By Thea Bladt Hansen
─ AUCSA’s newest committee sets up a space in which individuals are free to follow and explore their own stylistic impulses. The three founding members oppose fast fashion and the commercial clothing industry and seek to inspire AUC students to create instead of consume.
Three first-year students have decided to found the twenty-ninth AUCSA committee as they believe something crucial to the AUC community is missing in the other committees: fashion. Vilma Strandvik, first-year Humanities student and chair of Couture AUCSA, explains: “I had the idea as soon as I came to AUC, because I saw so many people with cool fashion sense.” Strandvik was surprised that a committee for fashion aficionados did not exist already, and the best solution she could think of was to create it herself.
The board of the new committee met for the first time a week before the university locked down in March, so it has been off to a rough start. But the three students decided to continue their work on the committee and they are now working on how to execute the events they have planned for next year.
Alix Mellet, first-year Humanities student and secretary of Couture AUCSA, unveils that the main project next year is a fashion show, which will take place in the end of the Spring semester 2021: “That semester will be devoted to creating everything for the fashion show. We want to be able to give people the tools and opportunities to explore their creativity through cloth making. Self-expression is really important to us.”
During the Autumn semester, the committee intends to focus on DIY- and upcycling workshops and potential collaborations with other AUCSA committees. One of the committee’s goals is to create conversations about e.g. the sustainability issues related to the fashion industry.
All committee members acknowledge the importance of sustainability, but whereas Mellet has not visited a fast fashion store in two years, Strandvik struggles with making consequently sustainable decisions: “I love shopping. It’s like an addiction… These past months I have been like “okay, so I cannot buy anything new, then I’ll have to make something out of my old clothes” and that has kept me occupied.” The committee wants to appoint a sustainability board member once it is properly settled as part of the AUC community.
The final member of Couture AUCSA is the treasurer Anthony Girgis, first-year Humanities major. Girgis’ mission is to create a broader acceptance of styles which divert from the average and reflect personality and emotions: “I have always been judged for what I have been wearing… People have been like “what the hell Anthony, you are a short midget, why are you wearing baggy clothes – who the hell wears shoes size 42 when their shoe size is actually 38?” But I liked those shoes.” To Girgis, fashion is about freedom of expression and building on different styles and influences to create outfits.
When asked about what they consider the most important thing about fashion, the differences between the three board members became apparent. While Girgis emphasized trends and Mellet focussed on fashion in relation to power, Strandvik saw originality as the most important element. But they all agree that their different opinions are important when it comes to creating an inclusive committee. Strandvik explains: “It is not like we are the bosses of fashion who are going to tell everyone how it works. It is more like creating a community.”
The Couture AUCSA events have to wait until the Autumn semester, but the board members try to prepare themselves as much as possible for the practical launch of the committee. At the moment they are looking for potential workshop teachers and old clothes to use in the workshops as well as a PR-manager and an event manager to complete the first Couture AUCSA board. The board looks forward to sharing styles and clashing the couture of different cultures together with fashion interested AUC students next semester.