In the year of low-rise jeans and Legally Blonde, Westwood’s chicest students created a fashion legacy. In 2001, a group of stylish UCLA undergraduates created FAST: Fashion and Student Trends. At a school without any fashion-related major or minor, FAST rapidly emerged as a style beacon, becoming the foremost club for discussing how to choose fabric swatches or debating the longevity of the culotte. Since its inception more than 20 years ago, FAST — and its media presence — has increasingly grown and intensified.
Social media and fashion became deeply intertwined with Instagram’s launch in 2010, and FAST responded tenfold. The club shared photos from its student-run photo shoots and quickly gained a devoted following, with its IG feed displaying pensive models in structured leather and draped patchwork. Anyone checking out FAST’s Instagram today will know what its nearly 4,000 followers already do — that they’re looking at a professional production, not just an undergraduate extracurricular club.
The club’s prolific social media presence has helped it step beyond UCLA’s campus to forge relationships with influential brands like Revolve and Depop, a London-based company focused on recycled fashion. Today, prospective students message with questions on how to join. “Incoming freshmen who haven’t stepped foot on campus yet have reached out, just having seen the projects that FAST does on social media,” says fourth-year student and club president Marcus Vidaurri.
Watch the 2023 FAST@UCLA Runway Show:
FAST’s online success can be attributed to the diversity and creativity of its members. The club’s 2023 Spring Runway Showcase featured collections from 20 designers, with themes ranging from Afrofuturism to Post-Apocalyptic Society to Antenna Technology. FAST gives its members full creative freedom and supports the ideology that inspiration can come from anywhere. “Each designer dreams up a collection on their own, and when it’s time to showcase that on the runway, there’s a natural diversity in what you see,” says Vidaurri, an engineering student. “FAST serves as the backdrop for the brilliant creative minds that make the show.”
FAST creates countless photo shoots, editorials and articles each year. But Vidaurri maintains that the goal isn’t so much to gain recognition as it is to encourage creatives to learn, develop and be a part of something greater. “FAST isn’t boxed in for just teaching and engaging and fashion,” he says. “There are so many life lessons that can come from being part of a community.”
Read more from UCLA Magazine’s Winter 2024 issue.