For Juliano Perczek, style has always been a part of his life. So, when he decided to come to the University of Maryland, he wanted to join a fashion club but found there wasn’t one on the campus with a specific focus on his interests.
“I was like, ‘Why not create kind of this thrifting club that was centered around sustainability?’” Perczek, a freshman economics and history major, said. “We can kind of teach people how to dress, but then also have fun and thrift together.”
Perczek is now the president of Fashionista Friends, a new organization at this university that aims to give students a fun and interactive way to shop sustainably and create a community on the campus.
He invited a few of his friends who share his passion for fashion — Hailey Gray and Logan Beebe — to join. Gray, a freshman biology major, and Beebe, a freshman sociology major, were interested in thrifting and conservation before the club started.
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“I would always post my thrift flip videos to my friends or my thrifting experience,” Gray said.
When Perczek reached out to them to help start the club, it wasn’t a difficult decision. Both Beebe and Gray are now vice presidents.
“I feel like thrifting and fashion is such a universally loved thing,” Beebe said. “Since there was nothing like it on campus, nothing would stop people from wanting to join.”
It was also very important, according to Perczek, that the club could be collaborative with its members. If members have ideas for the club, they’re welcome to share them, Beebe said.
“That’s what makes the club so different and so fun,” she said.
One of the main goals in starting the club was to provide students with fun activities that allow them to develop their style in a sustainable way. The club has a couple of big events coming up, including an ongoing clothing swap with other members where they can bring in clothes and swap them on designated days, according to Perczek.
“I just thought it was a cool place to have a community where we can all go thrifting. It’s helping the environment, and it’s helping to get a better sense of style,” Gray said.
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The club is planning a thrifting trip to Georgetown, where members can thrift and go to a coffee shop afterward to get schoolwork done all while meeting new people, Perczek said.
The founders also want to have activities that will help members take action and advocate for the reuse of their own clothing.
“You can find things that have been reused, that are really nice to up your style, and also be sustainable at the same time,” Beebe said.
Ultimately, Fashionista Friends is a club where everyone is welcome to explore their sense of style with other people, learn how to create sustainable habits and produce a killer wardrobe.