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A wardrobe change gets intern ready for a date with destiny

In Blog / January 1, 2014 / 0 Comments

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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Taking our hat off to Desiree Patton: UCOF’s aspiring achiever

In Blog / December 27, 2013 / 0 Comments

BY: Jamil Khan

It is a well-known fact that in order to survive in the ever-changing, fast paced world of fashion one must be prepared to change color like a chameleon. Here at United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) we believe that even the most versatile artists need some practice honing their skills, which is why we have been focusing our energy on our STAND project. A mentorship program for young, but under resourced creatives in New York with dreams of breaking into the fashion and design industry. Each year, our program’s extensive training under the mentorship of the best in the business brings forth an Achiever of the Year. The current title is held by Sade Solomon, who has since managed to showcase her first collection and is well on her way to establishing her own brand.

Desiree Patton

Desiree Patton

If there’s someone who knows a few things about wearing multiple hats it’s Desiree Patton. She is an intern in the program but already heads up her own headgear design business called Desiree by Design. She designs and makes fascinators, hats and high fashion headbands and believes in service and purpose in business. It is this passion that has lead her to join the UCOF cause for the past two years. As diverse as her craft, she has a degree in Business Administration and is also pursuing a qualification in Image Consulting at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

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UCOF helps humble hopefuls realize big dreams

In Blog / December 17, 2013 / 0 Comments

BY: Jamil Khan

The global creative fashion industry finds itself in a position of being one of the most influential, lucrative industries of our time. The enormity of the industry was however, built on the backs of eager young creatives who were willing to do anything to have piece of the pie, which would essentially bring them worldwide acclaim and satisfaction.

This may have been the case in the early days, but sadly today the chances of walking into an established fashion house or creative hub and offering your non-specific services will prove to be less than fruitful. Many young creative hopefuls in the field of fashion particularly find that doors are quickly closed in their faces.

For this reason, United Colors Of Fashion has taken New York youth aspiring to enter the industry under our wing and opened a few doors.

Rose-Ann Reynolds

Rose-Ann Reynolds

Rose-Anne Reynolds is one such aspiring creative, recently selected to be in the running to become UCOF’s next Achiever of the Year. She is a senior at Irvington High School and credits Photoshop with sparking her interest in Graphic Design. She has been selected out of numerous applicants, for her self-belief and burning passion to be a Graphic Designer.

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UCOF gives Fashion hopefuls a fighting chance

In Blog / December 9, 2013 / 0 Comments

By Sibusiso Mkize

In a city that breeds the most influential giants in fashion from Alexander Wang to Michael Kors, one would expect New York to have no qualms in nurturing and putting the fashion aspirational youth into schools.

United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) has been unsurpassed in cultivating and moulding the lives of under-resourced youth in New York and New Jersey. Aria John, one of the new interns to the UCOF Fashion Education program is one of the reasons that gives uplifts the spirits of the organization.

Aria John

Aria John

Currently studying nursing at William Paterson University, Aria is one of many young people in New York that dreams of a career in fashion, however doesn’t have a clear direction in reaching their dreams. “Fashion is something that is a part of me; I just do not know where my niche is in the industry,” says Aria.

Thank You for attending the 2013 Annual Gala

In Blog / October 18, 2013 / 0 Comments

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

In Blog / September 11, 2013 / 0 Comments

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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Sade Solomon: A champion of fashion philanthropy

In Blog / May 25, 2013 / 0 Comments

BY: Jamil Khan

2013 FIT graduates, left to right, Camila Leta, Sade Solomon, Daphney Jules, Yeomin Chae and Crystal Dy

2013 FIT graduates, left to right, Camila Leta,
Sade Solomon, Daphney Jules, Yeomin Chae
and Crystal Dy

Sade Solomon, United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) Achiever of the Year for 2013 has once again dealt adversity a triumphant blow. She has graduated with a degree in fashion design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on Thursday evening. 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 working with UCOF, this former caseworker, has grown into a visionary and a paragon of hope with aims of starting her own business through which she can use fashion and philanthropy to encourage the youth and empower them 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.

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In Blog / March 28, 2013 / 0 Comments

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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