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

adventures, bike riding, education, exercise, learning, lessons, new york, sports

in which we go off to Roosevelt Island for (free) bike riding lessons with Bike New York

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I decided to do some things that I haven’t had time to do, and one of them was re-learning how to ride a bike. I haven’t been balanced on two wheels since I was 12 years old, and that wasn’t exactly a banner day anyway. I searched ‘free bike lessons’ and tada! It appeared.

That’s the wonder of New York.

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After a harum scarum search for available spots (as you can assume, the classes fill up fast) I was able to snag a lesson on Roosevelt Island with the Bike New York gang. They actually have helmets for everyone, so if you don’t have one and are not even sure how to buy one, you can feel safe showing up without one.

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I figured it was best to keep it simple, so I wore my h&m basics $5 tee shirt and LL Bean True Shape denim jeans ($59) with my Southern Tide classic leather shackle belt ($65). I had my Samsung GearFit ($99.99) so that I could finally try the cycling exercise setting, and my Brazilian Begonia Lisa Hoffman fragrance bracelet ($65) for luck. I didn’t bother with makeup, just H20 Plus marine Defense Green Tea Antioxidant Lotion SPF 30 ($42) and some lip balm.

I think the green helmet was tres chic, don’t you?

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Bike New York volunteers lined us up in size order and we were fitted to our bikes. The main thing being that your feet are flat on the ground when you’re astride it. Luckily I had this water bottle from a fashion event last year, so I was prepared for an afternoon of riding. I also had some granola and homemade banana nut bread tucked away in my knapsack, since they advise that you bring snacks.

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When you start, Bike New York has you learn on a bike with no pedals. You spend about an hour learning to balance. It’s actually huge fun. Once you’ve demonstrated an ability not to kill yourself, you get the pedals- a major moment. When I got mine, I felt like a BMX racer.

When I was a kid, I was always fearful of a. getting my bike stolen (which did happen) or b. falling off/getting into an accident. The most dangerous part of doing this 2 hour class was looking out for other students sudden stops. The volunteers are there to guide and help and it’s a really friendly process. You do end up super hungry and thirsty though, so when they say bring snacks? Bring your snacks.

I was so glad I went! It was exhilarating to realize that I now held the power to fly around New York without being bound by subway snarls. well, as soon as I learn how to ride in traffic.

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If you want to sign up, here are the classes that they have available:

1. Learn to Ride (Adults) : you learn how to balance and brake, and then hopefully how to pedal.

2. Bicycling Basics: core cycling skills, like how to adjust your helmet and seat, how to make sure your bike is road ready, etc.

3. Street Skills Ride: they teach you how to stay safe while riding crazy NY streets, albeit in a no-traffic environment. *actually? you would be in street traffic. my bad- Bike NYC contacted me about that. see comments below -FB 8/6/15*

They have even more classes and events, so if you’re in New York and looking for bike lessons or looking to volunteer, you should contact them. All the info you need is at www.bike.nyc.

xoxo, Faith/Sassy Ethnic Bohemian

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