New York’s Millennium Hotel was buzzing Saturday morning with big-city dreams, first-day-of-school outfits, and a faint whiff of Marc Jacobs Dot at the seventh annual Teen Vogue University. This year, more than 1600 aspiring style students, ages 16 to 24, applied from across the U.S. and more than twenty other countries to the weekend-long conference. The chosen 500 received lectures direct from fashion’s front-row inhabitants — human institutions like Grace Coddington, Olivier Theyskens, BryanBoy, and Nicole Richie — and a chance to network with the young men and women with whom they may be organizing the Vogue closet someday soon. Two days of seminars offered a glimpse into blogging, buying, social media, styling, creative direction, and, of course, landing the perfect internship, all to prepare the world’s next Alex Whites, Scott Schumans, and Rachel Zoes for promising careers in fashion.
The Cut sent photographer Chuck Grant and reporter Katie Van Syckle to catch up with the Class of 2012 before their first class. They documented the studded collars, tweed suits, leather leggings, and in one case, a DIY calico catsuit complete with matching bow and pink-glittered platforms. These bright young things articulated personal style, outlined ambitions, gushed about style icons, and spoke eloquently of Wang and McQueen. They were also thrilled to be out of Tucson and land in New York, along with suitcases full of clothes that many of them don’t dare try pulling off at home. Click below to see the bold looks they packed in honor of a weekend out of Dodge, along with insight into how the next generation is thinking about style.