UCOF Blog

Fashion Heals

In Uncategorized / March 24, 2015 / 0 Comments

By Michael J. Palladino

grace-manaloThrough an annual event helping survivors of domestic violence, Reveal NYC uses the power of beauty to help these courageous women who are moving their lives forward. Reveal is a New York City-based organization that aims to foster uplifting experiences for women survivors of domestic violence. Created in 2007, the group partners with corporations and professionals in the beauty, health and fashion industries to restore dignity, reinforce love and celebrate beauty through monthly workshops and an Annual Makeover. Reveal has two major components. The first is a series of monthly workshops hosted through a prominent partner shelter in the city. The second part is an Annual Makeover event which gathers some 100 volunteers and has served over 75 women from four partner shelters in years past. The women arrive at a confidential location where they are pampered – nails painted, hair styled, makeup – as well as receive style advice from a number of professionals in the fashion industry. The aim of the Makeover Event is to instill confidence and celebrate the inherent beauty of the women – no strings attached.

Grace Manalo, UCOF Manager of Education shared this opportunity with our team and I was quick to volunteer. Domestic violence is a concern for us all as statistically 1:4 women have experienced domestic violence first hand. For those of you who don’t know Grace, she is passionate member of the UCOF team and along with Ji In Lee, a vital part of our Department of Education. Grace is a first generation Filipino-American born and raised in New York. She attended the University of Delaware where she graduated a dual major with a BS in Apparel Design and a BS in Merchandising. She has had professional experience in Product Development and Design in NYC. Her goal in life is to continue her path of self-discovery and self-expression through helping others. It is through fashion that Grace is helping to impact the lives of others. This event allowed us both to bring our fashion and styling abilities to Reveal NYC while also promoting the work we do at UCOF.

The event was held at an undisclosed location for the privacy and safety of the guests who attended. The women are currently in the NYC shelter system and were escorted to the event and given a day to make them feel special and reclaim their beauty. The event had several area stations to include a “RTW” area which offered the women clothing and advice from trained staff complete with fitting rooms and personal stylists, hair, makeup, skin care and even a private area for neck and back messages. Lunch was also offered, a personal photo shoot, large goodie bag and a single red rose. To see these women smiling and laughing and happy was the best way for us to spend our Saturday.

It is so important for us as UCOF to insert ourselves in the community and at events like this. It allows us to reinforce our commitment to fashion education by sharing our knowledge and talents beyond our students.   It also shows the power of fashion to help change the trajectory of someone who is reaching for a fresh start, reaching to find her place in the world and ultimately to feel good about herself and to reclaim her inner and outer beauty.

I applaud Grace Manalo for her commitment to UCOF and her passion to find many different ways to use fashion to help make a difference. Grace and I are looking forward to work closely with Reveal NYC and potentially to find points of collaboration with them as we share a respect for fashion and its power to empower.

Our Intern: Renzo Orellana

In Blog / March 10, 2015 / 0 Comments

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The Conglomerate

By Ada Onuegbe

Our Social Media intern, Renzo Orellana, was born and raised in Fuji-Shi, Japan, where he lived for 9 years before settling in the United States with his family. His love for design brought him to United Colors of Fashion (UCOF). “What I enjoy most about fashion is the creativity of many and the innovation behind it,” he said. Renzo is well-rounded and has many interests besides fashion. Soccer, cooking, volunteering, and running are just a few of his many  hobbies. Outside of UCOF, Renzo is also a Brand Ambassador for Uber and a Marketing Coordinator for Bash Records. Renzo’s goal is to become a successful investor and international business professional. We believe he is well on his way.

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Student Profile: Wilanda Nicholas

In Blog / March 3, 2015 / 0 Comments

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Wilanda, The First

By Ada Onuegbe

The United States, affectionately nicknamed the “land of opportunity”, has long held a reputation for generating stories of success despite obstacles. Some routes to success are very straightforward while others are considerably more meandering. Like many journeys, the one that Wilanda Nicolas began was intended to be bit more direct. She decided to take the opportunity to enjoy the scenic route.

She began on her journey by changing majors a few times during college in an effort to find a fit for her creative mind. The choice was made more difficult by being a first-generation American. “There’s a lot of things that me going to college, I didn’t know. I had to kind of figure out everything on my own…I went from Nursing to Teaching and I finally ended up in Psychology when I graduated,” she said. Wilanda had never been exposed to the idea of a career in a creative field of study. Although she eventually found a major she loved, she still felt the need to explore her passion for fashion design more deeply.

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Student Profile: Briana Codella

In Blog / February 25, 2015 / 0 Comments

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Briana Will Show You Up

By Ada Onuegbe

As a Fashion Merchandising and Management major at FIT, Briana Codella was constantly told that there was a solid line between those who designed and those who managed — one could not be the other. Eager to explore fashion design, the stereotypes in college disappointed a girl who was raised to take on the world without limitations.

Growing up, creative freedom was encouraged by her school teacher mother. “She left me to do whatever my heart desired,” said Briana. “She let me be as random as I wanted to be.” Briana appropriately never felt a need or desire to conform. Self-described as “well-rounded”, she developed many interests as a child and explored all of them as little or as in-depth as she saw fit.

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Student Profile Series

In Blog / February 24, 2015 / 0 Comments

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Student Profile Series

By Ada Onuegbe

Year after year, students in our Fashion Education Seminar inspire us with their enthusiasm, persistence and dedication. They are some of the most remarkable people we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and we want you to know all about them too. We let you in on some of their aspirations and struggles during 2014.

This year, we’re continuing the tradition and delving even deeper into their love for all things fashion. Visit the United Colors of Fashion blog every week to learn how the Fashion Education Seminar impacts the lives and academic journeys of our students.

Spring is Almost Here…

In Blog / February 17, 2015 / 0 Comments

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Spring is Almost Here…

By Ada Onuegbe

Have you registered for our Fashion Education Program yet? The deadline for the Spring session is quickly approaching. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the courses being offered this year:

  • Fashion 360 Seminar
  • Styling 101
  • Fashion Branding
  • Introduction to Visual Merchandising

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The cost of the program is free for candidates who are:

  • Residents of the NYC metro area*
  • In financial need
  • Between the ages of 15 and 20 and currently enrolled in school.**
  • Interested in the fashion field
  • Able to attend the entire seven week seminar program in order to earn a Certificate of Completion

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Fashion Education Gains a New Supporter

In Uncategorized / February 10, 2015 / 0 Comments

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Fashion Education Gains a New Supporter

By Ada Onuegbe

Between the popularity of television shows like Project Runway and sartorial blogs, fashion is continuing to define itself as an art form to be taken seriously — so seriously that First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a fashion education workshop as part of the Reach Higher initiative in October of 2014.

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Industry luminaries such as Tracy Reese and Anna Wintour were in attendance, providing insight in an advice panel and mentoring students during workshops. The First Lady gave a speech in which she addressed the wealth of careers in the fashion industry.

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UCOF to debut student collections at Haiti Fashion Week

In Uncategorized / January 29, 2015 / 0 Comments

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UCOF to debut student collections at Haiti Fashion Week

NEW YORK, NY (October 29, 2014) – Following a roaring response to the recent UCOF Gala themed Paper Dreams: Writing New Runways the work of their students are set to enjoy another first. As the first registered 501(c)(3) organization in the USA to offer free fashion education to under-resourced youth, their runway debuts have proved the mission to Empower Youth Through Fashion Education to be a fruitful one. On Saturday, November 1, 2014, at the prestigious Karibe Hotel in Pétion-Ville, Haiti, UCOF will showcase the collections of their two student designed labels Arshel and Rendezvous at Haiti Fashion Week.

Haiti Fashion Week

The event, which celebrates Haiti’s awakening to the importance of local fashion and the industry at large will see a diverse showcase of designs presented to interested fans of the craft as well as celebrities and dignitaries.

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UCOF Academy Celebrates Dreams with Fourth Annual Gala

In Uncategorized / October 15, 2014 / 0 Comments

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UCOF Academy celebrates dreams with fourth annual Gala

NEW YORK, NY (October 15, 2014) – It has been a week since United Colors of Fashion Inc. celebrated the hard work of their students at their fourth annual Gala, at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory, New York. This year the Gala theme; “Paper Dreams: Writing New Runways,” paid homage to the dreams of the students, who are ultimately the driving force behind the mission UCOF Academy has to empowering youth through fashion education. It is the dreams they have written down on paper that will redefine the fashion industry of the future. In essence, they are now writing new runways, which will change fashion in ways as different as their dreams are. This year, the UCOF Gala was all about the students and in preparation for their fashion debut they presented their own collections on the night.

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The students went through the year in training to build their own collections, which exceeded even their expectations. Throughout the entire experience the students learned in the areas of design, textile, marketing, fashion merchandising, management, business development, and event production, which have allowed them to showcase their spectacular collections last week.

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UCOF Academy Celebrates Dreams with Fourth Annual Gala

In Uncategorized / October 8, 2014 / 0 Comments

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UCOF Academy celebrates dreams with fourth annual Gala

NEW YORK, NY (October 8th, 2014) – Tonight, United Colors of Fashion Inc. will celebrate the hard work of our students at the fourth annual Gala, taking place at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory, New York at 6:30pm. This year the Gala theme; “Paper Dreams: Writing New Runways,” pays homage to the dreams of the students, who are ultimately the driving force behind the mission UCOF has to empowering youth through fashion education. It is the dreams they have written down on paper that will redefine the fashion industry of the future. In essence, they are now writing new runways, which will change fashion in ways as different as their dreams are. This year, the UCOF Gala is all about the students and in preparation for their fashion debut they will present their own collections on the night. In addition, they are giving their seal of approval of the theme with a collection of paper dresses, which will be put on display.

The students have gone through the year in training to build their own collections, which have exceeded even their expectations. Throughout the entire experience our students have learned in the areas of design, marketing, merchandising and production, which have allowed them to showcase their spectacular collections tonight.

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