TMU archives

An exclusive look inside the genius of TMU Archives

An exclusive look inside the genius of TMU Archives

First ever inside scoop on Toronto Metropolitan's most beloved fit-pic chroniclers

With their first Instagram upload being just over a year ago, the masked figures behind the TMU Archives account have shot to fame on campus as a beacon of fashion inspiration in the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) community.

Though they remain anonymous, Youthquaker's Cris Nippard and Daisy Woelfling managed to sit down and discuss the dynamic trios' unknown and humble beginnings on Oct. 24, 2023.

On the second floor of the SCC, we saw them closely huddled in distinctive clothing reflective of our campus. We started off with some simple questions about who they were. For the sake of their anonymity, we will not refer to them by name.

DAISY WOELFLING

So, just to get a little bit of background on TMU Archives and how it all came together. Well, first of all, when did you start it?

TMU ARCHIVES 1

We started it in our first year. So, last year.

TMU ARCHIVES

Yeah. I think the first post was maybe in Oct.

DW

Okay. So, Oct. 2022.

tmu archivesCRIS NIPPARD

And how did you guys meet?

TMU ARCHIVES 3

So I met one of them because we were in the same program. I was originally in Social Work. So I met them through other friends within the program.

And then I met the other one because we knew each other from Instagram. But then when I was in the SLC, I bumped into them in the elevators.

I was like, "Wait, I know you." And they were like, "I know you too." And yeah, we went our separate ways. And then we started hanging out together again like the next week or so.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Then we all just merged, like all of our friend groups.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

After that, we just started hanging out more and I really liked them. I was, like, they’re actually really cool to be around. And I saw them more.

The SLC sixth floor was like our floor during first year. Like we'd always just be there and everyone would know. And then honestly, one day when we were just sitting in the SLC, I remembered that, at the time, there was @416_fits

in Toronto. And I was like, it'd be so cool if someone did one for TMU. And then we just were all kind of like, wait, why don't we just do something for fun? And then I remember that same time, I think that same day, we made the account.

TMU ARCHIVES 3

We started thinking about names and just looking around for people to scout.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

Picking a name was actually so frustrating.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Yeah, until they were like "TMU Archives"

DW

And look at how far it's come. Why choose to stay anonymous?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

I feel like the focus is always fashion. So I feel like we're trying to remove the competition part of it. I felt like if we presented ourselves as like, the people who are scouting, it would be very like, "Oh, fashion is up to just our standard of fashion." 

So, I feel like if it came from a more of an anonymous point of view then it's like, "We don't know who's scouting. We don't know where it's coming from."

TMU ARCHIVES 3

Yeah, because then we'll be able to scout more diverse styles in a broader way. Compared to people being like, "Oh, this isn't really your style. Why would you post this?" And that would cause a whole thing with judging and stuff.

DW

So preventing it from being compared to you guys as the people behind it. I think it leaves more focus on the subjects as well.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

It also prevented people from finding us and tracking us down and wanting us to take their photo.

CN

So, do you guys think that because you chose to remain anonymous you have significantly less bias on what you post?

TMU ARCHIVES 1

Yeah.

CN

So, would you consider TMU Archives biased at all?

DW

Even if it's subconscious. Do you think there is a certain slant that you bring to it?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

There definitely is.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

Yeah, we kind of just always look for something that is very cool. Something that's very out there. And I think that sometimes in our eyes we're very locked in on the same thing. Like, we kind of like the same styles. We'll communicate and we'll send each other stuff like, "Oh, wow, this is really cool."

We're on the same page. So sometimes, the account can read like that, especially people who know us and our friends will be like, "Wait, maybe the last six posts you guys have are kind of similar. Spice it up."

And so, I think with that bias, though, we're still able to kind of just check in with each other and be like, "You know, maybe it's like a little bias. Let's try our best to use our third eye and not just go for something that we would personally like."

TMU ARCHIVES 2

We’ve also started expanding our group a bit to combat that bias.

DW

And bring in other perspectives?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Exactly, bringing other perspectives in and getting different voices. So it's not just us now that scout the people outside but maybe like, six other people.

DW

Follow up question, what does it take to get featured on TMU Archives? What are some specific things that you look for when scouting outfits on campus?

TMU ARCHIVES 3

I don't think we have a specific standard. But, if you're like, expressing yourself to the fullest in your outfit, then that's something like we would notice and take account of.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

We also look for confidence. Like if I see you strutting down Gould Street and you're confident in what you're wearing and owning everything. Yeah, that's what gets us.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

They basically answered both my points. I get made fun of for my walk sometimes because I strut and it’s confident. So it's one thing where I'm like, if someone has a walk like mine, I can just sense good energy, and like, a really cool fit, I'm jonesing.

I honestly don't take a lot of the pictures anymore. But the pictures that I still take and the people that I do talk to have like that same energy.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

We look for something that's original and specific to them, exactly.

CN

What would you guys consider like your scouting process? How does inspiration strike?

TMU ARCHIVES 1

When it's hot outside, we'll be outside around campus. If we just look at you and we see you, we just kind of give each other a look. And we're like, "Yeah. We have to get up. We have to go."

I think the one thing that we also talked about is people watching. It plays into this because even when I'm alone and I'm not with anyone who's working on TMU Archives with us, I will just people watch. Maybe I'm journaling in the quad and I'll just look around and I'm like, "Oh, wait, maybe there is someone."

tmu archivesDW

I love some people watching myself. Do you think that you've had any effect on the style of TMU students, what they deem as trendy, and how they choose to present themselves?

CN

Like, do you think that the TMU Archives influence has shifted what is desirable fashion on TMU campus?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Personally, I don't think so. I feel like everyone has their original style and people that are like, fashionable and authentic about it. I feel like we haven't shifted that. I feel like our account definitely motivates people to come outside and express themselves.

We interviewed someone a few days ago because we're gonna start doing some reels and stuff. She said in her first year, she wished that there was something that motivated her to step outside in her outfits. She felt like everyone else on campus wasn't wearing cool or out of the norm outfits.

DW

Yeah. You did say that some people would come up to you trying to get featured. Do you think maybe you had an influence on those people and how they chose to dress to cater to your aesthetic?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Oh, yeah. So, some people. It depends. Like certain crowds.

TMU ARCHIVES 3

Yeah, when people do come up to us, it makes it just feel less authentic. They're only dressing this way to be featured on the page to get more attention for themselves rather than the whole purpose of the account, which is self expression.

CN

You kind of mentioned your interviews earlier. I noticed as I was going through your posts that you guys have kind of shifted to a more personalized interview format in your captions. I was just wondering what inspired that personal format, rather than your old style of just highlighting what the person is wearing.

TMU ARCHIVES 3

So at the start of first year, it was hard for all three of us to talk to people and find people to make friends with. So we thought this could be a good way to meet new people and make new connections. It kind of actually made us be best friends with new people now, compared to last year. It helps us talk to people and communicate.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

I also feel like from last year, we really tried to highlight people's outfits, as you guys just said, but we also realized that it kind of gets a little boring.

The one thing about fit accounts is that if you just keep posting a fit and no one really sees a change in how you're posting it, they kind of get a little bored.

It's like a TikTok trend that's off the charts for like two weeks and then next thing you know it's gone. So in doing personalized captions, it makes our audience think, "Oh wow, they take the time to actually stop and have a conversation."

We've even done voice recordings too where we take snippets from them and just leave it as that. And that's also something that we try to do when we scout people, we try not to just have an interaction like, "Oh my God! let me take a picture of this!"

We like to be like, "Oh, what major are you in? What do you do around TMU? Are you involved in anything fashion related or do you just dress the way that you dress purely because you like doing it?"

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Yeah, even sometimes we ask people what their favourite song is or what their inspiration for their outfit was. Yeah, it’s like a little time capsule.

DW

Yeah. I think this leads well into our next question. Has anyone that you featured influenced your own personal styles?

TMU ARCHIVES 1

Oh, yeah. I've had a few people with, again, layering for fall. I love that. But also I've seen people like layer belts and layer jewelry and accessories like that. And I've especially started layering belts lately. I love double-belting things. So it's definitely something that I've taken from the account as well.

And honestly, sometimes I will just use it as a little style guide. I like the way I dress. But also sometimes I'm like, "Oh, let me take inspiration from someone else and try to make it my own, you know?"

TMU ARCHIVES 3

It also influenced me for the better because when I first started university, I was mostly wearing basic clothes. Usually just a black shirt and black pants because I was scared to stick out and then be targeted.

It's like seeing people wear what they want and be happy in what they wear made me want to wear what I want to wear. Not for them but for myself.

CN

And what do you guys think is the biggest takeaway you've gotten from running this account?

TMU ARCHIVES 1

I think honestly, for me personally, it's really just been about meeting cool people. Just like, genuinely getting to connect with whoever we scout and our audience on the basis that we all love clothing. We all love fashion. We all love thrifting. We love the whole culture behind clothing and how cool someone can be in clothes.

DW

Yeah. Being constantly on the lookout for street style looks to feature, I'm sure you have a good sense of what fashion trends are going on right now. So what do you think are some of the biggest trends right now? And what do you foresee becoming popular in the future? A little trend forecasting question for you.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Next big trend would be cowboy boots. Last year at this time, I don't think there would be a lot of people in cowboy boots. So I think cowboy boots, maybe with jorts.

TMU ARCHIVES 3

I've also noticed double denim being more popular lately. A few years ago, people were saying it was cringe or tacky. But recently, I've been seeing more people wear double denim.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

One for me is, it's more tailored towards men but, blokecore. It’s like soccer jerseys with jeans. I find it interesting because it's like you're combining jerseys with like, really nice shoes. And then like a really nice pair of jeans and it's kind of sporty on top and then kind of dress down on the bottom.

DW

And what do we think are going to become some popular fashion trends in the foreseeable future?

TMU ARCHIVES 1

I honestly think that the 70s is gonna make a big comeback soon. Like, I have a feeling the 70s or 80s even. I know people have a lot of flair jeans, but like bell bottoms and stuff like that.

I know it's gonna be like, some TikTok thing where someone is wearing them and it looks so cool and everyone will say like, "Wait, I need bell bottoms. Like I need to own them." That's my prediction.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Personally, I think vintage is gonna start fading away. Y2K as well. Yeah, it's gonna start shifting to more like, solid colours. More designer.

tmu archivesDW

And to wrap it up, what is next for TMU Archives? What have you got planned for the future?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Hmmm... What can we share?

DW

Whatever you can reveal.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Okay, we're coming out with some Reels. We're gonna try to post some Reels. They'll already be posted by the time this comes out.

DW

So more like a street interview format?

TMU ARCHIVES 2

Exactly. More authenticity is coming your way.

TMU ARCHIVES 1

And I'll allude to something. We have something that will hopefully really bring our community together a lot more and it'll be something that a lot of people will like. We'll see.

TMU ARCHIVES 2

A very big project.

--

It's safe to say that the entire fashion community at TMU is eagerly awaiting what’s next for campus’s most iconic fit-pics account. Who knows, maybe they will reveal themselves to us all soon. For now, everyone will be tuned in on @TMUArchives on Instagram.

This article is from Youthquaker Magazine, a print arts & culture publication pushing youth-driven journalism on untapped multidisciplinary subject matter.


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