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Social media no substitute for living, Anna Wintour tells York students

Vogue editor Anna Wintour has warned students not to allow social media to become a "substitute for living" as she attended a university fashion show to support her niece.

Ms Wintour was a special guest at the University of York's Northern Youth Fashion Show, which was organised by niece Ellie Wintour to raise money for refugee charities.

She made a speech ahead of the show in which she criticised the fame culture and told the audience to be "relevant, agile and educated".

Ms Wintour described social media as an "incredible tool" but added: "You don't want to spend your entire life clicking and liking.

"I'm struck these days by how often people come up to me and ask to take a photograph, instead of shaking hands, meeting one's eyes and having an actual conversation.

"Even at the shows, people are so busy documenting the moment, they forget to actually look at the clothes in front of them.

"Social media is great but don't let it be a substitute for living."

She also told the students they should not seek fame.

"To be famous these days with no grounding and no substance is not especially difficult," she said. " I urge you instead to seek to be relevant, to be agile and educated."

Ms Wintour, who is editor-in-chief of American Vogue and artistic director of Conde Nast, advised the students to get experience and training in their chosen fields but not to become too specialised.

She said: "These days, in the world of media for instance, it is important to have multiple interests and skill-sets, to have tried and possibly failed at many different undertakings.

"The young people we hire today at Conde Naste are fearless polymaths, hard-working and passionate, creative and curious."

The show will raise money for the Xavier Project, which runs schools, creates jobs and offers a mentoring scheme to some of the biggest refugee communities in the world, and Refugee Action York, which helps to integrate refugees in the local area.

Ms Wintour told the audience about her own fundraising efforts and commended the students for their involvement in the campaigns.

She said: "I urge everyone here to remember how important it is, at whatever stage of life, to get outside of yourself and your own ambitions and to think about how to help those who are less fortunate."

Ellie, 20, is a second-year English student at the university and helped organise the show with University of York fashion publication Hard Magazine.

She said she asked her famous aunt to attend the fashion show but thought she might be too busy.

She said: "There was a lot of excitement about it. York is a great fashion centre but I think everyone was a bit taken aback that Anna was coming.

"But there's so much talent in Manchester, Leeds, York, I think it's about time. Fashion is so London-centric."

She added: "I'm not nervous about what Anna's going to think because she's here to be supportive, which is wonderful."

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