Chasing Your Dreams with Style: The Michigan Fashion Media Summit

The summit provides expert advice from elite entrepreneurs and household names.

To say it was a nice event is like calling your Jimmy Choos just a pair of shoes.

It wasn’t just nice; it was fabulous.

The Michigan Fashion Media Summit

The 2021 Michigan Fashion Media Summit (MFMS) was a three-day virtual event chock-full of elite entrepreneurs and household names — all contributing time, attention, wisdom, and direction to the next generation of leaders within the fashion and media industries.

The 2021 Summit, held March 8 through 11, focused on fashion, retail, and media as in the past. But this year it dove deeper into the behaviors and strengths necessary to thrive within these industries. What began four years ago as an in-person event held at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, this year progressed to an all-online platform. While an online event may sound less intimate than an in-person event to some, this year’s Summit was actually quite a personal experience.

Not only were participants able to see the speakers and panelists ‘up close,’ but we saw them in their own surroundings — in relaxed settings within their own home office spaces. There’s something more authentic in these circumstances, allowing a peek into ‘the lives of.’

Why Hold a Summit?

The MFMS is a student-run entity, whose Summit is created to inspire and connect professional opportunities to the University of Michigan, its students in the fields of fashion and media, and to students attending virtually throughout the US. “We brought the mission further this year — around the US and campuses around the world,” said Uma Chalik, chief operating officer for MFMS.

With an all-female executive board and a student planning team of 53 engaged, talented members, the MFMS is an impressive group of future innovators in media — and future fashion leaders who we’d bet will take luxury-shoe-leaps and strides to advance the fashion industry as well.

Talent Behind the Curtain

The virtual Summit took off without hitch or glitch, on-time, as scheduled, and flowed seamlessly according to its agenda. No detail appeared overlooked — from those selected to speak to the graphics, fashion videos, music, and even exercise components sprinkled between segments. It was a presentation for which the students who comprise MFMS exerted both creativity, precision, and incredible design. “I have immense pride in the entire student planning team — all 53 members who learn with fashion and grow with motivation,” Chalik said.  The event came to fashionable fruition through this incredibly talented team, along with founding members of MFMS, their board of advisors, and the assistance of their presenting partner, The Forbes Company.

The Event

The MFMS offered engaging, diverse conversations, keynote speakers, panel discussions, live workouts, and networking opportunities for students attending virtually. From topics as diverse as tech talk, career and industry pivoting, how to network as a creative, mental health in fashion, the social impact of brand purpose, career empowerment and much more, it was a compilation of life lessons from those who’ve successfully shaped these industries. Yes, from those who created their very own global brands. It was a crash course, if you will, of what to do — and what not to do while chasing dreams of your own.

michigan fashion media summit
Image courtesy of the Michigan Fashion Media Summit.

A Consistent Theme? Keep Chasing Those Dreams.

Offered was advice from the best of the best — but also behavioral advice useful for those of us outside of fashion and media.

With participating corporate executives from names such as L’Oreal, Adidas, Nike, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Lowe’s and more, to media executives from Cosmopolitan, MSNBC, trendy lifestyle blogs and so many others, a consistent lineup of corporate and entrepreneurial heavyweights presented. And all of these professionals patiently offered insight and advice to the 1,200 MFMS participants.

Of Note Were the Keynotes

And then there were the keynote speakers. Opening the Summit, were remarks from none other than Nathan Forbes, president and managing partner of The Forbes Company, in conjunction with Maverick Carter, CEO of The Springhill Company. Carter spoke of lessons on the power of storytelling as it relates to brand. Forbes emphasized the importance of being surrounded by like-minded people, and to understand that knowledge is our most powerful commodity.

To conclude the event, Diane von Furstenberg (DvF), entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author of Own It: The Secret To Life spoke with grace, patience, and eloquent inspiration. She spoke of her upbringing, and her perceptions on facing life, its challenges, and chasing your dreams. Moderated by MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, DvF shared thoughts of how to approach each day. “Every day is a new beginning,” she said. “And the minute you own it, you’re in control…. the most important relationship in life is with yourself, so own it. Be your best friend. Hear everyone, but listen to yourself… your life is an adventure. It’s yours. Just remember, own it.”

For more on this year’s Michigan Fashion Media Summit, check out their website. To keep up to date on the latest from the Michigan Fashion Media, follow them on Facebook.

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