Category Archives: volunteering

You Gotta Get Dirty to Be Beautiful

“New York is so dirty and the people who live there are mean!”

Ok, I’m not going to get into perception vs. reality, and how perception can affect reality, but i have to admit, we are a dirty bunch. I don’t think it is as bad as most people believe, but you can see overflowing garbage cans on street corners, the subway tracks are treated like one huge dumpster, and people don’t seem to have any problem with spitting anywhere and everywhere.

This is no excuse. If you ride the subway regularly, I’m sure you have heard the announcement condemning littering and reporting that it has contributed to an incredible amount of  track fires. Not only should you throw your trash in a trash bin whose sole purpose is to collect said trash, it would benefit all New Yorkers, and some could say the whole world, to go the extra step and pick up other, less considerate, people’s trash.

Last Saturday I went to Riverside Park’s Pier i to help out in their regular volunteer powered clean up. I was surprised, but pleased at the amount of people who had turned up early on a Saturday to help, especially because most were young people who seemed genuinely happy to lend their services. I have done the Riverside clean up before as part of the Pres Scholars push to impress the importance of community, generosity and giving back to others upon us. Previously, we have raked leaves, dug draining trenches and pulled weeds, but this time we were climbing rocks that descended into the river to pick up trash.

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Three other Pres Scholars and I formed a mini team that took a section of the riverbank and just started scavenging. At first it looked relatively clean and I thought we would be done very quickly, but boy was I wrong. The rocks were big, so although it looked clean, all the garbage was hidden in the crevices, and there was a lot. Part of my job was to keep track of what exactly we found and how much, so I am not exaggerating when I say the amount of trash there was obscene. And it’s not even a place where people hang out directly adjacent! By far the most garbage we found was plastic bottles and, for some reason, foam. There was SO MUCH FOAM. I guess it’s because foam doesn’t really disintegrate so it was probably just there forever? All I know is, STOP USING FOAM PEOPLE. IT’S BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILL BE HERE AFTER WE ALL DIE. I cannot express the monstrous amount of foam we found. We also found two condoms (still packaged, thank God), a used tampon applicator (gross), a syringe (scary), and a full ball of yarn (why?). Whoever left all of that there, y’all are nasty.

Look at all our success!!

Look at all our success!!

Despite being thoroughly grossed out by not only the physical objects we found, but also by the knowledge that there is so much trash that no one sees or bothers to clean up, volunteering was fun. It was a beautiful day out, we made a real and quantifiable difference in the beauty of our city, and by not sleeping in like  I wished to, I got a lot done today! Since I was already on the West Side I even went to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries and it cost HALF of what I usually spend at the grocery store near my apartment! (More on that later). Most people want to help, but always find a reason not to, whether that be they are too busy, intimidated or tired. But volunteering can be fun! Just find something you like to do, bring a friend and remember that you are being one of the few and the great who proactively improve our world!

–Emily–

Fake it till you Make it. NYFW Edition

Hey Guys,

So as you were ALL well aware of New York Fashion week was held at Lincoln Center from September 4th-11th. Not only was that THE thing to do but it was the major theme for parties, events, magazines and obviously your news feed. I’m here to let you in on a little secret anyone can be someone (literally ANYONE, yeah I know you also know those people)  at MBFW with a little help from the old quote: FAKE IT, till you MAKE IT. Really my friends, all it takes is some makeup, dressing up like your life depended on it (and here at FIT we have that pinned down to perfection) and standing for 15 mins outside of Lincoln Center. Instantly you become someone who people want to take pictures of and think they are striking gold. Don’t get me wrong this is very fun to do (read on and I’ll tell you about my experience) but the real action happens backstage, not out there with the fashionistas, bloggers and all sorts of wannabes (sorry, had to say it). The only way to get a glimpse of action is through FIT and then network your way up.

  • My 1st fashion week (February 2011): I had just moved into the dorms and I started school. Walking through the hallways I noticed a bulletin board (keep your eye on those) with a sign that said NYFW volunteers wanted. There was a set date and time where you would sign up for the shows you wanted according to your schedule. I signed up for Zang Toi, Ruffian, Daniel Vosovic and Risto as a dresser, and can honestly say my dreams were starting to come true. In less than a week I was already working inside the tents with recognized designers and got to fill up a second row seat that was empty because it would make the runway look bad (pure luck). Right now, I should warn you about how very intense and secretive these people are I had to legit sign a NDA just to be able to volunteer with them (crazy right?). During those opportunities I got as much Intel as I could and networked my buttocks (you know what I mean, haha) off. This way I got to be asked again to work during next fashion week, needless to say that and my work ethics got me in again.180550_10150092218986751_6605557_n 180854_10150092209261751_4792358_n 182264_10150092217186751_7380738_n179823_10150092223206751_5400948_n
  • My 2nd fashion week (September 2011): This time I worked with the events sponsored by PLITZ Fashion Marketing Group and United Colors of Fashion by supporting back- and front-of-the-house efforts and planning and executing silent auction, including assemblage of gift bags at their Annual Gala (sounds very resume material and that’s right, just copy pasted it from there). Other than that I did do dressing again and of course more networking. I could’ve signed up through FIT but my schedule was a bit tough to make it even though they do them during common hours (Tue&Thur no one has class between 1-2pm).424532_10150527592636751_1018841098_n 473046c6-2f03-11e3-9b16-22000aa40fde-large 321435_10150284534086751_1132163157_n 315323_10150284531636751_2133955038_n
  • My 3rd fashion week (February 2013): I got invited to the David Tlale show a designer who I met volunteering for UCOF and was his first presentation in MBFW. Turns out networking really paid off!537087_10151236019446751_2030838615_n
  • My 4th fashion week (September 2013): Enough with the volunteering! By now, I was well aware that I deserved to see a show or at least enjoy having a gift bag instead of making one. Even if my previous experiences were valuable I wanted to experience the “glamour” of it. With my roommates almost forcing me to go I accepted to go with them and have my fame. Indeed, 15 minutes later I was starting in a video and people were asking to take my pictures. Mind you, I’m NO one in terms of fashion moguls, editors or buyers but yet it seemed like they couldn’t get enough of me. Shutters clicking everywhere and I knew it was my time to leave, I couldn’t keep pretending (haha those poor people) and wasting their time. So everyone knows it by: INVITATION ONLY, right? Well NOPE it’s not. Living proof here. I dressed all in black as volunteers are supposed to (plan B) and just walked through those doors with an all deserving attitude to find myself inside with less than a glance by security. Long story short, I got my hair done at the Tresemme Salon, free gift bags from Ebay and fashion magazines, free ice cream, pictures and drinks and more. I was about to get into a show but what the heck it was never going to be second row like the first time. Instead I went ahead and swam in all my free stuff.

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  • This fashion week I stayed home and avoided everything altogether (seems kind of weird, doesn’t it?) I did post for my website InfoModaRD about the Dominican Models that were spotted on the Runway this time. Though, my new take on fashion week is exactly what Suzy Menkes describes in The Circus of Fashion, “something has been lost in a world where the survival of the gaudiest is a new kind of dress parade.” I did see people lining up and camping out to get into the volunteer signups at FIT. My recommendation to you is do it once because it is a learning experience, of course if you can. If you are uncertain just check out the designers and opportunities before you make that line. Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.48.16 PMAnyways just remember, whether you fake it till you make it or go flaunt your stuff all over Lincoln Center be wise before you answer any questions. Or you might just end up looking like this:

Carpe Diem,

Sadie

 

 

Psst…Hey You…READ THIS!

Did that get your attention?  I sure hope so!  Upon moving to NYC for college, I started a project called “Psst…Hey You…”.  I give out cards (see picture below) to people that I find beautiful inside or out or someone who needs a pick me up.  From there, the person instagrams a picture of the card of where they received it in the background and they upload it onto Instagram with the hashtags #PsstHeyYou and #YouLookBeautifulToday.  On the backside, the recipient writes when and where they received it and then they pass it on to someone that they find beautiful.  I then repost the Instagrammed picture on the Psst…Hey You… instagram @PsstHeyYou and the Psst…Hey You… blog.

This project has been really near and ear to my heart.  The cards have been floating around FIT so please be sure to instagram and tweet and pass them on if you received one.  First stop…FIT…next stop The Ellen Show?  Maybe someday!  Be sure to follow Psst…Hey You… on instagram and twitter! http://instagram.com/PsstHeyYouhttps://twitter.com/PsstHeyYouCards

Psst...Hey You...Card

xx,
Ashley

Notes From The 6 Train: My First Fashion Week

This past weekend was jam packed with interesting experiences this weekend. I attended the Mother Tongue Monologues at the Brooklyn Museum. I also volunteered at a fashion show at Fashion Week. Honestly, I was pleasantly superseded at how nice the experience was. I helped backstage at the David Tlale (an up & coming South African designer) show it was pretty fun, and most exciting of all, they were no bad attitudes! Everyone was so friendly and courteous. I have worked at several other shows and none have been as pleasant as this one. Firstly, the clothes were easy to put on & remove. a mundane detail, but when undressing & re-dressing models in 2.5 seconds you thanks the fashion gods that there are no sharp edges, corsets or birdcage hats. (Remember the Alexander McQueen hats at Paris fashion week a few years back? Yikes.) You don’t want to be the girl who put the shirt on backwards on the model (though I’ve heard this happened in another show & critics loved that particular outfit).

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From the interns to the fashion show directors, everyone seemed happy to be there. I’ve dealt with some models who are less than courteous. These models, however, were particularly kind. One of the girls I dressed just wanted to take selfies backstage before the show started. She was certainly my favorite model. ( Below is a photo of us.) There were also some models from television, one girl from America’s Next Top Model & Devyn, the winner of The Face.

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For my first New York Fashion Week, I had a pretty good experience. I made some connections, and learned to cut back on the judgments. Fashion is not just backstabbing one another with six inch stilettos. Real connections can be made, at fittings and shows and backstage. If we are in the fashion world that means we share at at one thing in common, our love of fashion. Certainly, this is not a call for us all to rally together and hold hands around a fire of last season’s fashion mistakes, but simply a small reminder. It is very possible to make friends, (or at least not make enemies,) and when working in such a competitive industry, having allies is appealing. If the option is presented, you should definitely volunteer at Fashion Week at least once.

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.

fashion week

Notes From the 6 Train: Fitting in at Fashion Week

One of the most coveted volunteer weeks opportunities is rapidly approaching… Fashion week of course! As FIT students, we are lucky because our school has so many amazing connections that we have one of the most comprehensive volunteer programs related to fashion week. Even though this is true, there are still a few tips to increase the chances of being able to volunteer since there are a limited number of positions.

– About a week or two before fashion week, start monitoring you email/ school announcements so you know exactly when sign ups are.

– GET THERE EARLY! I know this goes without saying, but some people are there literally hours before sign ups even start & still aren’t able to find positions.

– Be proactive, start researching companies early & reach out. There are plenty of websites that post fashion opportunities. Stepping out on your may is always good because volunteering opportunities through FIT is not guaranteed.

– Don’t be upset if you don’t get chosen to help a famous designer, there is still plenty to learn from an up & coming designer. Since there aren’t so many people clamping to work with them, you may have a chance to connect with the whole team a little. Use it as your chance to shine! And who knows, you may get a job or internship offer as a result!

– If you have worked/ volunteered at fashion week in the past and enjoyed the experience, it’s imperative to keep those connections. Maintaining relationships is one of the most important skills to be successful in any job, especially in fashion, and super especially, especially during fashion week.

– Lastly, don’t feel obligated to participate in fashion week. If you’re not really interested – it is an opportunity you may want to experience, but not everyone is into high fashion and couture- that’s okay too. Always listen to your truth. Happy fashion week hunting!

All things Color, Love & Fashion,

Ayanna L.