OSU's first lifestyle and fashion magazine
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 02:03
Last summer, eight students enrolled in the school of design and environment’s class, DHE 299, hoping to learn and explore the elements of fashion styling. Instead of traditional lectures and tedious homework assignments, the three-week course took an unusual hands-on approach.
In the course’s first week, instructor Keith Nishida assigned his eight students their final project: Create a fashion magazine. With their sights set high, the students worked tirelessly on the assignment, eventually leading to an end result beyond anything they had originally anticipated.
DAMchic Magazine began as a fictitious class project and developed into a full-time endeavor.
“I wanted to focus not just on personal styling but editorial styling,” Nishida said. “The final project for the course was put in the context of a fashion magazine and the rest was history.”
The final product was released on Sept. 6, 2012, and drew more attention than Nishida and his students were expecting. Within one month of the online publication of DAMchic’s first issue, the 40-page magazine was nominated by the Portland Fashion and Style Awards for best fashion and style publication.
“It was an honor to be nominated among magazines that have been in existence for years,” said Erin Hatley, an OSU senior and editor-in-chief of DAMchic. “These were full-time professionals and we were students doing this for a school project.”
Support from the magazine’s readership and Oregon State University community motivated the students to pursue the magazine more seriously and become a Student Sponsored Organization (SSO) on campus. A general meeting regarding the magazine was held and students looking to get involved with the magazine were asked to fill out an application and attach their resume.
“We received over three dozen applications and, from there, we picked a team of about 25 contributors,” Hatley said.
When the original eight students behind DAMchic wanted to become an SSO, Nishida was happy to volunteer as the faculty adviser. Going from a staff of eight students to more than two-dozen was an unexpected growth spurt, but Nishida believes the magazine’s overall potential has increased because of it.
Nishida refers to the staff as his DC (damn chic) angels, and jokes that he is the “Charlie” of it all.
Melissa Magnuson, a junior at OSU and DAMchic’s production assistant director said that while people often think DAMchic is a women’s fashion magazine, it features men’s fashion too.
“The spring publication will have pieces on health, beauty and fitness,” Magnuson said. “There will even be a pop culture section that includes movie reviews.”
“Wanderlust,” the theme for the spring issue, is meant to focus on renewal with spring break and the urge to go out and travel.
According to Nishida, the work that has gone into developing the spring issue has been collaborative. However, while the magazine’s team of editors, executive positions and volunteer contributors work collectively, they also take on responsibilities that correspond to their positions.
“We need the talent director to get the models, the creative director to develop the concept and the photo editor to edit the photos,” Magnuson said.
Hatley estimates that, altogether, the staff has easily spent more than 500 hours this term pitching ideas, gathering content and assembling the spring issue. She joked that sometimes she spends more time on the magazine than school.
The 50-page spring issue is set to be published on DAMchic’s Facebook page no later than March 18, and will include a piece on architecture, a section on DIY hair fixes and a profile of a PSU student, Jacob Keller, who won an award for his unique style. In addition to clothes straight from the closets of staff members, the fashion spreads will feature clothing articles donated by local businesses, such as Second Glance and Gold Crane.
The magazine is currently made possible through donations and generous local vendors, but as of now is still looking for opportunities for funding.
Nishida dreams of having the magazine available at the OSU Beaver Store in Portland, but is satisfied with what he and the staff have already accomplished.
“I wanted to foster a creative place where students can develop hands-on experience before they graduate,” Nishida said.
Those interested in involvement with DAMchic are encouraged to message via Facebook. The DAMchic Facebook page and online publication can be found at www.facebook.com/DAMchicMagazine.
Gabriella Morrongiello, news reporter