Sade Solomon

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UCOF’s Achiever of the Year for 2013

Sade Solomon graduated with a degree in fashion design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). It is evident that she has no intention of resting on her laurels and she is clear that each achievement is only the foundation upon which she can build the next.

Since she started interning with UCOF, this former caseworker has grown into a visionary and a paragon of hope. She has aims of starting her own business through which she can use fashion and philanthropy to encourage and empower youth to fulfill their dreams and passions as she has done. UCOF is proud to be associated with Sade and has kept its promise of assisting her every step of the way to realize her dream of fashion philanthropy that so closely aligns to the mission of UCOF.

In February of this year, Sade designed a number of pieces for the Hope Beyond Horizons exhibition of avant-garde fashion. In March, she visited South Africa during Joburg Fashion Week where she worked behind the scenes. She was an intern under South African designers David Tlale and Naked Ape by Shaldon Kopman and also worked with world-renowned show producer Jan Malan. The many inspirations she received from this trip have given Sade the impetus to launch her first collection on October 9th at the UCOF annual gala. The collection will be presented as an exhibition and will allow guests to get close to the garments, while asking Sade questions about her collection and experience with UCOF. This will precede the international runway show featuring internationally acclaimed designers who have mentored interns such as Sade.

Sade has been part of UCOF’s Fashion Education program for the past 3 years. The program is the first of its kind in the United States and it aims to expose talented but under-resourced New York youth to the opportunities within the fashion industry at no charge. The challenge many newly graduated fashion designers face despite being artistically ready, is funding. The fashion education program allows designers like Sade to focus on design without the worry of funding, which is covered completely by sponsors.

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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.

Of all the people I met and conversed with at David’s studio, about 90% of them have a dream and/or desire to visit, live or work in NYC. In their eyes you can see the burning desire to visit this city they deem the Capital of Fashion.
This is when gratitude began to kick in and I realized how truly blessed I am to be in the fashion industry in NYC. If I could bring them all back to NYC with me to visit the land they’ve always dreamed about, I would.

I wish we could bring one person from David’s studio to visit with him and get the same experience he gets.


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