Category Archives: Aya

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.

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

unnamed (Look, we’re famous!)

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.