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Fashion Forecasting and Fashion Magazines Classes Explore Color by Wearing It

9/16/2011

Exercise provides insight into connecting with consumers

Discussing the comeback of color on the catwalk in her Fashion Forecasting class, Professor Amanda Hallay was surprised to notice that every student in the room was wearing black, grey, or neutrals. “Why aren’t you wearing color?” she asked. “You’re supposed to be at the forefront of fashion!”

The answers were interesting; “I don’t want to stand out,” “I’ll wear it when everyone else starts wearing it,” and “I’m afraid I won’t look cool” were some of the responses to why color (although already a big retail story) isn’t being worn.

“Fashion is Feeling” is Professor Hallay’s mantra, so as part of their weekly assignment, she told her class to wear color to the next class period so they could discuss how they felt about wearing brights to better understand how to translate these feelings into a forecast. She extended the assignment to her Fashion Magazines class so students could connect with their own feelings about color, and then translate these feelings to their readers to better teach them how to embrace what will be a long-lasting trend.

Walking into the classroom, Professor Hallay said; “It’s like walking through a rainbow!” Every student had dressed in their brightest, boldest colors, and Hallay remarked that there “probably hadn’t been that much color in an LIM classroom since the early 1960s or mid-1980s.”

But how did the students feel about their bright new palettes?

Gina Elizondo said that “It is going to take a while to get used to it, but wearing color makes me feel happier.”

Jessica Utate also embraced it. Wearing an electric coral shirt she had paired with beige cargos, she demonstrated nicely how, when paired with neutrals, brights can be made more accessible to the average buyer. “Although,” she remarked, “if I owned a pair of colored pants, I’d have worn those, instead. I’m loving color! I think it shows off my skin tone, and it makes me feel like I actually work in fashion.”

Yulibel Lamorina wore a hot pink jumpsuit to class. “I bought it last year,” she explained, “and everyone wondered why I didn’t buy the jumpsuit in khaki. But I had an instinct to buy it in pink. I actually didn’t wear it last year, but now if feels right – although I’m going to change out of it before I go to my business class!” Tyshia Williams (in a bright orange mini) said, “Walking from Maxwell Hall to The Townhouse, I really noticed how dull everyone on the street looks in black, grey and brown. They also looked unfashionable. Wearing brights made me feel trendy and I’m definitely going to buy more color for my wardrobe.”

Serina Mariani made an interesting comment that the Fashion Forecasting class took to heart; “I consider myself a girly girl,” she explained, “and thought this assignment would be a cinch. I thought my wardrobe was full of color. But when I opened my closet, I couldn’t find any! I had to go out and buy this peacock blue outfit just for class – and I love it!”

Yet it was Victoria Lipton who perhaps had the last word on the fact that the truly fashion forward have already embraced the concept of color. “On Fashion’s Night Out, I wore a bright blue sequined top,” she explained, “and surrounded by celebrities and models, the press were taking photographs of me!”

Yet not everyone was so enthusiastic. A student in Fashion Magazines walked into class in head-to-toe brights and said; “I hate you, Prof H, for making me do this!” Professor Hallay got her to connect with her feelings and explain why she felt so uncomfortable. “I feel like a clown,” she explained. “Everybody’s looking at me, and I feel won’t be taken seriously in the business world if I’m wearing brights.”

The class took this as the cue to discuss how to persuade readers who really don’t like color to incorporate at least a little into their daily wardrobes. Students suggested articles on accessorizing with brights, “A reader could stick with her black or neutral wardrobe but carry a colorful bag,” one student suggested, while another came up with the idea of running a story about navy blue (“At least it’s a color!” she explained).

“I was very, very proud of my students,” Professor Hallay stated. “It took a lot of persuasion to get some of them out of their black and neutral palettes, but leave it to LIM College students to experiment with style, connect with their feelings, and learn to apply it to the business of fashion.”



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