Wes Gordon at FGI Chicago’s Fashion Forward Career Day

On Monday Fashion Group International (FGI) of Chicago hosted the re-launch of Fashion Forward Career Day at the Chicago Cultural Center. This event supports and enriches fashion and merchandising students in the Midwest area with seminars, discussion groups and a job fair. The event benefits Fashion Group International of Chicago’s Educational Scholarship Fund, which assists in realizing the professional goals of design and merchandising college-aged students.
Attendees were treated to a welcome address and presentation by designer Wes Gordon! I had the opportunity to meet him before the event and view his Fall 2013 collection up close. His colors and textiles are incredible – there is a combination of simplicity and eccentricity in his pieces. He wants women to wear them, and knows modern women like “a well-curated collection of pieces” and that is exactly what he designs!
Wes Gordon makes the perfect role model for anyone looking at the fashion industry for a career. Yes, he is young, only 27, but he started at age 23. He told his story to the crowd of 500 of how he got to where he is today. He was interning at  a law firm and decided he wanted to be a fashion designer and read and researched and felt Central St. Martins in London was the best school. He worked hard to get the right kind of portfolio together to be accepted. When he finished he went to New York and eventually landed at Oscar de La Renta. He blew his Law school money to dress up and stood out at ODLR and then later he interned at only the best – Tom Ford. His persistence and hard work paid off, but he pointed out that “everyone pictures themselves sketching on a pad and becoming a fashion designer, but there are a so many amazing jobs in the industry!”
Wes Gordon offered this advice for aspiring fashion designers:
“Find your own voice. It took Armani 4 seasons to get the ‘Armani Look'”
“If you make the most amazing thing it will find a home.”
“Clothing needs a body in it to be real.”
“You need to see who is buying the pieces, It may not be the 20 year-old who is skinny and spends alot of money that you picture!”
“Trunk shows are a good way to get your foot in the door.”
His advice for any careers in fashion:
“Fashion is about a product. Be obsessed about that product!”
What excites Wes Gordon the most?
“Seeing a stranger (not someone I know or a relative) wearing something I designed is the most exciting thing to me! Even if it is a simple black t-shirt.”

Here I am with (the very tall) Wes Gordon backstage!

The Fashion Group International is a global non-profit professional organization with 5,000 members worldwide in the fashion industry including apparel, accessories, beauty and home. The goals of the organization are to advance professionalism in fashion and its related lifestyle industries, to provide a public forum for important issues in the business of fashion, to present timely information regarding national and global trends, to attain greater recognition of men’s and women’s achievements in business. For more information visit fgi.org.
Shop for Wes Gordon at Shopbop and Neiman Marcus
– Carol Calacci
Photos: Second City Style

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