BCBGeneration: The Next Generation of Fashion at UC Irvine

“This is my generation. This is my sex appeal,” a throaty voice sings while images of a model in a snug tan sweater and a tiny skirt fastened from top to bottom with silver buttons flash across my laptop’s screen. It’s clear within the first few minutes of this video that this isn’t promoting your usual clothing brand. This is BCBGeneration, a brand-new line that’s the hipper, younger sister to Max Azria’s well-known BCBGMAXAZRIA label. BCBG, an acronym for the French slang saying, “bon chic, bon genre,” (“good style, good attitude” in English), was founded in 1989 by Max Azria and is currently based in Vernon, CA.

“BCBGeneration is a brand targeted to college students,” said Diana Kang, a third-year international studies major and a BCBGeneration college ambassador. Kang, Heidi Rom, a third-year global cultures major and Nina Sedighi, a second-year psychology major are the three ambassadors chosen by BCBG to promote their new brand to UC Irvine. The brand is “more youthful and fun” than the other labels under BCBG Max Azria Group, a company that carries labels like Hervé Léger, To the Max and, of course, BCBGMAXAZRIA.

Somehow, the people over at BCBGeneration successfully pinpointed the goals and traits of millions of college women. The company aims to cater to the needs of the Facebook, Twitter and Blogger generation — legions of young women who voice their opinion readily and instantly to anyone who’ll listen. This is exactly what the UCI ambassadors do via the Internet.

Acting as the stylish spokespeople for UCI, Kang, Rom and Sedighi contribute to the BCBGeneration’s blog, “The MILLE,” which is accessible from BCBGeneration.com. Along with other ambassadors from college campuses around the country, the girls write about topics such as the music they’re listening to at the moment, how to discern between real and counterfeit handbags and do-it-yourself projects.

Locally, the ambassadors organize events around UCI that spread the word about BCBGeneration and give out free goodies to students. In the past, they have had booths on Ring Road from which they gave away free tote bags, postcards, folders and men and women’s T-shirts. Worried that you missed out? The next booth will be set up on Thursday, April 23. Come prepared to play a game and win more BCBGeneration merchandise. Even styling is free; if you come to the ambassadors with your own BCBGeneration clothing, they’ll use their expertise to help you put together your outfits with no charge. On May 27, don’t miss the chance for more freebies at UCI’s Fashion Interest Group’s annual fashion show, where guests will have the opportunity to win BCBGeneration outfits and have their photos snapped against a BCBGeneration backdrop.

The actual BCBGeneration line is available at department stores like Macy’s in Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza. Consisting of casual everyday wear, business chic clothing that’s perfect for interviews, and plenty of dresses for day and night, the line is unique because it is made especially for women in college. While a standard BCBGMAXAZRIA cocktail dress would retail for at least $300, a dress from BCBGeneration would cost about $100.

Even though clothing and accessories aren’t available to order from BCBGeneration.com, the site does show the current season’s handbags, all for $148 and under. My favorite is an $88 art deco-inspired cross-body clutch that comes in black and oyster. At this price, a girl could buy both instead of saving up for just one designer version. Of course, since saving money is the goal, just one of the versatile bags is enough to go perfectly with any other chic BCBGeneration ensemble.

Along with Fashion Interest Group (of which Kang and Rom are founders and co-presidents), BCBGeneration is working to make UCI a more fashion-conscious campus. Needless to say, these groups aren’t meant to act as the dreaded “fashion police.” Rather, they are groups of students who work to encourage others to indulge in fashion as a form of self-expression and to use trends to connect to the culture that exists outside the confines of the classroom.