On a typical day, Kimberly Syuardi strolls through McKeldin Mall on a mission to find the University of Maryland’s most fashionable students. Phone in hand, Syuardi captures clothing like cropped graphic tees, leather corsets and cargo vests for her passion project, @umdfitcheck on Instagram.
Syuardi, a senior communication major, published the account’s first post in March of 2022. The account has since garnered over 800 followers, giving Syuardi a platform to create fashion-focused content in College Park.
The account shares fashion-based interviews with Maryland students around campus — some scheduled, some impromptu.
She said similar outfit-centered man-on-the-street interviews on Instagram Reels and TikTok — and a general lack of streetwear-centric media at this university — inspired her account. The reaction, Syuardi said, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Thankfully everyone thought it was a cool concept and idea to bring to campus,” Syuardi said. “I’d even have people direct message me on Instagram and be like, ‘This is such a cool idea, how can I be on here or how can I be interviewed?’”
Syuardi’s interests in fashion and video editing inspired the account, as well as her desire to provide a platform for marginalized voices. She says it represents an alignment of her personal and professional interests.
Syuardi is on the executive board of this university’s Fashion Business Association, an organization focused on promoting interest in business roles within the fashion industry. In the future, Syuardi hopes to bridge her two roles by creating collaborations between the association and her account.
The account’s on-campus presence has already expanded beyond Instagram’s digital boundaries. Syaurdi held her first pop-up thrift shop last November and a second in the spring. The idea for the events came from Ethan Pham, the founder of the on-campus vintage pop-up shop Retro Collegiate.
“I already had a side hobby of selling clothes on this app called Depop,” Syuardi said. “Ethan would host these pop-up stands, and I felt really inspired to bring my Depop online store to life.”
Jannah Nassar, a sophomore marketing and operations management and business analytics major, was featured on the account in April wearing a brown hijab over a lacy pink top.
Syuardi’s work has helped foster a positive environment for fashion and style on campus, Nassar said.
“It’s just a really nice, positive environment seeing people post their outfits and seeing all the comments obsessed with what they’re wearing,” Nassar said.
Syuardi believes the positivity her content fosters contributes to its appeal on campus. In every interview, Syuardi asks the same question: if they had one message to tell the world, what would they say?
Eric Kim, a junior information systems and operations management and business analytics major whose ensemble was featured on the account in April, saw the project as an example of a larger trend on campus.
“We’re starting to have more of a fashion culture at UMD,” Kim said, “[The account] can help expand that culture and introduce it to people who haven’t really been introduced to it before.”
As Syuardi begins her senior year, she’s considering what comes next for her account. Plans for this year include more pop-up events, collaborations with local flea markets and an overall effort to build the account’s brand beyond College Park.
Syuardi said she’s planning on taking the account with her when she graduates. She wants to change the account’s name to something more personal with less direct ties to this university.
“I was thinking about maybe, possibly handing it down to a lowerclassman,” Syaurdi said, “but I think it’s just such a personal and passionate project that I want to keep it in my name.”
Until then, the account will continue bringing the runway to College Park, shining a spotlight on the campus’s best-dressed.