Elizabeth Kennedy, a leading fashion designer, virtually visited her alma mater, Villa Victoria Academy, to speak to current students as part of Villa’s Alumnae Speaker Series.
Kennedy graduated from Villa Victoria in 2003 and went on to Parsons School of Design in New York City, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design. After graduation, she worked for renowned designers Donna Karan, J. Mendel, and Isaac Mizrahi, where she became the head designer at age 22. She later launched her namesake brand, a custom couture brand. Kennedy has designed numerous gowns for the red carpets, Met Galas, Emmys and magazine covers. A few of her clients include Oprah Winfrey, Lena Dunham, Mariah Carey, Laverne Cox and Jennifer Lopez.
Kennedy returned to Villa Victoria as part of its Speaker Series program, which features Villa Victoria graduates and is designed to impart on its students life lessons about high school, college, and careers.
In speaking about her time at Villa Victoria Academy, she described it as “an environment where it didn’t matter what I looked like; it only mattered what I had to say.” She credits Villa for enabling her to increase her confidence, noting that Villa taught her to use her voice to stand up for what she believes. In addition she told current students that such confidence is necessary when pitching her brand to investors and top executives.
Through her work in the fashion industry, Kennedy has learned that in order to be respected, one must respect herself. She also spoke about the strong Christian values she witnessed while attending Villa Victoria and stressed the importance of truly listening to others.
The students greatly appreciated the time Kennedy spent with them and her willingness to share her life experiences with them. In keeping with the fashion theme, upon return to school, each student was given a pair of specially designed Villa Victoria spirit socks.
Villa’s Alumnae Speaker series was established in 2017 by the Villa board of directors. The goal is to introduce Villa students to a wide range of career opportunities by showcasing young Villa alumnae. Villa girls have seen presentations from a pediatric dermatologist, a veterinarian, a trust administrator, and a lawyer among many others.
More information on this effort can be found at https://villavictoria.org/about-us/moving-villa-forward/
Written by Leigh Machion. Machion is a senior at Villa Victoria Academy.