Credit: Courtesy @hotticket_ucsb

At University of California Santa Barbara, strolling across campus may result in more than just a tranquil walk. A student-run Instagram account under the username @hotticket_ucsb has shaken the college’s fashion community, anonymously posting images of students, faculty, and passersby alike in their most stylish outfits, highlighting who, in fact, has the fashionable “hot ticket.”

The account, run by UCSB students Cynthia Wong and Laura Witucka, featured its first post in April: an image capturing two passing students in brightly patterned blouses and flare jeans walking in front of the campus’s convenience store The Arbor. Following this post are hundreds of images of passersby in quirky outfits walking around this same location, highlighting the diverse amalgamation of styles found in the UCSB community.

Wong describes the inspiration behind the account: “Hot Ticket was created on a random day Laura and I were sitting on the grass in front of The Arbor. We would sit there almost every day in between classes and just watch people walk by, and sometimes we’d spot cool outfits that we liked, so we made the Instagram account — kind of as a joke and for ourselves — to document and highlight the different outfits that students and faculty wore.”

Credit: Courtesy @hotticket_ucsb

Although the account began lightheartedly, it has since reached more than 7,000 followers, with extensive interactions from students regularly recognizing themselves and their outfits in Hot Ticket’s latest posts. Wong commented on the unexpected influence the account has: “We definitely weren’t expecting the growth and attention that this account gained since last spring…. Even though the account has gained so much attention, we still treat it the same way: We just post the outfits we like and hope that our followers still love it!”

While the account’s rise within the social sphere on UCSB’s campus was inadvertent, Wong notes that their aim is to help “people to take notice of fashion and get inspiration for their own style from their peers.” Hot Ticket is certainly successful in this, with each post representing a slice of the diverse and flowing state of expression that fashion embodies throughout the campus.

The creative process behind what initially appears to be a playful account dedicated to people-watching is more complex than simply snapping a few pictures of pedestrians each day. Wong says, “We usually take a lot of pictures, 100-200, of outfits that we like. Out of all of those outfits, we pick 10 that we like the most, are the most creative or eye-catching, to feature on our account…. We do have a disclaimer posted in our highlights that lets people know that they can message us at any time if they don’t want their picture on our account and that we’ll always take it down!”

In this sense, Hot Ticket is a flowering of the unique voices of fashion throughout the campus, portrayed vibrantly in the candid nature of the posted photographs. Through people-watching and running the account, Wong describes how “people walking by are kind of on a runway, and we can get a good perspective and view of their outfits.”Look toward the Hot Ticket account to not only spark some creativity when picking out a new outfit, but also as a celebration of fashion and the un-staged beauty of students forging a connection to one another through personal expression. 

Credit: Courtesy @hotticket_ucsb

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