Interview: Meet the Edi student and viral TikToker teaching high fashion to the masses
He got into fashion after attending military boarding school
Have you ever seen clips from a fashion show and wondered, “who actually gets to wear that clothing?”
The answer: a first year at Edinburgh University.
Ben Park, or FashionBoy as he is known on TikTok, is a creator educating the masses on the fashion industry: its history, what it entails and what you should and shouldn’t be aware of. Having amassed over 1.6 million likes and over 88 thousand followers, Ben hopes to inform and educate on the often inaccessible and somewhat exclusive world of high fashion.
The Tab spoke to Ben who is a fresher at Edinburgh University this year about all manner of subjects from his time at military boarding school to the aims of his current content to his thoughts on Edinburgh’s own patented fashion of flares and puffer jackets. One thing is clear: Ben is passionate about all things fashion.
How did you first get into Fashion?
I went to a military boarding school so I wasn’t isolated but kind of detached from the world in general. One of the magazines we got to our boarding house was Vogue. So, I would go through all of the media we got into the house, reading all of the newspapers and eventually settled on Vogue.
I’ve always been relativity creative, but I can’t draw or anything so fashion felt like the most tangible and achievable creative outlet that would be possible.
So yeah, I had the influence of Vogue and stuff like that, but also in my boarding house it was mostly international. All of a sudden, I went from a small Jewish family in London to people wearing things like Nigerian traditional dress, saris and lehengas from Nepal and India, traditional Chinese dress, kimonos, all of these things. A lot of people wore traditional dress to proms and other events, and I was really interested in the relationship between fashion and cultural identity, then sort of explored that from there. Perhaps in a less intellectual way, more as a love for them that started out of curiosity.
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If you had to construct the best basic outfit, what would that be for you?
It would be a good boot, like a pair of black Fendi boots. Then a pair of black trousers, just like a black suit trouser with a crease down the front, I really love that more like traditional style. Then a shirt, I really love Prada Camp-Collar shirts, even though, ugh, they set you back an arm and a leg. But I do love them.
I think knitwear is, like, the next frontier for men’s design because for so long knitwear has been really quite uninteresting. You know, we were dealing with the basic Dolce & Gabbana and similar stuff in the 2000s, and it was very much hyper-masculinised or the opposite would be Tom Ford’s uber-sexualised knitwear. So, there was never anything for the majority of people’s body types or taste. Whereas now, the design world has exploded. So many young designers are influencing big fashion houses now, so we have great shirting and great knitwear, finally. It hasn’t existed in the sort of fashion stratosphere ever which is great.
A good outfit for a girl would be these Fendi Colibri shoes, which are super cute. Along with a Self Portrait dress is always a great look. I actually know the founder of Self Portrait, Han Chong, and he is such a great guy. Everything he designs is so fascinating.
What are your aims with the content you are creating, especially with the videos you are making over on TikTok?
I started getting into the fashion industry when I was around 16. I don’t have parents who, you know, would just open their cheque books – all of my designer stuff I have bought myself through businesses I have set up on the side. A big thing for me when I was trying to get into fashion was it was totally inaccessible.
The first thing lots of people [who love fashion] will do is go to Amazon and look up fashion books, which will set you back over £30 a book, so it’s expensive. I wanted to provide impartial, honest fashion, style “documentary-esque” comments that hopefully seemed to take the pretence out of fashion and were just really accessible.
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I wanted to make something that was as accessible as possible and as educational as possible but didn’t intimidate people. I felt quite intimidated when approaching fashion. So, it was important I made something that was just a bit fun. Clothes are there to be enjoyed and should be.
How are you finding dressing up for online lectures and uni, are you doing so?
Yeah, I do dress up still, I have a couple of live tutorials that are in person, a couple a week with the rest all being over Zoom or Teams, but I do like to dress up still. Every day I get up and dress just because it’s good for my mental health. It keeps me ticking over and not feeling too nervous or informal.
What are your thoughts on Edinburgh fashion? Puffer jackets, flares, etc.
Yeah, it’s all very rah rah isn’t it? A lot of my friends do dress like that, but yeah, it’s very similar to how people would dress at the boarding school I went to. There is a certain type of person who dresses like that, and you know they have the mullets now. It is very sort of yah, but they are very fun. I do enjoy it, and I love people watching.
I love the Edinburgh fashion to be honest. I think if there is a time to do it, do it now. Enjoy that uni experience. Chunky trainers I love. I love the puffers with the flared jeans and the mullets. I think it is all just great fun.
One thing I like about fashion is when people enjoy it. Fashion is meant to be enjoyed. If you are wearing something that restricts you, you’re doing it wrong. I know people say suffer for fashion – you know, put on a pair of boots you love but are a bit tight sure, but the whole point is expression. So, I love the Edinburgh style, because people seem to genuinely enjoy it, so I love that.