First Ever “How to Make it in Fashion” Fashionista Conference

By Maria Serquen

The  first time ever that has opened its doors for the first ever “How to Make It In Fashion” Conference bringing in the industry’s top editors, designers, publicists and bloggers to share their experiences and struggles with attendees.  The room was filled with so many ambitious and determined young fashion professionals from student entrepreneurs. Many had traveled from all over the world and just to attend the conference some from as far as Bombay.

Leah Chernikoff, editorial director of Fashionista, started off the conference with opening remarks thanking everyone for attending and providing overview of what the day would bring. Everyone present was truly fortunate to be there, Fashionista received hundreds of waitlist requests for the event.


Starting off the conference was keynote speaker Zac Posen. He shared his journey of a from young fashion designer prodigy to an established designer of his own global brand. Zac Posen landed his first internship with Nicole Miller at the age of 16. While still a student at Central Saint Martin he got one of his big breaks when Supermodel Naomi Campbell was spotted fashion insiders in his designs. Success after success built from there on, all at the age of 21. Encouraging all young designers in the audience to be original and that every hurdle they face will help them build resiliency on their track to accomplishment.

See more highlights from the one on one interview with Zac Posen

Siblings and business partners Rebecca Minkoff and Uri Minkoff, built Rebecca Minkoff to the global position that it holds today in the fashion industry. Uri Minkoff overseas the business and communications side of the brand while Rebecca runs the creative and design aspect; thus playing on each other’s strengths and weaknesses to form a great team. Keeping great relations with everyone you meet, having a great product and being nice are the three keys of success that designer Rebecca Minkoff and CEO, Uri Minkoff, stand by. This has proven true with high quality in the products and the relationships that Rebecca Minkoff has built with her followers, that whenever she makes a personal appearance fans flock in the hundreds to see her.

See more highlights from the one on one interview with Rebecca Minkoff & Uri Minkoff

The panels that proved to be a highlight for many of the audience members was the Right Ways to Network with panelists Melanie Bender, co-founder & partner of communications firm Post+Beam, Alisa Gould-Simon, co-founder of Pose, Amber Venz, president & co-founder of rewadStyle, John Jannuzzi, a contributing editor at Lucky, and Ruthie Friedlander, the senior digital manager for The Row.  They shares many of the networking experiences and for a complete list of their tips read 10 Dos & Don’ts on How to Network in Fashion Straight from the Pros. A tip to help you stand out and show appreciation, whether after an internship or an informational interview, is to send your supervisor or the industry professional you talked to a gift or handwritten note.

During the four frequent breaks at the conference attendees got to network with their peers, the panelists, and make it through the wait list for a one on one meeting with an industry professional. A sit down opportunity is a rare occurrence unless you are lucky to score an informational interview.

 Another highlight of the conference was having lunch at the Dream Hotel penthouse, enjoying the great view and having the opportunity to speak with Chris Benz!

Founding editor of Faren Krentcil moderated the “Alterna Careers Panel” which included Danielle McGrory; Senior Digital Director at KCD Worldwide, Dawn & Samantha Goldworm; Founders of 12.29, Julie Ann Orsini; Founder of the Wardrobe, and Valentine Uhovski; Fashion Evangelist Tumblr. This panel was not composed of designers, but some have scented the runways of Rodarte, archived Tom Ford’s collection, oversee digital PR and/or social media strategy for clients including Valentino and other top luxury brands worldwide. After the panel there was a line just to get talk with Danielle McGrory from KCD Worldwide.

Indie label designers moderated by Claire Mazur founder Of A Kind share their advice on how to run emerging designers indie brand in the “How I’m Making It Panel”. The panelist included Daniel Vosovic, Kate Ermillo, Rachel Antonoff, Reece Solomon, and Kaelen Haworth and they have all made a statement in the fashion industry but have yet to run their businesses on a national to global scale.From the good the ugly and the rough all the designers have and are still going through those stages. A suprising clarification is that doing a fashion show is not the best way to go and to place more attention on growing your bottom line.

Blogger Leandra Medine talked about the journey she has had starting The Man Repeller from a blog that started out just create a voice for women in fashion evolved into one of the most followed blogs.

With so many bloggers out in the industry, the important thing that Leandra stresses all bloggers to do is to create their own consistent voice and to think of ideas out of the box. Her humor and knowledge brought about a great ending to a wonderful conference.

See more highlights from the one on one interview with Leandra Medine from The Man Repeller

The gift bag was a real treat as well it included amazing with products from JewelMint, Maybelline, TRESemme, Skinn Cosmetics, Evologie, Iokai, Essie, School of Style, Zico and BluePrit.