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Street style: Bogotá vs. Bristol

By: Sophie Foggin 
Especial para Aló.co

Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by a very fashion-conscious European culture, and so prioritizing my appearance now comes as second nature to me. For me, and I think I speak for the majority of British girls my age on this, fashion is a real interest. Obviously, we can´t all look like we have just stepped out of Vogue every day, but when I have the time and when the occasion is right, I enjoy nothing more than planning a good outfit.

Last year, I loved watching one of my best friends Hattie, the style editor of my university newspaper “Epigram”, documenting Bristol student style at different events over the last year, through Instagram. With the help of social media, student fashion in England, especially in my university city, Bristol, has really taken off in the last decade. People are becoming more and more outrageous, and outfits, likewise, are becoming more and more garish. It seems as if every opportunity to go out is accompanied by an excuse to wear even the most outlandish of outfits, which is all good fun!

 


Most of this can be put down to the fact that university provides a prime opportunity to experiment with your style and wear things that you might usually avoid. As a student myself, I would like to think that I am at a point in my life when I can be most creative with fashion and what I choose to wear. We all like looking back at pictures of our parents when they were in their teens and having a good laugh at some of the hideous, outfits they used to wear. So my policy on fashion is the following: no matter what I wear, people are going to look back on photos of me in my student days and laugh, so I may as well be as adventurous as I want!

 


 

Aside from the publicity that they are given through magazines, social media and internet websites: fashion trends in Europe also tend to be fed by the abundance of both high street, designer and vintage shops that can be found in pretty much any city in the UK. But also, I think one of the most important reasons why fashion is so important in my country is because people, whether it be students or children or adults, are genuinely interested and enjoy it. 

However, one thing that I have noticed since arriving here, is that this same obsession does not quite seem to translate into Colombian culture. This is by no means a bad thing. In fact, it is quite refreshing to live in a city where people aren´t quite so obsessed with how they look, eventually ending up all looking the same through following the same trends. 

For this reason, from an outsider´s point of view, Colombian fashion seems, with the greatest respect, slightly outdated. Perhaps this is due to a lack of high street shops? But there are plenty of shopping malls dotted all over the city, selling not only Colombian branded clothing, but also some European brands which have managed to creep their way in. (Not naming any names!) So, there must be another reason… 

Personally, I think it comes down to the general attitude of the people. The fact that Colombians are so chilled out with what they wear, and the majority seem to prioritize comfort and practicality, means that the demand for rapidly changing seasonal trends and the influx of more European high street stores just isn’t there. I am sure, if a random selection of Colombian women were asked whether there was a need for change in the Colombian fashion industry, they would say no. So why force something when there is just no obvious need for it?

It goes without saying that obviously a reasonably large percentage of the female Colombian population is, of course, interested in fashion and we shouldn’t forget that or overlook it. In fact, I am sure all the ladies reading this piece must be vaguely interested, else they wouldn’t have bothered to pick up a copy of ALÓ! 
However, it seems to me that here in Colombia, if you are interested in fashion, instead of being spoon-fed the latest trends, you have to make the effort yourself to go and find out what the latest collections are, seek out the vintage shops (which do exist!) and, most importantly, be creative! Take inspiration from further afield: not just Colombia or South America. 

 

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