Michelle Obama Celebrates Fashion (and SPANX®)

Michelle Obama is on a mission to support American fashion – beyond just wearing her favorite labels. Proof? Yesterday, the always-elegant First Lady assembled a roster of big-name designers and 150 design students at the White House for a series of workshops, panels, and networking events.

Michelle Obama White House Fashion

Image via Instagram

The goal of the occasion – associated with her Reach Higher initiative – was to open doors for emerging talent from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons, and more. Michelle even sported one of the student designs: a racerback blue dress by FIT’s Natalya Koval.

Along with exposing the students to the expertise of Zac Posen, Prabal Gurung, and Lela Rose, FLOTUS shared a patriotic success story. Citing SPANX founder Sara Blakely’s growth into a billionaire entrepreneur, Michelle reminded the designers that hard work remains at the core of the fashion business. Sara took jobs at Disney World and in fax-machine sales to save the money she needed for her first SPANX product. And that’s right about when Michelle declared that, “We all wear them with pride.”

So there you have it: FLOTUS is as big a fan of SPANX as you are.

By Susie Kostaras, Associate Content Editor

What do you think of Michelle’s fashion workshop? Tweet us at @ruelala.

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October 9, 2014

Dinner with Nima T.

Dinner with Nima

I’ve known designer Nima Taherzadeh since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, as they like to say. OK, slight exaggeration. But the first time we met was back in 2006, when Nima was a senior at Parsons and I was on the senior thesis panel (an annual event during which industry experts come in to review and critique the work of Parsons’ graduating class).

I was instantly struck by the maturity of his designs – Nima specializes in feminine, elegant cuts with a decidedly modern twist – and by the fact that he produced a full range of shoes and bags (really, really good shoes and bags) to accessorize his thesis collection. And I wasn’t the only one impressed. Within months of graduating, Nima’s collection was hanging on the racks at Saks Fifth Avenue. Not bad for a fashion world newbie.
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August 8, 2011

Discovering New Talent at Parsons’ Senior Show

BY LAUREN DAVID PEDEN/THE FASHION INFORMER

Discovering New Talent at Parsons’ Senior Show

Marc Jacobs. Anna Sui. Donna Karan. Narciso Rodriguez. Proenza Schouler. Prabal Gurung. Doo.Ri. Tracy Reese. Vena Cava. Isaac Mizrahi. Chris Benz.

All of these designers — and hundreds more, both famous and not — are graduates of Parsons The New School for Design. So it’s always exciting when the Parsons senior show rolls around each spring, as it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to discover at least a few new fashion stars of tomorrow. The school was first established in 1896, and for the past few years I’ve been on Parsons’ senior thesis panel, which takes place a few weeks before the show and involves the graduating fashion students presenting their collections to a group of industry insiders (this time, my fellow panelists included designer Maria Cornejo and Teen Vogue Fashion Director Gloria Baume). A separate panel then votes to name a Designer of the Year in the womenswear, menswear, and children’s wear categories, which are announced at the gala event.
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May 12, 2011