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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Instagram account showcases fashion in Davis

UCD Fits aims to spread love through fashion and foster a sense of community

 

By LAILA AZHAR — features@theaggie.org

 

In October of 2021, current fourth-year sociology major Cleo Harrison-Felner and fourth-year design major Olivia Hurley had a conversation in their dining hall. 

“We were like, Davis style and fashion is so underrated. People think we’re just this little farm; Cowtown. They don’t know that people dress well here,” Harrison-Felner said . 

Inspired by @watchingnewyork, an Instagram account documenting fashion on the streets of New York City, the two decided to start an account dedicated to fashion in Davis. Thus, @ucdfits was born. 

The account, which today has amassed over 3,000 followers, is a collection of photos Harrison-Felner and Hurley have taken of outfits around Davis, often grouped into themes, such as duos, long dresses/skirts or monochrome outfits.

“It puts kind of a pressure on us to try and dress well for school,” Harrison-Felner said. “If we’re going to take photos of other people it’s always so embarrassing when we’re at school in our sweats.” 

Despite its popularity, there is some confusion about the way the account is run. “Most of it, I would say, is us just taking pictures of people,” Hurley said. “We really would want people to submit. People don’t know that they can, and then some people think that we only do submissions. It’s very confusing.”

“We always get everyone’s permission,” Hurley said. “We’re never just taking pictures of people. I know some people think we do that too, but we tag people. They always know.” 

From psychedelic florals to slick leather jackets to hand-made sweaters, the clothes showcased on @ucdfits display Harrison-Felner and Hurley’s appreciation for a wide variety of styles. 

“I love a hat,” Harrison-Felner said in regards to her personal taste. 

“I was gonna say I love a scarf,” Hurley said. “I feel like Cleo’s a big shoe person.”

“I’m really into fun socks and tights too. If people have cool tights, cool shoes and anything else on, I’m like that’s a good fit. That’s all they need,” Harrison-Felner said.

Both founders’ interest in clothes began long before they started the account. 

“When I was younger I wanted to be a fashion designer, and then I realized I don’t like to sew, so there’d be a huge issue there,” Harrison-Felner said. “My parents rented Project Runway DVDs and they would put those on, and I would be glued to the TV watching Project Runway. I was so into it.”

Hurley also cites her family as a source of inspiration. 

“My mom and I have been thrifting my whole life,” Hurley said. “She’s always just given me all her clothes. Everytime I come home from school there’s always at least like ten items of clothing on my bed of things that she’s getting rid of. So I think a lot of it really comes from her.” 

Harrison-Felner and Hurley’s fashion has also been influenced by their time in Davis. 

“I feel like I kind of lost my sense of style in high school,” Harrison-Felner said. “But then coming to Davis, everybody really is able to express themselves and there’s very little judgment.”

“Cleo and I are roommates,” Hurley said. “I think us living together, as well as with our other roommate, motivates all of us to dress better.”

Fashion can seem like a hobby people partake in alone; getting ready in the morning seems like a solitary process. But Harrison-Felner and Hurley’s approach to it is communal. They both draw inspiration from the people around them, and through @ucdfits, have created a positive environment to acknowledge their community. 

That love for the community is evident in how they describe their experience running the Instagram account. Hurley mentioned how grateful she is to be able to talk to people she wouldn’t have otherwise gotten the opportunity to meet. 

“That honestly is the reason why we started it — we’d just be like, ‘That person’s so cool, like, I just wanna tell them they look good.’” 

Continuing in the same vein, Hurley said, “I mean it’s always a treat for us to just go up to people and compliment them. It immediately makes someone else’s day, which then makes your own day.” 

@Ucdfits has in turn made them feel more connected to Davis. 

“It’s been really good in terms of my involvement on campus,” Harrison-Felner said. “Especially our first year of doing it, we made all these friends through it, and found out about so many other clubs and organizations around campus.” 

“It’s really pushed me out of my comfort zone,” Harrison-Felner said. “I do not like starting conversations with strangers, that’s not something I associate as a character trait of mine. But it’s been exposure therapy to do UCD Fits, because it forces us to go up and talk to people, and so I really appreciate that.” 

First-year international relations major Aminah Syed’s Halloween costume was featured on the account. Expressing her appreciation for the connection the account brings, she said, “I’m glad to have found fellow creatives at UCD who share my love for fashion even if it’s simply through the digital world.” 

Using fashion to bring people together, @ucdfits has gone beyond being just an Instagram account. Harrison-Felner and Hurley hosted a clothing swap with vintage store Luna & Wulff, where they also collected donations for ASUCD’s Aggie Reuse Store. They filmed a video in collaboration with local thrift store Yesterday, and consistently use the account to promote student designers. 

“I just think that spreading love is probably my favorite thing, and spreading hype and appreciation to other people,” Hurley said. 

From its inception, the account has done just that, and throughout its two years running, @ucdfits has become a valuable part of the Davis community. 

 

Written by: Laila Azhar — features@theaggie.org

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