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It’s Been 3 Months Since You Were Looking For Your Friend

11 Jul

It’s been three months since you were looking for your friend, the one who you were reading and never blogged again…

I know I know I know…I havn’t posted in about 3 months and you all have probably moved on to other blogs with posts-a-plenty but I’m back my friends! Let me give you a quick update about what I’ve been doing since you heard from me last…I left the internship that I moved to New York for. After about 3 months with the company (clearly 3 months is a reoccurring theme in my life) I learned all I could as an intern and there were no entry-level openings so I dipped! I learned a lot there but I don’t have the college-student luxury of interning until whenever…I’m grown as hell!

After the internship I registered with a few fashion temp agencies (who knew there was such a thing!?) and within 24 hours I had my first freelance job. I began with a major All-American lifestyle brand as a Merchandising Assistant. At my internship I was in wholesale, which was cool, l but I longed for something more creative. On my first day at the gig the office was alive with creativity! Everyone was jovially creating inspiration boards at a huge table. Everyone but me…I was banished to the sample closet to organize about 8 seasons worth of samples. That’s the thing about freelancing…you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes you freelance for the duration of a project and sometimes you freelance for a duration of time. Little did I know I was there for a project.

The project was to get 2 sample closets, that looked like Hurricane Katrina done run up and through them, into some sort of order and I had under 4 weeks to do it. Why 4 weeks? Because a) that’s how long it would take for me to tackle that mess and b) because another thing about freelancing is your pay comes out of a budgeted line item and the company only alloted a month’s worth of cash for me.

Who was I to complain? I hadn’t gotten a paycheck in who knows when and my savings (which I had been living off while interning) had depleted down to single digits. So 4 weeks of pay (pretty decent pay) at a company that would look great on my resume was a definite pro and not a con at all. After performing a complete extreme makeover (read: miracle) on the closets I was unceremoniously let go. I knew I was only going to be there for a month but that doesn’t make it any less sad.

So by May I was back on the market…the job market that is. I returned to the agency that got me the freelance gig, with an updated resume, to see if there was anything available. Within a week I went on tons of interviews! I even had  few recruiters reach out to me on LinkedIn! That one month spent freelancing at that highly respected company opened so many doors. One of the interviews was at one of this country’s foremost design houses.

After a week of bated breath, follow-up emails, and hand-written thank you cards I got the job. When I say “the job” I mean I was hired as a Temp-to-Perm Merchandising Assistant. Ahhh…”temp-to-perm” another one of those freelance terms. Basically, companies often take on temp-to-perm freelancers for a period of time as a working audition of sorts. Instead of hiring directly, they trust the fashion agencies to send them tried-tested-and-true candidates to relieve some of the immediate work load while they search for the optimum candidate to fill the position. This means while you are working, they are interviewing other candidates as well as evaluating you for the spot.

I’ve now been with the company for 2 months and I’m still a temp however, my responsibilities are growing daily and so is my confidence in my job and performance. This company is the brass ring! You can’t open a magazine without seeing a celeb donning one of our pieces or seeing the face of our Creative Director. As a Merchandising Assistant here, I am the sole support of the VP of Merchandising, who works directly with the Creative Director himself. My role is to support the VP in all aspects of developing new collections which includes everything from pricing, editing, sample production, and planning the flow of the collection. My day-to-day is filled with lots of The-Devil-Wears-Prada-Moments that are lightweight stressful but I know this is an awesome opportunity. At this point I’m not sure if they will keep me or not, but I do know that I’m ready for whatever the universe serves up next my friends!

Go-To-Glam!

31 Oct

Go-to-Glam!

Ok Ok Ok…I’ve said it enough…I love Homecoming…but after years of attending the event I have come up with some tips that  think can help any stylish girl participating in a weekend of events like Homecoming. These tips can work for All Star Weekend, a High School Reunion Weekend, or a Bachelorette weekend. If you see yourself going out of town (or staying in town) for a weekend of events that range from everything from a night out to a brunch to a causal social outing… check out the tips below.

Tip #1: Have a Ready-to-go Makeup Bag with a Statement Lip Color

I always buy a new lipstick for a weekend of events. For  New Years I rocked a deep purple and for my birthday I worked with a purply-pink. For Homecoming I decided to go on the hunt for a day-to-night neutral. As a chocolately sister I have been on the tail end of this “nude” trend. On my complexion nude just ends up looking like a ate a powdered donut. So instead I looked for a neutral that was close to my skin tone to go for a “faux-nude” appeal. I chose Photo by MAC Cosmetics. The color is a golden brown with a satin finish. So I packed it up in my mini-makeup bag with eyeliner, mascara, two complimentary blushes (a day and a night), press powder, and concealer (for under the eyes after late nights), and clear lip gloss which took the lip color from casual to glam.

Tip #2: Statement Outerwear

When you’re packing for a weekend away, especially in the fall, there is absolutely no way you can pack lots of coats so I suggest having a go-to statement piece of outerwear. A common mistake girls make is to bring their neutral or black coat and say “it goes with everything”. Well thats not true! In actuality glam goes with everything. This weekend I worked with the fur trend and worked the hell out of a fur vest with a shawl collar. Don’t be worried about it getting redundant. I wore it with a green chiffon maxi, a Howard sweatshirt, and a black mini dress and it looked different and fabulous every single time.

Tip #3: Try Just One Trend

Every season trends come and go and there is no better time to boldly give one a try than for a weekend of events. Let me repeat…give ONE a try. Trying too many can make you look like anyone but yourself. This weekend I decided to try the dress socks and heels thing. Ive seen it in magazines and stuff and I’ve always thought it was cool but I didn’t know how practical it was. So on Friday night I wore a little black dress with black socks and leopard platforms. It was a huge hit!

Tip #4 Big Banging Handbag

I know girls love to wear tiny little clutches for the evening but I would seriously rethink this when you’re doing a weekend full of events. Instead go with a big banging handbag. Break out your investment piece girls! Why? You can keep it packed all weekend…duh! You can leave your mini makeup bag, phone, wallet, umbrella, bottle of water, toothbrush, clean panties…whatever you need! With this method in mind you don’t have to change your bag per outfit and you can go all day (and night…wink wink).

Tip #5 If You Gotta Show Spirit…Do it in Style!

At an event like homecoming or a bachelorette you may find yourself having to wear some sort of tshirt or logo…if your must do it in style! This weekend I did a custom Howard sweatshirt with my fur vest, jean cutoffs, and combat boots. I was able to go from a tailgate to a happy hour  and support my alma mater.

Check out the pics below to see how me and my girls manifested my tips…

Statement Lipsticks Poppin'!

My girl Revae following all the rules...go-to bag, lip color, and outwear!

Our Statement Bags...big enough to go all day and glam enough to go all night

Trying Trends...oh and peep the lipstick!

Stylishly Showing School Spirit

Ripped the Runway

26 Oct

1st Look: Kente Drop-Waist Dress with Bubble Skirt and Structured Cap Sleeves

Last week’s fashion show was the best way to kick off my 2011 Homecoming weekend. I’ll keep it all the way real: I was very nervous about showing in the HUHC show. For starters, I didn’t get the pieces finished until the Sunday , I didn’t fit the models until the Monday, and I was supposed to be ready to go by Wednesday! For an easily frazzled girl like me, that timeline had me on edge. Not to mention the whole culture of urban fashion shows…sometimes they can be a little bit too theatric for my aesthetic. All of these things couple with the fact that I’ve never showed on a stage this large in front of a crowd this large had me going nuts!

But to my surprise I was very satisfied with the show and my contribution. With 14 models I showed a revamped version of my fall collection. Starting with Kente that I acquired while in Ghana, I weaved a color story that went from gold to burgundy, to black, and finally to teal culminating in a chiffon gown.

It felt like such a triumph. The music was right. The models were right. The timing was right. And I’ve been on cloud 9 ever since!

Be on the lookout for video from the show… check out the pics from the show.

**Note: Look 11 (a Chiffon Pussy Bow Blouse and Leatherette Tuxedo Shorts) is messing…I’m working on getting a picture for you guys.

2nd Look: Kente Crop Top with Ducktail and Leatherette Boxing Shorts

3rd Look: Gold Half Moon Swing Coat with Kente Lapel

4th Look: Gold Half Moon Dress with Double Sleeve

5th Look: Burgundy Romper with Fishtail Neckline and Satin Tuxedo Stripe

6th Look: African Wax Print Drop-Waist Dress with Bubble Skirt and Structured Cap Sleeve

7th Look: African Wax Print Swing Coat

8th Look: Burgundy Tuxedo Shorts and Black Double Sleeve Blouse

9th Look: Black Double Sleeve Mini Dress and Oversized African Wax Print Bow

10th Look: Crushed Celvet One Sleeve Peplum Top and Crushed Velvet Leggings

12th Look: Teal and Black Long Sleeve Maxi

13th Look: Teal and Black Cap Sleeve Midi Dress

14th Look: Chiffon Pussy Bow Maxi Dress with Double Sleeve

Its That Time of Year Again…

17 Oct

Howard Homecoming Fashion Show 2011

If you know me you know I LOVE Howard Homecoming. Returning to alma mater to celebrate our beloved university is my absolute favorite time of the year. This year however my involvement is beyond that of a reveller and more of a participant. I’ve had a couple of clients hit me up to make them custom garments for the homecoming festivities but more importantly I have been asked to show my fall collection in the Howard Homecoming Fashion Show. Now, if you’ve never been to a HUHC Fashion Show you may think that this is an amateur affair but don’t be fooled. This stage is graced by beautiful models who go through a grueling selection process, the garments shown come from professional designers from the DC Metropolitan area and beyond, and the house is packed with fashionistas and celebs alike.

I am so excited for this opportunity and I look forward to showing a revamped version of my Fall/Winter 2011 collection. For the huge stage and ample attendance, I have added some stellar show pieces including a sheer gown, a print winter coat, velvet riding pants, and much more. The show is sure to please and will be an awesome way to kick off my homecoming festivities.

Get your tickets at Ticketmaster and check out the promo video for the show…see you there!

Speaking of Weddings…

23 Aug

Tonya's Secondary Bridesmaid Dress

Speaking of Weddings… have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Well they have nothing on a big fat African wedding. In various African cultures weddings are a huge deal and families usually want to include as many people in the celebration as possible. This concept lends itself to a category of  extended wedding members which goes beyond bridesmaids and grooms man all the way to secondary bridesmaids secondary groomsman, friends of the mother of the bride, and on and on and on. To be honest, in an African wedding anyone can have a title, as long as you’re wearing the right clothes. Each one of these groups has its own African fabric, with its own print and colors to denote what group they belong to.

I often get requests to make dresses for “secondary bridesmaids”. While it may sound like this is the default for all the poor girls who didn’t make it to the official bridesmaid category, but thats not true. Secondary Bridesmaids are usually made up of college friends, childhood friends, cousins, and other important ladies in the bride’s life and they have their perks too. Instead of wearing the same dress as the next girl, Secondary Bridesmaids wear the same fabric but get complete control over their design. The dress I made for Tonya was a collaboration between she and I and with the opportunity to have complete control over the look, we decided on something that showed off her tiny frame. This one shoulder dress was perfect for her! The oversized deep purple ruffle neckline featured a peek-a-boo print underneath and the look was completed with a self-tie belt. Tonya definitely gave the other girls a run for their money with this dress!

Front

Back

Side

Details

Feeling It

22 Aug

Lacing up the Future Mrs. Coleman

Last month I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best friends. Jennifer and I have shared  so many milestones together; pledging our sorority, graduating college, but marriage was one she was doing without me. Of my friends Jennifer was the first to get married but something about the whole weekend seemed unreal. I thought I would feel some sort of pressure as a single girl to hurry up and find my knight in shining armor, but to be honest I didn’t. During the bachelorette party popping bottles…I didnt feel a thing. At the rehearsal (even after I was paired up with a super tall sexy specimen of a groomsman)…I felt nothing. Even the morning of the ceremony, while getting my hair coiffed into a romantic updo…I felt nothing. During the limo ride to the venue I felt like there was something wrong with me. Maybe I did feel some pressure and it was manifesting itself as ambivalence or maybe being 25 (even if only for 6 weeks) granted me with a new level of maturity. Whatever it was I kept waiting for something…

Getting dressed in the bridal suite of the venue I still kept waiting for it, whatever “it” was, until my friend emerged in her off white bridal gown with a pintucked sweetheart bodice and a ruffled fit and flare skirt. Now I’ve seen the dress before, but something about her actually being in the dress made a world of difference. Finally I felt it…I felt the hopes and dreams of a woman becoming a wife; a woman who was becoming a half to a whole. What I felt was happiness for her and hopefulness right along with her. Isn’t it amazing how an article of clothing can do that? And when she gave me the honor of lacing up her bodice, I felt it even more so.

The beautiful bride and I

No Regrets

11 Jul

My classmate Ms. Emma

A conversation with one of my classmates towards the end of my time in Ghana really made me think… I was asking around about where I could buy some authentic Kente cloth when Ms. Emma, who sat in front of me, turned around and told me she was a Kente collector. She told me she would bring in some Kente to show me some of her collection and give me a quick Kente lesson before I hit the streets to haggle.

The next day Ms. Emma brought me a new Kente design which is lightweight and woven with rayon fibers. The particular material can be used to make a traditional evening skirt for a woman or even the inside vest of a three-piece suit for a man. As she explained to me the way the weaving works and how the stoles are sewn together, we spoke a bit about her life and her history with Kente.

Apparently, Ms. Emma has been sewing traditional Kente outfits for friends and family for the past 45 years (she barely looks 45 years old!). Though she excelled as a designer and seamstress from a very early age, by the time Ms. Emma was ready to pursue higher education, it was the trend of the day for women to go as far in their education as possible. With that in mind Ms. Emma pursued a degree in economics and a career in banking and finance.

Ms. Emma said “In my time I didn’t even know people could get degrees in fashion”. Despite not studying fashion formally, Ms. Emma has been all over the globe working for various financial institutions and after 30 years in banking she is now pursuing a law degree in Ghana. When I asked her if she regretted not pursuing fashion full-time back then, or even now instead of law, she said no. According to Ms. Emma, collecting Kente and fashioning custom creations for her friends and family is her passion and she has absolutely no regrets.

I think about what Ms. Emma said a lot. For the past three summers I wrote to Savannah College of Arts and Design requesting an application to their Masters in Fashion Design program. This year I even went as far as having an interview with an admission officer who came up to DC from Atlanta. I cant quite put my finger on whatever it is that has stopped me from going all the way and applying but something about it hasn’t felt right. After speaking to Ms. Emma I realized that a formal fashion education may not be for me or for everyone seeking a design career. Like Ms. Emma, my other talents have taken me around the world (well…at least to Ghana for starters), and have opened doors for me. Nonetheless, fashion is my passion and I’ll continue living without regrets in my pursuit.

Check out the pics below for a quick Kente lesson.

Dual-print Kente

 

From the underside of the Kente you can see that the entire print is made up of strips sewn together