We’re nearly half way through our first semester and the students have been very busy. Over the past 6 weeks, our first year and Masters students have been tasked with a number of visual communication projects.
As part of our Fashion Design Concepts module, the first year Fashion Management students are introduced to Photoshop and Kaledo and tasked with producing a t-shirt design. Although the Fashion Management course is a business rather than design degree, taught within our School of Creative and Cultural Business, it’s essential that our students understand key principles of the fashion design process and that they are able to use industry standard design software.
In the Fashion Business module, our first years are taught the history of fashion, with a focus on the industry’s development over the 20th Century and how this has impacted the present day. A recent article by Megan Doyle, published in the Business of Fashion, highlights the importance of knowing your fashion history and that this is essential for fashion graduates today! In lectures, we explore a new decade each week, highlighting key external factors and how they influenced fashion at this time, with a particular focus on areas such as fashion tourism, fashion icons, fashion markets, etc. These classes also involve discussions and debates, for example around the use of fur in fashion and what it means to be a fashion icon. In tutorials, the students undertake more practical tasks relating to these ideas.
In order to combine the skills they gain on each of these modules, the students have undertaken two mood board tasks. The first was to communicate ‘Noughties’ fashion influences – something the students found interesting, amusing and – of course – nostalgic, in that most of them were born in the years 1999 or 2000!
The students referenced some interesting styles, including the iconic Juicy Couture tracksuit, (extremely) low waisted jeans, fake tan and (again extremely) straight hair. We saw a number of cultural references, particularly in reference to films like Mean Girls and celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears who were strongly associated with the decade. Mobile phones, social media and reality TV were other prevalent themes! The colour palette our students presented was strongly that of pastels, pink, white and silver.
Building on this task, students were asked to reflect on what it means to be a fashion icon and to pitch, in teams, an example of someone they regard as a 21st Century fashion icon. Many of them chose to do so using mood boards and examples included Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Victoria Beckham, Iris Apfel, Holly Willoughby and Olivia Palermo.
Our Masters students have been working on some similar tasks in the run up to their successful Luxury Fashion Brands in Digital Age conference last week but a little more on that later…