FASHION DIARIES EXCLUSIVE: 3 Fashion Gifts That Give Back

This holiday season will feel different than years past, with many looking to give back or shop ethically in lieu of traditional gifts. For those who are still looking to find fashionable gifts and accessories, purchasing from the World Vision Gift Catalog is a great place to start – offering a selection of beautiful, artisan gifts for every style of fashionista on your list.

In addition to fighting hunger, injustice and poverty, World Vision is a global humanitarian organization that supports, mostly women, artisans who are fairly compensated for their work, empowering them to seek better lives for their families.

This selection of fashion and jewelry accessories was designed by three female celebrity ambassadors who are joining together to support World Vision’s critical mission; actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), TV personality Sadie Robertson Huff (Duck Dynasty and DWTS) and singer and author Wé McDonald (The Voice).

“Unity” Tassel Necklace by Patricia Heaton

  • This necklace, handmade by artisans in India, features a 24″ chain, 1.25″ x .75″ gray druzy stone, 2″ silk tassel, and starburst charm. Each stone is unique and varies slightly.

“Bonded Together” Tote by Wé McDonald

  • The income from embroidering these fair trade, bonded faux suede and cotton totes helps Vietnamese women artisans with disabilities gain independence. Zipper closure; 16″ x 8″; 9″ drop.

“Circle of Hope” Wraparound Ring by Sadie Robertson Huff

  • This adjustable gold-tone brass ring, made by women artisans in India, provides food, education, and more for the artisans’ families.

THE FASHION DIARIES EXCLUSIVE: Supima Design Lab 2020 is Going Virtual, Oct. 8

Supima presents the 3rd annual Supima Design Lab in its very first all-digital format, which will take place on Thursday, October 8th and be streamed live on Supima’s Instagram along with Fashion Network. Once again Supima brings together a select group of up and coming and leading designers from around the world.  This year’s Supima Design Lab will showcase exclusive collections designed using American-grown Supima cotton featuring designs by the winner and finalists of the 2020 Supima Design Competition, the selection of the 2020 Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival and by leading International designers. 

Created exclusively for the Supima Design Lab, each design showcases the endless possibilities of fabrics made with Supima cotton. Stemming from a commitment to design, sustainable innovation and superior quality, Supima is unwavering in its ongoing programs that create platforms for designers to express themselves despite the challenges of Covid-19. 

This Year’s Digital Runway show will be presenting “Made with Supima” Exclusive Designs by… 

The Winner and Finalists of the 13th Annual Supima Design Competition :

Amanda Forastieri, Drexel University – This Year’s Winner 

Sakura Mizutani, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising 

Jenny Feng, Fashion Institute of Technology 

Jennie Nguyen, Kent State University 

Terrence Zhou, Parsons School of Design 

Kyra Buenviaje, Rhode Island School of Design 

Finalists of 35th International Festival of Fashion, Fashion Photography and Accessories of Hyères :

Katarzyna Agnieszka (France)Andrea Grossi (Italy) 

Aline Boubert (France)Marvin M’Toumo (France) 

Xavier Brisoux (France)Maximilian Rittler (Belgium) 

Emma Bruschi (France)Céline Shen (France) 

Timour Desdemoustier (Belgium)Tom van der Borght (Belgium) 

Selected Leading Designers  :

Thierry Colson 

Lutz Huelle 

Dice Kayek 

Jean Paul Knott 

On Aura Tout Vu 

As a special addition to this year’s Supima Design Lab, there will be a round table orchestrated by Benjamin Simmenauer, Permanent Professor at Institut Français de la Mode, Fashion Expert & Brand Strategist. The round table includes a select panel of industry leaders for an in-depth discussion of the Supima Design Lab – From the Fields to the Runway.  This year’s panelists include : 

Jean-Pierre Blanc, Founder, International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Accessories of Hyères  

Godfrey Deeny, International Editor-in-Chief, FashionNetwork 

Marc Lewkowitz, President & CEO, Supima 

Buxton Midyette, VP Marketing & Promotions, Supima 

We are truly honored to continue working with our SDC Partner School finalists, the selection from the Festival de Hyères and our Leading Designer group.  During the pandemic, we knew it was more important than ever to stay nimble and shift the Supima Design Lab into a virtual format to support these emerging designers achieve success in the fashion industry ” — Buxton Midyette, VP Marketing & Promotions, Supima 

Supima Design Lab 2020

About Supima : 

Supima is America’s premium cotton. Founded in 1954, the Supima brand, short for “Superior Pima,” designates an elite variety of pima cotton sustainably grown only in the West and the Southwestern U.S. It is prized the world over by designers and discerning consumers who value its resilient strength, lasting color and indulgent softness. 

Follow Supima on Social: 

Instagram: @Supima 

Facebook: @Supima 

Twitter: @Supima 

Take an apple and put it in your own words

Today’s the two-year-anniversary in which my poetry professor told me I have an “authentic and strong voice” in my poems, which led me to write my 60+ page thesis on docupoetics in 2019. Doing a thesis was difficult but after a heartfelt conversation via Instagram Live with my rock star fashion designing friend, Maria del Carmen Mercado, I came to a realization about writing, in general.

She said to me, take an apple and observe it. If you have to write about it, do it. However, don’t write about what society thinks about an apple. Don’t write about what your family thinks about an apple. What you think of an apple, is on YOU. It’s the same thing with fashion designing, for all my fellow fashionistas out there. You can research and get inspiration from any fashion designer, but what they did has already been done. With writers, it’s the same deal; you can research all you want for your book. But what other authors have already written about is already out there, no matter how much you try to put it into your own words. How do you feel about something like, love? Friendship? Marriage? Genocide? Every president of the United States that’s ever lived and served in Office?

It’s hard to tell what we’re feeling about a certain topic when we’re so influenced by other people. We can have our own opinions. We’re not stupid. And we’re certainly allowed to disagree with other people. Social media definitely plays a factor in how we are influenced. Oddly enough, I had a dream about dresses. Perhaps it’s because I’m not trying to spend my money on clothing, though I did “splurge” on an Emerson sweatshirt that I’ve always wanted when I was applying to graduate school (it was only $42.) Nonetheless in my dream, dresses were being judged. But again, who cares what other people think? Dress up for YOU, girl!

I said this in my very first blog post, The Art of Communication, but not communicating how you, yourself, feel about a topic means losing a part of yourself. Your argument gets lost in a sea full of other people’s second-hand research and opinions. This is especially what you need to avoid when writing a paper. Needless to say, this applies to my English Literature majors who are reading this, as well.

Self-Doubt, Influencing, Overthinking, and Jobs

Do you ever feel like you doubt your career path? No, I’m not doubting mine (again, thank God), I KNOW I’m going to be a lawyer, just not right away. And by right away I mean I’m going to LAW SCHOOL in Fall 2021.

As I am listening to a Katy Bellotte podcast, I’m remembering that I randomly brought up my blog to a friend of mine in my art history class (hi, Amanda!) That’s something I normally never do, unless I feel 100% comfortable with you. (I showed Steve my blog when we first started talking, so that alone says a lot about us!) One thing she asked me is if I ever get “Imposter Syndrome,” to which I said, “yes and no,” and went on to say that I wanted to be an influencer and promote all of these brands that would never give me the time of day. But really, I want to influence people to be the best version of themselves. Improving yourself does not come from an article of clothing, though it is nice to build those sorts of connections with people who own clothing and jewelry lines.

This was me about two years ago. I wanted to be an influencer. But the only way to make an impact was to influence people to make a difference; this is especially true if you’re a college student like myself. I worked a “Table Time” the other day, and it dawned on me there are the people who are willing to be, as one person said, “a part of the community,” other people are just there for the mass amounts of chocolate spread out on the table. As some of you know, I do a lot of sexual violence prevention work. It’s more than a hobby for me; it’s a need to make a wave.

I talked about this a little bit in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus, but I am SO afraid of tests that I actually have test anxietyyes, that’s an actual thing which is why I have extra time on tests assignments — something that people are so ignorant to, it drives me nuts! Thus, I was afraid of taking the LSAT, and trust me that no book could tell me to “calm down” and “it was going to be okay.” Being on the Student Senate, however, being my mother’s daughter, and knowing my own potential taught me that I got this. But being “high functioning” and needing extra time on things is another story that I don’t have time for.

It’s the unfortunate art of overthinking that tells us, “no you don’t” or “you don’t have this, this, and that to succeed.” Yes, you do. There’s no such thing as “oh, this is an [insert major here] job” or “this job is only for those who have worked in a law office.” Then why would these jobs be posted on Handshake? Or whatever your school uses for job-hunting? Who cares if your major is Creative Writing and you apply for a Legal Assistant job? (Yes, I did that via LinkedIn.) We, “creative writers,” can do anything we set our minds to, such as thinking creatively and independently. Don’t doubt us for even a minute.

In fact, overthinking got me thinking about my own job history. I used to think I was “too good” for a job like working at Dunkin Donuts, Sip ‘n’ Dip, etc. (I spent my teenage years in Massachusetts so I didn’t even know what Sip ‘n’ Dip was — LOL.) But it wasn’t even that I thought I was “too good,” it was more so that I had so much, even infinite potential. In fact, in my sophomore year of high school, I was applying to be an intern for Boston-based fashion designers. All the letters I got back said that they moved. Really? Even Giselle Bundchen started out scooping ice cream and became a (now retired) Victoria’s Secret model! She didn’t even need to be Tom Brady’s wife in order to be a household name OR make money. She makes more money than her husband!

Just know that you aren’t “stuck” in your dreary job forever. And don’t let self-doubt be your reason for why you didn’t do something to benefit your life.

And that’s the tea. 🍵

xoxoxo,

April 💕

 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Oodles of VINTAGE

It’s been a hot minute (more like almost a YEAR) since I posted a Fashion Diary entry, which is ironic because I’ve written my own personal journal entries practically every day this summer.

Despite PSL’s being back at Starbucks, along with the Maple Pecan Lattes and the newly-raved-about Pumpkin Cold Brew, summer is not quite over yet. Wait until Monday, September 23, guys! My summer fashion choices have been relatively laid-back, with the occasional dress or two, or three. 😜 It wasn’t until recently when my grandmother sent my mom and I packages of clothing that didn’t fit her anymore. For those of you who know me well, I love vintage fashion. So, needless to say, I was fascinated by my grandmother’s impeccable taste.

The first thing that caught my eye was a black and white polka-dotted dress

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***Please excuse the dirty mirror and, of course, the mirror selfie***

Then there’s the makeup look then went with it:

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Not only do I adore fashion, but I am a HUGE makeup junkie. This is actually the same lipstick that Audrey Hepburn wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It’s Revlon’s “Pink in the Afternoon.” The blush, bronzer, and highlighter are from IT Cosmetics and the eyeshadow is from Bare Minerals!

The next thing that caught my eye was a long skirt:

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It’s hard to tell what the pattern is, but rosewood is one of my favorite colors (number 5 to purple, blue, pink, and red). You can’t even tell I’m wearing a skirt and top because it all flows so well! The top is from H&M and the shoes are from ZARA.

Then there’s the makeup look that went with it:

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With natural waves (my hair is actually straight, but if I sleep on it when it’s wet, it gets wavy), and the right lipstick, I rocked this look with confidence. The lipstick is Colourpop x Disney’s Tiana. Shout out to my best friend (hi Katelyn!) for surprising me with it!

 

 

Living La Vida De Moda: Maria Del Carmen Mercado

A year ago when I wrote an article called Meet Local Fashion Designer Maria Del Carmen Mercado for my internship. We’ve been in touch since I sat down with Maria in Dave’s Coffee Shop in Providence, but I decided to write a follow-up article (a whole year later) about the Dominican Republic-born, Providence-based fashion designer.

“I didn’t choose fashion, fashion chose me.”

Maria recalls the days where her career as a designer, and essentially, a creative began: “My story of a fashion designer or creative began as a child, where I would sew the clothes for my dolls and my friends’ dolls, and everything around me was usually transformed into dolls.  For example, mango seeds. I would usually paint a face on them with nail polish and they would become my dolls. [My] business also started early; I would make doll clothes and trade them for candy or coins.”

Her curiosity for fashion and particularly the art of movement peaked when she was in high school. “I was involved in after-school art programs and activities.  But it wasn’t until high school where I started to work after school in a clothing store.  I also modeled with two agencies and started to draw clothes.  During this time I became very curios why the clothing that I loved never fit correctly so during my time in my job I would put close attention to the fabrics that I handled, the details of the clothes but most importantly, I would ask myself how would I change the garment to make it fit me the way I liked,” says Mercado. And because of this experience, she likes to work with clients to give them the perfect jacket, wedding dress, bathing suit, etc that fits them just right.

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After graduating high school, she received a scholarship to attend the Rhode Island School of Design pre-college program (concentrating on fashion), where she built a portfolio and eventually got into her first-choice college: The Fashion Insitute of Technology in New York, New York where she graduated as a fashion design major in 2007.

“Fashion is a form of expression, my own personal way to see a shape or garment.  It is my way to represent a body’s figure.  To me, fashion is away of life. Things become shapes, color and structure.  It’s a way of putting attention to the details around me.  For example, my opinion on politics, history and culture. Fashion is thinking outside the box. It is knowing when to listen to your intuition and being able to recognize what is and isn’t there.”

If you are thinking about a career in fashion design, Mercado does have a few words of wisdom for you: “First I want to say that fashion is NOT what you see in the magazines, another word is NOT just glamour.  Just like a doctor or engineer, there are certain things that a fashion designer needs to learn.  In my opinion, to be a good fashion designer, I feel education is key.  Even if you are wealthy how would you communicate what you want to the pattern maker or the seamstress or most importantly, how would you know the difference between a patterned sleeve or a skirt?  To be a fashion designer there are so many components that you need to learn that you can’t learn by watching youtube channels.  Pattern making, draping, fashion illustration, color theory,  are just a few things that are a must for a fashion designer.”

Mercado continues: “to be a great fashion designer you need to be adventurous, willing to take risks and be different.  Learn to look within yourself and make decisions that YOU feel that work.  You need to have the confidence to turn off the voices and follow your heart.  I feel that the best direction is to design what I feel is correct NOT what is trendy.  I believe that you can’t teach someone how to be an artist but they can learn the technical side and the best way is through formal education.  Being an artist is seeing and feeling beyond what’s there, how can you teach that?”

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When asked what her favorite part of being a designer was, she said she enjoys every aspect of it! But that isn’t to say, that there aren’t times when she doesn’t have creator’s block. When she does get creator’s block, she doesn’t go by what other people are creating or what’s “in style,” at the moment. She just moves on to another project or takes a walk to recharge and refresh her mind. That also isn’t to say that she doesn’t get critical with herself, either, which she said is a weakness of hers.

“Although I am much better now, but it took awhile to realize that no one is going to give my brand 100% but me.  MDCM designs are my feelings, the way I see things, my way of life.  Realizing that no one but me could convey this has helped me a great deal, most importantly excepting that perfect does not exist.”

With that being said, in the fashion world, one is always learning, making mistakes, taking risks, and finding themselves through their work!

To view Maria’s website, click here  and to shop, go to http://www.mariadelcarmenmercado.shop! Thank you, Maria, for the interview and for your powerful, impactful words of advice!

***Photographers of the design images are @gabinichi and @denzzzadd from ristudio504.com — check out their work! 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Corduroy Jumpers are the New Blazers | Winter Fashion 101

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these fashion diary entries — since September 2018! I’m currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop in my cute little town doing work for thesis. Having a lavender tea never made me feel more relaxed and focussed than I am right now!

Spring Semester isn’t coming for another two weeks (at least for me.) As I said in my last post, this is the year of the color, purple and its many shades (shall I call this post Fifty Shades of Purple? Nah.) The colors purple, black, winter white, and even tan are paving their way into my wardrobe this winter season. New year, new clothes, am I right?

I took it upon myself to purchase a rosewood corduroy jumpsuit from SHEIN, along with a newspaper print top. I mainly bought the top to get myself motivated for my thesis topic LOL. Could it also foreshadow my future career? Who knows?

Anyway, here’s my jumper and top paired with black nylons and black Chinese Laundry high-knee wedged boots:

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While I’m at it, I’ll also attach a picture of my makeup:

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[Shameless self-promo] On the subject of bold lips and eyeshadow, have you checked out my magazine, Bold Lips and Coffee Talk, yet? We’re looking for blog writers and poetry submissions!

So this was short-and-sweet and to-the-point, just like my jumper!

Learning How To Say ‘No’ And Learning What You Want Out Of Life

This hasn’t really been my week, I’ll be honest. But you know what they say, the dark brings out the stars. Light has always been a motif in my life. In fact, my horoscope for today said, “don’t feel bad about wanting more.” In some cases, you need to push for what you want, which often means sacrifice.

If you know me, you’d know I always say, “October isn’t my month.” It really isn’t. No matter how much I love fall, the leaves, the weather, and even people start to show their true colors. I can’t help but think to myself, “do I really love fall? Or just the fashion and the pumpkin spice lattes I can get at Starbucks?” I had to ask myself a different question last week, but in a different context: “do I really want to write about fashion?” Needless to say, I wound up quitting my fellowship at CFashionista, but no worries, I’ll still be writing about fashion in my school newspaper.

Another thing: I took it upon myself to schedule a phone call with a graduate student at a prospective graduate school I really want to attend once I graduate from RWU. After sitting in countless senior seminar poetry classes, I’ve come to realize that the one thing I truly love to write is… guess what… POETRY.

I rediscovered poetry December 2016, when I was in the process of transferring colleges. It helped me cope with a lot that was going on in my life. (My poetry portfolio will be coming out within the next year or so, I figure.) Moreover, I’m planning on pursuing my MFA in poetry after I graduate.

Pursuing poetry as a concentration meant saying “no” to fiction writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love both; but poetry is my strongest avenue. This is where I’m going to get into saying “no,” when you need to.

I often call myself a “people pleaser,” which doesn’t necessarily work out for me. But in reality, you have to learn how to start saying, “no,” especially if it’s something you don’t want to do. I laugh as I write this because I’m remembering this Jimmy Fallon clip of Kevin Hart being scared shitless of Robert Irwin’s animals. No joke, I’d be scared, too. But like a lot of people, I have a problem with saying “no,” at times. Saying “no” will end up working out in your favor, when necessary. We know what we want, we’re not stupid.

So, moral of this blog post, don’t be afraid to say “no,” because, in the end, you’ll learn what you really want out of life. That goes for absolutely everything. Need I say more? I think not.

xoxo,

April 💜

THE FASHION DIARIES: Black and Tan to the T in Boston

For those of you who don’t know, Boston was my backyard for 20 years prior to moving to Little Rhody. I remember how resentful I was to my parents for making my brother and I move to another state. My mom later told me, “you’ll be away from the bastards who hurt you in Massachusetts.” I was getting over a break-up at the time, so I agreed with her and never looked back — not even a glimpse of Massachusetts.

This past Friday I actually went back to Boston to visit a friend at MassArt (hi, Kira!). Everywhere we went, including Primark, I said out loud, “Oh, Boston. Oh, how I’ve missed you.” I didn’t realize that I really did miss Boston and was almost reluctant to come “home” to my small town in Rhode Island. The minute I saw the Vera Gas Tank with the “strokes” of paint on it, I said in a Snapchat story, “Boston, I’m home.” It’s true– Massachusetts is all I’ve really known, despite how well I’ve gotten to know Providence. I can’t wait to return to Boston for grad school in a year or two.

Anyway, Providence may be the “creative capital,” but Boston is home to the famous MFA, the ICA, and some of the more creative spirits (not to mention so many publishing houses — a dream!)

I had to make sure I looked my absolute best while staying comfortable at the same time because God knew we would be walking a lot. What I wasn’t really cognizant of when choosing my outfits is that I mostly packed the colors tan and black. So here we go with the outfits!

1.)  Cheetah Girl or NAH:

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No joke, I swear one of the Cheetah Girls wears this ADORABLE AND TRENDY teddy-bear coat in one of the movies! Here I have it paired with simple blue jeans, a black top, and a pair of black booties with a silver toe and a bit of a heel from H&M. I saw this jacket at Primark, and I knew it was something I had to have. Kira bought one, too!

2.)  Black Sneaks Back ALRIGHT!

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Good play on words, huh? 🤣 Here I am wearing black jeans, black sneakers, paired with a tan-sherpa vest (that actually does keep you warm in the fall) and a tan striped shirt. This picture was taken at the Prudential Center. Sneakers are actually making a huge comeback this year, and will hopefully continue because they really are comfortable! Whether they are Nike, Adidas, Yeezy’s, or even a pair from Wal-Mart, sneakers are truly fashionable.

One thing I need to learn to master is how to take the T if I’m going to be living in Boston in the near future. Growing up in a suburban town outside of Boston, I didn’t have access to public transportation. But it’s all a learning experience!

Boston, thank you for lending me a second chance to show you how much I cherish you. ❤

 

Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection

So, as most of you know, I just wrapped up my editorial internship at Rhode Island Monthly, and it’s been a dream come true.

Rhode Island Monthly is the premier publication in Rhode Island, and I’m forever grateful to have been a part of it for nearly four months. It’s almost weird not going into Providence every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Some of the highlights include:

  1.  Best of RI Party

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I wrote an entire blog post about my experience here.

2.  Interviewing Maria del Carmen Mercado

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via Rhode Island Monthly

Maria del Carmen Mercado is an RI fashion designer. She taught me so much in this one interview. For example, why post on social media every day when you can just post something and say “hey, this is what I’ve been working on,” or something inspiring. Read the entire article here.

3.  Trying out a (free) fitness class

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Photo by me

To read the full article, click here.

4.  Branching out of my comfort zone and writing my own fashion blog!

At RIM, I was blessed with the opportunity to create my own “fashion plate” on the site. One of the (many) things I did was go out and take photos of young women in PVD to compile a Fashion-Forward: Street Style in PVD post. This was definitely one way of branching out of my comfort zone.

5.  Throwing the first pitch at a PawSox game

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I know, I have bad form, but my aim was okay! This came as a surprise for all three of us, interns. It started with a picture, then we were told to get into a single-file line onto the field and we were each given a ball. None of us knew what we were doing! When we were told to throw the balls to the catcher, Fernando, we just went with the flow and, yes, someone got a picture of us throwing the FIRST PITCH! We then had to get all of the RI Monthly employees to sign our balls. Did the PawSox win? No, but we all won a HUGE highlight of our summer internships.

6.  Meeting fashion icon, Iris Apfel

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Yes, this is Iris Apfel still killing the fashion game at ninety-six-years-old! I met her at RIB & RHEIN in Newport. For the full article, click here.

I definitely found fashion to be my “niche” this past summer and will continue to write about it wherever the wind takes me! Rhode Island may not be the fashion capital of America, but it certainly is the “Creative Capital.”

Thank you, Rhode Island Monthly, for the best summer of my life ☺♥

Next stop, an Editorial Fellowship at College Fashionista, my junior year at RWU, and SENIOR SEMINAR/THESIS!

xoxo,

April