Hussman Students change gears due to COVID-19

Dana McMahan’s Workroom FashionMash Product Design class at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media typically culminates in a hands-on, student-constructed and produced event to showcase a product concept for a top brand.

The real-world design and marketing experience of FashionMash is tough to top, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic turned an extended spring break at UNC-Chapel Hill into a remote-learning environment, halting the hands-on design and immersive workshop processes that are the heart of FashionMash. 

“There’s a tremendous element of chaos in every design process. There couldn’t be a more real-world application than this,” said McMahan. “The students’ ingenuity, resilience and creativity brought them through the pivot to a virtual workroom and helped them retain a united vision for the line that has a strong mission.”

When the 40 students across the country — with one in China — were faced with how to creatively produce and launch their line of stylish and practical loungewear virtually, they became more collaborative than ever and driven to make a difference for those most impacted by the pandemic. They changed course quickly, aligning design elements and color palettes with forward-looking and upbeat messages about COVID-19.

FashionMash is made possible by the generous support of UNC Hussman alumni Bill and Leigh Goodwyn, whose $1 million gift in 2016 established the initiative.

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