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Carla Alves - Brazil

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Getting Ready to Study Fashion in New York

 

Coming to the U.S. to study the business of fashion was the biggest decision I have ever made in my life. I say that because it’s not only about moving to another country alone, but it’s also about the many changes in every aspect of a person’s life. Support from family and friends is one of the most important things you need to be ready to do this. If they believe in you, help you and support your decision, it will make everything much easier.

I prepared myself by researching as much as possible about the area of New York I would be living in - the places to visit, to eat, to study - everything I could get excited about. I think that once you know the basics about the area, you don’t feel as lost when you arrive. Ask questions, print information – do everything – it will make you feel safer in this concrete jungle.

over-packed suitcase

I brought so much with me – clothes especially. What a regret! Coming to the U.S. means that you can create a whole new wardrobe, because there are so many options here, and they are usually way cheaper than in other countries. The ideal is to bring only what you really need - your wardrobe essentials. Save space in your luggage for those special things like diaries, pictures, letters – things that you can’t buy because they have memories and tons of love from back home. In moments of homesickness, I wish I had brought more of those!

Enjoy this experience – pack light in material things and bring tons of your best memories and love from those who will be rooting for you in this new journey.

memories of home

Five Tips for Acting Like a “Real” New Yorker

 
  1. Avoid touristy places for everyday activities (unless you are having a touristy day of your own). If you are going to meet a friend for lunch, don’t schedule it in a restaurant in Times Square. Real New Yorkers explore new places. They go to little restaurants they have never been to before.

    Times Square

  2. Find a workout routine you enjoy. New Yorkers are really into being fit, from yoga to spinning classes and many other cardio workouts around town. This is the place to become healthier. Put sneakers on your backpack and go for a run in between classes.

    gym workout

  3. Keep your hands and your opinions to yourself. People here don’t like others getting involved in their business, or touching them unnecessarily. Unless you are asked otherwise, give people space and privacy to deal with their own issues.

  4. Be cordial. It is a myth that New Yorkers don’t smile or say hello. They are just too busy to remember to do it sometimes. A “good morning” or a “have a nice day” will be deeply appreciated.

  5. BE YOURSELF. Real New Yorkers wear, say, listen and do whatever they feel like. This is the place to be who you truly are! Enjoy it!

    just be yourself

Dressing for the Four Seasons in NYC

 

If you are the type of person who enjoys every season and likes to feel extreme temperatures, New York is the place to be.  When I first arrived it was summer, and not an average one. IT WAS HOT!  However, there’s so much to do during the summer that it should really last longer than it does. In New York City and the surrounding areas, summer means FUN!

Fall is the most beautiful and picturesque season. Do you know the movie “Autumn in New York”? The one with Richard Gere? It totally reflects how this season feels – romantic, breathtaking and definitely chilly.  It is the time of the year that you feel fancy and can put on your best outfits and take the best Facebook profile pictures.

Winter can be a little rough. Coming from Brazil, where our winter doesn’t usually go below 50F (10C), was sort of a challenge at first. I don’t think I ever got used to it, but nowadays I just get over it and survive with TONS of layers.

Winter treeAs spring arrives, we start putting away the heavy coats, getting our casual blazers out of our closets and get ready for the next round of fun that is on the way.

As you get ready to move to the Big Apple, bear in mind that less is always more, especially when packing. This is a consumerist nation, and you will buy a lot of stuff once you start living here. However, the basics are necessary. Jeans that fit you well, leggings for both fall and spring (they will become your best friends), a nice heavy winter coat and a bunch of fun scarves that fit all four seasons and can change any wardrobe, even if you wear the same other things every day. Don’t worry about summer, all you actually need are flip-flops and a bikini!

My Tour of LIM College

 

This is the Visual Merchandising Studio Lab at the Fifth Avenue building. It’s a place where imagination and creativity can come to life. I walked in knowing only how to draw stick figures, since then I have done some pretty amazing drawings.

Visual Merchandising Stuido Lab

 

The lounge on the first floor of Maxwell Hall. It’s a place to relax, catch up on schoolwork, and experience different campus events that happen there almost every week.

Maxwell Hall Lounge

 

Room 0508. Looks like just a room, right? However, it is (for now) the International Students’ safe place. Our club meetings occur here every other week and are so fun!

Room 0508

 

FashionOpolis in the Townhouse. It’s a beautiful, confortable place where so much happens --from networking with important people in the fashion industry to very informative lectures. An amazing place to be!

FashionOpolis

International Students Club Multicultural Food Sale

 

International Students Club Multicultural Food Sale

When we choose to study fashion in New York at LIM College, we are not only signing up for great classes – it is also a lifestyle choice - and a big change for most of us. The College presents us with so many activities outside the classroom, so that from the moment we walk in the door we are living and breathing the business of fashion.

This fall I was part of a great lunch hour event. It included a tweet contest, the International Student’s Club Multicultural Food Bite sale, and a bracelet sale that featured pieces designed to honor LIM College’s 75th anniversary.

Girls at multicultural food sale

Everyone was so excited and involved in everything that was happening. People were tweeting comments to LIM College (popcorn was given to those who shared their tweets – Bonus!) and we also wrote notes on how the school can improve (great strategy, by the way!) Everyone else was chilling and enjoying the multicultural food bites that the members of the International Students’ Club and I were selling at our table. Our club can’t wait to host another marvelous event.

The people we meet, friends we make and experiences we go through as we attend workshops, events and lectures at our school are priceless. There is always something going on in all three buildings and you can always find something to get involved with and be passionate about. My advice is to be active and take advantage of what is there for you. LIM College ROCKS!

More of My Favorite Spots in New York City

 

As we all already know, NYC is a beautiful -- and very busy -- place to be. There’s always something going on or something to see. Lately I have been trying to do things that I haven’t done before and just enjoy the simple yet mesmerizing locations this city has to offer.

LIM College - Brooklyn Bridge

 

 

 

Take the Brooklyn Bridge, for example. I have been there so many times with family and friends when they visit, yet now I actually go there to simply take walks. There is something about walking on a bridge that makes you think more clearly.

 

 

 

 

The WTC Memorial, near where the new Freedom Tower is located, is a place which I believe everyone should go to at least once in their lives. It brings many sad memories, however it makes us put our lives’ into perspective and helps me to remember to appreciate the good things.

LIM College - WTC Memorial

 

LIM College - Central Park

 

 

Central Park is definitely my favorite spot. Ok, I know I have written about it endlessly here. Yet there is always something different to see there. I love to see people in the rowboats - couples in love or families and friends laughing. I also like to sit and relax at the famous water fountain (as seen in the TV series Friends).

 

 

LIM College - Bethenny

 

 

The most exciting thing I have done lately was to watch a taping of “Bethenny.” Her new talk show is so fun. It’s such a great benefit of studying fashion in New York that you have the opportunity to go to things like this. I will definitely try to see more shows that are taped in Manhattan.

 

 

I JUST LOVE NYC!

A Break from the Fast-Paced New York Fashion World

 

I guess you can call me a suburban girl – even though I won’t admit it. Lately, I seem to prefer a more peaceful lifestyle, probably because I am already energetic enough.

Since I moved to the U.S. I’ve been living in Westchester County, which starts right after The Bronx and goes all the way north to Connecticut. Here we see tons of nature and beautiful houses (and I mean real houses, not apartments) with happy and large families.

LIM College - Mt. Vernon

I choose to keep living here because I really do get to have the best of both worlds -- the ability to rest and have a nice quality of life, while being only 20 minutes away from NYC, where I go to fashion school and do all the fun things I write about.

The town I live in is called Mount Vernon. It is small, but has a considerably large Brazilian community. A bakery, a few Brazilian restaurants and some shops filled with Brazilian food help me not miss home as much.

Rent here is much cheaper than in the city, considering the space you get. I also get to drive my own car, which is something I have always enjoyed – riding subways, not so much! Life seems to move at an easier pace around here. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. I do have to deal with ugly mini-vans and Moms that drive 10 miles per hour in the parkway. Oh well, we can’t have it all!

LIM College - Westchester County

Learning from a True Professional

 

I have had so many interesting professors while studying for a fashion business degree at LIM College. Every single one has their own style and special characteristics. They have also each had their own impact on my academic and professional progress.

Katerina Lanfranco is my Design Studio professor, and even though I was a little reluctant to take this class because drawing isn’t one of my strengths, she made it seem possible. She has also challenged my abilities, and as a result, I have accomplished some great things – including my first free-hand drawing! It even has shading and everything.

LIM College - Drawing

She is much more than just a good teacher, she is also a very talented and popular working artist. She has taught at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and done some pretty amazing group and solo art shows around New York City.

Professor Lanfranco teaches in a very simple way. She understands that everyone has different ways to approach creativity. She also helps each of us to explore the visual side of art that brings us to visual merchandising and the concepts behind it.

LIM College - Professor Lanfranco

Prof. Lanfranco is just one of the great professionals who teach at LIM College. I am glad that their knowledge is related to real-world situations -- those experiences help prepare us for very promising futures.

Volunteering for Fashion Week

 

For a fashion student, being able to participate in a major event like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City is a dream come true. However, for an international student like me, it is even more exciting because it is something I would never have even imagined being able to attend.

The fun part about going to these events is that you not only get to help and work backstage - seeing what is necessary to put on such incredible shows – but you also get to watch them up close.

When I helped set up Rebecca Minkoffs’ fashion show, I didn’t expect to stay for the actual show. However, when the time came we got to sit on the steps and see her beautiful and modern collection.

LIM College - Rebecca MinkoffPhoto from www.vimeo.com

I have also taken a front row seat for a Miami Fashion Week show when a VIP didn’t show up. I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited in my entire life. Taking pictures and seeing the beautiful fashions up close are just bonuses that have come with every opportunity I’ve had to volunteer at fashion shows. These events really help us see the industry from the inside, be a part of it, and, especially, they give us a taste of what we want to do for our entire lives.

Sometimes, Fashion Career Plans Change

 

As a young girl, I dreamed of being a fashion designer. However, once I actually started learning about fashion, I fell in love with the business side of it. That’s when I chose the amazing fashion business school that is LIM College. I later thought I would make a good fashion stylist and maybe work for a magazine someday. I also imagined I could be creative enough to help create fashion marketing campaigns for a huge company I would enter after graduating.

LIM College - NewspaperGraphic from: www.buzzle.com

However, plans change. In my case this was because I was exposed to the right things and because I got opportunities to do some things I discovered I’m good at. Writing was one of them. The field of public relations also opened up to me. Since I decided to put myself out there and try new experiences, I now have new plans. They include growing my brand name and learning more about how PR is used in fashion.

Internships are also a big part of learning what we are good at, what we like to do and which paths might be right or wrong for us.  I have examined all of my previous internship positions in fashion to consider what activities I might invest my time in, and which ones are not worth continuing.

LIM College is pretty excellent at giving students the chance to enter the fashion industry – however, it is up to us to use those opportunities to our advantage.

LIM College - Public RelationsGraphic from www.symphonicdistribition.com

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