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In hopes of gaining insight into trending styles on the University of Michigan’s campus, The Michigan Daily sat down with student fashion connoisseurs to see what looks are currently popular among the U-M community.

In Fall 2021, Kinesiology junior Jacob Melamed’s Instagram account @umichfits went viral across campus by highligting student’s outfits on the Diag. Melamed’s photography skills sparked excitement for fashionable students and faculty on campus. The colorful page portrays a variety of styles and outfits, creating a feed of chic inspiration.

In an interview with The Daily, Melamed said the primary reason behind the creation of the Instagram page was to make new friends.

“I was a sophomore when I first got to campus and I didn’t have any friends,” Melamed said. “I like photography and I like fashion and I was thinking, ‘Well, if I take photos of people who I think have cool outfits, then I have an excuse to be their friend.’”

During his shoots, Melamed sets up at the Diag or other locations on campus with plenty of foot traffic and photographs individuals wearing garments that suit their character.

“I’m not looking for one particular style or one particular thing,” Melamed said. “I try and look for someone who really has their own distinguished style that really goes with who they seem to be as a person — whether that’s physically or their attitude mentally.”

With a change of the seasons comes a shift in stylistic choices. According to Melamed, winter brings more opportunities to experiment with layering. Recently, Melamed said he has noticed noticed several trends that have become more popular on the University’s campus with the arrival of colder weather.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of dyed red hair … guys with sweaters, like kind of grandpa sweaters, very vintage-esque…” Melamed said. “Now that it’s colder I’m seeing more colorful coats. I’m slowly seeing a drift away from the black puffer coat. There’s also more fur … I’ve been seeing lots of fur coats, or accessories with fur.”

But Melamed isn’t the only student on the U-M campus with an eye for fashion. Art & Design sophomore Annabel Beder told The Daily she’s also noticed certain trends circulating on campus and is trying out a few new ones herself.

“I think cargo pants have really populated this campus,” Beder said. “Along with fuzzy winter coats, low UGG boots, platform shoes, earmuffs, beanies without pom poms, turtlenecks and balaclavas.”

Additionally, Beder said she’s also noticed a resurgence in Y2K fashion circulating in new ways in the individual styles of U-M students. Y2K fashion, which refers to popular styles trending during the late ’90s and early 2000s, fuses millennial pop culture with inspiration from futuristic and retro looks. 

“One of the main trends I noticed coming back is Y2K style — low-waisted jeans, fun patterned prints and combining them with fun tops and shoes,” Beder said. “Definitely smaller sunglasses that are more pastel colored as well as kitten heels.”

When asked about her current favorite trend, Beder said she has been trying out subversive fashion — a grunge style based on non-binarism and asymmetrical patterns. Beder said she believes students like herself are starting to move away from mainstream fashion. 

“The (students) in Stamps (the School of Art & Design) have been getting more into (subversive fashion) and kind of straying away from mainstream fashion trends,” Beder said. “I’ve been finding myself kind of straying from my … classic girly tops into something that’s more myself and kind of making it my own at the same time.”

Art & Design sophomore Emery Swirbalus also shared their opinions about fashion on campus with The Daily, specifically regarding statement jewelry.

“I feel like I’m seeing big rings and necklaces everywhere,” Swirbalus said. “Lots of Chrome Hearts for sure. People just like the tough look of metal,” Swirbalus said.

Like Melamed, Swirbalus emphasized the fashionable benefits of layering. Swirbalus also pointed out an increase in the appearance of racing jackets on campus, pieces she described as both functional and stylish. Echoing the observations of Beder, Swirbalus spoke about a recirculation of Y2K style, more specifically in baggy jeans with patterns and panels.

One thing Melamed, Beder and Swirbalus all agree upon is the popularity of student-created fashion. Whether it’s students upcycling their clothing into something completely new, or producing their own wardrobes and fashion brands, it seems that many U-M students are funneling their creative expression into fashion design.

“It’s really common to upcycle older pants or something you’re not using in your closet into something new. I think that’s a really awesome trend,” Melamed said. “Taking something old and making something new out of it.”

Whether you’re someone who wears your most comfortable pajamas to class or someone who loves to take time choosing the perfect outfit, Melamed said there are many things to appreciate from student’s fashion choices.

“I think people should be more free about complimenting other people’s outfits,” Melamed said. “I think it can be more normal. I think it’s a really cool thing to do. It just can brighten someone’s day.”

Daily Staff Reporter Natalie Anderson can be reached at nateand@umich.edu.