Filled with skaters in their typical attire — Adidas Sambas, baggy work pants and a graphic t-shirt or hoodie — the makeshift skatepark at Cecil B. Moore Plaza is a hub for some of the most fashion-forward Temple students.
Charlie Morgan, a junior data and computer science major, and Jonah Berrong, a junior actuarial sciences major, are two of many students who frequent the skatepark fashion scene. They take style inspiration from each other, blending functionality and current trends.
Morgan looks up to skaters Vince Palmer and Brian Peacock, pairing work pants with interesting graphic tees or sweatshirts, while Berrong mimics styles around the park.
“I honestly just throw on pants and a hoodie and try to get it to match somewhat from there,” Berrong said. “I really just dress like all these motherfuckers at Cecil.”
Beyond the skatepark, Main Campus is swarming with students showing off their personal styles and interpretations of current trends. Last month, Temple was named the second most fashionable campus in the nation by StyleSeat, a fashion media outlet. San Diego State University clinched the No. 1 spot.
Researchers from StyleSeat analyzed photos from more than 6,000 geo-tagged locations at American colleges and universities, examining 100 recently posted campus photos at each of the 60 popular schools from Sept. 6-8. They focused on the contrast between high-effort and low-effort outfits, cozy attire, fashionable footwear and glamorous looks.
The outlet discarded any posts of students wearing neutral colors or uncategorized outfits, graphics promoting campus activity or blurry images from the dataset, said Melissa Stephenson, the media relations associate at North Star Inbound, a marketing agency, hired by StyleSeat to collect data.
“Lower effort led to a little bit more of a cozy style, so we have a category for low effort/cozy, and Temple rings on that list, and we went all the way up to categorizing high fashion,” Stephenson said.
Temple, San Diego, and Louisiana State University lead in fashionable outfits, while the University of Wisconsin (Madison), Virginia Tech and the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) tend to prioritize comfort over fashion.
Temple is recognized as one of the most high-fashion campuses, but also boasts some of the coziest fashion in the country. In comparison, the University of Pennsylvania ranked as the 17th most fashionable campus and Penn State University ranked as the 12th least fashionable campus.
Madeline Guido, a junior painting and entrepreneurial studies major, finds her high-fashion inspiration in the past, from icons like Jane Birkin, a British actress and singer, and the 1960s French new-wave style, she said.
“I like vintage styles,” Guido said. “So I get most of my inspiration honestly from old movies or Pinterest or things like that.”
While Guido follows historical trends in her personal style, other students, like Moses Burdett, a junior jewelry major, create their own trends with original eclectic pieces.
Burdett compliments his outfits with stacks of handmade jewelry pieces, including chunky rings and embellished cuffs and bracelets. He mixes the Western cowboy aesthetic with an edgier, punk style.
“I’ve got my cowboy belt that I always wear, my utility belt is basically like a little bit of Batman too,” Burdett said.
Philadelphia designers, like Burdett and his partner, Kember Davis, sell curated second-hand and handmade clothing on campus, typically near Cecil or the Bell Tower, further contributing to students’ unique attire.
Davis, a jeweler and tattoo artist, sets up shop near the skatepark. While on campus, they find inspiration in the unique clothing sported by students and skaters.
“I think it’s really cool to just be able to kind of switch my style and just do everything,” Davis said. “Being here at Cecil has really inspired a lot of outfits recently, taking inspiration from other people and piecing things together myself.”
Craft and creativity play a significant role in Temple’s fashion scene, as many students create their own clothes and accessories for a “do-it-yourself” style.
Masai Matale, a freshman architecture major, loves mixing their self-made pieces, sold on their website, with clothes borrowed from friends to curate their outfits.
“I love wearing stuff people lend me because I feel their energy when I’m wearing their clothes,” Matale said.
If they’re not DIYing their outfits, many — if not most — stylistically expressive students find their favorite pieces from second-hand sellers, like Depop or Goodwill.
In 2022, second-hand apparel made up approximately 12 percent of the total apparel market, a 5.3 percent increase from just five years ago, and nearly half of millennials and Generation Z are likely to shop secondhand, according to Statista.
Nasir Ottley, a junior undeclared major, loves utilizing Depop to find one-of-a-kind pieces that fit his eccentric style and personal expression.
“My intuition is balancing between masc and feminine clothing at the same time,” Ottler said. “I like wearing earth tones, I’m a Capricorn, so that definitely influences me.”
Temple’s high ranking in fashion doesn’t come as a surprise, as the campus is filled with diverse styles and personalities destined to be trendsetters at every turn.
The second-place recognition feels fitting to Leah Wolstenholme, a sophomore undeclared art major, as students are constantly surrounded by peer inspiration, she said.
“Not everyone has the same style, there’s so many different kinds of people, and because there’s so many different kinds of styles, you tend to pull from other people’s styles, and then you kind of create it into what you like,” Wolstenholme said.