Want To Be Apart Of The NYC Community? Communicate.

alivia-cooneyIn the wise words of Kylie Jenner, this really is the year of us all just “realizing things.” Based on my personal experiences in the last year alone, which have culminated into this grand 2016 finale of being a part of FIT’s Precollege Program, I can say that the universe has thrown a lot at me in a very short time.

A major key that has been a running theme for me in recent times, which also happens to be a running theme in my class at FIT, is the necessity for communication skills. The ability to articulate yourself clearly and effectively is the single factor that can unlock any door, whether it be for social, creative, or business purposes. If you can’t control your words and self-presentation in front of live human people who also have thoughts and presences, then you will always be locked out and left behind.

I’ve always been better with writing words than speaking them. Up until eighth grade, I had about two social skills, and barely two friends as a result. There came a point where I realized I’d have to learn how to speak like an approachable, relatable human person if I wanted to go anywhere in life (especially in my field of interests, in arts and entertainment). So I spoke, and I haven’t shut up since! Human connection is rewarding. 10/10, highly recommend.

This past Sunday’s class specifically is what really inspired me to start thinking about the importance of strong public speaking skills. We had to present two Power Point presentations on a retailer and fashion icon, and their respective influences on the fashion world. I presented first, because I also was asked to speak about my blogging with FIT. I stood at the front of the room for literally about a half an hour. This was a challenge that I didn’t know I needed; I had to conduct class discussions on the spot, while keeping the principle of selling myself and my ideas at the forefront. I have a decent amount of experience in presenting myself to a large group from doing theater my whole life, but this was different. I couldn’t hide behind a character or gimmick, I had to be myself in a way that was engaging and inspiring. I was talking about subjects I’m passionate about, in front of girls who I’m all friendly with, yet this was still a foreign concept to me, nerve-wracking in the moment. It was honestly a humbling experience. It made me realize that I still have a lot of room to grow, and I’m grateful I now have this forum to do so.

Class discussions are the wheels that keep the class a-turnin’. Our professor is excellent at picking out specific insights and turning them into questions, sparking further discussion and debate. Given the fact that this is a business class, it only makes sense for the class to be fueled this way, given that it is preparation for presenting our ideas in front of, say, a product development team. Even if we do not go any further in the fashion industry, the public speaking skills we’ve learned can be applied to any profession in any industry. It’s life! People talk!

anigif_enhanced-1276-1452620361-2_preview

(reposted from buzzfeed.com)

What do you have to say?

-Alivia

FIT: Expectations versus Fantastically Incredible Truth

alivia-cooneyHey city starlets! It’s time for another poast in which I toast FIT’s Precollege Program for opening me up to a world of coexisting creativity and focus that I didn’t know existed, let alone could enter before college!

I had high hopes in signing up for my Product Development class this fall. After five weeks of immersing myself in the program, the school, and the surrounding culture of Chelsea, I can say with all honesty that my experiences have exceeded even the highest of my expectations.

Stepping off of the LIRR train and onto the Penn Station platform, my first day began a little astray from schedule, but nonetheless in an Average Alivia fashion: Immediately after finding my way out of Penn (harder than you’d think, considering there’s literally hundreds of directory signs) into the hustling-bustling habitat that New York City is so renowned for, I walked a full two blocks in the opposite direction from FIT. The only unfortunate unexpected part of my experience at FIT thus far? Navigating the city without a sense of direction!

Entering the concrete, blue business building (poetry is alive) into class, I anticipated entering a community of like-minded artists and up-and-coming enterprisers. I wanted to view these potential friendships as networking opportunities, with equal parts potential for creative collaborations and business collaborations. Within minutes of starting the class and meeting my peers who I would be spending the next 11 weeks with, I knew my anticipation proved accurate!

While I expected to value these classmates from a business standpoint, I did not expect to form such natural friendships so quickly and easily. These friendships are not just all-business; they are honest and fun as well.  It wasn’t even two classes in before I started having kinds of conversations with these girls that I don’t even have with friends at school who I’ve known for years. I went out after class to stores with these girls without any prior plans, so fluidly and without any initial awkwardness. There is a natural kinship: we are all one tribe. Even apart from the amazing girls in my class, I’ve had inspiring and promising interactions with many other millennials in the area, from store clerks to fellow shoppers. I don’t make friends nearly as easily and quickly with people in the suburbs as I do with city people. Such a refreshing vibe that I didn’t even know I needed. My (cliché) advice for anyone in the precollege program? Don’t be afraid to talk to people!

Another thing I didn’t expect about the program was the time commitment. I knew it would be an all-day project once a week, but I did not expect the lingering influence it has in my life all week long, each week. I’m not just talking about assignments and projects; this class has honestly changed my worldview. I’m much more focused. I no longer let petty daily high school happenings weigh me down, because I have an inner drive that gives me strength. Now that I’ve been exposed to such a great environment, it is all I can concentrate on. I’m constantly working on posts for this blog, projects for my class, and seeking out opportunities to be in the city as much as possible. This concept is so important to me and many of the other girls in my class. The gift never leaves.

I think the most major part of my experience at FIT that I didn’t expect was the fun and fantasy-like adventures that I go on before and after, whether it be for food, shopping, or entertainment.

Generally, I don’t stray too far from seventh avenue (my route from Penn to FIT), partly because of convenience, partly because I have strict parents, and partly because I still have no sense of direction.

As far as shopping is concerned (and I know from personal experience that it is a major concern for many FIT students), there are literally tons of diverse options within walking distance. Listed below are some of my favorites, sorted into categories, and complete with the respective price ranges (according to Yelp). Also important to note is that these are not all clothing stores, but rather unique stores of all kinds that are hard to find dupes of outside of the city.

Buffalo Exchange – 114 W 26th St ($$)

425382c92db48ca38051ffe2ef4ad4c8

(reposted from pinterest.com/buffaloexchange)

I’ve mentioned this store before, and I will mention it again. Buy, sell, and exchange unique, trendy, seasonal apparel. Must be 18 or older to sell/exchange, unless you are accompanied by an adult with ID.

Lasting Art – 110 W 28th St ($$)

o-1

(reposted from yelp.com)

I’ve recently discovered one of the most underrated, beautiful streets in Manhattan; West 28th Street, also known as the FLOWER DISTRICT! So lovely! This store in particular is known for their authentic artificial flowers.

New Dragon Toy Wholesale Inc. – 101 W 27th St ($)

One of my favorite things about the FIT area is the huge amount of specialized wholesale stores. This one is a toy store, so it’s a bit more niche-y. I went here to buy my ten year old sister  some birthday presents just last week. (Thankfully, my economic choice was worth it, as she loved her new chachkis!) These stores may not be known for their quality, but they are great for quantity. When I took a class at FIT in eighth grade, I once got about five packs of printed leggings (all the rage at the time) in bulk for just twenty-something dollars. Sadly, I never took note of the specific name of that store, but if you take a quick stroll down this block alone there are several stores that can satisfy this purpose.

Rock Star Crystals – 146 W 26th St ($$)

o

(reposted from yelp.com)

Just a few stores down from Buffalo Exchange, this store sells exclusively crystals of all kinds, in both raw and jewelry form. The idea is that crystals possess certain healing powers. I literally gasped when I first walked past it, it is so strikingly beautiful. It is stores like this that remind me how much money I need in order to live out all my impractical whims.

Strand Bookstore (in Club Monaco) – 160 5th Ave ($$)

8fc32f6accd69042700561087d09ab42

(reposted from pinterest.com/shienru)

Our class visited Club Monaco on a field trip a few weeks ago in an effort to study their floor plan and its relationship with product development. However, I was quickly whisked away by a strong fragrant scent toward the far side of the store. I’ve always loved and appreciated bookstores as a whole, and this one is easily my new favorite. It has such a vibe! Filled with rare collectible books all about art, feminism, fashion, and other liberal arts, I would be completely content living there for weeks on end with no outside interaction. It also had one of those wheely ladders like in Beauty and the Beast. Easily the most aesthetically pleasing bookstore I’ve ever been to. I’m in love!

Truemart Discount Fabrics – 261 7th Ave ($$)

img_4220

(reposted from commonthreadupholstery.com)

What fashion student wouldn’t appreciate a fabric store? I have yet to go inside, but being directly across from the FIT campus, it is so tempting AND convenient.

Uniqlo – 31 W 34th St ($$)

A store specializing in basic clothing essentials ranging from t-shirts to leggings to socks. It’s one of my personal favorite stores because of its practicality, which has granted it locations all over the world. From a product development standpoint, I appreciate the business model.

Whole Body at Whole Foods Market – 260 7th Ave ($$)

28skin_span-jumbo

(reposted from nytimes.com)

A whole store dedicated to carrying on Whole Foods’ value of the all-natural and organic, but with a focus on health, beauty, and homeopathy (another branch of liberal faux-science akin to crystals in which I am a sucker for)? Sign me UP!

In addition to shopping, there are also some sick local galleries that you need to visit. I could write a whole separate post about them, but for now I will just plant the seed.

Last Rites (325 W 38th St)

lastrites3

(reposted from art-nerd.com)

Popaganda NYC Pop-Up (72 Gansevoort St)dscf4069

(reposted from streetartnews.net)

A long day of commuting, working hard in class, and navigating the city is tiring. Below I’ve listed some cool restaurants great for a pre-class startup, mid-class break, or post-class pick-me-up. I’ve bolded the places I’ve been to, and the others I frequently walk past and hope to stop at soon.

  • Argo Tea Café – 275 7th Ave (at W 26th St)
  • brgr – 287 7th Avenue
  • Broadway Bites – Greeley Square, Broadway
  • Cafe 27 – 250 W 27th St
  • Fresh & Co – 363 7th Ave
  • Gigi Cafe – 307 7th Ave (directly across from Pomerants Art & Design Building)
  • Gregory’s Coffee – 356 7th Ave
  • The Juice Shop – 7 Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Just Salad – 291 7th Ave (They just sell bagels… just kidding. It’s just… salad.)
  • Pret A Manger – 342 7th Ave
  • RARE Bar & Grill – 152 W 26th St
  • VLife NYC – 348 7th Ave

That’s the word on the street for this week! Check back next week as we continue to “Liv” The Dream in NYC, brought to you by FIT’s Precollege Program.

Instructor Spotlight: Abby Verbosky

Abby Verbosky’s roots are in social documentary and street photography. She has been a Teaching Artist since 2014 with International Center of Photography and Magic Box Productions with residencies in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Verbosky graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Photojournalism and Anthropology from Ohio University and enjoys storytelling through visuals.

Website: www.abbyverbosky.com

Abby Verbosky teaches:
JSX 006 Basic Digital Photography: Portraits 
JSX 007 Basic Digital Photography: Environments

Teaching Philosophy:
I have a passion for life and its moments—laughter, tears, intimacy, and despair, community and seclusion. I share this passion with my students through the power of photography.

On Precollege Programs:
I enjoy teaching driven students come into a college setting; it’s a new creative space to learn advanced skills and explore what their cameras can capture. With the tools they learn and their current environment, students will have an opportunity to go home with striking photographs. More importantly, teaching Precollege is a great pleasure as I get to help develop talent at a very early state. The skills my students learn will be helpful to them moving from middle school into high school and beyond.

 

Dover Street Market

Who knew a t-shirt could be $500?

That was just one of my thoughts today as I marveled with ooos and ahhhs at Dover Street Market. Our professor had mentioned this place numerous times before stating it was very trendy and fashion forward. We walked down a few streets and stopped at an unassuming building.

“Dover Street,” my professor pointed out.

I was surprised. The building looked so ordinary and definitely nothing like a high-class shopping haven. But once I stepped in, it was almost like I was in fashion heaven… 7 floors to be exact.

Each floor showcased different racks of clothing and interesting interior design. I definitely saw tons of black and white, fur, leather, plaid, quilting, wool, sheer materials and more (just to name a few). There were designers like Phoebe English, Comme des Garcons, and Junya Watanabe.

Phoebe English had some incredible latex crop tops. and 90% all-sheer blouses; I felt like these creations were very futuristic and in a way, impractical, but very beautiful in their own right.

Comme des Garcons had amazing plaid blouses that felt as smooth as butter against my fingertips. Bright vibrancies of green, red and blue passed my eyes. Straight silhouettes with ruffles at the wrist… ahh everything was so detail oriented; I loved it.

Junya Watanabe had interesting patches of mixed fabrics all over the clothing from shirts to denim jeans. There were zippers and sequins intricately over the items too. Definitely a lot of black.

But then I saw it… this was certainly a dream. In the store were authentic Prada clothes, shoes and purses.The leather was the realest I’ve felt (oh gosh I sound like such a fangirl). Just overall, it was amazing to know I was touching Prada… a brand I’d always seen online and in high fashion magazines.

Unfortunately this was a very expensive dream of mine. There were coats for $1,785 and hats for $400. I won’t burden you, as I did myself, with these pricing details (insert melancholy emoji here).

Overall, it was an amazing experience and store. Next time you’re in New York City and have got some time to spare when you’re not trying to catch your train or run off to a meeting, check out the Dover Street Market… just don’t look at the price tags.

Stay peachy my fruit friends!

XOXO, The Style Saviour

Starting off the Summer

Summer in New York City is never very much fun. The hot July sun beats down on the buildings, which in turn absorb the heat and effectively turns the city into an oven. FIT, located in midtown, is in the epicenter of this oven. Midtown is never a very pleasant place to be, with all the people and garbage and just general disparity, but during the summer it becomes something much more sinister. It becomes an unbearable wasteland of tourists and homeless people who are all baking in the oppressive heat. Thankfully, FIT is on a side street and has managed to cull together enough shade to create a nice sitting area for faculty or students or just passers-by. This July has been a little more bearable than the last, I find that I can enjoy myself more when the temperatures stay below 95 degrees.

This summer I am taking advanced sewing and advanced sketching. These classes entail sewing a denim jacket and a t-shirt and rendering many more fabrics and creating my own mini collection, respectively. And although I’m not really one for conversation I do enjoy listening to the people around me and I have found that many of my classmates have come from outside the city. Most from Long Island or New Jersey, but some traveling from as far away as Los Angeles or Paris. I found this to be true last year as well and it surprised me, the amount of people willing to travel thousands of miles just to take a summer class in a pre-college program. Not that FIT isn’t a great school, and not that there aren’t countless reasons to come, but I’m sure that there are local fashion or art schools in some of these areas. FIT has a certain pull for a lot of people. Maybe it’s the sirens of the city calling their names but for a lot of these kids they feel that FIT is the place for them, and are willing to go to great lengths to be in presence of this school. It is a great compliment to the atmosphere and the curriculum and the faculty.

I myself enjoy very much what I am learning and I enjoy being around my professors. I enjoy being in an atmosphere that promotes this kind of artistry. Even though I get a lot of that at school I like being around people who like all the same things as I do. It’s nice to really fit in somewhere.

Sophia