‘Do we have any cyber-goths in the class?’ Fifteen blank faces stare back at me. A picture of a young Londoner with a rainbow Mohican, spiky silver chains and neon flashing t-shirt appears on the projector, ‘ahh! We do not have this style in Italy!’ We watch a video introducing current London fashion, from the streets of alternative Camden to high-end catwalk styles. A heated debate on personality verses aesthetics ensues with passionate arguments on both sides. Some students felt that the very essence of fashion was self-expression while others insisted that ‘you cannot read a book by its cover’. We discussed a number of general fashion statements and students decided together how strongly they agreed or disagreed with each one. Expressions such as ‘beauty is pain’ and ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery’ proved controversial and this was further debated in pairs and small groups. In the final forty minutes we brainstormed possible future fashion trends and combined two past or current styles to create innovative designs; ‘Rock n’ goth’, ‘Boh – emo’ and ‘Hipster-street’ were some notable creations.
This final group work exercise is typical of our mornings, with the end of the class dedicated to project work for the students’ final presentation. This presentation will showcase the work the students have completed over their two week course and combines the language and culture learned, both during class time and throughout the daily, immersive activities all over London.
Project preparation has been taken very seriously with students excited to present their work to group leaders and peers alike. Role-plays, power point presentations, photos, realia and class work have been incorporated and a friendly competitiveness has motivated the students to be at their very best. Creating new fashion trends, pitching advertising storyboards, designing new London restaurants and fitness campaign posters, writing film reviews and London culture quizzes and even festival planning are just some examples of the work to be displayed on the final day. With just a few days’ preparation remaining, it’s shaping up to be a memorable and rewarding afternoon for all involved. Who knows, we might even have some cyber-goths present!
written by Jessica Sweetman