Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘When people ask about my style, I say, “It changes every day.” Dressing up is an art. Getting dressed in the morning is my favorite part of the day.’

Old Bethpage

“My mom always reminds me, from the moment I could start picking out my outfits, I never let her dress me. It’s been my choice with how I want to express myself. I always find myself shying away from the norm and trying to do something that is special to me and allows me to stand out; fashion is my outlet for that. Right now, I’m a senior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison studying textiles and fashion design with a minor in entrepreneurship. I’ve always been obsessed with fashion and using that creativity to create work that you can put on your body. My high school fashion teacher inspired me. I loved how her wardrobe was so unique to her, and I wanted to create my own style like she did. I always got dressed up for high school and I won the ‘best dressed’ superlative.

“When people ask about my style, I say, ‘It changes every day.’ Dressing up is an art. Getting dressed in the morning is my favorite part of the day. I have so much fun styling, so I think that’s really where it all clicked, because that great feeling of getting dressed up is something that I want everyone else to feel. One of my past projects, ‘The Modern Woman,’ has a focus on the way women are displayed and how there’s more underneath than just our physical appearances. I highlighted the areas of the body that are most commonly oversexualized. I did the breasts, the groin and the thigh areas as see-through sections masked underneath by an undergarment so you couldn’t see the features. I wanted to bring awareness that we are more than just that.

“I also worked on one called ‘Embrace Your Body,’ which is about body positivity. I was inspired by social media and how people are constantly editing their photos by blurring out their cellulite and overall, just not embracing the bodies that they’re blessed with. I created a jumpsuit and used faux fur that was corded and I put it from the waist down to the knees in a jumpsuit style so it looked like rolls. I wanted to embody the cellulite that so many women have, and that it’s normal and it’s beautiful. I wanted to showcase that we’re all human underneath, and that what you see on social media is great, but it’s not the full story.

I love dressing up and being on trend, but I also don’t want to hurt the environment and create more clutter.

“I only learned how to sew during my freshman year of school. The first class I ever took was an introductory sewing class. I went in not knowing much. I knew how to draw and that I liked to buy clothes and dress up, but that was about it. One challenge I faced was during last year, when classes were virtual. I had to make everything in my bedroom. That was really hard. I was so used to the atmosphere of being with professors and friends and bouncing our creativity off each other, so it was isolating doing it alone.

“Last year when COVID hit, I started a mask business where I donated to hospitals and offered them to health care providers and front-line workers. Large retailers weren’t selling them yet, so I had a lot of people in my community asking me for masks, and over the course of a few months, I ended up raising $2,000 for No Kid Hungry and sewed 2,000 masks. I also used recycled fabrics and materials, and it felt so good to give back and make people feel safe in my masks.

“Most of my ideas are spur of the moment. I get my best ideas when I’m falling asleep and constantly find myself reaching over to my phone to make a note of it. Then, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I make a mood board, and I go into a hole of thoughts of what I want, and I’m like, ‘That’s it.’ When I design a garment, I think about who’s going to wear it. What will her personality be, how does she walk, where is she going tonight? That all goes into play when I’m looking for a photo op. The collection I’m working on now is all about personal growth. I’m starting out the collection with muted colors and simple silhouettes. Then, as it goes on, growing and evolving with volume, ruffles and other embellishments that represent the experiences that you’ve had, the places you’ve traveled and the friendships and relationships you’ve made along the way.

“I want to play with color, prints and volume to show the change of becoming more confident in yourself. ‘Luxe Leader’ was a collection I made last year about how anyone can have the power to influence, no matter who you are – your race, gender, ethnicity, economic status – you still have the power to lead a room, voice your opinion and have people’s heads turn to look at you. I’m into footwear right now and would love to go into design or be part of a concept team, or maybe even be a photography stylist.

“In the future, I hope to have my own brand. I’m torn between glamor and luxury, but also being down-to-earth. I love dressing up and being on trend, but I don’t want to hurt the environment. I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my passion and how I want to have an impact on the industry and the world.”