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From Manly Vale to Manhattan

Three Northern Beaches students will be jetting off tomorrow, 5 September to assist at New York Fashion Week, one of the most highly anticipated events in the fashion world.

The students, each studying at the National Fashion College in Sydney, were hand picked to fly to New York, and will be assisting at events hosted by some of the biggest names, not only in fashion, but in the celebrity world.

Zahli Napier, 20,  from Mona Vale, and 19-year-old Lauren Sayce from Manly Vale, say they are excited yet nervous about working at one of the most important events on the fashion calendar.

“We are nervous, definitely nervous! It’s going to be great, but we just don’t know what is expected of us, even in terms of what we need to wear at each event!”

“But we are really looking forward to just immersing ourselves in the experience.”

Zahli Napier & Lauren Sayce. Photo: Kelly BlackWhile their schedules are changing as quickly as fashion seems to, some of the events that are locked in include a dinner party with Gigi Hadid, The Kendall Jenner x FWRD Party, and a show by Dion Lee- a designer hailing from Sydney. They will also have the opportunity to attend Q&A’s with the most successful in the business, including Fern Malllis who is the founder of New York Fashion Week.

The chance to learn from some of the world’s most successful brands, is what 22-year-old Curl Curl local, Tilly Whitfeld, says she is most excited about.

“I’m studying fashion because I am making my own brand this year. I want to understand the whole retail aspect and the online sales world.”

Tilly Whitfeld, Zahli Napier and Lauren Sayce. Photo: Kelly Black

“I’m going there to be inspired, to have my eyes opened, and to see what I can implement into my own brand.”

“I think with any opportunity in life, you just have to take it. I don’t know what’s waiting for me there but I am so excited to find out!”

Zahli is also looking to launch her brand this year and has already begun teaming up with small artisans and makers from around the world.

“I kind of have a bit of a game plan for myself. I’ve partnered with a woman named Sylvia in Mexico, for example, who hand makes all of these beautifully structured knitted bags.”

“If all goes to plan, I’d like my brand to be something like ‘The Iconic’, but for small businesses.”

Photo: Kelly Black

Lauren already has a brand to her name that she is looking to focus on once returning from New York, but is open to new possibilities that may be inspired from her time at Fashion Week.

“I already have my own brand, an online fashion label. We started with hand making clothes and selling them.”

“It’s incredibly time consuming to design and manufacture your own clothes. But you’re really putting something out into the world which is yours.’”

Now, if, dear reader, you are finding yourself asking ‘what does fashion, or an event such as New York Fashion week have to do with me?’ the young students can offer some thoughtful insights.

Tilly says New York Fashion Week is a chance for the students to experience in real time what is at the global forefront of the upcoming seasons, and what Australia will then see in 2023.

“Events such as New York Fashion Week shape the clothes that you’re buying at, say, Warringah Mall. Even if you’re not interested in going across the world to see these events, it affects what’s available to the everyday consumer.”

“It’s also an art form in itself, and fashion shapes you from the time you’re seven years old picking out your own clothes to go to a party”.

Photo: Kelly Black

Zahli agrees that fashion is about self-expression, and that this has been important for people after being locked away in their houses throughout the pandemic.

“Getting dressed everyday is a form of therapy, and a chance to be creative”

“It gives you confidence, not everyone is going to like what you wear, but if you like it then you have confidence.”

“If I am wearing all black, I’m going to have a bad day. Whereas if I’ve got a bit of colour, or something I really love to wear, it sets the day off on the right foot, and that’s the main thing.”

Entrance to the National Fashion College. Photo: Kelly Black