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Student-Run Fashion Brand Promotes Kindness and Inclusivity, Reflects Views of Students on Campus

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

Article by Laura Wortman

“Spreading inclusivity, individuality, and kindness,” umdfitchecks’ Instagram bio reads.

Kindness. A word that is not usually associated with fashion or media.  Kimberly Syurdi made it a mission since her first Instagram interview to promote this alongside her passion for creating a safe space to showcase fashion around campus.

Syurdi, a junior media and digital communications major, first started posting interviews with university students in March 2022 where they would describe the different clothing pieces that make up their outfits. The interview ends with the interviewee telling the camera a message they felt should be told to the world.

These messages range from simple suggestions, like not taking life for granted, to more nuanced sayings, like mastering the art of detachment, leaving the viewer with food for thought.

“By asking them that, whatever resonates with the interviewee, they can have a space to share a positive thought, quote or message,” Syuardi said. “I think these words really have an effect on the viewer.”

In a recent interview with Gracie Hayden, a junior government and politics major, Hayden sported a fully thrifted look centered around a pink jacket and white skirt. Her message to the world highlighted the importance of “filling your own cup before pouring into others.”

“I definitely love the culture Kim is able to bring on campus,” Hayden said in a later interview. “There is not any brand she is following or anything that is really basic,  it’s all very unique.”

Each video takes about 20 minutes to edit. When editing multiple videos a day this could add up to hours of work, Syurdi explained. However, her love of freelancing and editing has motivated her and allowed the work to not be a stressor, but rather a passion project.

“I think clothes are definitive of our identity and it says so much about someone,” Syurdi said. “I want to be able to story tell everyone’s voice through their clothes.”

Syurdi’s brand has allowed her to see students sport a wide range of trends and express their own identities in a number of ways.

“In a lot of my interviews I’ve noticed not trends but timeless pieces,” she said. “For example, I see a lot of people rocking Doc Marten boots.” 

Her brand allows her to host events like a thrift pop-up shop. Inspired by Ethan Pham of UMD Thrift and Brian Spinner from Old Town, New Clothes, she hosted her first pop-up at Mckeldin in October. Although pop-ups are not Syurdi’s main focus for her brand, she is eager to be able to host more in the future.

For now, Syurdi plans on staying consistent with her content and expanding by starting specific interview segments. This includes a college bar series and student organization features in order to highlight campus life.