Levin graduated from IU with an apparel merchandising degree. By the time she graduated, she had worked 13 internships in promotions, event planning and trend reporting.
During her junior year, she was a trend reporter in London and was inspired to start a fashion blog of her own.
By August 2009, the site was ready for business. CollegeFashionista launched with five participating universities, each with students as “style gurus” who took pictures and wrote editorials about trends in their individual schools.
After three weeks, international universities approached Levin about getting involved with the website. In January, the site will feature more than 300 universities in around 14 countries, with more than 400 style gurus contributing to the site.
“When I first started out, I had to almost beg students to be involved with my site, but now, I receive approximately 40 to 50 applications per week to work for the website,” Levin said at Wednesday’s “Blogging Your Way into a Business” lecture, an event sponsored by Women in Business and CollegeFashionista.
Senior Syma Raza, head style guru for IU’s branch of CollegeFashionista, was one of the people responsible for bringing Levin to the University.
“I was inspired to bring Amy Levin to IU when I watched ‘Teen Vogue Fashion University,’ which brings in inspirational people in the fashion world to share their story. I really wanted Amy Levin to come back and share her story of her successful site,” Raza said.
The event attracted about 90 students interested in hearing how Levin’s personal blog evolved into a website and then to a full media company.
Sophomore Molly Tate, who studies journalism, said she loves the mission CollegeFashionista.com pursues. This January, Tate will intern for the site.
“Its mission is not only to publish trends from campus to campus, but also to allow each writer to gain the necessary knowledge it takes to write a professional fashion article,” Tate said. “I also love how CollegeFashionista uses the students of each specific campus to write about trends.”
However, starting this company was not easy for Levin.
“The most challenging aspect of the job is learning from failure,” Levin said.
“Something is sometimes going to go wrong, and you just have to remember to learn from those mishaps and surround yourself by positive people.”
Levin said there is a common misconception that networking is required to break into the industry.
“This isn’t true,” she said. “You will succeed because you love what you are doing.”
Along with positivity, Levin stressed the importance of a strong work ethic.
“I’m not going to lie to you, most of you will be fetching a lot of coffee, but be the best coffee-runner you can be and someone will notice that, and your hard work will pay off,” she said.
At the end of the event, an audience member asked for advice on how to dress stylishly. Levin answered the girl’s question, and the event ended on a singular note.
“If you are comfortable in what you’re wearing, it’s fashionable,” she said.
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