Engineering blogger to host fashion show

Jessica Lee

[Correction made on Nov. 9 at 2:12 p.m.: Added "not" to: "She advises those seeking to start a blog of their own to do it in the hopes of getting famous."]

Diya Liu is not afraid to mix a striped shirt with polka dotted shorts. The UT biochemistry and chemical engineering senior has a daring fashion sense that she documents on her blog, In Her Stilettos.

Now she will be showing off her sense of style by hosting a fashion show at the Mohawk next week. Liu is competing against four other college students across the nation in the Marie Claire Front Row College Challenge to win a summer internship at Marie Claire magazine.

After learning she had been selected to compete in the competition, Liu was flown to New York by Marie Claire in August to style and produce the upcoming show. She worked on everything from model casting to menu selection.

“The New York experience was surreal,” Liu said. “It was basically well over a couple of internships worth of experience compressed into two days. I got to meet so many people that are usually inaccessible.”

Models will be strutting down the runway wearing looks from LOFT as well as sporting Rimmel makeup. A few of Liu’s fellow members of University Fashion Group will also be helping out with the show.

Liu has taught herself the ins and outs of the blogosphere. Upon creating In Her Stilettos, Liu came to the realization that a blog is much more than snapping a few fashion photos and posting them online.

“To be a good fashion blogger, you have to be not just stylish, but you have to be a good photographer, a good website designer, a good PR person, a good writer,” Liu said. “It’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is.”

Though she lacks a formal education in fashion that her competitors — representing the University of Alabama, the University of Delaware and Penn State — can boast, Liu believes it is the self-taught knowledge of the business side of fashion that won her this opportunity.

But Liu does not plan to make the fashion world the home of her work stilettos anytime soon. After graduation, she plans to attend law school with the hopes of working in intellectual property law, which deals with copyrights, patents and other creations of the mind.

Liu is no stranger to copyright infringement. All the photos she uses on her blog are legally her own, but she regularly finds other Web users using the pictures without proper attribution. She advises those seeking to start a blog of their own to not do it in the hopes of getting famous.

“You have to be passionate about it,” Liu said. “At the end of the day, the amount of work I put into the website and how much I get paid for it — it’s probably minimum wage.”

And she also has to face criticism from some of her readers. It is easy to be anonymous on the Internet, and Liu has developed a thick skin when it comes to reading mean comments.

“Fashion is harsh, and there are a lot more people used to criticizing,” Liu said. “It’s something that’s subjective and not objective. There is no definitive answer for who is stylish.”

Liu describes her fashion as vintage-inspired and extremely girly. She likes to experiment with both color and texture. Liu finds herself shopping at local haunts such as Dog & Pony and the vintage stores on South Congress Avenue.

Journalism junior Olivia Watson is an avid fashion blog reader and commends Liu on her success with In Her Stilettos. “I think she has a really interesting style, and I hope she wins so everyone can see how stylish our school is.”

Liu hopes to do just that. She reiterates how thankful she is that the UT faculty has been so understanding with her absences from classes in preparation for the show and urges students to come out and celebrate with her.

“The Marie Claire fashion editor will be there, and the whole event is being done by a professional production company based out of L.A.,” Liu said. “It should be a great experience.”

Printed on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 as: Engineering student takes on runway