Marist Fashion’s FM/AM Garners Third Gold Crown Award

FM/AM, created by students in the fashion program’s Magazine Production course, was recently recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Marist Fashion recently added another accolade to its list of accomplishments. For the third year in a row, FM/AM, a publication created by students in the program’s Writing for Fashion and Magazine Production courses, was given a Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Out of the possible 1000 points, FM/AM received a 984; an all-time high for the publication. This score takes into consideration grammatical accuracy, writing style, and visual appeal. In addition to this honor, the magazine is currently a finalist for the Associated Collegiate Press’ Magazine Pacemaker Award for the second year in a row. 

What began in 2014 as a lookbook has rapidly evolved into a glossy, professional magazine enjoyed by people across the globe. According to Professional Lecturer Melissa Halvorson, who teaches both Writing for Fashion and Magazine Production, “The next year [in 2015], the lookbook expanded to 200 pages and we realized we had an exciting opportunity to demonstrate what thoughtful fashion content can look like to a broader audience. Since then, we have published a professional-grade magazine produced entirely by students that is sold on newsstands worldwide.” 

Image credit to  Marist Fashion .

Image credit to Marist Fashion.

Successfully making a magazine as multifaceted as FM/AM requires an innovative spirit and willingness to think outside the box. This is intensified due to the magazine’s fluctuation in theme. Every year, FM/AM dives into something new. Halvorson said, “We start from scratch every year with nothing but a title (which we didn’t have until 3 years ago). Over the course of the semester, the design and layout, color stories, typography and visual themes get developed based on the student makers.” 

Creating the physical magazine is an intricate, layered process. First, the editorial content is generated by students in Writing for Fashion during the fall semester. In the spring, Magazine Production students investigate how to thread the articles together in a way that is engaging and cohesive. Then, they get to work assembling the magazine itself. The schedule is rigorous - and the turnaround time is tight. 

“Most garments are being finished just days before the photo shoots,” Halvorson said. “Due to this schedule, we hold photo shoots until the last possible moment before the magazine goes to press, usually about 10 days prior.” 

Kate Beebe, a Marist Fashion alumna who graduated in May 2019, served as the magazine’s Design and Layout Director for the spring 2019 semester. She explains there is a strong emphasis placed on the magazine’s visual cohesion.

“My team... fundamentally created the tangible magazine, but more so the design aesthetic of the magazine, pairing together themes from the written pieces from writing for fashion, the editorial shoots, and our own wild ideas,” Beebe said. “We created the original art featured in the magazine and set up each of the 96 pages to be the most aesthetically sound they could be.” 

Beebe admits that making FM/AM “called for late nights and lots of out of class work.” For her, getting recognized by Columbia University with this honor was a testimony to the quality of the publication the team created. “Winning this award just confirms how wonderful of a magazine we knew that this could be and became,” she said. “I am so proud of all of the contributors and am so grateful for this award.”

Grace Murphy, a junior Fashion Merchandising student, worked on Beebe’s team and enjoyed the opportunity to put her creativity to use while gaining applicable, real world experience. 

“We have so much freedom but we’re also working under Professor Halvorson who gives us critiques and makes sure we’re on the right track,” she said.

Murphy believes the most remarkable part of working on the magazine is how people internationally can buy and have it for themselves. She is also proud of the magazine’s score. 

“This was the highest we’ve ever placed and it’s amazing to [have] all of our hard work recognized,” she said.

Ultimately, the magazine is only as great as the students who create it are willing to make it. Halvorson acknowledges this, and said, “I know the students are proud of themselves, but what I want them to know is how ferociously proud I am of them rising to the absolute top of national college media three years in a row.”  

Magazine Production isn’t a typical Marist Fashion course. There are moments throughout the semester that students become particularly aware of this. To Halvorson, this is part of the undeniable magic that comes with creating a work of art like FM/AM: the moment students realize how individually, they can make an impact on the magazine. 

“Like a choir or band; every individual wants to sound good, but a group in synchrony is transcendent,” Halvorson said. “I remind them, nobody at a newsstand in Tokyo or Melbourne or Lisbon knows or cares that FM/AM is a student magazine. We are happy if they discover that, via our statement at the beginning of the mag, but we don’t rely on it.”