Student journalists find plenty of fodder in fashion, and the results are fab.



Right now, somewhere in America, a college student is furiously hunting and pecking away at the keyboard. The clock is ticking and he or she is thinking: How am I going to finish my 20-page philosophy paper and file my style column on time?

Meet the future editor of a major fashion magazine.

College is the best time for budding newshounds and feature writers to ease into the frenetic world of journalism. The best student publications provide a wealth of beats, a surprisingly professional atmo-sphere, freedom of voice and, for those who ascend the editorial ranks, the chance to boss in a serious way.

Patrice Worthy, an intrepid junior at Indiana University, took the fashion machine by its stilettoed heel and showed up on the Bryant Park Tent doorstep during the recent fall collections. She covered Kenneth Cole and Luella Bartley, among others, for the Indiana Daily Student, complete with celeb quotes and in-depth reviews. "The theme was Eighties punk-rock with a mix of Upper Eastside (sic) preppy," she noted of Bartley’s show, while Cole’s offerings "always seem to stick to the basics, and still give people what they want." Otherwise, Worthy is busy uncovering local fashion finds for her readers. Meanwhile, sophomore Emily Howald gives the University of Notre Dame’s Observer readers the lowdown on what—and what not—to wear. Her advice for spring in South Bend? "Girls, get ready to show some leg. Minis are coming back into style."

As a freshman, Boston College sophomore Jessie Rosen noticed a gap in the style coverage of The Heights. "Everyone is very cookie-cutter at BC, and I felt like someone should write a big piece on where to buy vintage," she says. So she took matters into her own hands and ended up with a cover story on local second-hand shopping. While there’s no regular fashion column in the small weekly school paper, she’s confident about the possibility of one next year.

Smith College’s Raheli Millman, editor of the school’s weekly Sophian, brings stylish-yet-affordable fashion to campus. "I found it challenging to reconcile my fashion interests with my social awareness," she says. "So we attempt to close the gap between fashion and activism, encouraging DIY projects such as turning a pillow case into a skirt." As a result, you won’t read reports from Seventh Avenue here. Instead, Millman focuses on "the gap between the magazines and our closets, making a fashion statement that Smith students can relate to."Likewise, Sherry Jun also translates the world of high style for her peers. Every week at the Cornell Daily Sun, the sophomore takes the haute road in her "Campus Couture" column. "I show students how to get the same high-end designer look at a lower price," she says. Separate from the newspaper, Katie Leiderman and Don Johnson Montenegro, both English majors, and economics senior Jake Brown banded together and put out two issues of the glossy magazine Awkward , so named because "people in their 20s are awkward," Leiderman explains. With its sexed-up fashion shoots—for instance, a couple making out in a dingy bathroom stall—and student designer profiles, "it’s more Black Book than Vogue," she says. The fledgling editors even go so far as to put a snarky spin on the traditional makeover, taking two perfectly kitted-out boys and turning them into walking clichés. And if Montenegro could interview anyone? Dior Homme’s Hedi Slimane.

Another Ivy with strong fashion editorial is Yale University, where in March, Yale Daily News put out an entire fashion issue.Rivaling such in-depth coverage, Duke University’s Chronicle runs senior Faran Krentcil’s trend column, dealing with "all kinds of lifestyle stuff," she says, "Especially in relation to Duke activities." She advised formal-dress shoppers, "You can look like a babe in Bebe's silk print halter ($98) or rock it out in Caché’s black tube dress ($68). If you want to go old school, check out Franklin Street's Time After Time and be a vixen in vintage."

As a sophomore, Krentcil had to beg her editors to let her write a feature on how Kate Spade had completely saturated the campus. Once published, the piece caught the eye of the designer herself, who used it in her press material that season.

"So I walked into the office and said, ‘You know what? We are ignoring a huge part of our audience,’ " Krentcil recalls. " ‘Let me start a fashion section.’ " Now on the eve of graduation, with a book full of style-related clips to pave her way into the pub-lishing world, she looks back almost wistfully. "And so, three years on," she says, "I’m passing the trend column on" to the next generation of Blue Devils, including Whitney Beckett, who will edit a biannual glossy fashion magazine launching next year.While school newspapers offer sanctuary for wannabe Wintours, they also serve as sounding boards for those who aren’t necessarily ‘into’ fashion. Last month, in the University of Pennsylvania’s Daily Pennsylvanian arts and entertainment weekly section, "34th Street,"which has run stories on Winona Ryder’s shopping habits and the reemergence of Mod, Ross Clark vented his spleen in a bitchy, funny letter from the editor regarding a certain vexing style issue. "In the midst of all this U.S.A. fever," he wrote, "I find myself coming back to the question of what defines our country. And the only thing that comes to mind is asses."

"I felt like for a couple of weeks, all I kept seeing were peoples’ asses," the junior explains. "There were frat boys with plumber’s butt or sorority girls who didn’t figure out where the thong and the pants related to each other." He ended his letter with a plea to his fellow students: "You can shake what your mamma gave ya, but next time please wear a belt."

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