Abboud was the perfect commencement speaker 1

Fashion designer and creative director of Men’s Warehouse, Joseph Abboud, spoke to the Class of 2014 during the May Commencement. (Photo courtesy of Lasell College)

Fashion designer and creative director of Men’s Warehouse, Joseph Abboud, spoke to the Class of 2014 during the May Commencement. (Photo courtesy of Lasell College)

Kristina Kaufmann – Art Director

What a pleasant surprise. Joseph Abboud’s commencement speech was engaging, adven- turous, and honest. From previous Lasell commencements, I have heard mediocre reviews of the graduation speaker. However fashion designer Abboud related to the soon to be graduates and told a story that was hard to forget. Abboud carried the audience through the start of his career as an aspiring men’s fashion designer. He took his passion for design and pursued a career in the men’s suits industry. With his own line of exclusive suits at Men’s Warehouse and being the head Creative Director as well, it was intriguing to hear how he came to such success.

Abboud began his speech exactly the way he started his day when he had his first interview with Coco Chanel in Paris. Living in London at the time, Abboud prepped himself in his nicest tailored suit and embarked on his jour- ney to Paris. However, the course of events that proceeded were not in his favor. After some car troubles, delays, and horrendous luck, Abboud found himself ready to board a flight to Paris and realized he did not have a visa granting him permission out of England and into France.

Abboud accomplished what people told him he never would. He would never be able to make it back to the consulate to have a visa approved without the proper documents and surely he would never make it back in time

for the flight. He did however, with a quick phone call from Coco Chanel herself, and a slight reschedule of the interview, Abboud made it to Paris and got the job.

He brought charm and relatability to his presentation and never lost the audience’s attention as I was biting my nails through the end of his story. An excellent commencement speech separates the speaker’s ac- complishments in life or political views and speaks to encourage the success of the new graduates entering the professional world. Abboud’s messages were appropriate. One should never give up if they have the passion and motivation, and prove people wrong who use the words ‘never’ or ‘can’t’.

I commend his speech and hope that as a graduating senior this year our speaker will do the same for the Class of 2015 and the following classes after. Not only do I re- member the story that Abboud shared with the Class of 2014, but I related to it on my first day of a new internship. Wanting to be early on my first day, I took the early bus, which ended up getting lost on it’s way to find the Mass Pike. My mind jumped to Abboud’s story. It was an immediate comfort as I remembered the lesson it taught: Have faith in the world, trust in yourself and your abilities, and everything will be as it should.

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