Teaching Fashion: In-Class Reading Report

Inspired by Kelly’s recent post on Getting Students to Read I conducted an in-class reading assignment in my Bridal Wear Design Studio.  One of the course objectives is for students to be aware of current trends in the area for which they are designing.  To this end, I located and printed a handful of recent related articles from Women’s Wear Daily, The Wall Street Journal, and full-text databases available in our campus library.

Student teams of two each read one of the articles in class.  As they read, they answered a list of questions adapted from Thinker’s Guide to How to Read a Paragraph: The Art of Close Reading by Richard Paul and Linda Elder (Jan 2006)  Each team gave a brief report to the class on their article.  The most important question the teams answered was “What are the implications of this article for designers of bridal apparel?”.  After all the reports were given, I led the class in a discussion of the most prevalent trends seen in the bridal market today.  Students were very adept at making connections between the articles and identifying the major themes seen.

The assignment was successful in the following ways:

1.     Students took responsibility for and were actively involved in contributing to the learning of the group.

2.     Students gained more from the article by interacting with a partner to answer the discussion questions.

3.     Students gained the benefits of reading eight articles, while taking the time to read one article.

4.     Students made connections among the articles to become aware of current trends in the bridal apparel industry.

Students identified the following themes.

  • The digital environment is becoming increasingly important to the marketing of bridal apparel and related merchandise.  Channels include websites, i-Phone applications, and to a lesser extent, applications for other smart phone devices.
  • Retailers and wholesalers alike are seeking to capture a larger piece of the bride’s budget by broadening the range of wedding products and services they offer.  For example, Nina has expanded from shoes to include more bridal accessories, such as veils and handbags.  Kleinfeld bridal shop (famous from TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress) has expanded its offerings to include tuxes and honeymoon travel.
  • These two trends are seen in combination as retailers such as David’s bridal offering websites that assist a bride with all aspects of her wedding plans.

What reading strategies have you used in your classroom?



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1 Comment

  • Alison webber April 09, 2011 04.56 pm

    The class was interactive and there was sharing of ideas which is a more effective way of learning. The discussion enable the students to think in a business line of thought e.g. not only make wedding gowns but also include the accessories that match the gown. The bride to be gets all requires in one store thus saving time and money. Planning a wedding can be a drag but why not make it a fun by giving your customers all they need in one package !


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