Hello All, long time no see. I have been so busy with school and work that I have been neglecting you. I apologize but Lauren is finally back and I will be posting a lot more of my work and even some of my portfolio throughout the years of my schooling.
I will be graduating this May on the 13th and I have to say it is a long time coming. When I first entered school in 2014 at the age of 27, there was a lot of doubt that I wouldn’t make it, that I was too old to finish school, but I fought through the doubt and all my fears and I made it to the finish line.
I want to thank God, my family and my old and new friends for always believing in me and never letting me fall. Now at 29 I can that I will have my bachelors in Fashion Merchandising, and I am ready to take on the world.
I have even found a new passion for fashion and I think I appreciate this fashion world more for having taken these courses and truly now know what it takes to make a fashion statement, to run a business and to be a designer and merchandiser.
Thank you to Centenary University for allowing me the opportunity to learn at your institution and having a wonderful fashion program.
Eight years ago today full figured women decided to take over the fashion industry by storm. They decided to do this by finding an outlet for emerging “Plus Size” designers to showcase their work. Hence came Full Figured Fashion week (FFFW). FFFW was launched in the fashion city of New York with only 12 brand partnerships and 200 guests with 1 runway show and only 3 small events. Now it has 100 partners with 20 events and 4 fashion runway shows. Leonard Davis who is in charge of front of house production and set design has been with FFFW for six years. “I love working with full figured fashion week because of what it has to offer. It’s a week of seminars, workshops, networking, blogging and entertainment.”
When I first walked in for the 7th anniversary Runway Showcase and Industry Awards ceremony in New York I was aww struck by the ambience of the scenery. Leonard Davis really did his thing. The colors for this year show was lavender and egg shell white. The dim lighting really made the runway pop out and made it for an elegant evening filled with industry celebrities and plus size community supporters. The wonderful décor of pink, purple and white lilies and flowers really made the background stand out. There were spotlights set up everywhere. The glasses of wine and champagne were given out to all the honorees and special guests. They really wanted you to set back, relax and enjoy the show. To my left was a section strictly for taking pictures of the who who’s of the plus size industry. They were taking pictures and given out interviews. This is where I first say the director of Full Figured Fashion Week, Ms. Gwen DeVoe. She was working the room and making sure all her guests were taken care of.
Then walked in Egypt “Ify” Ufele. Ufele was being honored as junior trailblazer of the year for 2016. She brought along her mother who was decked out in a one of a kind Chubiline outfit for the special night. Ufele wore a beautiful mesh poodle skirt that just hit below the knee, a sparkling black tank top and a zebra print sleeved shawl. All designs were by Ufele. Her mother wore a one of kind outfit made out of a red and gold print Kenta clothe with matching purse and head wrap. When Egypt was asked how she felt about being honored for the night she responded, “I am really excited to be here.” At only 10 years old Egypt has been able to establish her own clothing line, a foundation called Bullychasers and made it to New York fashion week; being the only designer to use curvy models.
Full Figured Fashion Week is used to empower plus size women through fashion. Some of the women who have been empowered by the plus size community are Meghan O’ Connor (stylist), Egypt Ufele (junior trailblazer), Jennene Biggins (entrepreneur), Tia Lyn (designer), Nikki Gomez (photographer), Christina Mendez (plus model) and Farrah Estrella (blogger). Not only have these women been inspired by full figured fashion but were also 2016 honorees at the fashion show for making moves and changing the once “size 2 only” industry.
The show featured designs by Fit for Me by Fruit a Loom, QED by Qristyl Frazier, Tia Lyn Lingerie, Eyani Courture, 2B….Continued Custom Denim, Hannah Caroline Couture, Ashley Stewart, True Diva Designs, GatsbyLady London, BGU, Ace Blakely, Bandelettes, Cameo de Bore and Coral and Co.
The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) Community has been around since the early 1920s. First beginning in 1924 with The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becoming the country’s earliest known gay rights organization. Then going through the timeline to 1955 the first lesbian-rights organization in the United States the Daughters of the Bilitis, established in San Francisco. In 1966 the world’s first transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit was established in San Francisco.
Now we jump all the way to 2014 and Rainbow Fashion Week (RFW) was founded. Rainbow Fashion Week was created to showcase queer designers, photographers, models, make-up artists, stylists, merchants, and retail buyers. Founded by E. Jaguar Beckford, owner of Jag and Co, its mission is to make sure each event is tasked with a social responsibility ad campaign, which this year show, was the first carbon neutral fashion show of its kind.
When you first walk into The Garage located on Morton Street in New York in the heart of West Village you are greeted by a high rise ceiling and clean white walls. To my left was a backdrop created for RFW to show all the supporters of the LGBTQ community and donators of RFW. It was decorated with a red carpet for those of the rainbow fashion community so they could be photo’d and interviewed. To the right was light refreshments of white wine and pizza. So unusual for a fashion showcase but so fit the ambience of RFW.
The festivities were kicked off with a mini fashion show of local LGBTQ fashion designers, then came honoring those in the media who are openly gay. Some among honorees featured were Virgil Wilson who was honored for launching the “We are all Equal” campaign for those who have suffered in the LBTQ community of suicide or suicide survivors, Andrew Shade who is founder of BroadwayBlack.com which is a go to website on everything in black culture and the theater, Delvon Johnson who created the magazine FITFL and partners with LaBelleLaDiva Enterprises to bring you up and coming trends of fashion and top celebrity interviews He was also honored for his works as an editor and his presence on radio and TV.
The end of the show was concluded with a memorial to those that lost their lives on that tragic day of June 12, 2016 at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. The displayed the city skyline and rainbow colors as their pictures and names were displayed from the overhead projector with a song dedicated for them. It was a sobering moment that ended the start to gay pride week. It filled with humbleness and love for your brother or sister who was standing next to you.
$440 – italist.com
$115 – farmers.co.nz