On Wednesday September 17th, GCC had the pleasure of hosting Emmy-award-winning stylist and author, David Zyla, as a guest speaker. When he walked into the room, Zyla had this energy about him. There’s something special about having a guest speaker who is just as excited to be in attendance as the audience. David Zyla kept listeners intrigued with his relatable anecdotes and fashion-industry insights.
A very accomplished individual, it is clear that David Zyla has worked hard to achieve everything that he has earned. He is an author of two books (Color Your Style and How to Win At Shopping) and a 2010 Emmy Award recipient in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for All My Children. Raised in New Hartford, New York, and a student of the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Zyla has always been a man who is motivated by style. David revealed to the audience that one experience he had in particular at a young age was a defining moment in the beginnings of his fashion career. His parents had been getting ready for a dinner party, and Zyla told his mother to wear a certain necklace. He then continued to advise his father to put together a not-so-obvious outfit combination. It was this seemingly small moment in which David Zyla had discovered his aptitude for design. David pursued his interest in fashion by studying costume design at NYU. It was there that he demonstrated his natural eye for stylistic expression. However, he soon discovered that he needed to learn the reason why behind things would appear to look well together. Zyla credits a friend for what made him pursue the study of color theory stating that, “someone being completely straightforward with you can change your life.” That is exactly what happened in David Zyla’s case; from there he “fell” into his own fashion label, and his since progressed into multiple realms of the fashion industry.
Zyla went on to discuss what he knows best: color. He advised the audience by saying, “Think about color as a raw material to showcase you.” David warned against following blindly and flaunting the pantone color palettes released seasonally. Alternatively he told listeners to, “illuminate yourself with your true colors.” He taught the audience how to find their specific color combinations by observing different parts of their bodies, such as the eyes, hair, and skin. One specific color tip Zyla gave was to wear your “dramatic color” on an interview in order to leave a lasting impression. This can be found by observing the vein color on your inner wrist.
David Zyla was a charismatic and personable speaker; he took the opportunity to point out many of the audience members’ outfits and why they fit their color personas. He pointed me out in particular as well and complimented my jacket stating that it was my “essence color”. Zyla also answered a variety of questions posed by audience members and GCC students. Sophomore Fashion Merchandising student, Ariana, asked, “do you have an end-all-be-all favorite color?” Zyla responded by saying, “I can’t have color bias, I am open to all colors.” But when considering further, he stated that he loves the connotation of sunshine yellow and everything it stands for. Sophomore design student, Amber, asked David if he had any advice for students involved with the production of the 34th annual fashion show at GCC. Zyla responded by saying, “Lady Gaga performs,” the audience had a burst of intermittent laughter, “ the concept is great; for the concepts within the show find ten words to describe your theme, find a touchstone. The minute you say to yourself that I need to be more [blank] then you’re in trouble.”
Zyla offered a versatile depth of advice for both fashion students and anyone interested in the science behind color and style. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in the planning of this event, and David Zyla himself for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come speak at GCC; it was truly a colorful experience.