Style beyond borders

In a time of walls and racial tension, fashion may be the only thing that unites the world. The fashion scene is one of the only places that people can come together as creators of expression and acceptance. Fashion is a safe place and a comfort for many.

It’s easy to get caught up in American trends. It’s the country we live in, so shouldn’t we be in the know of what styles are in? I propose that fashion goes beyond borders and that some of the most stylish people are the ones who take risks. Who ever said fashion has to look a certain way? The world is a big place and once one looks beyond American fashion, the opportunities are endless.

From Nigeria to Vietnam, I have interviewed two international students with very different backgrounds. Their style is a blend of cultures, instead of just one. They are two individuals living by their own rules and creating trends as they go. They are bold and they are confident — perhaps some of the best accessories. They represent the places they’ve been by the clothes they wear. Perhaps style should be just that: a display of one’s story and culture.

Ndidi Akahara


Class: Junior

Hometown: Abuja, Nigeria

Ndidi Akahara is not only stylish, but she is also wise. She values traditional clothing made by her Nigerian people. Her go-to outfit is a combination of this traditional clothing paired with American trends. She appreciates minimalism and tries to not become blinded by materialism. This girl is an icon, and we have so much to learn from her.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would say most times my style is comfortable and versatile. I love to wear jeans with anything. I really like denim skirts, too. I love vibrant colors and pastels— I really like to wear lots of colors. Also I love blue, so I wear a lot of it.

How has your style changed since moving to Waco?

Because of college, I definitely wear more sweatpants (laughs). I went to a school in England before I came to Waco. There we had a lot of formal dinners, so I collected a lot of formal clothes. I was disappointed when I came to Baylor. People wear more chill clothes here. I see lots of sweatpants. I would say my style has become more versatile.

What are some ways you incorporate Nigerian fashion to your American style?

The very big trend in Nigeria is to wear traditional clothing. The traditional clothing we call “ankara.” This is the type of fabric we use for traditional clothes. There was a point, I guess because of Western influence, that we stopped wearing as much Nigerian clothing for a time. Now we are slowly going back to wearing strictly Nigerian clothes. Nigerian influencers began this trend again. We like to use local textiles, to promote the local market. We like to use our traditional fabrics, but incorporate it with American clothing. Very few times do I wear a full Nigerian outfit. I like to pair Nigerian clothes with American clothes. This blend is the best of both worlds.


Do you think fashion is similar internationally? How so? What are some trends you think are similar across cultures?

One thing that is similar across cultures is clothing that fits the human form. This type of clothing is more personalized and form fitting. They are made to fit the body and the person doing the wearing. In Nigeria, the clothes are not mass produced. They get your measurements. I know other cultures do this as well. Some people do this to accentuate or to cover things up. Another common trend across cultures are white sneakers— I wear them everyday.


What are some trends unique to Nigeria?

The “ankara” and the personalization of clothing.

What is one fashion item you cannot live without?

I cannot live without my white sneakers. I already have three pairs. They wear out easily, because I wear them everyday. I am not a shoe person, so once I find a good pair, I stick with them. I also travel a lot, so it is nice to have a pair of shoes that go with everything.

What is some fashion advice you would like to offer readers?

Me giving fashion advice? My family would laugh. Fashion is great, but find things that are versatile. Try to minimize, so you don’t have piles of clothes. Be mindful, but still look good. Be mindful of the worth of things. Fashion is great, but remember that other things matter as well. I would love to have a big closet full of clothes and shoes, but there are other things in life that matter more.

Danny Tran


Class: Freshman

Hometown: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Danny Tran is a colorful ball of energy. His personality is vibrant and welcoming, which is represented through what he wears. He doesn’t like to live by other people’s standards. Pink is his favorite color to wear, and he loves to try new things. This guy is a natural trendsetter.

How would you describe your personal style?

I will wear anything that looks good on me. I don’t limit myself to one style concept. I like to be free. My style really doesn’t depend on anything. I get inspired by the people around me and the places I visit. Some people think, “Who would wear retro pink?” I would! People in Vietnam like streetwear. I like to blend streetwear with business casual. I have a very diverse closet. I can wear anything and not care. I have no boundaries. I just like to have fun.

How has your style changed since moving to Waco?

My style has only changed a little bit. I think less about what I wear now. Everyone here doesn’t really pay attention to what you wear. In Vietnam, people care. You have to be careful, because people will judge you. I am more free here. I can wear my PJs, and people think I look nice. People here are more open-minded. I wear whatever I want. I am more confident.

What are some ways you incorporate Vietnamese fashion to your American style?

In Vietnam, we don’t really have our own trends. We take ideas from neighboring countries, such as Korea and Japan. I get inspiration from people there. I wear lots of hoodies here, because in Vietnam I can’t—it’s too hot. I just wear a little bit of this and a little bit of that.


Do you think fashion is similar internationally? How so? What are some trends you think are similar across cultures?

Expensive streetwear is very trendy everywhere right now. People buy designer clothes to make themselves look good. They think, “if it’s expensive, it must look good.” Also, jeans and denim are so universal. The denim trend never dies. It always makes a comeback. It can always make you look good.

What are some trends unique to Vietnam?

There really aren’t any trends unique to just Vietnam. It’s a blend of cultures there. People are always adapting and taking inspiration from other people. They take inspiration from other people and then make it their own. The style in Vietnam is very Korean. We don’t have our own style, we just copy.

What is one fashion item you cannot live without?

Hoodies! I love hoodies. They make everything look better. The oversized hoodie is my favorite. I know my body type. Wearing slim stuff makes me look small. The oversized hoodie hides my size. I like coats too. I just really love to layer.

What is some fashion advice you would like to offer readers?

Be confident. You need to just be confident and wear what you buy. If you buy it, you must like it, so wear it. Don’t let other people’s opinion be your decision. Wear what brings out your personality. I am a boy and I love to wear purple and pink. I don’t like to just wear colors that are “boy colors.” I don’t care! They look good on me. But don’t be awkward. Don’t wear pink everyday. It would make you a pink freak. Wear pink once a week to stand out. I’m so energetic, so I like to wear colorful stuff. Fashion is strange. There is no standard. People can wear funky things and be happy. Try different fashions from different cultures. Wear whatever you look good in. Don’t wear something just because people say you look good in it. If it doesn’t make you happy, then don’t wear it.


Written by: Avery Owens

Edited by: Abby Sowder

Photos by: Avery Owens