Upstate Fashion Program Elevates Careers in the Capital Region
The bright lights and big New York Fashion Week parades have just wrapped up, but just a few hours upstate, things for these industry professionals are heating up. At a showcase in Latham, stylist Darell Michael preps hair, designer Va’Ceia Payne makes last-minute adjustments to her clothes, and models Mell T. Meus and Nykesa Hilts work on the fashion catwalk.
It’s all thanks to a local program called Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Carmen Duncan, also known as “Coach Carmen,” founded the program in 2012 to provide a platform for industry professionals to strengthen and hone their skills.
“It really allows for the creation of communities that focus on collaboration rather than competition,” Duncan said.
The fashion editing portion of the program connects established entrepreneurs with mentors and work opportunities that take their careers to the next level.
Darrell Michael is the owner and stylist of Lounge De Beauti Salon in Schenectady. “Thanks to the program, I was able to get my first salon,” said Michael.
“It gives us work, so we don’t have to travel and can work right here in the capital region,” model Mell T. Meus said.
“Now I’m a lot busier than ever and that’s really the confidence that has added,” said designer Va’Ceia Payne.
“I did a few photo shoots for a few magazines,” added model Nykesa Hilts.
Carmen says connecting BIPOC students to shops like Bella V in Latham is her way of shaking up the industry.
“It’s about people seeing who we are, the creations we make, and what our ancestors bring to us in today’s world,” said Carmen.
You can check the open registration dates on the program’s website.