What Role Does Fashion Play in International Student Identities?

Last updated on : October 29 2020

Students in jeans and t-shirts

College fashion undoubtedly plays a role in international students' lives, just as it does in the life of all students. For students studying abroad, choosing whether to wear a traditional dress or not may be a difficult decision. 

Traditional wear is central to cultural expression in many parts of the world, and when students wear it, they tend to feel closer to home. 

However, others may prefer to wear Western clothes. Colleges do not impose a dress code, which means choosing what to wear is up to the students themselves.  

The Link Between Fashion And Students

Fashion is a creative choice that people make each day. Even the people who claim that they "don't care" about fashion still express themselves to the world through their styles. 

Fashion has a massive impact on self-representation, seen through people's style choices, whether consciously or unconsciously. 

In particular, fashion is very significant in the lives of students. For international students, they need to spend a considerable amount of time thinking about and deciding the fashion choices they make, especially if they want to fit in. 

The fashion industry is continually changing, and if one wants to keep up, they have to keep reading, researching, and learning the trends. 

For some students, fashion is also an artistic expression. They use it to feel more comfortable and confident while showing their most authentic selves to the world. 

Although many people don't give fashion a second thought, it is an essential aspect of life no matter how old. 

Should Diverse Student Bodies All Look The Same?

Living in a foreign country often comes with many challenges. An international student, opening up to a new culture, a new language, or a new life way does not have to be a negative experience. 

On the other hand, colleges often have affluent international communities, and it's a shame if the diverse student bodies all look the same. 

Fashion is a way of expressing cultural differences. If Western dress predominates, students lose out on exciting meanings and conversations inspired by students' attire from different countries.  

Another thing worth mentioning here is how international students lose interest in studies when they find it difficult to cope with rigorous academic pressure when studying in universities across the US, UK, or any other English-speaking country. 

But there are resources that they and even native students to know about to make the education process easier and enjoy college or university life. 

Suppose you need an essay about America's identity, and writing is looking difficult. There's gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/american-identity/ for you that offers free essay examples to students. 

When you want to make the study process more comfortable and match the high-performing students, GradesFixer is the real deal.

How Do Students See Fashion In This Day And Age?

These days, it is much easier to learn about the fashion industry because of social media's growing influence. Various social media platforms have broadened and sped up the diffusion of new and upcoming fashion trends. 

Additionally, fashion schools increase in popularity because more people have started to realize how impactful this industry is to our lives. 

Up to now, New York remains to be the fashion industry's focal point. For international students who study in the Big Apple, the role of fashion becomes even more significant. 

For these students to fit in, they need to know how to "dress appropriately," without necessarily having to conform to the locals' styles. 

Fashion and clothing continue to play an important role in pop culture, and the ideologies of sexuality - as a result, the fashion industry has always been - and will always be - intertwined with our lives. 

For students, this means that they have to keep up with the most recent trends, especially if they want to learn the proper fashion role in finding their identities. 

To make it easier for international students to make this adjustment, they should start learning more about fashion, especially in the US. 

Fortunately, this endeavor is much easier now, as the study of fashion has become very common. And many have chosen this industry to build a career. 

International students have two choices: embracing and following fashion trends or disregarding them entirely and proudly embracing their styles. 

How Does Fashion Relate To A Sense Of Identity?

Traditional college student dress

For many international students, their clothing is part of their cultural identity, and it helps them connect with their homes when they are many miles away.

However, students are usually in that phase of life where they are influenced to some extent in their fashion choices by what their friends wear, what movies they watch, their cultural backgrounds, and even their bands.

You must check out more resources that offer fashion tips for students to help yourself make better fashion choices.  

What Happens When Students From Different Cultures Mix?

As cultures start to mix, and Western students see what their international peers are wearing and vice versa, clothing identity may not be so clear anymore.   

Integrating fashions is often a form of cultural appreciation rather than cultural appropriation. However, some international students get frustrated when other students wear traditional garments as part of their "style" without understanding what the culture stands for. It is merely a fashion choice for them. 

There are times when it is clear that wearing the traditional clothes of another culture is offensive, such as if the wearer does it intentionally or makes fun of the other culture.

When a white high school student wore a Chinese-style dress to her prom because she liked the look, she didn't expect the backlash she received, although some Chinese women came out supporting her choice. 

In this kind of situation, the question of cultural appropriation or appreciation is less clear. 

How Can Students Represent Themselves Through Fashion?

There is no doubt that the fashion industry has a potent influence on people, especially students. Thus, some students feel like they need to follow the trends even though they aren't entirely comfortable. 

Sad but true, this shouldn't be the case. Students should learn how to represent their true selves through fashion - not the other way around.

Going to a new school is already intimidating for students from other countries. Having to change one's fashion and hide their real identity to fit in shouldn't be part of their transition. 

Students - even international students - should represent their true selves through their fashion choices.

Students can do this by dressing to make them feel comfortable while expressing who they are to the world. 

More importantly, the way they dress should make them feel good about themselves, making it easier for them to face the other challenges in school with confidence and positivity. 

Fashion isn't about dressing the same way. It's about learning how to find one's inner creativity and style and then express it through the clothes you wear. 

For international students, representing themselves through cultural outfits or even contemporary outfits with traditional accessories will impact. 

Of course, if they choose to dress up as their peers because they feel that such fashion represents who they indeed are, this is completely acceptable too. 

It's all boils down to how one feels about their stylistic choices each day when it comes to fashion. 

Is It Wrong For International Students To Dress In Western clothes?

Some international students feel pressure from their peers to fit in by wearing Western clothes, but they should express their identity in any way they wish.  

However, when international students choose to wear Western clothes, it does not always mean they are ashamed of their culture. It may only be because they feel more comfortable wearing sweatpants, jeans, and T-shirts.  

Today, even though Western clothing has become common, you can combine it with some traditional dress form. For example, an Indian student may wear mainly Western clothes instead of wearing a sari but add some beautiful Indian shawls that remind her of home and her culture. 

A Final Word

Fashion plays a role in the life of all students. As colleges do not have uniforms, students can choose what they want to wear. As a result, students need to develop their sense of style. 

International students have a choice of wearing their traditional attire or choosing to wear western clothing. Many from the younger generation are opting to combine elements of both western and traditional dress. 

Author's Bio:

Michael Turner worked for a tech startup as the lead engineer before deciding to make a career move and switching to the writing industry. Now he is into his favorite job – academic writing covering the thesis, essays, and dissertations. When not at work, he enjoys reading novels and magazines, watching environmental documentaries, and playing tennis.

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