Category: Lifestyle Written by LaMont Jones
FROM WILLIE HALL’S 2013 FALL COLLECTION
(NEW YORK CITY)—For fashion designer Brehon Williams, it all started with rollercoasters.
“I always wanted to grow up to become a mechanical design engineer, designing rollercoasters,” said the 23-year-old Virginia native. “As I began to delve into fashion, all of the research—as far as architecture goes—started to be infused in my design aesthetic. Riding a rollercoaster is an experience, and I want whomever wears my clothes to have an experience in them.”
Williams’ fall 2013 collection of menswear and womenswear was a pleasing experience at the Rogues Gallery Presents show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week last month. Rogues Gallery Presents, created and produced by Black stylist Ron Cooke, provides a platform for emerging designers to get some of the spotlight during New York’s fashion weeks each February and September. Like most other fashion events staged during the week, although not officially part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, RGP is a chance for designers with talent but perhaps less money, connections, or clout to get their work in front of some of the many editors, bloggers, buyers, celebrities, industry insiders, and everyday fashion-lovers who converge on The Big Apple for the nation’s biggest fashion fest.
Williams and three other Black designers were among seven designers to watch who presented collections in the show at Hotel Pennsylvania. His designs are always influenced by menswear, and the looks he showed for next fall and winter were contemporary with creative color-blocking and exotic prints.
The line, he said, “was inspired by Africa—the tribes, the animals, and the color. I wanted to present a collection that was deeply inspired by my heritage without it becoming a joke and looking like a costume party.”
While Williams designs from his home in Chesapeake, Va., Mikasa La’Charles is based just north in downtown Norfolk. Her “Navajo Meets Hollywood” fall collection was full of young and sexy looks for women. She incorporated faux leather and a patchwork motif throughout the line, along with a dramatic cowl feature on several dresses.
La’Charles studied marketing at the College of William and Mary before studying fashion design and business at Parsons Paris School of Art and Design. She also studied in Europe, interned in New York City, worked with design brands such as Laundry by Shelli Segal and along the way taught herself to sketch and sew the designs she visualized.
“I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 5,” and began drawing women’s clothes at her childhood home in Philadelphia, she said.
Pursuing her passion is paying off. She debuted collections at VA Fashion Week in 2010 and 2011 and at Charleston Fashion Week in South Carolina last year, where she was named among the top 20 emerging designers on the East Coast.
La’Charles’ designs are sold in her online boutique, www.mikasalacharles.com. With an interest in every aspect of fashion, she also works as a stylist, teaches sewing classes and does freelance design work for two fashion companies – all while being a single mother to a 2-year-old son.
Becoming a recognized name is much more difficult for designers and usually takes much longer than the public realizes. Although Willie Hall of Brunswick, N.J. has been designing fashion for 30 years, she is still emerging on the scene.
She staged her first fashion show at the age of 18 and was passionate about creating prom gowns for girls who couldn’t afford retail prices. She soon began a 30-year career as a medical assistant, all the while continuing to design. In 1998, heeding her father’s advice to focus on doing what really makes her happy, she left the medical field and in 2003 returned to fashion school.
Hall volunteered for 19 seasons at the official New York Fashion Week, now Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and has shown collections at Rogues Gallery Presents since its inception in 2008. Her chic fall womenswear collection featured elegant and edgy dresses and sportswear, from shorts and skirts to jackets and wide-leg pants.
“My inspiration came from my closet of fabrics, sourcing what you have already in front of you,” said Hall, 50. That meant a strong foundation of black and white with an infusion of vivid color. She said her philosophy is that “a woman should look elegant no matter what she is wearing. I design for women who are confident within themselves wearing a pair of pants or a gown.”
Her tailoring is impeccable, honed as a former assistant to design icon Andre Van Pier, whose creations in the 80s were worn by superstars such as Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Prince, Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson.
Designing for celebrities is a joy Diane Linston of Cleveland has experienced. The 44-year-old Alabama native recently designed two outfits for actress Jazsmin Lewis and said she designs for “jazzy yet sophisticated women age 25 and up.”
Linston’s aesthetic is young and hip. Her strong fall womenswear collection included bold overcoats and denim separates, with creative surface detailing on every look for extra pizzazz.
She began sketching and designing at the age of 14, later graduating from the Virginia Marti College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Ohio. She was installed in the school’s Wall of Fame in 2001. Two years prior, she launched her brand, Styles of Imagination, and sold her designs at two stores in Cleveland.
Linston closed the stores in 2005 to launch her own brand, N.G.U. Designs. She showed a collection in 2009 at a show in Atlanta presented by stylist Dwight Eubanks, who since has had recurring appearances on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
All of the designers are working toward establishing a retail presence with their designs, which is no simple feat. Williams, who won the Virginia Fashion Award for up-and-coming designers in 2009, said he “would love to get in a few small boutiques just to get my name out there.”
Linston wants to diversify into accessories and housewares and has designed plus-size blouses that she plans to pitch to department stores and the Home Shopping Network.
“My plan,” she said, “is to have the N.G.U. Collection in as many boutiques and specialty stores as possible.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:09
Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
When commentating fashion shows I’ve always said that there is nothing new under the sun. I surely hope that people don’t think that drinking cough syrup to get high is new. I remember a young man who we called “Robo” back in the day. The nickname came for his love or addiction to Robitussin Cough Syrup. He always kept a bottle visible in his shirt pocket. He passed away as a young man. With all the talk about Lil’ Wayne going into the hospital for alleged seizures possibly from his cough syrup drink, I decided to look up what is called sirrzup, seerup or sirrup. There were more than 13,000 results. According to the Urban Dictionary:
Sirrup is a mixed beverage, which became famous through the postmillenium hip-hop community of southern U.S.A. Sirrup consists of Codeinesirup and lemon flavored lemonade, Jolly Rancher candy is optional. It’s most famous representative is definitely Lil’ Wayne, who is often seen sippin’ from a Styrofoam cup, filled with a purple colored liquid.
Let’s use it in a sentence: “Man, have you heard of DJ 100 percent Design? He must be sirrup sippin’ every day with those remixes.”
I remember watching an episode of “Behind The Music” about Lil’ Wayne. Towards the end of the episode he was asked about what was in the cup, what was he drinking? He got pretty upset and said no one needed to ask him about what was in his cup. Well about a week ago Wayne was hospitalized and many in the news media attributed the trip to the hospital to his codeine concoction. Not so says Lil’ Wayne’s family, they say somebody messed with his sirrup, he was poisoned. Reportedly he has hired an investigator to check into the alleged poisoning. Funny nobody said it is time to stop drinking the deadly purple drink.
If you think you want to start using sirrup here is something you may want to consider. As tolerance for the drugs in sirrup builds, higher doses are required to feel similar effects. In this cough syrup combination, promethazine can actually double the amount of codeine that affects the body. Furthermore, carbonated drinks make the body absorb even more by pushing it through the stomach lining to the part containing blood vessels.
The major danger of cough syrup abuse is the high potential for addiction. Like morphine or other opiates, regular consumption of codeine can result in chemical dependency. Taken over a period of time, the body’s central nervous system will stop producing pain killers, or endorphins, naturally because it is receiving opiates instead. Then these inactive nerve cells degenerate and when the body no longer produces pain killers on its own, the addiction begins. When a user wants to quit, it often means a painful withdrawal period or an unpleasant medically supervised detox. Even then, relapse is always a danger. People can lose consciousness and have convulsions (can you say seizure). Those with prior respiratory problems such as asthma face even higher risks.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:05
Category: Lifestyle Written by Courier Newsroom
MARCH 28—Virtuous Academy will host an Open House from 6-8 p.m. at One Library Place, Duquesne. Interested guests will be able to meet staff and administrators, along with information about financial assistance. For more information, call 412-896-6701 or visit www.virtuousacademy.org.
MARCH 30—UPMC East will host its “Advances in Diabetes Management and General Health Screenings” program from 7-11 a.m. at the UPMC East Conference Center, 2775 Mosside Blvd., Monroeville. Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about diabetes and will be able to participate in a general health screening and more. Health coaches will also be available. For more information, call 1-866-737-0910.
MARCH 30—The Carnegie Museum of Natural History will host its 7th Annual “Egg-cellent” Egg Hunt from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Children 12 and under will have the opportunity to participate in a scavenger hunt, interact with nature experts and more. For more information, call 412-662-3131 or visit www.carnegiemnh.org.
Health & Wellness Fair
MARCH 30—The Pittsburgh Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc. will host its Health & Wellness Fair from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Bethel AME Church, 2720 Webster Ave., Hill District. Attendees will receive important information, meet health specialists, receive free screenings and learn about healthy living. The event is free and open to the public.
Legacy Awards Luncheon
MARCH 30—The Rankin, Mon Valley and Pittsburgh Section of the National Council of Negro Women will host the 4th Annual Legacy Awards Luncheon from 12-3 p.m. at Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Ave., Wilkinsburg. The theme is “Women United: Activate the Legacy.” Honorees will be Jean Bryant, Alma Speed Fox, Beatrice Morrison Melo Myers and Mary Savage. Shirley Moore Smeal will be the guest speaker and Sabrina Saunders will be the mistress of ceremonies. For more information, call Flora Jackson at 412-351-2885.
Gun Violence Forum
Health & Awareness Brunch
APRIL 6—Enhanced Creativity and the Lupus Foundation will host the Health & Awareness Brunch from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 5th Ave., Oakland. The brunch will include guest speakers, a day of pampering, delicious food and more. The event benefits the Lupus Foundation. For more information, email Rae Coleman at enhancedcreativity2009 @gmail.com.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:20
Category: Lifestyle Written by Courier Newsroom
Good Friday Service
MARCH 29—Holy Spirit Fellowship Church, 1100 6th St., New Brighton, will host its Good Friday Service 2013 at 9:30 a.m. The theme is “Thank God it’s Friday” with guest speaker Rev. Marvin Moreland of Deliverance Temple COGIC. Breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. Registration is requested and all are welcomed. For more information, call 724-728-1064.
Prayer 4 Peace March
MARCH 29—House of Manna, 7240 Frankstown Ave., Homewood, will host its 4th Annual Prayer 4 Peace March from 9:30-11 a.m. The march will declare the hope of God for our city, and begin at Westinghouse High School and end at the New Renaissance Center. For more information, call 412-996-3303.
Seven Last Words
MARCH 29—Morningside COGIC, 5173 Dearborn St., Garfield, will host “The Seven Last Words of Jesus” Good Friday Service from 12-3 p.m. There will be a feet washing service at 7 p.m. For more information, call 412-361-9865.
Good Friday Service
MARCH 29—Friendship Baptist Church, 17 E. Walnut St., Washington, Pa., will host its Across Denominational Lines Good Friday Service 2013 at 7 p.m. The service will include guest pastors from Washington County and communion will be served. For more information, call 724-222-2382.
Good Friday Service
MARCH 29—First Baptist Penn Hills, 7450 Chadwick St., Penn Hills, will host its Good Friday Service at 7 p.m. The theme will be “Generation 7:31.” Seven powerful preachers 31 years old and younger will preach on the Seven Last Words. For more information, visit www.fbph.org.
Good Friday Worship
MARCH 29—Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 90 Port Perry Rd., North Versailles, will host a Good Friday Worship service at 7 p.m. This will be a celebration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The guest preacher will be Rev. Johnathan Wilson, along with the worship ministry of Ed Kendeal and Tim Woodruff, and the C.A.Y.A. Praise Team. For more information, call 412-823-2841.
Seven Last Words
MARCH 29—Abyssinian Capernaum Baptist Church, 7515 Tioga St., Homewood, will host “Seven Last Words” for their Good Friday service at 7 p.m. There will be several guest preachers. For more information, call 412-680-3873.
Jesus in the Passover
MARCH 30—Judah Ministries International Worship Center, 525 Market St., McKeesport, will host “Jesus in the Passover” at 6:30 p.m. The evening will feature Sahara Teed as guests partake in a traditional Passover meal and celebrate the first communion. For more information, call 412-672-6000 or visit www.judahministries.net.
APRIL 1—The SilverCord Interdenominational Association of Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows of Pittsburgh & Vicinity will host the 77th Annual Easter Bonnet Luncheon and Fashion Show at 12 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Pittsburgh Hotel, 101 Mall Blvd., Monroeville. Reservations are required. For more information, call 412-824-3845.
10 Commandment Teas
APRIL 6—The Music Department of Bethel AME Church, 2720 Webster Ave., Hill District, will host its 7th Annual 10 Commandment Tea at 12 p.m. This will be an afternoon of praise and an inspiring Word of God. For more information, call 412-683-2160.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:04
Category: Lifestyle Written by Courier Newsroom
by Desiree S. Coleman
Special from the St. Louis American
You meet the perfect person. You go out on a few dates. Instantly, they are elevated to “boo status” and you think that you’ve finally found “the one.” Things are going great until you do a little digging and some soul-searching.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 19:53
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!