The language of modernity is composed not only of words, but of art, passion and diversity, one West Virginia University professor and her class discovered through curating a fashion promotion blog and magazine titled “La Mod."
Knowing how necessary blogs and magazines are for the fashion industry, Sunidhi Mehta, assistant professor of fashion, dress and merchandising in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, incorporated both into her fashion promotion class.
“I realized it would be nice to teach these skills to students as an educational experience to better prepare them for their industry jobs,” she said. “This generation of students is very hands on, prefer active learning and project-based learning."
Students worked in groups to produce articles and photos, organize photo shoots, work as models and bring in models for the assignment.
“This gives them good writing experience for fashion journalism or public relations,” Mehta added.
Senior fashion, dress and merchandising major Julie Sabol helped write “Age of The Creator,” a story about what it’s like to be a social media influencer.
The article features before and after pictures of several products to show that even though everything looks perfect on social media, it’s not.
“The whole idea is that not every photo is what it seems,” she said. “We presented side-by-side pictures - one from the photo shoot and an edited version. The second one is this amazing photo that looks nothing like what it was.”
She said she preferred doing a more real-world assignment and was surprised by how fast it all came together.
Taylor Frame, also a fashion, dress and merchandising senior, took a different tack in her writing, focusing on slow fashion and how it benefits the environment.
“My group focused on overproduction of clothing and how to combat that,” she said. “Thirty percent of clothes in store are never sold. The left-over clothing sits in inventory, landfills or even end up being burned.”
Writing something that wasn’t a typical term paper gave Frame a more creative outlet and allowed her to learn how to write blogs in addition to the topics.
Mehta wanted the blogs and various articles to be an educational tool not just for the individual writers but for the entire class. Frame said her favorite article was about sustainable alternatives to fast fashion companies.
“Fast fashion is huge. Shein and Forever 21 are fast making clothes and it's really bad for the environment. I learned about alternatives to those companies that are sustainable and provide clothes that are just as cute but more ethical,” she said.
The educational experience was not solely limited to students as Mehta learned never to undermine the potential of her students and their capabilities. She also considered the impact it could have for the WVU community and engaging with a broader audience.
"It gives us an opportunity to showcase what our students are capable of and what they are creating. It gives us a nice platform to showcase our students’ work online while giving us a stronger web presence,” she said.
CONTACT: Lindsay Willey
Director of Marketing and Communications
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design