Michelle Obama at the Ribbon Cutting and Press Preview for Anna Wintour Costume Center and Charles James: Beyond Fashion COSTUME INSTITUTE Exhibition. Photo by Joe Schildhorn /BFAnyc.com
Fashion’s finest headed to Washington yesterday as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” Initiative which invited 16 high school students–Parsons Scholars (a program that provides art, design, and fashion education to underprivileged youth) to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Gathered amongst many of the greatest successes in the industry: Anna Wintour introduced Michelle Obama. Eva Chen, Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg, Maria Cornejo, Jason Wu, and Jenna Lyons and more fashion figures were also in attendance. The students received career advice in the rare form of speeches from the First Lady of the U.S.A., and the First Lady of fashion, Ms. Wintour.
“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. 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,” Ms. Obama said, in a speech excerpt that actually got me a little teary.
The young designers we’ll surely soon be clamoring for were set to task to decorate the East Room with 600 recycled books, which were transformed into table centerpieces, napkin rings, a backdrop for the speakers, and (my personal fave) a lectern specifically designed to never obstruct views of Mrs. Obama’s dress. Appropriately, the dress was an incredible student-designed piece by Natalya Koval of FIT, who clearly ran with the opportunity to show off those famous arms.
Sounds like it was a truly special occasion! #FOMO
Some of our favorite Reach Higher moments from Instagram:
Jackie, @prabalgurung, and me at the White House. #fashionedu
Thank you for your lovely words @flotus @michelleobama today has been amazing. #fashionedu @reachhigher2020 @whitehouse Regram @bibicornejoborthwick View on Instagram
had to do it!- #whitehouse #31philliplim #fashionedu
“We want you to see firsthand that a solid education and the willingness to work hard is really at the core of what it’s going to take to achieve your goals: education and hard work.” —The First Lady to #FashionEdu Thank you to all the leaders in the fashion industry who encouraged the students at today’s Fashion Education Workshop to #ReachHigher in their education. View on Instagram
Fashion group at the White House ! Zac , Vera, Edward, Naomi, Lazaro ! @edward_enninful @iamnaomicampbell @lazaro @zac_posen Wonderful evening ! Love Diane @michelleobama #fashionedu
A very inspiring speech from our First Lady ! @MichelleObama #fashionedu @reachhigher2020 Love Diane