June 11, 2015

It has been quite a while since I’ve blogged. In that time I have started my new job as a Boutique Consultant at Stein Mart. Dressing women and helping them feel good about themselves is a great job to have. I’m fortunate.

As for my sewing, I haven’t been at my machine in a while since I am full time at my job plus my commute is kind of long as well. I know, these sound like excuses. Any ‘driven’ person would work on their dream as their second job. I don’t deny that. My problem is that I have so many passions I don’t just choose one. There are nights that I am awake at 3am and having insomnia. I find something constructive to do that gets me closer to my goals and dreams. I envy people who have that ONE thing that they do and that they make a living doing. But I don’t envy their journey. I enjoy my own.

My latest find is a fashion illustration instruction book and I look forward to building my toolbox of dry and wed media to really dive in to this art form. More to come later.

As for inspirations and inspirational people, I am pleased to have found Kayemah McEntyre, the 18yr old who broke the internet with her amazing prom dress. Read about her here: http://hiphopwired.com/2015/06/09/black-girls-rock-18-year-old-prom-dress-broke-internet/  I wish her all the best at Parsons.

I want to talk about something that is new to me. I’ve never been a woman who had an issue with body image until recently. I find myself gaining weight and slowing down lately. I’m not happy about this considering that I was a dancer for 10 years and always had a lean physique. Many people look at me and say that I am small. But the woman I see in the mirror is large. I weigh only 139 lbs yet when I look in the mirror, I see a woman well over 200 lbs. At the risk of forming an eating disorder, I am openly blogging about this so I can keep it in check. I know I can’t trust what my eyes see when I look in the mirror and I am seeking out more ways to love, appreciate and honor myself so I don’t lose sight of the person I really am.

I am making a conscious effort to incorporate more water into my diet. I am slowly but surely exercising more and I am monitoring my self talk. Instead of saying “why can’t I be like so and so” or “why can’t I be size 4” I am saying “I am beautiful. Period.” “I am lovely just the way I am, inside and out.” Some people may be shocked that I struggle with this but the way I see it, it’s not a struggle if I am aware of it, face it head on and combat it in a quest to overcome it. I hope that if there is anyone else who feels this way about herself, we can discuss it and be accountable to each other about it.

Well that’s all that is on my heart today. I wish everyone a happy, fashionably fabulous day!

Cheers.

March 11, 2015

Arizona heat is very unforgiving. I just returned from running errands and boy am I beat. But that won’t stop me because I am beyond excited. My friend asked me to participate in a fashion show next month. It will be my first show as a designer. I am beyond elated, grateful and humbled.

As I looked at New York Fashion Week coverage and Paris Fashion Week highlights, I thought to myself,     ” Work a little harder, Sweetie Pie!” I enjoy the success stories of young entrepreneurs and young designers yet deep inside, I say to myself, cherish your journey. There is only ONE life to live and wouldn’t that simply be awful if it’s not maximized? That thought makes me shudder.

The only way a life isn’t maximized is by choice. It is that simple. That is something I have to constantly remind myself. Life is a series of choices. That is the one thing that remains eternally true. Did you ever read those books that have a different ending based on what page you choose? I have been thinking about those books over and over again lately. I don’t know, maybe I sound existential or something but I just wanted to write about this today in hopes of possibly inspiring someone who might be facing difficult choices, or even simple choices. They are powerful, too. There might be someone out there who thinks this is trite, like everybody knows that. But how often do we take for granted our power of choice, our right to choose, our privilege and freedom to choose? Just food for thought.

Well ok. I’ve pondered enough. I’ve ruminated enough.

Here are the latest pictures of my fabulous friends at Urban Stitch Fashion House in Tempe AZ.

On the move.
On the move
On the move.
On the move.

Ok, folks. Until next time, keep it fabulous!

March 4, 2015

Did you miss me? I have missed you.

It has been a busy month. With Fashion Week, Black History Month and the Oscars, behind us, it is time to switch hats and celebrate women during the month of March. Hats off to all of the phenomenal women out there.

Hats! The best invention next to computers! I have been busy making hats for my friends who are enduring the bitter cold on the East Coast. They can finish out this brutal winter in style with my warm cozy hats.

Warm, cozy, whimsical. Kick winter in the butt with style.
Warm, cozy, whimsical. Kick winter in the butt with style.

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I have also been busy setting up my boutique and I am thankful to have my boutique started on etsy. Feel free to visit at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JoppaBoutique?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Today’s post is short and sweet since I have to finish a shirt that I started. So far, so good. Ok beautiful people, until next time. May your day be awesome and your journey be stylish.

My first ever attempt at menswear. I am super excited!
My first ever attempt at menswear. I am super excited!

February 9, 2015

Happy Black History Month. As the celebration continues, I promised to highlight a few dapper gentlemen whose style exudes dignity and finesse. Meet the men from the cast of ‘FIXATIVE’, a short film that I made to honor actors and actresses from the 40’s for their style and grace.

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Jacob Orta and Kelsey Grizzard keep it dapper on the set of “FIXATIVE”
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Actor, Kelsey Grizzard , keeps it light and stylish in the set of “FIXATIVE”
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Ky-Moni Abraham, Actor, exudes cool, dapper, suave on the set of “FIXATIVE”
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Modern Vintage glamour on the set of “FIXATIVE” – Photo courtesy of Calvin Smith

Another topic that is on my mind much of the time is menswear. I can’t stress enough how attractive it is to see a well dressed man who has put thought into how he presents himself. Of course it is a person’s desire to wear comfortable casual clothes but when a man cares enough about himself to dress his best, it leaves an impression. One website that I enjoy is “African Men Killing It” or “Black Men Killing It.” No, they aren’t thug laden websites full of violence as the names may imply. They are just the opposite. They are much needed images of the men out there whose image we don’t see enough of unless they are the few titans of Hollywood like Denzel Washington, Will Smith or Idris Elba. Don’t misunderstand, those men are incomparable. But I definitely like to bring to you more images of such suave gentlemen. There is a side of Black men that many don’t see and the ones depicted on screen (mean, violent, threatening,) are not accurate and have cost many men their lives (RIP Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others.)

See more at these links: https://www.facebook.com/africanmenkillingit?fref=ts and https://www.facebook.com/BlackMenKillingIt?fref=ts.

images-1 imgres-1 Suave

I had the pleasure of being a guest on blogradio with host Dr. Alissa Gardenshire and her brand “Oh-Gasmic Living.” We discussed the topic of what captivates us about a man…and what does not. You can hear the entire enlightening and occasionally humorous show at this  link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dralissa/2015/01/29/oh-gasmic-living-radio-with-dr-alissa-creativity-with-shereen-collington

Creator of Oh-Gasmic Living  "Ready to make love to every aspect of your life."
Dr. Alissa Gardenshire Creator of Oh-Gasmic Living “Ready to make love to every aspect of your life.”

Dr. Alissa Gardenshire's new book

Men, take a listen and join the conversation. We’d greatly appreciate it. We’d love to hear from you.

As always, may your journey be stylish!

February 6, 2015

It is Black History Month and Valentine’s month! Love all around.

What a great day it is. I’ve got the Soca music playing to energize and move. Just like that, a simple choice to have a great day can put a smile on your face. And a smile is the ideal accessory for any outfit, especially a smirk or a sly grin! They are mysterious, no? One woman who knows how to sly grin is Lisa Nicole Carson. Remember her from Love Jones and Devil in a Blue Dress? Forget resting b**** face! The sly grin says so much more. Among the many talented actors and actresses I aspire to work with, Lisa Carson is on the list. Her sly smile is a signature accessory in her beauty arsenal.

She's been a best friend since Love Jones and her sly grin sets the standard for sly grins.
She’s been a best friend since Love Jones and her sly grin sets the standard for sly grins.

So you’ve got your sly grin. Add some pop. African influences make face designs another refreshing accessory trend. These images took my breath away because of the sheer glamour of the face decoration. The contrast of color on such opulent and radiant canvas are the recipe for “beautiful.” If you are like me and want something edgy but temporary, this is an option. You can find these and more amazing fashions at fashionghana.com. Ghana’s fashion scene is on fire.

Her face paint is everything.
Her face paint is everything.

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While following the face make up finding, I stumbled onto Tahirah Ogletree’s striking images and am excited to share news of her new coffee table book called A Survivor’s Celebration of Life Beyond Domestic Violence.  Author, Model, Actress Tahirah turned her pain into power in a stylish, inspiring way not only because of overcoming the trial but because she knows that Domestic Violence is not the the end. Inner strength is the beginning of Power beyond the fist. Join her at Otahirah.com. Beauty is more than a pretty face, body or clothes. It is the inner strength to say no to forms of devaluation. Ladies and Gentlemen, please love yourself enough to contact  http://www.thehotline.org/ to end the cycle and start a new beginning. You are worth it.

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Tahirah Ogletree (right) Author, Actress, Model and Domestic Violence Survivor.

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With Valentine’s day approaching, I want to show love to the mavens of black glamour such as Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, Paul Robeson and many more. Curl up with your sweetheart and add my short film to your date night.  FIXATIVE, is a tribute to the glamour, style and dignity of the vintage glamour guys and gals. http://vimeo.com/84627665

Treat yourself or your lover to Nichelle Gainer’s must have book Vintage Black Glamour http://vintageblackglamourbook.com/look-inside

May your Black History Month and Valentine’s day celebration be stylish and fabulous.

In my next post, I’ll show love to the dapper fellas to continue the Black History and Valentine love celebration.

Cheers!

January 29, 2015

It is 6:04am and what a great day it is already. I’ve been awake since 2:30am so I indulged in the latest episode of the Tv show, EMPIRE starring Terrence Howard & Taraji P. Henson. They are as great in this show as they were in ‘Hustle & Flow’. I’m not one for gangsta anything (rap, life, or licious!) but H&F was a good film & they make a great team. EMPIRE is my guilty pleasure.

So now I have an exciting day ahead. I’m an invited guest on a webinar later today. And I’m excited to ship my first request for a hat for a client of mine. She overcame cancer and showed it who is the boss. I created the “Slanted flare Joppa Hat” for her. I’ve had fun wearing mine with just one earring since the hat is designed to cover one ear as a touch of flare because why not? You command fashion. Fashion doesn’t command you. May she wear her hat with a style that conquers just like she conquered.

The 'Slanted flare Joppa Hat'
The ‘Slanted flare Joppa Hat’

I also feel excitement since I’m beginning to sew menswear. That’s on the list today. The joy of assembling a garment….there is nothing like it.

So the day is filled with sewing bliss, a trip to the fabric store,  the webinar, …and I’ll treat myself to a giant bag of crunchy almonds. It’s the simple things sometime.

Until next time.

May your journey be stylish. Cheers!

January 25, 2015

Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.

It is 6:41 am and the silence envelopes me in bliss. It’s chilly but invigorating as I prepare for a productive day.

So far on this fashion journey, I’ve created 5 looks, started my fashion blog, acquired 4 male clients who request suits, I’ve been invited to be on a webinar, and I’ve created fashion earrings that are selling on Ebay. I look forward to the rest of what this journey has in store.

I want to thank my model Valerie Hopkinson for being so great at the photo shoot the other day. I hope to walk with her at Fashion Week.

Here are the results of our shoot.

Valerie is on a Joppa Journey. With her Joppa looks and the Joppa dressform,  she’s got places to go and fashions to see. 

Take up your dress form and walk. 

Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dress  and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform  and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform  and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform  and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Take up your dress form and walk.
Take up your dressform and walk.
Joppa means Beautiful. Fashion Shoot: Joppa Journey -Take up your dress form and walk.
Joppa means Beautiful. Fashion Shoot: Joppa Journey -Take up your dressform and walk.

Until next time, may your journey be stylish!

January 20, 2015

6am…As I inhaled the sweet essence of eucalyptus essential oils during my yoga practice this morning, I smiled and anticipated my meeting later today with fabulous designers at their new fashion house, Urban Stitch.

And here we are. Trimarco Coleman, Roxann Solis, Raul Nunez and Nicole Bernal are the designers who created Urban Stitch located in Tempe AZ. These designers specialize in tech packs (the final write-up for manufacturing), production and manufacturing of local designers.

Hard at work in preparation for the Super Bowl
Hard at work in preparation for the Super Bowl

As they prepare to dazzle their Super Bowl clients in February, these brilliant minds and talented designers are the real deal. Contact them at urbanstitchph@gmail.com. 

Yours truly had the pleasure to model their garments.

Urban Stitch Fashion House in Tempe, AZ
Urban Stitch Fashion House in Tempe, AZ

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I’m excited for what Urban Stitch will produce. Best wishes, Angels!

Now my journey continues as I make alterations to my client’s sleeper. I laugh at myself because I cut the garment so large. I’ll post the humorous ‘before and after.’ I love my journey and I can laugh at myself as I live, learn, grow and sew.

Until next time, fashion lovers, may your journey be fashionable and stylish!

January 17, 2015

It is quiet. Peaceful. A Waldeck playlist is the soundtrack for this day.

The solitude I am experiencing right now feels like a garden in which I can channel creativity. This is my favorite time of the day.  There is a woman outside who practices her Tai Chi around this time each Saturday.  She rearranges energy in such a gentle, graceful manner filled with power beyond measure. The contrast between her peace and the traffic on the overpasses in the distance behind her, show me a story of machines that force energy versus a single human being flowing with energy. Who is more powerful?

My hummingbird friend didn’t visit me today since the landscapers trimmed the flowers on the bush outside my window. I look forward to see that little hummingbird return once the buds begin to bloom again.

There is a busy day ahead. I have the task of saving merchants money on their merchant services. I enjoy my work. I enjoy helping business owners save money. That is my service to the community.

And now for my bliss! Fashion! My client’s fittings were successful. Considering that this was the first time I ever graded a pattern, it is a milestone in my fashion journey. The prospect of taking on the challenge to enlarge a baby pattern to an adult size seemed reasonable to me since I would increase my skill set. Mission accomplished.

Can I make an adult size pattern from a baby pattern?
Can I make an adult size pattern from a baby pattern?
Making progress.
Making progress.

I cut it large so I could adjust it. It’s better to have too much than too little, right?  Thanks to my friend and fashion designer, Tri Coleman, for the education about the term ‘grading’ . At this stage of my journey, I act on instinct, but with the training, I’ll be able to define and articulate what I’m doing.  Speaking of training, FIDM in California might be my destination for fashion training. To be continued….

My fashion journey seems to be taking shape and lean toward menswear. What a joy since I appreciate menswear and the fine art of dressing a man. My client enjoyed the mood board I created for him. Take a look at it here. Samuel’s Mood Board

This week, Project Runway All Stars challenged the designers to come up with an avant-garde look inspired by marine life. Avant-garde challenges are difficult. I liked this because you really have to push yourself to conceptualize the abstract. These were photo inspirations that caught my eye.

Avant-garde challenge inspired by Marine Life
Avant-garde challenge inspired by Marine Life

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And here is my sketch.

avant garde challenge sketch

More avant-garde options
More avant-garde options

Believe it or not, I’m still contemplating this challenge. I think I can dig deeper…

Well, until next time, I hope you enjoy your fashion journey. Cheers!

January 14, 2015

It was 2:57am. I was wide awake and ready to take on the day. Yoga at 3am is so peaceful, calm, relaxing yet energizing for me. There is only silence and stretching, reconnecting with your thoughts, breath and the present moment. The day promised to be filled with fashion research and an exciting trip to the fabric store to create my client’s sleeper.

On this particular day, I decided to spend time and catch up on Project Runway All Stars, one of my favorite shows. I sketched along with the challenge that was issued to the designers – Create resort wear and a swimsuit to go underneath for a big reveal.

Here is my sketch. I’ve decided to make this for my trip with my Mother to the Cayman’s this year!!!

My resort wear and swimsuit sketch
My resort wear and swimsuit sketch

Since I am endowed with a small, perky bust line and a full bottom, I created a swimsuit top that lifts and a bottom that, through dual-toned layering, either gives the illusion of fullness or acts to minimize a derriere depending on the wearer.

As I excitedly shared my design logic with my roommate later in the day, he provided insight into how he feels duped and deceived by fashion at times because it causes people to have things that really aren’t there. “So what happens when one takes their clothes off and reveals the truth?” He inquired. “Then what?”

I have asked that question many times and that is why I believe that the best fashion is the naked body. Do you like how you look naked? Fashion drapes the beauty that lies beneath. Fashion performs this duty creatively, but to like who you are naked is the best fashion achievement in my opinion. I am not suggesting narcissism by any stretch. But an appreciation for one’s shape helps the process of transforming it.

Yoga helps me feel even more great about my body; to be in touch with its power and strength. And of course water is the best beauty secret. No matter what shape or size your body is, my hope is that you appreciate it, compliment it and thank it for functioning optimally for you. Then have fun and show it respect by decorating it with fabric and style!

Do you adorn your body with tattoos?  If you are a lover of tattoos, there is a great artist from Pittsburgh, Pa and his company is EpiffanInk. For a small fee, Jordan Collington, creator and owner, will draw you an original tattoo that you can take to your local tat artist to reproduce. He serves clients nationwide. Contact him at 412-330-1842 or Romell412@gmail.com.

I had the pleasure of working with his art on a textile and creating a silky pillow cushion.

Tattoo artist, Jordan Collington
Tattoo artist, Jordan Collington

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So now I look forward to completing the sleeper for my client and will post it in a future entry.

For now, I hope you have a great day and a joyous fashion journey.

Cheers!