College Student Inspires Others With His Clothing Line

College Student Inspires Others With His Clothing Line

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Rashaad Holley is not your typical college student. While most students are studying for upcoming exams, Rashaad is creating dope clothing. Rashaad's clothing line Vingt-Cinq, has been featured in numerous fashion shows. Recently he was featured in Buffalo State's Runway 10th annual fashion show, and won "Best of Show" and "Best Student Collection". Rashaad is the definition of a boss and he shows it through his work.

What inspired you to create your line Vingt-Cinq?

My designs are inspired by urban culture, and my own love for clothing. Being very new to designing, I have the luxury of making garments that I like personally. Vingt-Cinq means 25 in French. I remembered the Kanye West lyric "I wasn't supposed to make it past 25, guess what, I'm still alive" while in class one day, and that number just stuck with me. When I finally began to develop my brand, I think I wanted to utilize a name that could be motivational for people like me. Sort of like an underlying meaning that people could be proud of. So instead of the age of 25 being a cut off age for us, or an expiration date, I wanted us to look at it in a different light, like the lyric. I got out of street wear in early fall of 2015, after a disagreement about business. In the relationship I was the business guy, and one of my old partners really tried to throw that in my face like I was unable to create. So I started to create..

What sets your clothing line apart from others?

I think my message is a rare one. I want to perpetuate positivity and love through my clothes. I think I've become better at designing, but my message is one that I've had since the beginning, and I pray that never changes. I really want people to have a personal connection if I ever have the honor of putting them in one of my garments. That's not something that's easy since I'm not using kente or a flag's colors. But that's the type of connection I chase. And I do that with my faith, my positive attitude, my passion, and the energy I put into the world.

How do you create your clothes?

So many different ways. I've been developing certain designs since I started. I kind of just keep revamping, improving, and building. Now I have access to trend reports also so I'm attempting to get used to using those as well. I took a real liking to fashion illustration last semester studying under Professor Alexandra Eagen. She has been such a contributor to my growth, I honestly don't know where I would be without her. Hopefully I can get nice at computer aided design soon, I'm trying. Just want to be the total package!

How is it for you juggling a clothing line and school?

It's pretty difficult. I actually quit my job a couple weeks ago. It was something long overdue because I was hurting creatively. But god opened a door for me to not only be in Runway, but also with a position on campus where I could grow along side my classmates. I think school contributes so much to my dreams that I don't look at it as a burden, I love being here. My designing is just something I'm able to do because of that now. I'm like a professional student for the time being. Much like I was doing in business school. I'm able to utilize what I do in the classroom in real life. As I grow scholastically, I grow with my venture. It's cool.

What is a goal of yours for your clothing line?

I just want to continue to grow and work hard. I learned so much about the industry this semester and was amazed at the potential that is there for me and my classmates. I can see myself doing so much that I don't want to potentially limit myself. As I continue to learn more, I have faith that everything will fall into place for me. Professor Habes told us the first day of class that we have to work hard, and that's all I want to do.

Did you have anyone help or support you throughout your journey with your clothing line?

Plenty! I actually give all praises to everyone who has played a role in my growth. I thank god for them every day. I have a strong core of friends. Being so busy I don't get to talk to them like I used to, but since they're my real friends I know that they're always there. They don't make it to every show, they don't buy everything, but I love them. They were here before it all, and they'll always be. Also, all of the models I use, they're amazing. They stick around and I love them. I don't think I've ever worked with a model I can't call right now. They become friends too. They're such an inspiration to me.

What is your advice for students who want to create their own business while in school?

Take it seriously! The resources and help are all around you. Don't half step with anything, because it could pay off for you. Preparation is the biggest step too. That's something a lot of us don;t understand. You have to prepare yourself well. Spend the most time preparing, don't let the anxiousness nights get to you. Prepare!

You can find his clothing designs on his Instagram @vingtcinqrashaad and his website. http://VingtCinqRashaad.com

Cover Image Credit: Instagram @rashaadh

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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'Sissy, Why is That Boy Wearing Makeup?'

June is time to celebrate equality.

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This past weekend, I went to the mall with my family. It was just a normal family excursion, and I wanted to walk into Sephora to show my mom a perfume I liked. We go inside, and my mother and I drift away from my dad and 6 year old sister, Sierra. I showed her the perfume I thought smelled amazing (Roses de Chloé) and we look for my sister and father to exit the store. As soon as we leave, my little sister grabs my hand and asks, "Sissy, why is that boy wearing makeup?"

This was the first time my little sister has ever asked about anything like this, and I wanted to make sure I gave her an answer. I turned to her and said, "Sierra, sometimes there are boys who wear makeup, and girls who may dress like boys. People are allowed to wear what they want, it doesn't matter." Sierra looks up at me, says, "Oh okay," and that was the end of it.

Sharing this experience to say, HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

So thankful to live in a country where all sexual orientations get a day to celebrate their love. That's what this world needs more of-- love. It shouldn't matter who it is, where they are from, the color on their skin, or their gender identity.

When Sierra was born, I always wondered when this conversation would come up. I wondered what I would say, how she would react to it, and how she would be exposed to it. Like I consistently preach, everything happens for a reason, and I'm glad Sierra was able to get exposure and receive an immediate answer. Love is love, and I will forever stand by that.

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