Five minutes before lecturer Ana Uribe Sandoval enters the room, students are already sitting in a semicircle in a lecture hall in the Polak Building. One group is chatting about a Netflix series while the others concentrate on preparing their presentation.

College: Fashion Media, Tuesday 1pm at Polak Building 2-18

Lecturer: Anna Uribe Sandoval

Topic: Presentation of final assignments

Public: This is a minor, so any student can attend. Twenty students are present in the lecture hall, full of creative ideas for their final assignments.

Reason for attending: The course leaves a lot of room for creativity. Students design their own editorial, styling page, posters and handouts. They come up with the craziest ideas for their assignments, and anything goes – as long as you can substantiate it. The outings are fun, too. The other day, they went to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag for the Royals & Rebels exhibition.

Students present their final assignment today before handing in their complete work a week later. For this, they can choose to produce an analysis in the form of a paper, or a comprehensive plan for a fashion or media production. All assignments should be based on the readings that they did during the course.

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Image credit: Pauline Wiersema

This course is about the role of media in the world of fashion and vice versa. “Media channels are necessary for the existence of fashion and the fashion industry as we know it today,” lecturer Uribe Sandoval explains. She briefly summarises the course before students begin their presentation. “There is an interaction between the media and the industry, they feed each other. For example, Vogue magazine cannot exist without big fashion brands and fashion brands cannot exist without Vogue.”

Fashionable criminals

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Image credit: Pauline Wiersema

“I looked at the proposals of your final assignments,” says lecturer Uribe Sandoval. “In general, I see two different directions: one half creates a fashion production using media to sell its brand, and the other creates a media production that responds to the needs of both the fashion industry and consumers. I am curious to see how your projects will develop further.”

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Image credit: Pauline Wiersema

Taking turns, students talk about their ideas. One student is making a plan for a fashion exhibition with the theme ‘Criminal closet’. “If you look closely at their style, you can see that some criminals are fashionable,” she says. “I would like to organise a fashion exhibition showing the clothes and style of fashionable criminals.” Among others, she says, bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde and con artist Anna Sorokin are among these criminals with a fashion statement.

“An interesting idea,” responds lecturer Uribe Sandoval. “But have you thought about the ethics of the story? Is it ethical to portray criminals as fashionable?” The lecturer advises the student to include the ethical layer in her final assignment.

Body positivity

Another student has an idea to make a podcast about fashion and social media. In the podcast, she wants to explore how social media affects beauty ideals among young people. “For example, I see a body positivity movement emerging through TikTok,” says the student. “Especially young girls are embracing this movement, they are no longer concerned with losing weight or conforming to the beauty ideals.”

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Image credit: Pauline Wiersema

It is true that social media can have a positive influence on young people, says the lecturer. “But on the other hand, social media creates a non-realistic image of life,” she says. “I read a news item a while ago about 12-year-old teenage girls using retinol because of TikTok. They want to start preventing wrinkles early.” Uribe Sandoval then gives tips to the student on how to choose an angle for her interviews and who she might invite to her podcast.


Students Robin, Christina and Salma regret that the course is over. “This seminar was really cool,” Salma says. There is a lot of room for creativity, says student Christina. “The assignments are very practical.” For a group assignment, for example, they had to read an article and present the summary to fellow students. “But we had to make the presentation as fun as possible. So we designed posters and handouts.”

As an Econometrics student, this way of learning is a breath of fresh air for Christina. “It is very interactive, it makes the study material stick well and we also learn from each other.”

No more glitter

The students also like the content of the course. “This course is an eye-opener,” says student Robin. “We learn different aspects of fashion, such as economics and the history of the fashion world. You find out how big a role the fashion industry plays in everyday life.”

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Image credit: Pauline Wiersema

Student Salma adds, “Before this, I didn’t realise how unsustainable I was. I love shopping and did not realise how much energy is used to produce my clothes,” she says. “This course has changed my consumption behaviour. I have become more aware of what I buy, how much I buy and where I buy it. For example, I no longer buy stuff with glitter because the glitter can end up in water and is bad for the environment. I also only buy things that I know I will use for years.”

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Editor Feba Sukmana and illustrator Pauline Wiersema follow a college every month. Together, they describe and depict how teaching is done, what happens in the lecture hall and what students think of the lecture.

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