(Reuters) - There is a moment of calm amidst the excited chatter that fills the ordinarily stuffy halls of London’s Royal Geographical Society where those attending fashion magazine Vogue’s first festival grab a bite to eat and a brief opportunity to tweet about who they’ve seen so far.
Industry luminaries like Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Tom Ford and Stella McCartney are all descending upon Vogue’s inaugural event, which is being held over two days, to give their views on the industry to the general public.
Waiting to give their talk are design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who think the festival is a wonderful chance to talk to open up the fashion industry to more people.
“It’s nice to be able to be available to people, to talk to people, it’s like Twitter or Facebook in real life,” Gabbana told Reuters.
The Vogue Festival offers a sense of community about fashion and the chance to explain to people what the concept of fashion is, he added.
“It’s not just a magazine, it is a lot of work. There are a lot of people employed, so it’s a huge industry.”
British Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman, dressed in a black top, patterned skirt and gold necklace, is an authoritative presence surveying each aspect of the event to ensure her first festival is running smoothly.
Shulman said she had been thinking about the idea of holding a festival for a long time and wanted to involve a sociological element into the program, and analyze where fashion intersects with the world we live in.
A group of girls, dressed in black leather jackets and brightly colored skirts, pose in front of a huge white wall emblazoned with copies of Vogue magazine covers as two students wait patiently to approach Shulman about a possible internship at Vogue, showing precisely the sort of openness the festival is aimed at promoting.
Fashion students Katie Bovington, Sophie Baker and Lucy Turner said the festival was an opportunity that they wouldn’t normally get to see designers like Christopher Bailey speak.
“It’s really motivating. Afterwards you feel like you want to go out and get a job with them” said Bovington.
“It gives you more of an aim, something to work towards when you’re hearing what they do and how they got there. It makes you want to get there and makes you want to work harder,” Turner added.
The festival also includes the chance to find the perfect shade of red lipstick for yourself, or have your hair styled with temporary extensions or washable dyes.
Attendees can also have a makeover by make-up artist Mary Greenwell and the opportunity to be photographed by the magazine’s photographers for their own “cover shoot”.
PR Manager Samantha Fogden said the festival was a great way to open up the industry to the public.
“It’s kind of exclusive, so it’s great that they do open it up and give something back to their readers and anyone that’s looking for a career in fashion.”
“I think that it’s definitely a positive message they are sending out and I think that this probably will be the first of many.”
Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Paul Casciato