Modista conference brings the fashion industry’s elite to Kent


Speakers Andrew Gelwicks, Jaslene Gonzalez, Audrey Lopez and Jenae Green were some of the seven industry professionals who spoke at Modista’s MODIvation conference Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Abigail Miller

Fashion professionals attended Modista’s MODIvation conference to answer questions, share their story and offer advice to students aspiring to have a career in the fashion industry.

Taylor Nowakowski, Modista’s director of communications, said the point of the event was to allow fashion students the opportunity to strengthen their skills.

“We want students to be able to diversify their resumes, connections and experiences based on their time at the MODIvation Conference,” Nowakowski said. “The purpose of the conference is to motivate students, strengthen alumni relationships and develop new skills that will ultimately make them a more desirable candidate when entering the workforce.”

Some of the speakers at Saturday’s event included America’s Next Top Model cycle eight winner Jaslene Gonzalez, fashion editor and stylist Audree Lopez and celebrity stylist Andrew Gelwicks.

Lopez said she wanted students who attended the event to leave with their future in mind.

“I want them to walk away with a better sense of where they’re at and what they want to do after school,” she said. “So, having that inspiration and that motivation to pursue their dream.”

America’s Next Top Model winner Jaslene Gonzalez said she chose to speak at the conference because she believes that ambitious students and models can identify with the story of how she overcame obstacles and broke into the industry.

Prior to her success on cycle eight, Gonzalez told students that she didn’t make it passed the top 30 contestants on cycle seven of America’s Next Top Model because of an abusive relationship that she was in at the time. After being sent home, Gonzalez said she underwent six months of therapy that helped her to better understand what it meant to be in a normal relationship.

“I always get asked a lot of questions about how to break into the industry,” Gonzalez said. “I think that my story can also resonate with aspiring models or young professionals in the industry, being that America’s Next Top Model’s platform is so revolutionary. Young professionals are seeking mentors and advice, so I am really honored to actually be asked to be here.”

Freshman fashion design major Morgan Narducci said she enjoyed how Gonzalez taught the students some modeling tricks; but also instilled that it’s important to stay true to yourself.

“I really enjoyed the one on one time with her because I have done some shoots with modeling before, so it was great to see what she had to say about being yourself and it’s always fun learning some modeling tricks,” she said.

Gonzalez said that it’s crucial for students who want to break into the fashion industry to remember that along with the good times, there are bad times they must persevere, as well.

“There are going to be difficult times, there are going to be roadblocks and challenges that are going to make you want to give up, but never give up,” Gonzalez said. “Get back up and remember the goals that you set for yourselves and that anything you want in this world; anything worth having in this world, is not going to come easy.”

Abigail Miller is the Fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].