Take a Look Back at the #RAD Year We’ve Had at CF!

Dear Readers,

We have finally made it to the end of the year! Exams are over, winter break is in motion and you can hit the pause button for a minute (that is, before it all starts up again next semester).

I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on CollegeFashionista lately. From the small and large moments, our brand has reached new, unimaginable highs this year. Here is a quick recap of our 2016 in case you missed all the excitement:

We added four talented new hires to our CF HQ team– Anna Coke, Kali Concepcion, Katie Fabry, and Lucy Van Ellis. All four of these girls are former Style Gurus we couldn’t say goodbye to once they graduated. While they individually are very different, each brings a fresh, Gen Z perspective to our brand. They seamlessly transitioned from college into their roles and continue to impress me every day with their bold ideas and commitment to CF.


We grew our devoted community of Style Gurus into our biggest #GuruGang yet. Our HQ team spent a crazy amount of time diving into our Style Gurus’ social accounts. Every day we were awed by how powerful, confident and creative these students are. They continue to be the driving force of CollegeFashionista and what motives us here to build better, smarter products to educate and complement the college experience.

This year was all about serving our audience. Melissa Levin, our Editorial Director, rolled out a new internship program aimed at providing our readers with original content features showcasing our Style Gurus’ personal stories and what it means to be a Gen-Zer in today’s society. Our #OfficeHours podcast launched, hit #1 on iTunes for Fashion & Beauty, and has featured influential guests such as Jordyn Woods and Barbie Ferreira. And we are just getting started…

In October we shared our biggest secret yet—CollegeFashionista’s acquisition by Clique Media Group (CMG). To be honest, we’re still riding the high of that one. Working out of CMG’s NYC offices alongside our sister properties WhoWhatWear, MyDomaine, Byrdie, and obsessee makes us proud to be a part of this creative, super smart family of brands.


What started in 2009 as a personal blog to share the voices of college students in the Midwest has turned into a brand that empowers young people around the world. Thank you for your readership, continued support of CollegeFashionista, and for believing in us.

We promise to continue to surprise and excite you in the new year.

See ya in 2017.

CollegeFashionista Joins Clique Media Group

I’m thrilled and honored to share today that Clique Media Group has acquired CollegeFashionista. I’ve long looked up to CMG’s co-founders, Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, for their innovation and dedicated leadership as well as the incredibly successful company they’ve built through big ideas and hard work. I am excited CollegeFashionista has new a home founded on those principles.


When I started this project in my dorm room, I did not have a formal business plan or, truthfully, any clue about what being an entrepreneur really meant. What I did know was that my classmates were daily sources of inspiration, and I wanted to share their creative, unique points of view with the world. From the first 12 students at five schools, our Style Guru internship program has grown into one that impacts thousands of students a semester and reaches over 1,000 schools.

I have learned so much over the years—some lessons were harder than others, but all were equally important. Creating and building CollegeFashionista has taught me that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, trust your team, have passion, and work hard. Of course, there were roadblocks, disappointments, and sleepless nights; all that fueled my determination to prove myself right and reach the audience that has inspired me from the beginning.


The story of CollegeFashionista has never been about me. It has always been about serving and doing more for the CollegeFashionista community and you, the Style Guru. The program has constantly evolved to exceed your needs, build your skill set, and provide you with exclusive career opportunities—all while allowing you to find your voice as an individual in the process. As such, today marks a new chapter for you. By joining CMG, we will be able to scale in a way we could never have before. Get excited for new opportunities, more creative programming, and a host of other surprises to come throughout the semesters ahead.

CollegeFashionista would never be where it is today without the dedication and support of so many people. To the team, family, mentors, and friends who have helped and supported CollegeFashionista and me on this journey, this is a humble thank you. You have done more than you could possibly know.

“When I Was 22″—CollegeFashionista’s Founder’s Advice to the Class of 2016

Graduation time is upon us. And even though I graduated more years ago than I care to count, I have as of late been reflecting of being 22. This weekend, I will be attending the wedding of one of my closest friends I met freshman year of college. I will see faces I have not seen since graduation day and catch up with old friends that hold some great memories of my past.

Everyone there will have changed somehow.

Some people stayed in the Midwest, some moved across the globe. Others are married, some even have children; some have chosen to climb the corporate ladder and hold well-earned prestigious titles. No matter where we find ourselves today, we shared this special four-year college experience together and then left the comfort of familiarity and entered into the unknown. We all have our own stories now.


When I was 22, I never would have guessed at this age I would be living in New York City, running my own media business and have met the love of my life. And if this all sounds like a fairy tale—believe it wasn’t without its stresses, failures and tears, I promise you. I spent a majority of my early-20s trying to plan every little detail of my future and attempting to control the uncontrollable. The reality is life doesn’t work this way.

CollegeFashionista started out of nativity at the age of 22 and my eagerness to try something no one else I knew at the time was doing. I have spent my 20s challenging myself in every way possible. I have learned to take ‘no’ as a way to push myself even further. I have learned the importance of strong mentors to help me avoid common mistakes. I have realized how meaningfully family truly is. I have lost friends that were toxic and gained new friends that fulfill me and bring happiness to my life. I have avoided comparing myself to others. I have appreciated the power of social media but also learned how to disconnect from it. I have learned the value of money and how budgeting is essential to your life. I have learned how important balance is to being successful.

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As you move to the next phase of your life I want to share some words of wisdom that I wish I had listened to upon graduating..

If you weren’t the person you wanted to be in college, start over. Don’t let the past define you.

Stop planning. The unexpected part of your 20s is the best part. You will hit a point in life where everything becomes routine. Enjoy the age and place you are at now.

There is no substitute for hard work.

Hit the pause button from time-to-time. Detach from social media, technology and be present. Life will move quicker then you can imagine.

You are the star of your own show.

And the biggest secret is that no one has it all figured out—not at 22; not at 29. So take a deep breath and GO!

Congratulations, Class of 2016.

TWENTY QUESTIONS—Amy Levin, CollegeFashionista Founder and CEO

It’s STYLE GURU BIO week here at CollegeFashionista. While we are busy getting to know the #RAD team of 2,000+ Style Gurus who make up our #GuruGang this spring, we figured it would be a great time for you to learn a little bit more about the team here at CollegeFashionista!

All week long, as you read the bios of your favorite Style Gurus, be sure to check out the homepage as we play “20 Questions” with a member of the CollegeFashionista team.

First up is CollegeFashionista’s own girl boss—Amy Levin—as she discusses her secret hobby, favorite binge worthy TV program and more!


Favorite shoes? Golden Goose Sneakers—can’t wear them enough!

Must-have accessory? Sunglasses. I usually have at least two-three pairs in my bag at a time.

Style hero? Poppy Delevigne

Text of phone call? Phone call—I still have a home phone.

Last show you binge watched? The Americans. I now think the KGB is following me…

Favorite garbage TV show? Keeping Up With The Kardashians, of course.

A perfect day starts with...a work out if possible

A perfect day ends with...a bath and tea

Always up for… meeting new people

Never up for… clubbing

What is your pump up jam? “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

Cake or pie? Candy.

Favorite movie of all time? Clueless.

Favorite app? Uber. Literally addicted.

Most random fact about yourself? I love, love, love cooking and entertaining. I would have friends over for dinner every night if I had the time and my apartment wasn’t 700 square feet.

What are three words to describe you? Determined, loyal and caring

A talent or skill you wish you had? I wish I was a runner. I just can’t get into for the life of me.

Biggest fear? Failing

Life motto? Slow and steady wins the race.

Best gift you ever received? My life 🙂 For real I feel lucky everyday for where I am.

FIVE WHO INSPIRE—CollegeFashionista’s Founder, Amy Levin, On The Ladies Who Inspire Her

Whether you are a freshman in college or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, everyone has people they look up to. Some they may know intimately; others they may only know through admiration of their accomplishments. But having role models and sources of inspiration are important to achieving success in our own personal and professional lives.

In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we decided to ask our very own resident female entrepreneur—CollegeFashionista’s Founder, Amy Levin—to discuss the five women that inspire her daily life.


1. Rebecca Minkoff, Designer. My interactions with Rebecca are countless. She has that “best friend” vibe to her that makes her easy to talk to and instantly approachable. I have probably asked her 10 times how she juggles being a designer, mom and wife while making it look so perfect and easy. I am a huge fan of her empire and am inspired by everything she is doing to innovate the fashion space.

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2. Kerry Diamond, Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Cherry Bombe and Restaurateur. This girl is one powerhouse. I had the opportunity to meet her over tea at Ladurée in SoHo and was totally in awe the whole time. She is super chic, has a downright cool aura and is whip smart to boot!

3. Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan. Interviewing Joanna Coles side-by-side on my couch in my TriBeCa apartment was definitely a highlight of 2015. This British-born magazine maven is someone I respect infinitely. She is one of those people who you feel their presence when they are in the room in the best way possible. The phrases “hard working” and “genuinely interested in others” sum up my feelings for this industry icon.

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4. Dany Levy, DailyCandy Founder. I have idolized Dan since day one of launching CollegeFashionista.com. She was at the forefront of digital media and daily newsletters with her brand, DailyCandy. Dany started something from nothing (which is not easy, folks). I met this petite, soft-spoken entrepreneur in the West Village and could have asked her questions for hours. She entertained my curiosity and is someone who should be complimented endlessly for what she created.

5. Brenda Levin, My Mom. She defines the word “confident” to me. She doesn’t care what fashion label she is wearing, what the newest designer handbag is or what other people are doing. She is happy with her life, her choices and care most about her family (and our dogs). In a world where everyone is trying to hold onto their youth, she gracefully lives at her age with content. (Which may the secret to aging as she is a natural beauty.) I aspire to be like her daily.

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Office Hours—Elle Strauss, Style Director of Shopbop

Confession time: I have a Shopbop addiction. If I have so much as five minutes free during my day, I am on Shopbop, scoping what’s new  and adding stuff to my seemingly always full cart.

If anyone can appreciate my obsession, it would be Elle Strauss. As the Style Director of Shopbop, Elle plays a vital role in working with the buyers, shaping the trends and making Shopbop the go-to fashion destination for so many Fashionistas like myself. She also happens to be one of the most delightful and charming people I have ever met.

Elle stopped by my apartment to catch up and chat about what it is like to work at Shopbop (spoiler alert—it leads to a lot of shopping) and the exhilaration of her role.

CollegeFashionista: Tell us a little about yourself and your role as Fashion Director at Shopbop.

Elle Strauss: I’ve been at Shopbop almost two years having previously worked in editorial at magazines. As Fashion Director I oversee the styling and visual direction of Shopbop’s front page. As a spokesperson for Shopbop I represent us at events and fashion shows across the globe from Australia to Paris. I accompany the Shopbop buyers into market and ensure the editorial point of view/current trends are captured within their buy.


CF: How did you get into the fashion industry?

ES: ELLE UK magazine was my catalyst. I arranged for an internship in the features department during University and secured a longer internship with their fashion department literally for the day I graduated! 

CF: What is your favorite part about working for Shopbop? 

ES: The people and the clothes!!

CF: What has been your favorite memory working for Shopbop? 

ES: I have so many already but probably having the opportunity to shoot in Rio, Brazil for our World Cup T-shirt collaboration with Elizabeth and James [would be my favorite].


CF: What trends are you already looking forward to for fall?

ES: Trends we saw at the recent fall runway shows include ’70s, in a big way, colors like army green, amber, marigold yellow, burgundy, pink and gray; elevated grunge with a ’90s feel, Victorian, sparkle, statement outerwear and seasonal must-haves like knee-high boots, bucket bags and turtlenecks [are all major for fall].

Office Hours—Rebecca Minkoff, Designer and Founder of Rebecca Minkoff

I have been fortunate to have some truly wonderful female mentors who have built incredible companies and remained humble, grounded individuals. I am lucky to call Rebecca Minkoff one of those mentors.

Season after season, Rebecca raises the bar and puts out collections of handbags, accessories and clothing that just speak to the downtown Fashionista. On a personal level, I am constantly inspired by and impressed with Rebecca’s ability to constantly push the envelope while juggling the pressures of the fashion world with being a wife and mother.

I invited Rebecca Minkoff into my apartment to catch up and chat about how she seems to do it all and more.

Read on for more insight from Rebecca!

CollegeFashionista: Tell us about your start into the fashion world.

Rebecca Minkoff: When I was getting ready for my Bat Mitzvah, I really wanted a beautiful blue dress that I saw at the mall. I told my mom I wanted the dress for my party, instead of buying me the dress, she bought me my first sewing machine and similar fabric. I made the dress myself. It wasn’t perfect, but it was all mine!

After developing an affinity for design in high school, I moved to New York City to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer.


CF: Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?

RM: When I was younger I really wanted to be a dancer. But thanks to my height, that didn’t work out for me!

CF: What was a big low point in your career and what did you do to overcome it?

RM: For a brief moment, I considered dropping my goal as a designer and working at a restaurant full time. Luckily, my brother saw to it that that didn’t happen. He stepped in and is now CEO of our company.

CF: What design aspects are crucial to your collections? What do you emphasize on?

RM: I always make sure to emphasize the “downtown romantic;” experimenting with fabrics, textures and prints while creating edgy looks with touches of femininity.

I like to make sure the lines are cohesive throughout each category. Each season is based off of a single inspiration so between the prints, themes and details the different collections have the same underlying tone.


CF: How do you continually find unique inspiration for each collection you create?

RM: I find inspiration through my travels, photographers and people I see and admire. Each collection has its own main inspiration that touches upon a specific person or print I am fascinated with exploring at the time.

Office Hours—Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan

There are so many words that can be used to describe Joanna Coles. But to me, when I think of Joanna, I think of someone who is unapologetically authentic. From her distinct, enviable personal style to her ability to command respect from everyone at Cosmopolitan and the larger fashion community, Joanna is very much distinctly Joanna. She is someone I personally admire for using a publication like Cosmopolitan to create a larger conversation about female empowerment, something we here at CollegeFashionista care deeply about as well.

I was truly honored to have Joanna come by my apartment to chat about her career, the Cosmo girl and more! Watch our latest “Office Hours” to find out more about what makes Joanna the role model she is to so many in the fashion industry—including myself!

Campus Travel Guide—Bloomington, Indiana

Much like your childhood hometown, the city in which you attend college will forever feel like home to you. Lucky for me, I got to spend four wonderful years living in Bloomington while attending Indiana University.

Sure, there are the Sample Gates and watching basketball games at Assembly Hall that make it so quintessentially college. But Bloomington is more than just a college campus. There is a real vibrancy to this Southern Indiana town. From a thriving art scene to hidden shopping gems to food staples I miss almost daily, a part of me will always miss my days living in Bloomington.

If you get the chance to visit Indiana University, be sure to check out my must-hit places to eat, shop and more!

Happy hourKilroy’s Pub on Kirkwood is always crowded. From a random Tuesday night to a lazy Saturday afternoon, anyone who has lived in Bloomington, Indiana has spent far too much time at this spot. Great for beers with friends, their breadsticks stuffed with cheese and pepperoni and on your birthday you get a free birthday shirt (it’s the little things in life)!

BrunchVillage Deli is everything. Their pancake situation is beyond gluttonous (and thus, perfect). Made from scratch, these pancakes are literally the size of the plate, made-to-oder and DYNAMITE.

Entertainment—Bloomington has a really happening arts scene. The Buskirk-Chumley Theatre is right on Kirkwood and hosts a variety of events. The vintage theatre is the best place to catch old movie screenings. The Indiana University Auditorium is located at the heart of campus and brings big name talent to B-Town. I have seen everyone from Jay Leno to the Dalai Lama perform there.

Late-night bites Pizza X. Order the Big Ten Special. Get the ranch. Enough said.

Shopping–Bloomington, Indiana is where my love for vintage blossomed. Cactus Flower upstairs is a must-have spot to check out. Think worn in flannels, jeweled jackets and costume jewelry that your Bubbie would wear. I have a vintage wedding dress from there I still wear on the reg.

SightseeingLake Monroe is a short drive away from the heart of town and makes Bloomington that much more beautiful. There are plenty of hiking trails and spots to sunbath with friends. Grab a map before you head out because it can get a bit confusing (everything is green, gorgeous and looks alike).

Hidden gemFARMbloomington is one of my absolute favorite places in Bloomington. The restaurant itself is all about fresh ingredients and features a menu that rotates seasonally. Their bison burger is beyond incredible. Perhaps the only thing better than the food and craft cocktails is FARM’s Root Cellar Lounge—which features a variety of entertainment including live local bands, karaoke and even trivia. It is one of the most unique and fun spots I’ve ever been to.

Where to stay –There are a handful of chain hotels in town, but The Indiana Memorial Union Hotel is by far top of the list. The rooms are tiny but the location is the center of everything and is easy for walking around. Also, secret perk—there is a bowling alley in the back of the IMU.

Show Us Your #ITGTopShelfie

If you are anything like me, I love swapping beauty finds and tricks. Love may be an understatement. I am obsessed with finding new products, tools and tips from everyone and anyone—my sister, colleagues and, yes, even Instagram.

I recently shared my rotation of foundations, layer of mascaras and more on one of my favorite sites, “Into The Gloss.” Ever wonder the one product I will never give up? Want to know my beauty guilty pleasure? Be sure to check out my #ITGTopShelfie.

But, being a beauty connoisseur, I am always looking to hear from other fashionable folks! So CollegeFashionista and “Into the Gloss” have partnered up to pick two stand-out students to be featured on “Into the Gloss.” Be sure to show us your beauty line-up by tagging @CFashionista and @IntoTheGloss with the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be interviewed and featured!

In the meantime, enjoy the peek into my own beauty regime!