Designer Janelle Funari Opens her First Store in DUMBO, Brooklyn

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Photographer: Ron Alweiss; Jenny A. (left) Designer Janelle (right)

Dreams do come true!

I just want to start by saying how proud I am of designer Janelle Funari. Last year, I asked her what she hoped to achieve within the next year. You know what she said? “To open my first FUNARI store in NYC!” Guess what?! She did it! Janelle opened up her very own store in DUMBO, Brooklyn. I had the honor of attending her fashion show. As I watched her cut the red ribbon, all I could think about is how dreams really do come true.

Beautiful. Dynamic. Indestructible.

Last week I wore the FUNARI tank top that I received from the fashion show to my spin class and I was on fire! I was peddling up this really tough “climb” and I really thought I wouldn’t last through the song. My heart was racing and I could feel the sweat dripping down my neck. I looked at the woman staring back at me in the mirror wearing my FUNARI tank top and thought ” I can do this.” Seeing myself wearing FUNARI gave me the extra push to work harder, be better, and be on fire.

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Photographer: Noel Valero 

So without further ado, here is the my exclusive interview with designer Janelle Funari.

Jenny A. (Me): Tell me a little bit about the collection that I saw on the runway. What is the collection about? Was there a message behind it? 

Janelle: The collection is called Fire! It was the launch of the men’s and woman’s swim line. The collection is all inclusive with unisex styling and gender neutral pieces that can be worn by all. There is something for everyone in this collection! The message behind the collection was about showing diversity in size, shape & color! We want you to feel good in your skin, good about where you are in your life & good about your fitness journey. Beauty comes from within!  We want to empower both men and woman to feel confident, sexy and bold.

Me: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Janelle: My inspiration comes from living and breathing the NYC lifestyle. Being around this multicultural city which is constantly moving, keeps my mind spinning towards new styles and designs! Living in NYC has inspired me to want functionality, practicality and amazing edgy styles.

Me: It was so exciting watching you cut the red ribbon at your store’s Grand Opening! What was it like to cut the red ribbon on the runway?

Janelle: Cutting the red ribbon was a BIG moment in my career! I have waited a long time to open a store and cutting this ribbon made me realize all I have overcome in this life. I now know and believe that with perseverance and determination, dreams can come true!

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Photographer: Noel Valero 

Me: Just like the people who live in New York, I felt like your models were very diverse. How do you find your models?

Janelle: The model selection is very important to me. I am always looking for confidence and an athletic look. I feel the models now understand my vision and that the universe sends them to me. There are models I find on Instagram and request them to walk in my fashion shows. I am always ecstatic when they say “yes”! I love working with dancers because it shows that movement is possible in my brand. I want clients to know my products are beautiful, indestructible and can stretch and move with you!

Me: What was it like to have your very own fashion show? 

Janelle: Having my own show was a great experience! I was able to control the concept and really put my heart into it. It was nice to be able to show my inspiration and not have anyone hold me back from my vision. I know I can have outlandish ideas but I believe I can always create a bigger and better experience. I think shows can only improve.  It is important to a brand and the designer that it needs to feel authentic and genuine for someone to buy the brand; they need to feel a connection. This is what I am trying to accomplish with my presentation.

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Photographer: Noel Valero 

Me: Which outfit from your collection was the most challenging to create / design?

Janelle: The most challenging piece would have to be the tailored athletic looks. For this collection that would be the 3/4 camouflage coat. I was mixing (1) a water proof denim bonded fabric with (2) a recycled textured poly backed with (3) wool lined with (4) cashmere with (5) a leather trim. The cut had to be tailored to the body and fit well. It is very complicated and challenging to sew together fabrics that stretch and don’t stretch. It’s a slow and steady process but in the end it is very rewarding!

Me: Do you have any advice for upcoming designers? 

Janelle: Always follow your dream. Push yourself to be different then the rest, constantly sketch,  and learn “The Business”!  I always tell students that it is best to learn the business side of fashion and to also be creative. Take a job in a store or intern with a business. With both of these things you can be successful!

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Be sure to check out Janelle’s store which is located at:

145 Front Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn. (Right off the F train York stop)

Hours: 11-6pm.

Right now they are appointment only. In spring/summer, the hours will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday with NO appointment necessary from 11-7pm.

 

A special congratulations and thank you to Janelle Funari for her fabulous fashion show! Check out my top looks from the Fire collection here. If you want to see her other collections, check here.

Also a special thanks to photographer Noel Valero for capturing the moments with his spectacular photos.

Like this post? Be sure to leave a comment below on what you think! Also, be sure subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode

Love always,

Jenny A

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Model or Role Model? Abby-Leigh is Both

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Photographer: V. Howe

RESPECT. EMPOWER. BE A ROLE MODEL.

In a world where it is easy to lose your way, role models are so important to have. They inspire you. They shape you. They empower you. I love how model Abby-Leigh strives to not only be a model, but also to be a role model. She wants to empower other girls and give them a voice. Abby’s biggest piece of advice is “Respect people for who they are.”

“Younger girls look up to me. I want to give them power even when I feel like I have lost mine.” – Abby

The most shocking part of our interview was when she mentioned that she wants to empower others even though she’s faced nasty comments from people that she knows. I find it extremely inspiring that Abby pushes through the negativity to shine though.

Abby stands up to be a role model.

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Photographer: @ianjam6

My Interview with Model Abby:

Jenny A. (me): What is your hardest challenge as a teen model?

Abby-Leigh: The negativity I get from the other boys and girls. Sometimes they try to bring me down. I want to be comfortable in my own skin and lift people up. People say things about me – they call me names and make comments about my glasses. I’ve also gotten nasty messages which I have had to block or delete. Sometimes the nasty messages are from people I know. That’s the hardest part. Sometimes it’s from strangers. They are just doing it for a reaction.

Me: How do you deal with the negativity?

Abby: At first, it gets to me but then it makes me stronger and keeps me going. It makes me want to model more. Don’t let anyone get you down. Follow your dreams.

Me: Who is your role model?

Abby: I have a lot of role models but, my # 1 role model is my mom. She’s my best friend. She’s amazing and does everything. We talk about everything and even watch Prison Break together!

Me: Do you have a motto that you live your life by?

Abby: You can’t blame society when you are society. Younger girls look up to me. I want to give them power even though there are times when I feel like I have lost mine.

Me: You’ve spoken about beauty on Instagram, what does beauty mean to you?

Abby: It’s not about looks, it’s about personality. Beauty in the inside, not on the outside. Being nice doesn’t cost anything.

Me: You’re a model for Izzy Be Clothing. Tell us a little about the brand!

Abby: I love Izzy Be Clothing. It empowers girls. It lifts girls up and gives them a voice. I want to do that too.

Me: What has been your favorite modeling experience?

Abby: The time when a big crowd of people arrived for my photo shoot! It was outside and I was wearing a beautiful evening gown. I was so shocked that they all came!

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Photographer: V. Howe

Me: When you’re not modeling, what do you enjoy doing?

Abby: I love reading and writing. I’m also a gamer girl. I like playing Fortnite. Sometimes people call me a tomboy and sometimes they say I’m a girly girl. I say, I’m both.

Linda: What do you hope for your future? Do you have a goal? 

Abby: I want to be a really big model like Victoria’s Secret models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Me: If you could be a fruit or a vegetable, which fruit or vegetable would you be? 

Abby: I would be a pineapple just like the quote “Be a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.” Everyone should be a pineapple.

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Photographer: @ianjam6

I want to hear from you! Who is your role model? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemodeYou can follow Abby on Instagram @abbyleigh7504

Love always,

Jenny A.

The Modern Day Princess: Model Rachel Sklar

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Photographer: Ryan Kyungrockim

Meet Rachel:

What I really admire about Rachel is that she is a strong and independent model. She strikes me as the modern day princess, a little bit sweet & a little bit edgy. One moment she can be sitting in the makeup room getting glammed up to walk the runway, and the next moment she can be taking charge of her career and booking her own fashion shows.

Here is our interview:

Jenny A. (Me) : What’s your craziest modeling experience? 

Rachel: Moving to NYC this past year was crazy. In February, I signed with New York Model Management. After New York Fashion Week, I had to go back home to LA to work. My NY booker encouraged me to come back to the New York area in August – October. I was so excited that I booked my whole trip – including my flight. Would you believe that a week before my trip, they dropped the whole runway department…including me?!

Me: What did you end up doing?

Rachel: I was determined to make things work. I still went to NYC and did it all on my own! I booked myself for every day of fashion week!

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Photographer: Lucas Passmore

Me: What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced as a model so far?

Rachel: Taking Criticism. I’ve been told that I am too tall, too skinny, too fat, too ugly, and too old. Casting directors will comment on all of the things that they think I should change about myself.  Taking that criticism and saying “thank you” is the most challenging part of modeling.

Me: Is there anything you want to say to those people who have criticized your look? 

Rachel: At the end of the day, there are a lot of other designers that want my look. I can’t let those negative comments get to me.

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Fashion Designer: Michael Costello

Me: What do you think about when you walk down the runway? 

Rachel: I think about my posture, my facial expressions and the beat of the music. I also think about making sure my arms are moving symmetrically, and figuring out where the cameras are. It’s all about getting that perfect professional picture!

Me: Have you ever lived in a model apartment? 

Rachel: No, model housing is very expensive. When I went to model in New York, I stayed in Airbnbs and hotels, because they where just as expensive as the modeling apartments where I would have to share a room.

Norma C. : Did you always dream of being a model? 

Rachel: Yes, I’ve always loved dressing up & being in-front of the camera. I was 5’9” at 15 years old when I signed a contract with LA Model Management. After high school, I went to college & took a break from modeling.  At 25 years old, I was 5’11” & was still determined to be a model.  I went back to LA Model Management & signed a new contract. I’ve been with them ever since. I am very thankful for all the work!

Me: What are your goals and dreams? 

Rachel: My goal is to support myself and be independent.  My dream is to do commercials, acting, and trying out stand-up comedy.  I also dream that one day I can produce my own runway shows!

Me: What do you love to do? 

Rachel: Besides for taking pictures, I love stand up comedy and going to shows. I started writing some jokes. I’m actually working with friends who are also models on some small comedy film projects.

“My goal is to support myself and be independent.” – Rachel Sklar

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Photographer: Di Natale Photography

Me: Who is your favorite animated character?

Rachel: Cinderella because my life makes me feel like a fairytale. I always have to give my clothes back after a modeling job, just like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight.

Me: We’re exactly one month into the New Year! What was your New Year’s Resolution?

Rachel: To be more familiar with politics. I’ve been telling myself I would learn the basics. I want to watch the news more, read more, and be more involved in political conversations.

Me: If you could be a fruit or vegetable,  which fruit or vegetable would you be?

Rachel: I would be a goji berry.  Goji berries are expensive, hard to find, & they are great any way they’re prepared.

Thanks for reading! I want to hear from you! What does being a modern day princess mean to you?

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemodeYou can follow Rachel on Instagram @Rachel_sklar.

Love always,

Jenny A.

Dancing Queen: Model Erika Citrin Danced at New York Fashion Week

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Erika Citrin was one of the models who opened up the Janelle FUNARI NEW YORK fashion show! She was dancing, modeling and doing flips on the runway to Ciara’s Level Up. She was jumping around and totally lit up the runway! I was completely gripped when she walked to the end of the runway, posed, looked at the model standing across from her (Dana Wiener) and then they both turned their backs towards the cameras and clasped hands. I felt as though they were standing together and blocking out all the noise around them. They walked back up the runway hand-in-hand before running into the distance.

ERIKA WAS FEARLESS

When the show was over, I met with Erika and she did a behind the scenes exclusive dance for us (see the video below)!

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for… my interview with Erika!

– What was it like to dance at the FUNARI NEW YORK fashion show? 

Dancing at the fashion show was truly an amazing experience. Both Janelle (AKA FUNARI NEW YORK’S mastermind) and I have very busy schedules so even she hadn’t seen the full final product before the show!

– How long did it take you to practice? Who choreographed the dance?   

I choreographed the dance and chose Dana Wiener, who I originally met at Joffrey Ballet School to dance with me. We put everything together in 3 rehearsals! One of them took place on an extremely hot day at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

-How did you become a model for FUNARI NEW YORK? 

I caught Janelle’s eye when I was doing a photoshoot with Noel Valero. Noel is an amazing person and photographer. I met him when I was dancing for Arch Contemporary Ballet and we stayed connected afterwards. I’ve done multiple photo shoots with him. I actually caught Janelle’s eye after I had my hair done in cornrows and did a test shoot with Noel in her clothing!

– What was the photoshoot like?

The shoot included modeling poses and  BGirl freezes (breakdancing poses) all in one!

– As a model, what is your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it? 

From purely a modeling standpoint, it can be very hard to overcome the dancer stereotype. I mainly get hired to model for dance costumes, or to have a dance segment in a show but I am very interested in more fitness and lifestyle jobs. I’m a personal trainer and bodybuilder so I want to be able to showcase everything that I know how to do.

– Are you adventurous? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I am very adventurous! I recently went hiking in the Catskills this fall and jumped off a 40ft cliff into one of the river pools up there!

This spring, I’m taking a two week trip to Paris and London (you may see me posting some FUNARI designs in my travel attire! )

– What did you do for the holidays?

This past holiday season I mainly stayed home and rested! I visit my family more in between holidays as travel is a lot less hectic! As a freelancer, holidays tend to be a busier work season so I like to be around in the city.

– If you could be a fruit or vegetable, what fruit or vegetable would you be?

I would definitely be a fruit. I like the idea of being able to grow both from low in the ground and high in a tree! Also, fruits are the only way I satisfy my sweet tooth, since candy and sugars aren’t an option in my lifestyle!


 

I want to hear from you! What do you think about Erika’s dance? Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

What to see more of what Erika is up to? You can follow her on Instagram @egcitrin

Love always,

Jenny A.

The Inside Look Behind the FUNARI NEW YORK Collection

I am always drawn to collections that have a deeper meaning.  The FUNARI NEW YORK collection that walked down the runway at Style Fashion Week AKA the Fearless collection was epic! It was all about being fearless, never hiding behind a mask and being brave even if you think you might fail.

You should always be bold, strong and powerful.

I was so excited to interview Designer Janelle Funari, the heart and soul behind FUNARI NEW YORK. I wanted to find out more about her collection and touch on what makes her such a unique designer.

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Photo by Style Fashion Week

Here is our exclusive interview:

Jenny A. : Tell me a little bit about your Fall 2018 collection. What was the inspiration behind it?

Janelle: I was inspired by both the David Bowie exhibit I saw and also the 1980s! I loved David Bowie’s bold, daring attitude and the risks he took as a performer! This collection is about fun, bold punches of color, functionality, technology, & couture finishes. The line is inspired from the 80s where women were bold, strong, and powerful. I wanted to empower both woman and men to be who they want to be and not hide behind a mask. The collection is about freedom, excitement, and liberation!  There is a nostalgic feeling of that 80s carefree attitude. Reminiscing about enjoying life, spontaneity, and dancing in the streets or at an iconic club!<

Jenny A: Tell me a little bit about yourself as a designer. What makes you stand out from the crowd? 

Janelle: My newest endeavor is the couture performance market. The line stands out as it is elegant, timeless, comfortable and practical! The line can be worn all day and all night. You can go to the gym or out to dinner, just put on a pair of boots or heels! The brand is about versatility, technical advancement, and functionality. The FUNARI line is for both Men and Woman and represents quality, style, and innovation.

Jenny: What makes you fearless? What is your story?

Janelle: What makes me Fearless is trying new things and not being afraid to fail. Many people fail before they even try. They let others tell them it’s not possible. I say, “block out the noise!”  I give 200% in everything I do in life!  My mantra is to never look back, never regret, and to always give it your all! I believe that, in life it is better to try, then to not try at all. LIVE like there is no tomorrow & we only have today, so make it happen! Never say “no” or “it is not going to happen”

Anything and EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Put your heart and mind towards your goals and you’ll see that dreams do come true!

Jenny: What is your hardest challenge as a designer?

Janelle: Making my collection in New York City and sewing it in the USA! The cost is much higher for me because it is all made here in NYC.

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Photo by Style Fashion Week

I want to thank Janelle Funari for inviting me to her fashion show. It was fantastic. You can check out her collections here .

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

XOXO,

Jenny A.

I am Fearless : The Fearless Collection by FUNARI NEW YORK

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Photo by Style Fashion Week

In celebration of my fashion blog’s birthday, I wanted to do a special post on FUNARI NEW YORK. 

I was so pumped after watching the FUNARI NEW YORK collection at Style Fashion Week. All I could feel was the energy and excitement flowing through the air. The show left me dancing in my seat and wishing that I was also up on that runway.

I’m no stranger to FUNARI NEW YORK. Last season I saw her show and was very impressed. This season, designer Janelle Funari took it to the next level with her Fearless collection.

When I asked Janelle what makes her fearless she answered, “I try new things and I’m not afraid to fail. Many people fail before they even try. They let others tell them it’s not possible. I say, “block out the noise!”  I give 200% in everything I do in life!  My mantra is to never look back, never regret, and to always give it your all!” – Janelle Funari

My absolute favorite part of the show was when 2 of the models opened the show by dancing on the runway. They were doing flips and splits! They were jumping around and just lighting up the runway. I was completely gripped when they walked to the end of the runway, posed, looked at each other, turned their backs towards the cameras and clasped hands. I felt as though they were standing together and blocking out all the noise around them. They walked back up the runway hand-in-hand before running into the distance.

They were fearless

I wanted to be them.
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Photo by: Noel Valero Photography

The couple’s outfits were so cute! The Fearless collection is elegant, comfortable and practical! It can be worn all day and all night. Can you imagine you and your partner going to the gym together and then going out to dinner in these matching outfits?!

“In this crazy world, we all need someone to turn to.” – Designer Janelle Funari

My Favorite Looks:

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Photo by: Style Fashion Week
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Photo by: Style Fashion Week
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Photo by: Style Fashion Week
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Photo by: Style Fashion Week
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Photo by: Style Fashion Week

I want to thank Janelle Funari for inviting me to her fashion show. It was fantastic. You can check out her collections here .

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

XOXO,

Jenny A.

 

Sea the Beauty: YDAMYS SIMO’s Collection at Style Fashion Week

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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC

After seeing the collection, all I wanted to do was rent a boat and sail off into the sea. All of the pieces in the collection have a feel-good vibe. I think they are a lot of fun. I love the message behind this line: shatter the norms and redefine the way you see beauty.

“Sea The Beauty of a soul’s depth and the surface will never again be enough.” 

The Sea the Beauty collection is all about seeing the beauty within yourself. Loving yourself. Knowing that you are beautiful.

 

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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC

Nick Santonastasso was the opening model for the line. Everyone around me stood up when he walked down the runway. He was fierce. He was captivating. He was inspiring. “The most attractive thing you can be is different”- Nick Santonastasso

Shatter the norms. Redefine beauty.

“I am immensely proud of the brand I have created. I am proud of the unique designs but equally proud of the positive message I attach to them. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to leave the younger generation with a positive message and a positive image about themselves.” – Designer YDAMYS SIMO

 

These are my top looks from this collection:

 

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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC
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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC
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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC
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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC
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Photographer : Red Bird Photography LLC

What do you think about this collection?

I want to thank Red Bird Photography LLC for capturing YDAMYS SIMO’s collection. All photos in this blog post were taken by Red Bird Photography LLC.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode 

XOXO,

Jenny A.