Author Archives: Aya

Notes From the 6 Train: Showroom Showtime!

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Last week BRAG (the club I’m apart of that you should totally think of joining) took a trip to the Converse showroom. Visiting a showroom of such an iconic brand felt very humbling. Everyone has owned a pair of Chuck’s at some point in their life, it’s like a U.S. rites of passage. It’s like we walked right into apart of American history, a majestic world of sneakers. Bubblegum colored shoes and edgy T-shirts lined the elegantly gray stained walls of the lobby.

url-2 (Not a photo from the showroom, but the vibe in the showroom was equally as cool.)

Leslie Smith, the Converse merchandise manager, was kind enough to show us around the entire building. The show room was divided into 3 floors. The bottom floor was for the business-y stuff, we walked by a group of people wh were literally going through every single item of clothing and pricing each individual item. The top floor was dedicated to designing and the middle floor showcased concepts for future lines. This was one was my favorite one. We got to peak into the ideation of what’s to come. Unfortunately, I was unable to take photos because everything we saw will be released spring/ fall 15′ and they don’t want their ideas falling into the general public prior to their scheduled release. Besides seeing the inner-workings of the showroom, then entire trip was highly inspiring, not just for me but everyone who went on the trip. As students we spend hours upon hours in class, studying, rushing between internships and jobs, then come home to stay up all night hyped up on coffee to complete school projects. Then, in the very wee hours of the morning, we think to ourselves, “what is all this for, what’s the point of all this?” Then, one day you go into the Converse showroom and you remember why, why you choose to study at FIT, why you fell in love with fashion in the first place. Even if your dreams aren’t to work in the Converse, just visiting re-lights that internal fashion fire.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: A. Bernadette

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In a society filled with unhappy people, seeing passionate people who love what they do is always a treat. This is especially true when they are doing what you want to do and happen to stumble into your classroom… like what happened on Monday. Andrea, a former FIT student & graduate of the International Trade & Marketing department came to my class yesterday to talk to us about the work she’s been doing since graduation. Upon graduation, her and her sister, created A.Bernadette, a company based out of Uganda. The created this company to/ the purpose of this company focuses on what they call the “triple bottom line: People. Planet. Profit.” They do this by bridging the gap between the gap between the consumer in the U.S., and the creator in Uganda, all while maintaining the traditional art forms of Uganda and using materials that are readily available, as opposed to creating more waste.

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What I liked most about this company is that firstly, they created things that are useful. So often, with all these new Eco friendly, fair trade companies that use the talent of artisans all over the world and they all create… bracelets. Now, I love a good bracelet, but there’s only so eco-friendly bracelets any one person will want. A. Bernadette do indeed make bracelets, but they also have a super cute (and functional) cooking bag, (a bag that helps save fuel in which food can be cooked and kept cold if necessary) a coffee cozy, and a host of other items. Secondly, and most importantly, there goods are affordable! Which, in this new world of eco-friendly fashions, can also be a rarity.

Their products are cute, affordable and are created by creative artisans from another country, while also providing a way for these women to sustain themselves. What’s not fashionable about that?

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Here’s the link to the website and their FB page if you’re interested in purchasing or just want to gain more information about what their company. http://www.abernadette.com/, https://www.facebook.com/a.bernadette11

Notes From the 6 Train: The Art Collective

I am newly accepted member of the Art Collective! Hooray! No surprise there since is basically like an art and museum club! As the oddball in the club, as the only business major in a club full of fine arts major, it’s a great way for me to meet other people I wouldn’t usually interact with otherwise. I only saw the information for the club because I was in the fine arts department for my painting class. It’s great because the teachers who the advisers are in the art scene, know all the art galleries, and more importantly, know all the free/ supremely inexpensive galleries and museums. A few Fridays’ ago I went to the Museum of Art & Design with the club and didn’t have to pay anything! It’s also nice because we all travel together but view the gallery at out own pace, and can leave whenever, with no pressure to stick together as a group. ( That’s important to me, I don’t like feeling people are slowing me down. Lol)

unnamed( Here’s me looking pensive while observing the jewelry collection. The collection was filled with lots of rare pieces from Tiffany & Co. as well as other high fashion designers.)

Apparently, many galleries offer a “pay what you want” on certain days/ in the evening. I had no idea! But as one of the advisers of the club said the other day ” if you deal with all the headaches of New York, you may as well experience all great things about it was well.” Living in what could arguably one of the most artistically vibrant cities in the world is quite a treat. Go explore it! For free! And you need some help finding about what’s going on in the art world, join the Art Collective Club!

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: What Can We Do?

A few weeks ago I volunteered at the Factory Safety forum, which was held right on FIT’s campus. The event was held by the Corporate Social Responsibility Club and the United College Employees FIT. As a member of ITSA (International Trade Student association) and the CRS Club (Corporate Social Responsibility), events like this are kind of my thing. I live for constructive conversations, and when people argue and disagree it displays their passion. People only get worked up over issues that really matter to them. Seeing people worked up over factory safety is a beautiful thing, because so many people aren’t. Most people don’t particularly care that the pants they are wearing was made in an unsafe, illegitimate factory, with no fire escape present; a tragedy waiting to happen. Factory safety is a hot topic and has been fluctuating in and out of the public’s eye since 1911, since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. This was the biggest industrial accident in the United States, killing nearly 150 people and severely injuring scores more.

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Many laws have been put into place to make sure tragedies like this don’t happen anymore; child labor laws, permitted number of hours in a work day, minimum wage. It’s sad, that 103 years later we are STILL having conversations about factory workers rights. However, I know that if I don’t do care, no one else will. As someone who plans to have a career in the fashion industry, I should care. We all should. Our actions have a ripple effect throughout the entire world. Which is exciting to listen in on what current industry people are doing to remedy this widespread problem. They are the ones creating contracts and fighting for the workers, and it was interesting to hear what steps they are taking. There was also a panel held by teachers on what they can do in the classroom and. The keynote speaker was Charles Kernagahn, from the Institute of Global Labour and Human Rights, who is widely recognized as one the leading experts on factory safety.

I got to volunteer at a cool event, learn a lot and become a more well rounded member of the fashion community. Friday was a good day. Below I have posted a link to the group committed to remembering the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory if you’re interested.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

http://rememberthetrianglefire.org/

Notes From The 6 Train: Thanking Nelson Mandela

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This past week FIT I also went to the Nelson Mandela commemoration/ celebration of life. Hosted by the Diversity Council and the FIT Gospel Choir, it was one of the elegant events I’ve been to at FIT. I walked into a room was filled with multicolored lights around the ceiling, and the calling of African drums. I used to take west African dance classes, so the drums were a sound I didn’t even know I missed until I heard it again. I enjoyed seeing the Gospel Choir perform, as it was my first time, they even had a dancers to go along with the performances.This was was my first time seeing the Gospel Choir perform and being from the south, seeing gospel live affects me. I was never into church, but I can always appreciate a he artful gospel song. They also spoke about Mandela’s extraordinary life and accomplishments. If you don’t know who Nelson Mandela is, he was the man responsible for tearing down apartheid in South Africa ( a system very much like segregation in the United States), spent almost thirty years imprisoned because he was the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement. After his release, however, he was voted to become South Africa’s president.

They also welcomed us into his life by more than just words. Through food, art and by spreading his words, people were taught about the life of Nelson Mandela. At each table there was traditional food from South Africa. An FIT alumni made these huge prints of Mandela that was signed by all who attended the event was sent to the Nelson Mandela family, and his foundation to show our appreciation and support of everything he did.

IMG_1708 ( Look at the goodies I left with!)

At the end they raffled off books. I actually won one! Hooray. When I left, I left with a heart full of gratitude, a stomach full of South African memories and a book to continue my learning.The Diversity Council and the Gospel Choir put on a great event. I would definetly go another event they host.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Breaking Up With Heartbreak

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( Don’t take Wiz Khalifa’s advice!)

Between midterms, applying for scholarships and summer internships/ jobs, working on honors project, and the million other things most FIT students are doing, it’s easy to become a bit scattered brained. Not to mention something I hadn’t planned for, a very abrupt ending to an three & half year experience ( ranging from relationship, to friendship and many complicated middle passages) with someone I really cared about, of which I was informed through a text message. Usually, I don’t get personal on this blog, but as a writer, I am committed to to telling the truth, whatever that means. And I know that this is not just my truth, because breakups are a universal experience. They happen, usually at the most inconvenient times, ( what is a “convenient time,” though) and, if you let them, have the ability to completely throw you off. Here’s a mini list of things I’m doing while in this transitional period in my life.

You can’t control what people do, but you only how you respond. Be sad. After putting you’re all into something and it doesn’t work out, you’re allowed to be sad. Trying to ignore what you’re feeling isn’t healthy, and you’re doing a dishonor to yourself. But don’t let the sadness consume you. Give yourself a prescribed amount of time to be sad, a week, a month, three months, whatever that may be and then, begin to move on.

Reach out to your support system. I am fortunate to have an amazinggg support system. Unfortunately, we’re scattered across the globe, but despite that I’ve received love from all over. My sister queen in LA even sent me an inspirational video of her dancing around. Another friend, this one located in NYC, brought me so magical Indian food, (I’m totally a believer that food holds healing qualities) and just hung out with me. If you don’t have anyone in New York, and just need someone to talk to, that’s what the health center is for. Sometimes you just need a good cry, in a private place, between classes and that’s what the FIT therapist’s offices are for.

Spoil yourself. Sometimes when we become accustomed to other people treating us well, we stop doing it ourselves. Breakups are the universe’s little reminder that you always deserve to be treated well. So, spoil yourself, whatever that means. Whether that means that extra piece of cake or getting those shoes you’ve been eyeing. Hey, you know they’ll never leave you. For me, that meant going to acupuncture ( at FIT for free) which is super relaxing, eating veggie burgers all weekend (which I’ve discovered is my comfort food) and NOT running all over New York, for once. Allowing myself to relax, if only for a week, is a treat in it’s self.

There are lots of other tasks I have taken up during this growth period but there’s no way I can list them all. I think that most important is remembering to be happy. Happiness is definitely a choice. I am coming to peace with my past, all the good and the bad, and am excited about what’s next. Everyday I wake up and remember “you’re young, you’re living in New York and this is all to prepare for whatever greatness lays ahead.” I hope you tell yourself the same.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: AfroPunking at FIT

screen-shot-2013-05-23-at-2-13-14-pm ( few snapshots from last year’s Afropunk music festival)

Now that the end of black history has happened, I silently weep. Okay, a bit dramatic, but, I am genuinely sad. All the super cool lectures and forums will be coming to an abrupt ending. I can’t complain too much, I went to several amazing programs. Just this past Tuesday, FIT collaborated with FIT’s Office of Educational Programs and Afropunk to put on “AFROPUNK Pictures presents THE TRIPTYCH.” If you aren’t already familiar with Afropunk, I shall shed a bit of light. Afropunk is “touchstone of a cultural movement strongly reminiscent of the early days of Hip-Hop,” and every year they hold an awesome (and free) music festival in Fort Greene. I went to this past August and I had a blast and a half. The energy of the whole weekend was electric, everyone seemed at peace. That is what Afrpunk excels at, creating a community of weird, nurturing and celebrating this weirdness. The festival brings punk and hip hop underground artists to the light, and had several well-known names,( if you’re well versed hip hop at least). I got to see Big Frida, the bounce queen from New Orleans, Theopilus London, Danny Brown, Dead Prez & ?uestlove from The Roots dj’d the most sonically pleasing set ever ( and I go to lots of concerts.) In addition to the festival, Afropunk also curates a blog that helps showcase on up and coming black talented artists/ musicians/ writers. ( Not to mention the fashion is insaneeee.)

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Imagine trying to fit all this creative energy and innovating spirit into an hour presentation, because that’s exactly what the Afropunk film did. They highlighted three astounding visual artists, Sanford Biggers, Wangichi Mutu ( who I mentioned in other post about the Brooklyn Museum & Studio Museum) and Barron Clairborne. What was best about the documentary was that each artist’s segment was a work of art in itself. As opposed to boring Q & A sessions, they took us on a journey through their lives, studios, and imagination. Wangechi Mutu and Jocelyn Cooper, co-producer of Triptych and the co-founder of Afropunk, were panel guests, while the panel was mediated by activist Michaela Angela Davis, who focuses on the intimately intertwined topics of urban style, race, gender and hip-hop culture in the United States. Not to mention she has worked at VIBE and Essence, styled for Oprah, Beyonce, countless other celebrities and is currently serves on the board for several non-profits stylishly creating change throughout the community.

It’s always such a treat to be able to interact with the movers shakers in the art/ fashion/ music world. The artists and the panel members all made their own reality, through collage, paint, glue and a vision. This is such an important narrative for most of the FIT student body because we are all dreamers in some capacity. Going to such a competitive school, and entering such a competitive field can be daunting. That’s why for me, to see other people excelling and loving their work, relights that fire in me. Do whatever it takes, going to shows and museums or a really cool Afropunk festival to keep your fire lit.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Here’s the link to see snippets from Triptych: http://www.afropunk.com/profiles/blogs/afro-punk-pictures-presents-the-triptych

Notes From the 6 Train: All For Afrofuturism

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As a student I’m always trying to do free things (duh) and as I’m sure you’ve noticed before, I’m a bit of a museum buff. A few weeks ago I visited The Studio Museum with a friend. The Studio Museum is one of those famous landmarks that every borough has. Located right on 125th in Harlem, it’s in the heart of history. 125th is a pillar of black history, it is known as the hub for black excellence and revolution. Harlem is home to the Harlem Renaissance to the place where Malcolm X was assassinated nearly ( # of years ago.) 125th remains the place where the African American Day Parade is held Annually, and where Studio Museum is located.On Sunday’s, it’s free and there’s usually an activity; an artist performance, discussion, or storytelling for children.

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The exhibit “The Shadows Took Shape,” about Afrofuturism, a concept inspired by an esoteric poem written by Sun Ra. Afrofuturism refers to “a creative and intellectual genre that emerged as a strategy to explore science fiction, fantasy, magical realism and pan-Africanism.” (Studio Museum) The exhibit featured 29 artists of the African diaspora and was simply stunning. The Afrofuturism concept was displayed through all types of media; film, poetry, photography, etc. and thought provoking and mentally tangible, the perfect blend of esoteric & understandably abstract. It captured many of the complexities and magical magnificence people of the African diaspora have maintained across the globe. If the cold has been driving you indoors, take a trip uptown to remember how enchanting we all can be by entering the world of Afrofuturism, a place where recalls just how magical they are.

Below I have posted the links to link to the museum and the blog for “The Shadows Took Shape.”

http://shadowstookshape.tumblr.com

http://www.studiomuseum.org/

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: The Director’s Cut

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Last week felt like an unofficial movie week for the FIT community. We were lucky enough to have two movies & their directors come to hold discussions and answer questions. Monday, as Jaiah mentioned, Spike Lee came to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Do The Right Thing.” Do The Right Thing is a movie about the events that take place in Brooklyn on a particularly hot & crazy day. As a fan of Spike, I had already seen the movie, but I have never been lucky enough to view it on a large screen such as the one in the FIT auditorium. This movie is so iconic, that it was quite a special treat to hear Spike’s thoughts about the film, it’s impact and the relevancy to U.S. society. I know Spike often gets a bad rap for being too outspoken, and though he does has his fair share of slip ups, I can appreciate a celebrity that openly speaks their mind and isn’t afraid to talk about issues that matter, even if that makes them subject to public ridicule.

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That’s exactly what both he and, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of Blackfish did last week. Blackfish was an emotional roller coaster. It started off pleasant enough, showcasing all the smile stained faces in the audience at Seaworld. Then the documentary slowing starting shifting from the “happy” killer whales at Seaworld to the more sinister side of this fish paradise. From one of the fisherman who helped to catch the first orcas for Seaworld, ( which was over 40 years ago), to past, but recent, employees at Seaworld. The documentary did a good job of letting both sides speak about the death, or near death of several Seaworld employees while interacting with the orcas. The director, and one of the former employees from the movie, did a good job of remaining unbiased during the Q & A session when some pretty difficult questions were asked of them. They talked about the intertwined complexities of the orcas, employees and business of Seaworld. Both of these movies are definitely must sees.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: The Color of Beauty Awards

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This past week I had the pleasure of attending the first annual Color of Beauty Awards. This event was given by a former FIT Professor (hooray for supporting people from the FIT community), and went with the BRAG FIT chapter. It was our first event of this semester and it was a nice way to begin the year. The day began at the NYU’s Stern School for Business, with a panel about the “black and brown customer, diversity issues in the fashion world, from faces on catwalks to covers, the diversification of the POC ( person of color) customer.” I was unable to attend the panel discussion due to classes, but I was glad I had the opportunity to the award show. It’s always nice to offer thanks to people that have paved the way for your success, as well as congratulate your peers who are making their history. Beverly Johnson ( the first black model to be on the cover of Vogue & French Elle) was recognized and awarded for her consistent breaking of glass ceilings in the fashion industry. Having the opportunity to talk and show appreciation to such phenomenal people in the industry is always special. Priyanka Chopra, a popular Bolloywood actress and the first winner of Miss World Pageant was also honored along with a host of movers and shakes in the fashion industry. February was already been filled with such amazing opprotunites for growth, fun and networking, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store for me! I hope your month has, and continues to be, just as inspiring as mine’s.

As always, All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.