Fashion

5 powerful fashion-focused TED Talks

These thought-provoking TED Talks by fashion industry experts will leave you inspired.

Model Cameron Russell shares advice for women about the power of image in her TED Talk. Model Cameron Russell shares advice for women about the power of image in her TED Talk. Model Cameron Russell shares advice for women about the power of image in her TED Talk. (Photo: TEDxMidAtlantic)

One of the greatest things about TED Talks is that they allow us to take just a few minutes from our busy lives to listen and learn from someone else’s journey. While the topics run the gamut and the motivational speakers come from vast and varied backgrounds, each idea-filled monologue helps us to think about the world a little differently. Inspiration, after all, can come from the unlikeliest of places.

That's why we've rounded up five of our favorite motivational TED Talks from the fashion world that will leave you inspired heading into the new year.

1. Fashion and creativity

The very witty fashion designer and TV personality, Isaac Mizrahi, talks creativity and how he easily bores in this highly entertaining TED Talk. The designer share his sources of inspiration, which include: children’s books, glamorous old movies, and even random people on the streets of New York City!


2. Fashion ideal becoming real

Famed Israeli fashion photographer Adi Barkan saw firsthand how destructive the fashion industry’s ideals were for the models he was working with on photoshoot after photoshoot. Barkan set out to change an industry by helping to pass legislation banning the use of anorexic models and digital body re-touching. These efforts led to Israel becoming the first country in the world to ban underweight models. In this moving TEDx Talk, Barkan shares why this mission became so personal and how he created a grassroots movement to hold the fashion industry accountable.


3. Looks aren’t everything

International model Cameron Russell isn’t bashful about admitting that she won the genetic lottery. She walked the runway for Victoria's Secret and Chanel, and has appeared in multiple international editions of Vogue as well as advertisements for brands like Ralph Lauren and United Colors of Benetton. In her TED Talk, Russell shows the not-so-glamorous side of being a model, how her career led her down questionable paths as a young girl and why image isn’t everything.


4. The generation of body diversity

After becoming the first plus-size model to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, the Nebraska-born Ashley Graham realized her greater purpose was to redefine feminine beauty. In this TEDx Talk, Graham gets real about the criticism she’s faced for her body and how the fashion industry doubted she could ever become successful. Graham also makes a compelling case for doing away with the term “plus-size."


5. Wear nothing new

In this TED Talk, Brooklyn-based designer Jessi Arrington extols the virtues of secondhand shopping and not buying anything new, which include saving money, finding one-of-a-kind items and preserving natural resources. Arrington shares tips for vintage shopping and the key to unlocking your authentic personal style.

Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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