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Gonzaga fashion club supports students’ style and sustainability

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Attention all fashion enthusiasts, trendsetters and thrifters alike. From fans of preppy polos and blazers to more rebellious individuals dressed in leather jackets and thick-soled boots, the campus fashion scene just turned up the heat with the arrival of the Gonzaga University Fashion Club. 

“Fashion is a way to express yourself that can really be unique to you,” said junior Olive Paulson, creative director of the club. “It’s a great way to show people who you are and look good at the same time.”

Within the world of fashion — a space Paulson said is distinguished by its diversity and individuality — there are also opportunities for people to form relationships centered around a shared love for fashion. Paulson said Fashion Club offers a platform where all students can find community, regardless of one’s sense of style. 

“The club creates a place for like-minded individuals to come and talk about their clothes and fashion in general,” said sophomore Spencer McNulty, co-founder of the club.

McNulty said he pursued his creative vision for the club with junior Dylan Smith back in 2023. Together, they laid the foundations for what is now the GU Fashion Club. Not only did their vision come to fruition, but the club is fully operational, hosting biweekly meetings and welcoming new members. 

“My biggest inspiration in creating the club came from seeing street-style markets at other schools be so successful and well received,” said McNulty. “I wanted a platform to make that happen at Gonzaga.”

Beyond street markets and fashion shows, the founders of the club said they place a strong emphasis on sustainability.

“We aren’t trying to promote fast fashion,” said Paulson. “A lot of fast fashion is bad for the environment and isn’t ethically made.”

Paulson said many fast fashion brands have recently been criticized for their unethical methods of creating and distributing their products. She said everything from sweatshops to high carbon emissions have caused negative effects on the environment, society and individual lives, causing many to scrutinize the fashion industry. 

“We want to continuously educate ourselves and keep sustainability in mind,” said Paulson. 

Paulson said the club’s intention is to pursue sustainability in style by supporting student businesses with their street-style market, hosting clothing drives for the community and openly discussing the impact of fast fashion and how to shop sustainably. Beyond these goals, Paulson also said the club provides a creative outlet for students to express themselves while cultivating a deeper appreciation and love for the world of fashion.

Paulson also said college is a time when young men and women try to discover who they are, and fashion can be key to this development. Students are no longer limited by strict dress codes or mandatory school uniforms and have the freedom to express their true identities through their own unique styles. Paulson said this is something the club aims to highlight and raise awareness about. 

“There is a need for a greater fashion culture on campus, but our club is so much more than that,” Paulson said. “We want to make a community around fashion.”

The founders of Fashion Club said this is a community that many students have been waiting for and that they hope to support student-run businesses.

“My end goal is to host a large street-style market at least once a semester that supports all student businesses, not just clothing,” McNulty said. “That could be beneficial for all students at Gonzaga.”

Along with hosting street-style markets, the founders of the club said they hope to host a fashion show for the school. 

The club meets every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in College Hall 131. The topic for the meeting on Feb. 6 was “Fit-N-Tell,” and members are encouraged to bring one to three of their favorite items from their closet to share with the group. 

McNulty said Fashion Club welcomes all students to join them — from fashionistas to students simply interested in learning more about the world of fashion.

“There’s no such thing as bad fashion,” said Paulson. “There is a community for everyone.”