Vogue Forces of Fashion

Katarina Kovac, Staff Intern

On Thursday, Oct. 12, Vogue held its first-ever Forces of Fashion event at Milk Studios in New York City. Fashion fans shelled out $3,000 to get a seat at the conference. But me, a lowly fashion intern, was lucky enough to snag a student discounted ticket.

Vogue described the event as “a series of intimate and informative dialogues between some of today’s most talented designers and the editors of Vogue.”

Iconic industry professionals such as Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten, Joseph Altuzarra, John Galliano, Michael Kors, Victoria Beckham, Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston, Rihanna and more engaged in “no holds barred conversations” that discussed everything from what it meant to be designing in 2017 to the impact of social media within their brands.

The first panel, called “The Future of Ethical Fashion,” featured Vogue’s Tonne Goodman and Stella McCartney. McCartney talked much about how her company went fur free in 2001, proceeded to go leather free, and has since had increased sales and revenue. She also discussed how the industry must listen to millennials as they are the voice of the future.

Designer Marc Jacobs, CEO and co-founder of Instagram Kevin Synstrom and Vogue’s Sally Singer spoke on the panel called “Fashion in the Age of Instagram.”

Jacobs spoke about how last season he insisted that show-goers put away their cell phones for the duration of the show. He stated, “All I was asking was for everyone to spend seven minutes without an electronic thing attached to their arms.”  Instead of having the audience on their phones, Jacobs was able to creatively engage with his audience by deciding to give the models phones and had the models take pictures of the audience as they left the space.

Synstrom explained that the amount of people who viewed the Spring Summer 18 collections in September via Instagram has tripled since last season.

When discussing Instagram’s influence on the world, Synstrom stated that, “We have to be optimistic because we are one of the only platforms that can influence the world in a non-invasive way.”

My favorite panel was between Vogue’s André Leon Talley and John Galliano, who was the head designer for Givenchy, Christian Dior, John Galliano and now Mason Margiela.

This being Galliano’s first public appearance since his days at Dior, the audience was incredibly excited to hear what he had to say. When discussing overcoming adversity in the industry, Galliano stated, “I had to do the work I had to do, and I’m so grateful of that time that I spent on my own. Really, the joy of creativity is what pulled me through. It’s why I’m here today.”

Dries Van Noten and Vogue’s Hamish Bowles panel, called “The Power of Independence”, discussed how it is necessary to develop a work and life balance within the fashion industry.  Dries stated, “I think fashion can be such a monster, it can take over your life and can really nearly kill you—it’s so addictive and so fantastic, but it’s also so cruel.”

Victoria Beckham and Vogue’s Nicole Phelps talked about everything from Beckham’s time with The Spice Girls to how her brand differs from current “celebrity” lines during the “When Fashion is Your Second Act” panel.

When discussing how her brand has a unique perspective in terms of being backed by a celebrity persona, Beckham stated that, “It was a new career for me and I had a vision. I surrounded myself with the right people, which, when I started was just two people…It was very different from what other people had done; I wasn’t a celebrity with a licensing deal.”

Last but not least, Rihanna’s panel with Vogue’s Hamish Bowles was one for the books. She discussed everything from her latest fashion collection with FentyxPuma to her Fenty Beauty makeup collection.

With the launch of Fenty Beauty, Rihanna simply wanted to create a makeup line that supported customers of all skin tones.

“The first woman I saw put makeup on her face was a black woman—my mom—and when I think of my customers, I want everyone to feel like they can find their color, that they are represented as part of this new generation,” she said.

Flying from Michigan to attend this event was well worth it.  I was able to interact with top creatives and industry professionals, as well as walk out with a special edition Hood by Air Vogue anniversary t-shirt that read, “NEVER TRUST A VOGUE GIRL” that I will most definitely be wearing until it withers off of my body. The generous goodie bag from Vogue and various sponsors was the icing on the cake.