Riley Brown, El Inde Arizona
Self-portrait of Mallory Barry, UA photography major and the person behind @spotteduofa.
Mallory Barry is on the lookout for stylish and unique Wildcats.
If she spots you on campus wearing an outfit that she likes, she’ll snap your picture and post it to her Instagram account @spotteduofa with 641 followers.
Although increasing in popularity, the photo still won’t gain as many likes as if she posted your photo on her other Instagram account @malbphotography, which has 25,100 followers.
Barry began going viral on Tik Tok and Instagram in 2020 when she started posting her ethereal and dream-like photos along with behind the scenes footage. Her followers on Tik Tok have climbed to 121,500. Due to her popularity, brands including Canon have paid Barry to promote them.
Photo of Rae Lord by Mallory Barry.
The creation of @spotteduofa happened a couple of years later in February 2022. Barry was inspired by her friend Nane Onanyan, who has a similar account @spotteducla. But Barry was a little hesitant because she was not sure she would spot enough people wearing outfits unique enough to post.
Onanyan told her that she had similar concerns at UCLA, but when she started looking around the California campus, she started to see more and more unique outfits worthy of an Instagram post, Barry recalled.
To spot these outfits Barry often has to sit and wait, but she sometimes feels bad “because I feel like people probably think that I am judging them when I am looking at them because I have to sit and analyze for a second to be like, okay like should I go up or something?” she said.
But once she has finished her analysis and made her decision, she often opens conversations with potential subjects with, “Excuse me, I love your outfit. I have this account where I post outfits I see on campus. Would you mind me posting yours?”
“I was so honored. I was like ‘Oh my gosh someone likes my outfit. That is so cool’,” said Elizabeth Badowski, one of the recent features on Barry’s account.
Photo of Elizabeth Badowski from @spotteduofa Instagram account.
That day Badowski was wearing a skirt which “generally makes me really nervous because I am usually more of a tom-boy, but I figured I would challenge myself that day,” she said.
Badowski sees fashion as a creative outlet for herself and being approached by Barry that day made her feel confident.
“Not only does it boost someone’s confidence, it just reinforces that you can be creative and you can be yourself and somebody is going to like it,” said Badowski. “It brings out the best in people. People are out there doing what they love and she is here to showcase it.”
One of Barry’s reasons for sharing these outfits is because seeing a cute outfit, “just brightens your day.” She also likes to have pictures of people’s outfits to inspire her and others.
When it comes to Barry’s own personal style, “she has her style down so well. She has such a specific style and she has really honed it,” said Rowan Snider, Barry’s friend who also modeled for Barry’s photos several times.
Photo of Rowan Snider by Mallory Barry.
Snider said Barry loves pink and bows.
“Her whole wardrobe is so specifically her,” she added.
Barry did not fully develop her style until she moved from Birmingham, Alabama, to Tucson for school.
“I didn’t have the ability to fully figure out myself” in Birmingham, Barry said. “I just wanted to stay in line with everyone else.”
She did start to gravitate towards her current style when she was in high school, though.
“I thought I was courageous for wearing pom pom earrings in high school,” she said. But when she did, she thought, “OMG, this is crazy. like I am so scared,” she recalled.
Barry is graduating in May and hopes to go back to Birmingham for a few months to work on a photo series.
“Growing up, all I wanted to do was leave because I hated it, but I mean now after leaving, I am definitely homesick and really want to go back,” she said.
Barry said she is considering afterward to move to Los Angeles, where she lived for seven months during her sophomore year doing school online and freelancing photography.
That could mean the end of @spotteduofa, unless somebody steps in to take it over.
“Maybe if somebody decides they want to, they can reach out to me and I can pass it on,” said Barry.
Photo of Chloe Vance from @spotteduofa Instagram account.
El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.