Every year, Teen Vogue's Fashion University draws the biggest fashion enthusiasts from all over the globe. From Hawaii to Paris, boys and girls aged 16-24 fly in for the chance to participate in seminars with the industry's elite.
Over two days, Alexa Chung spoke about being an "It" girl and drawing tattoos on the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Erika Bearman (aka @OscarPRGirl) talked about falling in love with Oscar de la Renta—the man, the brand, and the twitter account—and Lincoln Center's Stephanie Winston Wolkoff recounted how she built her creative empire.
This year, we scoured the crowd for some of Fashion U's most promising students. They intern for the greats, they design their own lines, and they do it all while still in school. They are fashion's future stars, and here's their advice on how to break into the industry at a young age.
There were the budding designers among the crowd, eager to share advice on getting their start in the fashion business:
Eduardo Romo started a namesake fashion line and showed at Mexico's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week shortly after. He has amassed a small following in his home country, and you can see his collection here.
"To start your own company you a have to have a clear vision and be business savvy. If you can offer something that is not yet in the market and it has some added value, go for it. Working as your own boss can give you so much satisfaction." —Eduardo Romo
DJiun Wang, a freshman at Parsons, spends his free time photographing shoots he styled with his own designs, and recently worked backstage Brooklyn Fashion Week.
"I learned at Fashion U to be patient. No matter how good you are or how fast your career is excelling, you always have to wait for your time." —DJiun Wang
Emily Costa is only a freshman at FIT, but already has her own line, Rebel Redefined, that has been featured in NYLON and British VOGUE. She even got a shoutout from Teen Vogue publisher, Jason Wagenheim, during the conference.
"My secret weapon is reaching out to anyone and everyone in the industry. Send emails to people who you think may never respond and strike up a conversation with someone who inspires you. Just go for it, it may surprise you how many people want to help." —Emily Costa
There were the aspiring editors and fashion journalists, happy to give us some tips:
Caroline Mason is a FIT sophomore and has interned in everything from PR to styling. She currently works as personal assistant to fashion editor Derek Blasberg.
"Read everything you can get your hands on. With access to the Internet we have no excuses for not knowing who Corinne Day is, or the exact year that Vogue was first published. There is no faking it 'til you make it in that department," —Caroline Mason
Chantal Strasburger is a third time NYLON magazine intern and created the fashion magazine, Armour, at her alma mater, Washington University.
"A good recommendation can do wonders, so do your best to impress those who give you their time. Follow up with handwritten thank you notes and stay in contact with them. Curate an outstanding LinkedIn profile, and whatever you do, never burn bridges." —Chantal Strasburger
Stylist hopefuls offered their advice on breaking into a tough field:
Jessica Wu is a FIT sophomore and is already styling look books and editorials for magazines like LADYGUNN. You can check out her work here.
"Ultimately, being surrounded by such a passionate group of young people like myself at Fashion U encouraged me to continue to reach out, network like crazy, and do the best that I can for myself and my future career. It has paved my education and "career" as a stylist." —Jessica Wu
Taylor Hicks has interned for Teen Vogue, Who What Wear, and Jimmy Choo, but found her passion assisting mega-celebrity stylists Emily Current and Merritt Elliott.
"Working for [Emily Current and Merritt Elliott] was really a dream come true for me. Assisting top stylists have helped me hone my eye and develop my vision, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wanted to get involved in the industry." —Taylor Hicks