When people think of Carnegie Mellon University, the first word that comes to mind is probably not fashion. However, sophomore computer science major, Darren Mok, hopes to change that. He wants campus to be seen as more than “one-dimensional.” As the creator of the CMU Lookbook page on Instagram (@cmu.lookbook), Mok hopes to bring awareness to the existence of the “underrepresented” style scene on campus and how it “tends to surprise you.”
While Carnegie Mellon may be like many other college campuses in that a lot of people will just throw on some sweats and call it a day, there are also many hidden gems on campus, and the goal of CMU Lookbook is to provide a platform to show that “people’s efforts are being noticed.”
Mok started the page back in Spring 2018, but had a small following of roughly 40 people. With merely a phone in hand, he was not a big fan of the aesthetic of his work, and took up more of an interest in the work once he was able to borrow a friend’s camera and eventually bring one of his own. After the account’s reboot in the Fall, however, things started to take off. CMU Lookbook has more than 500 followers and Mok’s photos have even garnered the positive attention and feedback of more than 5000 users on the r/streetwear thread on Reddit. Now, he brings a camera with him everywhere he goes, and he is extremely passionate about what he does, stating that it “motivates [him] to go to class,” since he shoots as much as he can when he has a free moment in the day.
While Mok himself tends to lean towards a grayscale wardrobe, he is also a huge “sneakerhead” (sneaker enthusiast) and advocates for color blocking, layering, patterns, and experimentation. When out and about taking photo, he approaches people based on the composition of the look, rather than something like brand name. If you scroll through the page, you’ll notice a lot of bright colors and bold patterns.
Mok has been interested in fashion for quite a while. Having lived in places like Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, he has been exposed to a wide variety of styles and trends in Asia. He feels that he “has definitely been influenced by the looks in Seoul…the people there are such innovators when it comes to style and fashion.” In the future, after getting more involved on campus, he hopes to bring the page abroad and try out new mediums like video lookbooks.
As for advice for those who may not be sure about how to step up their style game, he believes it is crucial to experiment and step outside your comfort zone. Some easy recommendations are to experiment with different sizing and fits, and to thrift since it is a cheap way to try new looks.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Mok on the Cut throughout the week, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your own style!