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 ($$)

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(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 ($$)

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(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 ($$)

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(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 ($$)

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(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 ($$)

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(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 ($$)

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(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)

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(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.

Hangouts and Whereabouts

My Train to FIT

My Train to FIT

Saturday, what a great day, it just so happens to be my favorite day. My day to myself, and my day to do what I want, when I want; everything else can wait until Sunday.  On Saturday mornings I start my best day off right. There’s no waking up on the wrong side of the bed on Saturdays when my alarm clock goes off at 7:24! Getting up so early in order to arrive FIT in time and also have the time to grab a coffee with my friend that travels with me by 9:15 isn’t always easy, but so worth it. Coming from Queens, I get dropped off at a small train station by my house; sometimes this is where I grab my first cup of coffee. As an avid coffee drinker, there is no such thing as too much coffee.

As soon as my train pulls into Penn Station, I go into mad dash mode; got to get that coffee. The hustle down to my favorite spot around FIT is one of excitement.  If you’re looking for the best cup of coffee on all of 7th avenue, head to Gregory’s Coffee. Better than Starbucks (which is also en route to FIT), Gregory’s sells all different types of coffee, from Macchiato to café Americano.  My personal favorites from Gregory’s are the caramel macchiatos, and their to die for chocolate chip cookies.

Gregory's Caramel Macchiato

Gregory’s Caramel Macchiato

On my first day of class at FIT, having an art supply store (Barnes and Nobles) on campus came in handy. A great tip that may come in handy before your first class at FIT would be to check your student FIT account to make sure that any and all supplies required for the class are in your possession, beforehand. Something as simple as having all the supplies you need as soon as you need them is so rewarding and beneficial because you could focus on your artwork, without the hassle of have to pick up the supplies late. My Professor was very understanding and did not require me to visit Barnes and Nobles but, if you can while at FIT, make use of the on campus supplies.

Breaks at FIT are about 15 minutes long, just enough time to make it across 7th avenue to buy more coffee (usually  where I end up going), or to buy a snack. Usually during breaks, my friends Sofia and Rachel and I make our way down to Dunkin Donuts on the other side of the street.

A restaurant that is worth trying near FIT is called Brgr. A healthy alternative to junk food, with the same great taste; Brgr only serves grass-fed meat. Known for not just their grass-fed cow jokes hanging across the walls, Brgr serves the best shakes around FIT. If you are a student taking two classes at FIT and you are wondering where to try for a great lunch, visit Brgr.

These are my favorite chill out spots this spring at FIT. I hope these come in handy; whether you’re in the mood for a burger or just some early morning coffee.

Thank you for reading this week!

Yours Truly,

09Kathleen

Fashion Forecasting

Hello readers,

As the weeks of precollege soon become memories. I have learned so much from my class “Fashion Forecasting”. This course teaches all about current and upcoming trends of the textures, colors and materials of clothing. Mainly focusing on the styling and buying of clothing. These past weeks besides the fun classes we went to 34th street to look into stores and take notice of reoccurring trends. Then another trip was to the well known fabric store “Mood” that the designers of Project Runway pick and buy their fabrics.

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The store Mood was super fun and if you’re ever in the city, they have free sewing classes!  I was unable to make the trip to 34th street but it is always cool to pick and notice the new trends. Be a trend starter!

 

 

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

Keeping an Open Mind

For my Fashion Forecasting class, we took a trip to Macy’s. We had an assignment, which was to pick a department (either women’s, men’s, children’s, or accessories) and answer a few questions.

macysWhichever department we chose for the assignment had to be the department we use for our end of semester project, in which we must predict a trend for spring 2015.

I was positive that I was going to do my project on womenswear, so I immediately headed towards the 3rd floor, when my friend, Shioban, convinced me to shop around the men’s department first. I’m so happy she did.

Menswear never really interested me. I thought that it was boring, and that there is not much to do with menswear. I was pleasantly surprised by how fascinated I was with it.

mtThe displays were beautiful. The mannequins all looked so dapper, as did the men shopping there. The trend seemed to be a newer, fresher, and more modern gentleman, inspired by the early 20th century. This was further illustrated through one of the sales associate’s bow ties, which was made of wood.

Another sales associate let me in on a secret, bow ties are THE new menswear trend. These were not your basic bow ties either. There were barely any basic blacks to be seen. They came in every color of the rainbow, in every fabric you could ask for, and any pattern imaginable. There was no basic stripes, the were boldly colored.

mt2Red satin bow ties, á la Jared Leto, were flying off the displays. Paisley, geometric prints, houndstooth, and even bow tied with some sparkle woven in were everywhere.

It’s safe to say I’m obsessed with menswear now.

I learned to keep an open mind. The trip taught me that those that are closed-minded will not succeed in fashion. Keep an eye out for old trends that may reappear, like the bow tie. Don’t close yourself off, to fashion or anything else. I didn’t, and now I have a new found love of menswear, and two bow ties.

What do you think about menswear? What do you think about women wearing menswear items?

Until next time,

Arielle