Last year, Syracuse University’s (SU) magazine TheJerk ran an article with an image that portrayed a young man dressed the way they thought State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) students dress.Complete with a tie-dye t-shirt, dirty pants, and baja hoodie, the image angered many SUNY ESF students who thought it perpetuated stereotypes.
Though a bit exaggerated, one cannot deny that there is some truth to this article. SUNY ESF students have a distinct style that differentiates them from their neighbors at SU and any other university. Tie-dye, flannel, and baja hoodies have all been seen with regularity on the SUNY ESF campus. SUNY ESF students
also tend to choose comfort and practicality over high fashion. Jane Yeh, a sophomore natural resources management major says “I don’t really see much contemporary fashion around here. People mostly go for the comfortable option.” Jin Kim, a sophomore environmental studies major, says, “A lot of people don’t
wear shoes. Tie-dye shirts and flannel are everywhere. All in all just comfy wear.”
Another student said that they don’t think SUNY ESF students care for fads at all. “I think there is a complete lack of fashion at SUNY ESF. The people who go here aren’t the kind of people who are concerned with that sort of thing. I would describe the fashion choices here as generic and practical.”
SUNY ESF’s unique fashion choices draw from theirlove for the environment and the need to be comfortable and ready for an impromptu hike or other adventure. Footwear commonly seen around campus is the Vibram Five Finger shoes, hiking boots, and even bare feet. TOMS shoes are also a popular option, and representative of the caring and generous nature of the students at SUNY ESF. The One for One campaign donatesa pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of TOMS purchased. There is no wonder that many SUNY ESF students sport a pair of these comfortable, versatile shoes. These shoes are a great choice for the environmentally conscious student because they are made of vegan,organic cotton, and natural hemp materials according to the TOMS website.
Other environmentally friendly fashion options include sunglasses by Drift, which are made of Forest Stewardship Council certified woods like walnut and maple. For fashionable footwear, try on a pair of shoes from Beyond Skin, which are all vegan and leather free. Another way to assert your love of fashion as well as be environmentally friendly is to simply make your own clothes and accessories. There are many helpful YouTube tutorials on how to make trendy pieces from recycled clothing, from t-shirts to skirts to handbags and many more.
Even though some may find the styles at SUNY ESF lack luster, it can be agreed upon
that the way these college students dress is by choice, not to keep up
appearances. Amy Shaw, a sophomore studying aquatics and fisheries sciences,
says, “We don’t necessarily go for the latest trend but we kind of find our own
way I suppose.” The styles at SUNY ESF are for the most part, cute, comfy,
convenient for an on the go student, and couldn’t be found anywhere else.