When people talk about U of T it’s usually about its high ranking in academics and research. For some reason, the creativity on campus garners much less attention.

From Facebook to Instagram, social media brings people together, and @uoftstyle is one of the latest Instagram accounts to do so for the U of T community by using #uoftstyle. It’s premise is simple: showcase the style of all students. U of T Style has spawned a community for U of T students to discover and celebrate the style of their peers. We caught up with the creator of the account, Ysabelle Gatchalian, to speak about style, community, and identity. 

A Life Sciences and Human Biology student, Gatchalian entered into the world of fashion through Tumblr while still in high school. She claims that it was the creative aspect of the site and its fashion community that drew her in. “My mom really didn’t buy me a lot of clothes,” she told The Varsity. “So I guess through blogging or reposting things… I was able to live vicariously through other people’s experiences and increase my own love in a sense for fashion, even though I didn’t have the means of… doing it myself.”

She considers Levi’s one of her favourite fashion staples; her go-to style always incorporates comfort. “[At] school you want to stay comfy, but you want to look stylish too… I tried the whole just sticking to stylish clothes first year but commuting and staying in the library for five hours? Not comfy in skinny jeans!”



Gatchalian explains that she wanted to showcase the diversity and beauty for everyone and demonstrate that U of T Style is not unilateral. “When I first got to university there was this whole stigma how like university students just love to study, stay in the libraries, they don’t really have much of a social life, which is a horrible thing to say and to hear,” she explained. “But after frosh week and just exploring the campus, you see so many different types of people and cultures and styles and not just the typical thing you see on Tumblr per se or YouTube.”

Gatchalian works hard to ensure that her selection process is non-discriminatory. “I try to post everyone because everyone has a unique style and I don’t want to pick and choose and say I like this, so I’m going to put it on.”

As someone who takes note of the style of students on campus, I wondered which trends Gatchalian was seeing most. “Right now everyone likes wearing knit sweaters and leather jackets… and the black booties, especially since last year.”

Gatchalian said she now sees style as an open-minded concept: “You know when you go shopping and you go through the racks and you say ‘I definitely wouldn’t wear that because it wouldn’t look good on me,’ but then when you see it on someone else and you think, ‘Wow they rock it so well. I feel like I could do that too.’ I feel like not closing your mind to trends or outfits or pieces of clothing or accessories [is important].”

Moving forword, Gatchalian hopes to meet new people, build long-term friendships, and expand the U of T Style community in the process. “When I first started U of T Style, it was mostly a project of taking pictures of U of T students on campus in person, but over time it started getting a little too much… I thought, ‘Hey, if I start making the hashtag and following U of T students, I can actually start getting more content onto the page itself.’”

Although the hashtag is currently centred on the UTSG campus, she wants it to expand across all three campuses to truly reflect the U of T student identity. “I hope I can get someone from the campuses who could actually get some shots from there… I don’t want U of T Style only to represent students on the St. George campus because U of T is a big community and I want everyone to be fully represented.”



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