They mean business: the entrepreneurs who took the plunge in the pandemic and are on the up in lockdown

Four Gen Z go-getters tell Philippa Blakeley about using their creative flair and finding their enterprising spirit in the age of Covid-19

Skiin, started by Saffron Spence and her twin sister

We might have been living through a pandemic, but another contagion raged at the same time, one which was much more fun, relaxing and often rather tasty. Let me remind you of the banana bread obsession we witnessed during the first lockdown. This was possible for the vast majority of us because we had much more time on our hands.

But for many that spare time came at a big cost, through being furloughed or even made unemployed, and it meant many were left needing a second job to help maintain the income they had prior to the pandemic. The non-essential retail industry is one which took a real hit, but for lots of start-up businesses into this industry, they were not deterred.

That doesn’t mean it was easy, the Federation of Small Businesses is predicting the loss of around 250,000 small businesses as a result.

We spoke to four women, who made the most of the opportunities the pandemic presented, by starting their own small businesses – discussing the importance of the virtual world for their businesses, tackling lockdown restrictions, and the benefits of shopping small and sustainable.

Bridie Heath, 22, London

Charity might start at home, but for Bridie that was her work life. When her workplace – a charity shop – was forced to close and Bridie was sent home, like the rest of us, she needed to find new ways to keep herself busy. This was when she took up crocheting in the first lockdown.

Bridie’s first lockdown was already full of creativity, even before she found her love for making earrings and coasters from polymer clay. But as lockdown went on, and it felt as though normality was getting further and further away, Bridie saw this as her opportunity to make a fundamental change to her life.

Initially, doing crocheting was something Bridie enjoyed because it meant she could physically make something for herself and wear it, especially with the environmental benefits this has. She even found the idea of being able to make her whole wardrobe from scratch an exciting prospect. “I started with crochet and making something by myself and being able to wear it was really nice. I think sustainability in fashion is so important, to wear all my own clothes would be fantastic,” she says.

Just before the second lockdown, in October, Bridie began creating earring designs and coasters from polymer clay. “I never really wore earrings that much until I started making my own earrings and I loved the freedom of working with the polymer clay,” she says. This hobby has now become her job, after she started her business bgroovydesigns, alongside her part-time job at a charity shop. To begin with it was something she was very worried about, and took a while to decide over. But with limited work opportunities due to the pandemic, she decided to take the plunge.

“I had seen other people do it and I thought if they can do it, why not I,

“I was really nervous because I’m not a big self-believer but now just to hear that people like my stuff is so rewarding,” she says.

Bridie has also now found a new love for wearing her earrings, which are inspired by 70s fashion, combined with experimental patterns and bold designs. “I love wearing them out, I feel so confident and when people ask me about them, it’s so nice to say they’re mine and it’s free advertising,” she says jokingly.

As we move out of the pandemic and back into more normality, Bridie has aspirations to continue growing the business as it is something she has really enjoyed, and due to the benefits it has brought to her mental health. “In an ideal world, I would love to do it full time, but I do realise that is very rare to be able to do. Currently, it is sustainable for me to do three days a week and I’m very much a realist and know that it’ll be difficult,” she says.

Not only have small businesses in the creative industry emerged during the pandemic, with people having much more time on their hands, but there has also been a surge in the number of people shopping at local, independent shops.

“I’m so against Amazon, I always think support the ‘little man’,

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m now doing this, but I feel like this year people have really focused more on shopping local and have really pushed for it,” says Bridie.

Bridie was overwhelmed by the amount of support she has recieved, despite only officially launching her shop during the second lockdown.

All of us in 2020 saw the importance of social media for everyone, with staying connected, but also for the many people who started their own small businesses during the pandemic, social media has become essential for promoting their products.

“Without social media this wouldn’t be able to happen at all. Instagram is my holy grail for this sort of thing,

“People have just received the first batch of earrings and seeing that is so rewarding, it is my driving force to continue,” says Bridie.

Sophie Nancy, 21, Leeds

The one thing that had always stopped Sophie Nancy? People’s opinions. But that was longer a problem when lockdown hit. Yes, she had the heartbreak of no last day of university, no graduation, no just ‘being a student’ for one last time. But that was no excuse for Sophie, who chose to make the most of lockdown by starting her own business.

She was already able to sew and would often sew for her friends and housemates, but then they began asking her if they could buy her clothes. This gave her the inspiration to start selling her clothes on her Depop, @sophienancy.

“I felt I had been given a huge gift of time, and it was something I had always wanted to start,

“I knew there was interest through my friends,” she says. “Even now it is something I do for the pure enjoyment; I’m not making loads of money from it.”

Sophie’s love for fashion was enhanced during her second year at university when she interned at London Fashion Week and did a short course in fashion at Central Saint Martins, London. It was during this time which inspired her style both for the clothes she wears herself and also the clothes she makes for her shop.

“I saw whacky, sustainable fashion, ripping up the rule book which I like to do but also I think what would I want to wear, what do I think is cool, it’s an intuition thing almost, doing what I want,” she says.

Since the first lockdown, Sophie has continued making clothes for her shop, participating in a pop-up shop on Brick Lane and joining ASOS marketplace, while also starting her Masters in September. “I’ve been running the shop alongside my Masters,” she says. “I took it all in my stride until I stopped for the holidays and now, I just sleep.”

Once Sophie graduates from her Masters, she wants to focus more on further developing and growing her business. “I’m going to apply for jobs but also work on my business full time. I want more regular releases and more structure, as well as a more long-term plan,” she says.

Sophie has also benefitted from the increased numbers of people shopping small this year, and the increased importance which has been put on reducing fast fashion. As with many other small business owners this is something which she feels is essential, particularly since starting her own.

“People need to support the next generation, it’s more sustainable and we’re more aware of the problems in the industry because we’ve been outside it before,” says Sophie. “Also, our things are completely original.”

Sophie even believes lockdown has benefitted her in terms of the clothes she has created because of the greater freedom for designing what she likes, rather than having to take on board other people’s opinions. “It’s been good not being influenced by people’s opinions because everyone has been stuck at home,” she says.

Jess Fisher, 20, Portsmouth

At home, recovering from an operation which left Jess Fisher pretty much bedbound in 2019, was the start of her creative passion. She was suffering from the isolation many of us would experience in 2020 and realised the benefits of getting creative. It was because of this that she set up her business ‘threadbabe’, creating embroidery wall hangings.

So, when lockdown arrived it was the perfect opportunity for Jess to spread her passion to many other people who were feeling lonely and miserable.

“I worked in a call centre and the girl sat next to me said she had been doing embroidery, she was always telling me about it, so I started following a few embroidery accounts on Instagram,” says Jess. “Then when I had my operation and had eight weeks off work, I started, just to prove to myself that I could make these things, but I didn’t realise then that I could sell them.”

As often happens, Jess’ friends started asking if they could buy her things, which was what inspired her to start her own Etsy shop and an Instagram page to promote her business. As with many other small businesses, social media and the virtual world is something which has really benefitted Jess.

Then during lockdown, her boyfriend’s mum asked Jess to provide her with a pattern and all the different things she would need to create her own wall hanging – this was where the idea for the subscription boxes was created.

“With the pandemic and people losing their jobs or being on furlough it meant they have more time, so it was good for me getting my work out there and that meant I was helping many other people,” she says.

With the subscription boxes, everything needed to create the wall hanging is sent out, enabling people to physically get creative. This is something Jess has often used as a coping mechanism when life gets tough, and the pandemic has definitely been that for many people.

“Before I started embroidery, I would just sit scrolling through my phone and I know that’s not good but now I do embroidery and just have that time for myself,” she says. “I think that is something really important, even in the pandemic life is so busy.”

After the pandemic, Jess has aspirations of continuing to expand her business – her aims being to move from working full time to working part time in a job and part time on her business.

For Jess, the increase in people shopping independent is something she is thrilled about. Having a small business within the industry means it is something she sees the benefits of. “By shopping small, you are directly supporting someone’s passion, that is their dream you are supporting,” she says. “If you can afford it, why put your money into something big when they don’t need your custom the same.”

Saffron Spence, 22, Sheffield

The bond identical twins have tends to be like unlike any other relationship. They were in the womb together and they go through life together. For Saffron and Amber they also got coronavirus together.

It was while they were isolating separately but at the same time, they decided to start their own business, Skiin Cosmetics. “Amber facetimed me and said she had this idea, and with both of us being at home for two weeks it seemed to make sense,” says Saffron.

Amber is very keen on makeup, even working as a makeup artist alongside her degree, and as black women, making inclusive makeup was something they both felt very passionate about.

“Amber has always wanted her own makeup brand, so she designs all the products and I do all the other things like the website and marketing,” says Saffron.  “We didn’t really know where to start and obviously in lockdown, it was a bit of a nightmare, but we had those two weeks and the idea so we felt we just had to run with it.”

Unlike the other small businesses, for Saffron and Amber, they were starting a business in an industry where demand was decreasing. With lockdown, people were no longer leaving the house meaning for many women, makeup use also decreased.

As we come out of lockdown, Saffron believes this will help to further boost their business. “We are still selling products but it would be better if we weren’t in lockdown, but you’ve just got to take it,” she says.

Saffron is hoping that when the pandemic starts improving and because of the inclusive nature of their business, that 2021 can be a big year of growth for their company. “One of our goals is to get on ‘Beauty Bay’ or another more well-known site, as well as bringing out a line of blushers and highlighters and a range of foundation by the end of 2021 too.”

Meet the hijabi makeup artists taking over social media

Beauty is inspired by all walks of life, writes Isatou Ndure. Beauty is diversity. These hijabi makeup artists – some professional and some just incredibly talented makeup lovers – are going to have you tapping away on Instagram and TikTok. They all post tutorials with stunning results, product reviews and tips whilst expressing themselves creatively through makeup while wearing a hijab. 

Rafiqah Abdullah Akhdar, 20-year-old from Connecticut

What would you say is your beauty signature? 

“My signature would probably be my base. I’ve spent so much time trying to learn how to successfully achieve a good base routine and now I feel like I’ve successfully mastered my routine. I was always so afraid of foundation and nervous about the finish but now that I can successfully do my base I get so happy just to see my growth.”

How important has makeup been to you?

“Makeup has been my lifeline, especially during this pandemic. Makeup was always a way to express myself and my creativity but with the pandemic makeup became a whole new art form for me.”

Besides being a makeup artist, what other things do you do?

“I have a YouTube channel that I honestly haven’t been very active on recently but I’m trying to work on it more since it’s my true passion. I’m currently in my Junior year at UCONN Stamford. I’m getting my Bachelors of Arts in Communications. I also work as a fragrance advisor at Nordstrom.” 

You represent a side of beauty we don’t get to see much, do you think hijabi makeup artists are important in our society and why? 

“Hijabi makeup artists are important because everyone wants/needs representation, we all want to see someone who looks like us in positive positions especially when we’d like to be in the same one. When I was younger I always wanted to go on America’s Next Top Model and when I always talked about this dream as a child I would say I wanted to be the first hijabi to do so to show people were here and we can thrive in the industry. I wanted to be able to show other girls who looked like me that they could complete their dreams while still maintaining their faith. Obviously, that’s not the route I’d be talking about now. Hijabis are widely misjudged in the western world so seeing so many hijabis happily being themselves online is just so amazing.”

What is your favourite makeup trend/ look right now?

“I’ve been loving all of the new trends that have been coming out this past year but my top favourite is definitely the effect of Euphoria. Looks with graphic liner and rhinestones have been the funniest and best looks I’ve done. Euphoria really made a wave within the beauty community and I love every effect that it has.”

What are your holy grail makeup products that you’d recommend to all makeup starters? 

“My top three referrals are Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer, NARS Natural Radiant Foundation and the Lancôme Long time no shine translucent powder. Hydro Grip is the best primer I’ve ever tried. It feels tacky when you rub it in but that makes your foundation latch on even better. The NARS foundation has been my holy grail for about three years and I will always love it. It gives the perfect skin-like finish and you can build the coverage to full. The final holy grail product is definitely the most unexpected. I have never tried a powder like the Lancome Long time no shine powder. It sets the foundation amazingly but it never dries out my skin and it works well with every foundation I’ve tried it with so far. These items are a little pricey but trust me when I say they are WELL worth it!”

Shamsi, 21-year-old freelance makeup artist from Toronto

What would you say is your beauty signature? 

“I would say my signature would have to be my eyeshadow looks. I’m only saying that because that’s what a lot of people recognized me for recently. If it were up to me the sole focus would be my base; meaning my foundation routine. I think people would say my signature is eyeshadow mainly because I showcase colours and techniques for an application that many haven’t learned yet and that is what creates the interest. They’re able to see colour and wearable looks all paired together with the idea that even if you are a beginner, it is possible to achieve.”

How important has makeup been to you?

“Makeup has always been a large part of my life since I was about 12 years old. I remember wanting to start a YouTube page about makeup with one of my friends at the time because I was so in love with the versatility of it and all the possibilities it had to offer. When I learned I was capable of covering up my acne scars using makeup, it became an even bigger part of my life. I’ve always found the process of application therapeutic as well as the self-care aspect of removing the makeup afterwards and following it up with skincare. I may not have realised it at the time, but growing up makeup has played a huge role in nurturing my creative side.”

Besides being a makeup artist, what other things do you do?

“Freelance work isn’t my main career path. I am a Registered Social Service Worker (RSSW) and focus the majority of my time on that part of my life. I know I would love the idea of focusing on social media very soon, however, if we’re talking long term? My life’s work needs to be in the service of others. I’ve always found comfort in advocating for social issues and challenging societal norms in creating anti-oppressive spaces and in a way,  I channel that with my makeup and my TikTok personality.”

You represent a side of beauty we don’t get to see much, do you think hijabi makeup artists are important in our society and why?

“I think hijabi makeup artists, BLACK hijabi makeup artists, have completely challenged the beauty and fashion industry. Speaking specifically about black hijabi women in the field of influencers, seeing as how that’s the intersectionality we’re discussing. Women like Aysha Harun, Shahd Batal, Chinutay, Enimsay, and so many more have challenged the standard of beauty in recent years and have made it feel possible for others like me, to imagine a society where someone who looks like me can be accepted. And if they don’t accept it? Too bad because we’re not going anywhere.”

What is your favourite makeup trend/ look right now?

“My favourite beauty trend right now has to be the minimal, soft, natural look. The blush replacing bronzer, as well as for opting for a dark brown liner over black has created such a soft and subtle look that is achievable by all skin types and skin tones.”

What are your holy grail makeup products that you’d recommend to all makeup starters? 

“My holy grail products would have to include; 

  • The Neutrogena Hydro Boost sunscreen (because sun protection is vital to a smooth base)
  • Benefit 24-hour brow setter
  • NYX butter glosses
  • Real Techniques face sponge

These products can be used by anyone and everyone and are great for getting into makeup and are more affordable than other products.”

Sumaya Yusuf, 21-year-old from Minnesota

What would you say is your beauty signature?

“I would say my beauty signature look would definitely be the base. So primer, foundation, concealer, powder, and contour, a corny phrase I like to say is, “if your base don’t look right, your face don’t look right.”

How important has makeup been to you?

“Makeup has been important in my life because it allows me to express myself. I like to look at it like art, you’re constantly creating masterpieces and other times failing and learning new things. It’s something fun to do.”

Besides being a makeup artist, what other things do you do?

“Besides doing makeup I’m a full-time college student and I also work part-time. Makeup is just a stress reliever I like to do when I’m not too busy.”

You represent a side of beauty we don’t get to see much, do you think hijabi makeup artists are important in our society and why?

“I think it’s important because I’m representing a side of beauty that only focuses on the face. By that, I mean lots of hijabis can’t express themselves with their hair publicly so if they see another girl who loves to create art on their face it shines a light on that. It definitely did for me because I grew up watching some of my favourite YouTubers, like Aysha Harun.”

What is your favourite makeup trend/ look right now?

My favourite trend on TikTok would definitely be recreating looks from Pinterest. I’ve done a couple on my page and it’s exciting because you get to take a shot at something simply by looking at it. You don’t know what the products were used you’re just starting with a blank canvas.”

What are your holy grail makeup products that you’d recommend to all makeup starters?

“My holy grail makeup product would be the jet-black liquid eyeliner from e.l.f. I’m not joking when I say I’ve been using it for five years on every single look I’ve done. It’s something that I struggled with at first but then kept practising and now I can finally say I’ve mastered the art of eyeliner.”

The influencer changing the face of Instagram

Our new series Class of 2020 highlights some of the best feature writing by this summer’s journalism graduates from De Montfort University, Leicester. Here, Chloe Martin tells a frank story of a young woman who battled severe acne – and online trolls

Just a little blur here and a quick smooth there and you’re done. Using filters or photo editing apps can be an easy way to hide your skin imperfections in the online world.

But this is not realistic. We are led to believe that all women have perfect skin – they don’t.

Mariah Pearson, from Somerset, is helping to change people’s perceptions of those who suffer with conditions such as acne or rosacea. Mariah’s aim is to counter the fantasy world of unblemished skin that has been created through social media.

She had suffered with acne since the age of 12, but when Mariah turned 20 things started to get more serious when she suddenly developed a severe type called acne conglobata.

“You develop open wounds around the affected area,” she says. “The wounds tunnel under the skin connecting themselves together with their own sinus tracts, which can lead to disfiguring scarring and is extremely painful.”

Her acne was becoming increasingly worse. In May 2019, Mariah was sat waiting for a dermatology appointment, anticipating she would be prescribed a next-level drug to tackle her skin condition. This the moment when her Instagram account, acnetain, was born.

“The handle ‘acnetain’ is a play on the name of the medication I’m on,” says Mariah.

Accutane is the brand name of isotretinoin, a strong medication used to treat severe types of acne that have not been improved by other treatments. It comes in the form of capsules usually taken over a period of one to eight months.  

The drug promises great results for the skin but it comes with a warning. Dry eyes and chapped lips are common reactions to isotretinoin, but it also has carries the risk of rare but serious potential side effects, including stomach pain, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

“I’d heard of Accutane before my acne was bad, and it didn’t appeal to me because the side effects didn’t seem worth it. Only when it got bad it seemed like a relief,” says Mariah.

 “I had a friend who’d been on it, and she told me some pretty dark things about her mental health, and how it hadn’t been the same even after she finished, so that scared me,”

“The worst side effects I have had so far are dry eyes, and since suffering with social anxiety for my whole life, that doesn’t help either,” Mariah says.

Many people decide to create an Instagram account to keep track of their Accutane journey and to look back at how far they have come.

“I remember searching #accutane on Instagram, and to my surprise I found loads of accounts documenting their progress. I thought that I could do that too,” Mariah says.

Mariah uses her account to record her progress whilst on Accutane, where she shares photos of her journey and talks about how she is feeling that day.

“I was initially scared of starting the account since I had a very severe case and thought I might receive some hate, and my self-esteem was too low at that point to handle any of that. But I took the plunge…and ‘acnetain’ came alive. Ranting about how I really felt on that first post was an amazing feeling,” says Mariah.

After growing massively since May 2019, Mariah’s account now has 8.5k followers.

“I never fathomed that I would reach even 100 followers, let alone 8,000! It started out as a little account to track my progress and somewhere to express my frustration. I guess the authenticity must have really resonated with people,” Mariah says.

But having a large following on social media does come with its downfalls. “You know what social media can be like. People hide behind a screen and can say such horrible and demeaning things they would never say in public,” says Mariah.

Receiving hate from anyone can be disheartening, but when it’s from a person who you don’t know who’s hiding on social media, can make it worse.

“I have received some negative comments, usually in other languages. I knew it was rude as they used the bee emoji, guessing they were implying I got stung by bees,”

“I have also been told I’m too pale/too white, have a massive forehead and I complain too much. But the positive comments usually outweigh the negative ones,” she says.

People who suffer with skin conditions may feel they must edit their pictures to hide their skin imperfections, but we should learn to embrace our differences.

“I really had myself convinced that a selfie wasn’t worth posting if you could see my skin problems,”

“Before I started this account and while my acne was bad, if you looked on my social media you wouldn’t have had the faintest clue that I had acne. I was so good at hiding it. Angles, filters, lighting. I really was an expert of alluding to clear skin,” says Mariah.  

Instagram can be a negative haven of people posting about their perfect lives and skin constantly. “After creating this account and filling my feed with less toxic accounts, I realised just how damaging me hiding my acne was,” Mariah says.

Even though having a following on social media can come with negative aspects, it can also be positive. “Having this account taught me that I’m a lot stronger than I thought,” she says. “When I go back to my first posts, I don’t just see physical progress on my face, but I read the captions and realise my mental progress too.”

Creating an online presence allows you to express yourself and to become more confident. “It also taught me that I can be a leader. Having social anxiety all my life, growing up I was too shy to stand up for what I believe in. But since creating this account I’ve realise I can be the one people look up too, instead of look past,” Mariah says.

Accounts like Mariah’s show people what real skin is like, and it can help others feel more positive about their skin. “I often receive messages from people telling me how much I’ve helped them with their acne. It always makes me smile and feel happy that I could help in some way, no matter how small,” says Mariah.

After being on Accutane for eight months, Mariah can see incredible changes to her skin. “My Accutane journey has been very long, but also very successful. I feel happier now my acne has gone down. Once you live in constant pain for a while you never take it for granted once it goes away,”

“It is one hell of a medication and I’m sick of the side effects now. But I should be finished very soon,” says Mariah.

Going through any type of acne can be tough and emotionally draining on anybody. “Try to hold on and remind yourself that it will get better, it won’t always be like this. Never believe those fads you see online, go and see a dermatologist,” Mariah says.

Leicester Fashion Week showcases new generation of fashion designers

 

Photo 04-11-2018, 19 33 59.jpg

Leicester Fashion Week made a comeback and showcased the country’s up-and-coming fashion elite.

 

By Sophie Sandberg

Leicester Fashion Week kicked off today (Sunday, October 4) to showcase the city and country’s most aspiring fashion elite for the first time since 2016.

In two runway shows and one intimate apparel show, 25 up-and-coming designers showcased their latest fashion collections to the public.

The event was held at the prestigious Mercure Leicester Grand Hotel in Granby street in front of the city’s fashion enthusiasts.

Jada Lewis, backstage co-ordinator of Leicester Fashion Week, said:  “Leicester Fashion Week is all about bringing energy to the city that’s already very vibrant and making it feel even more alive.

“We are showcasing quite a lot of local up-and-coming designers who are able to show their original designs to an audience, which is a great opportunity and something we are very pleased with.”

Leicester Fashion Week made a return this year after not been organised since 2016.

This year’s line-up consisted of a great variety of fashion designers with different backgrounds in fashion and design aesthetics.

Linda Harbour, 21, who is nominated for the Young Designer of the Year Award, took inspiration from the holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps when she designed her latest collection ‘Liberate’.

Miss Harbour said: “I chose to make an all-white collection to represent the liberation of the holocaust.

“I have also used a lot of different texture and details to get that feeling of being trapped and contained.”

Photo 04-11-2018, 19 26 59

Linda Harbour [left] with one of her models in front of her newest collection ‘Liberate’.

T’nisha Ramaré’s collection came to life after someone close to her fell victim to knife crime.

Miss Ramaré said: “I have incorporated cuts, hearts and patterns of the human spine into my collection to raise awareness of knife crimes in not only Britain but in the world.”

Photo 04-11-2018, 19 30 00.jpg

T’nisha Ramaré [second right] with her models seconds after her collection walked the runway.

The next runway show and the intimate apparel show will be held on November 11 at the City Rooms, Leicester.

Tickets are still available for the runway show on November 11 and can be purchased at www.leicesterfashionweek.com/tickets/.

Fashion Buying students at DMU to visit the Gap headquarters in New York

By Lauren Sedgley

Fashion Buying students at De Montfort University will be travelling to New York City at the end of the month as part of an academic trip with DMU Global.

The trip will see students across all three years, make the journey overseas where they will get the opportunity to visit the Gap Inc Headquarters.

Students will receive a tour of Gap HQ and have the opportunity to speak to key members of staff about the company and industry.

Third year Fashion Buying student, Beth Burrows said: “We’ll be talking to the current employees, so the designers, the buyers, all the different roles within the company and just gaining understanding and a perspective of the American way of working.

“I’m also aware that Gap have an archive within their head office of really old, classic pieces of Gap clothing so right the way back from when they first started, so it will be nice to see where they started and where they’ve come from and how they’ve progressed.”

The aim of the trip is for students to gain experience and information that will help develop new ideas and help with current projects with the third years currently working on their final collections.

Miss Burrows said: “Whilst I’m out and about I plan to visit a few fabric shops so perhaps I can buy a few metres and take it back to the UK and then I can mock up some of my garments that I’m planning on making for my final collection.

“Also just random things that I can take pictures of and take back to the UK for inspiration.”

There are also optional trips that students can participate in such as visiting the Fashion Institute of Technology, along with museums and galleries.

New York Times Square

Times Square, New York (image sourced from Google labelled for reuse)