Sunday, February 14, 2010

ARISE and Shine at Bryant Park

"Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream."

~ Lao Tzu

Not too long ago, I was attempting to organize some paperwork and came across some short stories, essays and poems that I have written through the years. One of the essays that caught my attention was the one I had written to go along with my college application. I began the essay describing the scene of a fashion show. I made sure to give vivid detail in order to have the reader feel like they were actually there when they closed their eyes and let the words penetrate their imagination. Tonight, I felt like I was seeing my essay come to life.

The scene was set at Bryant Park in New York for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, under a tent filled with people from all walks of life with one common thread amongst us all...the love of fashion. It's amazing how when something you dreamed about since you were a little girl comes to life and the overwhelming emotion that takes over you. Driving in the car, I was excited, but calm. The closer we got, my heart started to beat faster and my mind started to race. Walking through the entrance, I felt like my knees were going to buckle leaving me to depend on my killer six inch heels for support.

Once inside, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I barely noticed the cars that were on display. My attention was being diverted to the outfits that people chose to wear. Anyone can wear clothes, but it takes a certain skill to be able to add your personal stamp to it and own it. Being able to see the confidence that these people had made me realize that I need to branch out a little more when it comes to dressing. Time to shake things up a bit :-)

With only a few minutes before we were to be ushered inside to take our seats, my business partner and the man working magic behind the camera, Diallo Ferguson, left to take his position in order to record the show. Oh, did I mention that I'm now a Fashion Correspondent for "A Passion 4 Fashion". It's still in the early stages, but given what we were able to accomplish at our first event, the best is yet to come!

After some more "you look fabulous", we were ushered past a crowd and led into where the ARISE Magazine African Collective Fashion Show would take place. One woman I met was so overwhelmed, that she began to cry. It was endearing to see that I wasn't the only one who was filled with emotion. After what seemed an eternity, the lights dimmed and music began pouring through the speakers. It was a hypnotic blend of drums and voices calling out to the heavens.

And then the spotlights came on and models for Black Coffee put their stamp on the runway adorned in quilted coats that while oversized, looked like they could be worn by anyone. Immediately following their collection, Loin Cloth & Ashes took the stage and showed us that a little splash of color is sometimes the accessory that seems to just complete an outfit. And for the finale, designer Deola Sagoe had the crowd jumping to its feet to celebrate her collection that included pieces with strong silhouettes, beading and fraying. At one point, the models were so in sync with the heavy beating of the drums, that it felt like the crowd would explode from the intensity.

The models made one more go on the runway as the finale. With the last model safely tucked backstage, the rush to the runway began with everyone either trying to accidentally bump into the celebrity that they have been eyeing during the show, or just trying to exit and head to the after party.

As part of my new endeavor as Fashion Correspondent, I was rushing to interview Boston-based designer Prajje Jean-Baptiste of Prajje Couture, to get his views on the show. Standing on the steps outside the tent with a mic in my hand and the wind trying to become my best friend, I gave my first interview and loved every minute of it. Videos and tons of pictures will be posted soon, so stay tuned for that.

With more shows to cover and more designers to interview, this trip is only the beginning of more things to come.


"Conquering the world, one stylish step at a time"