I recently headed back to New York City for my second go around at Teen Vogue Fashion University (read about my first time at Fashion U here). Having previously attended, I somewhat knew what to expect, but nevertheless, this year's event completely blew away any of my predetermined expectations. It was so nice to run into and catch up with so many familiar faces and to be able to meet so many new ones, all of whom are beyond inspiring.
As before, the event kicked-off with a party on Friday night at the Express store, this time in Times Square. From mingling with fellow attendees, to running into Teen Vogue friends, to chatting with Luanna of the blog Le Happy, to seeing and hearing Chelsea Leyland DJ in the flesh (#girlcrush), the night was incredibly fun.
The next morning kicked off the first full day of Fashion U sessions held in Condé Nast's new home base, One World Trade Center. Also, let's talk about that bird's eye view of the city from this building - so stunning! The first seminar I attended was with Brett Heyman, designer of the incredibly gorgeous, vintage inspired Edie Parker clutch bags. It was extremely interesting to hear how a career that began in PR transitioned into her opening her own company and creating the acrylic bags she had always adored from past eras. Next, I heard from Cynthia Sakai of the Vita Fede Jewelry, interviewed by Teen Vogue's Senior Fashion Market and Accessories Editor, Jessica Minkoff. Cynthia gave so much great advice regarding having a clear vision in your set goals, working hard in every aspect, no matter how big or small, and never becoming complacent in order to push toward and, ultimately, achieve that final hoped dream. The following seminar was with designer Rebecca Minkoff and Teen Vogue's Style Features Director, Andrew Bevan, on breaking into this seemingly impenetrable industry, becoming so knowledgable and practiced in your craft that you become an invaluable asset, and how to keep the creative wheel spinning. Her tip on the latter: constantly keeping ideas in your mind that are exciting to you, and knowing the right moment in which to pursue them. Afterwards, I had the great honor of listening to stylist Erin Walsh speak about her journey through the fashion industry, from working under Phyllis Posnick at Vogue to branching off and embarking on a career as a freelance stylist. She provided countless amounts of wisdom and advice, which ranged from being positive and open toward opportunity and knowing that every opportunity you take can serve you in some way, to investing in yourself and who you want to be. She went on to elaborate on the importance of being generous towards others in this industry, which is always incredibly refreshing to hear. Designer Adam Selman led the next seminar, where he went through his different collections and the inspiration behind each of them. The last session on Saturday was given by a panel of Teen Vogue editors and stylist Brandon Maxwell, a.k.a. the man behind Lady Gaga's daring, yet utterly impeccable looks. They all gave such great insight and advice on working in this industry, and shared stories on the incredible experiences they've encountered throughout their careers. Fashion U was wrapped on Sunday with keynote speaker Zac Posen. What an incredible moment it was to hear him talk through his design process.
Once again, Teen Vogue Fashion University was an experience of a lifetime. The connections made and the wisdom imparted, as a result of this conference, are truly invaluable. I'm so grateful that year after year Teen Vogue opens their doors to both attendees and industry leaders to allow for such an incredible opportunity. There's no way to walk out of this conference without feeling utterly inspired and completely determined to make goals reality. Until next time, Fashion U...