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How Social Media Is Giving the Fashion Industry an Extreme Makeover

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A cool fashion mash-up is trending that brings music, entertainment, technology, lifestyle and social media together and it is happening the loudest in Los Angeles, Calif.

Partly due to L.A. now being the largest apparel industry market in the country, this wave is also being propelled by young, multi-ethnic, urban designers and entertainment events like the Coachella Music Festival near Palm Springs that just ended this weekend.

"Coachella," as it is known by fans, has been compared to Woodstock in tone and scale, but with new, undiscovered groups along with high-tech acts that included the impressive 3-D hologram of deceased rapper Tupac performing on stage with a very much alive Snoop Dog.

When these powerful real-time lifestyle elements are supported by an influential music and art emissary like Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy on the Sunset Strip, one has the perfect alchemy for igniting a whole new breed of designer/artist/tech geek. Nic's first-hand experience with young music fans who fill The Roxy confirms Woodbury's research. "Their students reflect what I see all the time, people coming together from all over the world and sharing their dreams through music, art, and fashion."

"The amazing entrepreneurial opportunities that exist for young designers in the industry today largely exist and thrive as a result of the successful use of social media," commented Kathryn Hagen, Fashion Chair, Fashion Design Department, Woodbury University, a school that is home to trending research for the apparel industry. Hagen is a leading fashion illustrator, author, and award-winning instructor who has nurtured red-carpet designers in their very early years before social media was such a dynamic force for spreading fashion. "The ability of designers to follow and share fashion events globally through social media almost as they are happening is taking the rapid turnover of trends and ideas to a new level. Fashion itself has gone viral."

Social media and its public display of life-streaming provides a window into lifestyles and subcultures. "There is so much data that you need to take a step back and listen," says fashion forecaster and assistant professor, Wendy Bendoni, with the Woodbury University Fashion Marketing Department. "For example, I search photos of girls at Coachella and look at the self-portraits they post on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest to imagine the story they are telling about themselves. It's about lifestyle, conversation, and monitoring. This is the information my clients want."

Woodbury junior fashion/social media student, Maria Cavallari is of the same cloth, as they say. "Whether fusion or mash-up, in fashion, you can do anything."

Meet Fashion Chair Kathryn Hagen at Woodbury University's 48th Annual Fashion Show entitled "Sampling: A Creative Mash-up of Music and Fashion" Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday, April 28, 2012 5:30 p.m.