emily Xie at Books and Liquor.