UCOF Blog

UCOF honors Bruce Reynolds in the name of fashion philanthropy.

In Uncategorized / August 9, 2014 / 1 Comment

BY: Jamil Khan

Bruce Reynolds

Bruce Reynolds

NEW YORK – The foundations of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) have the ethos of giving embedded in them. The UCOF vision has always been reflective of the concept of paying it forward, and it is that vision that has assisted over 350 youth in the tri-state area since 2010. The work that UCOF does through its free fashion education Student Training Arts And Design (STAND) program, gives aspiring fashion professionals the exposure to and training in fashion they would not be able to get starting out in the industry.

Speaking of giving, Bruce Reynolds, a friend of UCOF, celebrated his birthday this week in New York and our President Ciano Clerjuste attended. Bruce has been a trusted advisor to the organization on many topics from business to fashion – which is ultimately his forté. Bruce was the correspondent for ABC’s “On The Red Carpet” where he has interviewed nearly every Hollywood celebrity and he often serves on fashion panels assessing the latest fashion and trends.

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UCOF President Partners to Help Haiti

In Uncategorized / July 26, 2014 / 0 Comments

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UCOF President partners to help Haiti

NEW YORK, NY – July 23rd, 2014 – Three weeks ago the President and Chairman of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF), Ciano Clerjuste, joined a group of 100 people from NOAH NY on a special medical mission in Haiti. With Haiti still picking up the pieces of the devastating 2010 earthquake, NOAH NY took doctors and nurses from various US hospitals, non-medical volunteers and medical students from Howard University, to Fort-Liberte Hospital to provide assistance to those in need. This is the sixth trip the organization has made to Haiti.

Ciano Clerjuste, President and Chairman of United Colors of Fashion, Inc. (UCOF) with patients at Fort Liberte General hospital, Haiti.

Above: Ciano Clerjuste, President and Chairman of United Colors of Fashion, Inc. (UCOF) with patients at Fort Liberte General hospital, Haiti.

“Six years ago NOAH NY decided to focus its medical mission on Haiti’s Northeastern Town of Fort Liberte. More than 25,000 patient visits and 400 surgeries later, we now have a better sense of the needs in Fort Liberte and its surrounding towns. It continues to be apparent that quality healthcare and health education is badly needed. However, there is one caveat, it has to be provided throughout the year and we must have our own facility. We will achieve this goal in 2015,” said Dr. Henry Paul, President of NOAHNY

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Feedback from our students

In Uncategorized by UCOF / May 11, 2014 / 1 Comment

For many who have dreams of choosing fashion as a profession, a long difficult road lies ahead. The progression of the fashion industry has led it to create a partition between the elites who made it in and newcomers who aspire to get in. The partition proves, for most, to be a challenge too hard to confront.

It is for this reason that President of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) Academy; Ciano Clerjuste started this one of a kind organization four years ago. His dreams of becoming a fashion designer were unfortunately deferred due to a personal tragedy. Although he chose a different career, he never forgot his dream and instead of wallowing in bitterness, he chose to invest in the dreams of the many young people who have their hearts set on the same journey.

Today, UCOF Academy actively helps under resourced youth in the tri-state area gain exposure and opportunities within the fashion industry in various fields. As interns of the UCOF Academy Educates: STAND (Students Training Arts and Design) program, which is the only one of its kind offering free training to students, these fashion hopefuls get the opportunity to learn everything about the industry. The experience they take from UCOF Academy equips them with the understanding and resolve thrive in fashion.

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UCOF’s STAND Program Interns Produce ARSHEL

In Uncategorized / May 4, 2014 / 2 Comments

BY: Monde Mtsi

CAPE TOWN – Recently, interns at United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) participating in the STAND Progam (Students Training in Arts and Design) were prescribed a brief to break away in two groups and conceptualize and launch two companies. One group, composed of Wilanda, Rose-Ann, Paul, Winifer, and lead by Norha Kavanagh, put their heads together to create a design house called, ARSHEL.

The company members (L-R): Paul Ulysse, Norha Stacey Kavanagh, Rose-Ann Reynolds and Winnie.  Photo by: Luan Luu

The company members (L-R): Paul Ulysse, Norha Stacey Kavanagh, Rose-Ann Reynolds and Winnie. Photo by: Luan Luu

ARSHEL is a design house which produces womenswear, as the simulated work states. Its vision is to empower young women by creating innovative wardrobe essentials that replicate their personalities of boldness, fierceness and soulfulness, to name a few. The team worked through processes that involved understanding how textiles and design work hand-in-hand; Business Development, Marketing and Communications, and even event production. Some key findings by the group included identifying when presenting to a selection of buyers, what they would need to do to stand out and which retailers their brand would best fit with: These included Variazioni, Edit Boutique and Nordstrom.

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Alonzo expresses fashion in his own style

In Uncategorized / April 6, 2014 / 0 Comments

BY: Jamil Khan

Alonzo Brown

Alonzo Brown

JOHANNESBURG: At the tender age of 23, Alonzo Brown has a firm grip on the reality of life and the dog eat dog nature of society. He has lived by the principles of self-reliance and proactivity. Raised by a single mother in Jersey City, New Jersey Alonzo has always had an interest in fashion, even while maintaining good grades at school and majoring in English.

He sees fashion as the perfect means for self expression and uses it as a mood ring of sorts, claiming that the way he dresses sends a message to people about how he’s feeling on a particular day.

“I love fashion because it is like an extension of my personality and what kind of mood I’m in. It can tell people to back off and leave me alone, or it can invite people in and show the softer side of me. Fashion gives a certain amount of freedom to people and allows them to be who they want to be,” he says.

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Myberson changes his lens

In Uncategorized / March 16, 2014 / 2 Comments

BY: Jamil Khan

Myberson Saint-Pierre

Myberson Saint-Pierre

NEW YORK: When Myberson Saint-Pierre started his journey with United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) two years ago, he had no idea that it would turn out to be one of the most enriching experiences of his career. He casually recalls his days starting out in film and photography when Ciano Clerjuste approached him to be a UCOF intern.

“I had recently purchased my first camera to film documentaries and what ever project I had going on at the moment. When Ciano offered me the opportunity to intern I took it, just because I needed the credits for school and I figured it would be a cool experience. At the time I didn’t know much about UCOF or fashion,” he says.

Soon after that fateful meeting, Myberson was introduced into the magical world of fashion and his lens could not help but lap up all the beauty it had to offer.

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2014 UCOF Academy Media Kit

In UCOF / March 11, 2014 / 0 Comments

The legendary poet Langston Hughes once asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” According to Mr. Hughes, it can dry up like a raisin in the sun, fester like a sore and then run, stink like rotten meat or sugar over like a syrupy sweet. At best, it sags like a heavy load and at worst it explodes.

The options are few, unless you are Ciano Clerjuste. At age 17, his dream of becoming a fashion designer was deferred by unforeseen circumstances. Determined to turn obstacles into opportunities; he decided to live his dream in the lives of the many under-resourced youth he educates in his organization, United Colors of Fashion, Inc. (UCOF) Academy. United Colors of Fashion, Inc. (UCOF) Academy is a New York City-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing FREE fashion focused education and youth development to those who have the desire, but not necessarily the means of pursuing a career in fashion.

Within its four years of inception, via UCOF Academy, Clerjuste has nurtured the dreams of 300 youths from the tri-state area by exposing them to the “behind the velvet ropes” experience of the fashion industry. In addition to educating, Clerjuste and UCOF give back by providing funds and supplies to 100 children living with HIV in South Africa. With the support of an international team of philanthropically-minded, skilled professionals with backgrounds in fashion, beauty, the arts, and business; Clerjuste’s dream and those of many others have become a reality. As UCOF celebrates its fourth year, it invites you to be an integral part in becoming dream makers to those in need.

For more information on United Colors Of Fashion, please contact Ruth Donat, Publicist:
ruth@unitedcolorsoffashion.org | 917-266-4171

Design intern tells of passion for fantasy fashion

In Uncategorized / March 7, 2014 / 0 Comments

BY: Jamil Khan

NEW YORK – Artists often describe their talent as both a blessing and a curse, due to its wholly fulfilling nature, but also its ability to create anguish and conflict in the mind of its possessor. Although she does not see it in quite such a dramatic light, UCOF intern Sabrina Guillaume has always considered herself destined for costume design.

Sabrina Guillaume

Sabrina Guillaume

She has recently graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, but the road that led her to this point is nothing short of magical.

“The way garments tell a story, creates a character, and brings life to a screenplay is something that has always wowed me. I remember watching West Side Story and wanting to dance the Mambo just so I would be able to twirl in a full circle skirt. And seeing Barbra Streisand in Hello Dolly, and Funny Girl and dying to get my hands on one her lavish hats and coats,” she recalls.

Her resume as it stands, is rather impressive already. Throughout her college career she’s been active in the Theatre Arts department; bringing her skill set in various productions such as Antigone, and Bloody Bess as a Costume Designer where she researched and designed costumes in the genre of Elizabethan era and ancient Greek era. Showing her love for education and her versatile nature, she interned for the world premier of Anthropology of a Book Club for Costume Inspiration, where she Researched Muslim women’s traditional clothing and styled the cast according to characters’ religious backgrounds. In August 2013 at the Bronner Brothers International Hair Show in Atlanta, Georgia, Sabrina had the position as a Fantasy Hair Costume Assistant where she assisted celebrity hair stylist Janel Smith in constructing a mermaid costume consisting of hair, fabric, and accessories.

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UCOF’S STAND seminar seals deal for hopeful achiever

BY: Jamil Khan

JOHANNESBURG – There is no instinct as strong as the inborn need we all have to find purpose. For some it is revealed in divine ways when they’re least expecting it, but for most it is only realized through hard work and experimentation. It is exactly this work and experimentation that led 20 year-old Fatoumata Diaby to her true love, fashion.

 

Fatoumata

Fatoumata

Having been diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia (a disease close to UCOF’s mission) as a child, her mother tried to keep her contained in order to prevent any complications with the condition. Fatoumata, however, had other ideas and was not willing to succumb to the condition. Her love for art saw her exposed to the art of dance, writing, designing, sewing, hairstyling and make-up. 

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A wardrobe change gets intern ready for a date with destiny

BY: Jamil Khan

Norha Stacey Kavanagh-photo by Luan Luu for UCOF

Norha Stacey Kavanagh-photo by Luan Luu for UCOF

JOHANNESBURG – It is said that a change is as good as a holiday, but what that change might be is open to interpretation by the vacation seeker. For budding fashion mogul, Norah Kavanagh it was a fateful change of clothes that changed her outlook on the world and the powerful medium of fashion. She is currently a United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) intern and is working hard to be recognized as an Achiever Of The Year.

Coming from a world of uniformity in the form of private school attire, she was opened up to a new world of fashion freedom and self-expression when she started a public school.

“I’ve never been so amazed by the colors that surrounded me. As I walked down the hall, I saw how many students wore what they felt expressed themselves. Most importantly, they had their own identity. Slowly, I started breaking out of my shell. My interest for fashion started growing. I created my own identity through the clothes I wore. My wardrobe evolved and had its own fierce attitude,” she says.

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