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Michelle Obama hosts first fashion education workshop

Stars from the fashion world visited the White House as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Reach Higher" initiative discussing paths to success with high school students
Reach Higher: Students learn from First Lady, fashion stars 02:45

More than 150 students from up and down the East Coast gathered at the White House Wednesday for the first ever fashion education workshop.

"Is this not cool? I mean, come on, you're in the White House," First Lady Michelle Obama said.

The event was part of the first lady's "Reach Higher" initiative, where high school students visit the White House to hear about success from those who have already achieved it, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.

Professionals from the fashion industry shared their artistic inspirations, gave lessons in construction and told stories about what it was like to start a business.

Obama even modeled a dress designed by a student and showed off another.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour praised the fashionable first lady's influence on Washington.

"It used to be that I would come down here to D.C., I felt I represented an industry that was decidedly unserious," Wintour said. "I was the woman from New York in the funny clothes who kept insisting that fashion mattered."

The highlight of the day was a panel of fashion bigwigs and regular first lady outfitters like J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, Hugo Boss's Jason Wu and the designer of Obama's 2008 election night dress, Narciso Rodriguez.

"The message was really about education, about going after your dreams, seeking out the right educational path to be able to achieve your dreams," said Tracy Reese, who has designed several dresses for the first lady.

To set the event apart, the first lady's staff recruited a team from Parsons School of Design in New York to temporarily redecorate the White House East Room with sculptures made from recycled books.

After the panel, Obama urged the kids not to let this opportunity go to waste.

"This is really special. So make the most of it. It won't be the last door that you have access to, but this door is real different," she said. "And you have to think, when's the next time I'm going to be invited to the White House. Because I think about that all the time."

The first lady said the event was a dream come true, telling the kids that looking fashionable plays a big part in giving her the confidence to do her job.

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