New modeling club at Rutgers places emphasis on confidence
FACE is currently planning a fashion show, slated for early December
Rutgers F.A.C.E. Modeling hosted Ziggy Mack-Johnson, a fashion influencer based in New York City, as its first guest speaker this week.
F.A.C.E. Modeling is new on campus this semester. The name of the club stands for Fashion, Art, Confidence and Entertainment and its goal is to uplift people by means of those four concepts, said Bianca Watson, the club's president and founder and a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
“Confidence is being comfortable with what you put out to the world and not caring about what anybody else thinks,” Watson said. “We just want everybody to feel comfortable with themselves just walking down the street and not think about what other people are thinking about them.”
The club also holds confidence workshops. Dominique Wright, the club's secretary and an Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy junior, said the club's members determined three basic points of confidence: personality, style and accomplishments.
The club will be hosting its first fashion show on Friday, Dec. 8, which Watson described as a showcase of personal style and confidence.
At the meeting on Monday, Mack-Johnson spoke about his experiences in the New York City fashion industry. He said his first exposure to the fashion industry was when, as a sophomore in high school, he posted pictures on his Tumblr account, “in cool parts of the city, with graffiti, everything that was hot.”
After receiving positive feedback on his Tumblr account, Mack-Johnson started a blog about how to dress like a celebrity with an average person's budget. On his blog, he highlighted celebrities' outfits, then provided affordable alternatives to what they wore.
As a college student, he worked as a wardrobe stylist for women in Westchester County, he said.
“It was good work, but it was not what I wanted,” Mack-Johnson said. “I'm from Brooklyn. I like the city, and Westchester is really boring.”
Mack-Johnson said that after moving back to Brooklyn he worked at a Starbucks while also interning at showrooms.
“I figured I would build up my resume in case I wanted to do something in the fashion industry,” he said.
At Starbucks, a chance encounter with a customer landed him an interview at Nylon Magazine, Mack-Johnson said.
“In my heart I was like, 'Okay, I really wanna wow these people,'” he said. “So I wore this big fur jacket, I had this duffle bag. I felt like Kanye.”
He said it worked, and that he got an internship at Nylon, his first job working at a magazine.
Soon after, Mack-Johnson quit college. He had been taking online classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), but he said that after getting a stable internship in the fashion industry, he no longer saw a point in taking classes.
But Nylon's internship program required that its participants be enrolled in college. The magazine kept him on staff off the record and did not pay him, he said.
“They would ask me to go certain places and I would go on my own dime,” Mack-Johnson said. “I was living on my own. I was like, 'Okay, I wanna get money, I'm tired of mom and dad giving me money.' ... It felt like it took so long to get a coin (at Nylon), which wasn't fair in my eyes.”
So in March, he took a freelance position at Nylon and started working for himself. He now has his own website, which allows him to build his own portfolio through taking influential jobs. He also works as a model and a wardrobe stylist.
Mack-Johnson said that even though he left school to pursue his career, he plans to finish his degree in a year or two.
“If you find an opportunity and you feel that school is wasting your time, do not be scared to take a year off,” he said. “I know your parents will tell you school is important, but school will always be there.”