July 23, 2019 | 67° F

Marisa Flacks electrifies early professional, student career with entrance into fashion industry

Sitting late at night after a design meeting, Marisa Flacks, then a sophomore, admitted to her friend that she struggled with her career in the fashion industry. Two years later, the School of Arts and Sciences junior is the CEO of her own publication, The Style Almanac.

The Style Almanac is a digital publication that updates once a week and features rising designers, photographers and visual artists in the fashion industry, Flacks said. She met many of these individuals through her internships over the years.

Flacks attended classes at the Parsons New School of Design and interned for both Hearst Corporate and Starworks, a public relations company, according to an article published by the Fashion Institute of Technology.

With this experience at hand, coupled with her network of students at many fashion schools around the country, Flacks said she was able to promote her publication to college campuses.

“It was very inspiring to watch her walk through the development process of her first startup venture and figure out exactly how she wanted to position her brand,” said Emily Tantuccio, a School of Communications and Information junior who also worked as Flacks’s photographer for New York Fashion Week 2014.

Flacks' most memorable experience was attending New York Fashion Week as the official press, rather than simply an intern. She was able to go backstage and interview student designers as Tantuccio photographed them, and one particular story almost brought Flacks to tears.

Designer Ozanhan Kayaoglu created his collection out of fabrics dyed in rust, and she said his inspiration behind the designs was heartbreaking.

“He opened up to me about being a Turkish soldier and prisoner of war,” Flacks said. “He used his clothing as a protest against war and violence. It was truly the most beautiful form of art I've ever seen, and reminded me why I love fashion design.”

Tantuccio agreed it was “eye-opening” to hear each designer’s personal struggles and how they specifically select certain elements of these stories to “translate into their designs.”

Hearing the personal narratives of these designers was not the only benefit from being the press. Tantuccio ran into a few stars that night, including Naomi Campbell, who was "totally dressed down in jeans and sneakers, but still fabulous all the same.”

Flacks’s biggest inspiration for her publication is style.com, a database of all fashion-related talent. The website is now defunct, but Flacks modified basic elements of style.com to cater to a younger generation, she said.

The innovation and passion behind The Style Almanac has been featured in several other fashion publications. 

“There's so much to be said for someone so young that is using their platform in their industry of choice as a means of leaving a true impact on their community, when a lot of kids our age have barely started interning yet,” Tantuccio said.

Indeed, Tantuccio was the one talking late into the night with her coworker Flacks after returning from the same fashion outlet.

“She was telling me how she felt like she'd reached a hurdle in her fashion career and needed to figure out a way to create a positive social impact while also working in the industry. Fast forward almost exactly two years later, and she has figured out a way to do exactly that,” Tantuccio said.

Flacks’s desire to feature up-and-coming artists has allowed for her peers, such as Tantuccio, to be recognized. Tantuccio owns a photography and freelance entertainment publicity business representing several artists. She has been published internationally and had the opportunity to photograph several bands including Mumford & Sons, Blink-182 and The Gaslight Anthem.

Flacks finds it difficult to balance being the CEO and creative director of a publication with school and work. 

“I've had the privilege of being able to travel so much because of the website that I sometimes forget I still have to be a student,” she said. “I've definitely learned time management skills throughout the process.”

Despite the struggle to balance everything that she does, Flacks finds running her own publication very rewarding.

“After all, our generation is the future of the fashion industry, so why shouldn't we start documenting it now?" she said.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said Emily Tantuccio represented the bands Mumford & Sons, Blink-182 and Gaslight Anthem.

Bushra Hasan

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