University Fashion Group builds viral community on TikTok – The Daily Texan

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University Fashion Group builds viral community on TikTok – The Daily Texan

A UT student smiles as she points out each element of her carefully curated outfit to the camera, from her thrifted denim skirt to her pink tank top adorned with ruffles and gold sequins. She giggles as she tells the student interviewer that, in her head, she identifies the outfit with the cool and sophisticated lyrics of Lana Del Ray’s “How to Disappear.”

One of many man-on-the-street style interviews on the University Fashion Group’s viral TikTok page, the interview boasts thousands of views. Since uploading their first video seven weeks ago, the account accrued hundreds of thousands of combined views with just fifteen videos. The project came as the result of a spontaneous decision to increase the group’s content, creative director Faith McNabnay said.

The viral series features McNabnay and her fellow UFG interviewers as they approach uniquely-dressed students on Speedway with creative questions about their style. Prompts include, “What song do you associate with your outfit?” and “How much does your outfit cost?”

The account’s first video, in which interviewers asked students to rate their outfits, has amassed around 1000 views — an accomplishment McNabnay said she never expected.

“I think one of the reasons the account has performed so well is that we feature real UT students at UT — It connects,” McNabnay said.

UFG creative director Mikaya Guevara said the interviewers strive to feature a wide variety of styles and trends on the account.

“We look for people with fashion that’s different from the crowd,” Asian studies junior Guevara. “I love and usually look for the Y2K aesthetic, or maybe something punk rock. … We’ve also been (talking to) people who aren’t related to fashion (education), in order to hear their different opinions and passions.”

UFG assistant creative director Brooke Finnerty said TikTok’s format of short, edited video segments allows for more creativity and student interaction than the organization’s traditional Instagram posts.

“TikTok has been really big (for us),” journalism sophomore Finnerty said. “When we table, people say they found us on social media. (Out)reach has gotten a lot higher. It’s fun to go out and meet people while you film, (or) even pull people into the group.”

McNabnay said while approaching students sometimes makes her feel awkward, amplifying student voices and creativity makes her time working on the series feel rewarding.

“We really encourage everyone to speak their truth and be nice,” McNabnay said. “Not everyone is what they seem. One of the best parts of (the series) is meeting a bunch of people and just messing around with them. It’s this little community.”

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