Designer Erin Fetherston talks fashion at her Teen Vogue Fashion...

Designer Erin Fetherston talks fashion at her Teen Vogue Fashion University seminar in Manhattan. (Oct. 20, 2012) Credit: Nina Ruggiero

After attending a private shopping party Friday night at H&M in Manhattan, 21-year-old Sara Oldmixon spent Saturday with designers Pamela Love, Olivier Theyskens and Rachel Roy, to name a few.

Oldmixon, who grew up in Massapequa and will graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in December with a degree in advertising marketing communications, was one of the 525 students from all over the world selected this year to attend Teen Vogue Fashion University, a three-day event that includes fashion designer and editor seminars, special shopping events and more.

"What I've learned most from the speakers is they're just normal people and really hard workers," Oldmixon said. "It's really inspiring. [Former model and Vogue creative director] Grace Coddington still takes the subway to and from work every day. [Designer] Pamela Love didn't come from a family with money .?.?. she worked herself through NYU for film and then decided to change her path and go into jewelry design."

Students can apply for Fashion University starting at age 16. Although Oldmixon, who won "Best Dressed" her senior year at Massapequa High School, said she has always been into fashion, she was glad to be on the older end of the attendees. She currently does consulting and styling for Bridal Reflections, and hopes to one day become the editor of a fashion magazine.

"Through college you learn what really goes into the industry," she said. "I had a different mentality when I was 16. Now I know there's so much more to fashion than just the clothes, and I feel like I can understand it and appreciate it more. If you're younger it can definitely give you a great head start, but for me this is perfect timing because I'm graduating and it's real inspiration right before I go into the workforce."

Nicole Richie, who has two fashion lines, House of Harlow and Winter Kate, plus a collection for QVC, was a speaker at this year's Fashion U.

"I really love how much Teen Vogue is encouraging young designers to get out there and encouraging young people to follow their dreams," Richie told Newsday. "It's really nice to see so many young people who have a decision on whatever it is they want to do."

From being inspired by music to juggling family and a busy career to her disdain for the fashion of the '80s, Richie gave insight into her life and path to success during her hourlong seminar. She offered advice to aspiring designers and answered questions from the audience.

"Be open to criticism and just really study your craft," she said. "Never get to a point where you feel like you're relaxed and you have nothing more to learn. Being in the fashion industry means always learning, always growing."

Students for next year's Teen Vogue Fashion U will be able to apply in June 2013. Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 24, and will answer questions about their career goals and fashion icons. They will also submit photos showing their fashion inspiration and/or projects they have done and links to their fashion blogs if they have one.

Top image: Designer Erin Fetherston gives advice to aspiring fashion designers during her Teen Vogue University seminar in Manhattan. (Oct. 20, 2012)

Sara Oldmixon, 21, of Massapequa attends Teen Vogue Fashion University in Manhattan. (Oct. 20, 2012)

Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, and designer Nicole Richie at Teen Vogue Fashion University in Manhattan. (Oct. 20, 2012)

Fashion University students ask questions during designer Christian Siriano's seminar. (Oct. 20, 2012)