By  on June 20, 2007

NEW YORK — Major players in the fashion industry partook in a lively panel and roundtable discussion to provide career guidance and insight to 150 young adults in foster care during the 2007 Network to Success event on June 13 at NYU's Kimmel Center.

The panel comprised 28 key members of the fashion industry, with careers spanning nearly every facet of the fashion world. The panelists included Elie Tahari; John Varvatos; Jim Seuss, chief executive officer of Cole Haan; Stephanie Cozzi, director of sales at Zac Posen; Anne Slowey, fashion news director at Elle; Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop, and Steve Robinson, vice president and creative director of Mecca Sportswear. The panelists donated their time to mentor the group of high school and college students for the seventh Network to Success event, hosted by New Yorkers for Children.

The Network for Success events are held twice a year, each with a different theme, said Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, chair of the NYFC Friends Committee, noting the previous event focused on the hip-hop industry and the next one will center around finance. "We thought it would be fun to really start focusing on different specific types of industries so the kids see how people network and all the aspects of the industry," said Olarte de Kanavos. "Not everybody is the designer, but this teaches them that they can be a stylist, they can merchandise or run a store. It teaches them that fashion is about all the people that are part of the team."

The first part of the evening consisted of each panelist asking the question they would have wanted answered before embarking on their respective career paths. The exercise allowed the entire group to both ask and answer questions, which ran the gamut from what it takes to succeed to how to take a passion and turn it into a career.

Mecca's Robinson, for example, said the question he would have liked to have asked was, "As a man of color in 1983, is there a place in this industry for me?" Amid the round of applause — the loudest received among the panelists — Robinson told the aspiring students, "I want you to celebrate yourself and let tonight change your life and work this room."

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