Michelle Obama's Fashion Education Workshop

Posted: Oct 09 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama brought together big-name designers and 150 students Wednesday in an all-day design extravaganza.

The day at the White House featured workshops, a panel, networking sessions and a working lunch for 150 students from across the country. Narciso Rodriguez, Thom Browne, Reed Krakoff, Prabal Gurung, Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo’s Sandra Choi, Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Jenna Lyons, Lela Rose and Zac Posen were among the fashion set who advised the budding designers and “technologists.” The First Lady was introduced by Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor in chief of Vogue.

“When I used to come to D.C., I represented an industry that was considered decidedly unserious,” Wintour said. “I was the lady in the funny clothes.”

The first lady wore a racerback cobalt dress designed by Fashion Institute of Technology student Natalya Koval, who won a design competition as part of the event, and Jimmy Choo shoes, noting in her speech that $350 billion worth of apparel and footwear is sold in the U.S. annually and 1.4 million people work in retail and fashion.

“Fashion is about so much more than just a pretty pair of pumps or the perfect hemline. For so many people across the country, it is a calling, it is a career, and it’s a way they feed their families,” cheered Obama. “So that’s why we thought it was important to bring the industry to the White House, and to share it with all of you who are coming up in the next generation,” she added.

Wintour credits Obama with helping to change that perception. “Fashion can be a powerful instrument for social change. . . . It allows us to think about who we are as individuals and as a society.”

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