The Urban Collective Fashion Show

As the first month of 2024 breezed by us, we were graced to attend a few events that set the tone for the whole year. One of those shows was The Urban Collective put together by The Caribbean Student Network at Suffolk University.

The show was a refreshing and vibrant as designers from all over New England gathered to celebrate fashion and self expression. The night kicked off nicely as the show was presented by E-Board president Arantxa Melendez, VP Nayellie Estrella and secretary Kayla Arreaga. The E-Board also consists of the contributions from Joharis Quinones (Public Relations), Amani Lynch (Outreach Chair) and Ronny Brizan (Treasurer).

Designers were presented by the MC host of the night, Suffolk University Student Government Association’s own Clinton Oreofe (@clinxton) and his cohost Kayci Rese (@kayci_rese), madame president of the Black Student Union at Suffolk.

Designers included KLIQ (@kliqbrand), Ajna Source (@ajnasource), Dormant Debonair (@DormantDebonair), Pushthru Brand (@pushthrubrand), Vlush (, Prophet Envoy (@prophetenvoy), Dynasty Co ( and Makeshift Studios (@make_shiftstudios).

Routine and stage Coordinator, Karla Gomez (@kgomzr) kept the audience on their toes with well orchestrated catwalks giving everyone a great view of each outfit from the designers.

There was a long list of models who participated in the show giving the designers a great canvas to work with in displaying their artwork. Models included Diosmeiris Peña (@diosmeiris_x3), Mikaella Almeida (@mika.almeidaa), Arianna Garcia (@ariannagarciaxx), Daviana Pimentel (@davi.x_), Jeffery Greene (@_whoisjeffro), Jeremy Lopez (@11s_wrld), Ari D (@je.suis.arid), Lastasia Corona (@lastasia_corona) and many more.
Glam work was done by makeup artists @ebony.esthetics and nails were taking care by

The night was a showcase of art not only in the form of attire but there were also musical acts present as well. A taste of two different genres; a wonderful R&B act performed by 16 year old high school singer Carina Lopes (@carina.melodies) and local HipHop act Luke Woods (@lukewoods.28) who sported a dope Kanye West College Drop Out jacket.

In all the Caribbean Student Network at Suffolk University put a great event with The Urban Collective showcase. The night gave the chance to foster community and celebrate local talents in the form of designers, models and musical acts. It’s great to see university students making the most of their opportunities and showcasing their talents. It was an awesome show to kick off the year and the location of Suffolk University set a great backdrop for the scene.

Photo credits: @j_maldonado781 📸 📷

SabotageMe: Shaylia Thomas Quest to Defy Odds and Embraces Expression

In the world of fashion and empowerment, Shaylia Thomas, a creative force and cancer survivor, stands out as the founder of SabotageMe. Facing a life crisis led Shaylia to discover her passion for fashion and self-expression, ultimately inspiring her to create a brand that embodies courage, strength, and individuality.

Shaylia’s journey took a pivotal turn when diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2014 during her final year of college. Despite the urgency of her situation, she successfully underwent chemotherapy and graduated in 2015. Unfortunately, a relapse in October of the same year led her to a stem cell transplant and intensive treatment. This challenging period became a catalyst for self-discovery, prompting Shaylia to explore her love for fashion and makeup, transitioning from a self-described tomboy to a fashion entrepreneur.

In 2018, Shaylia officially launched SabotageMe, a brand initially focused on lingerie. The name, she explains, is an oxymoron representing chaos, rebellion, fierceness, and empowerment. It reflects overcoming self-sabotage and embracing one’s strength in the face of adversity. Shaylia’s commitment to body positivity led the brand to pivot to body suits, aiming to desexualize and accentuate the beauty of diverse body types.

Shaylia’s foray into the fashion world began with sharing her style and opinions on YouTube in 2018. Positive responses and messages inspired her to delve into entrepreneurship, creating tutorials and advertisements for various brands. Recognizing her potential, she redirected her focus to her personal brand, culminating in the establishment of SabotageMe.

A graduate of Cazenovia College in upstate New York, Shaylia faced challenges in a predominantly women-focused and less diverse environment. Despite her struggles, she excelled in academics and sports, playing volleyball at the collegiate level. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during this time, Shaylia’s determination to complete her education remained unwavering, shaping her career path in human services.

Shaylia, now a cancer survivor and successful entrepreneur, aims to shift her focus to the backend of her brand. She aspires to enhance media exposure for her brand, embellish her website, and build a collaborative team. Embracing the collaborative spirit, Shaylia seeks to work with new creatives in the days of social media where genuine collaborations are a rarity.

Art remains a core aspect of Shaylia’s journey. Recently showcased in a Chinatown art gallery, her brand fuses fine arts with fashion. Through art exhibitions and live events, Shaylia creates spaces that encourage self-expression, attracting bold and outgoing individuals who resonate with her philosophy.

Shaylia Thomas, the resilient creative, has transformed her adversity into a platform for empowerment and self-expression through SabotageMe. As she takes a step back to focus on the strategic growth of her brand, Shaylia’s journey continues to inspire and empower individuals to embrace their uniqueness in the world of fashion and beyond.

House Fashion Week Fall 2023: A Showcase of Artistry, Tradition, and Community

House Fashion Week (HFW) Fall 2023 left an indelible mark on Boston’s fashion scene, captivating audiences with a blend of artistic tradition and a strong sense of community. In exclusive interviews with HFW founder David Jean and production manager Rae White, we delve into the heart and soul of this extraordinary event. In this article you’ll get a glimpse of the individual conversations with both David and Rae, paired with photos from the events throughout the week.

A Week of Creativity and Innovation

HFW kicked off on Wednesday, October 11, with “The Installation” at the M Fine Arts Galerie in Boston. The event featured esteemed designers Yunyi Zhang, Zinedesign, and Lillian Pexton, setting the tone for a week filled with artistic expression and innovation.

Thursday, October 12, saw a thought-provoking panel discussion at the W Hotel, moderated by Erin Dimagiba and Olga Kwasniewski. The panel included industry luminaries like Jay Calderin, Cheryl Jean, Elizabeth Miner, Kenelly Cineus, and Janeen Williams. They discussed the future of fashion in Boston, highlighting the city’s potential as a fashion hub.

David Jean: A Journey Through Fashion and Film

In our conversation with HFW founder David, we learned that his 15-year journey in the fashion industry has been nothing short of remarkable. His unique path began in Miami, where he transitioned from acting to modeling. David’s experiences included working on the set of movies like “Ali” alongside Will Smith and music videos like Sisqo’s “Thong Song.”

“I’m a New York hustler,” David proudly stated. His tenacious spirit and constant pursuit of opportunities eventually led him to the world of fashion. As a mentee to celebrity publicist Christian Ruart, David worked with industry giants such as Baby Phat, FUBU, and Sean John, immersing himself in the fashion scene of the early 2000s.

David’s traditional approach to fashion production sets HFW apart from the crowd. In a world where the industry is increasingly influenced by social media and popularity, David remains committed to focusing on the art of fashion. He believes that shows should emphasize the designs and not be overshadowed by performances or other distractions.

David attributes HFW’s success to his dedicated team of ten individuals, all equally integral to the organization’s achievements. His ambition extends to working with established designers and discovering new talents. He takes the burden of HFW’s continued success on leadership, strategy, and execution.

With the second consecutive successful year behind them, HFW is already gearing up for future events, including workshops and community engagement activities in 2024.

Rae White: A Motherly Figure to Models

In her role as the Production Manager of HFW, Rae plays a pivotal and often unsung role in ensuring the seamless execution of the fashion event. Her responsibilities go far beyond the spotlight, as she’s the point of contact that holds the operation together.

Drawing upon her extensive background in event planning, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. She understands the intricate details of event logistics, from coordinating schedules and managing resources to handling unexpected hiccups with grace and poise. Her ability to maintain a clear and structured plan keeps the show running smoothly.

What sets Rae apart is her unique combination of experiences. Having started her career as a model at a young age of 13 with the prestigious agency John Casablanca, she gained invaluable insights into the fashion industry from the inside out. Rae later joined a local group known as Privé, where she modeled at their quarterly fashion show events. This hands-on experience as a model gives her a keen understanding of what both the models and designers need to excel, and she uses this insight to foster a collaborative and supportive atmosphere among the team. After modeling in several shows with Privé, Rae went on to do production management for them.

Rae’s journey from a young model to a seasoned Production Manager serves as a testament to her dedication and passion for the fashion world. She not only knows the ins and outs of the runway but also the importance of teamwork and meticulous planning that are essential for a successful fashion event. Her ability to adapt, communicate effectively, and handle high-pressure situations makes her a driving force behind HFW’s continued success.

What sets HFW apart is its focus on connecting designers and models beyond New England. Rae shared stories of designers like JUS-10 from New York, who created a jacket paying homage to Boston, featuring iconic landmarks like the Citgo sign and the legendary bar, Slades. Rae, originally from Trinidad, aspires to work with designers from her homeland to complement her native culture.

On Friday October 13, HFW hosted a fashion show at Chroma Studios in Peabody. The dazzling studio included unique photo booths, like a flower paradise room, for people to take shots after the show. Designers Alessia Aucoin, Rachel Walters, Vo Stewartbaxter and Dana El Ghoul featured stunning pieces for everyone to view and enjoy. Dana El Ghoul flew in from Florida to showcase her beautiful pieces which is a testament to HFW vast networks.

Owner of Chroma Studio, Jessica, dedicated the studio space to encourage young models, including her daughter, to participate. One standout moment of HFW Friday event was the partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Keren Zuzi, a patient with sickle cell anemia celebrated her 14th birthday at the event, living her dream of experiencing a high-profile fashion show.

Rae’s dedication to her models extends beyond the runway; she considers them her “babies” and offers guidance and support throughout their careers.

As she looks ahead to 2024, Rae envisions becoming a manager for models, further nurturing and guiding the next generation of fashion talent.

Saturday, October 14th marked the date of HFW main show which did not disappoint. The extravagant event hosted at MassArt included designs from Zonya Cambell, Vava Zadi, Janaby, JUS-10, Urban Pigeons, James Mason and Xuan Cui.

HFW Fall 2023 was not just about the clothes on display; it was about the sense of tradition, community, and mentorship that runs through the veins of this event. This is only the second year of House Fashion Week, as the organization continues to evolve, one can’t help but look forward to the exciting developments that lie ahead.

Photos provided by @andrew_dunne_photography @mavvro 📸 📷

Sky High Fashion Show: A Night of Purposeful Expression

On July 30th, fashion enthusiasts and style connoisseurs gathered in awe at the Sky High Fashion Show, a dazzling event put together by the visionary Jeurys Santiago, also known as Jay Purposeful. This captivating showcase was a celebration of artistry, talent, and purposeful representation.

The main attraction of the evening was undoubtedly the Jay’s Purposeful Models, who graced the runway with their poise and grace. Each model exuded confidence and charisma, bringing the meticulously crafted designs to life in an enchanting display of creativity and style.

As guests mingled, they were treated to a diverse array of vendors, offering unique products and services. The delightful treats from Confections By Al tempted taste buds, while Top Notch Scholars showcased their moving initiatives. Los Muchachos Chimi added a flavorful touch to the event, and Linked Permanent Jewelry dazzled attendees with their exquisite pieces.

The atmosphere was further heightened by captivating musical performances. Kiahvette’s soulful melodies filled the air, followed by the electrifying beats of John Hen and the mesmerizing tunes of Colby Junge. These talented musicians complemented the show’s ambiance, adding an unforgettable soundtrack to the night.

Behind the scenes, a dedicated team of contributors played pivotal roles in making the event a resounding success. Chief Operating Officer Cristal Delgado’s meticulous planning and coordination ensured the smooth execution of every aspect of the show. Miss Megan, the event planner and model director, brought her expertise to curate a seamless experience for both participants and attendees alike. Bonna, the style & designer coordinator, curated an awe-inspiring collection that captivated the audience. And last but not least, Aurelina, the assistant model coordinator, worked tirelessly to support the models and ensure they shone on the runway.

The Sky High Fashion Show was more than just an evening of glitz and glamour; it was a powerful statement of purpose and inclusivity. Jay Purposeful’s vision shone through every element of the event, from the diverse range of models to the representation of various vendors and performers. It exemplified the beauty and strength that comes from embracing individuality and embracing fashion as a form of self-expression.

As the night came to a close, the Sky High Fashion Show left an indelible mark on the fashion industry and the hearts of all who attended. Jay Purposeful’s dedication to purposeful fashion, combined with the remarkable contributions of the team and the outstanding performances, made this event an unforgettable celebration of creativity and style. The show not only proved that fashion has the power to transcend boundaries but also acted as a reminder that when art and purpose converge, magic happens.
Photos by @montega_briicks 📷📸

A Dazzling Affair: Unraveling the Fashion Show Extravaganza at ICA Boston

Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) recently played host to a fashion spectacle that left attendees in awe and admiration. The event, curated by the renowned designer By Sharisse (@bysharisse), was a masterful fusion of art, music, and culture, showcasing the city’s vibrant fashion scene like never before.

The runway came alive with a captivating blend of styles and performances that celebrated the creative prowess of talented individuals. Among the highlights was the live music performance by Safiya Leslie & her band (, who set the stage ablaze with their soulful melodies, perfectly complementing the visual feast on display.

Adding an enthralling twist to the show, the Boston Socaholics (@bostonsocaholics) brought an explosion of colors and energy with their dazzling carnival costumes. The audience was transported to the lively streets of the Caribbean, as the dancers exuberantly paraded their stunning creations.

The element of surprise was taken to a whole new level when the Soca Fusion dancers (@_socafusion) made their grand entrance with an electrifying flash mob. Their impeccable synchronization and infectious enthusiasm set an electrifying atmosphere, making it a memorable moment for all in attendance.

The glam squad was another force to be reckoned with, showcasing their remarkable talents and transforming the models into ethereal beings. Make-up artist Sparklle T (@sparkllet worked her magic, crafting captivating looks that perfectly complemented the designer’s creations. Meanwhile, hair stylist Khayriyah weaved her artistry into every strand, creating stunning hairstyles that were nothing short of awe-inspiring.

By Sharisse’s collection was the focal point of the show, and rightfully so. Her visionary designs seamlessly blended elements of tradition and modernity, elegance and edginess. Each ensemble was a testament to her artistry and attention to detail, leaving the audience enamored with every passing look.

The ICA in Boston proved to be the perfect backdrop for this fashion spectacle, as its contemporary and minimalist architecture allowed the clothing and performances to shine brightly. The juxtaposition of art, music, and fashion created an immersive experience that transcended the boundaries of a typical fashion show.

This extraordinary event at ICA Boston not only celebrated fashion but also showcased the power of collaboration and the creative spirit of Boston’s fashion community. By bringing together diverse talents from various fields, it demonstrated the potential for art and fashion to intersect and inspire each other.

As the curtains drew to a close, the fashion show at ICA Boston left an indelible mark on the attendees. It was an evening filled with beauty, creativity, and the celebration of art in all its forms. The event served as a reminder that fashion is more than just clothing; it is an expression of culture, identity, and imagination, and when combined with other art forms, it has the power to ignite our senses and transport us to new realms of inspiration.


Photo credits goes to Mr. CameraMan @theblueprint39_ 📷📸

Amor Fati

Concerts and tours have come to a halt since the coming of the Coronavirus pandemic, forcing  artists to find innovative ways to connect with their fans. Specifically,  R&B artists are collectively shifting their focus from consumer to art. Artists like Jazmine Sullivan, Jhene Aiko, Kehlani and Queen Naija bear it all on their most recent projects, focusing less on catchy choruses and more on poetic expression through song-writing. Continuing this theme of “bearing it all” is SZA in the alternative genre. SZA released “Good Days” at the end of 2020, on Christmas, as a gift to her fans. Since its release, “Good Days” has been at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. On February 21st , during its 9th week on the charts, SZA announced through an instagram post that her single had just went platinum, selling over two million copies in the United States. She captioned the post, ” Proof of life. Good days is platinum ? thank you beyond a caption???✨?? ” .


I think it’s high-time we reflect on the magic of “Good Days”.


What exactly makes “Good Days” so special? Well, it’s a mixture of things. SZA’s fans have waited over three years for a solo project by her since the release of her debut studio album CTRL, in 2017. Her voice was missed. But even moreso, her genius lyricism was missed. It’s also nice to witness SZA’s growth as not only an artist but also as a woman. I thought it was a testament to her womanhood that SZA (a usual hopeless romantic) used her heartbreak as the backdrop for this particular story. She made her life the subject of her inspiration, rather than relying on a love interest as her muse like she has done so many times in the past on songs like “Sobriety” and “Love Galore ” featuring Travis Scott. On one hand, SZA is emerging from heartbreak in “Good Days”, but on the other, she is healing. As the song progresses, her regrets and doubts are replaced by acceptance, and we get to heal with her.


SZA redefines a “Good” day in a time when so many of our days have been questionable. While we maneuver these news transitions, and care for our mental states, while depression creeps up into our everyday lives, and the questions about the future persists, SZA teaches us several lessons about what having a “Good” day really means. 

  1. First of all: A good day can be a decent day. 
  2. Secondly, not all good days start off so good. 
  3. Good days can have sad moments.
  4. Sad days can still be Good Days. 
  5. Any day that you are alive and get to feel is a good day.
  6. And lastly, you can choose to have whatever day you wanna have. 

There is something paradoxical about how SZA presents all the binaries in her song. Her lyrics are filled with opposing ideas but yet these opposites cannot exist without each other . There is an inside and an outside, a dark past and a hopeful future , fear but also courage. She begins the song with a dichotomy between the world in her head and the one outside of it, “Good day in my mind/ Safe to take a step out/Get some air now”. She starts out feeling confident and decides it may be safe to step outside of her thoughts and literally, physically step outside. But she quickly realizes that she is not ready, “ Too soon, I spoke. You’ve been heavy on my mind”, then she’s back in her thoughts. She describes this process of trying to make sense of this heartbreak as a war going on in her mind, “Trying to make sense ( or cents) of loose change/ Got me a war in my mind”. I think that anyone who has experienced heartbreak, or any trauma for that matter can relate to that feeling of your mind literally battling to let go of the pain. 

How does SZA cope with the pain? Through acceptance. I’ve been wondering for so long what that line about armored fate meant. She sings, “Choose to watch/ While the world break up in front of me/ All the while, I’ll await my armored fate with a smile”. SZA is known for her wordplay and she is familiar with double entendres, like the one she used in the line about making sense/cents of loose change. While tumbling down the rabbit hole of google, scrolling through rap genius summaries, and SZA’s tweets, I came across a Wikipedia Page explaining the term Amor Fati, “Amor Fati is a Latin phrase that may be translated as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate“. . . used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or. . . necessary”. This is SZA’s attitude on ” Good Days”. Otherwise, why would she be waiting with a smile? Another way to read armored fate is that anything armored is protected, it cannot be assaulted or affected. She could be acknowledging the fact that fate is concrete, and you cannot change it no matter how much you stress, or maneuver. This could be why she chooses to wait with a smile.


The most important take-away is that SZA is processing her own healing experience, which involves isolation, self-doubt, regret, fear, and insecurities. Heartbreak is not the main focus of “Good Days”, but I don’t necessarily think healing is either. I think ” Good Days” is celebrating the transition or the process and all of the parts in between heartbreak and healing. Sza chooses to relinquish a need to control her circumstances and instead allows herself to just go through the motions. Sometimes, we focus so much on the end goal we forget that living is all in the process.


2021: The Year of Authenticity

This January 2021 marked the year of Authenticity for the Black Woman. It is an interesting time for us in America, right now. While most things seem to be at a stand-still, black women are forging ahead in all industries, delivering a clear message to the world that says:  “We are here”. 

January 20th, 2021 marked a monumental moment in American History. Kamala Harris ( a graduate from the historically black college Howard University, and an member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority ) became the first black woman to be voted Vice-President of America. Ironically, after President Trump made a mess of the country, they sent a black woman in to clean up the mess.

With her unapologetic confidence, Harris made it very clear that she would not shrink herself to pacify the American public, and quickly became a beacon of inspiration for black girls all around the country. But this would only be the beginning for us.

As a response to police brutality and the growing oppression of white supremacy, many black consumers started “buying black”, pouring money into black industries and businesses, truly recognizing, and finally giving credit to the work of black creatives in all fields. Black creativity has become the theme of this Black History Month, with the notion that this world simply cannot exist without it.

Black women: This is the year where we strip away the layers that no longer serve us and we show the world who we truly are. Black women are not a monolith. We come in many shapes and forms. We as individuals are able to shape-shift all throughout our lives. We are ghetto, and we are boujie. We are submissive but we are also leaders. We can twerk and we can code. I bet you somewhere out there, is a black girl who can twerk while coding!

Whether it’s by chopping off your perm, or simply choosing not to code-switch at work, this is the time for black women to step into their power by stepping into their truth. And the truth is: We are reclaiming our position at the head of modern society.

BOLD SsinsationsS

Budding fashion label SsinsationsS has been making visually stunning campaigns that demands attention.
Their BOLD designs and sleek aesthetic depicts ‘the current state of the world’ and exercises our imagination of what the 31st century will bring.
In this episode Program Coordinator Lavanyai takes the time to interview designer and founder of SsinsationsS.

Check them out on IG for more info about their stunning collections @ssinsationss

Lavanyai x Harley M Photo

Early this December, Lavanyai put together a photoshoot to celebrate ambition and the pursuit of one’s dreams! These classic photos were taken by @HarleymPhotography was a gracious host at his Brockton based studio headquarters. The beautiful Lavanyai was styled by @IamTwistID and the shoot was directed by creative director @evetheedancer. Click the shows tab to see the behind the scenes of the shoot! ✌?