There's More than Meets the Eye with Writing for Fashion
Popular New Course Teaches Essential Skills to Students of All Majors
Students of all majors are able to take a fashion class, thanks to the addition of Professor Halvorson’s Writing for Fashion course to the Marist curriculum.
Halvorson, a Professional Lecturer in the Fashion Program, teaches various classes at Marist aside from her newest class, including Fashion Magazine Production, Sustainability and Fashion, Knitwear Design, Textiles, and Visual Merchandising. She came up with the idea of the Writing for Fashion class over five years ago before the Fashion Program even had a magazine. “It was designed to develop strong, intelligent writing on topics related to fashion,” she explained. “Writing about fashion, a sensory experience requires rich, descriptive language absent a reliance on cliché.”
The class combines a focus on writing with other elements of magazine publishing, such as art direction and layout. The idea is that students will start in Writing for Fashion, move on to Fashion Magazine Production, and finally apply to make the magazine their senior capstone project.
However, the class is not limited to just fashion majors. Any student can apply for a position in the class, as Halvorson emphasizes, “talent is talent.” Not only is a Journalism major the Editorial Director but also Madison Sikorski, a senior Finance major and fashion merchandising minor, is the Art Director.
“Professor Halvorson sent an email explaining what the course was going to entail at the end of the Fall 2014 semester and encouraged me to apply,” Sikorski said. “I thought this class was a unique addition to the Fashion Merchandising program giving us the ability to completely conceptualize, create, and produce a tangible product (Marist Fashion Magazine) and I did not want to miss that opportunity.” As a result of how much she enjoyed the class, she enrolled in Magazine Production for the following semester.
During her time in the Writing for Fashion class, Sikorski noted how many skills she gained from it. By doing writing exercises, she learned how to avoid using clichés, how to write intriguing captions, and how to strengthen her editing skills. Other skills she attributes to the class include organization, time management, professionalism, collaboration, Adobe Suite, presenting, communication, visual thinking, and leadership.
“I highly recommend this course to other students, regardless of what they are studying at Marist,” she said. “All that is necessary is that the students have an interest in anything related to journalism, fashion, editorial production, graphic design, typography, magazines, art, or creative direction. It’s a new course and already such a success and I am eager to see what it produces in the future with the new talent to come.”
Halvorson emphasizes the benefits that students will gain from taking her classes. “Writing for Fashion and Fashion Magazine Production are high-stakes, real-world endeavors that ask students to take responsibility for a very public representation of our program,” she said. “This is not an academic exercise. In this way, students become empowered to discover their own creative potential and personal work ethic.”
Alexa Abrams, a senior Fashion Merchandising major who also took the class, highly recommends that others enroll in it as well and not just because of the academic and creative freedom. “At the end of Writing for Fashion’s continuation class (Fashion Magazine Production), the fashion magazine is published, printed, and distributed,” she said. “This magazine becomes a portfolio piece for every member of the Writing for Fashion and Fashion Magazine Production teams—it can be taken on interviews for various internships or job opportunities.” Halvorson hopes that this distribution of the magazine will eventually include placement on newsstands, believing that it would be another benefit to her students.
Abrams appreciates the skills that Halvorson has helped her gain from the class, including to think outside of the conventions associated with magazine design. “I have developed critical and creative brainstorming skills that have allowed me and my team to execute some really amazing designs that we would never have expected to develop when entering the class at the beginning of the semester,” she said.
Sikorski believes that her involvement with the Fashion Magazine has sparked good attention towards her resume. “I am always asked about the class and my role in it,” she said. “My prospective employers have really appreciated the diversity of my course of study and I owe a lot of that to the magazine.”
Halvorson, Abrams, and Sikorski are all anticipating the 2016 release of the Fashion Magazine. “Seeing the end product really pays off,” Sikorski said.
Abrams echoed similar sentiments. “The class is a space for all of us to experiment and create work that represents the program that we love,” she said. “There is no better task.”
The 2015 issue can be found here.
Written by Adriana Belmonte '17
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