With the pressure to stand out and navigate a path in a business that is known for its intensely competitive nature, breaking into fashion can seem like an intimidating and frightening task. But for eight years, Teen Vogue Fashion University has been making it easier for aspiring industry hopefuls to network, exchange valuable tips and hear first-hand experience from the top names in the industry.
On October 18 and 19, Teen Vogue brought the best of the best to New York City— designers, editors, bloggers and stylists — to present informative sessions and help educate and guide eager fashion-minded students who represented every state and nearly 23 countries. From "It girl" Alexa Chung, to former British Vogue Fashion Director and Topshop Creative Director Kate Phelan, to Project Runway star Christian Siriano, the talent present during the weekend was stellar and undoubtedly made the experience one of the greatest of my life.
As a third year Fashion U student, I’ve been able to learn from some of the most incredible speakers and I have taken away different advice each time that has helped me develop my career path in a fun and unique way. But this weekend, I was able to meet and network with incredible professionals and attend a few swoon-worthy soirées that made this year my favorite yet. Here are my favorite moments from Teen Vogue Fashion University 2013:
Making friends in the field
An incredible aspect of TVFU is having the opportunity to meet hundreds of other people your age who share the same goals and who have already had amazing accomplishments in the industry. From students who have interned for major magazines, to amateur designers who already sell pieces of their collections in Barney’s and Neiman Marcus, there are endless sources of inspiration and many connections to be made.
TVFU is known for hosting captivating classes, but some of the greatest memories of the weekend are made outside of the classroom. Friday and Saturday night of TVFU are dedicated to celebrating at some of the city’s standout stores such as Express and Topshop. Although I wasn’t able to attend the Express event on Friday night, the Saturday Topshop social was the perfect way to wind down with a few sweet treats, superb music and incredible shopping. Events of the night included free monogramming, gift card giveaways, free manicures and indulging in a fully stocked frozen yogurt bar.
Sessions with CFDA Award-winning designers
While many presentations from industry veterans provide insight and wisdom beyond compare, designing newcomers like Joseph Altuzarra and Thakoon Panichgul gave incredibly inspiring advice to students who are striving to make it big—a position that both men were in just a few short years ago before winning CFDA awards and launching their own companies. Although many aspiring designers may feel discouraged at times, Altuzarra said it is important to know what you stand for and really stick with it.
“You have to know who you are and you have to stay focused on your brand,” Altuzarra said. “You have to know you are designing for the right reason, you have to love what it is, you have to have passion, and most importantly, you have to know when it is your time.”