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LOS ANGELES On December 1 and 2, more than 500 young people gathered in Los Angeles for the inaugural Teen Vogue Summit: two days of activism and empowerment-theme talks from Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Women’s March organizer Paola Mendoza, poet and artist Cleo Wade, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, film director Ava Duvernay, and more.
The event, which was planned and designed mostly in-house by 23 Stories—Condé Nast's experiential arm—was created with Generation Z and young millennials in mind. Colorful furniture rentals and scattered bean-bag chairs by PBteen created a cheery vibe, while teen-friendly sponsors including Urban Outfitters, Facebook Messenger, and Juicy Couture offered hands-on activations and trendy merchandise. On-theme photo ops throughout the space were designed to be social-media-friendly, as was the stage design, name tags, and more.
The content was also crafted to appeal to young women and other Teen Vogue readers. On Friday, the day kicked off at TOMS' hip headquarters in Venice, then brought attendees on a series of all-day workplace immersions at companies such as Instagram, GirlBoss, YouTube, Beautycounter, and others. Later that day was a celebration of Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21, a list of girls and femmes who are changing the world through politics, art, science, and more.
Saturday was a more traditional conference at 72andSunny's headquarters in Playa Vista, with empowerment-theme icebreakers from singers Chloe x Halle followed by a conversation with Clinton and actress and activist Yara Shahidi, who discussed the importance of voting and ways to combat “mansplaining.” Guests then had the chance to attend small-group mentoring sessions with a variety of politicians, authors, artists, and more, with topics including ending sexual violence, running for political office, finding a mentor, and the importance of self-care.
The summit was the culmination of two months of meet-ups held around the country, aimed to bring the content to as many Teen Vogue readers as possible—especially those who couldn’t travel to Los Angeles or afford the main event's ticket price. (Here's our conversation with Erica Boeke, the vice president of experiences for 23 Stories, who detailed the thinking behind the meet-ups.) Fifty applicants also received free tickets to the summit through a partnership with the charity Step Up.
Here's a look at some of the ways Teen Vogue's inaugural event engaged Generation Z and young millennials.