Every day, Mercedes Morgan ’16 proves that style lives on the Amherst College campus. Morgan’s personal wardrobe serves as an inspiration to many and she is the creator of a fashion blog — clothcampus.tumblr.com — where she writes abut her sense of style and showcases the fashion choices of Amherst students. When I first met Mercedes, she came off as put-together, relaxed, no-nonsense kind of girl. She told me she had seen my outfit in class and that she wanted to put it on her blog. I laughed nervously until she told me not to worry — I could choose whichever picture and angle I wanted. So I stood in the middle of Frost and let her take a few snapshots. Afterward, she caught me off guard by saying she wanted to ask me a few questions. I had assumed that, as in many other fashion blogs I have read, my picture would go on it, possibly accompanied by her opinion. Instead, she wanted my own opinion, and asked me about my favorite part of the piece, why I chose to wear it, etc. It was a little embarrassing, considering how much I had to say, but she wrote it all down. Then, like a professional, she handed me a business card. When I looked up Cloth Campus that night, I immediately noticed that Mercedes was doing something special. As I read though the blog, I realized how candid it felt. Mercedes presents her own unique style, ranging from hairdos, make-up and clothes, alongside outfits worn by Amherst students. These journalistic aspects of Cloth Campus, along with inspirational quotes she chooses for it, are a big part of what makes her blog more powerful than others. She gives Amherst students a medium through which they can share their style and be inspired by others. In the following interview, Mercedes gives style tips explaining her personal style, fights for individuality and shows off her charming personality.
RJ: What made you want to start Cloth Campus?
MM: I’ve loved clothes for a really long time. Picking out outfits is one of my favorite ways to unwind — just looking at hemlines, patterns, colors, textures and how they all interact. I also love looking at how people dress and how clothes can be such a perfect example of nonverbal communication, as well as getting inspiration from the different ways people express themselves through textiles. I wanted something that would be a testament to the diversity of styles that exist and to show people that really “being fashionable” just means being you.
RJ: What kind of person reads Cloth Campus?
MM: Most of the people who follow me on Tumblr are people who are interested in fashion themselves, but now that I’ve included my own classmates, I’m hoping it can grow to any and everyone who can just relate to appreciating a nice outfit and the uniqueness that comes with it.
RJ: How do you choose people on campus to feature?
MM: I really just work based on impulse, which can be kind of scary. Even though people are largely nice and accommodating, there’s still that little fear that someone might punch me in the face or something. I just do what I usually do, walk around appreciating people’s taste, and if I find someone who does something really interesting, or if there’s someone who has a taste I don’t feel is already featured on my blog, I’ll ask them for a picture; I’m really trying to get a wide array of styles and personalities.
RJ: Do you have any fashion advice to give out to the world?
MM: The most important things, I would say, are to have fun and be yourself. People who are “most fashionable” only are because they’ve found a way to make their clothes speak, just like people who are good at a sport use their sport to communicate their passion and drive or singers sing with their whole hearts. It’s about being honest to yourself, not trying to dress like someone else, which is also why I decided to include other people on my blog instead of just myself; who am I to dictate how the world should dress? Just like life, your style will grow and change as you do, but just ride the wave, always being true to yourself and enjoying everything you put on. That and don’t wear stripes with plaid, it just has to be said.
RJ: How would you describe your personal style?
MM: I would say my fashion sense is definitely that of a chameleon (fun fact, this summer I almost changed the blog’s name to chaMEleon for this exact reason). I like wearing all sorts of things: 90’s track jackets, pearl-embellished angora pullovers, denim shorts, silk trousers, kitten heels, white hi-tops. It all depends on the day. I’m just really a stickler about matching shoes with bags and belts and keeping clean lines in my outfits.
RJ: And finally, what do you want people to get out of your blog?
MM: I hope people can realize that it’s not about using pictures to make a style hierarchy, but rather using them to laud individuality; I want people to be able to see themselves in the pictures, to recognize that I’m not just taking pictures of clothing but of personalities and to keep trying to find their voices, however they choose.
Cloth Campus is a great blog with a great message. Mercedes’ style is definitely unique and worth taking a look at, if only to get a sense of her fantastic personality. Even though Amherst students are busy, many still have time to think about getting dressed up for class. Mercedes’ blog is a great place to explore, whether or not you have chance to show off your style during the school year. Cloth Campus is the perfect place to start developing or expanding your own style.