Find Your Voice and Embrace the Journey

By Madison Langweil

POUGHKEEPSIE – From directionless desires to gaining invaluable experience in the world of fashion, former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and of “The Cut,” Lindsay Wager, highlighted her weaknesses and strengths that helped mold her into finding her niche in being a strong voice in Black Lives Matter (BLM) and fashion. Marist College’s Center for Multicultural Affairs sponsored Wagner in an empowering discussion in their “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Speakers Series” on Thursday, March 25 with moderator John Bartlett, Fashion Program Director.

Without a plan after graduating from college, Wagner “furiously” wrote emails to colleagues and other people she knew who would hire her and make her a part of their team. It truly became a “harsh reality,” Wagner says, to put one’s foot out the door and aim for that dream job. Working as a waitress to having two other jobs, she worked hard to make a name for herself.

Wagner took the entry-level opportunity at Teen Vogue to learn and apply herself, that would eventually help propel her career further. She describes this as an “incredibly formative experience.”

“I needed someone to take a chance on me,” she said.

When she wanted to cover stories that weren’t being recognized or discussed she was told “no” many times, but she worked to foster her ideas and dive deep into those difficult conversations that people often shied away from.

“Even if you have an idea, it doesn’t mean it’s dead just because somebody says no. Honestly, some things just take time for things to grow and you plant a seed and you never know what happens,” Wagner said.

She took advantage of the places where she worked, who fostered culture, to develop her own ideas while making a name for herself, which she initially struggled how to achieve.

“I get to have and facilitate the hard conversations that I know a lot of people are avoiding. I always love that part of my job, because I can use this platform for good,” she said. These conversations of racism and classism, she describes, are “long overdue.” This has helped, particularly the youth, to encourage people to investigate the morality and ethics of fashion companies.

“It really has been a journey for me of figuring out what I wanted to do and really the place that I felt [I could] make the most impact,” Wagner said.

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