André Leon Talley: "I Don’t Think Of Anything As A Challenge In The Industry"

In our State of the Industry series, fashion's most respected critics, editors, designers, publicists, and entrepreneurs discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry today. Here's André Leon Talley, in his own words.
I’m always excited about New York Fashion Week. People who are serious about fashion are always looking for new, emerging talent. One just has to look for it and it’s there.
I think it’s very important for new talent to be embraced. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund does extraordinary work with that. Public School is the perfect example — they were in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, and they moved up quickly. Those two guys, Dao-Yi [Chow] and Maxwell [Osborne] are perfect examples of how emerging talent begins — by presenting and nurturing themselves to an organization, receiving the award for a certain season, and getting a financial remuneration that helps them continue their business. For example, I just judged the St. Louis Fashion Fund and it's already become a success with its first inaugural class.
It’s a marvelous dream [for a designer] to show in Paris; I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to show in the City of Light, whatever scale it be upon — one shows their work in a showroom, one has a collection on a runway. It just gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. It’s a goal that should be looked forward to.
I don’t think of anything as a challenge in the industry, I don’t speak in those terms. Every individual on this earth has some sort of challenge. The fashion industry, of course, has economical pressures and responsibilities, it must make profits as any other industry. But when people ask, ‘What are the challenges and how can you make them better?,’ that's a point of cynicism I find very exasperating, because everything in life is a challenge — the world is a challenge, politics is a challenge, culture is a challenge. But you as an individual can try to do your part to make everything better in your industry.

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