Review: Instinct – 2017 University of Minnesota Apparel Design Fashion Show

The University of Minnesota’s annual apparel design fashion show provides a great opportunity to get a glimpse at the rising talents on the local fashion scene before they launch their own lines—or land plum jobs designing apparel for Target. This year’s show, “Instinct,” featured increasingly well-crafted lines from 15 graduating seniors, most of which showed strong potential for future design careers.

Among the 15, three designers in particular stood out: Melissa (Fiedt) Jereczek, Sophia Gilligan, and Abby Schumacher.

Melissa Jereczek

When it came to off-the-rack salability and sophistication, none had Jereczek beat. Her bohemian resort wear collection was inspired by a trip to Sedona, Arizona, and its warm palette and vibrant patterns clearly evoked the colors of the red rock mountains and the textures of the southwest desert. I could easily see her relaxed yet glamorous dresses and separates flying off the racks of an upscale boutique. Jereczek, who is currently interning with the successful local clothing chain Primp, has clearly already learned a lot about designing retail-ready garments that women want to wear.

Looks by Melissa Jereczek, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Sophia Gilligan

I was positively charmed by Gilligan’s sporty spring/summer collection, which married modern art details with European street chic. The collection offers pieces that were simple yet not basic, offset by whimsical details such as ruffle-hemmed pants, asymmetrical lines, bold colors, and bright stripes. It’s no surprise that Gilligan’s collection had a European flair to it—she previously studied at the London College of Fashion and has interned with Ulla Johnson in New York City and Clare V. in Los Angeles, two designers known for their globe-trotting details and strong silhouettes.

looks by Sophia Gilligan, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Abby Schumacher

Using a neutral palette of peach, cream, and rose, Abby Schumacher presented a collection of chic, loose-fitting jackets and dresses that featured unusual pairings, such as a fringed minidress layered over a sheer turtleneck and shirttail skirt. Despite the many elements incorporated into one look, the collection held together, thanks to the muted color scheme and softness of the fabrics. The designer’s cream shirt dress, which literally read “A Cool Saying,” demonstrated a refreshing sense of wit, making even the most jaded among the fashion set smirk.

looks by Abby Schumacher, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Honorable mentions:

I couldn’t help but be charmed by the two menswear collections that walked the runway that evening—Megan Clarke’s avian-themed line and Willis Batz-Kamby’s fresh, colorful streetwear. I also enjoyed Sinéad Kelly’s exuberant, quirky-cool line, Mikaela Harrod’s world-traveler boho collection, and Marina Qualey’s quiet, architectural line.

looks by Megan Clarke, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Looks by Willis Batz-KambY, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Looks by Sinéad Kelly, photo: Bryan Humphrey

looks by Mikaela Harrod, photo: Bryan Humphrey

looks by Marina Qualey, photo: Bryan Humphrey

More collections from the 2017 Instinct fashion show:

Looks by Madelyn Topp, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Looks by Sarah Klecker, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Looks by Kina Vang, photo: Bryan Humphrey

looks by Sydney moustakis, photo: Bryan Humphrey

looks by Kyrie Todd, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Looks by Sarah Mirman, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Looks by Aaronn Richter, photo: Bryan Humphrey

Learn more about Instinct, this year’s Apparel Design Fashion Show at the University of Minnesota, at

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