Paris unarguably reigns as the most renowned, timeless fashion capital of the world. It is names like Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Louis Vuitton that have molded Paris into the absolute embodiment of chic culture and a dynasty in the fashion industry. This appetite for the lavish has been rooted in Parisian life since monarchistic times and to this day flourishes in the city. Internally embedded in Parisian history and ever-evolving, having the opportunity to study and design in Paris is a chance in a lifetime.
My best friend, Val Delgadillo, had this opportunity studying at IFA in Paris for an intensive summer program. She spent entire days from early mornings to late evenings sketching, creating collages, designing, and collaborating with other aspiring designers to construct the new vision of Paris and illustrate to the world the power that fashion holds. It is true that fashion is our instant language, our bridge between self perception and physical appearance. We speak without saying words. Translating this language into an art form is the work of fashion and the ambition all designers wish to expertise. A fashion week, several hour long projects, and a diploma later I had the chance to talk with Val about her work at the International Fashion Academy in Paris and how this city was able to shape her on her path of fashion entrepreneurship.
Studying fashion in Paris was a dream come true. The home of haute couture and the essence of style itself thrives. Inspiration is throughout the city of Paris from new fashion lines, architecture, art, and the people themselves emerging and presenting themselves everyday. In fact, one of my favorite studies at IFA was our focus on street fashion which is the concept of trends being invented and tested everyday all around you, but it is within yourself to be able to catch these new, fleeting ideas and apply them to your designs. Every person in Paris has a story and a style. Watching the streets come to life each day is as powerful as intimately knowing every person in the city, all given to you by the way they dress.
I had not realized the intense passion that I held for studying fashion until coming to IFA. Fashion was taught to us to be so much more than how you dress- it is your style that is a statement to the world and a way of portraying the type of person that you want to be. I learned from my peers, I learned from the people of Paris, and I realized that making a name for yourself in this industry is not about following trends. It is about innovating and having the courage to come up with something that defies the ordinary.
I was creating beauty out of nothing. I was creating beauty that someone could use to express their passion. I was with people that were not afraid to speak out and express what they felt. It is hard to realize that as of now, we are no one. But, that is what is exciting about life. Anyone that is somebody today had to be nobody at some point in their life. The power that our youth carries is the ability to invent ourselves. We hold the power of the unknown future and the endless possibilities that it holds.
“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”