Beyond the Classroom

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Many of my classmates would agree, one of our favorite parts of our time here at FIT is the real life experiences and interactive lessons. Sitting in a room for four hours can get a little tiring but when you have such a great class and professor like mine who always urges us to learn hands-on, it goes by in a breeze. Our trips and lessons beyond the classroom really engages and intrigues us all and we absorb so much more. My class and I have sat through a talk on the decades of fashion, visited the museum at FIT and my favorite trip-our venture to Mood Fabrics.

Our first internal field trip was to the history of fashion department where we saw the timeline of fashion and learned about the origins of major fashion companies like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. Our curator even brought out garments and collections from the past century. We saw vintage Dior, vintage Chanel and various other iconic pieces from recent decades.

Dress from the 90s

Dress from the 60s

For the next internal trip we traveled across campus to the Museum at FIT. We learned about the fashion trends of conformity and structure through the past exhibit Uniformity, full of uniforms seen on soldiers, sailors, flight attendants, store employees and school children.

Chanel “Brasserie Gabrielle” ensemble Fall 2015

Coco Chanel clutch Fall 2015

McDonald’s uniform Stan Herman 1976 (left) Moschino ensemble Jeremy Scott Fall 2014 (right)

Jean Paul Gautlier ensemble 1993 (left) Sacai ensemble Spring 2015 (right)

On our last trip we stopped by Mood Fabrics, the place where all fashion designers and craft fanatics’ hearts melt and they become mesmerized by the endless shelves of fabric. We spent hours roaming the floors collecting fabric swatches and leaving with a cheerful “Thank you Mood!” filling the store.

Retrieved from

Until next time,


Fashion in the Social Media Era

In an age where everything revolves around social media, we sure have an extraordinary way of communicating and connecting, especially when it comes to launching a business or engaging with customers. Recently, I attended a seminar with Eva Chen, head of Instagram’s Fashion Partnership on this subject at FIT. She talked with two fashion designers, Becca McCharen and Tanya Taylor about putting their brand out there and how they use Instagram as an outlet to gain recognition. Each designer shared with us what their brand is all about and how they use Instagram to relay that.

Becca sees fashion from an architectural standpoint and loves that Instagram lets her connect to the public and show her audience what this is all about. Tanya who is all about floral and bold prints, loves the interaction this platform allows and that customers get to see the timeline and dedication put into a season from the very beginning to the last step on the runway. 

On top of finding out what these savvy women think of Instagram, we also found out how they made it to where they stand now with some valuable tips.

Tip 1: Be proactive

Tip 2: Show that you love what you do and that you are there for a reason

Tip 3: Your voice should always be heard, do not be afraid to say something, people love feedback in the fashion industry

Tip 4: Connections, connections, connections

Besides these life saving tips, there was also talk about futuristic fashion, Instagram etiquette, and of course, Gucci loafers. Regarding the future of fashion, Becca, whose brand is all about the look of tomorrow, gave some very deep insight for what we will be wearing years from now. Who knows maybe tinfoil will be the next big thing on runways. Then Eva, who is super Insta savvy, schooled us all on Instagram do’s and dont’s, certainly gaining interest from the less technically inclined (aka my mom). Also gaining attention from many of us in the crowd, Eva talked about some very relatable fashion challenges. Like when you really don’t want something but you see it everywhere and then fall in love, like Gucci loafers, and angrily buy them because now you have to get them. Yeah, we have all been there.

Thanks to the Museum at FIT for hosting this talk and for these lovely trio of women, I now have better knowledge and perspective of technology in the fashion world (and this awesome picture of me and Eva Chen).

Until next time,


Fashion Institute of Thanksgiving

It’s time for Thanksgiving and all its festivities, and any fashionista knows what that means: it’s time to stuff your style down your relatives’ throats and show them that you are the Kim K of your family.

Parade around your dining room table this Thanksgiving like you’re a Macy’s balloon flying down the streets of Manhattan. As you get ready to feast this Thanksgiving, remember that style is the stuffing of the season, stringing together the holidays of the coming months like lights on a tree. As you’re scarfing down your stuffing, remember to put on a scarf!

The components of a precollege course at FIT are comparable to the components of any standard Thanksgiving dinner menu.

(images reposted from and

(images reposted from and

The class itself would be the turkey. Whether it’s small or large, Saturday or Sunday, workshop or live, it’s bound to satisfy and serve as the focus of your life’s plate for the season.

(images reposted from and

(images reposted from and

The weekly commute would be the mashed potatoes. Sometimes bland, sometimes seasonally flavored, always present. It’s widely accepted by all and always welcomed as the gateway to gravy and other fun ways to spice up your life.

(images reposted from and

(images reposted from and

The lessons learned during class make up the stuffing. There’s always something different inside, and we always come back for more to keep us feeling full. It brings our meal together, and gives us a purpose to stay seated.


(images reposted from and

The projects and assignments we’re given serve as the corn, beans, and squash of the course. Much like the three sisters, these go together and compliment each other for the greater good of the class (and the plate).


(images reposted from and and

The class discussions wash down the lessons and project presentations like a nice glass of apple cider. Serving to satisfy a sugary sweet tooth while nourishing between bites, this gives us the fuel to keep our food down and continue our confectionary conquest.

(images reposted from and

(images reposted from and

The plethora of people we meet make up the cornucopia of cranberry sauces and seasonings galore. With enough personalities to make up a season’s harvest, we never get bored of blandness and have the desire to devour our plates clean.

(images reposted from and

(images reposted from and

What would a class at FIT be without the fashion? Similarly to the diversity of Thanksgiving breads and rolls, which satisfy our cravings for carbs, our cravings for clothes are always satisfied. Whether it’s buttered or plain, banana or nut, poppy or sesame, it’s always fun and it’s always different. We roll with the trends each week, and we can never have just one roll!

(images reposted from and

(images reposted from and wall–

When we eat dinner, we challenge ourselves to find the perfect balance of stuffing our faces and saving room for dessert. Similarly, I challenge myself weekly to find a balance between spending all my money on coffee and clothes before class, and waiting to go on a new adventure after class. Whether it’s a new street or a new neighborhood, or just a new store, the inevitable adventures surrounding class serve as the dessert to bring a sweet finish to a savory Sunday. While the desserts are often impulsive and indulgent, staples like pumpkin pie have become synonymous with the holiday itself. Similarly, the adventures I’ve gone on in the city after class have become staples of my Sundays, keeping me seated in class and coming back for more each week.

Gobble down your dinner this Thanksgiving in your glamorous garb and enjoy good times galore! What’s on your plate this season? Save room for sweetness, because this is just the start of the season of style!

Looking to my Inspirations

The hardest part of my morning is hands down deciding on what to wear. I can spend hours adding and taking away layers, scouring through my closet and drawers, basically wrecking my room until it is unrecognizable, until I find the perfect combination. When I’m deciding on this perfect combo, usually depending on my mood that day and what I want to express through my clothing, I look at my eclectic choices of inspirations and role models in the fashion industry who always have the upper hand on style and flair.

My first candidate for outfit inspiration is Rachel Zoe. With her bohemian glam glow and endless stock of bell bottoms I find myself wearing fringe vests and flare jeans more and more everyday.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

For those days I can not bare to get up and just need something comfy yet trendy to get me through my day, I look to this generation’s It girl, Gigi Hadid. She is the queen of all things street style and athleisure wear (and of the runway).

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

A type of style only few can conquer, the side of fashion with no rules, I save for the days I want to make a statement and display boldness. From mixed prints, to colors no one would ever imagine together, Iris Apfel and Leandra Medine (Founder of ) have this scene covered.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Who I like to think of as a style doppelgänger of myself, Danielle Bernstein (Founder of ) is an entrepreneur, businesswoman, fashion blogger and a newly emerging designer. On top of her accomplishments she is also a fashion chameleon who is always on top of trends and never misses a chance to put her own spin on things, and not to mention, she is one of FIT’s very own alumna.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

Until next time,


Do You Stand For The Brand? (Alivia™’s Guide To Being Greater Than The Haters)

alivia-cooneyNew FIT class, new post! New year, new me!

For some of us, it’s more like “New minute, new me!”

It’s a silly concept that so many of us stay enamored with. We think that the changing color of a leaf means that it is time for us to change as well. Is this out of insecurity, or are we just trying to remain relevant?

Do you stay on top of your public image? Or do you go by an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of philosophy, making your persona as timeless as the t-shirt?

This Sunday’s Precollege class at FIT was centered around the concept of branding. What is a brand? Why do companies work so hard to establish a certain image or reputation through billions of dollars in marketing and promotion? Why do even the youngest of children know that the Nike swoosh means the person wearing it is “cool”? We watched a documentary on such “superbrands” and had an enriching class discussion to explore these questions.

The concept of the “brand” is a very controversial one. Many people are wary of the near monopoly certain brands seem to have on the market, at the expense of smaller businesses. Even more people worry about the literal brainwashing aspect of the phenomenon.

It’s not just in fashion, or even in food and other highly marketed, factory-produced products.

Since the rise of social media, branding has taken on a new meaning. Because we now have more direct control over our image than ever, everyone is obsessed with their aesthetic, persona, and vibe. Such attributes, which were once exclusively found in the moment, in interpersonal interactions, are now highly calculated. People realize that they will not be given a chance with anyone if their social media page does not line up with the person who they want to be, or who they think they are. It’s a very interesting growing phenomenon that is unique to Generation Z.

We can see this especially in celebrities, the best example being the Kardashians. They built an empire out of nothing but decent genetics and being in the right places at the right times. They then used branding tactics to expand their images onto TV shows, ad campaigns, clothing lines, makeup lines, and more. Everyone wants in on their gold touch, which is why so many people buy their products and “keep up” with them. I consider them to be superbrand superstars. They know how to play the game and win. Even the newest addition to the clan has been named Dream Kardashian; straight out the womb, brand already on point.

Love them or hate them, you know them. They have been drilled into your mind whether you want them there or not. You can probably name each of them, list their age orders, and reference some memes about them without so much as an “um.” Some people are resentful of this factor. This “forced” factor, in which people feel as though their subconscious is being invaded, has oftentimes turned public pedestals into social stakes.

Think of that person who’s more popular than you, or who simply gets more attention than you. You get jealous, right? It’s human nature. If an additional factor comes into the scenario in which you feel they are undeserving of such recognition, you have a recipe for pure resentment. Have you ever known a person that you have come to hate, even though they’ve never technically done anything bad to you personally? It was likely due to this “forced” factor. You were expected to be obsessed with them, and you weren’t, and it burned you inside. It is the same thing with celebrities. The only difference is that they are on a much larger public platform, so it is more socially common (if not acceptable) for people to voice their discontent.

As an aspiring artist, I’ve inevitably dealt with my fair share of criticism, particularly regarding the way I brand myself to the general public. After all, art is controversy. And the way I’ve developed my character? It’s art! My public relations technique took years of training through observation of everyone (taking the good and leaving the bad from each person) and researching others who I wanted to embody. Maybe it’s because I’m an actor, and being a chameleon of sorts is only natural to me. I don’t know. Nonetheless, in order for any craft to have meaning to anyone, it must first spark some strong reaction in someone.

Due to my acting career, I’ve had to grow especially thick skin in very short amounts of time. Whether it’s criticism of my weight (which I’ve since lost, and which is an example of applying constructive criticism), or someone not “getting” my jokes, or even a risqué costume that was beyond my control but necessary for the character, you can’t please everyone. I try to live by the mantra “Don’t try to win over your haters, focus your energy into impressing those who already love you.”

In a further effort to avoid wasting my time with the naysayers, I am learning to separate art from self.

For example, if someone criticizes a performance or an article I’ve written, or even just the way I carry myself and my personality (which took years of artisanal craftsmanship to develop), I accept their statement and move on with my life.

This was a hard balance to achieve, considering I take everything I do very seriously. There were times when I’d just sit and sulk over it. I even rejected the idea of this balance at first, since my entire brand was built initially out of more of a “Be yourself, and if people don’t like it, change” sort of philosophy. (I don’t debunk this statement completely, as it was necessary for me in a different way at an earlier time).

Then I realized my own worth. I began focusing more on myself in a way that actually wasn’t selfish; I started viewing my output as a more spiritual kind of thing. God (or your spirit guide, or your parents, or whatever you do or don’t believe in) gave me these gifts, and I have no right to throw them away. In a way, I’m more humble now. This balance was so necessary to achieve in order to keep moving and inspiring others through warmth. Because you can only be warm toward others when you are well-adjusted in yourself.

You cannot stop for people who ultimately don’t actually care and are just speaking to fill up time and distract from their own lack of hustling. In the wise words of Alyssa Edwards, “Don’t get bitter, just get better.”

It’s okay if they don’t know why you do what you do. As long as you are secure and truthful in your own intentions, you can do no wrong. Never. Your conscience will be clear and so will your skin.

You don’t need to be controversial for your art to have meaning. As a matter of fact, the shock value approach is often the worst from an artistic standpoint, as it encourages extreme vapidity and lack of purpose (often from the perspective of a maladjusted artist). The real key here that separates the good shock value-ers (known as artists) from the bad (known as capitalists, exhibitionists, exploiters, etc) is the intention of the artist. This creates even greater controversy, because how are we to know this? Still, for better or worse, if your art is controversial, it guarantees some sort of meaning. Even if the people are talking poorly of your work, they’re talking. And conversation is the key to progression. Even if you took the easy way out through shock value, as an artist, you did something.

You did something.

Are you conscious of your own brand? Are you aware of others’ opinions of your brand? Should you even be aware? Do you really even care?

– Alivia