Ashlee and Amy take Manhattan

Sports fans, runners and New York City enthusiasts all come together to witness the most famous marathon in the world the first Sunday in November: the NYC Marathon. As I write this, the first American woman since 1977 won the race (#teamshaleneflanagan)! Visiting NYC, even if you’re not there for the actual race, can sometimes feel like a marathon.  Even though Amy and I did not strap on our running shoes, we did have our own version of the New York City marathon during our recent trip to the Big Apple.  Let me provide you with a brief recap of the quickest 48 hours I have ever experienced in NYC!

In July, Amy contacted me about submitting a proposal to present at the annual LIM College Fashion Conference: Now and then: Fashion and Sustainability located in New York City. When we saw the topic of sustainability, we were thrilled, as this is a major issue in the fashion industry. This would be a great opportunity to share our teaching concepts incorporated in our curriculum at Mercyhurst University. Amy developed a catchy title and we went to work on the proposal. Fast forward to August, when we received notification that our presentation proposal was accepted! Then, the semester hit…the whirlwind of the academic year took off!

Before we knew it, it was October 19 and I was hearing Taylor Swift in my head “Welcome to New York, It’s been waiting for you.” When we arrived, we had been discussing the locations we wanted to scope out for lunch. Most people eat salads, sandwiches, soup, etc. None of that for us! We were scoping out various ice cream locations for our midday meal! We first hit Taiyaki NYC, “home of the legendary fish-shaped ice cream cones” according to Zagat. I first took the ice cream plunge (wink, wink) and had their Unicorn Taiyaki. Let me just say, it was dreamy! If you are in the Chinatown/Little Italy area, you must stop for one of their various confections.

Amy was holding off to have the ice cream flavor AND color of her dreams (and life). That would take us to the second stop: Morgenstern’s. Amy got two scoops, almond and black coconut ash. Since I already had one ice cream treat, I only got one scoop of the black coconut ash.  Neither of us were disappointed! The ice cream was worth the wait and the long walk.

That evening, we got the opportunity to attend the NYC Alumni Chapter Networking Reception at Tavern 29. I was the photographer of the evening, taking pics of Amy with our alumni. It was incredible to see our former students compliment Mercyhurst and the fashion merchandising program. Our current students at the Fashion Institute of Technology even attended. According to Caleb Pifer, Vice President for External Relations & Advancement, the NYC chapter reception was the most well attended alumni event in Mercyhurst University history. Amy did a phenomenal job reaching out to our MU fashion graduates and they of course responded. Mercyhurst grads rock at life!

Friday we presented at the LIM College conference. For those on the edge of your seats, the title of our presentation was “Strategies for Incorporating Sustainability throughout a Fashion Curriculum by Utilizing Compulsory Titles.” The highlight for me was to hear a designer’s perspective on using sustainability processes as part of developing her apparel lines.  She reiterated that anyone going out into the industry should focus on being the voice within a company to address sustainability as part of the business strategy.

We finished off the evening having dinner with two former MU fashion students, a little shopping, meeting up with our FIT students and finally (more) ice cream for dessert. I wanted a hot pink cone and Amy, of course, really wanted to get a black cone with her ice cream.  We went to a pop up ice cream shop right on Times Square called Ice and Vice.  The next morning we ended where we began, in beautiful Erie, Pennsylvania. Whew!

While it was a whirlwind visit, it was enjoyable on both a professional and personal level. In fact, I created a little video for your viewing pleasure to recap our presentation… and of course the ice cream. Enjoy!

Ashlee Rzyczycki

Instructor of Fashion Merchandising