On Monday, July 22, hundreds of young people crowded into the Theresa Lang Student and Community Center at The New School. The room was full nearly to capacity, and buzzing with excited chatter. These students and young professionals, nearly 200 in all, had come from all over the country for the third installment of Fashion Campus NYC, a career-building and networking event for people currently interning or working in the fashion industry and interested in building a career here. It is organized jointly by Parsons The New School for Design and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and is one of a series of initiatives that resulted from Mayor Bloomberg’s FashionNYC2020 plan to sustain and grow the fashion industry in New York.
Monday was the event’s first night. After registering, students sat in the Lang Center, looking through their bright red gift bags and exchanging business cards the organizers had provided them, with their name printed in large font in the center, right up until the formal speaking program began.
Sitting near the back, her hair fashionably piled on her head in a loose bun, was Rachelle Rempe, a student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Rempe, currently an intern here in New York, had heard about the event from a friend and signed up. “As an aspiring menswear designer,” she told me, “I want to find out what happens to the product after the design process is complete. I specifically signed up for production and marketing workshops with this in mind. I want to create unique yet marketable products. To do this I need to understand what consumers want and what sells.”
Rempe was in luck, as Monday’s keynote speaker, Rebecca Minkoff CEO Uri Minkoff, took part in an hour-long discussion focused largely on these topics. The talk, structured as a question-and-answer session with Parsons’ Dean of the School of Fashion, Simon Collins, touched on topics like inventory control, social media, shipping schedules and other topics that are absolutely essential to establishing a successful fashion company.
“It’s such an exciting time,” to be working in fashion, Minkoff told the audience. “The industry used to be very one-way and dictatorial, with a designer presenting his vision. Today, it’s not just about the design; it’s about the story your brand is telling. It’s about collaboration.”
Collins echoed these sentiments. “In fashion, there’s a need for everybody. For accountants, web designers, business people, and more.”
Over the next two evenings, participants also took part in career path workshops, a conversation with a panel of industry experts giving advice on breaking into the industry, and case study workshops. For more information, visit the Fashion Campus NYC website.