JCU Logo

JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "DJRN 329"
COURSE NAME: "Fashion Journalism"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session I 2020
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Giulia Rossi
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: Remote Learning
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course focuses on the role of fashion journalism in both traditional mass media and emerging digital media. Students will learn to define fashion from a cultural theory framework and to understand its relevance to contemporary society. The course combines theory and practice, ranging from a cultural approach to the subject of fashion journalism and fashion media, to applying it to the skill of fashion journalism and working in the industry.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

As a form of expression, fashion is an important lens to observe and study society. Understanding the semiotic and cultural relevance of fashion is particularly critical in the contemporary era of digital communication, characterized by an over-representation of the self in everyday life, and the constant sharing of private lives through social media networks. Students will have an overview on the history of fashion journalism and how it has been changed from the beginning until the present, considering the difficult cohabitation with blogging and new forms of digital communication, such as brand journalism, the presence of influences and content marketing for platforms connected to fashion— in particular Instagram.

The course open with a general framing of the main sociological theories dedicated to fashion, considering it as a form of identity, strictly connected to culture and language (Simmel, De Saussure, Veblen, Benjamin, Blumer, Barthes, Goffman, Bourdieau).

The second part is the fashion writing laboratory, which is developed through the entire course and applied in particular to blogging and to producing social media network content with a focus on the use of Instagram. The writing laboratory component of the course entails a critical analysis of historical case studies of digital magazines, fashion blogs and Instagram profiles. For all these cases histories/case studies, the analysis will be focused on different elements such as the style of writing and the choice of content relevant both for the editorial plan and the business and marketing plan.  Students will acquire skills on how to work inside a newsroom and as a freelancer and explore the differences between these two positions. They also will become familiar with the different professional positions in the market of fashion journalism and digital fashion media.

For the writing laboratory, students at the beginning of the course (week one) must create a blog and an Instagram account. The consecutive theoretical course content will be directly applied (in practice) on these two online publications/digital platforms in four graded assignments throughout the semester (see assessment methods). 

The third part of the course initiates the formal theoretical phase that first analyzes the digital fashion media system today through a semiotic approach related to considering fashion as language. Deep attention will be dedicated to the analysis of fashion blogs and social networks as new media.

The fourth and final part is  part pertains to the history of fashion journalism, which analyzes the connections between subcultures and mainstream cultures. Related to this is the theme of street style (Hebdige, Polhemus) and how it has been reflected in different magazines.  

No particular equipment or costs required.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

•    Become a fashion journalist: learn how to work for fashion media companies inside a newsroom, for communication agencies or as a freelance;

•    Gain the skills to become a fashion blogger and create a personal own business, using the writing and editorial skills acquired to promote yourself as a brand connected to different possible activities;

•    Manage one’s own digital presence, learning the use of digital media, SEO, and social networks applied to fashion as a fundamental skill for a communication manager;

•    Obtain or access expert and insider knowledge from the side of culture and communication of fashion, useful for consultants of public and private fashion institutions (such as museums and fashion exhibitions) or to work as editors for publishing houses specialized in this particular field. 

 

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Street Style: From Sidewalks to CatwalksPolhemus TThames and Hudson-  
Fashion JournalismBradford JRoutledge978-0-415-68661-7  
Fashion-ology: An introduction to fashion studiesKawamura YBerg Oxford-New York978-1-4742-7847-8  
Tigersprung Fashion in ModernityUlrich LehmannThe MIT Press, 20029780262122313 - 9780262621717  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Attendance and Class Partecipation (weekly forums)  20%
Part 1 (end of week 2): Write a report (500 words) about one of the authors included in the program and the actuality of his message. 20%
Part 2 (end of week 3): write a short article (500 words) about the topic "Fashion at the times of Covid-19" 20%
Part 3 (end of week 4): write a long article (1000 words) about trends. 20%
Part 4 (end of week 5): write a set of three long Instagram posts to promote the article about trends. 20%
All the assignments have been scheduled considering Rome Time.   

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
This course focuses on the role of fashion journalism in both traditional mass media and emerging digital media. Students will learn to define fashion from a cultural theory framework and to understand its relevance to contemporary society. The course combines theory and practice, ranging from a cultural approach to the subject of fashion journalism and fashion media, to applying it to the skill of fashion journalism and working in the industry.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Part 1

WEEK 1: The father of sociology of fashion, George Simmel. Walter Benjamin and the theory of fashion as the eternal return of new, the image of the Tigersprung that connects past, present and future.  Studying fashion as language, from the semiotics of Ferdinand de Saussure to the system of fashion created by Roland Barthes. Veblen and The Theory of The Leisure Class.  

WEEKLY FORUM/ THE NEWSROOM CONFERENCE: "Our clothes narrate our story. What happens when the narrative is just pajamas and sweats?", by Robin Givham, Washington Post, March 16, 2020. 

How this article is connected to the authors of the week? Students must leave on the Moodle Forum their contribute on this topic this way simulating the discussion of the journalists inside a fashion magazine newsroom.

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/03/16/our-clothes-tell-our-story-what-happens-when-narrative-is-just-pajamas-sweats/).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WEEK 2: Herbert Blumer, from Class Differentiation to Collective Selection. From trickle-down theory to bubble up, the studies of Ted Polhemus about streetstyles and subcultures. Erving Goffman and the representation of self as a very relevant approach to the sociology of fashion (and communication). Pierre Bourdieau, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, how cultural capital is relevant to determine what constitutes taste within society.

WEEKLY FORUM/ THE NEWSROOM CONFERENCE: "Covid-19 might change the way we drew forever", by Kristen Bateman, April 27, 2020. 

How this article is connected to the authors of the week? Students must leave on the Moodle Forum their contribute on this topic this way simulating the discussion of the journalists inside a fashion magazine newsroom.

(https://www.teenvogue.com/story/covid-19-might-change-the-way-we-dress-forever)

For the end of the week reports on authors must be completed (assignment part 1). 



Part 2

For the beginning of this week students must create their own blog and Instagram accounts. 

WEEK 3: Fashion writing Laboratory/ Writing articles for digital magazines, blog posts and posts for Instagram. Study the how to become fashion journalists and bloggers means to explore the different steps of the process: 1) the selection of the topic; 2) the correct placing of different texts inside magazines or blogs; 3) the most appropriate style to use according to the type of media used; 4) the proof review and editing part; 5) how to make titles, subtitles and summaries.

WEEKLY FORUM/ THE NEWSROOM CONFERENCE: "This is water", by David Foster Wallace, 2013. From literature to journalism, make your own storytelling. Students must find examples of famous novels that can be connected with fashion news and trends. 

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC7xzavzEKY


For the end of the week  short articles (500 words) about the topic "Fashion at the times of Covid-19" must be completed (assignment part 2).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WEEK 4: Fashion writing Laboratory/ Focusing on contemporary society and in particular on the difference between subcultures and mainstream cultures and the related one that connects outsider magazines and mainstream ones useful to investigate trends. Analysis of different Instagram accounts conceived as fashion media, study of the editorial plan and all the tools present on this social network possible to use. Analysis of the main fashion and lifestyles blogs understanding the differences in contents and styles. Analysis of the international press preview from the main traditional magazines and outsiders magazines, understanding the differences in contents and styles. 

WEEKLY FORUM/ THE NEWSROOM CONFERENCE:

"The State of Fashion 2020: Coronavirus update: It's time to rewire the fashion industry", by Imran Amed, April 8, 2020. The topic of trends during Coronavirus: imagine a possible Future, considering the Present and linking it with the Past. 

(https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/the-state-of-fashion-2020-coronavirus-update-bof-mckinsey-report-release-download)

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwszKsEtaUA

for the end of the week long articles (1000 words) about trends must be completed (assignment part 3).  

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WEEK 5
: Perspective for the future. Rethinking the digital message and the standard to value it: from quantity to quality. The use of influencers for activities of branding. New competencies due to have to enter the world of digital fashion media. Acting on social networks, From the need to have models and experts to the need of someone “like me.” From the traditional system of fashion media to the digital one: the debut of fashion blogs. How new are the new media?

WEEKLY FORUM/ THE NEWSROOM CONFERENCE: 

"The pandemic and the influencer: will the lifestyle survive Coronavirus?", by Katie Bishop, May 2, 2020. Digital consequences of Coronavirus on Influencers: How can they survive? 

(https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/02/influencers-coronavirus-future-income-marketing-lifestyle)

for the end of week 5 a set of three long Instagram posts to promote the article about trends must be completed (assignment part 4).