NEW YORK — Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Inc. and a former head of Clairol, knows a thing or two about branding and its relevance to college graduates seeking jobs.
“Your brand — yourself — will be the most important product you ever try to sell to an organization,” Sadove told the graduating class of LIM The College for the Business of Fashion during his keynote address at commencement exercises Friday at Jazz at Lincoln Center. “Just as at Clairol and Saks, we needed a clear positioning. So do you.”
Sadove didn’t say whether it will be easy or hard to find employment this year. Instead, he counseled the 210 graduates on how to do it, and how to achieve success once employed. He advised:
• Being open to learning new things, particularly those out of their comfort zone.
• Using volunteer opportunities or nonpaid internships to hone skills and make connections.
• Looking for career opportunities outside the norm or what was initially planned.
• When taking a position, take on as many challenges as possible.
• Don’t assume the highest starting salary is necessarily the best job. “The earning will come as the learning becomes the fabric of your life.”
• Giving back by supporting charities and causes. “It’s something we need to do in all stages of our work life.”
• Building relationships and alliances; finding a mentor.
“Focus on your own positioning statement,” Sadove said. “Have you created one about yourself?
“Many of you are going to be out looking for jobs. What makes you different? Why would you add value? Someone will probably ask them of yourself. It will help you focus on where you want to be and what you really want to do. It may sound strange to think of yourself as a product or a brand, but sometimes being objective can help you decide who you are, where you can fit and what you can hope to accomplish. And in developing that positioning for yourself, make sure you stay true to your own core values — what makes you tick.”
Before joining a company, “inquire about the leadership,” Sadove said. “Is there a clear strategic positioning? How are people treated? What’s the culture like? Do people enjoy what they do? Are they being developed, challenged and appreciated?”
During the ceremony, Sadove received LIM’s Distinguished Achievement Award and an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science Degree. Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing of the 73rd Assembly District was presented an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree for his support of LIM, which has grown from 340 students in 2001 to about 1,300.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast