This free ESL lesson plan on fashion has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.
Do you know what the cool kids are wearing these days? No, me neither. But for fashionistas, knowing what is in fashion is extremely important. They wouldn’t what to be caught wearing last season’s styles! Oh the horror! Perhaps when we were younger, we followed the trends of the time, but these days, it’s better to play it safe with jeans and a t-shirt, items that will never go out of fashion. But fashion isn’t just about looking good. There’s a darker side to the fashion industry from the damaging effect fast fashion has on the environment, to the effect it has on our self-esteem. In this ESL lesson plan on fashion, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what fashion is, how important it is (or isn’t), and the effect of fashion on society.
This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for Fashion Revolution Day, which takes place in April, or World Fashion Day, which takes place in July. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):
The article looks at fashion trends and examines where they come from. In the past, according to the article, trends were set by fashion designers and magazines. These days, there is a “democracy of cool” set by Gen Z on social media. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.
The video for this class is called “The true cost of fast fashion” by The Economist which looks at fast fashion and its effects on the environment.
The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.
This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including whether the students consider themselves fashionistas, how they would describe their fashion style, and whether you have to spend a lot of money to be fashionable.
After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with fashion such as deigner label, dressed to kill and fashion icon. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.
If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.
Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about fashion. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as negative effects of the fashion industry on society, the conditions under which clothes are made, and the importance of fashion in the future.
After the class, students will write about their opinion of fashion. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.