Spending a semester where fashion and technology intertwine

Next up in our series of posts from students in the first-year seminar “From Cotton to Kevlar” is one from Kate Grynkiewicz. Like many students in the course, she enrolled on a whim, but came away with some surprising insights.  We’re so glad her last-minute addition of the course worked out so well!

One of my favorite gowns because of the floral pattern and the sashed waist. (Worth Gown, object#156788, from http://www.metmuseum.org/)

Walking into this new freshman seminar on the first week of classes, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest, I took this class mostly because I wanted that one extra credit it offered. I was stressed out that I would be behind on my credits before I even started college. I have always been interested in fashion, and history was never the boring, tedious class it was for so many of my friends. What I got out of this class was more than I ever expected. For a class that only meets once a week, Marla and Jon bombarded us with a whirlwind of information every passing week.

As one would anticipate from a fashion history class, I learned tons about how fashion has changed throughout the ages, and how these changes impacted the world. One of my favorite lessons was Marla’s lecture on the evolution of the woman’s silhouette. From huge hoop skirts, to the scandalous flapper, to the feminine 1950’s housewife, we covered it all. It broadened my knowledge of fashion history and strengthened my passion for it as well.

What I did not expect from this class was the amount of new technology I would be exposed to and encouraged to try out throughout the semester. This was the part of the class I spent the most time playing around with. I won’t lie, at first I was a bit annoyed with the amount of time it took to become well versed with interactive online tools, such as Timeline JS and WordPress. But, in my opinion, the end results were well worth it. I am proud of the work I put into creating the two timelines I made over the semester, as well as the web page I built with my group on the history of fashion news. While I am still certainly a newbie to constructing online web exhibits, Jon and Marla structured the class in a way that forced me to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with new technology. Yes, it was frustrating at times. But I walked away from the class with a tool belt of useful skills I’m sure I will apply to a variety of different areas of study throughout college.

While I am not a history major, any history classes I take in the future I will try to take with Jon or Marla. They both made sure they were readily available for any questions we had, and trust me, I had lots of questions when my group was finishing up the online web exhibit. Overall, I took away much more than I imagined I would when I enrolled for this class the night before classes started. It was insightful, it was fun, and above all it gave me skills I will use for the rest of my life.

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