We’ve been to Wednesday Revs, investigated our friends’ New Year’s Eve attires, and even scouted out the Seeley library, all in the name of true investigative journalism – to find out what Cambridge students really wear. Well, what better place to look than the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show’s (CUCFS) launch party – where the most stylish students in Cambridge showed us how to dress for a night out. The launch party took place at Clare Cellars on 22nd January, followed by a Met Gala-themed afterparty hosted at Mash in collaboration with Queer Get Down.

The Met Gala as inspirationSitaram Thirukumar and Hannah Drayton with permission for Varsity

In light of the Met Gala-themed afterparty, many students who attended the launch drew inspiration from previous Met Gala red carpet looks and did not disappoint. “Heavenly Bodies: slut edition” is how Mia Connors, pictured the furthest to the right, describes her outfit – a twist on the 2018 Met Gala theme which took on the minds of the ‘Catholic Imagination’. Beside her, Shania McNally, this year’s CUCFS Vice President, dons a pink sequined skirt, in line with the 2019 Met Gala theme ‘Camp’. Zara, pictured on the left, similarly looked back to previous Met Galas for her look – she dazzles in chain-linked paillettes, inspired by Zendaya’s 2018 chainmail Joan of Arc custom Versace dress.

Men in Black?Hannah Drayton with permission for Varsity

But why stick to a specific Met Gala theme? Inspired by a common menswear trend at the Met Gala, the students show off smart suits with a twist. The open, funky, and patterned shirts paired with blacked-out sunglasses keep the outfits fun and nightclub-ready.

However, the CUCFS launch event was not only a pre-party to the Met-Gala-themed Mash club night, but also revealed this year’s CUCFS theme: ‘dissonance’.

“It’s really about ‘that eternal, unrelenting project of self-fashioning’”

Jude Jones, this year’s CUCFS President explains how the word ‘dissonance’, with its sense of inconsistency and discontinuity, captures the world of contemporary fashion as well as our everyday existence. For Jude, it’s really about “that eternal, unrelenting project of self-fashioning” and exploring the gap between ideals and fantasies, everyday life, and experience. The fashion show’s collections intend to capture “our desire to birth truth from dream; to curate ourselves, our appearances, and our bodies to the world”. Here at the launch event, we see how students use their imaginations to create looks reminiscent of iconic Met Gala outfits, but at the same time express their creativity and adapt ideas to their personal styles.

Elements of red are sure to make any outfit popSitaram Thirukumar and Hannah Drayton with permission for Varsity

For Hannah Drayton, Fashion Director of CUCFS, the Met Gala “always has an iconic theme” which is why it was chosen for this year’s theme reveal launch party. For Hannah, the Met “is all about creativity and experimenting with fashion”; on the right, we see one student take a creative spin on the character Woody from Toy Story – inspired by the 2019 Met Gala ‘Camp’ theme. On the left, we see an outfit influenced by ASAP Rocky at the 2023 Karl Lagerfeld-themed Met Gala, which was a tribute to Lagerfeld’s iconic full-skirt look in 2004.

Accessories were made to elevate all attiresHannah Drayton with permission for Varsity

Animal print shirts and sophisticated long jackets are excellent options to add a touch of intrigue to any outfit, while the sleek black opera gloves (pictured on the left) add a touch of sophistication – making this student’s outfit truly Met Gala ready. On the right, we see a delicate baby pink laced corset paired with a collared shirt and contrasted against a jet-black skirt, creating a playful yet dramatic contrast of colours.

‘Take it from these students and dress like fashion icons for your next uni night out’Sitaram Thirukumar and Hannah Drayton with permission for Varsity

A black velvet blazer over a sheer top? You really can’t go wrong. Just take off the blazer and you’re ready to hit the dance floor. Pictured to the right, Jude Jones pays homage to Cara Delevingne wearing Dior at the 2021 Met Gala: “although it did mean having to explain to a French friend what pegging means”.


Mountain View

Looking to the future of fashion

So there you have it, an exclusive insight into Cambridge’s most fashionable students. Feel inspired? Don’t wait for the next Met Gala to influence you to dress your best; take it from these students and dress like fashion icons for your next uni night out.