Andre Leon Talley Says Fashion Education Is More Than Just Googling Designers & Learning About Fashion Online
Andre Leon Talley is a veritable force in the fashion world. He's worked with greats like Anna Wintour and, in my heart, was forever cemented as one of my favorite people when he appeared on America's Next Top Model. No one can deny that the fashion great is one of the best for students to learn from, and he dropped some serious knowledge at the annual fashion show for the Savannah College of Art and Design. Andre Leon Talley said that fashion education is more than online learning and explained how students can expand their career.
At the fashion show, Talley emphasized the need for students to no longer rely on Google for their answers but to expand their learning into other venues. Talley explains, "You have to do your homework. In life, homework is important. That’s the advice I give to students. Homework could be reading or learning how to do that stitch. You can also do that on your own if you simply go to the library. It’s not necessarily about being on the computer and Googling it. That’s not enough. You have to explore it."
He later elaborates on his aversion to the ease of web based learning when he told the crowd, "Today I think people have it so easy because they think they can Google. You can also be with a young person, and every time that you're in a dinner environment and you say something he doesn't know, he Googles instantly to inform himself, to be part of the dinner conversation. I don't think that's necessary. I think that you listen and then you go back to research. You Google to say you found it. You have to go back and read about it."
Talley's call to immerse yourself in fashion and not to take the easy way is essentially a call to action for fashion students. His message is an important one as it reminds everyone, even those not in the industry, that real work is required when pursuing your dreams, not simply a quick google search.
That's not Talley's only important message. In fact, he had much to say during his talk, but perhaps one of the most noteworthy moments was when he talked about the importance of listening. Oftentimes, our desire to pursue our passions leads up to impatience, but Talley explains that slowing down and listening is just as great an asset as assertiveness. He states, "When I got a job with Andy Warhol where I was making $50 a week, I was happy to do that because I was in the world where I knew I would learn. Young people don’t know how to listen. You take it in and digest it...You have to respect your mentors and keep your nose to the grindstone and keep exploring your vision and your dreams."
While Talley appears to be lobbing criticism at the current student generation, his words are actually quite inspiring. Talley clearly believes that students today are capable of doing great things. He even states that mentors will be able to see a student's drive, but Talley also realizes that occasionally, students are given easy access to a world of fashion that discourages them from truly immersing themselves in the work. A quick google search of how to sew a stitch is not the same as sewing that stitch, and Talley's words of wisdom should be taken seriously.