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.
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.
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!
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.
I want to hear from you! Who is your role model? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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.
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:
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
This is one of my favorite times of the year! To celebrate, I’m sharing my behind the scenes exclusive with supermodel Farah Zulaikha.
Farah is one of the most open, edgiest yet sweetest models that I know. When I was first thinking of creating my fashion blog, I didn’t know where to start. I remember walking into the makeup room at New York Fashion Week and finding Farah. I knew that I wanted to start a fashion blog but i didn’t know if I was truly ready. I ran the idea by Farah to see what she thought of it. Farah loved the idea and encouraged me to just start… all while getting her makeup done!
Would you believe two years later, we had our exclusive interview in that same make up room?!
The video above shows my exclusive behind the scenes look with Supermodel Farah Zulaikha while she was getting ready for designer Alexandra- Popescu-York’s fashion show in New York City.
It’s that time of year again! New York Fashion Week is right around the corner, school’s back in session…and models from all over the world come into New York City to audition to be in the big Victoria’s Secret fashion show!
Last year I blogged about what it was like to be at the Victoria’s Secret castings. This year, I didn’t know what to expect. I only had 20 minutes to be there. But what can you really do with 20 minutes? Little did I know that in that short amount of time, I was able to meet Victoria’s Secret model Sadie Newman. Some may call it destiny and some may just say it’s a coincidence, but last year Sadie was the first picture in my Victoria’s Secret post. Now a year later, she’s posing with me in the middle of Manhattan.
If the Jenny last year could see the Jenny this year, she’d be shocked. So much has changed in my life, it’s incredible. Many of you have been asking where I’ve been… The truth is I took the summer to refocus on myself. Just a few days ago, I received the sweetest phone call from one of my original models, Shinice Kelly. She told me that she is actually putting her first fashion show together in March. It really touched my heart to hear what an impact my blog had on her life. It’s moments like those that really remind me how important my blog is.
So with that, I just want to thank you for all of your love and support.
You can read last year’s post about what it was like to be at the Victoria’s Secret casting auditions here.
Did you have a chance to watch the Royal Wedding? From walking down the aisle to seeing the way that they looked into each other’s eyes, it was a wedding out of a fairytale. To celebrate, I thought it was the perfect time to share Alina Petra’s evening gown collection with you. Did you know that it was inspired by the Royal Wedding?!
When you need a little inspiration, put on a beautiful dress and channel your inner Princess.
Ever since I was little, my mom used to dress me up in beautiful dresses and make me feel like a Princess. When I saw Alina Petra’s evening gown collection, I felt like I was in a dream. I remember sitting at Style Fashion Week in awe. Each model who walked down the runway looked like she walked right out of a story book.
Designed in Los Angeles, Alina’s gowns are made from Italian lace. While this is her first evening gown collection, she’s been known for her sexy swimwear. She’s turned the beach into a runway with her steamy bathing suits. “This is my first evening gown collection and a definitely big step forward from being only a swimwear designer.” – Alina Petra
Personally, I think it’s inspiring to see her try something new and design evening gowns. I like how she channeled her energy into creating chic yet romantic looks. I can help but imagine what it would be like to walk down a grand staircase or attend a lavish garden party in one of her gowns.
My Top Looks:
Get to know more about designer Alina Petra and her collection through our exclusive interview:
Jenny Alweiss (Jenny A.): What was the inspiration behind this collection?
Alina Petra: The Royal Wedding. I wanted to create a very chic and romantic look.
Jenny A.: What was your biggest challenge with this collection?
Alina Petra: The only real challenge was moving the gowns from LA, where they were made to NY. I was freaking out though the entire flight thinking that my dresses are ruined!
Jenny A.: What made you decide to design evening gowns?
Alina Petra: Designing gowns was my longtime dream, so it was about time to start doing it instead of dreaming it.
Jenny A.: When did you first become a designer? How long have you been a designing for?
Alina Petra: I basically started making clothes at age 5 for my dolls, but professionally I have been doing it for about 3 years
Jenny A.: What was your favorite memory from your fashion show at Style Fashion Week?
Alina Petra: Style Fashion Week was an amazing experience for me! Mainly, because how they made me feel during the preparation for the show when things got very stressful and were feeling like everything could go wrong. But I had so much fun instead. Everyone was very cool and supportive.
I want to hear from you! What did you think about the Royal Wedding? Be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow my blog’s Instagram @newstylemode