TikTok users at GW have most likely stumbled across the student-run fashion account gwu.fitcheck on their For You pages.
The account, created by senior and Hatchet reporter Rhyma Asim and junior Beatrice Phillips at the end of September, has amassed more than 2,700 followers and tens of thousands of likes since their first TikTok was posted. After becoming friends last summer while living on campus, Asim and Phillips saw a video “blow up” from a Boston University fashion TikTok account, and the duo was inspired to start their own version at GW.
They decided to create gwu.fitcheck as a way to promote students’ outfits and celebrate students’ unique styles.
Since being in college, Phillips said she’s recognized the role fashion can have in self-expression.
“At the end of the day, fashion is just a way to express myself,” she said. “It’s like a look into my character and just putting the inside out.”
Typically, they text each other every couple of weeks to meet in Kogan Plaza and look for students they could feature. While the pair said they don’t have any strict criteria for who they chose to feature, their two rules of thumb are to watch for outfits that catch their eye and not to bother anyone who looks like they might be in a rush.
“Because at the end of the day, this isn’t an account about our personal style,” Phillips said. “It isn’t an account about trends. It’s an account really about what people are wearing at school, so that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily our own personal style or we think it’s on trend. We just want to be like ‘Oh my god, you really put thought into what you’re wearing today.’ Let’s capture that.”
After filming, Asim and Phillips share responsibilities editing the videos, adding text and choosing a sound to go with the visual content.
They both jokingly agree that choosing a sound to play over their videos is the hardest part of the process, which they usually decide together. But one of the easiest parts is finding cool outfits to feature, which Asim said there is usually no shortage of on campus.
Phillips said GW’s fashion scene is reflective of the eccentric style big cities are known for but with more influence from the professional world. She said long coats and blazers are the norm, but they usually feature “funky” patterns and lots of color.
“It’s almost formal with a twist,” she said.
Recently, Phillips and Asim have expanded their TikTok content to include interviews with other student leaders. The account recently featured an interview with Jacy Case, the president of the Student Musician Coalition.
“She told a great story about coming back to campus and playing music and being with Tiny Dorm Concert,” Phillips said. “And had a great outfit for it.”
With this new format, they hope to film short TikToks interviewing students about a community on campus they are a part of and have them share a story about an outfit or clothing item important to them.
“The process is like, ‘make sure you’re wearing something that you can tell a story about, don’t feel pressured to wear something that you think is like the best outfit ever, just wear something you love,’” Phillips said.
Asim said her favorite thing about fashion is its ability to connect people.
“Gaining your sense of style is also just like appreciating other people’s styles and then meeting people that way,” she said.
Since returning to campus from the pandemic, Phillips said she’s noticed students’ confidence in personal style has increased.
“I think sitting at home in quarantine – we were kind of like, ‘You know what, when we go back out finally into the world, I don’t want to have any insecurities about what I wear,’” she said. “I just want to wear what I want because who knows when we’re going to be back in our room.”
Ultimately, they agree that the mission of gwu.fitchek is to celebrate student style and serve as a small way to connect GW students with one another. Although Phillips and Asim haven’t yet discussed plans for gwu.fitcheck once Asim graduates this spring, for now they want to continue highlighting new facets of GW culture.
“Fashion is just like a little pillar of culture,” Phillips said. “And the only way to expand is like going into that culture zone, but we can always put fashion as like a little thread in there.”