Take No More Orders
New York, New York. A city so great they named it twice. New beginnings. An opportunity so great more than one idiom describes it. A fresh start. A new leaf. But sometimes clean slates can feel like starting over. Back to square one. Olivia Lowe always knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. She made dresses for her sister as a child. She designed and sewed outfits for her 8th grade talent show. After designing for nearly 50 years, she wondered if a new beginning in New York City would turn out to be an old refrain of a shattered dream.
Olivia was born in New York City. When her family relocated to Los Angeles, she fell in love with the downtown scene and often traveled with her mother to garment shops. By the time she was 30, Olivia moved to Jamaica to raise her two daughters and to fulfill her dream of becoming an international fashion designer. She flourished as an independent designer in Jamaica—not only incorporating local designs into her work, but skillfully marrying traditional African fabric with chic, modern styles.
In 2013, Olivia made her way back to the U.S., as she says, “to conquer New York City.” With sky-high commercial property rates, she questioned if she could continue to thrive as an entrepreneur. "I don't have another 60 years. This is my last hurrah," said Olivia.
After sewing from her home for a year, Olivia opened Olivia International Designs, a made-to-order design studio in the Harlem African Market. She debuted her summer collection on August 17, 2014 at Harlem Week.
By her standards, Olivia had conquered New York, New York.
These photos were taken at a National Moment of Silence gathering in Brooklyn, New York. The gathering was in response to the killings of several African Americans by police, particularly Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. "Hands up, don't shoot!" became a statement and gesture emblematic of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The crowd was dense. Those who spoke relied on the crowd to repeat, word for word, their statements in unison, creating what's called a human microphone.
As a speaker's words became ineffable, obstructed by emotion, people in the crowd looked on, looked away and looked around. No one person had the answers to why these killings happen and what could be done. Perhaps there was only one question the multi-hued congregation needed an answer to that day.
I say: Do you feel me?
You say: Do you feel me?