Students attend WWD Leadership Summit
Written by: Sam Muglia, AAS Fashion Marketing Student
This January, I had the opportunity to attend the WWD Leadership Summit at the fabled Plaza Hotel. It was to be a high profile event with lectures and roundtable discussions with all the major CEOs and designers from the most successful fashion houses the world over. My role was to be a student representative at the Proenza Schouler discussion, where I was to ask a carefully considered question of my choice to Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the company’s founders and head designers.
Of course, the first order of business was: What to wear? I decided that the most appropriate look for the event would be ‘Avante-garde junior executive/hipster foreign dignitary’. I put together a blue Theory suit, a white Brooks Brothers shirt, and a purple floral tie from the new, re-branded Paul Stuart. This was all tied together with a purple and blue massai shukka I recently picked up in Tanzania.
Immediately upon my arrival at the Plaza, I met up with James Mendolia, my contact and Director of the Fashion Marketing program at Parsons. We shared an elevator with Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory and financier of numerous smaller companies, including Proenza Schouler. It was proving to be an auspicious beginning.
We were seated front and center at an audience table in one of the hotel’s ballrooms, listening to Jack and Lazaro field questions from the head editor of WWD. When the time came I asked my question to the men on stage:
“How do you engage with new industry technologies, while still maintaining your love of the artisinal craftsmanship that
at least partially defines your brand?”
The answer they gave surprised me. They said the most important way to maintain those two qualities was by having a close relationship with fabric mills. An invaluable insight for down the road.
With my big debut as a student question-asker having come to it’s conclusion, I was able to relax. I listed to a lecture by Karl Lagerfeld, shook his hand, and then attended a gourmet luncheon where I sat next to the chief product officer of Lululemon. We talked about yoga and engineered print design. I also received an open invitation to visit their offices in Vancouver.
Right before I left, I met Andrew Rosen and his menswear Vice-President. I expressed interest in their company, hinting that I would love to work with them in any capacity. The stars were aligned that day, because tomorrow I start interning Theory. It’s quite a feeling, knowing that you are exactly where you need to be, and you can clearly see the steps of where you need to go laid out before you. Thank you, Parsons, for this amazing opportunity.
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