On a chilly Friday morning, I walked towards a bright red building, kind of like Paul Smith’s “Pink Wall” in Melrose except this space belonged to Depop, a social market app where photographers, fashion designers and artists alike can sell their clothes or art while also building a community of artists. It’s sort of like the millennial version of Ebay.
Inside, the space looked like a make your own thrift store with a hint of an Urban Outfitters aesthetic: unintentionally effortless. Shades of light blue and bright orange popped out in small doses, and as I sauntered around, I soon realized I was inside one of the first physical locations of Depop.
The Depop Space in Los Angeles works in tandem with creative people in the community and bolsters their entrepreneurial ideas by hosting workshops, events and lending their space to be used as a photography studio from time to time. This is what the Career Immersion Workshops at the Teen Vogue Summit are all about, bringing professionals from different industries to show what it’s like to not only work at big companies but also how to utilize resources to create change within one’s own community.
I like that Teen Vogue chose a company that understands the Gen-Z era of creativity while also honing in on the economical ways Gen-Z’ers can benefit from being an artist or a fashion designer.
“In many ways Depop is very accessible for anybody to get a taste to be their own boss and create their own brand,” said Joan Costello, the Head of Marketing for the U.S. at Depop. “It’s a building block that will help people find their identity not just in fashion but in other areas as well.”
Depop’s mission is to create a community of artists so they can collaborate with others that have varying talents, such as styling or knowing the techniques of photography. During the Career Immersion workshop, the Teen Vogue attendees met two active members of the Depop community and were shown how to style distinct pieces of clothing and be comfortable in front of the camera, all to help them kickstart their Depop shop.
However, this resource isn’t only limited to the attendees; anyone can visit the space in Los Angeles and begin their journey with Depop, especially those that have a penchant for creating change.
Much like the Sustainability Committee at Pasadena City College (PCC), Depop champions renewable fashion such as selling used books, antique objects or old clothing. Last semester, PCC’s former Vice President of Sustainability Tara Agahi held a Lancertalk event that raised awareness about multiple ways people could reduce their carbon footprint. One such method was upcycling, the process of utilizing worn out material to create something new like converting old t-shirts into grocery bags or reconstructing a plaid shirt into a bandana or a dress.
Those inspired to follow the process of upcycling can sell their items through Depop and create their own brand of sustainable fashion. The resources provided by Depop are at anyone’s disposal.
“We need to push this new source of selling and upcycling rather than looking for what’s new,” said Teen Vogue attendee, Juliana Cobian. “Depop is the platform where you can give something new to others.”
Having attended the Teen Vogue Summit before, I’ve noticed that the conference is curated by editors who know what it’s like to be an activist, and at the same time, be fashionable. The Career Immersion workshops are just one way in which the Teen Vogue Summit hopes to inspire young adults to enact change among their community while also finding their identity.
The other is through the actual summit itself, where attendees, guest speakers, editors and other talented guests come together and network.
Every year, the editors at Teen Vogue choose celebrated women to give keynote speeches about their careers, the adversity they’ve faced in their lives and how they’ve overcome obstacles. Last year, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a keynote speech.
This time around, the editors chose Serena Williams and Cara Delevingne, and while I love to fangirl about these incredible women quite often (let’s face it, they’re pretty cool), I felt more inspired by the 21 under 21 speakers because they are girls and femmes striving to make their community a better place. And they come with a catch: they’re not famous. This is the message that Teen Vogue consistently does so well at sending out; change starts with the individual.
“It’s a big deal to organize from a local standpoint because it’s all about the people,” said Deja Foxx, a student activist part of this year’s 21 under 21. “Organizing is about activating personal networks and growing from there.”
Last year, I had no idea what to expect from the summit but found that it gave me the encouragement to get more involved in my community through leadership roles. This year, I learned the various ways I can make an impact, whether that be on my college campus or through volunteering programs. Attending the Teen Vogue Summit was an invaluable experience because it gave me resources to further collaborate with my peers at PCC.