Press Release

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NYCHA Youth Learn the “Ins” and “Outs” of Fashion

Special panel kicks off events in advance of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center

Nearly 120 youth from the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) public housing will learn the ins and outs of the fashion world from an esteemed panel of industry experts as part of events in advance of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. The panel discussion at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is under the sponsorship of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Fashion Week producer IMG Fashion. It is the result of a partnership between NYCHA and the Lincoln Center Collaborative, composed of approximately 20 private, academic and non-profit organizations around Lincoln Center.

The Collaborative’s goal is to create meaningful connections between the local public housing neighborhoods and the surrounding communities with an initial focus on employment and career advancement. The panelists include Designer Rachel Roy, Teen Vogue’s Jane Keltner de Valle; BCBGMaxAzriaGroup’s Vice President Patrick McGregor; and fashion icon Audrey Smaltz, Founder & CEO of The Ground Crew® and notable former commentator of the Ebony Fashion Fair shows. These experts will talk about fashion careers that go beyond the runway and the clothing racks, with emphasis on careers that can include stylist, fashion writer/blogger, producer and director.

"The beauty of creating new opportunities for our youth lies in broadening their horizons and educating them on how to pursue a career path that engages and inspires them," said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “I’m grateful to our partners in the Lincoln Center Collaborative for helping to make this potentially life-changing event a reality. The sponsorship of CFDA and IMG Fashion of this panel discussion will let our youth know that the swirl of events on and off the runway could be a part of their future as contributors.”

“This special fashion event is one of many forms of collaboration and cooperation Lincoln Center has underway with the management and residents of NYCHA housing,” said Reynold Levy, President of Lincoln Center. “We are proud to join other Upper West Side institutions in working to be good neighbors, and to help bring our new design partners together in support of them.”

“The CFDA is thrilled to be a part of nurturing and encouraging the future of our industry,” said Steven Kolb, Executive Director of the CFDA. “This panel will give an introduction to the many facets of what it means to work in fashion.”

“IMG Fashion is very excited about this unique program for young people in the neighborhood,” said Christina Neault, Executive Producer of IMG’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. “As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week moves to its new home at Lincoln Center, we look forward to many similar programs with the community.”

The youth who will take part include members of two NYCHA Sewing Programs that take place at the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem and the East River Houses in East River. The year-old program was the idea of seniors in NYCHA’s community centers who organized to teach young people basic sewing techniques, as they learn to model clothes at the end of the program. Other participants will include youth from NYCHA’s Creative Arts programs and the NYCHA Youth Chorus, many of whom have created costumes for their various events. Most of the youth live in the Amsterdam Houses, which are nearby Lincoln Center. They have expressed an interest in fashion and learning from the fashion experts.

“Now that Fashion Week has made the move to Lincoln Center, I am proud to see a new, West Side spirit of openness and cooperation that embraces all the members of our community,” said New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer. “To New Yorkers, Fashion Week is important for more than seven days. This collaboration between Lincoln Center and NYCHA is big news for us and for our kids, and I want to thank Mercedes-Benz, the sponsors of the events, for recognizing that here on the West Side the tents of Fashion Week at Lincoln Center are big enough for both the stars of today and the undiscovered ones of tomorrow.”

The youth will hear from myriad points of view. The moderator for the panel will be Lisa Marsh, a former reporter for WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) and a freelance editor and writer for the New York Post, InStyle magazine and Stylist. The panel will be introduced by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Director of Fashion at Lincoln Center and an expert force in the fashion industry.


Jane Keltner de Valle is the Fashion News Director of Teen Vogue. She joined the magazine in 2004. She edits View, Shopping Spree, and the fashion features, and pens the first-person column Fashion Blogger. Prior to joining Teen Vogue, Keltner de Valle served as the associate fashion news editor of ELLE magazine. A native of New York City, she began her career in college at W magazine and Women's Wear Daily.

Patrick McGregor has been Vice President of Publications for BCBGMaxAzriaGroup for almost six years. In this capacity, he oversees media relations of more than 20 fashion brands such as BCBGMaxAzria,Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Max Azria, Max Azria Atelier and BCBGeneration, to name just a few. For the popular BCBG brand alone, McGregor manages media relations of more than 575 retail stores worldwide, 375 of which are in the United States. During Fashion Week, McGregor and his in-house team will be managing three different fashion shows.

Rachel Roy approaches the design or her eponymous collection with a feminine and modern point of view. Her goal is to create clothing for women who embrace fashion and dress with an effortless elegance and confidence. Originally from California, Roy attended college in Washington, DC, and upon graduation, she pursued her passion for design and moved to New York City. She was the Creative Director overseeing seven licenses and running all of the design departments for Rocawear Juniors and Girls. The Rachel Roy New York collection has been worn by Michelle Obama, Eva Mendes, Iman, Sharon Stone and Penelope Cruz.

Audrey Smaltz, after an extraordinary 57-year long career in the fashion industry, is still at the top of her game with her company, The Ground Crew®. This unique firm provides indispensable backstage management during New York’s Fashion Weeks, at fashion shoots and other events involving some of the most storied names in the business. Among her clients are Donna Karan, Vera Wang, Prada, Michael Kors, Vogue, Nike and Louis Vuitton. She is also contracted by major retailers, such as Macy’s, Barney’s and Anne Taylor.