Category Archives: Aya

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!

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This summer, while waiting in the customs line while heading back to Toronto, instead of plugging my headphones and checking out, I began chatting with the guy standing next to me in line. I complimented how nice he looked, and he told that he was wearing Theory for Men. In fact, he only wears Theory because (gasp), he’s married to the creator of Theory. We started talking about fashion, and when I mentioned that I went to FIT he was pleased. His wife LOVES FIT students. He said she knows just 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.)

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Talkin To Da Bomb’

(Okay, please excuse the terrible name of this post it’s nearing finals and we all need some humor in our life). I did, however meet the editor in chief of Fashion Bomb Daily, Claire Sulmers. Fashion Bomb Daily is a blog directed towards the multicultural fashionista highlighting style and trends sported by celebrities of color. The Fashion Bomb Daily gets over 2.4 million hits monthly, and Claire Sulmers has been been a guest at 106 & Park on BET, featured in Time, Glamour, shot an ad for Covergirl, and is contributor to Essence & Vogue.it. Her list of appearances, accomplishments and awards is much longer than the brief listing I’ve posted here, click the link posted at the bottom of the post to see what else Claire’s up to!

Claires-Life-Speaking-to-Fashion-Institute-of-Technologys-Black-Retail-Action-Group-fashion-bomb-daily-claire-sulmers-brag-fit ( Claire Sulmers with BRAG members, the organization that sponsored the event)

She spoke briefly about the ongoing battle concerning the lack of inclusion in the fashion industry. (I’ve written about the lack of diversity on the runway, luxury brands, and top executives in general, etc. in other posts if you want to check it out). It feel good hearing what other people in the industry are doing to abolish this reality, so we can create a new one in which are fabulous people are recognized in fashion, no matter the race.

Claire also spoke about challenges she faced while breaking into the business. She was a storyteller, giving us small fashion vignettes, ranging from her time in in Paris while interning at French Vogue and nearly living on the streets, to how she became friendly with Anna Wintour. Hearing her success story, fueled by unadulterated passion and dedication was welcomed by all, especially the graduating seniors, who like to hear reaffirming stories. She was such a sweetheart and I am so glad that my 2 o’clock was canceled, so that I could stay and just chit chat with her a bit.

photo (Claire & I)

Also, here’s a bit of sidebar. After we took the photo posted above, she sent it to her sister, who happens to be an old classmate and former captain of my high school dance team (in Atlanta, GA, nonetheless), saw it and contacted me via FB. This is the exact reason I always talk about being kind to people, you never know how we are all connected. Granted, this doesn’t guarantee a job for me (though I did give her my resume, as all well prepared FIT students have resumes on them), however, if I treated her sister terribly years ago while in high school and she told her, that would probably guarantee that I wouldn’t any type of job or internship.. Just a bit of food for thought for you all. Below I have posted a link to The Fashion Bomb Daily website, check it out!

All things Color, Love, & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

http://fashionbombdaily.com/2014/04/30/claires-life-speaking-fashion-institute-technologys-black-retail-action-group/

Notes From The 6 Train: Draggin’ On

My Honor’s Project premiered a few weeks ago. It wasn’t a red carpet premiere, but nothing compares to the feeling of showcasing a project you’ve been working hard on and people actually enjoying. Since the beginning of the semester, my group and I have been meeting every single Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:00. As a commuter student who doesn’t have class on Wednesday’s, making the trudge from Harlem during snowstorms was quite a challange, but our premiere made it all worth it.

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Our project “Can’t Drag Me Down,” was about drag queen culture and we showcased the lives of two NYC Drag Queens, BibleGirl666 & Robyn Banks. We got to spend time with them and learn about the rewards and difficulties about being a drag queen, all while watching them transform from regular guys to astounding drag queens!

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Most importantly, I met new and spent time with people I probably wouldn’t have known otherwise, which is always a nice plus. I made friends with our advisor, Christie Shin, my group members and even one of the drag queens. She was so happy with the finished project, and she even invited to her upcoming party. It’s always interesting to see how one opportunity leads to other opportunities and relationships. Anyways, check it out if you’re interested!

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: FIT Clubbin’

This past weekend I traveled with BRAG to Washington, DC. Many clubs often have end of year trips, which is great because it gives students to check out other places around the world, for a fraction of the price. If the organization makes an effort, holds fundraisers to raise money, then the school is willing to help to donate funds. Sometimes, students have to pay, but it’s only a fraction of what the entire trips cost. Of course, the club is only allowed to go it there is some educational value attached to that, like attending a conference or meeting with another chapter at a different university’s campus.

These trips promote club bonding, and people get to explore some pretty places too. We got to do all that educational stuff, but we also got the chance to explore DC and eat some great food! The club bonding is incredibly valuable, since, as I’ve mentioned before, the fashion industry is all about who you know. When you are involved in clubs at school you are beginning to create you fashion allies!

10247420_10152221105254471_6887054848288743376_n ( BRAG at the Martin Luther King memorial)

Other clubs also go on yearly trips. The international trade student association usually goes to the MAGIC show in Las Vegas, but this year they are going to Miami for a different conference. The jewelry club is going to Seattle and the Black Student Alliance went to visit Atlanta this weekend.

FIT provides some many opportunities for students to explore throughout the country. This is a huge difference from my old university, and as a traveler, I am very much appreciative of the opportunities. I will continue to take advantage of all these opportunities that arise, and you should too!

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

Notes From the 6 Train: Alternative options for Spring Break

Spring break could not come fast enough! The momentary Break from classes, and this cold winter/ rainy spring weather, is more than welcomed. This is the first spring break that I will not be going home. Where am I going you may ask? Panama City? Miami? No, no, I am going somewhere event more exotic…
Canada! Toronto to be exact. Now, I know what you are thinking. Won’t Canada still be cold? Hmh, possibly, of course it won’t be Nearly as warm as Miami or Panama City, but is another country ( I try and leave the country at least once a year), and with airfare as low as $85 one way, it’s a much more student budget friendly.

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Even before I had been invited to Toronto, I had planned anther alternative spring break trip. I was going to couchsurf the east coast. I find that so many New Yorkers get stuck in New York. The east coast has so many cool cities, and with most them being a few hours away by bus, and not that expensive to get to, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be explored. I was going to do this via the website couchsurfing.org, a free travel website/community created for adventurers. I used this website while I was in South Korea and wanted to visit the capital city of Seoul. It’s almost like a dating website, but for houseguests. You must create a personal profile that is viewable for others. Find people in the new city/ country you plan on visiting, check out their references, request to spend a night or two then, the viola! You’re an official couchsurfer. If this makes you nervous, you can go to couchsurfing events held in your city to meet other people who’ve done it and see what it’s like. It’s a great way to meet new people, get a chance to truly experience the culture of the city and stay somewhere for free. (When I did this, I met people from all over the world and now have places to stay in South Africa, Korea and even made a friend who now lives in NY!) The link is posted below.

tumblr_mnyyqt8lK21s7xb93o1_1280 ( My couchsurfing friends & I at Pride in Seoul.)

Now, if you aren’t quick the risk-taker as this, which I completely get, there are other ways to explore. Upstate New York has a million different things to check out, many of which are perfect spots for day trips. Or you can take a day trip to a nearby city like Philadelphia or DC, if you still want to actually leave NY. Just don’t stay in your room all day on Tumblr!

My plan is to return to campus with new experiences, new friends and not be completely broke. That sounds like a good spring break to me, I hope yours is too.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/how-it-works

Notes From The 6 Train: Acceptance!

“Ahhhhhhh!” That was the first sound to escape my mouth when I my parents told me that I was accepted into FIT. I couldn’t believe it. This was such a special moment for me. Firstly, I had completed the entire application overseas while I was in South Korea. This entire process was much for difficult than I ever would have anticipated. Due to the 13 hour time difference, correspondence to the United States was a struggle. Whenever I had a question or wanted to confirm that my paperwork had been received I would have to call, sometimes late in the evening, because that’s when it was morning/ daytime in the United States. Actually being able to call was a struggle. I didn’t have an international phone so I relied on Skype call, without knowing that when I was overseas I wouldn’t be able to use my American debit card to add any more cash. One of my close friends added money to account for me and even called FIT a few times for me. Throughout this entire process I became quite frustrated and considered stopping my application midway through the process.

tumblr_mlkfr2l3B81s7xb93o1_1280 (Here’s the photo of me looking crazy after finding out I was accepted.)

As a senior in high school I didn’t even fill out the application to go to FIT because I didn’t think I would be accepted, knowing how competitive this school is. A year and a half later, while overseas in South Korea, I had finally gained enough self confidence to take a shot. This shot paid off! With help from a lot of people, especially my friend who put money in my account and pestered the kind at FIT for me, my dream was realized. It took a journey for me, but I it all worked out the way it was suppose to, with me at FIT. What was your experience of applying to FIT?

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

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.