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Opinion | Fashionable Miami needs more fashion classes

By Jessica Ball
On January 21, 2013

Miami University has everything that a fashionista would want in a college environment: students who have fashion interest, uptown boutiques staying with the trends, a fashion club that boasts talented designers and models with respected resumes, events such as speakers from the fashion world and Fashion's Night Out and Miami's own Fashion Week.

But one thing is missing: a fashion and design major, and even just one fun fashion elective to satisfy Miami's interest and eye for fashion and style.

Miami University's Fashion Week began last year as an annual event as an entire week devoted to fashion. Beginning in late April, the week is capped off by a fashion show that will be held this year on April 27, 2013 where models will walk the runway wearing outfits designed and made by MUCFD's talented designers.

It will showcase a team of Miami students as designers and their many outfits both created and designed by them. Each designer has their own segment of the show where all their outfits are modeled at one time.

Chic pea coats and vintage dresses are just a couple of the variety of styles that models will be gracing the runway. The designers are artistically talented and carry skills in sewing and measuring to fit and flatter the models. So with this talent, skill and advanced knowledge of these designers, it would only make sense to have real coursework and degrees offered for design and fashion.

Presently, the only fashion related courses that Miami offers to its students are history-related and offer a cultural, sociological and historical perspective to style and dress, yet not the aesthetic, technical and artistic perspectives on it.

The only fashion-related courses available, according to the Miami Bulletin, include REL 333 Religion Dress; MPF 114 Global Perspectives on Dress and Status; ART 189 History of Western Dress; ART 233 Global Perspectives on Dress; and ART 480 Dress in America. There is no degree or even courses that offer technical instruction in fashion design, or courses or a major/minor in the business side of fashion such as merchandising.

Just looking around campus, Miami students are much more fashionable than the average college student. Instead of wearing slouchy sweatpants and throwing their hair up into messy buns, girls sport around designer jeans, boots, bags and jewelry.

The chic east coast style of Miami's student body and the articles of clothing we sport around campus are often preppy and in mode with the stuff found in the latest fashion magazines. So we have the potential, the interest and the skills that any university offering a bachelor's degree in design or fashion merchandising would love to have.

Signs of talent related to the fashion and style are found all over campus. Many students I know personally are taking internships and job offers for companies such as Victoria's Secret, American Eagle and even Hermes. Some marketing majors are finding their calling in fashion merchandising and taking that career path. However, Miami students entering the fashion business may not be equipped with the professional skills that can only be gained through instruction through specific professional courses and majors for fashion and design.

So why has Miami University not adequately prepared its students to approach the demands of the business of fashion?

In order to be competitive in the challenging job market, a true degree in merchandising specifically for fashion would be invaluable. A design major gives the essential technical knowledge that a prospective designer would need. Clothing companies and design labels are major brands in the business world.

The fashion industry is global, in obvious high demand, profitable, and thus should be treated as such.

Fashion defines us as people, and so it should be given as much importance as any other form of art or concentration of business. A fashion/design program and major would be very successful at Miami.

Fashion merchandising exists at many other Ohio schools such as The Ohio State University and Kent State University, so why not Miami? We are turning away hundreds of students from a program with potential for high profitability.

Not only would it attract many people, but I believe that it would be very successful among our current, fashionable student body.

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