Viral TikTok page showcases Northeastern fashion, cultivates community


Alexa Grayson, news staff

“Outfit of the day” videos, or OOTDs, of Northeastern students rose to TikTok fame in January when clips of student fashion began to attract hundreds of thousands of views. 

Behind the fashion-filled TikTok page is Ada Chen, a first-year business administration and psychology combined major. Her love for all things fashion inspired her to create @adach3n, she said.

Modeled after “WatchingNewYork,” a TikTok account dedicated to “capturing candid NYC street fashion,” Chen set out to highlight the college student fashion scene in her “What college students are wearing in Boston” video series. 

“I see so many people walking in really cool outfits or styles on campus and in the Boston area in general,” Chen said. “I just want to get to know them and have a platform where people can share their insights of fashion and style inspiration.” 

Chen began the series Jan. 17, when she was in the International Village dining hall with a friend, and they noticed a peer wearing a nice outfit. Chen immediately knew she wanted to interview her. 

“We waited for 20 minutes because I was so nervous,” Chen said. “But we went up to her and she was super sweet. It was a really fun experience.” 

Chen said her love of fashion and creative self-expression through clothing blossomed during the beginning of lockdown. 

“I would describe my style as minimalist street style. I usually get my inspiration from Scandinavian and Danish streetwear fashion and TV show characters from the 90s,” Chen said. “I wear a lot of neutral tones with designs on them like a basic tank top with a little design. I like neutrals because they go with everything but the special details give me personality.”

Chen is involved in The Northeastern Fashion Society and will be a stylist for its “Alice in Wonderland”-themed fashion runway show April 17 at 7 p.m. Chen is also a stylist for The Avenue Magazine, or Northeastern’s “premier fashion and culture magazine,” according to its website. 

Active in Northeastern’s fashion community, she believes the pandemic caused many people to look for innovative ways to explore their identities through fashion and other mediums. And bringing attention to this on social media has proven popular.

“Part 7” of Chen’s 20-part “OOTD” series garnered a lot of attention with about 378,200 views and 568 comments. 

Kaden Du, a first-year electrical and computer engineering combined major, was the star of the popular video. In the clip, he describes his stylish outfit, which included pants thrifted from Goodwill and a reversible jean jacket. 

Du, who met Chen through The Fashion Society, wasn’t expecting the video to blow up the way it did. 

“When mine went up, it was really funny. I wasn’t expecting anything, but then many of my friends from back home and here started to see the TikTok and would send it to me,” Du said. “Some of my friends were putting comments like ‘Venmo me $5 for his Instagram.’ … I gained probably 100 followers off of [the video].” 

A few weeks later “Part 14” of the ongoing series dropped Feb. 8 and was another hit, accumulating about 307,600 views and 259 comments.

The video featured Leo Kong, a second-year business administration and design combined major and global fashion studies minor. Kong, also in the Fashion Society, said that his friendship with Chen is never short of laughter.

“There’s a lot of banter,” Kong said.“I feel like [the TikTok interview] was probably the first serious conversation and probably one of the hardest conversations we had, just because we couldn’t really keep laughing during the interview.” 

Chen said she is excited to further share her love of fashion with the community she cultivated on TikTok.

While Chen’s TikTok highlights the personal fashion journeys of Northeastern students, it’s not always easy to carve an identity through clothing, she said.

For those interested in fashion, Chen recommends using Pinterest to gain inspiration for personal style. She also emphasized the importance of shopping sustainably and ethically by going thrifting. Chen suggests thrifters visit “Boomerang” in Jamaica Plain and “Goodwill” in Roxbury respectively. 

Chen plans to continue making her TikTok videos and looks to expand the scope of her interviews by asking what inspires student fashion and how much students spend on their clothes. 

“I think it’s great that I’ve seen this content that I’m putting out created a little bit of a community on my TikTok,” Chen said. “It’s amazing and so much fun.”