Commencement speeches often sound repetitive—how many times have you heard speakers encourage grads to "follow their dreams"? But leave it to fashion industry pros to spice things up a bit. Over the years, some of the biggest names in the industry have imparted their wisdom on graduating seniors with intriguing tips for success. (Bonus: They're universally applicable to grads and professionals alike.)
The speeches we've rounded up below focus on the fact that there is no such thing as "the perfect path"—but each has a distinct lesson. While Tory Burch's address reveals the best advice she ever received, Christian Louboutin's defines what an achievement is. Click through the slideshow below to see what these insiders said.
Scroll down to read the best quotes from fashion people's commencement speeches over the years.
"There have, historically speaking, never been more opportunities for those who are determined and creative," Anna Wintour said at FIT's graduation in 2003. "If you do not immediately succeed in landing the plum fashion design job you've long dreamed of, with resourcefulness, self-belief, and above all flexibility, you will succeed in the end."
"One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from my parents is to think of negativity as noise." Tory Burch told the class of 2014 at Babson College. "Believe in yourself and what you're doing. Remember: If the most unique ideas were obvious to everyone, there wouldn't be entrepreneurs. The one thing that every entrepreneurial journey has in common is that there are many, many steps on the road to success."
"The more you grow in your career, the more there will be moments that test your will," Rebecca Minkoff said at FIT's graduation in 2013. "When life throws you a curveball, which it tends to do quite often, what do you do? Be creative, persevere … fashion is always changing, so it's crucial to learn to adapt. Do away with the rules you once knew, and create your own."
"An achievement is not one day in the future, it is the sum of all of these moments where you have lived, and loved, and nourished your passion," Christian Louboutin told the class of 2014 at FIT. "Never forget that it is your vision that comes through your work. Our designs are a complete part of ourselves. Do not be afraid to live life to the fullest, because it is your day, your experiences that will nourish your work."
"I never met anyone who attained success, no matter how big or small, that didn't derive dignity, happiness, and self-worth from their own efforts," Vera Wang said at Sarah Lawrence College's graduation in 2013. "That kind of achievement cannot be bought, it can only be earned.”