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The Fashionista Behind SUNY Purchase Fashion

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

By Barbara Kay

The “CEO” of @sunypurchase_fashion account, Kayla Dike (Photo via @sunypurchase_fashion)

This Friday, the SUNY Purchase Instagram featured the student-run account centered around the eclectic fashion sense the student body has become notorious for.


Kayla Dike, a studio production major, decided to dedicate the account, @sunypurchase_fashion, to showcasing outfits and statement pieces she finds admirable around campus.


“Since middle school, I started randomly complimenting strangers throughout the day,” said Dike. “If you ever get a compliment from a stranger, it just boosts your whole day. The people at Purchase are super nice too… It’s honestly a great way to meet and talk to people on campus!”


Dike’s process consists of walking up to anyone whose outfit she thinks is stylish and asking to take their picture. If they say yes, she puts their username into her notes app, posts their picture, and tags them. She also takes submissions through Instagram’s direct messages.


Alondra Martinez-Geronimo’s second feature and self-submission “as the Men In Black” on Halloween (Photo via @sunypurchase_fashion)

The account has become an outlet for students to appreciate each other, and their own styles as much as Dike does.


Alondra Martinez-Geronimo, a history, language, and culture major, said that although she didn’t know Dike before having her picture taken, she felt comfortable being approached and that the experience changed her fashion sense.


“The account did change the way I dressed up,” Martinez-Geronimo said. “It gave me the motivation to dress up every day, and color coordinate. It became a way to express myself and look nice.”


Dike decided to make the account shortly after arriving for the fall 2021 semester.


“I saw the Purchase meme account, the Fort Awesome account, and how well received they all were, so I decided to make my own page,” Dike said.


Although, on weekends with several social events, she says that it can be hard to keep up.


“Halloween was definitely a crazy time to keep up with photos,” Dike admitted. “The way the process usually works is I take a picture, and then they enter their Instagram into my notes. I then go through [the usernames] and match them to the pictures, and double-check I’m tagging the right person.”


“During more active [occasions]” Dike continued, “When I have the time, I’ll sit down to try to post at least five pictures, even if I feel lazy.”


The account, which was supposed to be run by Dike and her friends, has become a solo project, with Dike as the “CEO,” which is what she refers to herself as in the account’s bio.


“Originally, there were supposed to be multiple people taking pictures because I obviously can’t be everywhere at once,” Dike said. “There were never any set-in-stone plans about my friend’s helping, so I just ended up doing it myself, but there are a couple of pictures my friends have taken for me.”


Anna Garguilo’s eye-catching butterfly skirt (Photo via @sunypurchase_fashion)

Anna Garguilo, a screenwriting major, who was featured on the account in November, was excited to be approached and posted.


“I was already following [the account] and I loved it, I’m so happy to be a part of it,” she said. “I also get inspired by the other looks I see on the page. It makes me want to try new things and step out of my comfort zone,” Garguilo continued.


There have been times when Dike’s request has been denied, which she has respected.


“I don’t mind at all because it’s understandable and they’re not obligated to do anything,” Dike said. “But for the most part I get [three] reactions: ‘Oh my God, that’s you? Of course!’ or ‘You like my outfit?’ and ‘There’s a fashion page?’”


Anne Arocho’s strawberry dress awarded her second feature on the account (Photo via @sunypurchase_fashion)

Anne Arocho, a painting and drawing major, has been featured on the account three times, and each time has felt as flattered as the last.


“It made me proud of myself, I put a lot of effort into the things I wear and it was nice to have other people's approval,” Arocho said. “I take a lot of pride in what I wear.”


Anita Yavich, associate professor of theater design and technology agreed with students’ perception about how fashion is about expression and confidence.


“I think fashion at SUNY Purchase is about discovery and experimentation, which requires a level of self-awareness and fearlessness, and that is how we gain confidence in who we are,” she said.


Dike says that her fashion inspiration comes from social media like Instagram and Tik Tok, but as a society, she has found that Black culture, 1990s trends, and the LGBTQ community have made the most impact.


Black culture and designers are responsible for many of the “trends” we see online and in person. From “logomania,” to “sneaker culture,” and oversized clothes, Black culture has made the “baddie” aesthetics Dike refers to, according to zenerations.org.


“I think our generation is inspired heavily by African American culture, you can see it in the streetwear and ‘baddie’ aesthetics,” she said. “As well as LGBTQ club styles that are meant to shock and be interesting to look at.”


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