Anna Wintour spoke at a student run fashion show in York last night

The Northern Youth show was put on to raise money for Refugee Action York

Last night, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast spoke at a student run fashion show.

The world famous trendsetter gave a speech at the University of York’s Central Hall followed by a Q&A with the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, Katherine Viner, as part of student run Hard Magazine’s fashion show, The Northern Youth.


The most influential woman in fashion began her speech by saying: “The world is changing so rapidly that what might have seemed wise only a couple of years ago now seems hopelessly out of date.”

She implored students not to “become too specialised” but instead “be intellectually free” and “try lots of things.”

She also warned against students allowing social media to become a “substitute for living.”

“I’m struck these days by how often people come up to me and ask to take a photograph instead of shaking hands, meeting one’s eyes and having an actual conversation. Even at the shows people are so busy documenting the moment they forget to actually look at the clothes in front of them.

“You don’t want to spend your entire life clicking and liking.”

Students were also urged to steer away from aspirations of fame as, “to be famous these days with no grounding and no substance is not especially difficult.” She urged students “instead to seek to be relevant, to be agile and educated.”


When talking about America, her home since the 70s, she mentioned a number of cultural differences such as their love of coffee over tea and willingness to exercise at any given opportunity. She also claimed that, “some of the [American] candidates for the highest office in the land are even crazier than those you have here in England, and [American] governments have gotten far better than British tabloids at intercepting cell-phone calls.”

During the Q&A with Katherine Viner, Wintour was asked about Hilary Clinton’s chances of breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the first female president, to which she replied, “she’s running a very strong campaign, she feels very confident and of course it would be wonderful for Hilary Clinton to be the first woman president but I think she would be the first to say that she wouldn’t want people to vote for her just because she’s a woman, I think that that is a rather old fashioned way of thinking.

“We want people to vote for her because she’s the best choice and I think if you look at who she’s running against there’s no question that that is the truth.”

Unsurprisingly she isn’t a fan of Donald Trump. “He has no substance to anything that he says, he just goes for the soundbite. I’m not sure he even knows where Syria is.” She also admitted that she “didn’t take him seriously at all” when he first announced he would be running.

Wintour backed Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 so with that track record, it would be unwise to bet against her.

The fashion show that followed, organised by Wintour’s niece Ellie, a second year English Literature student, was a triumph and showcased the works of a number of northern fashion houses.

The show featured music from Billie Marten, a sixteen-year-old singer-songwiter who featured on the BBC Sound of 2016, as well as an exclusive collaborative track from Jack Savidge of Friendly Fires and Gbenga of Metronomy.

Esmé Madill from Refugee Action York spoke passionately about her work and the influence the money from the show would give. She closed by stating that, “York, this city, this county, welcomes refugees.”