Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

House of Eprouver brings fashion culture to campus

In her knee-high Italian leather boots, high-wasted denim, red leather jacket and army fatigue hat adorned in a custom Michael Jackson button, Lena Hardy stands out in the crowd.

“My style definitely matches my personality,” Hardy, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film, said. “It’s all the people I love. It’s Michael Jackson, with a swirl of Whitney Houston, with a twist of Beyonce.”

Hardy is the president of House of Éprouver, a student fashion and lifestyle organization that was founded in 2009. Hardy said the house is composed of students from all majors coming together to express their passion and love for fashion.

The diversity in majors from the members of House of Éprouver has been beneficial in the organization’s success in putting on innovative fashion events such as its fashion show titled Static.

Daniel Barnes, House of Éprouver vice president and a senior majoring in telecommunication and film, said planning Static took talent in marketing, film, advertising and business along with fashion.

The Static fashion show featured clothes bought exclusively in thrift stores that were revamped to make one-of-a-kind pieces. After the fashion show, students were able to visit the Static store and purchase their favorite pieces. In its first year, Static sales money was donated to victims of the April 27, 2011, tornado, and last year the money was donated to Arts ‘n Autism.

Barnes, a self-proclaimed thrift-shopping enthusiast, said although thrift-store shopping is a fad that will eventually die out, he thinks thrift stores are the best place to find uncommon clothing.

“Thrifting allows for originality where you can mix things up and not look like everyone else,” Barnes said. “There’s also a sense of pride of finding something in the thrift store.”

Barnes said the Static fashion show supports one of House of Éprouver’s main goals to promote practical, creative fashion rather than high-couture fashion. House of Éprouver strives to promote a strong fashion presence on campus, in the Tuscaloosa community, and in Alabama as a whole.

Giani Martin, a House of Éprouver member and sophomore majoring in apparel design and marketing, said the term fashion is often used too loosely to describe trends and fads.

“With fashion, we like to think of what’s in and what’s hot, but really it’s about what makes you you,” Martin said. “The major thing with Éprouver is bringing out people’s inner style.”

With only 20 members, House of Éprouver is a relatively small campus organization. But the strong bonds among House of Éprouver’s members make up what they lack in numbers. Hardy said although the house holds formal meetings once a week, its members are so close that they end up seeing each other nearly every day.

Barnes said what he enjoys most about House of Éprouver is that it offers a place for open expression where everyone can voice their opinions on fashion and other topics without fear of judgment. He said the creative thought encouraged by House of Éprouver helps to develop personal style.

“There’s a lot of personality in clothing that a lot of people don’t realize,” Barnes said. “It’s the ultimate free expression. We’re trying to get [the] message out that you can express yourself through your clothes.”

After the success of its first two Static events, House of Éprouver is planning to host its third Static in the spring. The organization also plans to host a user-submitted fashion contest followed by a fashion award ceremony and to start an online fashion magazine called y=mx=b.

Hardy said the originality of the members in House of Éprouver makes the organization different from others on campus.

“We don’t follow trends,” Hardy said. “We follow who we are, and that’s the difference in us and everyone else on campus. We make sure we know who we are, and we stay true to ourselves.”


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