STOKED at New York Fashion Week
Words: Kyle SamuelsonPhotos: Emily Winiker
A few STOKED students were presented a truly unique experience by being guests of fashion label Public School and its two head designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne at their Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week show. Selby Drummond, the Senior Accessories Editor for Vogue, generously organized the experience. Three Stokers: Chelcie, Darius, and Daquan, Program Manager Kyle Samuelson, and our photographer in residence Emily Winiker were all invited backstage, to see the pre show happenings and mingle with other guests, media members, and fashion representatives. They were taken care of by Eugenia Hermo and the team at KCD Worldwide who helped the STOKED crew get their bearings and feel very welcomed at the show.
The group got an eye opening view of the inner workings of a fashion show; from the precision of hair and makeup to the casual ease of the models waiting to be dressed and styled. It was a bit overwhelming at first as Chelcie noted, “being a small part of the show at first when we were backstage, it felt as though we were insignificant because everyone else had stuff to do. We were kind of just sitting there taking notes, standing, and watching.” But as the group got more comfortable the bigger picture came into view, “but just being there with all these other big people, even though we're all just human, made me feel like I was at something important and that it was sort of a gift to just be there.” Daquan even saw a bit of what STOKED teaches, “This showed me that teamwork and being open as taught in STOKED helps the outcome become successful.” Teamwork and Openness are a couple of STOKED’s core values.
After seeing the models become runway ready and the two head designers give each other the “here we go” look, our STOKED group headed back upfront and issued into the show. Finding their seats they bumped into a range of celebrities from the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin to Grammy winning recording artist Common; and even the queen of fashion herself: Anna Wintour. Everyone was so nice and supportive, snapping pictures with the group and showing genuine interest in the kids and the STOKED organization.
The show started and the group was right up in front at the end of the runway to see the technique and grace that the models had while walking and the million flashing lights of the cameras. Seemingly as quickly as the show started it was over, and the group was left in awe at the whirlwind morning they were having. Darius in particular noticed all the preparation for something so fleeting, “I learned that SO much work goes into preparation for about a 20 min show that turns out so amazing.”
After the show ended and the crowds cleared out, the group was able to head back stage again to meet with the two designers. While waiting to talk with the guys behind Public School, the group struck up conversations with various members of the fashion world, from publicists to consultants; learning about what they do and getting advice for the Stokers that were interested in pursuing fashion. And in meeting with Dao-Yi and Maxwell, the group subsumed some great advice of being true to themselves and carving out their own unique paths in life. Daquan came out with his interests’ peaked, “while I was taking notes I felt like I was sent to take notes for a high end fashion magazine and write an article which is really cool. This opportunity reassured me that this is something that I would enjoy to do as a career. The show has me thinking about doing something with fashion. [It] was a very exciting and inspiring experience that opened my eyes to new possibilities for my future.”
Overall, the STOKED crew couldn’t have asked for a better morning. STOKED’s mission is to empower youth and prep them to achieve greatness, and by having these kinds of opportunities, those involved with STOKED get real life experience seeing how high they can aim. The group was able to see and learn so much in one frantic and exciting morning. They left the show buzzing, and with their backstage passes still proudly around their necks headed out into Midtown New York City with a new swagger and an intense drive to reach higher.
If you want to partner with us to create more unique experiences for our student, feel free to reach out and let’s see what we can come up with.