Author Archives: Aya

Notes From The 6 Train: Leadership Workshop!

I write this on the bus returning from Armank, New York, where the 40th annual FIT leadership workshop was held. I, along with about 35 other FIT student leaders, traveled to the woods to bond, get away from the city and eat good vegetarian food (well, at least that’s why I went), and of course to amp our leadership skills!

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Honestly, this was the most I’ve ever talk to FIT students. Firstly, since we were the only people at the facility for 2 days we were forced to talk to each other fact. Additionally, I’m a commuter student so when I come on campus it’s do a job; attending class or a meeting, or studying. I find that other people experience this tunnel mind when they are on campus as well. Sometimes we need to be pulled out of comfort zone so that we are able to meet new people. That’s exactly what happened! I connected with a bunch of people that I never would have met otherwise.

Communal Gratiffi Board

Communal Gratiffi Board

Not only did I meet new people but I also learned a lot about myself. (Sounds very cliche, I know) but bear with me. I have had a number leadership trainings, so going on this retreat was a refresher of knowledge I’d acquired in the past. It also helped me see how much I’ve grown, and what I still need to work on. I also did get a break and enjoy some nature. It was beyond beautiful. I got to see the changing leaves and see some deer! Taking a break from the city is important to me, I know I need to be around nature to feel balanced.

This workshop is offered once in the fall ad again in the spring. It’s highly sought after, so whenever you see the posters around the school be sure to sign up immediately.

The attendees!

The attendees!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: Connecting with Your Teachers

This past week I got to spend time with two of my old teachers. (Yay!) They were visiting from Atlanta to participate in the Bell Hook’s Scholar- In- Residence activities. Bell Hooks is an important figure in the feminist world. She’s written a number of consciousness shifting books after the intersection of blackness & feminism & patriarchy. She cowrote “Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life” with Dr. Cornel West,who also partook in the dialogue the other day. If you aren’t familiar with their work, you should look them up.

Anyways, this isn’t about Bell Hooks or Cornel West (though they’re both incredibly insightful), but about the impact of having amazing teachers. Martha, (at my school we called our teachers by their first name) was my 7th & 8th grade teacher. She encouraged us to employ our critical thinking skills and created a class culture dedicated to us becoming leaders. Our class was governed by a class government, which as middle schoolers, made us feel powerful beyond belief. We even were able to travel to Washington, DC to lobby our state representative to not participate in the Iraq war.

1917511_196335580038_4721220_n (Look at me in the back with the sassy hair flip. I appreciate all the teachers who helped me refine this sass into passion.)

Oman, another teacher at my school, was never officially my teacher, but was so inviting and open that I would hang out in his room throughout high school. He’s an anti- racism and anti-patriarchy activist, who facilitated classroom discussions about just that. Both Martha and Oman would later team up and have a business to create change, becoming diversity consultants, for teachers.

1923900_21554310038_4749_n (My assistant principal and I.)

Besides these two teachers, I have been extremely lucky to have a number of other influential and important teachers, faculty and other mentors. Since my school spanned from kindergarten to high school, I’ve had constant people throughout majority of my life. Many of whom have offered their support for years and have helped in various ways, ranging from visiting their art studios to gain inspiration, to supporting me on a scholarship committee to secure funding to go abroad.

I’m a firm believer that you put out what you take in. If you make sure that the people you surround yourself with are all driven and are reaching towards smilier goals, then your entire team will be stronger for it.

558237_1425292774363778_1305321946_n (One of my fav. faculty members from high school on Halloween. She’s obviously full of laughter! I need to get some photos with some FIT teachers & staff. Photo evidence that its gets better.)

Talk to your teachers. Invite them out to coffee. Ask them questions. They want to help you, that’s why they’re teachers. Of course, not all professors will be as open as others, but if you connect with a particular teacher keep in contact. Their wealth of knowledge extends far beyond the pages of a textbook or the walls of classroom. Who knows, maybe the will be the one to help land your dream job or internship, or, at the very least, offer to past for your dinner whenever you go to visit (after you complete their class of course, you gotta work for that free meal)!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From The 6 Train: #ATLast

Outkast0927

During the finally weekend in September I took a mini break from and headed home for the Outkast show! Before I continue, there are a few things I must explain so you, the reader, are able to grasp why this was so transformative for me. I literally grew up listening to Outkast, the lullabies of my childhood. There’s something so gratifying about seeing the people of your town coming together for a shared experience. Andre 3000 & Big Boi permeated my youth as familiar figures in my life, reminiscent of boys from around my neighborhood. To me, they demonstrated the complexities of maturing in an city environment. Sometimes by sending out messages that sometimes seem conflicted, displaying the yearning to do right while simultaneously maintaining their ever coveted “manhood.”

1146476_10152841794105039_3389844984162589072_n (My friend Salah & I at the 2nd concert,my apologies for not being able to make any normal faces)

There was so much passion this weekend, overflowing from the center of Centennial Park, into the streets of Atlanta. It was impossible to escape. This irresistible sense of belonging sucked me. This was my tribe, I was home.

unnamed (Hometown friends before the concert began)

1622080_10152739467180987_1134415775799930106_n (My best friend & I)

As an out of state student, it’s can be easy to get sucked into this NY state of mind. I recognize just how important it is for me to stay connected to my hometown. Sometimes that means listening to some southern music, eating some southern food, or taking a weekend break to fly down South. New York is an amazing place to study, travel & live, but remembering your home & then bringing that flavor is makes you special! Don’t shy away from it!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Let’s Go!

887062_4549452582846_1740443383_o (At my birthday party in South Korea)

This past Wednedsay I went (by went, I mean was obligated to attend, lol) to International Night hosted by the Presidental’s Honor’s Program. Buuut, I am so glad that I did! I learned about a number of interesting programs/ opportunities possible for FIT Students.

At the colloquium we heard from a number of scholars who studied abroad within the last school year (winter, summer, as well as the traditional school year). One of which was a fellow FIT blogger Emily (shout out!). We heard their travel stories and saw their beautiful photos from Paris, India, Florence, Italy, in addition to a host of other countries.A topic that was discussed in great detail, and rightly so, was how to fund a trip abroad. I find this to be student’s primary obstacle in regards to studying abroad, so I’m glad it was covered so thoroughly.

tumblr_mkry8giBdC1s6wt51o2_1280 ( Walking to the Buddha)

Funding for study abroad is the same as studying domestically (financial aid, PELL grant, out of school grants or loans), but there are also a number of scholarship offered only for studying abroad. The scholarships to study abroad at FIT are listed below:

Global Scholar Award Program, the amount varies depending on the semester you plan to travel, NY residency, etc. (Summer 2015, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016). The deadline is Dec. 1

If you are/ are considering in the Presidental Scholar’s Program you are eligable for the scholarhsips listed below:

Jerome L. Greene Foundation International Studies Fund (up to $10,000)

Jodi Tilton Memorial Scholarship for Summer Study Abroad ($2000)

Henry Wolf Presidential Scholars Summer Abroad Scholarship (up to $5000).

These are in addition to the annual FIT scholarships and can also be applied to study abroad. This also does not mean that your search for funding stops here, there are countless scholarships offered outside of FIT.

In addition to studying abroad, representative from The Peace Corps & The Fulbright Program came to speak.

The Peace Corps is an organization that sends volunteers to travel overseas to make differences in the lives of real people. They program was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Sine the creation of the program over 215,000 Americans joined the Peace Corps and served in 139 countries.

tumblr_mkry8giBdC1s6wt51o5_500 (!)

“The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. A candidate will submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.”

There are two different components of Fulbright. Anyone who chooses to apply can submit an application for the study/research grants or to teach English abroad. This program is interesting to me personally because it gives more freedom to the applicant. As long as your study/ research programs fits into certain parimeters, you can actualize your vision in a foregin country. Nearly anyone can apply; college graduates, artists, writers, scientists, etc., basically anyone with an imagination and drive.

There are so many ways to get out and explore the world! As an avid traveler myself, I know life altering traveling can be. With so many opportunities, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage!

(FIT Study Abroad Scholarships) http://www.fitnyc.edu/12226.asp

(Peace Corps) http://www.peacecorps.gov/about/

(Fulbright Program) http://us.fulbrightonline.org/about

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Applying Your Apps!

Last week I went to a networking event held by BRAG at LIM’s campus. Genevieve Ascencio, the head account manager at Factory PR. Factory PR is one of the premiere Public Relations in the fashion industry. A few of their clients are Marie Claire, Betsey Johnson, Diesel, Puma, Levi’s as well as a slew of other well known companies.

Genevieve told us her story about she stumbled into PR. She actually began studying economics at NYU and after graduating realized that she was no longer passionate about economics. Instead, she began working at her mother’s hair salon. While there, she digitized all of her mother’s files and started sending newsletter to all of their clients. Realizing she had a knack for soliciting more business through her newsletter she started interning at a PR firm and the rest is history. I like this story because it’s a reminder that you don’t have to spend your entire life ruled by your college degree. If you prepare enough, or have the skills, the world is yours.

Genevieve also made a list of the important apps for those interested in pursing a career in PR. (These can also be applied to other jobs in the fashion industry.)

images-5

Cision: Cision is primarily used organize PR related information in an orderly manner. It has the ability to distribute press releases, manage PR campaigns, monitor news coverage and analyze results.

images-1

FashionGPS: FashionGPS boasts about their ability to provides solutions for the global fashion industry. It hosts suite of products to assist fashion brands and PR agencies in tracking and managing samples, planing and executing events, hosting and managing media, and enabling communication with key contacts. Here’s a list of the various services they offer:

• GPS Samples (Internal and external sample inventory tracking and management)
• GPS Contacts (CRM tool)
• GPS Styles (Media hosting and distribution channel)
• Events GPS (Event management, RSVPs, check-in, interactive seating charts, RFID security)

imgres

DropBox: This is a familiar app that many of you may use already. DropBox is used to store information. It is also an easy to share information with others. The best part is once saved to your particular DropBox account your infroamtion can be lost. DropBox for business has all of these functions plus admin controls, dedicated support, and all the space your company needs.

images-4

HootSuite: is a social media management system for brand management. It enables the user to create one general post and send it out to all social media networks at the same time. The interface takes the form of a dashboard, and supports social network integration for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare,MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi.

images

Zkipster: Zkipster is a guest list app for non-ticketed event check-in at premieres, parties and galas, promotional events and conferences. It’s the first check-in app compatible on iOS, Android and Windows 8 platforms – offering secure real-time guest list management for public relations, event and meeting professionals.

It’s always nice to know what to expect/ what’s needed from an expert in the field. Going to learning events, such as this one, keeps you abreast of what’s going on in the industry before even officially entering it. Imagine how impressed a potential employer might be when you subtly drop hints about these apps when you’re at your next interview. Keep striving.

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: My Theory

Hello all! I was so excited to tell you about No Impact Week in my last post I didn’t formally (re)introduce myself! I am Aya, an international trade & marketing major, with a minor in Latin studies. I am also in the Presidenital Scholar’s program, a transfer and commuters student, so if you fit into any of these categories and have any questions, reach out to me! I hope your semester is going swimmingly. We’ve been in school for over a month now, and in case you’ve begun to lag I have a little ditty to (hopefully) bring your spirits up and remember why you’re here at FIT!

Theory-fashion-Insider

This summer, while waiting in the customs, instead of plugging my headphones, I began chatting with the guy standing next to me. I complimented how nice he looked, and he responded he was wearing Theory for Men. In fact, he only wears Theory because (gasp), he’s married to the creator of Theory. From there we began a conversation about fashion, the fashion industry, and of course FIT. He mentioned that his wife LOVES FIT students. He said she knows how hardworking, dedicated and focused FIT students are. He also noted that FIT alumni are particulary good at networking and that his wife enjoys hiring/ having interns from FIT for all the reasons mentioned above. Of course, I got his email address in order to stay contact, (after his networking comment I couldn’t just leave without getting his contact info.)

theory_clothing_aug5

As the semesters pushes forward on, classes get tougher, finals get nearer and group projects are distributed, remember why you’re at FIT. We all want to learn, network and create at one of the most highly respected school in the fashion industry. With great power comes great responsibility so with all being that said, you have to work! So keep pushing forward!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,
Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Guilt Free Feast!

As mentioned in Ashley’s post, this Week is No Impact Week. Yay! As a total corporate social responsibility nerd, and events director of the CSR club, I was thrilled when I found out that FIT was adopting this week. Initially inspired by Colin Beaven, a New York City professor who wanted his family to eliminate their carbon footprint for an entire year. Afterwards, he wrote a book and made a documentary about it create family that wanted to live for a year and not negatively impact the Earth. Impact can be a variety of things, pollution, adding to the carbon footprint, littering or not properly disposing of trash, constantly and consuming, and one of my favorite, eating.

This is a topic that many don’t even factor in when thinking about sustainability. I interviewed Professor Cokkinos and Professor Pearson, both active members of the FIT’s Sustainability Council. SN: The Sustainable Council is looking for new student members to help FIT’s sustainability mission, help organize and plan events around the campus, etc. The council also gives grants to student’s sustainable projects. Who doesn’t love free money?)

No Impact poster 12 x 18

Since Professor Cokkinos is the faculty member of The Culinary Arts Club, so I asked him what sustainability eating really means: He responded with this great example.

“Think about all the waste that goes into eating a hamburger at McDonald’s. When you order a meal half of what you get is, the plastic cup, the wrapping to the burger and fries and then the huge bag in comes in, all gets thrown away. Half of what you get you don’t eat, not to mention all the practice of cutting down rain forests for cattle grazing that McDonald’s does. For a little more students could go to a sit down restaurant, where they’re given food on a plate that can then be washed as opposed to tossed down the garbage.”

And if you’re still not convinced, just take a look at this raw recipe for Mexican Gazpacho.

Raw recipes are low impact because you can choose organic, seasonal, local produce, that did not travel hundreds of miles and keep your flavor high and your carbon footprint low by not cooking it. Keeping it raw also preserves all of the healthy nutrients for maximum nutrition. It is also part of a great detox and weight loss program. Not to mention it tastes great! You can’t loose.

• 2 1/2pound, about 4 large ripe tomatoes, preferably from your local green market
• 2 jalapeno chiles, seed removed (unless you are feeling adventurous)
• 4 garlic cloves,
• 1medium (10-ounce) cucumber, peeled
• 1/3cup chopped cilantro
• 1/2small white onion, finely chopped
• 1 1/2cups croutons (try yesterday’s bread toasted and cubed)
• 1/4cup quality vinegar (I like ARLOTTA BALSAMIC)
• 1 thick slice stale bread (this is optional for a low carb version)
• 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• Sea salt to taste

GAZ

• Place everything in the blender except for the croutons. Wiz it up keeping some chunks for texture. Chill the gazapacho and serve in frozen coffee cups or glasses, garnished with the croutons. Another sustainable, green cuisine bonus comes when clean up is just rinsing the blender instead of running the hot water down the drain doing all kinds of dishes.

For more information about joining Culinary Arts Club contact michael_cokkinos@fitnyc.edu

If you want to read more about FIT’s entire No Impact Week check out the full length article I wrote for September’s issue of W27.

Lastly, here is the link to the Sustainable Council: http://www.fitnyc.edu/8604.asp

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Introducing Leesa Tabrizi

1549294_10202553278817738_5386804114924672376_n

Seeing that graduation was just a few weeks ago, I wanted to highlight a recent FIT graduate. Going to a school with so many talented people can make it difficult to choose someone to write about. But, for me this was an easy decision. I wanted to showcase someone who illuminates, not just through their work, but through their words and interaction with others. I met Leesa in my social psychology class, and ended up working on a group project titled “Gender Norms: To Conform or To Stray,” which was about just that, who challenges gender norms and when. We went to the village together one night to conduct our “field study,” which basically means we got to go be creeps at the several bars on a Saturday evening to see if people abide by their designated gender behavior. We wanted to see if queer identified people took on some of the heteronormative behaviors of the straight counterparts, so we went two gays and two straight bars and observed. Leesa was totally chill in this totally crowded gay bar with gays taking off items of clothing to get free drinks, and that’s when I knew Leesa was a special girl.

665461_4454423363236_398119427_o

Besides being accepting and welcoming of all types of type, she’s a creator of stunning work that is reflective of her culture, experiences and most importantly, her soul. Below is a photo of just part of her senior thesis project that was displayed in the Art & Design Graduating Student Exhibition. Unfortunately, it’s not the entire piece, which was composed of two giant rugs and a huge center colorful and impressive ornamentation that suggested a relation to a flower that tied the entire piece together. She explains that the rugs are significant because they padded her reality. With her father having a rug store and with rugs that often spilled into her home, she grew up in a rug world! Besides rugs just existing, they provided a spiritual safe haven for her aunt and grandmother who prayed on these expressive rugs. Because of these rugs she became interested in Islamic art and architecture. From her studies she learned about the Garden of Eden that was often referenced in these rug motifs. Religion, stars, flowers, and rugs are important factors in Leesa’s audacious work.

984058_444760672325855_4097105747675766536_n

Because of Leesa I may never look at a rug the same again. On a personal note, thank you for being so kind to me this semester!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: My Time in Toronto

Kennsington Shop

I want to tell you about the cool things going on in Toronto. It’s a really neat city that’s super close to New York and is cheaper to get to the most US cities. Luckily, I have friends there who were able to show me all around the interesting places, and avoid all the toursit traps. We went to Kensington Market that was made up of all sorts of homey and inviting shops that just scream “come check me because I will probably have sorts of stuff you won’t find anywhere else.” This was true indeed. We also got to eat some amazing churros infused with chocolate and dulce de leche cream. I didn’t know that such a thing existed but once I found it, I keep returning to the market just for the churros. Here was where I found the groovy hat in the picture beneath. I found it at a vintage store for about $8.50 US dollars! Any avid vintage shopper knows just how pricey vintage items can be, so this was quite a steal. It is now my favorite hat!

I was lucky enough to be in town for Toronto’s biannual Vintage Crawl. Vintage Crawl is when all the vintage stores in the city stay open until midnight, offer AMAZING deals on merchandise and offer free drinks, beer and snacks. Some stores even had live Dj’s. I guess they figure the more you’re eating, drinking and dancing, the less attention you’re paying to the money flying out of your wallet. They’re probably right, because I bought several items, and every single person I went to the crawl at least bought one item. I’ve never been to the vintage crawl on Brooklyn, but I had such a good time in T. Dot that I will certainly check it out the next time it crawls around.

10014801_635523233169750_5354244391612864308_o

That’s me at Toronto’s largest monthly queer hip hop party, Yes Yes Ya’ll! Toronto has a pretty progressive queer and polyamorous community, so being able to experience just taste of it was a treat. The entire placed was packed and the crowd was incredibly diverse. They also played a variety of music types, from old school hip to current hip hop as well as reggae and dancehall ( Canada has an extremely large Caribbean community, with their being more of Caribbean descent in Canada than in the actual Caribbean).

I also went to the Textile Museum of Canada, which had several interesting exhibitions, but one of my favorites was about kimonos. I also went to check out “This Is Not A Toy,” curated by Pharell Williams at the Design Exchange, which was all about… TOYS!

unnamed ( Me looking like a nerd attempting to wear a kimono)

pharrell_williams_guest_curates_design_exchange_this_is_not_a_toy_exhibition ( Snapshot from “This Is Not A Toy)

I was able to do so amazing cool things in just the 4 days I was there. If you’re looking for a quick get away this summer, jut look up!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Bring Back Our Girls

So, if you haven’t heard about the crisis in Nigeria, here’s a little back story. Several weeks ago, approximately 234 Nigerian girls were kidnapped in the middle of night by a famously corrupt, brutal and dangerous Islamic extremist military group called Boko Haram. This group has committed some of the worst atrocities against the people of Nigeria within the past decade or so. Boko Haram steals women from villages, but have never carried out such a large kidnapping at once. The girls who are kidnapped are often forced to work as “porters, sex slaves, and cooks,” according to Aljazeera. There have been other reports that many of the girls were auctioned of as wives to members of the Boko Haram, for as low as twelve dollars. The Nigerian government did not attempt to rescue the missing girls and as a result there have been global protests crying for some type of assistance to help locate the girls. I attended the protest at Union Square a few weeks ago, here are some of the photos.

mission

I thought that it was an interesting concept to get those who attended the protest to wear head wraps or (geles, the more traditional term) to show solidarity and oneness with the young women who have been kidnapped. Everyone looked stunning. Simply amazing. After I saw a women hearing stilettos though, and almost all the women participating in mini photo shoots to go on their Instagram I began to wonder, is this a fashion show or a protest? Clothes are very powerful, and have the ability to convey strong messages about images, ideas and people you may for, against, or want to align yourself with. That’s the power of fashion and clothing, but I think it’s important to comprehend why we dressing a certain way, and the messages we are sending out when we do so.

Photos-from-BringBackOurGirls-protest-in-New-York-2

Take a look and decide for yourself. Within the last 24 hours President Obama has announced that he has sent some assistance in finding the girls. I have attached some links to several articles about the crisis if you’re interested.

tumblr_n50ky9rXBj1qgqkyio9_1280

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

http://time.com/108025/nigeria-chad-boko-haram-american-troops-obama/

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/21/parents-234-girlskidnappedfromnigeriaschool.html