Archive | March, 2011

Meet My Muse: Nya Johnson

31 Mar

Nya Johnson Portfolio Shoot: Nichole Alabi S/S 2010

I’ve been in a whirlwind since my first runway show! Every time I turn around I am taking orders, loaning out clothes for photo shoots and the like. I have also had more and more people asking for my lookbook. A lookbook I do not have. So in the essence of branding I am shooting my first lookbook and have chosen the model to be my muse. Karl Lagerfeld had Kimora Lee Simmons in the late 80s, Halson had Pal Cleveland in the early 70s, and I have Nya Johnson.

Nya Johnson opened my runway show and has been featured in DC Fashion Week. She is a budding model and personifies the Nichole Alabi aesthetic. She is young, fresh, and fearless. Recently  Nya did a portfolio shoot wearing a piece from my S/S 2010 collection and solidified my choice in using her for the upcoming lookbook (see picture above).

Check out some of her work below and look out for her in my upcoming lookbook.

San Juan State of Mind

30 Mar

In Old San Juan

One of the best parts about being in law school (if not the only part at this juncture) is spring break. Those of us who took some time off before going back to school banished spring break to the depths of our memory bank never thinking that we would ever get a week off again without having to use vacation time. Now that I’m in law school a girls-gone-wildesque week of debauchery was not on the menu; but I certainly took the week off to take in some sun and fun. Believe it or not most law students don’t take the week of to vacay. Shocked? I know! I was too when I learned of this. Most use it to participate/prepare for write-on competitions for moot courts and law journals, do a week of legal work, or spend their days in the library. Now y’all know me so  you know that mess was out of the question.

My partner-in-crime Revae and I decided to take 5 out of our 10 spring break days (using the later 5 to study…womp womp) and head to San Juan, Puerto Rico. When I vacation I have very few objectives. I have no interest in the little excursions (once you’ve seen one rainforest you’ve seen them all), I just want to sunbathe, eat and drink very well, and meet the locals and kick it at their hangouts. Simple. After 24 hours, objectives one and two were well underway and then we met Juan.

Juan, a cinnamon colored cutie, was our server for breakfast. In or all EXclusive resort we had no idea that breakfast was $25 a day until Juan let us know he was going to comp our breakfast for the week. Later that evening Juan invited us to a neighboring resort (where he also worked) to watch the Mayorga-Cotto fight at the Puerto Rico Open tents (fully stocked with liquor sponsors). The more we talked to Juan the more we learned about him: he was 35 and had been raised in the Bronx, New York. After high school he came back to PR, where he was born, to visit family and never left. According to him life was so much easier there. In PR,  Juan is a server at one resort, a bartender at another up the road, coaches a little league team, dabbles in import/export between PR and the states, and owns his own home free and clear. In his own words his jobs are easy and pay well and the rest of his days are for him to enjoy.

The more Revae and I met San Juan residents the more similar their stories were to Juan’s. We met a guy named Ted from Toronto who visited San Juan as a student and never left and now manages a tapas restaurant. We met Wilson who worked at the resort whose parents emigrated from PR to Chicago. Wilson visited PR 8 years ago… and you guessed it; he never left. Their sentiments were all the same; San Juan is a romantic city where you can get some of the comforts and conveniences of the states but people are just far more laid back and life is easy. “Life is easy”; that was the phrase we heard from everyone everywhere we went.

In San Juan I thought about my life of law school damn near 7 days a week, designing when I can, and squeezing in a few nights of recreation (to the detriment of my study/design time). The trade-off for an “easy life” almost made me want to stay. Juan told me he knew a girl who worked for the government who could hook me up with an “easy” job as a rainforest ranger and he knew another guy who could expedite my gun permit application. As tempting as it sounded I boarded a flight back to DC 5 days later with reveries of San Juan on my mind.

Now that I am back home, I’ve brought a bit of that easy living San Juan mentality  back with me. Though my life here isn’t  easy by any stretch of the imagination I’m going to treat it as such. I’m going to approach things with ease and not stress so much. Lets see how long I can keep with this San Juan state of mind…

Check out the pants I wore as I explored old San Juan. I created the cotton voile cropped harem pants for the trip; they wore with ease and style at the same time.

Cotton Voile Harem Pants

 

 

Vroom Vroom

29 Mar

Madison's Bday

Our calendar year tells us that the new year kicks off on January 1st but I never get that new year feeling until the spring. Actually, most of our ancestors (and some cultures today) believe that the vernal equinox is the start of the new year. The vernal equinox, or the first day of spring, signifies a time of renewal and the beginning of the agricultural season for some, so for me it seems like a very suitable time for beginning another year.

Think about it: flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and its time to wear bright colors! I try to keep it as funky fresh as possible in the winter months but nothing says spring like the first touch of neon. When my friend Madison hit me up to make an outfit for her 24th birthday, which just so happened to coincide with the first day of spring, I knew we had to go full throttle!

As my first custom spring look of the season, I created a neon pink power ranger meets biker girl look for Madi. The jumpsuit, with leatherette sleeve to accent the black metal ankle zippers, appears to have triangle side cut-outs when viewed from the front. But from the back, you can see that the bodice is cropped and accented with a black metal zipper. The high-waisted fit is the perfect complement for the harem pants.

Madison’s birthday outfit was a great way for me to kick off the spring season with speed… and I’m just getting started up (vroom vroom)!

Front

Sleeve detail

Side

Ankle zipper detail

The Revolution Will be Televised

9 Mar

 

They say the revolution will not be televised… but in this case it will (and be put on Youtube). Check out some video from the show and share with your friends!

Fearless.

8 Mar

Runway Show Finale

There is absolutely no feeling like walking the runway in the finale of your own show. Absolutely no feeling like it. When I try to wade through the memory banks of my mind to pick out a better feeling; I am at a loss. To tell you the truth I was extremely apprehensive about doing the show in the first place. When I was approached by the show coordinator via email to participate in the show I ignored the email for about a week. I left the message unread in my inbox (though I’d read it about 100 times) and didn’t mention it to anyone. By the time the show coordinator, Candace, contacted me a 2nd and a 3rd time I was beyond apprehensive. I was afraid. I relayed my sentiments to Candace. I told her I have never shown before, I have never even produced a collection before! She reassured me and convinced me to take the baby step of meeting with her to show my stuff. When I unloaded the 12 or so pieces in our meeting it was she who told me that I was holding a collection right there in my hands.

So I went forward with the show; in fear. Everyday of styling the looks, picking the models, and fittings was another day that I was on the verge of quitting. Even the night before the show I was on the verge of quitting. I’ve seen a million runway shows and the idea of producing a show of my own brought me to the brink of fainting (or throwing up – depending on the day). It wasn’t until I got home the night before the show and just committed to leaving it in God’s hands.

So often we think we must be fearless; and its true, we must. However I think many of us are unclear about what it means to be fearless. To me fearlessness is not a state of being but an act. A calculated act. To say that fearlessness is existing without fear is a fallacy. In my opinion fearlessness is walking in fear. To keep walking along your path though you are afraid is true fearlessness.

The morning of the show, I woke up in a wave of calm and prepared for the show. Some last-minute alterations, a hair appointment, a light meal, and I was off to the venue. Once I got there backstage was in chaos; models were in hair and make up and people were running helter skelter, yet I still felt calm. Even once my girls were lined up and ready to walk I was calm. As my last look hit the runway and I walked out for the finale I was overwhelmed by the response from the audience and overwhelmed by what I had just done, but I was no longer overwhelmed by my fear.

Backstage a reporter asked me what kind of woman I designed for and it hit me, I design for women who have so much to fear yet they’re fearless. I design for women who take a scary leap of faith everyday yet they do it with fearlessness.

Enjoy pictures of the show below and look out for video coming soon.

First Look: Emerald blouse and bordeaux tuxedo shorts

2nd Look: Bordeaux Romper

3rd Look: Print dress with leatherette sleeve detail

 

4th Look: Black and Teal Bodycon dress

5th: Navy One-shoulder Dress

6th: Print Blouse and cropped harem pants

7th: Military Dress

8th: Saffron Shift Dress

9th: Velvet One-Shoulder Top and Leatherette shorts

10th: Kente Crop top and Leatherette shorts

Final Look: Kente Dress

Emerald City

7 Mar

Natasha

Everyday another one of my friends turns 25… and everyday I am brought closer and closer to my quarter century on this earth. Five years ago I saw myself in a very different place when approaching 25. I saw myself as a fashion magazine editor in New York City planning my wedding. Today, with only 2 months to go, I’m  a decent law student, budding designer, and single. Dont get me wrong… I’m not complaining… I’m just saying. My yellow brick road has taken me on a different path and everyday I am excited by its twists and turns.

Last weekend we celebrated my friend Natasha’s 25th birthday. We took the city by storm with a party bus full of good-looking guys and girls and plenty of champagne. I designed this emerald dress for Natasha to commemorate the fete. The emerald-green stretch taffeta material with black velvet scratch marks was fashioned into a plunging v-neck with ruffle neckline. The double layer ruffle, which boasts a layer of black velvet, continues on to the back of the dress where a geometric cut-out mocks the plunging-v in the front.

The sleeveless mini-dress was perfect for Natasha’s petite frame and perfect for her birthday. As we took on the city in celebration I could only reflect on my journey to my emerald city, and all that is in store on this journey.

Natasha Back

Front

Ruffle Detail

Back