achievements, activities, Fashion, fashion photo, lifestyle, photo industry, Photography

The Breaks

I have not had one minute to spare the last few weeks. It’s super easy to get jobs in New York right now, and I managed to go from my fashion internship, to a temporary summer job to a regular (part-time) job and a freelance job doing visual merchandising and events. So for the first time in my adult life, I have two jobs.

I’m still shocked.

Over the course of the last month I got to use what I learned from umpteen retail jobs, visual merchandising class and my brief showroom experience to merchandise and dress mannequins. The best part is that I have already made back the money that I spent on the class.The worst part is knowing that I could have been doing this all along, if I hadn’t been so obsessed with making it as a photographer. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and caused myself a lot of suffering and unhappiness when I could have been working, building up my savings, gaining experience and making friends. And then I could still have branched out into styling and then photography.

Hindsight is a bitch.

The funny thing is that when I first set out to go to college, I did want to do visual merchandising and this or that happened and I got sidetracked and then jumped into photography. Had I known how sexist and racist that industry was, I would have saved my efforts and put them into something that would have benefited me a lot more. My life would have been completely different. I bet my student loans would be paid off, too.

It’s done now, but let that be a lesson to you.

Until next time,

Faith/SEB Market BK

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Accessories, achievements, art, black fashion designer, black women, confidence, education, entrepeneur, Fashion, fashion designer, footwear, instruction, learning, lessons, presentation, selling, set design, shoe designer, stylist

The Class

For the Holiday assignment I did the West Indian Day Parade on Labor Day using actual an actual Caribbean ice cream brand.

I was unexpectedly catapulted back into retail last year and I was bored. I was trying to think of a way to get a promotion while extending my job into something more creative, so I jumped on the Continuing Ed page at Fashion Institute of Technology‘s website to see if there was anything that I could turn into a bigger paycheck. I used to be a photographer, and have done some styling but I have no interest in doing photo shoots, so I had to find something that tied retail to art. Enter DE101 15A Prin D&E Dsgn – Small Scale Spring 2019 (a.k.a. Visual Merchandising)! I spent every Monday evening from February to May learning about why store displays look the way they look.

We had to build a foamcore shadowbox and every week there was a new assignment to create a contained display that expressed ideas and creativity without using words or being too obvious. This was the first assignment, white on white. Inspired by Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

The next week was a black and white assignment where I painted sheets of paper with fast drying acrylic paint (neatly referencing the previous week’s cotton balls in the white on black paint splatters) and using these awesome Steve Madden Harpir boots. It’s amazing how much fun you can have being creative when you’re just taking one class and it’s not causing you to take out crippling loans!

This one was about selling health & beauty products, so I chose my fave perfume and did a presentation inspired by Magritte’s The Banquet, a painting that features a huge red sun. I feel like I could have done the roses on the side walls a little better, but I was trying to invoke a sort of 70s vibe, and infuse my presentation with the spirit of both disco and tango. So…yeah.

We did the holidays (my family is from Guyana and I live near Eastern Parkway so I just drew on my own Caribbean culture for this one.), accessories and famous personalities (can you guess who I did for my personality presentation?). We had to make everything in class so that the instructor could see our thought process, so it meant packing up my art supplies and lugging my big bag of foamcore box parts from Brooklyn to Manhattan,making a ritual out of stopping at the Starbucks across the street from school.

All about repetition…

For this one I painted the backdrop to evoke water, like the water you soak your feet in for pedicures. Blue is such a spa color to me. We had to take an element of the product and repeat it throughout the design. I sat in the class tracing a foot-shaped cardboard piece that came with some socks I bought. I just sat there cutting out construction paper feet and stamping them with a round sponge brush. Good times.

This was my final project. I was thinking to do something grand, but then I found out all we had to do was design a presentation with fruit as the product. We couldn’t cut the fruit, put holes in it, paint or carve it… I was a little disappointed, because I thought it would be something more sophisticated. I decided to make mine about lemons because I have an actual lemon plant that came out of a seed that I planted. Just pretend it’s a warm summer day and you’re relaxing and anticipating a tall, cool glass of lemonade form the giant lemons that came off of your tree.

I know, what a boring post!

What I took away from this class is that creativity never leaves you, and that having to build a presentation on the spot every Monday was a great exercise in discipline. I really like looking back at my shadowbox creations, and I can always use what I learned to improve my online stores or maybe go back to styling… Maybe. I’m definitely thinking of taking the large scale class where you dress mannequins. And I passed with an A, so I felt pretty darned accomplished.

Have you ever dreamed of doing something that was outside of your comfort zone, like taking an art class? Or learning javascript? Or cooking? What have you always wanted to learn?

See you next time!

Faith/SEB Market BK

achievements, black women, Fashion, feminism, movies, theater, women

Trends: Are Black women back from the dead?

I’m not big into rap or hip-hop, so the last few years seemed like an entertainment and inspiration desert when it comes to seeing empowered black women just being excellent and special without screaming curse-words or whatever. That annoys me.

It alsofelt like there was a lot of negativity surrounding those of us with darker skin, and I was starting to think that people just couldn’t give up on the idea that being dare with full lips and natural hair was an actual state of being that didn’t require apology.

Then the waters started parting…5 serenaSerena Williams was a badass April cover girl and that just seemed to inspire her and she went on to win a bunch of tournaments. You know, like Wimbledon and whatnot. After she was rested up from that she was just everywhere, including the Harper’s Bazaar Women Who Dare  issue and the upcoming Pirelli calendar.

I really should have taken tennis more seriously in high school…

1 nina simoneIn June one of the most revolutionary black entertainers in the world was honored with a documentary. What Happened Miss Simone? came out and her name was on everyone’s lips again. Sad, because after a revival in the 90s her incredible voice had sunk into obscurity.

2 grace at afropunkI thought that I would have to content myself with that, but then Grace Jones played Afro Punk! I found out too late to get tickets, but whatever. She was there!!! he inspiration of so many crazy-dressing black girls was actually up to her usual tricks, being her amazing and provoking self and it was awesome to have my twitter taken over by …GRACE.

And then she put out a book, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, and then freed the nipple at a New York book signing.

I mean, could anything else happen?
4 fashion month Just Fashion month, no biggie. While some people were moaning and whining over 20% non-white models on the runways, I was too busy cheering. I mean- Herieth Paul, Tami Williams, Grace Bol and that gorgeous big afro girl who starred in the under-reported Stella McCartney One City One Girl series. Nana Ghana wore Stella McCartney in her own individualistic way and for all those people saying there’s no diversity, I just really didn’t see a lot of people covering this.  3 ajak deng at phillipe plein One of my fave instagram models, Ajak Deng killed it to death in the Phillipe Plein show. Which brought everything back to punk, Grace and all that’s good in the world. 6 viola At this point the world was just bursting with black lady goodness but then? Viola Davis won the Emmy for leading actress in a drama. As Analiese Keating, a high-powered lawyer and law professor, Davis shows such a kaleidoscope of feeling that her just raising her eyes to stare into the camera can blow you away. The character calls for a real, raw earthy (yet touchingly elegant) performance and Viola Davis has brought it with every episode.

Then she gave this speech and everybody was like- yeah! And then she also won wearing her hair in it’s naturally textured state and her dress was gorgeous, so it was like amazing black lady heaven. 7 lupita

And then,my October Vogue came and Lupita Nyong’o was on the cover looking crazy gorgeous and at that moment you could be like, ok this was a good year to be a black woman- but then the Mert Alas & Marcus Piggot photos were just… there were so many!!!! I mean a LOT! It wasn’t just fashion, it was grace, beauty, mystery, and romance.

Then she turned out to be starring in a play written by other gorgeous black lady Danai Gurira for Walking Dead at the Public Theater. Can you be any more proactive about bringing diversity to the stage? AND THEN it’s just been announced that the play, Eclipsed, is moving to Broadway.

If anything else happens, I’m just gonna faint.

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian