And the Countdown Begins…

14 Mar

Tuesday's Look: Teardrop Blouse + Monsoon Shorts

In one week I will be having a sample sale featuring all the looks from my Fall/Winter 2011 Collection. Each and every piece available will be up to 70% off and available for purchase on http://nicholealabi.bigcartel.com/ shipping everywhere in the US. To kick off the countdown I will be rocking a look from the collection and letting you know the cost everyday.

Yesterday I sported the Teardrop Blouse (Sample Sale Price $55 ) and the Monsoon Shorts (Sample Sale Price $30 ). To see what i’m wearing today…follow me on Instagram: nicholealabi

Teardrop Blouse

Monsoon Shorts

 

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So I know its Real…

16 Jan

I’m gonna do this like ripping off a band-aid…I DROPPED OUT OF LAW SCHOOL. Whooo! What a relief! For those of you who have been following the blog for the past two years have seen me transition from being a full-time budding designer to a law student and have been there for each and every difficult moment of the decision-making process. Law school is on average 6 semesters and 3 semesters in I decided it wasn’t for me. I think part of me has always known it wasn’t for me but at the time I felt like I had no other options. Pursuing the arts as a full-time career is a scary thing… a scary scary scary thing. In January 2010 I knew what I wanted to do and be but I just didn’t know how. Well now I do…You’ve got to step out on faith; that’s it and that’s all.

Let me take you back to my frame of mind when I decided to leave school. It was October 2011 and here I was in my second year of law school. My first semester had gone pretty well but my second semester, when I participated in the Fashion Law Fashion Show, went very bad. I’m talking all Bs in the Fall and Cs and Ds in the Spring. By that summer I was off to Ghana to study law but I ended up buying fabric to work on a new collection. Now its Fall 2011 and I’m riding the high of the Howard Homecoming Fashion Show with an 8 page paper due that I just can’t complete. 8 pages! You do 8 pages in middle school and here I am in law school with a 8 page paper due on a topic of my choice and I can’t do it. That’s the first step to knowing something is not for you; when the most minuscule task seems impossible for you to complete.

While I sat in the library an hour before the paper was due, trying to write something…I just felt like I heard a word; a word from God. This wasn’t a Moses burning bush moment but I believe in my heart of hearts that I heard a voice tell me to get up and go. So that day, October 31st, 2011, I went to the Dean’s office and withdrew from school. It felt amazing; so amazing. I felt relieved. I felt like I could finally be the person I was born to be . I could finally be the person God created me to be. At law school I wasn’t a contributor. I was a taker. I was taking financial aid, taking up a spot, and taking up the time of those who were there to provide me with an education. I believe God gives us gifts so we can contribute to mankind and I was finally ready to use mine.

I decided November 1st, 2011 was going to be the first day of my new life, and it was. From that day I started applying for entry-level fashion jobs in New York. I had my first interview exactly one week later and between November 8th and December 16th I averaged about 2 interviews a week. That’s when I knew this was real. I think back to before I started designing, when I was laid off from my publishing job. Here I was with a degree in journalism, almost 2 years post-graduate professional work experience, and for 9 months not only was I unemployed but I didn’t secure one interview. I wanted to blame to on the economy but I saw the same pattern in law school. After your first year of law school most students participate in OCI (On Campus Interviews). This process is to secure a job for the following summer and works by you putting in a bid to interview with a firm or corporation. Based on your grades, extracurriculars, and whatever else the firm/corporation will decide to interview you or not. I don’t know how many bids I put in, but not once did I get an interview. But in fashion I was getting interviews left and right. Lets be clear, these were all for entry-level jobs and internships but nonetheless I felt wanted. Someone wanted me to contribute.

On December 19th I moved to New York and started work as the unpaid men’s wholesale intern at a major retailer. Some days I feel like I gave up so much for so little; my one bedroom on Capitol Hill for a four bedroom in Harlem with three roommates and the security of law school for an unpaid gig but I don’t believe any of this has been or will be for not. I don’t even see law school as a waste; both fashion shows I did came as a result of me being a law student and my trip to Ghana came through a law school program.

Now as I look for a part time job, to pay the rent, and work to be a shining star at my internship, I know everything will work out fine. Why? Because I am finally becoming the person I was born to become.

 

Seasons Change

2 Nov

The Birthday Girl

It official…its November. In the spirit of the relaunch of the fall collection I would like to pay homage to the fabulous girls who rocked my summer capsule collection.

Above is my bestie Jasmine who of course talked me not using the summer fabrics to create a custom 25th birthday look for her. Check out more pictures below including Natasha, my first customer, who wore the Cape Coast Collar to a wedding, Tamika who wore the Golden Tulip Romper to her graduation party, and Madison one of my besties and repeat customers who wore the Asylum Down Crop Coat to my fashion show.

The collar matches everything...even her date!

This collar just turns a little black dress all the way up!

Now this is how you celebrate a milestone!

Showing her support in one of my pieces

Jenny-From-the-African-Block

1 Nov

Ray Marshall taking pic...Marci styling...and Brittney modeling..

Before the fashion show I did a photo shoot for the revamped fall collection. I worked with Ray Marshall again but this time I brought in Marci Rodgers of Heels and Hightops to assist with the styling. With over twice the looks than my summer capsule collection, I needed help. I also continued the trend of working with a young up and coming model and chose a young lady by the name of Brittney Brewer. The look for the shoot, and the collection, was very “Jenny-from-the-African-block”. Lord knows I love an aspirational and transitional girl and no one embodies that more than Jennifer Lopez. I was so in sired by her Bronx roots so I brought in lots of door-knocker earrings and we styled her hair in a top knot and bangs a la Lopez herself.

Check out the looks below and on my NEW and improved website http://nicholealabi.com

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

From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk

28 Oct

Naomi at a Homecoming Event

Naomi is a client of mine who was also in Ghana this summer where she got this amazing pink and gold African wax print. She had a limited amount, and of course she couldn’t go back any time soon to get more, so she asked me to turn it into something memorable. I created this boat neck peplum dress for her. The dress featured a turned up sleeve and a super low back. What made the dress even more memorable was seeing her in it this past weekend at a homecoming event. God I love Homecoming…

Check out more detailed pics of the dress below and Naomi and I celebrating our alma mater…

Front

Sleeve Detail

Back

Naomi and I

Nichole Alabi in Nichole Alabi

27 Oct

Friday's Look: Chiffon Maxi with Fur Shawl Collar Vest

The best part about Homecoming, besides showing at the Homecoming Fashion Show, was wearing my fall collection looks out and about. Call me what you want, but what are the perks of being a designer if you can’t wear your own stuff? But I digress…as my brand’s aesthetic evolves I have realized that my customer is less me than someone else. Let me explain: when I first started making clothes I made stuff for me. I literally made clothes for me to wear. But once I began developing “Nichole Alabi” as a brand I realized the mature thing to do would be to develop a point of view.

I’ll never forget the season of “The City” where the show’s main character and budding designer, Whitney Port, was invited to Elle Magazine to show her collection to Fashion news Director Anne Slowey and Creative Director Joe Zee. After looking at her work Slowey asked her who she designed for and Whitney said “myself and my friends”. Anne Slowey looked like Whitney said she designed for the devil! Slowey went on to explain that a designer needs a customer and I totally get that now.

So the pieces in my collection I rocked this past weekend were the few that were all me and I wore them my way. Check out another look below…

Thursdays Look: Kente Top with Black Riding Pants