Module JD050

Fashion Journalism

Module author

Patrizia Calefato

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

University of Stockholm

Learning objectives

After you have completed this course, you will be able to:

  • Interpret and understand fashion phenomena;
  • Create your own fashion writing style;
  • Choose your specific discourse genre to narrate and describe fashion;
  • Choose pictures to accompany an article, to effectively link words and images, or to become a fashion photojournalist.

Chapter 1. Fashion Theory
1.1. What is fashion?
1.2. Fashion and mass society
1.3. Fashion and identity
1.4. Fashion and language – fashion as language

Chapter 2. Historical aspects of fashion journalism
2.1. Origins of fashion journalism
2.2. Fashion magazines, women's writing and photography
2.3. Fashion journalism and literature: Mallarmé and D'Annunzio
2.4. Twentieth century magazines: "Vogue", "Harpers's Bazaar" and the others
2.5. A relevant personality: Diana Vreeland
2.6. Beyond the press: fashion on radio, TV and cinema
2.7. Photography between the Twentieth and the Twenty-first century: Richard Avedon

Chapter 3. Fashion journalism today
3.1. Fashion magazines and fashion articles on daily newspapers and periodicals
3.2. Web-journalism: information, fashion blogs and social networks
3.3. Fashion on TV: from reports to talent shows
3.4. The professions of fashion journalism

Chapter 4. Genres and texts in fashion journalism
4.1. What are discourse genres?
4.2. Texts
4.3. The description
4.4. The short story
4.5. The interview
4.6. Fashion photography and language

Chapter 5. Five values for fashion journalism (following Italo Calvino)
5.1. Metamorphosis of writing
5.2. Lightness (vs. frivolity)
5.3. Quickness (vs. speed)
5.4. Exactitude (vs. superficiality)
5.5. Visibility (vs. appearance)
5.7. Authors and writers. Perusers and readers

Study points 2
Preview Fashion Journalism


Why Open School of Journalism believes that Fashion Journalism is important

Fashion journalism is often misunderstood as being shallow and unimportant. In fact, it is a major force in the media centered around one of the world's largest international industries, and the ramifications of fashion shows and new lines of designer clothes carry around the world. Fashion journalism requires a delicate ear for words and a deep appreciation for the fashion industry. This course unit will give you a crash course in fashion, the basics of fashion journalism, and details about different journalistic forms, capping off with a discussion of the values of fashion journalism. The curriculum has been carefully chosen to provide an in-depth exploration of fashion journalism.


Why study Fashion Journalism?

Taking a module like this is crucial for being a capable fashion journalist. This is a field where you need to start getting experience as soon as possible. A starting course in fashion journalism is a good way to give yourself a little edge. You can learn some information to start you off on your career and be better prepared for interviews. Then you can get started doing the real work. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and this module will give you a very solid grounding in everything you need to know to be prepared to work.

This module is a solid fundamentals course in fashion journalism. It takes more than enthusiasm to make a career in this field. It takes a real interest in learning the ins and outs of writing and the history of fashion journalism before you can begin. Taking this module will supply you with all of the essentials you need to jump into the field. If you have enough interest to take this module, and you apply yourself in learning all of the topics, then you will be in very good shape. Fashion journalism requires approaching the subject with seriousness and an earnest interest.


Overview of the module

The first chapter of the course unit is about fashion theory. This is important groundwork for the material to come, as well as essential knowledge for anyone who is serious about working in fashion journalism. The first topic is a quick definition of fashion. The next topic discusses the relationship between fashion and mass culture. After that comes an examination of fashion and identity. The first chapter closes with an important topic: fashion and language. This is obviously of close relevance to fashion journalism. It is a close examination of the way fashion itself is a language and a means of communication.

The second chapter is historical background about fashion journalism. This is more important material for anyone who aspires to be a fashion journalist- it is good information about the evolution of fashion journalism and its leading lights. The first topic is the beginning- the origin of fashion journalism. The next topic is about the emergence of fashion journalism as its own field- the fashion magazines and women's writing of the early days. After that, fashion journalism began to gain respect as an art form: it became literary, which is the third topic in this sequence. The major figures of this age are Mallarmé and D'Annunzio. After that, the module enters the realm of modernity with the fashion magazines of the twentieth century. The big magazines of this era are still with us, like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Next, the module covers a vignette: the life and significance of Diana Vreeland. After that, fashion journalism emerges from outside of the world of print. It becomes part of television, film and radio. The second chapter closes with a look at another towering figure in photography: Richard Avedon, a transitional man.

Chapter three dives into what the field of journalism has become today. The new form of print media has a focus on daily news and periodicals, and fashion journalism needs to adapt itself to these shorter forms. The next topic gets into a crucial topic: web journalism and fashion. This includes blogging and social media. This is a rapidly growing area, and all journalists need to be fully versed in how to use social media to reach their audience. It is more and more important to know how to use web tools and apply them to your particular field of journalism. TV fashion is not quite as new as social media, but it is still a very important part of the fashion media world. It is a great way to reach a wide audience in a direct and appealing way. The chapter closes with a discussion of the variety of different professions that are available in fashion journalist. There are quite a few different roles within the tent of fashion journalism, and it is a good idea to be familiar with all of them so that you can make an informed choice about what appeals to you most.

The fourth chapter is an important one about methodologies. It covers the different genres and texts that fashion journalists need to master in order to be competent practitioners. The first topic is a refresher on what discourse genres are and their relevance to fashion journalism. Next, the class discusses texts and how a fashion journalist needs to use them to their full advantage. The following topic is descriptions. More than any other area of writing, fashion journalism lives and dies by descriptions. It takes a disciplined hand to describe an item of fashion without being too flowery or dull. Short stories are also important for fashion journalists to learn, whether they are for covering a new line or a major personality. They can inject some flavor into a piece without running too long to lose readers. The next topic is interviews. Interviews can be gold mines of information, but they need to be conducted carefully in order to please both the readers and the interviewee. The last topic in this chapter is fashion language and fashion photography. Photography in fashion is a world unto itself, and it deserves special attention. It is not for everyone. Fashion language is delicate. It is not easy to convey something so visual in words without being overbearing or failing to describe enough detail. This topic will show you how.

Chapter Five is about the values in fashion journalism. It is dedicated to Italo Calvino, the famous writer. The first topic is about the metamorphosis of writing. This will add some style and grace to your writing. The next topic is about the first major value- writing with lightness, rather than frivolity. It is not easy to keep fashion writing light and accessible without making it completely weightless. The next topic addresses writing with quickness instead of speed. It is crucial to get to the point right away, but not rush the reader. Balancing this pace takes practice and insight into the work of great writers, so that you have examples to follow. The next value is exactitude, rather than superficiality. This means that you need to convey to the reader that the accurate details of the fashion items you are describing are important, but keeping the context in mind. You have to write with the conviction that your subject is worth writing as well as reading about. The last value is visibility, rather than appearance. While what an object looks like is very important to its status as a fashion accoutrement, you must not make that appearance feel shallow. The visibility of an item has depth to it. The final topic in the course unit is an examination of the roles of people who interact with fashion journalism: authors and writers who participate in the create act of journalism, and the difference between them. On the other side of the page, there are casual readers and deep perusals.

For more information visit: Fashion Journalism.