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by Ada Onuegbe

United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) continues to partner with various New York City High Schools to host Career Day Programs. UCOF will be sharing information about fashion careers and business opportunities with students in grades through 9-12 at the following schools:

Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers

Annual Career Day

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 11:30-3pm

411 Pearl Street, New York City, NY 10038

UCOF Vice President of Fashion Education Michael Palladino worked with MBHS Principal Naima Cook to present the 2015 Fashion Career Exploration Day. Breakout sessions were presented by fashion industry insiders who shared their experiences with Murry Bergtraum students. Sessions included Styling, Fashion Magazines, the Business of Fashion and Event Planning to name a few. We are looking forward to returning to Murry Bergtraum and furthering student engagement.

Lower East Side Preparatory High School (LESP)

Annual Career Fair

Wednesday March 23rd, 2016 – 11:00 AM to 2:20PM.

145 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

UCOF participated in the school’s career event last year, presenting Personal Branding workshop. We are looking forward to returning for the 2016 Career Fair and developing our ongoing partnership with the school.

Flushing High School

“5th Annual Career Conference: Visualize Your Future”

Saturday, April 9, 2016 9:00 am – 1:30 pm

35-01 Union Street Flushing, NY 11354

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response by students at last year’s Career Conference, we are excited to be returning and speaking with Flushing High School students at this years Conference.

For any information on our Fashion Career Explorations Day, Fashion Education Seminar program, or general inquiries please contact Michael Palladino:

United Colors of Fashion Hosts Fashion Career Exploration Day

United Colors of Fashion Hosts Fashion Career Exploration Day at Murry Bergtraum High School by Ada Onuegbe


Sandi Bass, Jacqui Jenkins & Everick Brown

NEW YORK, NY  (October 7, 2015): United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) and the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers (MBHS) partnered to host Fashion Career Exploration Day. The career day event was structured in a conference format. Students were led through a variety of sessions such as Styling, Event Planning and Fashion Show Production. UCOF ambassadors, industry professionals, administrators, and community leaders met personally with students at the after-program networking event.

“ ‘The High School for Business Careers’ seemed like the perfect choice,” Michael Palladino, Vice President of Fashion Education at UCOF, said of the decision to partner with MBHS. The high school is oriented towards preparing its students for business careers, offering courses in marketing, tourism, finance, human resources, information systems, economics, computer science, law, and clerical fields alongside the state standard curriculum. The career day event marked the expansion of course offerings at MBHS to incorporate Humanities-related business careers.

Fashion Career Exploration Day was well-received by both students and administrators.

Naima Cook, the new principal of MBHS as of August 2014, expects an even greater response to the rollout of the Fashion Education Seminar at the school this fall. “I know how important it is for our students to see people who look like them or have come from similar experiences achieve their dreams,” she said. “Career Day through UCOF has given our students a tangible and realistic lens on what it means to be in the Fashion industry. Students are able to connect the dots and understand why what they are doing in the math and English classes mater and how these experiences are setting them up for future success.”

Fashion Career Day Contributors and Organizers, from left: Murry Bergtraum Principal Naima Cook, Breezy Dotson, UCOF VP Fashion Education Michael Palladino, Rebecca Johnson, Sandi Bass, Jacqui Jenkins, Pamela Macklin, Coco Dotson, Everick “Rick” Brown and UCOF Founder and President Ciano Clerjuste. (Sarah Parlow was not available for the photo.)

Fashion Career Day Contributors and Organizers, from left: Murry Bergtraum Principal Naima Cook, Breezy Dotson, UCOF VP Fashion Education Michael Palladino, Rebecca Johnson, Sandi Bass, Jacqui Jenkins, Pamela Macklin, Coco Dotson, Everick “Rick” Brown and UCOF Founder and President Ciano Clerjuste. (Sarah Parlow was not available for the photo.)

The seminar “Fashion 360” will be hosted on Friday afternoons at the MBHS campus and taught by UCOF instructors. Both organizations are dedicated to providing a diverse educational experience and will integrate UCOF’s current students, who do not attend MBHS, into the seminar. “This is a great opportunity for MBHS to showcase their efforts in providing unique opportunities and to raise awareness for UCOF and our programs.”


MBHS Fashion Career Day Schedule Sessions & Presenters

Fashion Magazines : Pamela Macklin, Former Fashion Director, Essence Magazine

Fashion Accessories: Coco & Breezy Dotson, Coco & Breezy Eyewear

Event Planning: Rebecca Johnson, Celebrevents

Fashion Retail: Michael Palladino, UCOF VP of Education

The World of Modeling: SandiBass, Sandi Bass International

The Journey of the Entrepreneur: Jacqueline Jenkins, Director of Graduate Studies at LIM

Interior Design: Everick “Rick” Brown, Rick Brown Interiors

The Numbers Game: Sindy Sagastume,UCOF VP

Fashion Styling: Sarah Parlow, Freelance Stylist


About UCOF

United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to empower underserved NYC middle school and high school students through free fashion education. The program consists of strategic seminars that introduce students to the opportunities in fashion while stressing the importance of written and oral communication skills, mathematics and the value of collaboration. For more information about UCOF and the Fashion Education Seminar Program, please visit:

Thank You for attending the 2013 Annual Gala

Thank you photo-Gala 2013
Dear Supporters,

On behalf of myself and the entire United Colors of Fashion team, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your unwavering support of our organization and our cause.

On October 9th, we held our annual gala at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in
New York City and it successfully fulfilled what UCOF believes in — FAITH. HOPE.
FASHION. We remain faithful that our mission to empower youth through fashion will
launch the careers of our interns, while we provide hope for their futures and for our
children in Soweto, South Africa through the magical medium of fashion.

It was such a privilege to have Fern Mallis, fashion industry leader and the renowned
creator of New York Fashion Week, as the Honorary Chair for the event. Legendary
supermodel Pat Cleveland has made invaluable contributions to the worlds of fashion
and the arts, and was honored with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms Cleveland was presented with the award by Bethann Hardison, and was accompanied onstage by supermodels of the 1980’s including Carla Hall, Coco Mitchell, Patricia Tracey, Jamie Foster, and Linda Morand, among several others.

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Sade Solomon: A relentless beacon of hope

BY: Jamil Khan

It is said that success requires 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and that luck is simply the meeting place of opportunity and preparation. Whatever you choose to call it; the relentless efforts of United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) to create opportunities for talented under-resourced youth can best be represented by our most industrious intern: Sade Solomon.

Sade Solomon in the studio in South Africa.

Sade Solomon in the studio in South Africa.

This South Bronx native and Pennsylvania State University human development and family studies graduate started her journey as a caseworker. Her true passion for fashion could not be suppressed and eventually led her to UCOF three years ago where she has since done amazing things including an all expenses paid trip to South Africa in March 2013 as part of UCOF’s third charity cycle. It was there that she also received necessary exposure to African interpretations of fashion. The trip was the perfect addition to Sade’s frame of reference as she returned to New York to create her own collection for debut at this year’s annual gala event.

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BY: Jamil Khan

Our model, Bisi at Mapetla Day Care with us holding a child - Soweto, South Africa

Our model, Bisi at Mapetla Day Care with us holding a child – Soweto, South Africa

JOHANNESBURG – March 2013 realized the long awaited visit of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) to South Africa. The annual charity trip, which lasted from March 6th – 13th, will be engraved in our minds and hearts forever.

The trip served as a dual-purpose visit, due to the coincidental merger of our Charity Care and Fashion Education programs, taking us to the humility of Soweto and the flamboyance of Joburg Fashion Week.

Sade working inside David's studio in South Africa.

Sade working inside David’s studio in South Africa.

Our Achiever of The Year, Sade Solomon, and our President, Ciano Clerjuste took all the wonderful work UCOF has done in the last year and presented it to South Africa in the true sense of Fashion For Humanity. Sade visited South Africa for the first time, where she underwent a rigorous training program under the guidance of David Tlale, Shaldon Kopman (Naked Ape) and Jan Malan (Umzingeli Productions). She was introduced first hand to the workings of the South African fashion industry, working backstage at the shows of prima designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg. She also learned how to produce and market a fashion show under the guidance of world-renowned show producer Jan Malan.

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My Journey in South Africa as Achiever of the Year

BY Sade Solomon

Sade Solomon in South Africa

Sade Solomon in South Africa

I knew that on this journey to South Africa, gratitude would be one quality I would have to take home with me. However, I didn’t expect that I would feel so grateful on the first day of my trip.
On day 1, I traveled from the airport to the studio of David Tlale who is renowned as the Marc Jacobs of South Africa. Upon arrival I was introduced to his amazing team of pattern-makers, seamstresses, tailors and designers.
In the spirit of UCOF I was put straight to work.

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Achiever Of The Year: Sade Solomon

BY: Jamil Khan

Sade Solomon

Sade Solomon

JOHANNESBURG – Every year United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) chooses an intern as the Top Intern of the Year. This intern is usually an outstanding fashion hopeful that has been learning all they can through our Fashion Education Program and working hard behind the scenes of UCOF.

The intern we’re honoring today takes hard work to a different level and therefore we are naming Sade Solomon our Achiever of the Year. This phenomenal young lady hails from South Bronx in New York, where graduating from high school is deemed nothing short of a miracle. Having faced insurmountable odds, Sade refused to accept the script circumstance handed her to live her life by. After graduating from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, she accepted a job as a caseworker for a New York City foster care agency. Being exposed to the sad reality of childhood dynamics for New York children, Sade decided her role as a caseworker was stifling her ability to do the best she could for her juvenile clients.

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New York Fashion Week: Then and Now

BY: Jamil Khan

David Tlale: Spring 2013 Collection

David Tlale: Spring 2013 Collection

JOHANNESBURG – Now one of the most exciting events in the Big Apple, held bi-annually, New York Fashion Week was once but a ploy to bring attention to American Fashion. First held in 1943 and named “Press Week”, it was organized by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert to divert attention from French fashion during World War II, when insiders of the fashion industry could not travel to Paris to see fashion shows. The aim of the event was to allow fashion journalists to see American creations, which they had previously ignored. Strangely, buyers were not invited and had to visit designers’ showrooms. Following the success of Press Week, American fashion soon started laying itself down on the pages of Vogue where French designs took sole occupancy for years.

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United Colors Of Fashion Presents “Hope Beyond Horizons” in New York

For Immediate Release

New York, NY (January 26, 2013) Fashion philanthropy organization, United Colors Of Fashion (UCOF) is due to present an Avant-garde exhibition commencing on February 9 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, extending until March 2, 2013, at Rain NYC, located at 59 West 49th Street at Rockefeller Center.

United Colors Of Fashion, a 501 (C)(3) organization, which Vigore magazine calls an “epidemic of hope,” runs a fashion education program in New York City.
The program engages under-resourced youth with opportunities in fashion and exposes them to the fashion industry in its true form. This program is unique in that it is the only one in the United State that is offered to interns free of charge. In addition, the organization heavily provides financial assistance to children with HIV/AIDS in Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa.

“Hope Beyond Horizons,” the name given to this exhibition, alludes the parallel hope and passion of aspiring artist, and that of those fighting for their lives in Soweto. A horizon is the depth as far as what the human eye can visually encompass, but UCOF offers exceeding hope beyond these limitations by providing individuals with inconceivable opportunities.

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A tangible truth.

BY Jamil Khan

A Mozambican teenager peeling a pineapple in the market. Photo by Jamil Khan for UCOF

A Mozambican teenager peeling a pineapple in the market. Photo by Jamil Khan for UCOF

When going to a holiday destination one is inclined to abandon the stresses and burdens of day-to-day life. That is exactly what I planned to do during my holiday visit to Bilene, Mozambique this past festive season. As I drove through the picturesque province of Mpumalanga in South Africa, I felt the holiday mood enveloping me and a sense of excitement started building for my tropical beach holiday. Once my family and I conquered the border control offices at Ressano Garcia, the holiday had begun.

When I entered Mozambique, I quickly realized how much had been lost in translation of reality to the brochure. As a first time visitor, the experience was most sobering, because I got so close to abject poverty I could physically touch it. I looked into the faces of smiling Mozambicans who still had the politeness to welcome me into their country and my eyes fell on their dust-laden feet with a heavy heart. Passing by them, in an air-conditioned luxury SUV I had become one pole of the inequality that characterizes the African continent. A further realization slapped me in the face – I am that pole in my own country as well.

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