DECA Spends the Day with Mr. Joseph Abboud

On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, a select group of DECA members headed up to New York City for a very special project. After an early wake-up call and a sleepy train ride into the city, the DECA members found themselves on Madison Avenue outside the Joseph Abboud flagship store.

Now, who is Joseph Abboud you ask? Mr. Joseph Abboud is Chief Creative Director for Men’s Wearhouse (now Tailored Brands Inc.) and the 2018 high school DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) opening keynote speaker and Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recipient.

Abboud has had an incredible career in the fashion industry, with accomplishments including being associate director menswear design for Ralph Lauren and first designer to win a CFDA award for Best Menswear Designer two years in a row. To help DECA members get to know Mr. Abboud better before he arrives in Atlanta for the 2018 #DECAICDC opening session, DECA spent the day filming interviews with Mr. Abboud on various topics that are relatable to members such as entrepreneurship, success and the future.

On hand to help DECA capture these interviews was Jaron May, DECA high school division president, and two New Jersey DECA association officers, Rachel Lynch and Nicholas Kaufman.

“Before filming with Mr. Abboud, I was a ball of emotions.” Jaron said. “To be able to meet and speak with a successful man such as himself, excitement, nervousness, anticipation, and so many other feelings were coursing through me.”

It was a long day of filming, but with each take, Jaron, Rachel and Nicholas got to know Mr. Abboud more and more, and realized what an incredible mentor and leader he is.

“I was so surprised to find out how down to earth and friendly Mr. Abboud was,” Nicholas recalled. “From our first moments in his presence, he was so warm and welcoming, which I did not expect initially due to the way a lot of fashion designers are portrayed on the internet and in the media. However, as we talked more and more throughout the day, I began to feel as if I was with a friend, rather than an industry leading fashion designer.”

Mr. Abboud shared his expertise on a variety of topics, such as how DECA members can break into the fashion industry. “It’s very important for young creatives in the fashion world to get a job in retail, to learn the business where the battles are won or lost with the customer,” Mr. Abboud advised. “If you’re going to be successful, you have to sell customers.”

Mr. Abboud also touched on the importance of overcoming failures in any career, and how those trials make you stronger in the end. “Survival for us has been being dedicated to the brand and what it stands for, and finding out who you really are and [if] you have the strength to overcome those things.”

Nicholas asked Mr. Abboud to share his thoughts on the impact social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter have had on the fashion industry, to which Mr. Abboud replied, “I think social media has had a huge impact because of delivering information… I think the young consumer looks behind the label now – what makes a brand, is it real, where’s it made, what’s the quality. Those brands that are authentic and are true are going to benefit from it.”

When the cameras weren’t rolling, Jaron, Rachel and Nicholas were able to talk to Mr. Abboud about other topics such as school, DECA and other interests.

“My favorite part of the experience was being able to speak with Mr. Abboud about the Boston Red Sox,” Jaron shared. “It was great to have a casual, friendly conversation on a topic we both are interested in. It really showed how personable and down to Earth [Mr. Abboud] is.”

Rachel even shared with Mr. Abboud her own personal goals of working in the fashion industry one day, and Mr. Abboud had his PR manager share some information with Rachel on job shadowing opportunities during Fashion Week.

“As a fashion enthusiast, I could not wait for the chance to interview Mr. Abboud and ask
him about being a competitor in the cutthroat fashion industry,” Rachel shared. “I absolutely loved hearing Mr. Abboud’s commentary on his pieces from the sketches to fabric to the final mannequin look as he was showing us around his store. As someone who really appreciates the amount of work that goes into a bespoke suit, I was amazed listening to Mr. Abboud’s perspective on a classic men’s suit and his thoughts when designing and selecting fabric.”

When the interviews were done and it was time to say goodbye, Jaron, Rachel and Nicholas were sad to go, but excited knowing that their time with Mr. Abboud wasn’t truly over, for they would be seeing him again in just a few
months at ICDC 2018!

“I think DECA members will respond well to Mr. Abboud [at ICDC]. All DECA members are eager and thirsty for knowledge and Mr. Abboud is full of it, so I believe it will be a perfect match,” Jaron said.

So, what is something that DECA members should know about Mr. Abboud before they arrive in Atlanta?

I think that DECA members should know that Mr. Abboud’s personality and passion for what he does gives off such a great vibe. He is proud and excited to speak at ICDC this year,” Nicholas shared. “I hope that DECA members are going to feel inspired and motivated by Mr. Abboud. He is truly a self-made entrepreneur and business leader like many DECA members. I hope that he can teach us all that, as long as we have the drive and passion for what we are doing, the possibilities will be #Limitless.”


Are you ready to meet Mr. Abboud, learn more about his incredible career and get his valuable business advice? Go to to watch the first episode in a three-part video series with Mr. Abboud!

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