what do UMich students wear?

Hoping to get some insight into the trending styles on the University of Michigan campus, The Michigan Daily spoke with student fashionistas to see what looks are currently popular among the UM community.

In the fall of 2021, Kinesiology junior Jacob Melamed’s @umichfits Instagram account went viral across campus by highlighting student apparel at Diag. Melamed’s photography prowess created excitement among popular students and faculty on campus. The colorful site showcases a variety of styles and outfits, creating a source of chic inspiration.

In an interview with The Daily, Melamed said that the main reason for creating the Instagram page was to make new friends.

“I was a sophomore when I first arrived on campus and I had no friends,” Melamed said. “I love photography and I love fashion and I thought, ‘Well, if I photograph people who I think have cool outfits, then I have an excuse to be their friend.'”

During his shoots, Melamed is located in Diago or other places on campus with a lot of foot traffic and photographs individuals wearing clothes that match 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 distinct style that really goes with what they look like as a person — whether it’s physically or their mental attitude.”

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

“I saw a lot of dyed red hair…guys with sweaters, like grandpa’s sweaters, very vintage style…” Melamed said. “Now that it’s colder, I’m seeing more colorful coats. I slowly see myself moving away from the black puffer coat. There’s also more fur… I’ve seen a lot of fur coats or fashion accessories with fur.”

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

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

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

“One of the main trends I’ve noticed coming back is Y2K style — low-waisted jeans, fun patterns and pairing them with fun tops and shoes,” Beder said. “Definitely smaller sunglasses that are more pastel in color as well as small heels.”

When asked about her current favorite trend, Beder said she’s been experimenting with subversive fashion – a grunge style based on non-binarism and asymmetrical patterns. Beder said she believes students like her are starting to drift away from mainstream fashion.

“(Students) in Marke (school of art and design) are more into (subversive fashion) and kind of move away from mainstream fashion,” Beder said. “I found myself veering away from my … classic women’s t-shirts into something that’s more me and kind of makes it my own at the same time.”

Art & Design sophomore Emery Swirbalus also shared his thoughts on campus fashion 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 love the solid look of metal,” Swirbalus said.

Like Melamed, Swirbalus emphasized the fashion benefits of layering. Swirbalus also noted the rise of racerback jackets on campus, pieces she described as functional and stylish. Echoing Beder’s observations, Swirbalus talked about the recirculation of Y2K style, specifically wide-leg jeans with patterns and panels.

One thing Melamed, Beder and Swirbalus agree on is the popularity of student-created fashion. Whether students are swapping their clothes for something completely new or producing their own wardrobes and fashion labels, many UM students seem to be channeling their creative expression into fashion design.

“It’s really common to rework an older pair of pants or something you don’t use in your closet into something new. I think it’s a really great trend,” said Melamed. “Taking something old and making something new out of it.”

Whether you’re someone who wears their comfiest pajamas to class or someone who likes to take the time to pick out the perfect outfit, Melamed said there are many things to appreciate in student fashion choices.

“I think people should be more free to compliment other people’s clothes,” Melamed said. “I think it can be more normal. I think that’s a really cool thing. It can simply make someone’s day.”

Daily reporter Natalie Anderson can be reached at [email protected].

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