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From Italy, with Love: Valentine’s Day

Posted by on February 13, 2015

When I was asked to describe how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Italy, I realized for us it is only a recently imported festivity so we don’t have many actual traditions related to it. Nevertheless, Italy is one of the most romantic places in the world and many people come from abroad for this reason, as it’s actually one of the most famous location for destination weddings.

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I know this because many foreign people I know have been married in Italy, and I was invited more than once to destination weddings here. The most popular destinations for couples are certainly Venice, Florence and Tuscany and the Amalfi coast. I admit Venice is the most romantic place I’ve lived in and I still remember the first time I spent a night in Venice. I was so thrilled as I had never experienced such a silent town at night animated only by the footsteps and laughs of passersby. Another lovely memory I have of Venice is when I was in college. It was amazing to attend my lessons in a class overlooking the lagoon where gondoliers used to sing romantic songs while rowing their gondolas. I once read an article in which the author stated that the perfect tourists in Venice are ones who make love rather than those who spend too much time walking for hours and sightseeing, because it’s the perfect place for just that–relaxing and being in love. It is definitely an ideal place to visit with your beloved one for Valentine’s Day.

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To tell the truth, during this time, Venice is crowded with tourists as it is also concurrent with Carneval. Although busier than usual, there are many performances around town and it is a good idea to dress up in ancient Venetian clothes and get lost in the small alleys just as if you were in a movie.

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Although I said Valentine’s Day is not a typical Italian festivity, we started hearing about it around the time I was a kid. I remember boys used to bring presents to their girl crushes at school, but it’s still mostly a commercial occasion where a boyfriend plans a special date out with his girlfriend. We call it San Valentino (Saint Valentine) and when I was prompted to think about how the holiday is celebrated in Italy, it came to my mind that Valentine is the patron saint of a town in my area, which is called Monselice.

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People there have a few traditions about this day for this reason, although they are not originally related to the romantic Valentine’s day. Locals usually walk up to a sanctuary of seven churches where they receive a special blessing and a small golden key, which is supposed to keep away epilepsy from children. The fact that love and children’s health are both celebrated on this day near spring reminds me so much of my studies about Indian culture because the first Spring festival in India, Holi, is also regarded as both the celebration of love and children’s health. It is definitely the right time of the year for love and new life, so at the end of the day it does not surprise me that much.

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Nowadays the two festivities are joined in Monselice and on the walk to the sanctuary there are wedding planners’ stalls for those who are soon to be married and in the town square there is a market dedicated to the theme of the heart. If you plan to visit Italy for a romantic trip, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity!

13 Photo courtesy of Rinaldo Todescato

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–Marged T, guest contributor and blogger at DivaDelleCurve

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Who’s that woman? The Layered Charms of Naimah Terry

Posted by on February 6, 2015

NAIMAH TERRY

[MODEL]

“THE MARKETING ISSUE TODAY IS THAT COMPANIES NEED TO SHOW A WIDER ARRAY OF BODY TYPES IN THEIR CLOTHING.”

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A viewer’s first impression of a model is always based on his or her ancillary looks and not necessarily what lies beneath. Although Naimah delivers well in her modeling career–you know her sunny face from the lookbooks for IGIGI’s website–as raw material, she is also a professor’s dream: industrious, resourceful, grounded, and well, lovely to behold. Naimah graduated from Rutgers with a BA in Public Planning and Policy, concentrating in Community and Real Estate Development. She is pro-active in community development where her portfolio boasts a successful modeling career alongside other key areas she’s focused on, such as education, youth programs and leadership mentoring. She is humble yet confident in her own skin, parlaying her intelligence and resolve in an almost discreet approach to fashion. In fact, even her website is a call to action for community development and raising political awareness whereas other model portfolios often focus only on what the model is known for: her surface.

We picked Naimah’s brain via email which she courteously responded to. Instead of flinging around opinions, she gave us her honest thoughts about the term “plus-size” as well as navigating the industry.
1. Do you consider modeling your side career or your full career? What are some challenges you’ve faced as a model?
Modeling is my career. I’ve been professionally modeling for about 2 years now and I love it! I’m at a point in my career where I see endless opportunities and I’m preparing my body, my mind, and soul to get ready for the next level. One challenge of being a plus-size model is finding the right balance of cardio and weightlifting workouts that keep me healthy and toned, but also allow me to keep my measurements consistent. My print clients hire me at a certain clothing size to represent their brands and my fit clients hire me at very specific measurements for producing their garments.
2. What is something that you wished you knew about modeling before you got into it? Did you hesitate in your decision to becoming a professional model? If so, why?
I only wish I would have known that I could be a professional plus model earlier. Once I realized this could be a career I went full force with networking, developing myself, my portfolio, and my skills and never looked back.
3. What do you think about the distinction of the term “plus-size”? Do you wish the fashion industry didn’t make this distinction and just called you a model?
I embrace being plus size and the use of the term! It’s all I’ve known! Growing up I went from a kids 14 to women’s 14… There was no in-between for me. So from a very young age I can remember shopping in a little section of the store for my size and I never saw any advertisements of models who looked like me! However, just last week I walked into Newport mall in my hometown of Jersey City, NJ and the first advertisement I saw hanging from the ceiling was Julie Henderson for Lane Bryant in active wear. Then I walk into Macy’s and see Ashley Graham. The level of excitement and how proud I am to be apart of a movement that is so empowering is un-explainable at times. Regardless of what we call it, I’m so happy young girls and women are starting to see women who look like them so they can be confident in who they are.
4. As your portfolio shows a strong education background, what policies would you implement if you could influence fashion education?
Honestly, I think there are companies who are getting it right, like IGIGI, that know how to design for a woman to look and feel confident and beautiful!  However, images we see in the media affect how we view and love ourselves. The marketing issue today is that companies need to show a wider array of body types in their clothing. This way, all customers can relate and feel comfortable purchasing clothing, no matter their size of body shape.
5. How does your spirituality (you said in another interview that you’re a Muslim woman) influence your fashion? Does it liberate or restrict you in some ways?
I dress modestly! While I don’t wear a hijab or other traditional attire, Islam has taught me that my beauty and confidence should radiate from within. While I do love a good body con dress, I dress appropriate for the occasion and I don’t wear mini shirts or show a lot of skin. I wear lots of layers because my body temperature is comparable to a woman in menopause (laughs) but I like to be covered. Honestly, modeling dictates my attire the most because most of my days are running around from fit client to fit client in NY so the most important part of my outfit is my seamless nude undergarments and black tights and a tank. When I attend print castings, I wear something that shows off my body type, but is also conservative and classy.

–Jane Yu, staff at IGIGI

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What is your spring story?

Posted by on January 30, 2015

Get your Wardrobe in Gear for a Super Chic Spring

Runways across the world were in a festive mood for spring 2015. From romantic, feminine 70s’ vibes to bold and beautiful floral prints, this year’s spring trends sure offer everyone a chance to create memorable outfits. Here are our top three favorite 2015 spring trends and picks from IGIGI’s collections.

Romantic Florals

OK, we realize florals for spring is no revolutionary news, but we find it hard to resist a cute floral print over jeans on the weekend or tucked into a suit during the week. They are the perfect go-to for effortlessly chic outfits for any occasion.

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Aubrey Blouse in Poppy Delight

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Aubrey Blouse in Indigo Floret

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Livia Blouse in Mint Floret

 

Feminine Ruffles

Who can get enough of ruffles? They are super feminine and flirty, and they add instant fun to any outfit. We have seen them all over the spring collections from tops to bottoms. Get yours for an outfit that will stand out.

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Isla Dress in Black

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Isla Dress in Fuchsia Vine

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Janelle Top in Damson

 

Tropical İnspirations

On the other side of the spectrum from their romantic kin, these bold and beautiful prints stand out as the statement maker’s must-have this spring. Envious stares included.

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Louise Jacket in Tahitian Nights

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Sylvia Plus Size Maxi Dress in Peony Allure

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Mariah Skirt in Tahitian Heights

–Ozlem Arpaci, staff at IGIGI

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Valentine’s Day Ideas and A Chance to Win Our Sweepstakes

Posted by on January 28, 2015

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Valentine’s Day can be a bit polarizing. The bell curve begins with people’s variegated approaches to love and despite the many lovers who feel that the holiday and its requisite flowers and chocolates can sufficiently sum up their feelings of ardor, there is still an equalizing force (even those in relationships) who aren’t fans. I know their argument and I get it: the commoditization of love counters what love is putatively meant to be. But this way of thinking can be applied to almost any other commercial holiday, so let’s not forget that it’s nearly unavoidable unless you’re off the grid.

I’m perpetually single and don’t mind being single so I don’t idly fantasize about Valentine’s Day. I think I would become some mopey mess if that were the case. I do think the holiday is cute–or can be (minus the gushy excess). It’s just a tad overkill. Any way, I treat Valentine’s Day as a way to focus on the ones I love without resorting to the use of a heart… unless it’s “less than 3″ for emoticons. <3

My only disappointment with Valentine’s Day is that it can be conventional. Sure, it’s nice to have a candlelit dinner date with your partner and receive a bouquet of flowers, but can people–lovers–please get more creative? Why so many roses but not orchids or cacti? Romance is so beautiful if you’re with the right one, so why not experiment with the holiday? I hope my fantasy significant other would say yes.
Here are some Valentine’s Day ideas. Hey, they’re just ideas:
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Venture with your lover or friend to somewhere remote, away from the busy thoroughfare. I love anything with ruins, harkening to the passage of time and space.
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Bake or cook together instead of being served at a fancy restaurant.  Meals are sacred, so why not make them together?

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Catch a great show! There is nothing more exalting than music and watching a band live with a kindred soul.
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The communal display of love softens the anxious self-regard all too common in romance. I would just grab some drinks with friends and boyfriend altogether and go to a park for a group picnic.
By the way, here’s IGIGI’s Valentine’s gift to you since we wouldn’t be here without you. Show yourself some love and enter to win our sweepstakes! We’re picking not just 1 but 5 winners this time! A $150 gift certificate is quite the charm.
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–Jane Yu, staff at IGIGI

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Green Spring – Spring 2015 picks from IGIGI

Posted by on January 24, 2015

Fashion forecasting is actually a thing, not a scam.

Let me explain.

The root of my prior theory was that there really wasn’t a way to know what can become fashionable next, just like horoscopes can’t guarantee success or worse, demise, in someone’s forking path. Life is so mysterious as it is that I thought of fashion forecasting as a trendy concept, like mercury retrograde or tarot cards. I then ended up taking a Fashion Careers class and found out that there are people out there enlisted to scrutinize fashion trends and sophisticatedly edit them into a discerning conclusion. They actually make a really good living from it, too–disposable income and all. Life appeared even more bizarre but I reconsidered what I’d flippantly assumed, that for others perhaps more gifted they can pull the general from the dizzying sea of specifics.

I mean, there are movies about the future… so it makes sense that there are predictions about what people will be wearing in the very near future, even if it’s fast-forwarding into next season. I also swallowed the sobering pill that the outfits I thought I singularly put together are really just a gust of wind in a huge, cosmic tidal fashion wave. The idea of fashion forecasting remains a bit “mystical” to me, for lack of a better word, but I do recognize that it’s a real career for those with psychic fashion sense and elaborate data-collecting techniques to back that up. I kid. Really-it’s worth a second glance and absolutely critical for fashion businesses.

Here’s my question: Is there any universally better hue than green (with a hint of blue)? There’s something so healing about green that when it becomes ambiguous and merges into a bit of blue, it’s earthy and sea-like at once. No wonder that green evokes so many emotions with its various saturation. There was one year where I was quite specific when anyone asked me what my favorite color was: seafoam green. Then I discovered Pantone and realized that I’d only touched the tip of the iceberg.

I checked out IGIGI’s moodboard and noticed that the greens are still “in” with us as well. Look at this charming, fresh piece called The Carrie Top:

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Our Carrie Top glows with an empire waist and a sheer drape cover-up. I enjoy sheer fabric since they make me feel like a goddess. Empire waists are flattering for almost anyone because they emphasize your bust (tastefully) and attention drifts to the other usually nice details about the fabric from its cinching. I would wear drape-y necklaces to add to the drape and casual swing this garment encourages. Perfect for work or going out with friends! Another jewel from our new collection is our Marilyn Bombay Teal Top.

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It has a cross-over bodice that once again enhances your busts and twists elegantly in center front. I approve of anything with a fun twist. Since the flare of this hem goes a little past the natural waist, I would suggest wearing a shorter skirt to bring out the gathers or fitted, long pants. I can’t imagine anyone not looking good in this shade. With a starlet type of bright (orange-red) shoes, you’ll really pop!

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