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#FOCUSFashion: Focusing on the Future of Fashion in Media

by Carley Campbell

The long-running School of Communication and Media (SCM) showcase, FOCUS, returns this week with cooperation from the College of the Arts (CART) Fashion Studies program, bringing a live fashion show and pre-recorded pieces to the table.

In previous years, FOCUS covered topics such as climate change, racial injustice and the political climate of the elections of the past few years. This year’s topic, fashion, combines all these elements into a multilayered package.

“FOCUS Fashion” aims to challenge the previous year’s topics in its ambitiousness. The show will have three main components, a live fashion show held in SCM, along with a red carpet pre-show as well as recorded segments for a magazine show that students have been working on for the entirety of the semester.

This is the first time the fashion studies program’s fashion show is being broadcast.

Mark Effron, Montclair NewsLab Coordinator and SCM professor, sees this as a way to bring together different issues to attention in a fun way.

Mark Effron, NewsLab coordinator and professor sits in his office.

Mark Effron, NewsLab coordinator and professor sits in his office. Carley Campbell | The Montclarion

“We’ve been doing a lot of really heavy, serious topics,” Effron said. “That was our initial aim when we started FOCUS. We did climate change, racial justice [and] a few on the pandemic. We looked at a few of the elections and the threats to democracy. We really thought that fashion gave us (pardon the pun) kind of a hanger to look at everything.”

This scope is far beyond previous years and presents quite a few challenges for newcomers as well as veterans of FOCUS productions. Senior television and digital media (TVDM) major, Julia Egan, is a senior producer for the program. Egan is set to graduate in a matter of weeks, and this show is her final contribution to FOCUS.

Julia Egan, the senior producer of FOCUS Fashion.

Julia Egan, the senior producer of FOCUS Fashion. Carley Campbell | The Montclarion

“It’s like a bittersweet moment,” Egan said. “This is my fourth one, so I love doing the production. I’m sad that I’m not gonna be able to do it again. But the productions are huge. It’s a lot of work.”

In previous years, she was a senior producer and guest booker.

“So when we’re done, we’re like, ‘oh, yes, we got it done,’ but I know as soon as it’s over I’m gonna be very sad [that] it’s my last one,” Egan said. “The first focus is what made me be like, ‘Okay, I want to be a news producer.’”

In addition to these elements, other SCM organizations have produced or are producing content related to the event. Red Hawk Sports Network produced a package detailing the history of fashion trends within sports and uniforms.

90.3 WMSC Upper Montclair, Montclair State’s radio station, also will be airing content produced by station members. Hannah Cox, a senior journalism and digital media major and news director for the station sees this as a welcomed challenge.

Hannah Cox, news director for 90.3 WMSC Upper Montclair.

Hannah Cox, news director for 90.3 WMSC Upper Montclair. Carley Campbell | The Montclarion Photo credit: Carley Campbell

“Some challenges to bringing FOCUS Fashion to the airwaves is the element of radio is only audio, and fashion typically is only seen,” Cox said. “And so we’re having to bring the very visual element of fashion and turn it into a more descriptive narrative so people can hear and visualize the textures and the designs of fashion but through audio storytelling.”

The show airs Friday, May 5, and debuts on the school’s streaming service HawkPlus at 5 p.m. Red carpet coverage for the fashion show will be held outside the Presentation Hall at 5:30 p.m.

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