Category Archives: volunteering

Notes From the 6 Train: Gettin’ Down w/ the Green

We now officially in fall! Yay! The fall solstice just passed, and that means that begins the countdown on our warm & sunny days. Here are a few things you should do (aka things I’ve did) before fall is gone and winter is here!
Living in a city without many natural landscapes to escape to is challenging for me. I don’t have a car nor do I know how to drive, so though there are many places upstate to go, not being able to drive seventy limits those options. However, I am not easily deterred. I need nature to maintain my sanity, so I found some cheat-codes to connect with nature if you don’t have the time, or money or ability to take a trip upstate. I began volunteering at a community garden.


I also took a hike to Wave Hill to check out their botanical gardens. It was so peaceful and serene. I felt as if I wasn’t even in NYC anymore. I won’t do much writing about it, and let the photos speak for themselves.


Thus far, I have been keeping up with my goal of being outside a lot, and am looking forward to even more exploration while the weather holds up!
What about you? Have you been maintaining your goals you set for this semester?

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Life in the Concrete Jungle: An Introduction

I know what you’re thinking… it’s New York City – I’ll never make it, I’ll go broke, I’m one in a million who have the same dream of being successful in the fashion industry… These thoughts running rapidly in your mind are holding you back… But let me tell you this –


The Empire State Building

To the prospective students across the world… if FIT is your dream school, go for it. Getting an education in the BEST city in the world is an experience that you cannot get anywhere else.


The Freedom Tower

My name is Mariano, I am an 18-year-old Puerto Rican boy, from a lower-middle class family in California; studying Advertising and Marketing Communications. FIT was just a dream to me and now it is a reality. Never underestimate yourself and the opportunities in front of you. If you are thinking about starting a new chapter of your life in New York City at FIT, find out more information on the application process here.

New York Fashion Week, one of many opportunities at FIT!

New York Fashion Week, one of many opportunities at FIT!

In the last month, I’ve learned and experienced so much that I will never forget. Hopefully, you will soon! Please reply with any questions about the application process, I don’t bite!

Until next time… xoxo – M

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!


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,




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!

Psst...Hey You...Card