The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Teen Vogue

On the weekend of Oct. 27- 29, 2006, 500 fashion enthusiasts met from all around the country, and even the world, for a program unlike any other. These students had applied to Teen Vogue Fashion University over the summer and were specially selected to attend this exclusive event. Teen Vogue Fashion University was a three-day long seminar held in New York City.

The event was Teen Vogue’s first attempt at a program of this scale. The program introduced a group of individuals from 45 states as well as four other countries to the fashion business.

The event began with an OK Go concert at Webster Hall in Manhattan on Oct. 27. 1,000 screaming fans that also happened to be fashion aficionados greeted OK Go. They performed some of their most popular songs, including “Here It Goes Again.”

The students at registration check-in on Oct. 28 were all given free goodies such as Dooney & Bourke tote bags that included everything from beauty products and makeup to a full year subscription of Teen Vogue. Shortly after, the seminars began.

Lecturers included Simon Doonan, Catherine Malandrino, Derek Lam, Tim Gunn, the Trovata Boys, and Amy Astley. The event ended with a Levi’s party, and the wrap-up fashion show at Bloomingdale’s.

Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys New York, began by explaining the qualities that Barneys possessed in order to stay high end but maintain their “funky” edge, such as their controversial window displays.

Doonan believes “It’s very important that retailer’s have their own identity.” And Barneys consistently tries to make sure that it sets itself apart from the rest of the retailers.

Simon Doonan proved to be one of the most impressionable seminars. He explained that fashion is completely subjective. What one person sees as “chic” may not be so “chic” to the next person.

He states that fashion has in some sense become boring. We no longer see much individuality in dress anymore. “Wear what you want; it makes the world more interesting,” he said.

The public is too obsessed with celebrities and their sense of style. Doonan said that he would like to “welcome a return to an age when people didn’t want to look like their friends.”

The Editors seminar featured the top editors from Teen Vogue magazine. This seminar featured a panel of editors including Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley. Astley describes her position as “setting the vision for the magazine and making sure that everyone at the magazine is working towards the same goal.”

Astley makes it a habit that she and her employees personally respond to e-mails. She said that when looking for an intern she seeks well-rounded individuals who have a strong background in English and are avid readers. She also looks for those who are very cultured.

The Thakoon seminar featured the new and upcoming designer. Born in Thailand but raised in Nebraska, Thakoon states that he had a very early love of fashion.

His mother was a seamstress, but just like many other students he was pressured to acquire a more stable degree.
He went to Boston University and received his degree in Marketing/Business. While still in school he interned at various fashion institutions. He then attended Parsons School of Design on nights and weekends. He also worked at Harper’s Bizarre magazine as an assistant. Here he went from writing captions for the magazine to full pages.

Soon emerged as an independent designer. He held his first show in September 2004. When asked about his own personal style, he said that he dresses in uniform.

He often wears a simple white tee, a pair of his favorite jeans and his favorite cardigan in the winter.

The Model Life seminar with David Cunningham of IMG models explained the process of making a supermodel. IMG modeling agency represents many of today’s top supermodels, including Gisele Bundchen, Gemma Ward, and Liya Kebede.

He explained that beauty is not all it takes to make it as a supermodel; a lot is based on personality. No one likes to work with a “diva.”

Cunningham said that IMG models takes an annual trip throughout Europe in the winter where they scout for the newest faces and the next “it girl.”

He explained that many times scouts can see whether a model is right for them or not within seconds. He explained that despite the myth, to make it as a supermodel you must also be intelligent.

The highlight of the event was Tim Gunn. Parsons Fashion chairman was a frequent star to the show Project Runway. He brought to the seminar a lively discussion on fashion education, the latest trends in the fashion industry, and the available career paths. His seminar was followed by a Q&A discussion.
A question many students had was whether Gunn agreed with the controversial Project Runway Season 3 winner decision. His reply: “Yes I feel that the right person won, Jeffrey is a very talented young man.”

Gunn stated to the fashion enthusiasts that it is important to allow serendipitous events to occur in your career. He said that if someone would have asked him in 2003 if he would ever appear on Project Runway, he would have said no. He originally believed that the idea of a reality show on fashion designers was horrible.

With a 29-year experience in higher education, Gunn states that regardless of the major, “a good education prepares you for life.” When asked what he thought about personal style he said “it’s all a matter of taste, fashion is subjective.”

The program closed with a party at the Levi’s store where students were awarded with their Teen Vogue Fashion University diploma while they enjoyed refreshments and mingled with new friends.

The following day a fashion show at Bloomingdales highlighted the classiest and most flattering new looks.

St John’s University sophomore Melissa Enaje attended the event and at its conclusion said, “I loved meeting all the designers and the free goodies. To meet other people interested in fashion was inspiring.”

Between the concerts, the famous designers and the fashion shows it was a great deal to handle. There was really no “best” part to the weekend; it was all enlightening and everyone took a wealth of valuable information away with them.

The students arrived at the program fairly unaware of what it takes to make it in the fashion industry and left as informed graduates of Teen Vogue University 2006.

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