What does ‘Fashion’ mean? How fashion has influenced the lives of 5 MU fashion alums


Fashion is a word with an extreme amount of fluidity. Fashion means different things to different people: what it is, the level of importance, what influences it, and how it affects our lives.

Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” I take this to imply that fashion is not the clothing itself but everything and anything that influences the clothing into creation.

What fashion means is not black or white; it is a painting with a million mixtures of color. It means such different things to so many people. So what better way to understand the concept of fashion than to ask?

I posed the simple question of, –what does Fashion mean to you? – to four different alums of the Mercyhurst fashion department to get their take after leaving the ‘Hurst.

Sarah Johnson, ’16

“To me fashion is a way to express yourself to others. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t matter what you look like to others is mistaken. It does matter. Dressing well can unlock doors for you in both your personal and professional life. Fashion is a way to empower yourself and influence others.”


Rosaly Pagan, ’16

“Fashion to me depends on my mood. It’s an inspiring movement that inspires me to be my own person and wear whatever I want. To me fashion is also a revolutionary industry that combines art, history, and technology. It’s never the same and it is constantly changing, making it impossible to ever be bored in the fashion world.”


Marissa Shue, ’15

“Fashion to me is not just about clothing. To me it’s a culture. A way to express yourself and to show people how creative you can be. It’s about art, and inspiring people to push the limits and boundaries. Fashion is also about religion, and how brutal and harsh it can be in different parts of the world compared to the U.S. where tank tops are the norm.”


Joe Tadiello, ’15

“I believe that fashion is a way for people to express their creativity. Whether it’s done through the way they dress or the way they design. At the end of the day you can walk down the street and see someone wearing the same outfit as someone else, yet it can look completely different on the two people. And that’s the coolest part about fashion.”


And what it means to me…

Fashion is my confidence. It is my exterior armor. It is my self-expression. It is my silent language. It takes seven seconds for someone to formulate an opinion of what they see. So why not explain who you are through your dress. What I truly love about fashion is that the body is a blank canvas. We paint on it with clothing that silently describes us, our likes, dislikes, right down to morals and values.

For those out there that say fashion does not matter… well it does. It tells the world who you are, and even sometimes what you believe. Think about that, as you get dressed tomorrow morning.

Meghan Kelly, '16

2016 grad of Mercyhurst's fashion merchandising department