Category Archives: Fashion DIY

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DIY Floral Crown

Back in April I did a shoot with a local photographer and it featured a beautiful floral crown that she made specifically for our session! I’m seeing the trend everywhere this season, and it’s pretty easy to make one yourself.

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You can make your crown with either fake or fresh flowers, but of course the fake floral crown will last longer.

Here are a few resources that show you how to achieve this look:

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DAAP Fashion Show 2013

Last weekend, Saturday April 26, was the 62nd annual DAAP Fashion Show held at the University of Cincinnati’s campus recreation center. Every year, students from UC’s college of Design, Agriculture, Art, and Planning create their senior projects and present them to the public. The fashion design students showcase their collections in a much-anticipated fashion show.

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I got to be a part of the pre-show preparations by being a model for one of the designer’s critiques. This is a gradual process, where the students show their design progress in stages to their professors, and classmates… and of course they offer their suggestions to make it better. In order for me to be a part of the actual fashion show though, I had to audition. There were over 70 models in the Tri-state area that came to try out. Laurie, the director of the show, gave us a speech about how a lot of these models were returning from doing the show last year, so there were a limited number of spots left. She said not to be discouraged if we didn’t get in, but to do our best! No pressure. I remember it was very overwhelming, and nerve wrecking seeing all of these beautiful, tall girls in their heels prepping to impress the judges (faculty, a few Macy’s executives, students, and the director of the fashion show). We had to do one solo walk, and another with a partner. After my audition I felt as though I could’ve done better, but prayed I did enough to get through. When I got the email from the director that I’d made it into the show I was ECSTATIC!


Thursday April 25th finally rolled around– the rehearsal. Rehearsal lasted from 4pm to about 10pm. I had to come straight to campus from school, and stayed there all evening. Laurie gave us a run through of how the show would go, and passed out our line ups. I would be walking for the Macy’s collection, and six of the designers. I would be out on the runway 7 times!! I was shocked considering this would be my first time doing runway, but I knew this was a challenge I could face with confidence. Next, we did a few practice walks. All of us walked in a continuous line back and forth down the 88ft runway so Laurie could make any necessary adjustments. Then it was time to learn our walks for the show. In this show, it’s not just walk to the end of the runway, pose, and turn to walk back. It’s so much more complex. Each time I stepped on the runway, I had a different walk (usually with 3, 4, or 5 other models out their on the runway with me) to do. A few of them were the “Zigzag,” “The triangle,” and one was with me, a guy, and another girl modeling one jacket. So, the guy started with it, had to pass it to me to model, and then I handed it off to the third girl. It was extremely tricky to pull off smoothly! At 7pm, there was an alternative show to the one the next day, that was much cheaper ($10, as opposed to the $40–the basic level ticket). So we had a decent sized audience (maybe a few hundred) that watched us rehearse.


The day was here. Friday, April 26. I could barely focus at school that day. I kept imagining myself on the runway, hoping to God I wouldn’t fall flat on my face and embarrass myself in front of 1,500 people. I arrived at 4:30pm to get my hair and makeup done. The show was to start at 7:30. First, were the little kids that walked with their parents, or some of the models, to model the children’s lines. Next came Macy’s Spring collection. I wore an orange ankle cropped pant, and a peplum black and white striped top. The MC for the night, 1985 DAAP graduate, David Meister (he’s designed for Katherine Heigl, Queen Latifah, Fergie, Tina Fey, Demi Lovato, Drew Barrymore, etc. just to name a few) said a few words, and then everything began to move really fast from there.


My first outfit was a cream top that was cut in a deep V, and a matching organza skirt with super funky butterfly glasses (see below). I was extremely nervous backstage, mentally preparing myself to go out on the runway. This was it. This was everything I’d ever dreamed of. “Niyah..” Laurie’s partner gestured to me that it was my turn to go on. I took a deep breath, and strutted the best way I knew how. For this walk, the middle girl went out first, then the two girls next to her walked together, and finally me and the girl on the far left walked simultaneously, keeping our “triangle” formation. When we got to the end of the runway, we lined up again, turned in sync, and walked back in the same formation. I led us off the stage. My cheeks lifted as I’d realized I’d done it! No mistakes. Now it was time to do the same thing five more times. Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 3.36.15 PM

My second change was a quick one, almost immediately after I stepped out of the skirt and top, I was called back to get ready to go on again. There really wasn’t time to be nervous. The rest of my changes weren’t as crazy, but I’m so thankful we each had dressers to help keep things organized.. I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through without mine! I felt so in the moment backstage, and on the runway. And each time I stepped off to go and change into another look, I had to keep from smiling so much. I’d never felt so happy. So alive! This is where I was meant to be. Not just modeling, but around fashion, around style, around people like me who love the same things I love.

Me modeling a “50′s meets modern” dress

I was actually disappointed when I was dressing for my last look. It was the second to last collection of the show. I wished I could live in this moment forever. Alas, the final collection came backstage, and we all lined up to walk back out clapping, to signify the end of the show. There were two lines. One line was on the right side of the runway, the other on the left. In the middle, the seniors walked soaking up the satisfaction that they were done with what they’d worked so hard on for the past five years. Not one person in the audience was left sitting on their seat. It was a proud moment for everyone, and I’m extremely thankful I got to be a part of it. I’m literally counting the days until next year’s show! I. Cannot. Wait.

IMG_0653IMG_0438Here’s a video recap of the show. I appear at 1:09, 2:28, and 2:30

To read more about the show, or see some of the other designs click any of the links below:

DIY: Transforming Old Jeans to Trendy Shorts (2 Ways!)

Recently, I took a trip to Goodwill with two of my besties: Anna and Alice. We were on a mission. We wanted to find a couple pairs of thrifted jeans, cut them into shorts and make them our own. For $5 we each had a new pair of one-of-a-kind shorts! I had so much fun making mine, and I documented the process with my iPhone along the way! Read on to find out how I created them, and what the final look was.

I ended up with two pairs of shorts. For the first pair I used lace and studs to decorate with. Here’s how they turned out!

To do this is pretty simple. All you need is fabric glue, a few studs, lace trim, scissors and pliers. I started with the lace; once you’ve cut your jeans into shorts, cuff them. Next, measure alongside the bottom of each pant leg how much lace you’ll need to cover the hem and cut. Take your fabric glue and create a line the width of the lace trim on the jeans. Lastly, carefully align the lace into its proper spot. Repeat this to the other pant leg and on the backside as well.

Make sure you allow time for the glue to dry before adding the studs. I purchased my studs from Hobby Lobby for about $1.50. All you do is poke them through the fabric in the desired place and use pliers to bend back the two ends poking up to clasp. Wallah! You’re all done!

The next pair was a little more complicated and took some time. I ended up dip-dyeing them, fraying the ends, and distressing them. To dip-dye you’ll need: a bucket, bleach, water, vinegar, a sink, disposable gloves and a ruler.

Fill your bucket with two parts water to one part bleach. You want to fill it to the height you want the solution to touch your shorts. So if you only want it halfway bleached, align your shorts to the bucket to make sure the solution is leveled to your desired height.

String the ruler (I used a rod I found) through the back loop holes of the shorts. The ruler acts as a way for the shorts to balance on the bucket and soak in the solution. Let the shorts soak for 20-30 minutes or until it gets to the shade you want (keep in mind the colors will darken when wet).

While it’s soaking fill the sink with two parts water to one part vinegar. After you get the color you’re looking for, transfer the shorts into the sink. The vinegar will actually stop the bleaching process so your shorts will stay your desired shade. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes. Once that’s done, wring them out and let them dry completely.

Now it’s time for the fraying process! You’ll need a pair of scissors and tweezers. Create about three, 1/2 inch slits on the bottoms of each pant leg making sure to space them out. Next, you’ll want to take your tweezers and start pulling at the areas around the tear. You’ll start to see the threads. Continue the fraying process on both pant legs and on the back. It should look like this (this is after they were washed, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look quite like this right away, it will have a more finished look after it’s washed!): 

After I was done with this step, the shorts still didn’t look finished. I happened to have another pair of denim shorts that I bought that were distressed beside me. I looked to those for a guideline on where to put my rips and tears and how to create them. I found out there are two ways you can do this.

  1. Pinch front layer of fabric on one pant leg and snip to create a hole. Continue to cut so you have an actual circle and not a line. Then, use the tweezers to pull the threads all the way around the circle. 
  2. Another way to create the distressed look is to take a knife or a pair of sharp scissors to basically saw back and worth for a while until you break the fabric. Keep going down however big it is you want this area to be distressed. This will create a hole, but with the threads going from one end to the other and not having a physical hole in the middle. The very last step is to throw these babies into the washer and dryer to get the finished look! I love the way mine turned out!! Which style do you prefer? The lace and studs pair or the distressed dip-dyed ones? I’d love to know!

    I wore these ones today! I’ll have to wear the lace and studded one tomorrow :)

Here are some of the shorts my friends made!

DIY: Tie Dyed Nail Art

I came across this video by macbarbie07 a couple of weeks ago and decided to try this super cool nail art! Watch the video or follow along here…


  • A bowl (one you don’t mind getting ruined)
  • Tape or Vaseline
  • Toothpicks
  • Q-tips
  • Nail polish remover
  • Whatever polishes you want to use
  • White nail polish
  • Top coat


  1. Paint your nails white to act as the base   coat. You need to especially do this if you decide to use bright colors! Let this dry completely.
  2. Unscrew the tops to all of the polishes for easy access.
  3. Tape, or apply vaseline around the back of each nail and under your fingers so only your nail beds are exposed. Things will get messy later on, so this prevents the nail polishes from getting all over your fingers and hands! 
4.  Fill the bowl with lukewarm water
5.  Drop in one drop of each color in the water. Tip: Keep the droplets close to each other. They should begin to morph together.
6.  Use a toothpick and carefully make a few lines or design in the midst of the polish fusion.
7.  Dip a finger in the middle of the fusion and hold it there for 3 seconds. Take it out, and using the toothpick, gather any excess around your nail.
8.  Repeat steps 5-7 for each nail
9.  Once you’ve done this to all of your nails, apply a topcoat and let them dry completely before taking off the tape or removing the vaseline (this could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes).
10. Once your nails are completely dry, remove the tape or vaseline, you should see that everything looks a lot less messy!
11. You may have some polish around the edges of your finger, if so, just clean it up by dipping a Q-tip into nail polish remover and removing the unwanted polish.
12. You’re all done! Admire, show them off to your friends, take pictures, instagram, tweet– BE PROUD!

Brianna Fano

Are you a jewelry devotee? If yes, then you should keep your eyes on jewelry designer, Brianna Fano from now on. Brianna is a jewelry designer based in NYC. Brianna actually started making jewelry with her mother when she was kid, from then she decided to pursue her calling in the fashion industry by attending Parsons and graduated in 2010.

When studying in Parson’s, Brianna’s focus point was on Prêt-à-Porter and when she was in her senior year she included accessories as one of her substantial component to support her thesis. The collection was very intriguing and attracted a local Lucite fabricator to make a collaboration with her. She then decided to design a collection with Lucite as the essential of the collection inspired by a children’s book, “Animalia“. The result was a bold, elegant and modern collection of jewelry.

Brianna successfully manipulated Lucite into beautiful artwork. For this collection, she took a visit to a cave and felt completely surprised by how the beauty of a cave slowly faded away by outside forces, like the tourists. Then she channeled her disappointment through her work with Lucite, chain, rope and other hardware. She’s intelligently creating a fragile and delicate jewelry collection by soften the Lucite and incorporating it with other elements together in a very balanced proportion. She took Lucite into a more interesting and beautiful way. She clearly knows how to made strong color and transparency of Lucite into a beautiful and show-stopping statement piece.

For her next goal, Brianna plans to expand her collection throughout the United States, and I’m sure when everybody sees her masterworks, they will easily fall in love with them just like me.

J.Crew- "Electric Feel"

4 Manicures Inspired By This Season’s Hottest Trends

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With the warmer months well on their way, it seems appropriate to take the time to focus on one of the most important aspects of your spring/summer style: your manicure. Your manicure puts the finishing touches on any outfit you wear and is the fastest and easiest way to change up your look with very minimal cost to you. The following nail trends that I’m about to explore are super fun and can easily be done at home.


Ok, we can all agree – neon is HUGE this spring/summer, there’s absolutely no way you can deny it. Neon color palettes graced the runways of many top designers SS12 lines, such as Nanette Lepore. Neons are extremely bold and can be somewhat intimidating – fun, but intimidating. However, One of the easiest ways to join the neon trend is by giving yourself a neon manicure.

Keep in mind:

  • Make sure to apply a good top coat; neon colors, because they are so vibrant, will be extra noticeable when chipping.
  • If you’re feeling really wild, go all out and give yourself a neon pedicure too.
  • Take inspiration from color blocking; consider painting one nail a different neon color or even paint each nail multiple neon shades. The high intensity and vibrancy of these colors create an interesting and modern look when color blocked.


Not in the mood for something as vibrant as neon? Then try pastel polish for a more subtle statement. Pastels, like neon, are also very trendy this season. Designers such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Louis Vuitton all displayed a pastel color palette in their SS2012 runway shows. Pastels, which are ultra feminine, are also a perfect laid back polish choice.

Keep in mind:

  • Pastel polishes are much more low maintenance in terms of upkeep than any other color polish. Although your polish may chip, it’s harder to notice than really dark and intense colors.
  • When applying any light colored polishes you may need to apply a few coats to get the desired look.
  • Pastels are the perfect polish option because they can literally be paired with any outfit and look amazing. To create a high contrast look, consider mixing your manicure with leather or metal jewelry. If you desire a more delicate look – mix pastels with nude colors, neutrals, and other pastels.


Metallics are super popular this spring/summer. They graced the runways of many designer collections including Givenchy, Herve Leger, and Diesel. They can be mixed and matched with just about everything and depending on how they’re styled can be dressed either up or down.

Keep in mind: 

  • Consider pairing multiple rings with your manicure to create a wild and edgy metallic look.
  • OR, try skipping out on jewelry completely and let your metallic manicure speak for itself.

Prints & Patterns

Prints are taking center stage this spring/summer. Designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Mary Katrantzou, and Diane Von Furstenburg displayed a large range of prints in their SS2012 collections. Prints this season are bold and graphic and can be found in the form of everything – from pants, to shoes, to tops. So why should your nails have to skip out on all the fun? There are endless options for prints & pattern manicures.

Keep in mind:

  • Sites such as pinterest are a great source of inspiration for fun manicures.
  • Consider mixing a few different prints or patterns in one manicure. You’ll be surprised to find what can go together.
  •  Be patient – unlike any of the other manicures, print & pattern manicures can be difficult to do. Give yourself enough time to redo nails, if necessary, and don’t freak if you can’t get it on the first try. These types of manicures can take practice to get the look you want.

Fashion DIY Agora Class

Every year at my school we have what’s called Agora Days which is a week of non-traditional classes taught by parents, teachers, the community and students! Last week I taught a four-day class on fashion DIY projects.  I had a total of about 15 students and we individually worked on 4 main projects. Some people decided to create colorful thread wrapped belts, others embellished collars, some covered newspaper on a clutch and the rest reused old and broken jewelry to make new jewelry! Below are lots of pictures from the class, plus how to create these projects for yourself!

1. Colorful Thread Wrapped Belts

Goal:  Colorblock embroidery thread around a plain belt to make it more fun!


  • Embroidery Thread
  • An old plain belt, or buy one at a thrift store
  • Elmers Glue
  • Scissors

For full instructions click here 

2. Newspaper Clutch

Goal: Take a plain envelope clutch and use modgepodge to give it a newsprint cover.


  • Newspapers
  • Paintbrush
  • Envelope Clutch
  • Modgepodge

To get the how-to click here

3. Embellished Collars

Goal:  Work with studs, sequins and any other embellishments to spruce up an old button down. Optional: Detach the collar!


  • Collared Button Down
  • 1/2 inch Sequin Trim
  • Aileen’s Jewel-it Glue
  • Pins
  • Studs
  • Butter knife

For more ideas + step-by-step instructions, click here

4. Reuse Old/Broken Jewelry to Make it New Again


  • Old/broken jewelry, pendents, chains. etc.
  • Pliers
  • Earring Backings

Thanks to everyone in my class for making it such an enjoyable experience! I can’t wait to see you strutting what you made in the hallways :)