Recycling from the comfort of your home

re-fashioNYC

A re-fashioNYC bin from Sal’s NYC apartment building

Recycling and reusing have become essential to preserving our planet and eliminating waste. When it comes to recycling clothing, everyone may want to participate but the reality is that much of our clothing gets thrown away instead. Why? It may just be a matter of convenience.

The City of New York, in partnership with Housing Works, has created re-fashioNYC, allowing clothing donation from the comfort of your own home. This partnership allows participating apartment buildings donating services at no cost to the building or to the taxpayers. It is a program that is expected to grow as more building management catches on. And hopefully, more towns and cities!

When my good friend Sal sent me this picture from his NYC apartment building I was encouraged and inspired. This is a good thing: It’s good for New York, good for our planet. And it’s Turning Fashion Inside Out!

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Alina’s Love

Alina Villasante, owner and visionary of Peace Love World

Alina Villasante, founder and visionary of Peace Love World

Alina Villasante is the founder and visionary of Peace Love World, a retail brand that is taking Florida and the world by storm. Alina believes that she is here to tell a story, a story of peace and love and good will. That is why every PLW item is infused with positivity. But it’s more than an image on a shirt. Alina says, “Peace Love World is about experiencing fashion in a soulful way – mind, body, spirit.” I asked Alina how she came to tell this amazing story …

MKG: Alina, you moved around as a child – born in Cuba and raised in The United States. How old were you when you and your family moved to the US? How did growing up in the various environments affect you?

Alina: I moved from Cuba to New York when I was 8 months old and after twelve years my family moved to Atlanta. Growing up in New York and Atlanta made me realize that everyone is looking for the same thing no matter where you come from. I learned how to love and appreciate all types of people, personalities and ethnicities. Continue reading

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Peace Love World

Anacristina

Anacristina, outside the Peace Love World outlet store, Florida

I love the PLW concept because it merges statements about peace, love, happiness, service, etc. with funky, cute and comfortable fashion.” ~ Anacristina, age 19

Anacristina, from Miami, visited a super-popular destination for fabulous clothes with a hopeful message: Peace Love World. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and the Kardashians have been spotted wearing their clothing. And last week the popular singer from Colombia, Juanes, was spotted with his daughters in PLW’s flagship store in Coral Gables, Florida.

Stay tuned for founder Alina Villasante’s story Continue reading

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What is beauty?

Ceylone - Spokesperson for Kick Cancer Overboard

Ceylone – Spokesperson for Kick Cancer Overboard

Ceylone - Spokesperson for Kick Cancer Overboard

Ceylone – with Kick Cancer Overboard team

Knowing Ceylone has inspired me to ask the question, ‘what is beauty?’ We met last December when Ceylone was the guest/motivational speaker for a group of women from Dress for Success. I watched as she brightened the room with her presence and touched us all by her personal story and her desire for every woman to reach her purpose and potential. It was magic.

She is not only a motivational speaker, but a makeup artist, wife, mother, and spokesperson for an organization called Kick Cancer Overboard.com, all of which give her purpose and reward. Ceylone has won the titles of Mrs. New Jersey America and Mrs. New Jersey United States. And tomorrow, Ceylone leaves for Chicago to compete with 70 other women in the Mrs. International Pageant 2013. Continue reading

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Abandoned bikes

Fourth of July

July 4, 2013

Abandoned bikes left for the fair
The July Fourth Parade for all to share
Although big and bold do have their place
It’s small and cozy I can’t replace
So bring the fancy clothes of red, white and blue
The crazy hats and t-shirts too
The overheated dogs join families all
Happy Fourth of July – big and small

~ Melissa Kaplan Guarino  … July 4, 2013 Continue reading

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Shopping Day

Alexandra at 10:00 am - Her shopping day begins ...

Alexandra at 10:00 am – Her shopping day begins …

Costume designer, Alexandra, went shopping today. Her goal? Find accessories and costumes for the short film for which she is designing: Karaoke King. As a costume designer Alexandra is a storyteller and interestingly, she likes shopping for the characters but not necessarily for herself. She tells stories through costumes and accessories, never overlooking any detail. Sometimes the story is pretty, sometimes gritty and dark … and today? This story is about a former successful rocker who finds himself in a slump and singing karaoke. The clothing and the mood must be glam rock.

Because Alexandra lives and works in New York, the entire city becomes her shopping closet and she must be able to seek out the gems within the neighborhoods and the vintage shops of note; places like Goodwill in Harlem, where she can find a suit for $15, or the treasures in downtown Manhattan or Brooklyn. The turnaround time for this shopping excursion is quick; shopping today, filming over the weekend. Here is how it works: Continue reading

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Carolina: “It’s not just me!’

Caroline Misan Alvo

Carolina Misan Alvo

Carolina Misan Alvo is a woman with a mission: to create a movement for petite women to feel better about their size and themselves while giving them a chance to shop for fashion-forward clothing, specifically designed for the petite woman. The name of Carolina’s business is Gambita, which means literally “little shrimp” in Spanish: it was a nickname her husband gave to her as a joke. At 4’9″ herself Carolina had heard every short joke but when it came time to name her business “Gambita was original.”

Launched in January 2013, Gambita is just a few months old. But I feel that women will respond enthusiastically. Here is Carolina’s story …

I was born in The United States but have had an international upbringing. Born to Brazilian parents, I lived in Ecuador for two years, Mexico City for nine years, and then my parents and I settled in the suburbs of New York City (Westchester). From my early college experience and career choices I have been interested in international relations and development. Before launching Gambita I worked for VisionSpring, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable eyeglasses in the developing world … Continue reading

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Visiting Daniel’s studio

Daniel, me and Chris

Daniel, me and Chris

Last week NBC’s Fashion Star was an emotional turning point for designer, Daniel. He struggled with the notion of compromising his artistic vision to meet the needs of the buyers. But he managed to stay true to himself and win the hearts of the buyers and his mentor Nicole Richie, not to mention winning a new Fiat! Well done, Daniel. You are an inspiration to designers everywhere!

When I met Daniel and Chris at 100%NY studio, I was impressed with their warmth and openness. Daniel is the co-founder, designer and creative director, and Chris is the brand manager and an important member of Daniel’s team. Daniel explained to me that he has two managers; one manages Daniel Silverstein, and Chris is responsible for managing the branding strategy for 100%NY. And what is the essence of 100%NY? According to Daniel: “to create beautiful things that don’t have a negative impact on our environment … Our brand is futuristic, but not in the space-movie sense; more in terms of where design is going. The look of our designs are body conscious and tend to use mesh and surface embellishments. But equally important, is that we are making everything in our own studio here in New York City. The goal is to slow fashion down while creating a no-waste environment.” It is also important to Daniel to make a difference for future designers: “I have always loved working with my hands. I want to educate people in the noble work of construction and give them pride and the skills to make their own designs. I would like to bring back to the notion of made in America.”

Chris added that there are several groups in New York City who are helping to facilitate designers. Manufacture NY and Maker’s Row, two such groups located in the heart of the Garment District, are doing just that.

I am looking forward to seeing how far Daniel will go on Fashion Star. But he has already won my heart!

Daniel and Chris with 100%NY Spring 2013 Collection

Daniel and Chris with 100%NY Spring 2013 Collection

Daniel's 'no-waste' creation - constructing a skirt

Daniel’s ‘no-waste’ creation – constructing a skirt

 

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Here’s to the helpers

Mister Rogers

Mister Rogers – Photo credit: Getty Images

As a mother of sons, in a greater community of sons and daughters and family and friends, this quote really speaks to me. I join everyone in my thoughts and prayers for Boston, and in the glory of the helpers, wherever they may be. Thank you, Fred Rogers.

~ Melissa

 

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Lisa’s Cuban adventure

Lisa noticed that all Cuban government employees wear black fishnet stockings!

Lisa noticed that all Cuban government officials wear fishnet stockings as a part of their work outfits! Photo credit: Lisa

Girls like to wear skinny jeans and this is a popular shoe

Skinny jeans and this style of shoe are popular among the women. Photo credit: Lisa

Beyonce and Jay-Z weren’t the only ones in Cuba last week. My friend Lisa was there, too. And while the music power couple traveled with controversy because they went without approval from the U.S.Treasury Department (the U.S. embargo with communist Cuba prohibits many Americans from traveling without approval from the Treasury Department), Lisa traveled legally with the Global Volunteers Cuba Now! People to People Program, which provides a full schedule of educational exchanges and meaningful interaction with the local Cuban people.

Lisa says she had a “very memorable and enjoyable time.” While there, she was my eyes and ears, capturing the local fashion and rich culture. Here are some of her impressions:

The young people of Cuba are stylish, but because of the social and economic history of the country they don’t have a lot of money to buy clothes. However, the government recently outlined a list of 180 different types of businesses that Cubans can now open and run, and this list includes clothing stores, jewelry stores, beauty parlors and nail salons. This represents a big move for Cuba, since its government has run all businesses since the 1950s.” ~ Lisa

According to Lisa, the young people of Cuba are stylish but have limited funds to buy clothes (and men wear their hair short))

According to Lisa, the young people of Cuba are stylish but have limited funds to buy clothes (and the men wear their hair short). Photo credit: Lisa

This man is wearing a traditional Latin American look: the Guayabera

This man is wearing a traditional Latin American look: the Guayabera. Photo credit: Lisa

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