Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

2023 is an incredible year for fashion. I will most definitely be following fashion trends like corsets, sheer fabrics, a Y2K revival, cut-outs, minidresses, military style outfits, cargo pants, the revenge heel and so much more!

Fashion has always been about expressing oneself, so who can stop you from wearing a corset over a sheer blouse? Or using oversized sweatshirts? I know I’ll definitely try those styles. Fashion is such an integral part of our lives that it’s almost criminal that the University of Maryland doesn’t have a degree program for it.

This is why this university should create a fashion program for its students that include majors like design, merchandise and management for its students.

With these majors, nearby cities like Washington, D.C. can also benefit by becoming a fashion capital. When people think about fashion, cities like New York, Milan, Paris and London come to mind. Known as the big four of fashion, they are some of the greatest fashion capitals in the world.

Fashion capitals are cities that have a significant influence over the global fashion scene due to highly successful fashion industries. These cities hold acclaimed fashion week events where designers showcase their work. In New York alone, fashion week attracts over 100,000 tourists and generates millions of dollars in revenue. Talk about money! Being a fashion capital is great for a city’s economy and being in a fashion capital is inspiring.

The diversity and energy in these cities provides endless opportunities and invigorating adventure. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be in or near a fashion capital? This is why this university should use its close proximity to Washington, D.C. to become the next fashion hotspot.

If this university were to create a fashion program, it could produce talented up-and-coming designers, merchandisers and stylists inclined to stay in the area and develop or work with brands in the area. This could, in turn, cause Washington, D.C. to climb the fashion ladder and become a fashion capital itself.

Even though there are many well-known designers currently working in Washington, D.C. like Amanda Casarez and Mimi Miller, the city’s fashion scene is not internationally recognized. This is because of the stereotype that Washington, D.C. has a practical and boring office aesthetic.

This probably stems from being the nation’s capital and an area known for its businesses and bevy of government officials. But this shouldn’t stop the city from being a fashion hotspot. Washington, D.C. also hosts its own fashion week, which brings job opportunities for fashion designers, merchandisers and managers. However, this university does not help its students take advantage of the opportunity to make them marketable workers in the fashion industry.

From high school students undecided on their career plans to college students who never got to discover their interest, there could be a lot of demand for a fashion major. College is a place where students find themselves. With 82 percent of Gen Z students stating that fashion is an integral part of finding oneself, there are likely students who have an untapped interest in fashion designing.

However, designing is not the only discipline in the fashion industry that students should be able to pursue. This university should implement programs in fashion management and merchandising to give its students exposure to the business side of the fashion industry. As many of us in Gen Z already scout the top fashion trends on Tik Tok, it’s clear that we have an unexplored interest in the fashion field.

Each university’s goal should be making sure that they are providing a broad range of programs so students can find their passions. The next Coco Chanel could be attending this university but could go undiscovered if there are no programs to exercise their talents.

Gen Z is the most creative generation. We developed new aesthetics like Dark Academia, Cottagecore, and, my favorite, Barbiecore, through the use of social media. We flipped the design process upside down. Our generation has shown a keen sense for the fashion industry. As such, this university shouldn’t prevent Gen Z from advancing its talents by not providing an undergraduate fashion program.

Fashion is a mode of expression. Many are able to portray their feelings through what they wear and who they are by what they design. As the most creative generation, we bring new meaning to fashion. This university should jump on the opportunity to grow with a fashion program.

Medhanit Desta is a freshman undecided engineering major. She can be reached at