Carson Kressley, the Emmy Award-winning fashion celebrity who first came into the public eye on Bravo’s hit series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” spoke about the fashion industry during a visit to Philadelphia University on March 22.
Kressley toured fashion design classes and spoke with fashion students while on campus, before sitting for a Q&A in The Tuttleman Center Auditorium. Kressley was interviewed by junior fashion design students Christine Michalek and Shanel Campbell, senior fashion design students Laura Moody, and senior fashion industry management student and president of the Fashion Industries Association (FIA) Casey Lamke.
The students asked Kressley about his experience in the fashion industry and his unusual career path. After graduating from Gettysburg College, Kressley moved to New York with the hope of working for Ralph Lauren. Through a chance meeting with a recruiter who noticed his plaid pants and teddy bear sweatshirt in the gym, Kressley was invited to interview. He worked in fashion design and advertising with Ralph Lauren before launching his career in television.
“It’s so important to get out there in the world,” Kressley said. “The thing I love about Philadelphia University is that the fashion program is so integrated. There are so many opportunities for cross-pollination.” Kressley urged students to explore new opportunities and to challenge themselves to have an open mind and continue learning.
Throughout his career as a television star, celebrity stylist, author and fashion designer, Kressley has won fans for his roles in “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” as well as Lifetime’s critically acclaimed show, “How to Look Good Naked,” ABC’s “True Beauty” from executive producers Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, Ophrah Winfrey’s “Your Own Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” and his current show “Carson Nation,” in which Kressley travels to small towns across the U.S., transforming lives one person at a time with humor and style.
Kressley was also a recent contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and is a New York Times bestselling author with three books to his credit including “You’re Different and That’s Super,” a children’s book promoting diversity and tolerance.
About ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Kressley said he resisted offers to compete on the show at first, but eventually gave in. “Sometimes you have to do something crazy to realize you can do anything,” he said. He also talked to students about the importance of moving forward after facing rejection, balancing work and play, and, of course, upcoming fashion trends for the spring.
The energetic and personable Kressley is no stranger to Philadelphia University. At Philadelphia University’s 2011 Fashion Show, he introduced Spirit of Design Award recipient Tommy Hilfiger. At the 2006 Fashion Show, then sophomore Casey Saccamanno was awarded the Carson Kressley Scholarship for outstanding design work.