Chicago Events. Eric Daman and Chris Benz’s Q&A with Columbia Students

March 31, 2011 • Events, Yahoo

Eric Daman and Chris Benz talking to the crowd

Columbia College students were lucky enough to be graced by some of fashion's big names for a personal and intimate Q&A presentation. Moderated by Bonnie Morrison, stylist and author Eric Daman and fashion designer Chris Benz came to Chicago to give students a insider's perspective on the fashion industry, some tips on working in the industry, as well as promote the vitaminwater Color Collection challenge.

•  Make sure that this is an industry you really want to get in to. Both parties couldn't stress enough that there will be long days and even longer nights of running around town ( In the rain with one shoe, as Benz so happily put it) getting the job done. "It [is] very hands on. Down and dirty," Daman explained. "You really have to believe in it and give it your all for it to come back to you."

• Always stay true to your own vision. There is a huge disconnect between designers and buyers. Buyers buy what's trendy and sells well, designers design from their aesthetic. So, how often do the two meet? Not often apparently. "Designers make the trends but the buyers buy what's trendy now. It's very much the chicken and egg," Daman explained. "Just design from what you want and things will fall into place," Benz added.

• Learn your basics down pat. Make sure to learn them all in sewing, history and business. "It's about taking the fundamental skill set and using it to your advantage, " Benz said. "it can only aid you as a designer." Benz also added, "Quickbooks, excel… you might as figure it out now!"

• Get your inspiration from everywhere. Daman walks around New York City and notes everything he sees, from the skyscrapers to the flowers at the shop near his job. Benz admitted that his collection was based on the city of Atlanta. "Just make sure to keep your eyes open," Benz told me.

Watching a video of Chris Benz's Fall 2011 collection

Eric Daman and I

Me with Chris Benz and his awesome-ly colored hair!

Make sure to check out the vitaminwater Color Challenge on FaceBook!

-Taneisha Jordan

Photos: Second City Style

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