From October 18th through October 20th, Condé Nast Publications held their 8th Annual Teen Vogue Fashion University. The weekend-long event in New York City is sponsored by Teen Vogue magazine and consists of classes, marketing seminars, hands-on workshops, design contests, private shopping events, interview and job-hunting advice, and of course, resume tips. The annual fashion event is most notable for its lectures from industry insiders, the world’s top fashion designers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, stylists, keynote speakers, and celebrities.
Hundreds of young fashionistas worldwide looking for their big break into the New York City fashion industry apply for the annual event each year, and only three hundred students are accepted. This was my fourth consecutive year being accepted into Teen Vogue Fashion University. As a 23 year-old fashionista and May 2012 college graduate currently living and working full-time in the New York City fashion industry, I am on the oldest side of the admissions spectrum. The program is targeted towards high school and college students interested in learning more about the wide array of opportunities the ever-changing fashion industry has to offer. I must admit, I have returned four years consecutively because each year has been truly empowering to my career aspirations and me.
The experience is one of a kind and each year has a different enticing line up. Teen Vogue Fashion University 2013 commenced on Friday night with a private shopping event kick-off party at Express on Madison Avenue. The night was filled with shopping the Express fall collection, sipping on mocktails, devouring fancy hors d’oeuvres, taking quirky photobooth photos with props, getting hair styled at the braid bar, and receiving a personal fashion illustration with the purchase of $75 or more. Once students were accepted into Teen Vogue Fashion University via email in early September, the next step was registering for classes to attend from a plethora of fashion guest speaker choices. Saturday was a long day of classes at the Hudson Theatre and Condé Nast Publications Building, both located in the heart of Times Square.
Saturday kicked off with an opening seminar from Amy Astley, Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, as well as her team of magazine Editors. The remainder of the day’s classes were taught by top fashion industry figures: Joseph Altuzarra, Kelly Wearstler, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Dannijo, Vashtie Kola, Marie Suter, Thakoon Panichgul, Erika Bearman, Nanette Lepore, Livia Marotta, Jennifer Behr, Sperry’s, Alexa Chung, Christian Siriano, Eddie Borgo, Jessie Randall, Shopbop, Nicole Williams, Lisa Puskarcik, Coco Rocha, Dean Micklewhite, Anna Wen, Kate Phelan, Neil Blumenthal, and Misha Nonoo. Saturday’s closing session was taught by fashion blog founders Emily Weiss and Nick Axelrod of Into the Gloss and Stephanie Mark and Jake Rosenberg of The Coveteur.
My favorite class at Teen Vogue Fashion University this year was taught by the one and only Vashtie Kola. She is one of my role models in life as a young entrepreneur, and I definitely learned a lot from her stories and advice on how to break into different industries while starting my own business. Thakoon Panichgul was also another favorite class of mine, simply because I had always had the desire to meet him. I read in the Teen Vogue Handbook a few years ago that he interned at Showroom Seven International and Seventh House P.R. in the past, a fashion internship I had in college as well and currently work as a Freelancer on the side. I spoke to him personally after his seminar about our similar experiences.
My Saturday takeaways: “Think of your brand in a 360 view.” – Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue Beauty and Health Director
“Journalism is not dying out.” – Amy Astley, Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief
“It’s important that everything you make, you stand by it 100%. It’s how your brand and your voice match, and at the end of the day, it’s how you will make yourself different. I see ICECREAM GIRL in boutiques and stores accessible to people, taking over the missing loop in fashion, and worn by fashion forward individuals interested in street wear and hip-hop. Roll with the punches to balance different industries. While working at Def Jam, I directed my own music video for Kanye West’s ‘Us Placers’ song, on the side, with my own money and bunch of little kids. I had a release party for it, posted it on YouTube, and immediately The Rolling Stones, Complex magazine, and other publications and media outlets pushed it into the forefront. That was a turning point for me.” – Vashtie Kola, American Artist, Visionary Director, Fashion Designer, Party Promoter, DJ, and Entrepreneur
“I’m not creating an empire, I’m creating a world. I like working with parameters and get excited about new projects so that I am not bored. I always see shoes before designs. I visualized my stocking shoe for my most recent collection before the actual collection. I love designing accessories, shoes or bags, if not clothing. The bigger I get, the more of a manager I become, but I still need to be connected as a designer. I create a rough sketch, which is communicated to designers to make technical packages and flats. When you’re a creative person, you will always think creatively.” – Thakoon Panichgul, Fashion Designer
“I have no reason to copy. I don’t really have a style icon.” – Alexa Chung, Fashion Icon
“It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.” – Coco Rocha, Supermodel
Saturday ended with a private shopping event at Topshop in SoHo and was another fun night of shopping the Topshop fall collection, sipping on refreshing cocktails, indulging in an ice cream bar and other dessert treats, manicures, writing fashion pledges, and a personalized monogram station with any purchase. Sunday’s festivities embarked with a screening of the HBO documentary The Editor’s Eye, a film that celebrates the pivotal role the Vogue fashion editor has played in shaping America’s sense of style since the magazine’s launch 120 years ago. Afterwards, Vogue’s Features Director, Eve MacSweeney, and Executive Fashion Editor, Phyllis Posnick, spoke about their experiences noted in the film. The overall weekend-long event then ended with the class of 2013 graduation where students received their diploma and took a graduation photo in front of the official Teen Vogue Fashion University step and repeat backdrop.
My Sunday takeaways:
“Yes, it does take a certain type of model for my photo shoots because they need to contribute to what the story is about. They need to move well and be graceful to make an interesting photo. I really love dancers.My favorite images are my most recent ones because I constantly try to make them better than the others.” – Phyllis Posnick, Vogue Executive Fashion Editor
Teen Vogue Fashion University students traveled near and far to New York City from all around the world to enjoy a once in a lifetime fashion opportunity in the big apple.
Danielle Mahoney, pictured above, is from Wexford, Ireland and could have possibly traveled the farthest for the weekend’s festivities, twenty hours! She just graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in History and English. This was her first year applying and attending Teen Vogue Fashion University. She heard about it through reading the Teen Vogue Handbook that made a breakthrough back in 2010. The weekend-long event enhanced Danielle’s career aspirations of becoming a Magazine Journalist. The event made her realize that she has all of the tools needed to pursue her career, she just has to use them and work hard to achieve it. She believes that each class was beneficial to her in their own ways, although, Danielle really enjoyed the opening seminar with the Teen Vogue Editors because she was able to takeaway a great sense of what working at the magazine was actually all about. Hearing their personal stories on how they got to where they are now definitely demonstrated examples of how one gets to work at a notable fashion magazine. Surprisingly, this was her fifth time visiting New York City and she plans to move here next year as part of the graduate visa program that she has available in Ireland. What intrigues her most about the city is the overall vibe and feeling that anything is possible. Her personal style is described as tailored, patterned, and feminine.
Julius Walls, pictured above, is a sophomore at Southern University and A&M College majoring in Fashion Merchandising and a minoring in Public Relations. He’s from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This has been his third year being accepted into Teen Vogue Fashion University, and his second year experiencing the opportunity. The distance didn’t stop him from experiencing the memorable weekend once again. He traveled far from the south, on a plane from Baton Rouge to Dallas, then from Dallas to New York. Julius would like to become a published Fashion Stylist one day, which is also one of my personal goals I have attained already working as a Stylist here in New York City.
His career aspirations are to style editorials, designer look-books, and ad-campaigns. Teen Vogue Fashion University really enhanced his vision; he always knew he wanted to be the next June Ambrose, but didn’t know how he could make it happen. His overall favorite seminar was the styling seminar hosted by Shopbop and Teen Vogue Senior Fashion Market Editor and Special Projects Editor, Mary Kate Steinmiller. He was thrilled to attend this class and felt as if he was in his ‘zone.’ Students who attended the class were put into groups of five and styled a rolling rack of clothing. He loved receiving positive feedback by the Shopbop team, which made him feel as if he really has what it takes to become a successful Stylist in the future. This was his second time visiting New York City and what he likes the most about it is that it has so much to offer a young, hopeful fashion enthusiast such as himself, who is trying to pursue a career in fashion.
Danica Garner, pictured above, is my fashion mentee from Richmond, VA. She is currently a senior at my alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, and plans to graduate in May 2014 with a B.A. in Fashion and a Baccalaureate Certificate in Product Innovation, following in my footsteps! This was her first time attending Teen Vogue Fashion University, an opportunity she had heard about from reading Teen Vogue magazine and through friends who had attended the event before, like me. The weekend-long event was an exciting opportunity for her to learn and understand the passion that designers, editors, and other fashion industry professionals have for the industry. Danica’s career aspirations are to become a Director of Visual Merchandising. Attending the program enhanced her career aspirations because she learned that she is on the right track to starting her career as a Fashion Stylist and that she needs to think outside of the box in order to use her skills to tell a story through photography.
Just like Julius, her favorite class was also the Shopbop styling session with Elle Strauss from Shopbop, Amy Levin from College Fashionista, and Mary Kate Steinmiller from Teen Vogue. She enjoyed this class the most because she learned a lot about the styling process and the different ways to get started in the industry. What she loves most about visiting New York City is the energy. There are so many people in the city and just about everyone seems to have unique feature about them. She would definitely consider moving to New York because there are greater career opportunities in the fashion industry. Danica’s personal style is described as classic, feminine, and abstract.
Carolyn Dawson, pictured above, is from Johnston, Rhode Island. She is a Graphic Communications Program student at Cranston High School West. This was her first time attending Teen Vogue Fashion University and she absolutely loved it. She has known about the program since it was first created, being an avid reader of Teen Vogue magazine. Her career aspirations are to impact the lives of millions of girls through the means of fashion, in some type of way she has yet to discover. Having the opportunity to attend Teen Vogue Fashion University, she was able to meet many girls who presently reside in New York City, like myself. Fortunately, she met two girls who are current students at her dream school, the Fashion Institute of Technology, whom gave her a tour of the campus after the weekend’s graduation ceremony. Carolyn’s favorite class was the Express seminar. She believes that she learned tons of valuable information and it was surreal being in the same room as the Express Vice President for all menswear as well as the Vice President for all knit and sweater designs. This was not her first time visiting New York City, although, she definitely plans on moving here for college. Her personal style is described as classic, business, and sexy.
Sherri Anderson, pictured above, is from Canton, Michigan. As a senior attending Grand Valley State, she majors in Hospitality, Planning and Event Management and Tourism, with a Business minor. This was her first time attending Teen Vogue Fashion University and heard about it through an ad in Teen Vogue magazine right before applications were due in the summer, but considered it in previous years as well when she saw an ad on the Teen Vogue website. Sherri believes that the weekend-long event gathered current fashion leaders together to build a community of young and passionate fashion future leaders by combining education, entertainment, and hospitality. Her dream is to one-day plan New York Fashion Week, but overall, she wants to plan marketing, promotional, and social events. Attending Teen Vogue Fashion University confirmed her passion for the industry and made her current aspirations even stronger. Her favorite class was Kelly Wearstler’s seminar because her story was extremely inspirational. She believes her designs really speak to the designer in her; they inspire her to reach for more. Kelly’s interiors are beautiful and innovative while still following a vision and touching history. She really cares about the quality of her product and makes sure everyone has a custom “piece of Kelly.” This was not Sherri’s first time in the city; it was her third. She keeps coming back for more because she loves the possibilities, culture, and pace of the city and plans to move here after graduation this April. Her personal style is noted as classic, timeless, and chic. Overall, Teen Vogue Fashion University 2013 was a success for all attendees. Are you a young fashionista interested in learning from top industry figures? Apply to attend next year! Applications become available in the summertime for next fall’s classes and event.
By: Christina Marie Edwards | NYC Fashion Enthusiast.
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