CapU, What Are You Wearing?

Meet Niko Williamson, CSU Women Students Liaison

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). 

Niko Williamson (she/her) – CSU Women Students Liaison

Niko Williamson is a very energetic second year interdisciplinary major, dedicated CSU (Capilano Students’ Union) Women Students Liaison, and self-professed thrifter. We both attended the September Social Mixer for Mature and Parent Students that I organized with the CSU staff and CapU student volunteers.  At the event, she donned a great outfit that was worth asking about.   

What first caught my eye was her Ukiyo-e designed shirt – a Japanese art form that originated in the 17th century during the Edo period. She had paired it with faded men’s jeans from Winners, a navy blue CapU sweatshirt tied around her waist and pink Air Force 1 sneakers. 

When asked how she would describe her style and if she had any favourite designers or brands, Niko said, “I’m not really sure how I would describe my style. I tend to dress based on my mood and with comfort in mind. I can’t really think of any favourite designers but I love watching videos of people making their own clothes on TikTok. Crochet videos and upcycling videos show up on my FYP [For You Page] all the time.”

Niko’s love for thrifting is undeniable, when asked where she shops the most she burst out, “I love thrifting! I found some of my favourite clothes thrifting. I love one of a kind clothes.” On a particularly lucky thrifting day, Niko found a handmade jacket made from upcycled jeans. Its lack of tag, and uneven stitching makes it unique and has become one of her favourite jackets.

Upcycling became popular in the1990s, but actually started in the1940s when there was a clothing ration during the war and fabric scraps were made into clothing, and old clothing was recycled and repaired. According to Forbes magazine, Gen Z (18 to 25 year-olds) are the leaders of shopping for upcycled products.

Niko graduated from Mountainside Secondary which is an alternative high school in North Vancouver. There, students showed up to classes in pyjamas while others came attired in platform heels and a face full of makeup.  The CSU student leader said, “I had my fair share of both. My high school was generally very accepting of alternative styles and people were comfortable to express themselves through style.” Niko and her friends could be found around the school campus, faces covered in glitter. She eventually became known around school for her long blue-purple coat (they called it her wizard cloak) that was worn all through winter – as well as the pink and purple dyed hair that matched.

She began CapU in the Fall of 2021 because she wanted to attend in person classes rather than online for the beginning of her university career, and chose Interdisciplinary Studies as her major so that she could enjoy the freedom of selecting whatever courses interested her.

“I started as the Women Students Liaison in May 2022 and it has been amazing.” Niko explained when asked what her experience has been during her time as a student leader.“I recently went to Victoria with the CSU and the Alliance of BC Students to lobby the provincial government on how they can support post secondary education.”  Prior to her role, she felt like her voice didn’t matter and it felt impossible to fix the problems she saw in the world. Niko feels like she is making a difference now and is excited to see where her role will take her. 

Her term as one of the CSU board of directors has been so pivotal, that she has aspirations to run for an executive position in the next general election. However, Niko is not sure about her future plans and admits, “That’s why I [chose] interdisciplinary studies. When meeting with MLAs in Victoria, one of them said she had a masters in interdisciplinary studies and it was so inspirational. I thought to myself that I could be an MLA too! I’m not too sure what I want to do, but I know I want to advocate for people and make a positive difference.”

If you would like to find out more about Niko, follow her on her Instagram @niko_williamson.

Second Photo credit:  Karan Saggu, Alliance of BC Students volunteer

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