Be happy.


To be happy, you need to surround yourself with happiness. If you like to sing, sing all the time. If you like to read, read all the time. Never let anyone take away your happiness. Even if your happiness lives in another state. Above: Brandon and I. Happy on Lincoln Road (Miami, FL).

Being in a long distance relationship is never easy. I will not lie, it does not get easier. Still, it does not get harder. Each goodbye, ends in tears, and each hello, begins with a smile.

I find the most joy within my family, my friends, and my faith, but I want to take a moment to recognize my joy for writing. I have been blessed with a passion to write. “Rawcouture” has given me a voice and a chance to be heard. And so, though I’m a plane ride away from one happiness, I come home to another.


Guilty as Charged


Guilty as charged- I have not kept in touch this summer. I hold Miami responsible. From left to right: Hiding under my boyfriend’s hoodie, Enjoying Chocolate Chip gelato at Bayside, Smiling at the Sunshine.

Two Cities and One Dream

Ammy Arakaki is a city girl at heart- and head over heels for New York City. Now, having transferred to LIM, from FIDM, this future entrepreneur is confident that her dream lies within campus quarters.

Senior Year is the year of choices and decisions. Rutherford High School Alumni, Ammy Arakaki, made the decision to dorm states away at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Though the transition was difficult, Arakaki credits her experience in L. A. for opening her eyes to new styles and her heart to great experiences.

RawCouture: Of all the directions fashion can take you, why did you pick to major in Fashion Merchandising?
Ammy Arakaki: I chose fashion merchandising because it seemed like the right fit for me. I didn’t just want to learn about the design aspect of fashion. I also wanted to learn more about the business side and what it takes to run a company in the fashion industry because someday, I plan on having my own successful business too.

RC: FIDM: What drew you to the school? What are some of the opportunities that FIDM had to offer?
AA: FIDM is a great school, and when I was there, all of my teachers and classmates were all very nice and welcoming and willing to help out. They also have a great Careers Center, which helps you find internships and jobs that are best suited for you. Now I got to LIM College in NY which I absolutely love because it is in my favorite city, which never has little to offer.

RC: What was the greatest struggle of moving to the West Coast?
AA: I think the greatest struggle about moving all the way to the West Coast was being so far away from my family and closest friends but also making that whole new transition into living in a completely new city and just taking that huge leap into it alone. It’s a scary thing moving out to a new city which you barley know anything about and not to mention, two weeks after your high school graduation! But it was a great experience and because of it, I opened my eyes to many new learning experiences, which I am truly grateful for.

RC: For those looking to study a field of fashion in college, what are your tips on preparing for that education while still in high school?
AA: I would definitely recommend anyone considering a career in the fashion industry to take as many pre college courses at schools like FIDM, FIT, LIM, and Parsons just to see if it is really something that you are truly interested in or figure out what it is exactly that you want to do.

RC: Would you say California has influenced your style?
AA: Definitely, moving to Cali opened my mind to a lot of new things and also just learning how to take more risks with my outfit choices. Being there really helped me figure out what my own personal style is.

RC: How would you say your style has evolved from your freshman year of high school to your freshman year of college?
AA: In high school, I never really experimented with many trends because I was too shy to try new things, but once I got to college, I decided to start experimenting more and finding things that I liked and that’s how I kind of came to discovering my own sense of style. I’ve learned what items are really worth splurging on and which ones aren’t. Now, I’m all about buying pieces that are more functional and classic instead of things that I’ll only get 1 wear out of. Although having a closet full of designer labels would be a dream come true, it’s important to learn how to mix high end and low end designers and still have a knockout outfit on a budget.

RC: If you could go on a shopping spree with anyone, who would it be?
AA: This is a tough one, but if I had to chose, I think it would be the Olsen twins. I just love how they dress and how each of them have their own sense of style that’s so different from each other. I love how Ashley dresses more in simple and classic silhouettes and colors, while Mary-kate plays more around with different colors, patterns, and silhouettes. I always like drawing inspiration from their outfits because it helps me with making some of my outfit choices too.

RC: Last question: What would you say is the greatest difference between LA’s style and NY’s style?
AA: Both cities have their own sense of style. LA’s style is definitely brighter and more colorful while NY is all about the dark and neural colors. In L.A., the people aren’t afraid to wear bright colors and prints, but in NY the people dress in more classic, timeless and simple looks; always looking very chic of course.

Final Note: New york will always be my first home, it’s where i was born and where i lived for half of my life. I know this is really cheesy to say but i’ll always be a city girl. I guess it just took me two semesters in L.A. to figure out that it would always be my home.

My Childhood Lookbook

I give my mother much credit for the way I dressed when I was younger. Many of the outfits I wore are on trend today. From friends and family, I hear many stories about bad haircuts and poofy dresses that haunt childhood memories. I can relate to the “dress fiasco”. I never liked dresses when I was younger. I cried and cried, but my mom was persistent, and so these pictures happened.

This was one of the rare occasions in which I didn’t cry. Don’t confuse the floral headband for a halo.

I don’t know if you would consider this animal print, but I do. That lion shirt looks pretty fierce to me!

Collared shirts look classy on any girl, but as for a Mickey Mouse collared shirt…that is classy taken to another level.

Red and yellow seem to have been my mother’s favorite colors at the time. Knowing her, this was coordinated.

My t-shirt might not match my expression in this picture, but those stripes go perfectly with Summer ’13.

I like to call this “The Diva Moment”. I had the wind in my hair, round shades over my eyes, and pink overalls hanging loose.

I must say that finding this album of “baby” pictures has struck a chord with me. All my outfits amuse me, but I’ve come to realize that my favorite accessory is my smile. As I’ve gotten older, I have come upon reasons to not smile. I’m sure we all have. Everyone feels heartbroken at one point or another, but everyone has their share of blessings. Its up to us to recognize them, and when we do, what more is there to do but smile.

Day to Night: Trees to Lights

Everyone has a basic white tank. After some time, “basic” can seem boring, but it never lacks versatility. Because New York City is only a bus ride away, I wanted to create a look that can easily be adjusted to the lifestyles of both the suburbs and the city. Take a look, and learn how to revamp your basic tank!

Let’s say you wake up in your typical small town suburbia. Start off with you basic tank, and tuck it into some denim shorts. To accessorize, add some rings, and do not forget your arm candy. Pile on the bracelets! For shoes, keep it simple, casual, and open toed. You want to show off that bright summer pedicure! My best guess is that you won’t have much to lug around. Carry your phone and wallet in a trendy cross body purse. Last but not least, add a few coats of mascara to make your eyes pop! Avoid any heavy shadows or eye liner that can smudge throughout the day.

Your friends call you up and want to spend the rest of the day in the city. No problem! With a few swaps, your outfit will be ready to go. Keep the white tank, but get rid of the denim. Go for a sleeker look in linen or polyester. Add to your arm candy by wearing a watch. No matter what transportation you use, no matter what city you are in, time will not wait! So, stay on track. Though the pedicure you got last week is cute, swap your strappy sandals for some oxfords. Oxfords will keep you comfortable and will prevent any heels from stepping on your toes. As for beauty, forget the mascara. Protect your eyes from the summer light, and hide behind your favorite pair of shades. Don’t want to go completely bare? Wear your favorite pink lipstick for a pop of color.

The MET Gets Punk’d


I am a story teller at heart. Yet, as much as I am a writer, I am a reader. I love to absorb stories and characters. I want to know the “why” and “how”. Without those two elements, a story falls flat.

“Tears, safety pins, rips all over the gaff, third rate tramp thing, that was purely really, lack of money. The arse of your pants falls out, you just use safety pins”
-Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols

I had walked through most of the Punk Chaos to Couture exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, when I had read that quote, plastered in white paint against the black wall. Against all odds, the graffiti, neon colors, and designer names had done little to capture my attention. It was only until I read Rotten’s quote that the designs came to life.

Today, we consider the people who don’t care to be hipster. They are the people who make the effort to stray from mainstream luxuries. In the 70s, there was no consciousness of rebellion or independence because it derived from poverty. Safety pins were a source of survival, a way to make keep your distressed clothing from tearing. It was fashion that interpreted survival as a form of expression. Hence, fashion is society’s greatest story teller. If you visit the exhibit, take the time to read between seams. Because once you know where fashion has been, you can understand how it got to be where it is now: from chaos to couture.

Fitness Haul

Fitness Haul

It’s June 1, and I have had my last taste of chocolate chip cookies. From time to time, I’m sure I’ll reward myself with a few, but today is marked as the day of change! Though they are super yummy, cookies and chips don’t always make me feel great. Watching youtube videos all day, though entertaining, doesn’t give me much energy. So, today I decided to go fitness shopping. What better way to motivate yourself to exercise than to shop?

First stop: Sports Authority. This trip was long due. My old sneakers are beat up, and if there’s anything I learned from two seasons of Track it’s that you need to take care of your feet. If you don’t wear the proper shoes, you could get hurt (says the girl that had shin splints for months). I picked out a pair of classic black/white Nike shoes. My mom then reminded me that I was running low on socks. I go to sleep with them on, and when I wake up they’re gone. Does that only happen to me? I snatched 2 pairs of Adidas CLIMA COOL socks.

Next stop: Target. I don’t care how you pronounce it, but Target is amazing! There, I bought 2 pairs of shorts. I usually wait until later to go out for runs because the sun is so harsh during the day. I figured neon colored shorts might help those late night drivers see me. I also picked up a much needed yoga mat. It is the Gaiam Be Inspired 4mm Yoga Mat. Not only is it comfy, but it is also very positive! It reads, “Everyone Smiles in the Same Language”.

Now, on the hanger, working out may seem like fun, but let’s face it, you need a lot of motivation to run in the heat. Below are some tunes that are sure to get your feet moving!


Harmonizing Styles…

I have declared myself a Harmonizer! Fifth Harmony, the girl group formed by Simon Cowell on Season 2 on the X Factor, has captivated America’s heart…and its ears for that matter. With their killer vocals and fresh personalities, Fifth Harmony is destined for success. Once strangers, the girls have formed an unbreakable bond, reflected on and off stage.

Also notable is their fashion sense. Though united under one name, each member holds her own persona. Ally Brooke, the Texas native, now 19, is known as the little big sister. She loves to have a good time and is inspired by the 80’s. Hence, she won’t leave the house without a little neon. Normani Hamilton and Lauren Jauregui are both sixteen. Normani loves the glam of sequins, while Lauren gravitates towards leather with an edge. Camila Cabello and Dinah Hansen are the youngest of the group. Camila carries herself with a whimsical flare, accessorizing with bows and goofy faces. Dinah may be fifteen, but she is also the tallest of the group. Through her experiences on the X- Factor, she has learned to take charge of her presence and color blocking, currently her favorite trend.

What is great about this group is that not only are they singers but performers as well. They know how to entertain a crowd. On the X Factor, each outfit suited the tone of the number without sacrificing their individuality. It only took a few videos to realize how well they compliment each other. Who knew? Bright colors, leather, and bows can stand next to each other without clashing. Ok, maybe you shouldn’t put all of those elements into one outfit…Without clashing, take some of their signature pieces and see if you can add a Harmonizer flare to your next outfit!

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I know you are tempted. Click the link and listen to those harmonies!