Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

How one of Miami’s newest classes combines fashion and journalism

Danisha Brown teaches Fashion Journalism at Miami University.
Danisha Brown teaches Fashion Journalism at Miami University.

Besides UP Magazine and The Miami Student’s Style page, some of Miami University’s most fashionable students have had nowhere to learn about and spread the word of their favorite looks — until now. 

Miami’s new fashion journalism class, FAS 450B, emerged from visiting faculty Danisha Brown’s idea to merge her love of creative writing and style. As a fashion designer who shows her work at shows all over the world, Brown experiences the intersection of journalism everywhere.

“One lecture our first week asked the question of, ‘Does fashion even belong in journalism? What would happen if this didn’t exist?’” Brown said. “It’s so important we have this feature in the industry because in a blended community, we can’t have fashion without people talking about us.”

Her class of 28 students meets on Zoom Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:15-2:35 p.m., where they take notes while watching videos from famous companies. Split into three areas of history, theory and practice, it focuses on the stylistics and semantics of fashion journalism through various categories like reviews, profiles, critiques and business reports.

Students also post on their own blog throughout the semester. Their final project allows them to conduct their own periodical.

Ava Mezzanotte, a senior strategic communication major taking the class, wants to pursue corporate fashion for her career. She finished multiple journalism courses throughout her time at Miami, but now she finally gets to try fashion.

“This class is a good segue for my knowledge about industry,” Mezzanotte said. “I’m really passionate about fashion and this gives me a lot more terminology for when I interview with corporations.”

On her blog, Mezzanotte went with a classic, timeless appeal in all black and white and clean-cut, chic fonts.

“I have so much fun writing my blog,” Mezzanotte said. “I’m looking forward to developing my website. The professor is amazing, and she helps it be easy and fun.”

Brown first found her flair for fashion journalism as a copywriter making product description pages for clothes. As the owner of an independent brand today, Brown approaches her public relations as hands-on as she can by constantly doing interviews and emailing customers. 

“As a designer, being in press is so important for relevancy in culture,” Brown said. “As the journalists get to know your vision by showing up at your presentations, they’ll go to you and report. They always want to dive into your process. It helps people understand the worth of the designs rather than just seeing pretty pictures.”

Mezzanotte said she still feels her fellow students' personalities, even while online, because Brown engages the class well. Everyone is passionate during in-class discussions, she said, and the structure helps her analyze fashion more intentionally.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Aspiring fashion journalists at Miami should explore the opportunities FAS 450B provides because it flows through many facets of the craft. 

“We’re connecting production and passion so they can both exist,” Brown said. “People put this into a small box, but there’s so much passion about it growing and promoting the fashion program. Who knows how far we can go?”