Style On Campus

Passion for Fashion: Talking Trends With UW-Stout Students

budding fashionistas give us the deets on current trends and more

McKenna Scherer |

RUNWAY READY. UW-Stout offers a bachelor's of science in
RUNWAY READY. UW-Stout offers a bachelor's of science in Fashion and Retail. (Submitted photo)

When we wanted to talk trends, we knew who to call: The fashion program at UW-Stout in Menomonie, which has more than 100 students. 

Interim Director Belinda Banike said the program’s transitions and transformation over the past few years has gotten the staff and faculty very excited for all that has changed for the better and what’s still to come. The former Apparel Design and Development and Retail Merchandising and Management programs merged in the fall of 2020, becoming the Fashion and Retail program. Ultimately, it just made sense, Banike said, to combine the two together to effectively collaborate between students and staff. 

“This collaborative focus is what sets us apart from other programs in the area and helps our students to be well-rounded and knowledgeable about the whole apparel product lifecycle from creation to distribution,” Banike explained. 

As opposed to simply design courses, UW-Stout also focuses heavily on apparel product development, which is different than most apparel programs, she added. “(That’s why) a lot of Midwest apparel companies have actively recruited students from our program for many years.”

We asked two fashion students what their takes are on style in the Valley, what they predict is up next, and where they grab style inspo from:

Grace Wilsmann, 21

apparel design & development major

In your opinion, what are the top three trends in the U.S. right now? Trend translates to different people depending on their demographic and values as a person. I think if I were to look at a specific market, like a female in her 20s going to college in the Valley, their trending items are most likely wide-leg pants, natural fiber clothing, and thrifted pieces. 

How would you define “style”? I would define style as a personal aesthetic that reflects one’s personality and desired reflection of oneself … I think style varies depending on someone’s disposable income, values, how they view themselves, and how they want others to view them.


What do you think is up next for 2023? More nods to the ’80s (thank you Stranger Things), ’90s, and early 2000s with lower-rise pants, light-wash jeans, and looks taken from hit movies of that time such as Clueless, 13 Going on 30, Friends. I do not think they will be exact replicas, but I think they be modernized versions. I also think things will continue to get more of a homemade look as well, people want that hand-crafted local artisan look. I think bright colors will also start to become more popular.
What’s your favorite places in the Valley to shop and gain style inspiration? My favorite place to shop is Hope Bargain Center and I have recently found some great finds on the Macy’s clearance rack! Target is also my go-to for some affordable and fashionable basics to pair with the more hidden gems I find at Hope Bargain Center.

Kevin Thach, 21

fashion marketing major

In your opinion, what are the top three trends in the U.S. right now? Sustainability, logos, and the “cottagecore” aesthetic. People are finally seeing that because of rampant consumption we’re creating a lot of problems for the environment, for the future; Logos were always a little popular, especially among high-end luxury brands. This was/is a way to show off your status and wealth; (“Cottagecore”) is, simply, quaint. People are totally feeling and dressing like that this summer.

How would you define “style”? A way to express yourself. No one can tell you what to wear or how to dress yourself. Enjoy what you wear, and feel good in it.

What do you think is up next for 2023? I think next big thing is going to be jumpsuit. I think this piece is something classic, and something that could be taken to the next level and brought back.
Favorite places in the Valley to shop and gain style inspiration? I’d say my favorite place to shop at is any secondhand store. I love thrifting and finding different and unique pieces.