Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sixth Ave Street Fair & Uptown Designers Market

Weekends just seem to zip by, but then what else is new. Time flies warp speeds when you are having fun or, at the very least, when you're trying to chill. So it was for me this weekend. On Saturday I ran some errands and (literally) stumbled across the massive 6th Avenue street festival. And ooh wheee, I can’t tell you how much I love street fairs. The intoxicating smell of Italian sausages, peppers and onions on the grill and just popped hot kettle corn. It’s funny because I find in my travels there are two types of people. You got your amusement park aficionados and your street fair fanatics. The former loves the rides, the thrill of the rollercoasters and the exhilarating drenchings of water rides. I, on the other hand, fall into the latter category. I love walking from vendor to vendor looking for some unique rare find. Unfortunately the fairs in NYC have become more of the same mass produced trinket hodgepodgery-- sheet sets, wool sweaters, I love NY t-shirts, and hoop earrings galore. But the one thing that sucks me in every time is the fair's food fare. I'ma sucka for the chicken kebobs, funnel cake and kettle corn. And so I spent a good chunk of my Saturday afternoon munching my yum-yum off walking around midtown.

On Sunday the ominous clouds kept me at bay and so I stayed close to home, which worked out cause once the sun came out around 6pm I went to the Uptown Emerging Designers Market and caught the last bit of what was clearly a very hot affair. Unlike my 6th Ave experience the previous day, the vendors at this market, which was located in Harlem at the Hip Hop Culture Center (who knew?), featured vendors hawking all kinds of unique and stylish goods-- many handmade. I loved the wit of homey selling the Puerto Rican for a Weekend tees to celebrate NYC's annual Puerto Rican Day Parade-- a day where not only Jessica Alba is Latino but dang near all of Gotham.

My absolute fave though were the sisters behind Cut It Out apparel-- a line of tees that have all these cool, positive messages for women and girls like "Destroy Stereotypes" and "Dope Enough To Make You Holla & Scream" from Latifah and Monie Love's Ladies First. CIO co-founders Noricia Anderson and Tirinda McNeil (in photo: 2nd from right & right) believe "that women should assert their inner strengths and explore their individuality." About the Harlem Market, Tirinda says "there's more love here and the people get us immediately.” Well I sure did. I bought two tees and am waiting for them to do a white and gold version of their iconic tee-- the one that features the ladies bathroom symbol emblazoned boldly in front. theHotness no doubt!

I had a great time talking to the artists and vendors who all seemed to genuinely enjoy one another and the idea of growing their business in Harlem. The Market co-founder Michelle Gittens, who has Heidi Klum's charisma and Michael Kors' no nonsense all-American business sense and more designers under her uptown roof than any one season of Project Runway is excited about the future of the market. Here she is talking about the Market and what’s next:

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