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The five tribes of campus fashion

Label Slave, High Street Honeypot or Retro Re-worker? Jennifer Smith on Royal Holloway's fashion cliques

Many things at Royal Holloway are subject to a dose of good humour, and the seemingly tribal nature of the fashions is one of them. With the range of cultures, backgrounds, incomes and personalities we have here, there’s an insane amount of diversity in our student body’s clothing styles. Here’s the breakdown of the five key tribes to look out for…

At the top of the money tree fall the Label Slaves (or a word that rhymes with bores). Usually international students with cash to burn, they can paint the town red (usually in luxe bars in London). Perfectly groomed, obviously, commonly spotted sipping a Cappa with derision for other tribes. Favourites include Ralph Lauren sweaters, silk scarves and Louis bags for New Money Sloane-wannabes. Polo shirts are necessities for the sporty. Their party outfits could be recognised in Gossip Girl for the price tag. Must-have accessory: Macbook (Air) to denote creativity (just like everyone else) and possibly a Moleskine notepad for that artsy hipster vibe.

Terrible secret: the contents of the pad/laptop aren’t the next bestseller, but more likely a home-paged Facebook and doodles.

Next are the High Street Honeypots. Clothed in the latest mid-range fashions, they dip in and out of whatever trend the celebs are wearing. Currently it’s leggings, gilets and ridiculous shoes, including fake Uggs. They commonly wear Gap (so that all their tops match in muted shades), Topshop (for that latest coat/dress that literally everyone is wearing), New Look (for those with the tastes of a 13-year-old girl) and, of course, Primarni (dodgy market fare in shop form).

Terrible secret: they spend way too long worrying and styling their hair when no one will notice, trowelling on fake tan and applying layers (yes, layers) of false eyelashes.

Retro Re-workers dig whatever they can out of remaining loan funds and stock up on retro goods, usually from charity shops or gracious relatives, often ending up looking like hippies rather than hipsters. For girls, long skirts with ill-fitting beaded tops or knitwear that hasn’t seen daylight since the 90s; for guys, unfunny slogan tees with battered jeans. When pulled off correctly, geek chic fits in here.

Terrible secret: they might say they don’t remember where they got it from, but the origin story could involve skip-diving.

Rockers and “Individuals” sport a look that is visible from a distance. The eye is confused by the lashings of black, the band tees, the chains, the tartan, the corsets and the neon brights. This combination does not persuade us of their individuality, but rather gives the impression that their bedroom light isn’t working and they’ve never been shopping outside of Camden (although to be fair, you can find anything in Camden).

Terrible secret: their “vodka stories” are usually the worst (or best).

Finally, we come to the Typical Students. You know them – they wear PJs to pick up a pint of milk and sport university hoodies to kindly remind you where you are. Their clothes could be scorched, ripped, unironed and even doused in vodka, and it would only add to the look. Founders inhabitants are well-known for this tribal allegiance and their rowdy partying ways.

Terrible secret: your liver’s got as much motivation to function as your willingness to do that dissertation.

So there it is, a quick rundown of the key divisions that separate us into threads. Proceed to mock one another in unison.

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