If you want the tea on how to make your mark in the fashion Industry and hit all the must-see New York Fashion Week (NYFW) shows, don’t miss a line in this post. Get your pen, paper and note app ready.
#LiveCivil was On The Scene for Connected Seams’ first pre-NYFW panel, an afternoon of gems, partnership, and like-minded individuals. As an introduction to New York Fashion Week, the panel served as an all-access pass to show secrets of one of the four major fashion weeks in the world.
Located at The Alchemical Studios in New York City, just a short walk from Parsons School of Design, the launch event was hosted and moderated by entertainment journalist, Sidnee Michelle. She led an insightful discussion with the impressive line up of panelists which included Good Morning America’s Stylist and Author Stixx Mathews, notable NYFW Photographer and Restauranteur Paul Morejón, Macy’s Inc. Fashion Director, Calvin Klein Ambassador and DJ Kenneth Kyrell, and Creative Director, Wardrobe Stylist and YEEZY Runway Model, Talia Bella.
A New York fashion movement, Connected Seams NYC was founded as a fashion and lifestyle-based networking collective to develop the minority fashion professional, and change the landscape of collaboration and networking in the industry for people in entertainment, fashion, media, and beauty. The essence of CSNYC’s pre-NYFW panel was to educate a diverse crowd of young creatives of color. Connected Seams NYC founder, Candace Hokett, offered guests key information on how they can get involved, secure a spot in New York Fashion Week, open doors for employment opportunities and build connections in the fashion world.
Steering away from the everyday “glitz and glamour,” panelists shared the true trials, tribulations, and successes of breaking into the fashion industry. Followed by a networking hour, guests were provided free headshots and an opportunity to connect with each other, as well as the group of stellar panelists. One of the panelist, Kenneth Kyrell, let attendees in on a little secret: you don’t have to go to school for fashion to break into the industry. He discussed his transition from fashion to music, and how the connections he made through fashion assisted him in his new pursuit. It’s all about those meaningful relationships, no matter the industry.
“We represent the millennials who aren’t afraid to take risks, connect with like-minded creatives and break down the barriers— due to the lack of information—that keep us divided within these respective industries. We want to see more people like us in high places turning their passions into purpose,” says CSNYC founder, Candace Hokett.
Taking high risks can reap high rewards. Stixx Mathews opened up about his journey where he took a leap and left his life in Atlanta behind for New York City. An advocate for being in the right place at the right time, Stixx revealed how he was able to get into a Tom Ford show and pictured with Celebrity Stylist and Designer, June Ambrose: “I looked like I belonged. Once your in, own it.”
A common theme throughout was the role minorities, or lack thereof, played within in the fashion industry. Morehouse graduate, Kenneth Kyrell had a specific message for young minority industry hopefuls:
“Don’t think that you have to be brainwashed or go with what everyone else is doing to get your foot in the door.” – Kenneth Kyrell
On his second career, Fashion photographer Paul Morejón also shared his intriguing story. After leaving a corporate job, he pursued his passion and found success as a photographer through strategic networking. As a huge advocate for #BlackModelsMatter, Paul mentioned not seeing as many POC models while working at shows, on shoots and everything in between. “The visibility matters, and the invisibility is a problem.” He embodied the change he wanted to see in the industry by purposefully seeking out and showcasing those models throughout his work.
A little preparation goes a long way. Do your research, and have an idea who you want to connect with. When attending a show or presentation, Paul advised everyone to do their homework beforehand: know the designers and know about the brand. Paul made it a point to say:
“Know why you want to be in the room. If it’s for a photo opp to look cute, that’s great, but dig deeper. Why should you be in that room? What will it help you with? It should be something that helps you move forward in whatever you’re trying to do.” – Paul Morejón
Don’t let that moment be a missed opportunity, have a purpose and use your being in the room to network and connect.
“Put your phone down, really be in the environment. Sometimes when you go to events, it’s not always about throwing your phone up and snapping with your friends. Sometimes it’s really about figuring out who you need to talk to in that room. Don’t just look for the photo opp moment, look for the moment that will create a future and longevity for you.” – Talia Bella
Talia Bella dropped gem after gem, expressing the best way to realize your goals is to make yourself an asset. She shared having the opportunity to work on the video shoot for Drake’s “Worst Behavior,” and by making the right connections, she secured future moves for herself. Here at Live Civil, we’re calling 2018 the “Year of Partnership.” Talia touched on establishing partnerships, and how mutually beneficial relationships are essential for all parties involved. Talia reflected on some of the hurdles she had to overcome. After not being successful while going out for the initial YEEZY casting call, she was able to put pride and fear to the side and was called back for the following year based on a connection she previously made.
Each panelist opened up and gave insight into their worlds and journeys through fashion. Their collective experiences made for an important discussion, leaving guests with new and much-needed knowledge to pursue careers in the fashion industry.
Some gems courtesy of CSNYC’s panelists:
- “The finesse doesn’t work unless you’re working.” – Talia Bella
- “Aggressively champion yourself.” – Paul Morejón
- “Slow feet don’t eat. You gotta think fast.” – Stixx Mathews
- “Publicists and PR teams are your best friends, they’re in charge of the show invites.” – Kenneth Kyrell
- “It’s really about the work and how you present yourself.” – Kenneth Kyrell
- “Know your purpose, know exactly who you are, and stand firm in that” – Talia Bella
A gathering of media personalities, stylists, photographers, publicists, and industry hopefuls, Connected Seams NYC’s launch event was a great start to NYFW 2018. They will continue the momentum by hosting another event this month, “NYFW: The Aftershow.” More info can be found on their Instagram and site, https://www.connectedseamsnyc.com/.
Armed with this new info, go out and apply these tips and let us know what new moves you’ve secured. Happy NYFW!
Images courtesy of Connected Seams NYC.