Teen Vogue taps Serena Williams, Cara Delevingne and young activists to blaze a trail for change in Playa Vista
Story by Kelby Vera | Photos by Getty Images
There’s no denying that 2018 has been a watershed year for youth in politics. At the forefront of activism in gun control, immigration, the environment and more, young people have proven to be the change makers.
And that much was clear during the third Teen Vogue Summit, where the power of under-20s reigned supreme.
After already establishing itself as the “woke” little sister of fashion’s flagship publication, Teen Vogue continued to let fashion and feminism intermingle at the event held at 72andSunny’s Playa Vista campus on December 2.
While celebrity names like Olympian Serena Williams and actress/model Cara Delevingne added a certain panache; empowerment, activism, and feminism were the focus of the forum.
The day started on an inspirational note as Cara Delevingne introduced four of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 honorees: activist Deja Foxx, fashion designer Tia Adeola, speed skater Maame Biney, and Britain’s first transgender MP Lily Madigan. The group proved the power of Gen-Z as they discussed their day-to-day life, self-care tips and long-term ambitions.
Community was also at the forefront of the event, as keynote Serena Williams sat down with 11-year-old activist Naomi Wadler. Many know Wadler for the rally call she made at the March For Our Lives back in spring.
“For us women of color,” said Williams, “it’s really important that we support each other. I always like to say that the success of one woman should be the inspiration for the next. And if we look at it that way, there’d be so much more that we could accomplish.”
In between the main talks held on a sunny lawn scattered with fluffy bean bags from sponsor PB Teen, breakout sessions focused on everything from innovations in coding to social media entrepreneurship, toxic masculinity, being queer in Hollywood, and workout sessions hosted by Puma.
During breaks smartly dressed teens toted around pink backpacks and whirred between a Victoria’s Secret PINK pop-up shop, Bare Minerals-hosted headshots, a PlayStation booth, and courtyard of food trucks. Attendees were sure to make the most of their day, given the $549 ticket price. (A ‘career immersion’ intensive costing an extra $200 took place the day before.) There was also charmingly snarky merchandise including shirts that read “LOL Patriarchy” and a trendy denim hat with the words “Your fragile masculinity is showing.”
Designer Prabal Gurung gave the final keynote, where he challenged the fashion industry to change the way they represent race, sexuality, gender and shape. The Nepalese fashion designer, who has been a pioneer in plus-sized fashion, explained: “What I find really problematic with fashion is the complete lack of accountability, the complete lack of representation and tokenizing of minorities, whether you’re a person of color, whether you’re transgender, whether you’re gay, any kind of minority… Fashion has a long way to go. There’s no doubt about it.”
The day wrapped up with an intimate performance from pop star Lauren Jauregui, who performed her new song “Expectations” backed by
an all-female band.
The event helped cement Teen Vogue’s identity as a forward-thinking feminist platform, especially important since the magazine ceased publishing its print edition last year. Additionally, former fashion editor of New York Magazine’s The Cut Lindsay Peoples Wagner took the helm as Editor in Chief in October.
“Everything we do is for every single one of you,” Peoples Wagner told the Teen Vogue community, welcoming the conversation to come.