A Night to Remember: CFDA Awards 2017

Throughout the years, attending The Fashion School at Kent State University has proven to be the best decision I’ve ever made. In my three years as a student, I have been presented with an incomparable education, passionate professors and a multitude of opportunities to emerge myself in the industry. The NYC Studio is one of Kent State’s most dignifying factors.

All thanks to the studio, I have been able to intern at the top luxury PR firm, Karla Otto, and NYLON, learn from working industry professionals, work New York Fashion Week and attend the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. As Seth Meyers, this year’s host of the CFDA’s, would say, the CDFA Awards are considered the “Oscar’s of fashion”. He’s not wrong. I really explained it like that to my family and friends who had no clue why I was so thrilled to be attending some show titled with a mysterious acronym.

I sat in this ballroom surrounded by major industry leaders just thinking how lucky I am to have gotten to where I am today in just three shorts year. The amount of talent, drive and dedication in that one room held truly inspiring energy. What was even greater than the talent was the support. Even though there were awards to be given out, every person was there to support and celebrate each other’s talent. We’re all aware of the negatively catty stereotype surrounding our industry, but I have never met more uplifting and genuine spirits than those in the creative industries.

Of course, every CFDA Award Show is utterly groundbreaking, but I felt as this year really made an impact above and beyond the ordinary. The Board of Director’s Tribute honored Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinem and Janelle Monae’s incredible efforts for women’s rights and equality as a whole, which brought chills to the entire room. Kenneth Cole was also presented with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change for his noteworthy work with HIV and Aids. Upholding the legacy of Calvin Klein, Raf Simons was the first designer to win both Womenswear and Menswear Designer of the Year since Klein himself in 1993. Pat McGrath and Franca Sozzani were also honored for their work driving fashion towards innovative and acceptance for all.

The late Franca Sozzani worked as the editor in chief of Vogue Italia. Throughout her remarkable career, she had pushed the boundaries of fashion media for her time. Her issues of Vogue Italia had featured the first plus-size model on the cover as well as created the infamous July 2008 “All Black” issue. As someone who dreams of working as an editor, I have the utmost respect for the way she presented fashion as life and upheld the highest of standards for her magazine.

Many of the presenters served as an inspiration themselves. The infamous Anna Wintour, fashionista and girl boss Kerry Washington, style icon Nicole Kidman and the legendary Diane von Furstenberg all made appearances to honor the truly indescribable world of fashion.

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Change is Coming… And It’s Under 30

It’s no secret that the world of fashion is evolving at a rate so fast that some of us are even having a hard time keeping up. Although, change is ultimately what the entire industry is built on; that craving for the latest and greatest is never quite satisfied. With media playing such a prevalent role in our consumption of fashion, change is moving faster and more drastically than ever before.

Vogue recently posted an article titled “Change is Coming: 13 Talking Points for an Evolving New York Fashion Week”. Change has been a rapid influx since the “see now, buy now” model was put into place by various designers then followed by NYFW heavy hitters’, like Rodarte and Tommy Hilfiger, decisions to show in other markets.

All of this led to my interest in talking point #1 “Is NYFW optional?” and #3 “Is NYFW more important than ever?”. My initial impression to these ever changing formats, whether it’s “see now, buy now” or outlandish forms of presentations, like Opening Ceremony’s display at the New York City Ballet, is a call for attention. With the overabundance of media coverage, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of various forms of coverage. It has nearly become a competition of who can stand out the most.

With that being said, it is more important than ever that brands are participating in NYFW. This the most covered and reputable access point for brands throughout the year. Even though the market is so saturated, it is not worth missing out on the opportunity to stay relevant to the consumer. The various presentations are now focused on grabbing the attention of the consumers rather than professionals. Whether they gather their information from Vogue Runway or Instagram, an intriguing presentation will get a brand notice. This format has truly risen the bar and now is the time for designers to take advantage of the opportunity to shine.

This change is not only relevant at New York Fashion Week but within the fashion industry as a whole. A prime example of this is in Forbes 30 under 30 2017 Arts & Style list. These professionals are making waves in the industry with their innovations across all platforms.

Julia Gudish Krieger, 28, is the founder of VillageLuxe. She describes it as “Rent the Runway” for your everyday wardrobe. They offer high-end items to their customers like Hermes Birkin bags and Chanel boots. It’s become so popular that there’s actually a waitlist of thousands, and you need an invitation just to join. She’s found the perfect way to maintain exclusivity of their products while still making them more accessible to a wider market.

Another young professional bringing change to the industry is James Charles. He’s only 17 but has achieved the ultimate beauty rank of a CoverGirl ambassador. As the first male ambassador, he is opening doorways for beauty influencers of all backgrounds to reach success. In fact, he is only a high school senior and a self-taught makeup artist. He goes to show that with enough passion and determination, the sky isn’t even the limit.

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Teen Vogue Fashion University

 

I can’t thank Teen Vogue enough for such an incredible weekend. It’s clear they are a publication that throughly cares about their readers and the future of fashion. This weekend at Teen Vogue Fashion University, I was a part of the Business of Fashion Program. TVFU provides us with fabulous speakers and networking opportunities throughout the weekend.

We started off Friday night at the Express in Times Square for the TVFU kickoff party. The wonderful Marketing and PR women of Express were in attendance along with some of the greatest minds of Teen Vogue.

On the first official day of TVFU, we were mentored by a handful of incredibly successful industry mavens. I learned important tips from experts dominating the blogger field from the women of WhoWhatWear, fashion show production insight from LDJ, the key to publication success from Jason Wagenheim, launching an online store with Carol Kane, and fashion entrepreneurship from Jessica Simpson.

Sunday morning, one of the greatest PR career women spoke, Erika Bearman of Oscar De La Renta. I have so much respect for her drive and success reached at such an early age. It was an extremely inspiring moment to actually be able to hear her best advice about the industry and have the chance to meet her.

Every person, whether it was an student, editor or business maven, was so open and willing to help each student succeed. TVFU ignited my love of fashion and the industry even more than I thought possible. I’m SO grateful for the opportunity to have heard such great insight and network with current/future industry leaders!

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