One of the best things about being a fashion blogger is getting to know the stories behind the faces on the runway. It’s so easy to just look at a model and just see what they are wearing. But I like seeing the models on the runway and knowing who they are, where they came from and how they got there.
I was excited to finally meet model Kevin Christie. I first saw him walking for designer Janelle Funari last year. So when I saw him again and he agreed to be interviewed, I was psyched. Funny story – we actually had to film the interview in 3 different locations to get the lighting right! Sorry Kevin! But I must say that Kevin was a trouper and I really appreciate that.
SO without further ado, here’s our interview.
Meet Model Kevin:
What did you think about the interview? Be sure to leave a comment below! Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Be sure to check out Janelle’s store which is located at:
145 Front Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn. (Right off the F train York stop)
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.
“Brand in Demand” – The fashion world is starting to notice model Lisa Franco as she makes a name for herself as a model.
Lisa’s goals are (1) to be featured in a magazine and (2) to be an ambassador model.
The secret to keeping her young looking is her miracle water – Kangen Water. It’s the only thing she drinks and simply can’t live without it! When Lisa’s dog had arthritis, she gave her dog miracle water and it helped cure her dog.
No pain. No gain. Lisa goes to the gym 5 days a week working out on the StairMaster, the Elliptical, and using some weights. You can find her getting pumped up at a kickboxing or hip-hop class.
She shared that her biggest accomplishment is having her own house and raising her wonderful son, Michael Cerasani whom she is very close to. Fun Fact: her son was a cast member on season 5 of MTV’s reality TV show “Are You the One?” where he fell in love with a girl on the show and moved to Texas.
Lisa loves a little adventure. She’s gone boating and zip lining. She has even swam with the sharks, dolphins, eels & stingrays! She likes to relax by the pool, take a swim, and walk on the beach under the hot sun. Her dream vacation spots are Tahiti & Greece.
What is Lisa really like? She is a down to earth, sweet and very friendly model who is not afraid to approach people.
If she could be a fruit or vegetable, she would be a watermelon because it is refreshing and sweet (but not too sweet).
Lisa modeled for the Unique Blend Models fashion shows.
As New York Fashion Week comes to an end, I thought it would be the perfect time to publish my interview with 2016 Mr. NYFW Model of the Year, Tommy Maksanty.
Jenny A. (Me):Which celebrity do you think you look like the most?
Tommy (TM): People say I look like Edge the Wrestler if I were to put on weight.
Me:What is it like for you behind the scenes of a fashion show?
TM: I’m pretty much laid back. I just watch and take a lot of things in.
Me: Does it ever get hectic?
TM: I live in Virginia but I travel up to New York for fashion weeks. Some days I’ll overbook myself. In September 2015 I had 9 fashion shows back to back. I would go to a fitting where I would hop on my longboard and travel to the next fashion show. Last February 2016 during the snowstorm I snuck backstage during Style Fashion Week and ended up walking for M the Movement and accidentally closing Style Fashion Week for Richie Rich @richirichworld.
Me: What’s your worst fashion experience?
TM: Back in April 2016 I had a fashion show up at the UN and my taxi cab drove off with my knapsack, longboard and all my stuff. It was a complete nightmare. I lost everything from February New York Fashion Week.
Me:If there was one designer you could model for, anyone in the world,who would it be?
TM: Tommy Hilfiger.
Me: How would you describe your style?
TM: I wear what fits and I make it work.
Me: What are your hobbies?
TM: Walking on the runway, longboarding, traveling and other outdoor activities.
Me: Where do you like to hangout?
TM: Anywhere by the water, somewhere on a mountain and sitting VIP at fashion events.
Me: What are 3 things you always carry with you?
TM: When I’m in the city I always have my longboard since I don’t like to walk –it’s too congested. I’ll also have my Bluetooth headset and portable phone charger on me.
Me: What’s your dream job?
TM: Getting paid to work out and smile.
Me: Who inspires you?
TM: My father. He gets up around 5:00am for work every day and doesn’t come home till late. He taught me how to be a hard worker.
Me: Who is your favorite demigod?
Hercules. I like the way people idolize him. He’s pretty cool.
Me: If you could be a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
TM: A watermelon – because everyone loves watermelon and it’s my favorite fruit.
Me: How would your friends describe you?
Tommy actually had his friend Ben answer this question.
Ben: Tommy is like Johnny Depp’s stunt double. He’s smart, good looking, and has a great body with cut muscles. You can put him on any billboard and any product will sell– he’s the real deal.
Tommy won the September 2016 Mr. NYFW Model of the Year by ASC Productions. He was even featured on a billboard in Times Square for winning! He was awarded Model of the Millennium by the King of Fashion, Andre Galliano. Tommy has modeled for New York Fashion Week in 2015, 2016 & 2017. Tommy also promotes onemama.org lolafo.com luminousworldwide.com eznethaircare.com.
Honestly, I have made my own career path by fumbling through the modeling world and just learning along the way. The most important thing I would say is you don’t need to wait for a top agency to accept you in order to become a model. When I was 16, I was really excited about modeling. When I first got rejected from the top New York agencies, I assumed that path was permanently closed to me. It wasn’t until I was 24, when I was living in Jordan and started freelancing as a model there for local designers, that I realized there are 100 different pathways into this industry.
You should never feel that your fate rests with a few individuals who might have the power to tell you if you have “the look” or not. Obviously, working with a top agency is ideal if that is an option for you. If not, that should not stop you from modeling. I started modeling for local designers until I built up my portfolio. I would also go to castings for runway shows which even allowed me to walk during New York Fashion Week. Finally, after a year of working on my own, I was offered representation.
For models interested specifically in walking during the Cannes Film Festival, I would advise them to attend a casting held by Andres Aquino for New York Fashion Week. He holds castings for his New York shows but not for his Cannes ones. But if you can slip into New York, you can ask about attending Cannes.
I would also advise keeping an eye out for information about castings or fashion shows in Cannes starting in April or the beginning of May. Even if you don’t see a notice that is specifically about a casting, there is nothing wrong with contacting the organizer of a fashion show and asking if models are still needed. I have ended up on the runway more than once by simply reaching out and asking.
Is it just me or is the summer flying by? I had all of these “fun summer plans” that totally didn’t happen… I was going to see Shakespeare in the Park in NYC, maybe study for the GRE and take a trip out West to visit some friends. #fail
I didn’t even have a chance to do the smaller things like go to Black Tap with my sister and get their insanely delicious milkshakes! I’ve heard so many good things about them on Instagram. I’ve been wanting to take her there all summer but now that she is going back to college, we’ll have to put those plans on hold.
What was I doing all summer? That’s a great question… That’s such a great question, I don’t even know!
All I know is that in a few weeks it will start to get really busy again with New York Fashion Week right around the corner! So I’m going to make a new “fun summer plans” list. For the next few weeks I plan that no matter what, I will have a great rest of the summer!
Now off to make that list…
What are your summer plans? Any recommendations? Share your ideas with me in the comments below!