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Streetstyle Snapshots

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Streetstyle Snapshots

Photos courtesy of Streets of Chambana Dameun Kim, 2013 alumna in FAA

Photos courtesy of Streets of Chambana Dameun Kim, 2013 alumna in FAA

Photos courtesy of Streets of Chambana Dameun Kim, 2013 alumna in FAA

Photos courtesy of Streets of Chambana Dameun Kim, 2013 alumna in FAA

By Stephanie Kim

For anyone in doubt of the University hosting a “stylish campus,” Streets of Chambana might cause some double takes for its documentation of the local fashion scene.

Created and maintained by 2013 alumnus Nkemka Uche, Streets of Chambana is a street style fashion blog meant to share photos of fashion statements found throughout Champaign-Urbana. Each photo is accompanied with nothing more than its location, because the focus of the blog is more on the outfit than the person, Uche said. Because of this, Uche’s preference is the main determining factor for which outfits are photographed. 

“It’s totally subjective because I have to like your outfit,” Uche said. “(But) I don’t know that I photograph one style more than the other or that all my photographs are all under the same style.”

On June 15, 2012, Uche created the photography blog via Tumblr and a linked Facebook page. Since then, Streets of Chambana has been growing in its popularity and online presence, with now more than 120 Facebook likes. The blog currently has 177 posts that feature photos of diverse outfits found in various campus locations such as Green Street, the Quad and Washington Street.

“I’m always surprised when I approach people for a photograph and they already know about Streets of Chambana,” he said. “People often tell me that the blog has made them more aware of outfits around campus.”

This was true for architecture graduate student Corey Buss, who was photographed on South Sixth Street after having dinner with friends.

“It fascinates me to see how people choose to represent themselves through clothing. It’s an extension of who you are, whether for better or worse,” Buss said. “I have to say I scrolled through the blog in search of a few style tips myself.”

Growing up in Nigeria, Uche became interested in photography as a child while looking through the pages of his grandfather’s Time magazines. But his interest in fashion only started a few years ago when he came across street style blogs online. 

After following street blogs like Garance Doré and Jak & Jil, Uche came up with the idea of creating a fashion blog of his own. But it was the people he saw on campus that inspired him to create Streets of Chambana, he said.

The blog’s growing popularity has made Uche feel he has achieved his main goal for the blog: to help others realize that the University is a stylish place. However, with a recent move to Lagos, Nigeria, Uche had to make some changes. 

Last December, Uche graduated with a master’s degree in urban planning and concentration in transportation planning, and he left campus to find a job in Nigeria to help solve their transportation issues. He is currently a member of the National Youth Service Corp, a one-year mandatory program for college graduates seeking employment in Nigeria. 

Before leaving, his friend and fellow University student Samuel Ojogbo approached him with the idea of creating a campus correspondent to continue taking photos in Champaign-Urbana. This was a way to learn more about photography and fashion from his “senior brother,” Ojogbo said.

“I met (Uche) when I was a freshman in college. (Uche) is like a brother to me,” said Ojogbo, junior in Engineering. “I asked him to teach me about photography and he introduced me to the blog.”

They have been collaborating ever since, although new pictures have not yet been added since the spring semester’s recent start. But they hope to continue the tradition of displaying the “most brilliant of outfits” by working together, and even plan on finding another person to replace Ojogbo after he graduates. 

For now, Uche plans to keep the name of the blog because of the connection he felt with campus. But he wants to expand the blog by including fashion seen in Nigeria and in places he may travel to in the future.

“I don’t know exactly what I will be photographing in Nigeria quite yet,” he said. “You would have to follow the blog to find out.”

To follow Nkemka’s future photography endeavors, visit streetsofchambana.tumblr.com and their Facebook page.

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Stephanie can be reached at [email protected].

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