What do you get when you put a bunch of fashion industry role models and idols in a room with a bunch of fashion lovers? A night full of stories, tales and jokes.
On Wednesday, June 11th, I had the pleasure of spending my night with multiple amazing speakers who have been so influential in their careers in fashion. The summit consisted of 4 different sessions where all the speakers got grouped and each spoke about how “they made it” into the fashion industry. Their advice was wise and very straightforward.
Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Joanna Coles, Designer + Keynote speaker of the night, Rebecca Minkoff , started the night off with a Q + A conversation about Rebecca’s path from her start to where she is now.
Rebecca gave some wise advice about her start in the business. She said, “People said no from the beginning [about her first few designs], you still have to know that you will get no’s all your life but you have to persist.” She also said that in order to make yourself remembered you should try to go to as many fashion events as possible as well as build relationships with the people you see at those events because those are the people who may give you your big break. She told us how her very first design came from a bedazzled T-Shirt and a bag called the Morning After Bag, which is now a signature bag in her collection.
The next session included Celebrity Stylist, Brad Goreski, Costumer for FX, Jenny Gering, VP of Lancôme Marketing, Piya Newkirk, Retail Business Director at Phillip Lim, Hanako Takabatake and VP of Marketing and Communicaton for Tommy Hilfiger, Heather Vandenberghe. This group told us that, “if you want to go for it, do it and don’t hold back,” from Brad’s success to Piya’s accomplishments we learned quickly that all these people on the stage did not just know someone that helped them but we saw that they had their own obstacles to over come and they surpassed them. Steve Colb even said that a career in fashion is not like getting any occupation with a specific degree, you have to work for it and show companies that they need you.
Later, Cosmo’s own exclusive fashion team took the floor. Deputy Editor, Katie Connor, Fashion Director, Aya Kanai, Fashion Market Director, Shiona Turini, and Senior Fashion Editor, James DeMolet, all spoke about their positions at Cosmo and what they do exactly. This was my favorite session because we got to learn about different careers to pursue in a fashion magazine.
The last session was all about talking, tweeting and writing fashion. Joanna Coles moderated again while Wall Street Journal Style Reporter, Elizabeth Holmes, Founder of ManRepeller.com, Leandra Medine, and Digital Brand Marketer at Keds International spoke about how social media and the internet has transformed their work. The industry has changed so much thanks to the digital world and they explained to us how we could use that a competitive advantage. One person we could relate to so much was Leandra. She has become one of the most influential fashion bloggers on the internet as well as has developed a business that she can live off of because of her super successful trendsetting blog. She explained that you have to keep up-to-date all the time and reach as many users on the internet as you can. Talk about your blog and keep updating it. She explained that you can make money through blogs, you just have to be committed.
These are some quotes I thought were most noteworthy:
“Companies will see that you are willing to do anything when you do the task 100% and know that no task is ‘not me’ . People who actually want to work will get recognized.” – Designer, Rebecca Minkoff.
“Just do everything to the extreme extent.” -Celebrity Stylist, Brad Goreski.
After the sessions, there was a brief hour where we had the opportunity to speed network with multiple people from the CFDA, Cosmopolitan, Keds International, and Lancôme as well as get a little make over from the Lancome make up artists. I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing woman from the CFDA who told me that sometimes in order to get noticed, you may have to email the person more than once and when the time is right, you will have your chance.
There was one thing that these speakers all had in common when they were telling us their stories. TIMING is key. It’s all about timing. All the speakers spoke one way or another about how timing played an important part in their careers. The entire summit shed such a positive light on all of us, fashion enthusiasts, and made us grow hopeful for the future. We learned that since if we have a skill that no one else has, we need to take that and make it work for us. We need to show that designer or that company, that they need us. We need to show them that we have what they want.