First lady talks fashion, education at White House event


Fashion continues to be an industry that is not taken as a serious profession. There is a misconception that trying to pursue a career in this area is “unattainable” and a “waste of time,” but on Wednesday, Oct. 8, The White House sponsored the first ever Fashion Education Workshop hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama as a form of advocating higher education and establishing fashion as a real business.

The five-hour event brought world-renowned American fashion designers, magazine editors, industry leaders and fashion technologists to mentor, motivate and create a network between college and high school students from New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

According to an online Lucky Magazine article, White House Social Secretary of State Jeremy Bernard said, “the purpose of this event is to bring members of the fashion industry to the White House and enlighten, educate  and mentor the next generation of fashion leaders.”

Students will be able to see what it takes to succeed  in the fashion industry as well as how important it is for this generation to commit to their education.

The Fashion Education Workshop consisted of a variety of workshops on design, marketing, and networking as well as a panel discussion with Prabal Gurung, Reed Krakoff, Maria Cornejo, Bibhu Mohapatra, Jimmy Choo and Naeem Khan.

Gurung said in a interview with Fashion Times, who has personally designed for the First Lady, said “The Fashion Education Workshop being held at the White House is definitely exciting, aiming to lift up the opportunities for education within the fashion industry it goes to show the level of prestige that American design has accomplished, both as an art and as an industry.”

Michelle Obama has been a huge support for the fashion industry. The First Lady spoke about the importance of education in the business of fashion at the new opening of the Costume Institute for the Metropolitan Museum of Art named after Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, concluding that “fashion is a business and an art.”

More recently, as her sixth year as the honorary patron for the National Design Awards on Sept. 30, Obama honored Narciso Rodriguez for his work in womenswear and even mentioned how grateful she was that he choose design as his career path instead of a becoming a doctor or a lawyer.

Greatly admiring the creative minds of women and men, Obama also hosted A Celebration of Design dinner after the Fashion Education Workshop to honor some her favorite designers like Jason Wu, who has designed her inaugural gowns, Thom Browne, Diane von Furstenberg and Thakoon Panichgul.

With events like the Fashion Education Workshop and the support of Obama, fashion is slowly becoming a more open environment for new designers and creativity.

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