Michelle Obama opened the doors of the White House to 150 students on Wednesday – in the name of fashion.
The fashion-packed day included workshops, networking sessions and a working lunch. And for any budding fashion student it was a golden opportunity to be in the same room as Anna Wintour, who introduced Obama, as well as designers including Narciso Rodriguez, Diane von Furstenburg, Zac Posen and Jason Wu, whose career went stratospheric when the First Lady called on him to design both of her inaugural ball gowns.
The underlying message of the day was that the US government takes the fashion industry seriously and is supporting it wholeheartedly. Wearing a racerback dress by Fashion Institute of Technology student Natalya Koval (who won a design competition as part of the event), Obama revealed that $350 billion worth of clothing, accessories and footwear is sold in the US annually and 1.4 million people work in retail and fashion.
‘Fashion is about so much more than just a pretty pair of pumps or the perfect hemline,' she said. 'For so many people across the country, it is a calling, it is a career, and it’s a way they feed their families.'
She went on to explain how Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, created a multi-billion dollar company that distributes to over 50 countries across the globe, revealing: ‘We all wear them…With pride.’