Success by Design
Ohio Wesleyan Transfer Student Finds Niche Writing, Instagramming about Historic Fashion
By Cole Hatcher
Experience: Writing about historical films, fashion, and television for the global “Willow and Thatch” website and running the Instagram account @perioddramas.
Faith Brammer says she went from being a beauty school dropout, to a community college student, to studying English Literature and History at Ohio Wesleyan, where she has parlayed her passion for historical fashion, films, and television into column writing and social media marketing.
To date, Brammer has written three articles for the “Willow and Thatch” website, most recently a look at “Making History: Bridgerton Costumes.” Launched in 2015, “Willow and Thatch” records more than 100,000 engagements each month for its “period drama news and reviews.”
“An OWU alum actually read my first article and reached out to me,” Brammer says, “so it was wonderful to be able to make that connection.”
She also runs the Instagram account @perioddramas, which currently boasts more than 49,000 followers.
Here, Brammer discusses her interests and future plans in her typical elegant and engaging style.
The ‘Universal, Timeless’ Human Experience
“I’ve always been interested in history, even back in elementary school,” Brammer says. “I think the reason for that is because I’ve always been drawn to the art of storytelling. Stories are the currency of human contact (Robert McKee said that, not me) and history holds the stories of the human experience.
“I remember reading ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ when I was in seventh grade and just being absolutely astounded by her story. Journals, and even classic novels like ‘Jane Eyre’ or ‘Great Expectations,’ provide a window that looks back on a society in flux, not just on facts, figures and dates. That's where my passion for historical film and television came from.
“To see those narratives played out on screen is powerful, emotive, and can shape the way people think about history. Of course, movies themselves can’t teach history, as many often contain cherry-picked nostalgia or have that gilded Hollywood touch, but they can spark an interest and ignite a larger conversation about certain issues, events, or people of the past.
“There's also something very comforting about the fact all throughout history, regardless of what era, the stories within contain the themes of love, loss, identity, courage, redemption – all things we deal with today. The human experience is universal, timeless.”
A Fascination With Fashion
“My more niche interest in historical fashion stemmed from the copious amounts of period dramas I was consuming during my teen years,” Brammer continues. “Visions of a bygone era would waltz across the screen and the intricacies of the garments, from the Tudor era gowns to mid-century dresses, fascinated me.
“I started studying antique portraits, fashion plates, and eventually had the privilege to visit a Victorian clothing exhibit during high school. There’s something very special and almost surreal about looking at a garment that’s hundreds of years old. You can't help but wonder what stories it holds.
“Eventually, historical fashion became a little bit of a passion project for me. I love learning about how the styles and silhouettes evolved along with the changing social dynamics in history. Historical costuming in film and television is often a hit or miss. However, while accuracy is important and preserving the era’s integrity is imperative, aesthetic intuition drives many costuming choices – and that’s OK. It’s part of the storytelling.”
Opportunities at Ohio Wesleyan
“OWU has provided so many resources for me as a student,” Brammer says. “I took ‘British Romantics’ and ‘The Victorians’ with Dr. Mark Allison, both of which provided such rich historical background for the novels and poems we read in class. I was challenged to think critically about the era and the art which resulted from the social movements of the period in question – which I then tied back to the world I live in today.
“I also took ‘Contemporary Feminist Literature’ with professor Amy Butcher, which led to me do some research on the portrayal of women throughout classic literature versus their modern film counterparts.
“Pre-pandemic, I wanted to go to graduate school for museum or heritage studies and eventually work in curating exhibits. Coronavirus has put those plans on hold for the time being. Right after graduation, I hope to work as an editor/writer for a magazine or in public relations.
“OWU’s Career Connection office has been extremely helpful during this turbulent time and has provided access to numerous professional resources and connections that are helping prepare me for the workplace.”
From Cosmetology to College
“College wasn’t really in the cards for me, or so I thought,” Brammer shares. “I took a gap year after high school to work and eventually enrolled in cosmetology school, which I hated. So, I became a beauty school dropout and applied to community college.
“I was encouraged to transfer to a four-year institution and pursue a bachelor’s degree, which led me to Ohio Wesleyan. I was offered an academic merit scholarship and I also received the Wesleyan Essay Scholarship.
“Those scholarships completely changed the trajectory of my future. OWU made my dreams of a college education possible. I’m so thankful for the opportunities, mentorship, and lifelong friendships I’ve made during my time at OWU – it’s become my home.”