Attending this year's Teen Vogue Fashion University was in every way one of the most incredible opportunities of my fashion journey thus far. From finding common ground with young hopefuls embarking on their career dreams, to meeting so many accomplished industry leaders who have already achieved their goals, being in the midst of the vast variety of people was such a special experience, in itself. It was so inspiring to hear first-hand, personal stories of such successful people, proving that with a great deal of hard work, drive, and dedication to your passion, you can make it.
The Fashion U festivities commenced on Friday night with the Express Kick-Off Party at Madison Avenue and 51st Street. This being my first official "fashion party," I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning - overly giddy and way too full of excitement (Who says fashion has to be blasé and jaded?). The night was filled with so much fun and energy. From a photo booth, to a hair braiding station, to a DJ booth, everywhere I turned there was something exciting happening. The highlight of the night, however, finally being able to meet, in the flesh, Mr. Andrew Bevan, the man to whom I am forever indebted because of this. His warm and welcoming greeting was the perfect start to such a wonderful experience. Our conversation instantly had me cracking up with his telling stories of his previous trips to Alabama. For him to be so successful, yet so sincerely sweet and humble, was absolutely incredible. I'm so thankful to call him my friend. Another big perk of the night, was meeting Mary Kate Steinmiller, who is an extremely kind person and whose career I admire greatly. Being Teen Vogue's Senior Fashion Market Editor, she is living out my dream job. Not to mention, she completely made my night by asking me to shoot an Outfit of the Day video for Teen Vogue's YouTube channel.
Saturday was nonstop. Registration began at 8 a.m., which led straight into a full day of seminars being held in the Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Hotel and the Conde Nast building, Teen Vogue's home base. The first class of the day was with the panel of the Teen Vogue editors. I absolutely loved getting to hear their stories on how they each got their foot in the door of this industry. The many pieces of advice they shared on becoming successful in this field were so pertinent and helpful. My next two seminars were with fashion designers Joseph Altuzarra and Thakoon Panichgul. It was so interesting to hear them both elaborate on their individual design processes, plus how they each achieved their big breaks. Nicole Williams and Lisa Puskarcik led the next class, which was filled with so many vital career tips, that otherwise, would probably have never crossed my mind. After having a very important lesson on achieving success, and exactly how to go about that very daunting task, I headed to Kate Phelan's seminar led by Teen Vogue's editor-in-chief, Amy Astley. Listening to Kate talk about her many years at British Vogue, as well as her current role as Topshop's creative director, was absolutely incredible and completely inspiring. To top it off, she was one of the loveliest and most down-to-earth people I have ever met. My last seminar of the day was with Emily Weiss and Nick Axelrod of Into the Gloss, accompanied by Stephanie Mark and Jake Rosenberg of The Coveteur. Not only am I a blogger myself, but I'm also a blog junkie, with Into the Gloss and The Coveteur being ranked very highly on my list of favorites. Listening to them talk about each of their sites and how they have transformed and grown into these very notable mega-blogs was really awesome.
As soon as classes were finished for the day, I quickly headed downtown for the Fashion U party being held at Topshop in SoHo. The top floor of the four-storied store was party central, filled with a DJ, free manicures, and an ice cream bar. I'm not going to lie, I completely took advantage of the complimentary TVFU student discount, and bought some of the coolest pieces (one which I'm currently wearing while typing this).
On Sunday, Fashion U was concluded with the viewing of the film In Vogue: The Editor's Eye and a Q&A with Vogue's very own Phyllis Posnick and Eve MacSweeney. Hearing about the extensive process and amount of precise detailing that a fashion editor must do in order to achieve producing an incredible photo was absolutely intriguing.
After receiving my official TVFU Class of 2013 diploma, I headed to Tribeca to shoot an Outfit of the Day video for Teen Vogue's YouTube channel. It was a completely new experience for me, but totally fun. Basically, I just explained the details of my outfit and my reasoning for pairing them all together, which was kind of tricky, considering I typically just throw on a bunch of pieces that I like until I find something that works. I also defined my personal style and shared my style icons. I can't wait to see the final result of the video and share it with you all.
Every single aspect of Fashion U, from the people I met to the advice I received, as well as the experience as a whole was absolutely incredible. I'm so thankful to have been a part of the Class of 2013, and I plan on continuing the tradition of attending TVFU for many, many years to come.