NY TIMES ARTICLE
Eric Wilson: Style Section
Those Who Can, Teach
Business has been tough for the dressmaker Kathlin Argiro during the recession, as it has for virtually every small business on Seventh Avenue. Seeing other designers close their doors, she was determined to save her studio by whatever means she could dream up.
“Out of necessity comes creativity,” Ms. Argiro said last week, speaking over the din of a half-dozen teenagers who were sprawled on her floor, cutting pages out of magazines. For four days, she set aside her design work for a venture that taps into the career aspirations of the “Project Runway” generation, basically a stylish boot camp, called Fashionista Prep. For $495, students learn the ropes of design, public relations and styling from Ms. Argiro and her colleagues.
“Purple shoes, I think, might be a bit too much,” Amy Salinger, a professional stylist, instructed Lizzie Borowiec, 15, from Summit, N.J., who had paired a J. Crew navy blazer with a lace dress, two intertwined belts, a pearl necklace on a satin ribbon and fingerless lace gloves, for a good-girl-gone-bad assignment. The outfit was Rachel Zoe worthy, but missing something. “Pointed toe makes it sexy,” Ms. Salinger said. “Round toe makes it sweet and innocent.”
In another corner was Maggie Hemphill, a precocious 14-year-old from Scranton, Pa., who, while in the sixth grade, started her own magazine, called Maggie-Zine. When she was littler, as in 3, she wanted to be a designer. But her career focus has since shifted into editing and styling; and, as a result of her training, she now thinks, “I kind of want to own a publication company so I can work with a number of different magazines.”
Feeding into the interest in fashion careers, LIM College hosted a seminar for teenagers this month, Teen Vogue has its Fashionista University and other summer fashion camps have popped up around the country. Ms. Argiro said that she was somewhat frustrated to hear from potential investors who were more interested in her instructional business than her dress line.
“Everybody wants to get into fashion,” she said. “God help them.”