CapU, What Are You Wearing?

Meet Mia Cullivan, MOPA Major

MAYUMI IZUMI // Columnist

Before majoring in communications at Capilano University, I studied fashion design at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Toronto and fashion merchandising at VCC (Vancouver Community College). Fashion was my first love.   Now, I am on a mission to find out what the CapU community is wearing, what influences the fashion trends on campus and discover who the people are behind the great OOTDs (outfits of the day).

Mia Cullivan (she/her) – CSU Surf Club President

I had the pleasure of meeting Mia Cullivan during English 295–Literary Publishing in October when she and the Capilano Cut team (Jay and Judah) came to film the in-class production of The Liar.  They interviewed Sophie Navarro, former Liar editor-in-chief; Ry Forsythe and myself.  Mia joined Capilano Cut in her first year at CapU to “meet other people in different programs and to collaborate on projects that would connect different parts of the university to the campus community.”

I admired her style and felt compelled to ask her where she shops.  Mia said, “Most of my clothes nowadays are thrifted. I love secondhand clothing because it gives clothes an extended lifespan and it makes me a lot more considerate of what I choose to buy.”

When asked who or what has been her greatest fashion influence, she informed me that she is inspired by the content creators @best.dressed and whom she follows on Instagram. She admires their unique mix of coquette pearl and lace, and streetwear leather and oversized denim.  Mia elaborated, “While I love dainty tops, surfing also influences my style both because of the culture and practicality.”

We are living in a time when regular people on social media platforms, not celebrities, are setting fashion trends and influencing their audience to buy certain brands or garments by offering their discount code in their profiles.  Home of Hershel, Vessi, Lululemon, Aritzia and Arc’teryx, Vancouver has several local fashion influencers with thousands of followers – @chloeyvr, @vancouverprgirl, @ohh.miaa and @haleyvillnea.

Mia is not only a member of Capilano Cut, but is also the CSU Surf Club President.  She is originally from the United States and learned to surf while she was still at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.  She took over the CSU club after the previous president became involved with the CSU Ski Club, but admits that she didn’t become good at surfing until last summer when she worked at a surf shop and started practising regularly with her coworkers.  She is grateful that she learned so much from them.

I asked Mia what her favourite outfit is and she told me that it’s one that is almost entirely thrifted. She loves pairing her black Gap leather jacket and white Brandy Melville top with Briggs New York pants and white Vans. The only part of her outfit that is not thrifted is her footwear.

Mia admitted that her interest in fashion did not start until she became a university student, which aligned with her starting to shop at thrift stores.  During her secondary school years, her clothing choices were based on whether they would keep her warm or cool, depending on the season.  

She credits thrifting as having influenced her wardrobe.  “I’d say my personal style is definitely still evolving but I feel the most like myself when I’m wearing an outfit that has a blend of softer accents with darker, more vintage pieces.” 

The CSU Surf Club President came to CapU straight out of high school and into the MOPA (Motion Picture Arts) program in August 2021.  She remarked that she feels fortunate to be studying a true passion of hers – one that stemmed from childhood. “It’s such an amazing experience to be constantly surrounded by people interested in film as much as you are because I never had that experience back home. I often made films entirely on my own, so I love being able to make films with others to see how much richer a visual story is with collaboration.”

Mia enjoys the university but suggested students would benefit from more activities and clubs in the campus community. Her overall experience has been a positive one, because she actively tries to involve herself in the clubs and events that are offered. She believes doing this allows her to make the most of her experience at CapU. 

After graduating, Mia plans to work in the Vancouver film industry and in five years, she would like to direct short films and have her own independent production company.  She added, “I’m still not exactly sure what I’d like to do as I have so many interests, but I do know that I want to tell stories that make a difference.”

If you would like to find out more about this talented and multi-faceted CapU student, you can follow her on her Instagram @mia.cullivan..

Cover photo credit:  Mia Cullivan

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