Apr 052016

The Hare Krishna parade in New York is organized by ISKCON, International Society for Krishna Consciousness and is better known in the West as the Hare Krishna movement. In New York, you may have seen them occasionally in a subway or in and around Union Square, where they perform ‘bhajans’ (religious chantings) while dancing. You can’t really miss them if you’re in the vicinity.

Being originally founded in New York in 1966, the Hare Krishna movement has now spread throughout the world. Their basic teachings are a form of Hinduism. Compared to other forms or types of Hinduism, the Hare Krishna movement has been exceptionally successful in international expansion. It provides a sense of community where none existed previously and was very attractive to the hippie movements of the 60s and 70s.

The Hare Krishna parade, called a ‘rathayatra’, takes place every year during the spring-summer across various different cities throughout the world including some major ones like London, New York, Paris, Prague, etc. The Hare Krishna parade in New York has been happening at Washington Square Park.

If you’ve never been to one, I’d highly recommend checking it out, if only for some delicious free Indian food! The cultural and fashion elements are also worth noticing during the parade. The clothes are very colorful and the environment very vibrant.

Here is some coverage of the event in 2014.

Here is the priest on top of the parade vehicles going through on the roads surrounding Washington Square Park.

Hare Krishna Parade New York 2014 Priests

The priests of course hold a special position within Iskcon. They are supposed to be learned scholars. In addition, they also dress different, in whites and saffron (orange).

Hare Krishna Parade New York 2014 Priest

The religious elements also mean the giving of ‘prasadam’ or holy food that has first been offered to God and then eaten by the devotees.

Hare Krishna Parade New York 2014 Prasadam

The overall fashion at the scene is like nothing you’d normally see in New York. Many of the devotees were dressed in traditional Indian clothes, men and women. Also, it makes it doubly nice to watch people of all ethnicities, not just Indian, in traditional Indian clothes during the Hare Krishna parade in New York.

The saree, a traditional Indian wear, was quite popular among the participants of the parade. The old and young alike were into the Saree, including people and families of both Indian ethnicity and others.

Jan 082016

Equinox, the New York based gym and wellness company is back with its 2016 ad campaign from the Portland based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. The shoots are courtesy of photographer Steven Klein. The theme this year revolves around socially responsible causes, with the tagline for the images as ‘Commit to Something’.

Over the years, Equinox has evolved its advertising campaign to attract its clientelle better. The earlier versions of the ad campaign by the fashion photographer Terry Richardson were criticized as being too sexualized. Equinox has moved away from hyper-sexualized images in the last couple of years and is continuing that trend in 2016 as well.

Also check out

Equinox Ad Campaign 2015

Equinox Ad Campaign 2014

Equinox Ad Campaign 2013

Equinox Ad Campaign 2012

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 01

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 02

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 03

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 04

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 05

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 06

Equinox Ad Campaign 2016 Commit to Something 07

 Posted by at 10:27 pm
Mar 142015

The Equinox Made Me Do It Campaign of 2015, the Equinox Ad Campaign for 2015 (Equinox uses one ad campaign for each year, that runs from January 1 to December 31), will follow the footsteps of the 2014 Equinox Ad Campaign, in stepping away from ‘conventional’ ideas of beauty and fitness, and moving the ad campaign towards the bold. This time, Equinox chose Rankin, a popular UK fashion and portrait photographer. The theme of bold and different was quite visible in this campaign.

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 01

Equinox had earlier been criticized for overly glamorizing their ad campaigns, featuring skinny models instead of fit models and focusing more on glamour than fitness. Equinox previously shot with the infamous fashion photographer Terry Richardson until 2013, and then changed themes.

To see earlier campaigns, check out
Equinox Ad Campaign 2014: Equinox Made Me Do It by Wieden+Kennedy
Equinox Ad Campaign 2013 with Terry Richardson
Equinox Ad Campaign 2012 with Terry Richardson

Equinox, with its slogan of ‘It’s not Fitness, It’s Life’ is a chain of high-end gym and fitness club headquartered in New York. It aims to appeal to the rich and well-off demographic and runs yearly ad campaigns for this purpose, which are prominently displayed in many locations in Manhattan and rest of New York City.

The photographer for Equinox Made Me Do It 2015 version was Rankin, who is a fashion photographer from the UK. He also works with other brands for advertising, such as French Connection.

Here’s a video of the Equinox Made Me Do It 2015 Equinox Ad Campaign:

Here are the photos from the Equinox Made Me Do It 2015. This Equinox Ad Campaign in 2015 has everything from cross-dressing to head-shaving to parachuting to posing with pigs.

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 02

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 03

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 04

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 05

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 06

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 07

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 08

Equinox ad campaign 2015 Equinox Made Me Do It by Rankin 09

 Posted by at 1:51 pm
Jul 142014


Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Profile

Sidney: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Javinia: My name is Javinia, I’ve lived in a few different places in New York, and I make South American inspired confections for The Sugar Coup NYC.

Sidney: You have a very interesting collection of jewelry. Tell us a little bit about where they come from and where you shop for jewelry.
Javinia: Thanks! I bought some of the bracelets, mostly wooden, from Hangzhou at Wushan Night Market. Some of the other bracelets were a gift my friend brought from Lahore and others were a gift my cousin brought from New Delhi. I got the pointy wooden earrings when I was visiting a friend in San Jose, CR. Most of my earrings are from Arequipa and Lima, many were gifts from aunts.

Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Jewelry

When I want to specifically buy Peruvian jewelry and I don’t foresee a trip in the near future, I go to Tumi in Port Jefferson. When I’m looking for nonspecific jewelry, I love looking at the earrings and just about anything else that Still House carries but I always end up getting them as a gift for someone else.

Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Jewelry

Sidney: How about clothes and shoes? What are your favorite spots in the city or sites online?
Javinia: My two favorite spots to shop for clothes in New York are Something in Mind and Nu New York. I’m always trying to narrow down the number of shoes I have. I have four pairs right now: sneakers, flip flops, heels, and oxfords. I mostly stick to sneakers these days except for some meetings.

Sidney: What’s the one thing that you really love about New York? What’s the one thing you hate?
Javinia: The one thing I really love about New York is that most of my family are a train or two away, or nearby in New Jersey. I always imagined that I would have to wait until retirement in order to have more time with my family, so I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to spend time with them at my age.

The one thing I hate about New York…I honestly can’t think of something that I hate, sorry.

Javinia Swiatek Garden

Sidney: Do you partake in the nightlife in New York? What are your favorite spots?
Javinia: My friends and I try to schedule any kind of time in to see each other, it’s usually not at a club or lounge. We usually grab food or hang out at each other’s places. We don’t get to see each other super often so I wouldn’t want to risk going somewhere where I wouldn’t be able to hear the other person.

Sidney: What are your hobbies outside of cooking?
Javinia: Eating. Going to improv shows. Going to The Nuyorican Poets Cafe for open mic. Checking out what’s up on Going to Americas Society/Council of the Americas events. I’ve been revisiting my old Pinyin notebooks lately, it’s a struggle.

Sidney: Since you attend a good number of fairs in the city, which are your favorite ones, both as a vendor and as a customer/visitor?
Javinia: As a visitor, my favorite is Hester Street Fair. My favorite vendors there are WanderNosh and Mamak. As a vendor, it’s challenging to pick a favorite fair because I’ve learned so much from each one. I’m going to be at Brooklyn Night Bazaar for all of July, and I haven’t gotten the chance to go as a visitor yet so I have no idea what to expect other than music, lights, and lots of food.

Javinia Swiatek The Sugar Coup NYC Profile

Sidney: Which neighborhoods in the city do you like the most?
Javinia: I like the area that used to all be considered “Lower East Side”. Outside of Manhattan, I like going to Flushing and Astoria. I lived in Astoria for under a year, I still go to visit one of my friends. Last week I went to The Paper Factory Hotel on 36th Street, to meet some of the Mundo team. I’m really excited for them to open up their restaurant. They gave me so many recommendations, they were super sweet.

Sidney: Where all have you traveled to, both inside the US and abroad? Which city did you personally feel had the best sense of fashion?
Javinia: Inside the US, I’ve traveled to most of the cities that lay on the East Coast as well as Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Outside the US, I’ve traveled to Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Peru of course, Germany, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, India and China. I’m not able to qualify any area as having a better sense of fashion over than another, but the most prominent fashion memory I have is from being around students in Hangzhou in 2009. I remember an abundance of dresses with ruffles and lace paired with pearl necklaces.

Javinia Swiatek Outdoor

Sidney: What do you think about the fashion scene in New York?
Javinia: I don’t really think about it while I’m here. I only start thinking about New York’s fashion scene when I’m in other US cities because I’m reminded that not all metropolitan areas are diverse like New York.

Javinia Swiatek Street Photo

Sidney: Tell us a little bit about how you got started as a food entrepreneur in New York City.
Javinia: I’m Javinia, I lived in a few different places in New York and most of my family is from Arequipa, Peru. I was fortunate enough to grow up around cousins, aunts, grandparents, and a large group of family friends here that are also from Peru.

My dad was a US born chef, and when he traveled to Arequipa to meet my mother’s family, he tried alfajores for the first time. He came back to the US and started making them, and eventually taught me as well. Around six years ago, he knew he was going to pass away soon and I remember that he stocked our kitchen with brand new rolling pins, cookie cutters, knives, and pots and pans. He was aware that I never used rolling pins or cookie cutters for anything but making alfajores so I probably subconsciously read too much into this, and started making alfajores for other people after his passing. I named the service “Jimmito’s Alfajores”. His American name was Jimmy, but the way I heard him being addressed in my family was “Jimmito” so I thought it fitting. The alfajores were a larger size back then and I was primarily delivering late night to fellow students at The George Washington University.

My dad often spoke of wanting to open up a Peruvian restaurant but it was too much of a risk for us. That was probably another factor that led to the start of Jimmito’s Alfajores. I was young and I didn’t share the concerns and responsibilities that my dad had to consider.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: Tell us a little about the Alfajores that you make, and how they are unique.
Javinia: My alfajores are miniature sized and they have a very flaky cookie. I did not start out like this but today, I make them 12 at a time. Each flavor has very simple ingredients and they all have dulce de leche on the inside. Besides the original flavor, I make Citrus Sriracha, Feliz Cumpleaños, Café con Leche, and Sesame Red Bean. I’m hoping to have a gluten-free alfajor ready soon and once the first version of that is ready, I’m going to be working on a dairy-free alfajor.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: What are your favorite cuisines?
Javinia: Peruvian is my favorite by far and Chinese is my second favorite.

Sidney: What are some of your favorite spots to eat out in New York?
Javinia: Hmm…the place I’ve been returning to lately is La Esquina to pick up their elotes. There’s usually no space to eat at the counter so I ask for them to go. One of my dad’s friends made elotes engulfed in melting cheese, in Jackson Heights in the 90s, but he’s no longer there (I’ve looked) so La Esquina is my substitute for now. Another favorite is Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: What was the most difficult thing for you personally about starting out on your own?
Javinia: The most difficult thing was deciding to change the size or flavor of the original alfajores I grew up making. I used to think it would be disrespectful and I still feel uneasy about it from time to time. The alfajor has taken on various flavors and sizes in its lifetime. In Tacna, I’ve eaten wafer-like alfajores the size of my outstretched hand that have honey instead of dulce de leche on the inside. Peruvian cuisine has long incorporated flavors from other cuisines too, one of the most common styles in Peru is Chifa which is Chinese influenced. For example, the name of the Chifa dish “arroz chaufa” comes from the two words “chǎo” and “fàn”, which together mean “fried rice”. Despite all this, I think I’m not completely at ease because I personally don’t like eating today’s fusion Peruvian food. I can’t explain it well, I just don’t like the word “fusion.”

Sidney: How supportive were your family and friends regarding your decision to follow a non-traditional career path?
Javinia: It’s non-traditional when compared to what I studied, but I feel like it’s very commonplace when I think of the increasing trend of self-employment. The conversation with my family around whether or not I should be doing this evolved to discussing how this can be carried out in better ways. My friends are really supportive as well, they’ve all reached out to help in one way or another.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: Was it a tough choice quitting a full-time job? What factors were you weighing when you were taking that decision?
Javinia: It was a really tough choice for me. It took me a very long time just to obtain an internship in New York after college even with plenty of experience on my resume. My apprehension about transitioning my full-time focus was coming from wanting to hold onto something that once seemed impossibly out of reach.

At a certain point when I was juggling a few different jobs, I realized there was no way to move forward in all of them at the same time. I knew that I didn’t want to wait until the absolute breaking point to make a decision.

Sidney: What advice do you have for other young people in the city looking to start out on their own ventures?
Javinia: Talk to as many people as you can to hear their stories, whether they’re in your field or not. Know that you always have room to improve in every aspect of what you’re doing. Don’t glamorize the idea of “entrepreneurship” and don’t glamorize the food industry.

Sidney: What’s the next goal for your business?
Javinia: The next goal for me is to have 24/7 access to a shared kitchen space, or to have my own kitchen space.

Javinia Swiatek Making Alfajores

Sidney: The food industry in New York is known to be very competitive. How do you handle the competition and stand out?
Javinia: I reach out to other alfajor makers to chat and to order their alfajores. Everyone in the food industry that I met has been generous with their time and forthcoming with suggestions. My alfajores are miniature sized and the texture is quite different from most alfajores that I’ve eaten, but everyone has their own style and ingredient preference. There are always new ways to improve and I appreciate all the advice I’ve received from fellow food makers.

Sidney: What’s one thing you would like to change about the food industry in New York?
Javinia: This can go in so many directions so I’ll keep it light. The food industry in New York could be remarkably improved by…experimenting with more varied bandana styles.

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Jun 132014

Data Powered ClothingIt’s not every day that someone can come up with modern ideas that demonstrate the world we live in while bridging the gap between two different universes of fashion and technology all through the medium of art. You’re probably not going to run to the store to buy this dress for your next cocktail party, but this is a very interesting concept nonetheless.

Here’s how this concept is defined:

In the digital realm, we are naked and vulnerable. x.pose is a wearable data-driven sculpture that changes opacity to expose a person’s skin as a real-time reflection of the data that the wearer is producing.

Very interesting, I would say. In today’s internet culture, we tend to be unaware of how much personal information we share. Here’s a really cool idea that can literally help you see this, in real time. Don’t get too overexposed at your party though!



Photo Credit: xpose

 Posted by at 6:52 pm
Apr 042014

Casino Girls 03

A casino can be a fun place to spend the evening. Today’s casinos are often much more than casinos as they provide numerous activities including dining, dancing, night clubs and more. For this reason they are ideal as choices for a night out. Part of preparing for the evening is selecting not only an appropriate outfit but a great looking one as well. With the likes of games like online poker and mobile slots becoming more popular, nothing can beat getting a taste of the real action on a gaming floor. When deciding what to wear, women should choose an outfit that is of the smart casual style.

Casino Girls 01

Smart casual is also known in some locations as business casual. Some women find it easier to decide what to wear by starting with an outfit they regularly wear to the office. For instance, this could be a pant suit. The key is taking one of the pieces out of the outfit and replacing it with a casual item. The best choice is to either switch out the pants or the jacket. Sometimes just changing the top underneath the jacket simply isn’t enough. Some women may switch the slacks with jeans which is a great look for the casino. Another practical aspect of this is that women can easily go from the office to the casino if they don’t have time to run home and change their outfit. On the other hand, the jacket can be removed. A cardigan can be added or even a sweater set.

Casino Girls 02

Accessories are also a must. However, keep them balanced and do not wear too many. Scarves are all the rage right now including the infinity scarf which can come in many different materials, patterns and colors. Long necklace strands are also popular to wear. If wearing a jacket to the casino, a pin on the lapel of the jacket may be a better option. Some people try to put on too much jewelry to look affluent when visiting the casino. This is definitely something to avoid.

Photo Credit: vperkins, paul, Adam, Christopher Haugh

 Posted by at 8:51 am
Mar 082014

Understand Fashion is pleased to feature the lovely Kristina Filippova, a part-time model who is originally from Ukraine and has traveled extensively all over the world. She isn’t a full time model but don’t let that fool you – she’s an immensely talented artist. She is currently in New York and is a student. We catch up with her about her life and passions.


Sidney: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Kristina: I am Kristina. I am a Ukranian student who came to New York City a couple of years ago. And I love to travel!

Sidney: Where all have you traveled to?
Kristina: I used to live in Turkey and then I moved to New York now. In the future, I want to go to Thailand, India and countries of Africa.


Sidney: Which country do you find the people with the best fashion sense?
Kristina: Fashion sense, I think New York City. I could say the US, but specifically New York City.

Sidney: What kinds of fashion differences do you see between New York and where in Ukraine you’re from?
Kristina: New York city, I like to see the fashion as two distinct categories – comfort fashion and high fashion. People in Ukraine care too much about how they look and what they wear. I think they are more stylish than New York.


Sidney: What type of fashion do you prefer?
Kristina: High fashion of course!

Sidney: Pick one thing that you like the most about New York
Kristina: Yellow cabs and night-life


Sidney: You like the yellow cabs of New York?
Kristina: Yes!

Sidney: And one thing you hate about New York?
Kristina: It’s dirty


Sidney: You’ve been in New York for about 2 years now, what’s the one thing you miss the most about Ukraine?
Kristina: I miss the shopping centers. They are huge with everything under one roof.

Sidney: At a personal level, what attracts you to modeling and fashion industry?
Kristina: Nothing special, I just want to try things out. I think it’s fun. I want to get experience and turn it into something fun.

Sidney: Is this something you would consider as a career option or is this just a hobby?
Kristina: No, for me this is just a hobby.


Sidney: Where do you shop in New York for your clothes?
Kristina: Usually it’s different stores. I try to find something special and unique for my wardrobe. SoHo is my favorite place where I shop.

Sidney: What about your accessories and jewelry?
Kristina: They are from everywhere! I bought them in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania from all over the place.


Sidney: Any advice for women looking to be more fashionable without spending a fortune?
Kristina: First of all, people need to find out their style and what they are comfortable with, that also complements their lifestyle and other aspects of who they are. Try to find some clothes that hide your flaws and some that can show the good parts of your body.

Sidney: Any thoughts on the New York fashion scene?
Kristina: I like the women with fur coats and heels and the dresses they wear. I don’t like the many touristy areas of New York though, like Times Square.




 Posted by at 11:26 am
Jan 212014

Finally, after 3 years of Terry Richardson, Equinox, the high-end fitness and lifestyle gym/club, ditched him in favor of Wieden+kennedy for their 2014 ad campaign. Fashion photographer and controversy expert Terry Richardson headed the Equinox ad campaign from 2011-2013, and generated a fair bit of controversy with a good bit of sleaze thrown in. In addition, the campaigns generated controversy about using thin instead of fit models. And like most things Terry Richardson, there was always the controversy of using sex to sell things.

Also see Equinox ad campaign 2013 and Equinox ad campaign 2012.

“We looked to our members as the core inspiration for this campaign,” said Carlos Becil, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Equinox. “Grounded in the idea of high performance living, we aim to provide our members with a holistic approach to health, and push them to seek higher goals, disrupt preconceived notions and break boundaries. This campaign embodies that disruptive spirit and speaks to our core audience.”

“For this campaign we wanted a photographic approach that had a strong sense of narrative and realism,” said Stuart Jennings, Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy New York. “We chose Robert Wyatt as the photographer because he’s a storyteller who injects a fashion sensibility into all his work. His ability to capture real, candid moments rather than overly posed situations made him a perfect fit for this campaign.”

However, don’t get your hopes too high on this latest campaign by Equinox. It isn’t terrible but there’s nothing terribly exciting about it either. There are 6 pictures, with “Equinox made me do it” theme.

Here, be the judge:
(click on the pictures to get full size image)

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It 01

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It 02

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It 03

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It 04

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It 05

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It 06

Equinox ad campaign 2014 Equinox Made Me Do It

 Posted by at 7:24 pm
Jan 202014

Equinox Ad Campaign of 2012 was done by fashion photographer Terry Richardson. The campaign created some controversy as people thought the models were too skinny instead of being fit. This was changed in the Equinox ad campaign in 2013, again by Terry Richardson.

Equinox is a luxury fitness company headquartered in New York that has always tried to maintain an upscale image. It caters to the higher end of the gym consumer market and provides many additional facilities to members in addition to regular gym. Equinox does annual ad campaigns to emphasize its brand and from 2011-2013, chose Terry Richardson, the famous (infamous?) fashion photographer to head the campaign.

Bonus: Here’s the ad campaign video for these images.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think the models are too skinny? Too much flesh? Cheesy? Raunchy?

(Click on the images to enlarge)
Brainpower. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 BrainPower

Coordination. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 Coordination

Determination. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 Determination

FlexAppeal. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 FlexAppeal

Focus. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 Focus

Rejuvination. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 Rejuvination

Victory. By Equinox.
Equinox ad campaign 2012 Victory

 Posted by at 11:12 am
Aug 012013

This is the Equinox ad campaign in 2013. Equinox is a luxury fitness company headquartered in New York that has redefined what it means to go to the gym. The club keeps an exclusive, high-fashion image that helps it to maintain quality and prices. No wonder then that they need a great ad campaign to reinforce that image and attract new members.

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Stamina

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Dexterity

Terry Richardson was criticized for the ad campaign in 2012 by the Equinox members saying that the models looked too skinny. It seems that the Equinox ad campaign in 2013 actually took the fitness more seriously. After all, fit is not the same as slim and Equinox obviously know it.

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Stair Master

The themes of fitness, fun and flirtation are all apparent in the ad campaign. It definitely has the fitness part for the purists.

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Knockout

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Propel

The concepts are great and the models look fabulous. It’s a great addition to a fashion photography portfolio indeed!

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Action

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Dominance

Equinox ad campaign 2013 Uplifting

What do you think about the models, photography and the overall Equinox ad campaign for 2013?

 Posted by at 10:18 pm