POLISHED Magazine Spring 2022

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LETTERS Life can be hard to navigate in many ways. We try to follow the best mentors and guides to help us get by, but sometimes we may be following a path that has no direction for us. Illusions in everyday life can be represented on social media, through celebrities and tv shows, and you may feel like there is no right way for you to decipher the authentic from the synthetic. I wanted to bring in shapes and figures as well as perspectives within this issue to show the confusing pattern of life. This issue titled “Illusions” represents self-expression and being your colorful self. The intensity and hard work each member of our team provided to produce this issue is what makes me proud to be a part of POLISHED. As I continue as Creative Director for many semesters ahead, I have goals to elevate this magazine to a level of high standards and inclusion for all. Thank you to all the teams and advisors involved who brought my vision to life and pushed me to lead such an amazing group of talented individuals.

CONTRIBUTORS Publisher Lasell University Founder Richard Bath Creative Director Sydney Pesaturo Co-Managing Editors Kiersten Brown Liah Brown Art Director Dylan Wilson Associate Art Director Kaitlyn Johnson Art Editor Brianna Ricker Associate Art Editor Nicolas Brown Editors Ava Neely Maggie Powers Anna Richardson Dana Tilton Angela Defelice Lead Stylist Nicole Catania

Illusion and reality co-exist among our everyday life. Boston, like many great cities, holds artistic and stylistic trends normally unseen by the naked eye. In this issue of POLISHED Magazine, take a visual vacation with a “Night at the Studio”, or cruise through the streets with “Shredding with Street Art.” These pieces show that self-expression is alive and thriving in the Boston community. Wander through the “Street of the Roses” and take a pathway of success to the “Uncommon Mission.” No matter what direction the threads of time warp, these articles will take you on a trip into the fashion and lifestyles that stitch us all together. We would like to congratulate the POLISHED team for their hard work and dedication. It has been a pleasure working with each one of our team members on this fabulous issue. We hope that you can visualize reality in this twisted illusion.

Stylists Abi Brown Caleigh Bain Jacqueline Minasian Maddie Young Editorial Photographer Dylan Wilson Models Allison Li Priscilla Ndikwani Media Directors Jaquelin Cordeiro Madison Cormier Jacqueline Minasian Social Media Team Chataranny Chap Rebecca Donovan Julia Figueiral

Art Director

Alexis Gatto

A testament to being a part of this team is learning about a place where you belong. It can be unclear where we fit into this illusion that we have created in our society, but we all seem to find our place. Individuality as people and as a team is what POLISHED Magazine is all about. Seeing the world around us and being the true versions of ourselves is what sets us apart. Allowing our team to be expressive and indulge in authentic lifestyles brings a positive environment that’s creative and human. I can’t thank my team enough for the dedication, talent, and memories made alongside each other. Every issue blows away my expectations; this issue is no different. All the time and energy put into our publication makes the final product a far stretch from an optical illusion. We hope you can allow yourself to be drawn in by an illusionary escape from the world.

Simone Landry Sophia Mazzone Kim Nguyen Alexandra Stevas Sydney Veilleux Madison Whiteley YouTube Team Samantha Vega-Torres Nicole Reusch Blog Director Faith Costa Blog Writers Rebecca Donovan Leanne Nosiglia Emily Ohlson Samantha Vega-Torres Sydney Veilleux Spencer Villinski Faculty Advisors Lynn Blake


1844 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, MA 02466 | lasell.edu polishedfashion.com | polishedblogger.wordpress.com Polished Magazine | @bostonpolished @bostonpolished

Stephen Fischer Patricia Roy



16 14



Designer: Caelan Watson Writer: Abi Brown

Designer: Kaitlyn Johnson Writer: Liah Brown



Designer: Sydney Pesaturo & Dylan Wilson Writer: Ava Neely

A PURVEYOR OF MENSWEAR 10 Designer: Nick Brown Writer: Spencer Villinski

Designer: Dylan Wilson Writer: Kassie Fisher

BEHIND THE BOBBLE 18 Designer: Julia Bolton Writer: Ava Neely

ILLUSIONS 20 Retailers: Global Thrift Store, LIT Boutique, Fits the Vibe, SoWa Vintage, DIVERSITY Consignment, Jacque Label, & NROR Art Location: Studio Allston Hotel Photography: Dylan Wilson


Designer: Griffin Bryan Writer: Spencer Villinski


Designer: Ciarra Chasse Writer: Tala Khoury

Allison Li & Priscilla Ndikwani Breastplates: Jacque Label Outfit (Left) DIVERSITY Consignment Outfit (Right) Fits the Vibe Photography by Dylan Wilson

MISSION STATEMENT The mission of POLISHED Magazine is to promote and highlight the diverse and vibrant culture and fashion scene of Boston and the surrounding area.

THE SPEED OF SOUND: HOW KARAOKE TRAVELS 30 Designer: Kate Lodge Writer: Kiersten Brown

CALENDAR 32 Designer: Kaitlyn Johnson Writer: Emily Hamm

GEL NAILS & MARATHON TRAILS 34 Designer: Erin Tilley Writer: Samantha Vega-Torres

THE UNCOMMON MISSION 36 Designer: Lauren Martin Writer: Kaitlyn Duarte

GROWING IN THE CONCRETE 38 Designer: Brianna Ricker Writer: Griffin Bryan

POLISHED Magazine is produced by the Lasell University School of Fashion with graphic design support from the Graphic Design League at Lasell University. Visit us at graphicdesignleague.com POLISHED Magazine is printed by Wing Press - beau@wingpress.com


wenty years ago, an idea came to Richard Bath that would foster generations of creativity and inspiration. Bath, a professor in the School of Fashion at Lasell University, reflects back upon that time: “It’s a funny story. I was sitting in traffic thinking about all the things we could do to grow the program and make it better. What is missing? What are we not doing that everybody else is not doing? So, I said “Oh I know what it is…we need a publication, a fashion magazine,” said Bath. The next question that came to Bath’s mind was what to name this up-and-coming magazine. The name came to Bath and photography professor Elie Honein rather quickly, due to the fact that when their students went into Boston to participate in industry events, everyone would always comment on how “polished” they were. Thus, POLISHED Magazine became a reality. Not surprisingly, for ten of the twenty years the magazine has been in production, POLISHED has taken home The Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. This remarkable achievement of national recognition is a result of the immense support coming from professors who have assisted in production; but more importantly, the student creative directors who brought the magazine to life through their vibrant art themes, hard work, and true dedication. They’ve helped POLISHED to flourish into what it is today. Whether they were a first-year student or a senior, they were given the opportunity to present their vision of passion and talent through the magazine. Thanks to these dreamers and visionaries, the university and magazine flourished into the legacy it is today.


Christian DiPietro 2010 Q: Tell us a favorite memory of being involved with POLISHED when you were at Lasell.

Q: Have you found mentors who have been influential in your progress?

CD: When POLISHED used a dress I designed on the cover. It was incredible. I was a freshman and couldn’t believe it, totally shocked. The other is when Professor Bath asked me to be Creative Director. I had been having a great experience with everyone in the Fashion Department and was loving writing/styling for POLISHED and was totally shocked when he asked. I knew I’d be fully supported and it was all just very exciting.

CD: I’ve been really lucky when it comes to mentors, in and out of school. Professor Lynn Blake, Professor Jill Carey, Professor Joan Morris, and Professor Richard Bath were all incredible to me during my time at Lasell. I still see Lynn any chance I can, and I have met up with her and Jill all over the world. They are incredible people who mean so much to me. My post-school mentors have been amazing women I worked with at Marc Jacobs whom I still seek advice from.

Q: What has your working experience been like? What companies have you worked for and what positions have you held?

Q: What advice do you have for fashion students who want a career in the fashion industry?

CD: I’ve been lucky enough to work for some great companies. I was a designer at Marc Jacobs for seven years, some of the best years at that company. I learned a lot, got to travel internationally, was mentored, and it really opened a lot of doors. I then took a position at Kohl’s for exclusive brand accessories working directly with Lauren Conrad and the Vera Wang team. My career has been full of very collaborative work experiences and being creative, which is beyond fulfilling. I have just accepted a new position at Splendid, and I cannot wait to get going there.

CD: Try and do internships if possible; those relationships are really important and can lead to full-time employment. Make sure you research brands, past and present. Having knowledge of fashion history is so important. Take the time to understand construction and tech sketching— these will be the most important aspects of your job. No matter what position you are in. Most importantly: understand how to take constructive criticism to heart and apply it.

Q: What skill(s) did you first develop working on POLISHED that you have applied to your career? CD: Time management and attention to detail are the two that stand out to me. Being in the Fashion program, you need to spend a lot of time in the sewing labs, sketching, etc. on top of your other school work and having a social life. Add working on POLISHED to that, and you better make sure you know your calendar and don’t spread yourself too thin. I’d say I apply these skills to my everyday life ever since. Q: What was it like searching for your first job after graduation? Can you share any strategies that might be helpful to those who have hopes of a career in the fashion industry? CD: I kept communication with my contacts at Marc Jacobs very open. Already having done internships there I was determined. I graduated in May, and by July I moved to NYC accepting an awful job at an accessories company that no longer exists. I knew it would get me to NY, and that was much closer to the job I wanted. So between that and helping dress shows at Fashion Week, I kept busy until there was an opening at Marc Jacobs in September of that year. I cannot stress the importance of stick-with-it-ness. You have to keep trying, even if challenges come your way, and keep going. It’s a hard industry to break into so you have to prove yourself as a serious, professional, and creative person. Photography Courtesy of Christian DiPietro

Q: Do you have a five-year plan for the direction you would like your career to go? CD: In a way, yes. But the reality of Covid’s impact on this industry has altered so much. Things are still getting back to “normal” and opportunities are not as available. I still have a plan and direction I want my career to go in, but it’s a bit more fluid and flexible for the time being. The plan is also something I keep to myself ;)

Shawnda Shaffer 2013 Q: Tell us a favorite memory of being involved with POLISHED when you were at Lasell.

Q: What has your working experience been like? What companies have you worked for and what positions have you held?

SS: It is nearly impossible to pick one favorite memory! From ruining a pair of Jimmy Choos during a rainy shoot to stuffing cotton candy into a model’s hair to eating cold pizza while working on a copy at 2 am, my years with POLISHED were extremely memorable. If I have to choose just one, I would say, the day I learned our 2013 Spring issue won a Columbia Scholastic Press Award for Cover Design. That award was significant not only because it was my last issue, but because I took a risk, it was different, it broke a few design “rules.” I had many long, persuasive conversations about that cover in order to get the team’s support. In the end, they trusted me, I trusted myself, and that was celebrated and recognized!

SS: I started out my career in the fashion industry during college working in retail stores. The “On the ground” experience was important to me! After college, I explored the corporate side of retail working in both merchandising and marketing at the Adidas Group. I worked for both the Reebok and Adidas brands for a few years and then moved on to Talbots Inc to continue with retail marketing and new store development. It was after a few years at Talbots that I realized that it wasn’t the end product (clothing or apparel) that drove me, it was the creativity, brand activation, and marketing campaign development that lit a spark in me. From there, I switched industries to work within consumer product goods and other large brands at Keurig Dr. Pepper. Today, I am a Senior Marketing Manager leading content development, messaging strategies, and product activations. Whether I am working on banner advertisements, videos, or events, my fashion industry is both relevant and valuable every day!

Q: Give us your overall impression of the fashion industry, as it compares to what you thought it would be like as an undergraduate. SS: Dynamic, the fashion industry is vast, dynamic, and complex! College classes, show planning, and even POLISHED revealed that the fashion industry isn’t as glamorous as it appears to the average consumer. It APPEARS glamorous because dozens, if not hundreds of people are working very hard behind the scenes to deliver a beautifully finished garment, ad, story, product assortment, window display, etc. Change and newness are at the root of every output within the industry, and if you aren’t on the front end of it you can very quickly get left behind.

Q: What skill(s) did you first develop working on POLISHED that you have applied to your career? SS: Disruptive creativity. I found confidence in trusting in my vision, taking risks, and breaking creative molds. I learned that it’s okay to be the first to do something, that pushing the RIGHT boundaries can be innovative and exciting. More importantly, I learned how to collaborate and communicate with other creative minds, who also have their own vision and style. Details are important, context is important, problem-solving is important! The way I directed my first issue of POLISHED did not look the same as the last and I am proud of that growth and the relationships that got me there. Q: What was it like searching for your first job after graduation? Can you share any strategies that might be helpful to those who have hopes of a career in the fashion industry? SS: My post-grad job search was not too difficult because I accepted a fulltime position at Reebok where I also completed my internship. With that, I would emphasize the value of finding an internship that puts you on the career path that is right for you. Leverage your personal and professional network and find ways to grow it. Try searching for your ideal title on LinkedIn and message people with that title-- ask them how they got there, what steps you can take, or just ask them to consider you for future open positions! In general, I would say, people love to help, so let them! Q: Do you have a five-year plan for the direction you would like your career to go? SS: When we begin our careers and prepare for interviews and development plans, we often search for the answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years?”-- It is absolutely important to define a path for yourself, but know that it doesn’t always look like a straight line. I create my path by “creating dots,” and connecting those dots along the way. My path is in the field of marketing and ideation and my “direction” is forward, sideways, and even backward if necessary. I’ve learned that when defining career growth, there are many paths that lead to “UP.” I personally didn’t have CPG marketing in my 5-year plan, but I defined my strengths and passions and challenged myself to take them to a new level. In this case, I created a new dot and leveraged my past experience to bring new ideas, concepts, and campaigns to my team. My continued goal is to progress by keeping a growth mindset while reflecting, learning, and contributing to my strengths.

Sophie Weidhaaus 2017 Q: Tell us a favorite memory of being involved with POLISHED when you were at Lasell.

Q: What advice do you have for fashion students who want a career in the fashion industry?

SW: I have so many after being the POLISHED Creative Director from 2014-2017! I loved working together to make wild ideas come to life in so many unique ways through the editorial photoshoots. Robert Kraft gave us the approval to shoot at Gillette Stadium which was really cool as a Pats fan. Growing up, I used to drive by an abandoned mental health facility and always said I would one day see inside of it, but I didn’t know how. . .and we managed to shoot inside. For another shoot, we went to a private airplane hanger on Cape Cod, and another in a gorgeous mansion in RI. But the most memorable was the underwater photo shoot. It was hard finding a location and equipment that allowed us to film underwater within our budget. Team effort is required for the photographer and me to be in full scuba gear 30 feet under, with the stylists floating above with snorkels, communicating in our own sign language, plus the models jumping in and opening their eyes while wearing heavy gowns. Challenging is an understatement, but it was the best teamwork I have ever experienced!

SW: Never be afraid to network in person and once you do, try to keep in touch since you never know who knows who and can help you someday down the road…Be confident and persistent with what you want…learn as much as you can about any part of the business that interests you and ask to help or get involved when you have downtime. Job interviews can be intimidating but remember that they are a two-way street and you are there to interview the company as well. Regardless of the outcome, they will always be a great learning experience. You don’t have to love the job description to take an interview because it’s always great practice and you never know. Someone you meet in an interview may become a part of your network or may have a different role in mind for you that you hadn’t even known about.

Q: What has your working experience been like? What companies have you worked for and what positions have you held? SW: For the past 4.5 years I had been working as a Senior Wardrobe Manager & Marketing Manager for celebrities, high-net-worth individuals, and design houses. We would archive wardrobe collections in museum-quality storage and create custom Cyber Closets so members could “shop online” from their own wardrobe. I loved that job but recently accepted a new opportunity as a Business Development Manager at WGSN. While in school I always said I could see myself working in trend forecasting, so when I was offered the role I knew it was the right next step for me to further advance my career. Q: What was it like searching for your first job after graduation? Can you share any strategies that might be helpful to those who have hopes of a career in the fashion industry?

Photography Courtesy of Shawnda Shaffer & Sophie Weidhaaus

SW: Honestly, it was not easy. I had offers if I had stayed in Boston, but knowing I wanted to move to NYC made it tough because I had no real connections or existing relationships in the industry here. It felt like a full-time job just finding a job. I found my first role out of college through a recruiter which is a great resource that I would always recommend. It’s free for the applicant because it’s the company that hires the role that will pay the recruiter. I ended up having multiple recruiters from different agencies while continuing to look on my own to maximize my chances of finding the right role for me. The best part is having insider access to discover companies and roles that aren’t always listed publicly. For my new job at WGSN, I got it by connecting with someone directly on LinkedIn. Q: Have you found mentors who have been influential in your progress? SW: Yes, it is important to have supportive people around you who are encouraging and truly want to see you thrive! You’ll find that you meet people at school and at work that inspires you and the more you can connect with them, the more you can learn from them and potentially even utilize them in the next stages of your career. People are very open to help if you show them who you are and how dedicated you are!

The legacy of those who made this magazine what it is today has created a very promising future for the publication. The formation of this highly regarded collegiate publication came with a few struggles, but thanks to a very generous donation from Harriet “Honey” and Joe Wedeman, POLISHED Magazine finally got the break it needed. The donation helped POLISHED grow, and it continues to benefit the publication today. Although we cannot list all past POLISHED team members, it should go without saying it was the collaborative effort of everyone, students and staff alike, that brought forth our successes. Happy 20th Anniversary, and may the publication continue to inspire the next generation.

Abi Brown



The grunge era of the 90s and early 2000s has seen a resurgence as of late, with subversive basics and the so-called ‘Avant Apocalypse’ aesthetic, coined by trend researcher and forecaster Mandy Lee. Deriving from the strong influence of designers such as Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, and Hyein Seo, this elevated variation of grunge has taken the fashion world by storm. Statement pieces are deconstructed. Neutral toned tanks and trousers, futuristic cutouts, embellished layering pieces and sheer fabrics are staples.

The asymmetrical fabric contours the body to create silhouettes while still showing skin, allowing the wearer to create their own body-conscious “constructed sexuality” by revealing parts of the body that are normally concealed. The ability to upcycle your closet and repurpose clothing to make subversive pieces creates endless possibilities. Unlike the indulgence in past microtrends perpetuating the damage of fast fashion, consumers can be assured that subversive basics are here to stay.

Ava Neely

Select garments courtesy of Global Thrift Store



f you scroll through CasaNova’s Instagram account, past four dozen posts or so, you’ll find a black and white snapshot. In it, an outwardly happygo-lucky owner Kate Dagianis can be seen through the door to her newly opened boutique, looking out over an uncharacteristically lonesome Main Street in Nashua, New Hampshire. When this picture was taken, Dagianis was in full demolition mode. She was scraping a rather old decal sticker off the door when a stranger with a professional-grade digital camera turned the corner. They gestured to her as if to say, “Ma’am, would you like your picture taken?” As one can surely imagine, the photographer snapped a photo or two. While in conversation, she explained that at this moment, she felt “excitement, amazement, fear, anticipation, and gratitude.” Moreover, Dagianis compared her feelings to that of a brand-new parent. She would be building a business idea from the ground up, creating a store front for her budding Menswear apparel. “Exhausted where you’re not sure what day it is, and every day fee ls like a bit of a blur,” said Dagianis. She remembers times when she felt anything but confident, and received small, covert signs, or omens. To be more specific, Dagianis recalls crossing paths with a magnificent Monarch butterfly, her grandmother’s spirit animal. Grateful for such signals, as well as the people and surrounding community, she called it “nothing short of magic.” Other suitable expressions for this described magic might be bright or new possibilities. The name CasaNova is intentionally capitalized, right in the middle, highlighting a larger commentary. In Spanish, casa means “house” or “home.” And nova is of Latin origin, meaning “bright new star” CasaNova is the house of a bright new man.

In addition to their charity outreach, CasaNova Men’s Boutique attended the Boston Fashion Awards, eagerly reaching for a few awards and a new young audience. This year marked the 10th annual event, held at the breathtaking Liberty Hotel in Boston, MA. CasaNova was nominated in the Retailer category, alongside Covet Boston, Denise Hajjar Marina Bay, and Soodee Boutique. In order to expand her business to the local Boston community, Dagianis sourced male students from Lasell University to act as her models for the show. These students gained realworld industry experience, many of whom said they enjoyed the night. This ought to be enough to convince you of Kate and the company’s standing in the greater Boston fashion community. Truly, the Boston Fashion Awards are a very, very prestigious function. CasaNova Men’s Boutique is located at 147 Main Street, in Nashua, New Hampshire. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, they are closed Monday’s. Please check ahead of time as hours may vary. Many menswear boutiques have tried to shift the winds of the industry, but CasaNova Nashua, has risen to the occasion, as a true purveyor of menswear. @casanovanashua; casanovanashua.com

Spencer Villinski

If you make your way to 147 Main Street, in Nashua, New Hampshire you’ll find this premier men’s boutique, CasaNova. Quite conveniently, the store is located at the center of the downtown scene. If you’re perusing their website, they’ve got just about everything you could possibly wish for: super-soft tri-blend Miller High Life emblazoned t-shirts, a stylish, faded black pant that’s somewhere between a 5-pocket and jogger pant, subversive Paul Smith canvas high tops, and immediately recognizable apothecary.

Photography Courtesy of CasaNova, Ciarra Chasse, & Dylan Wilson

Men’s fashion is stigmatized, but it’s undeniable that the conversation is changing. If you’re not convinced, consider a designer such as Jerry Lorenzo, at Fear of God. Then you’ve got Thom Browne, and his eponymous line whose shrunken suits and plaid short-shorts became famous during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2018 NBA postseason run. When asked which men’s clothing brands inspired the conception of CasaNova, Dagianis mentioned The Marine Layer, Long Wharf, and Hiroshi Kato. Among these three, there are commonalities. They all offer strong, durable garments that are responsibly sourced. The garments are classic, timeless, and effortless; they’re a revamped version of menswear pieces. It’s a matter of finding brands that can meet men wherever they are in their fashion journey. Providing fashion for curated, undaunting retail spaces. That’s exactly why the decision to open a boutique, as opposed to some other sort of shopping environment, was the right plan for Dagianis. A boutique shopping experience takes the guesswork out of building your wardrobe. Furthermore, the consumer is walking into a curated space that has hand-selected items to meet any and all of their fashion needs. It’s not just men’s fashion that Dagianis and the CasaNova team dabble in; they have involved themselves with the ever-evolving men’s health movement as well. To be more specific, CasaNova recently hosted an inaugural live fashion show fundraiser at the Nashua Country Club to support the Movember organization. For those who aren’t aware, Movember is the leading charity challenging the stigma of male-oriented wellness. The organization routinely takes on such issues as mental health and suicide prevention, as well as prostate and testicular cancer. You may be familiar with the annual mustache growing event held during November each year that acts as a fundraiser for the cause.



n the course of conversation, Taylor Leonard, Project Manager at the Charles River Conservancy, spoke the word “necessary” quite a few times. At first look, this sentiment could be confusing, off-putting even. It’s only a skatepark; what could possibly be so necessary about it in the first place… right? Wrong. The Lynch Family Skatepark is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The park is open from dawn until 9:00 PM. Lights were installed during late-2018 to allow for park operations past dusk through a partnership between the City of Cambridge and the DCR. At this “wheel-friendly” park, safety gear is strongly encouraged. The park is not only spacious, but is a hotspot for community clinics, events, and world-class competitions alike. The park is meant to be a one-of-a-kind facility that has incorporated design input from over four hundred local skaters. Renowned artist, Nancy Schön, made famous for her Tortoise and Hare and Make Way For Ducklings sculptures, conceptualized the space. Ms. Schön was made aware that her Tortoise and Hare sculpture was being used by skateboarders to do tricks. She arrived to discover that they were good, well-meaning kids – although they didn’t have anywhere to skateboard legally in the area. From there, Schön, with the help of founder Renata Von Tscharner, began the creative process for a world-class skateboard park. After the initial concept was born, the Charles River Conservancy hired Stantec Inc. to design the park. Stantec Inc. is an international professional services company in the design and consulting industry. From the design, this new community space was constructed by ValleyCrest Landscape Development, with specialty work completed by California Skateparks. Upon completion of the construction, the park was turned over to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation. These partnerships don’t begin to speak to the number of donors who effectively turned this dream into reality. The park’s fundraising began in 2003, with a seed grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation for $500,000. Four years later, the Lynch Foundation accelerated the process by matching the preceding sum total.


In 2014, the Conservancy signed a partnership agreement with none other than Vans, for an extremity $1.5M, for the construction of the park with additional funds for maintenance. Additionally, $25,000 was to be given to MassDCR for maintenance of the park. Apart from those contributions, there were hundreds of individual donations, ranging from a single dollar to upwards of half a million. Among them: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Boston Bruins Foundation, the Boston Red Sox Foundation, and New England Development, just to name a few. In addition, there was the generosity of at least a hundred community members. It’s almost reductive to call the facility simply a skatepark. On their most primal level, skateparks are merely an area designated and equipped for skateboarding, oftentimes made of wood, steel, and concrete. Simply put, they’re a safe haven for skateboarders. It fosters a greater community for people of all ages to stay safe and have a great time. It’s all-inclusive, in all senses of the word. On the day of the park’s opening, professional skateboarder, Andy MacDonald, had the following to say, “It’s not often that you see a nonprofit build a public skatepark. You’ll notice there’s something for all levels of riding…,” He then turned his attention to what can only be described as a volcano made of brick, one meant to resemble a structural feature in front of the Boston City Hospital, previously used by skaters throughout the Boston area. This further adds to the idea that skaters are present in the community but oftentimes, there aren’t adequate facilities for them to showcase these skills. The following can even be found on the Lynch Family Skatepark’s website, “[The skatepark] includes replica features of unique skate areas throughout greater Boston acknowledge local lore and pay homage to Boston’s skating community.” (www. lynchfamilyskatepark.org)

Andy Macdonald is an American professional skateboarder, one who’s received praise for his perennial consistency. As of September 2013, he holds the record for the most X Games’ medals in vert skateboarding, (a skateboarder riding a very large vert ramp,) and won the World Cup Skateboarding competition eight times. Read that again. Eight times. That’s the sort of talent that’s backing this park. This is the kind of talent this park is capable of attracting. Macdonald’s attendance, and repertoire, are emblematic of what this park ultimately means to the community. This sentiment seems to be held by the surrounding community as well. In addition to MacDonald, former Boston mayor Marty Walsh, and David P. Maher, mayor of Cambridge, were present. Clearly, they recognized the significance of the moment. Can you remember the last time you went skateboarding? I’m not just talking about cruising casually around town; I mean being at a skatepark with other skaters with features for days.

That’s precisely what you’re getting here. Obviously, there’s what it is at first glance: hunkering, protruding concrete features, then there’s a more abstract interpretation. It’s a safe space, one that encourages free, non-conforming exercise as well as one that promotes a plentitude of different street styles. It’s a safe space that encourages content creation as well. It’s a space that’s inviting to young adults, middle-aged adults, and elderly adults; not to mention the kids, little boys, and girls who, for all we know, will be the next big thing. If you are looking to switch things up from the mundane, and perhaps spend an afternoon riding, the park is located in East Cambridge, underneath the access ramp to the I-93 Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. It is also adjacent to the North Bank Bridge, a brandnew pedestrian bridge that connects North Point Park in Cambridge to Paul Revere Park in Charlestown. The park is proudly “wheel-friendly,” meaning skateboarders, BMX riders, and inline skaters are welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to dust off my old board and check out Lynch’s breathtaking facilities for myself. I can’t do an ollie to save my life, but cruising? Absolutely. @lynchfamilyskatepark; thecharles.org

Spencer Villinski

Photography Courtesey of Julia Figueiral & Tiago Pedro


fashion designer by nature, Isabel Miller is willing to take every opportunity to learn more about the fashion industry. This passion for learning helped to produce Miller’s business, Hedgehog Belly Designs. Growing up locally in Framingham, MA, Miller’s journey into the industry started when she attended college as an Art Education major, thinking that becoming a fashion designer was out of her reach. While completing courses for her chosen degree, Miller had the opportunity to take a fashion design elective to further her knowledge about the craft. Eventually, the Art Education chapter of her life came to an end, and Miller made the decision to transfer schools, and began majoring in Fashion Design & Production at Lasell College, (now Lasell University).The Class of 2005 alumni learned so much from her time at Lasell and has continuously carried the knowledge she learned throughout her career. After graduation, Miller moved to New York City on a whim and began her industry career at Marc Jacobs. Although it was her dream to design children’s wear, the company had not yet established its children’s wear brand. Instead, Miller would begin her journey on the company’s Product Development team. On the first day of her position, she began collecting threads and zippers in New York’s famous garment district. “I cut probably 50 zippers a day and would come home from work to change my clothes and would have zipper teeth falling off of me onto the floor,” said Miller. While not exactly a glamorous job, Miller excelled in her role. So well did she succeed, the members of the Marc Jacobs’ team presented her with the opportunity to become a design assistant on their newly created children’s line. Miller and her boss eagerly began to work in this new small team setting, allowing her to take a more hands-on approach in her specialization of choice. From these humble beginnings, Miller eventually left the company to take a new opportunity in London, designing for the Burberry’s Children’s Weas Collection. As a part of this new team, Miller was able to network with vendors and share ideas with the company’s top designers. Eventually, living in London got to be overwhelming, leaving Miller feeling too far apart from her husband back in New York. Luckily, Burberry offered Miller the opportunity to move her operations to New York. She would only have to travel to London monthly to touch base with the rest of the team. While this move seemed like a win, Miller was working 60+ hours a week and was exhausted.

While at Burberry, Miller found it difficult to balance work and family, and she realized her family was much more important. After three years of constant travel, Burberry urged Miller to move back to London, but now, she had to make the decision to be close to her family. After some time from leaving Burberry, she was now pregnant with her son. She realized that she didn’t want to be working 60 hours a week after having her son. Thus, Hedgehog Belly Designs was created. This would be a brand that she could have on her own time, and would provide her with the chance to utilize her sewing abilities. She realized that she didn’t want to be working 60 hours a week after having her son. Thus, Hedgehog Belly Designs was created. This would be a brand that she could have on her own time, and would provide her with the chance to utilize her design and construction abilities. Hedgehog Belly Design’s journey began at farmer’s markets, where she was able to interact with her customers. These farmer’s markets allowed Miller to receive immediate feedback from parents about their children’s dress. Eventually, a close friend of Miller’s pushed her to create a storefront for her children’s wear. Later that year in December 2020, Miller had a pop-up in Natick to call her own. The success of this pop-up shop gave her the confidence to begin the hunt for a brick and mortar.

After a few months of scouting, Miller was one of 12 brands chosen to receive storefront space in Newton Highlands, through a small business grant program called Project Pop-Up. Although the space would be shared, Hedgehog Belly Designs was able to create a sweet and charming space for their clientele. They resided in this space for several months during the 2021 year. With the lease coming to an end, Miller and the other retailers jumped at the chance to renew, keeping their little slice of heaven. With the back renovated into Miller’s studio space, the front remained the hot spot for the merchandise. Miller’s concepts match her creative style from season to season, basing everything around the fashionable jogger she created for her son. She wanted a piece that would be functional, but wouldn’t break the bank. These joggers have become a staple in every single one of her collections. Another functional staple in every collection is her Vivian Dress.

doesn’t matter where, take the experience. Take things away from those jobs, even if you think you won’t,” said Miller. When it comes to self-expression for those tiny tots in your life, look no further, because Hedgehog Belly Designs is a staple of individuality for the littles. @hedgehogbellydesigns; hedgehogbellydesigns.com

Liah Brown

“Seeing your ideas come to fruition is the best part of my job, I get to see the dreams and hopes I have come to reality,” said Miller. Most of the pieces at Hedgehog Belly Designs are Miller originals, but she does support other small businesses by including books and toys for sale to match her brand’s aesthetic. The books in her store represent all demographics, from narratives about acceptance to educational stories on race. Miller wants her son, who is multiracial, to be able to pick up a book and see a main character that resembles and represents him. This is something she believes is important for every child to experience.

Photography By Amelia Capron

When asked about what the future holds for Hedgehog Belly Designs, Miller expressed her desire for one or two more storefronts in the next few years, and to create a larger Hedgehog Belly team. Miller’s creativity has come to fruition, and seeing those designs come to life allows for customers to find a happy place within her designs and storefront. As for right now, Hedgehog Belly Designs is located at 1 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA. “You should come from the place of yes, try anything. You will end up doing things that you really don’t want to do. Do an internship, it



ranslating to “street of roses” in Italian, #VIADELLEROSE is a unique and beautifully inclusive store currently marketing an upscale women’s streetwear line but specializing in pieces that can be worn by anyone. #VIADELLEROSE Boston is located on Newbury Street, with a second location in Edgartown, MA. This designer fashion retailer caters to those who have all different styles, offering a range of color combos from neutral to bright and funky. CEO Claudia Tolay has an extreme passion for artistry and a vibrant take on work that brings the business to life. Tolay is proud of the business she has helped build and hopes to inspire the world, the community, and other companies with their mission of inclusivity. Her goal behind the brand is to provide a high-quality luxury feel for a decent and reasonable price. With unique styles and silhouettes, #VIADELLEROSE aims to make women feel powerful and one-of-a-kind. She hopes that this brand will help people realize that they don’t have to keep up with the ever-changing trends of the industry. “It is cool to be different,” said Tolay. When Tolay came to the United States from Italy, she found it hard to find clothes that she liked and felt comfortable in. Her style includes statement pieces and garments that are unique. Average prices for pieces in her store range from $33 to $400. Each piece sold gives customers the ability to express themselves through the garments’ singular design. There are only six of each garment produced and put into circulation on the market.

Tolay’s inspiration comes from many places, from luxury brands, to places like Sicily, to iconic pop culture references. All of these seemingly unrelated topics come together to create the beautiful garments that she has designed for the brand. This distinctive factor is what draws in such a wide range of customers, and gives #VIADELLEROSE its value. Tolay finds it important to make connections with her consumers. She considers each and every customer a friend. These connections help to foster the social aspect of the company. Buyers are more likely to promote and share the retailer, due to its unmatched authenticity. From a business standpoint, these strong


relationships help increase revenue, but this all started because of Today’s desire to provide quality, selfexpressive clothing for the community. Keeping the climate in mind, #VIADELLEROSE holds values in the industry and has sustainable aspects to the brand. While it may take longer to release their seasonal lines, the products are well worth the wait. Climate conscious production decreases the emissions in the environment, and helps in counteracting the effects of fast fashion. The brand grows in the most organic way, by word of mouth, and everything is manufactured in Turkey, which follows ethical European Production Standards. The garments are made from cotton or modal, a textile made from spinning beech tree cellulose. These natural fibers are considered to be more eco-friendly, allowing for long-term durability. The care instructions for their garments include “caring for your clothes is caring for the environment.” (www.VDR.com) While caring for the garments is important, caring for the livelihood of a business can be much more difficult.

Unfortunately, like many retailers struggling due to the pandemic, #VIADELLEROSE has been heavily impacted by the effects of COVID-19. However, they have persevered, even in spite of the business opening right as the pandemic began. The company struggled with shipping as a consequence of the pandemic. While shipping delays have slowed down a lot of the store’s progress, #VIADELLEROSE takes it day by day. Tolay desires to hold events in Boston, specifically at their storefront, as soon as possible. In the future, she hopes to support local artists and even hold concerts or showcases to market the designer clothing alongside the work of these artists. Along with local artists, the business supports the greater community through its collaboration with a children’s organization called, Healthy and Happy Kids. More about their mission can be found on Facebook. At least 15% of all purchase totals go directly to the organization. This non-profit is run by Tolay and her husband and helps to raise funds for families and children to get the medical attention they need, through U.S medical institutions. They have been running the organization for about eight years on a completely volunteer basis. Funds go directly towards the cost of the child and family travel fare, as well as providing them with lodging, and the necessary medical expenses. Tolay even opens her home to said children and families while taking care of her own four children. Despite originally being from Italy, Tolay has made strong and heartfelt connections, impacting the community as well as the fashion industry, with

this unrepeatable brand. Claudia emphasized her love of the diversity that the Boston area gives them. “Boston is Home,” said Tolay. #VIEDELLEROSE is paving a path with roses— ametaphorical resemblance of all the connections Claudia Tolay has made and continues to make. Each rose is like a piece of her clothing, bright and colorful in its own way, while empowering and demonstrating the strength of women.

Photography Courtesy of #VIADELLEROSE

@vdr.boston; vdrboston.com

Kassie Fisher




wner Lindsay Rando of Bobbles and Lace can beautifully style anyone who walks in, from teenage girls to senior clients. With over 25,000 followers on Instagram, Bobbles and Lace is a prominent and popular women’s boutique in the northeast. Over the last 14 years, the business has blossomed into a chain of locations across New England. Looking back, Rando recalls her fashion dream began when she was a little girl. Growing up surrounded by strong and self-sufficient women lit her spark for independence. These women included her single mother and fashion-driven grandmother. Her constant visits to her grandmother’s shop inspired her passion for clothing and her entrepreneurial drive. “When I was growing up, my grandmother opened up a consignment store in Marblehead called The Treasure Chest. My first memory is me designing a mannequin in the window,” said Rando. Her humble beginnings taught her about the importance of affordability in fashion, which she has since carried over into her brand. However, back then, she hadn’t put the pieces together that she wanted her own business just yet. Rando explained that Bobbles and Lace was completely unplanned. She was living in California, with her fiancé, now husband, working in the modeling and styling fields. Rando quickly realized she wanted her own influence in the industry. “I grew up without a lot of money. I learned that fashion should be fun and accessible for everybody, and not many models of that exist,” said Rando.

With a vision and a little bit of money, she created her first business. Using $70 of their savings, Rando constructed a small pushcart with an umbrella, bought an array of unique jewelry, and she wheeled it over to downtown LA. Upon her return to the east coast in April of 2008, Rando opened her flagship store in Marblehead, MA, reminiscent of her grandmother’s business. This entrepreneurship soon grew into an empire. Bobbles and Lace expanded into seven other locations: Andover MA, Boston MA, Newburyport MA, Newport RI, Portland ME, Portsmouth NH, her newest location just recently opened in Westport, CT. As a styling boutique, the brand prides itself on offering chic, modern fashion at an affordable price. With everything from clothing and jewelry to shoes and bags, the boutique truly does pack a punch as a one-stop-shop for everything trendy. To formulate how to put it all together, each location has trained stylists eager to bring your fashion fantasy to life. Rando reiterates that employees at Bobbles and Lace are not salespeople; they are specialized stylists. This unique form of styling is not exclusive to any certain demographic or age group. Store demographics vary depending on location, and, as Rando explained, Bobbles and Lace is proud to assist a large range of clients. However, she says the typical “Bobbles Girl” is a mid 20s, young professional who has “outgrown Forever 21, but doesn’t want to go to Saks.” “A lot of the girls we help, start with us in high school, and then they go to college. From there they get their first job, and we help them look professional,” said Rando. While the clothes are not designed specifically for Bobbles and Lace, Rando handpicks every single piece sold in stores. She is constantly traveling across the country to find new and exciting gems that will cater to her unique clientele. From bachelorette parties to baby showers, and wherever life may take their clients next, the versatile boutique offers it all. In addition to the inclusion of all age ranges and styles, Rando holds strong beliefs in affordable, accessible fashion. Just like the average consumer, she has an issue with excessive price tags on clothing. “I have a problem with buying $300 designer jeans, especially with trends, and everything changes. If this was a business of classics, I could see that, but it’s not. Modern fashion is fast” said Rando. Styling a wardrobe that each customer will love is truly the end goal. Rando wants her clients to look and feel their best. Accessible fashion for their diverse clientele means inclusivity in sizing, which Rando and her stylists always take into consideration. When asked how the business approaches sizing, Rando assured that there is something for everybody at the boutique. She emphasized that their styling is all about how the clothing fits, and a label is really just a label.

“Don’t ever look at the sizing. It’s more about the fit. I can be a small and I can be large,” said Rando. Along with the racks of self-expressive apparel, each store features a beautiful interior design with modern influence. The warm and open concept floor plan is a perfect space for clients to comfortably browse and shop. There isn’t any judgment or intimidation, just a bubbly, positive ambiance for all women. The welcoming environment of Bobbles and Lace is exactly what Rando envisioned, and she expressed how grateful she was to see it come to fruition. Within their shiny white walls on Newbury Street and brick interiors of Newburyport, Rando values having an extremely close relationship with each one of her clients, and she emphasizes creating long-lasting relationships with each woman who steps foot through her door. Having such a tight-knit business approach sets Bobbles and Lace apart from the rest. “We live in a world of relationships, I wanted a place where people could come in, and be like ‘Lindsay, what am I wearing today?” said Rando. Looking ahead to the future, Rando says there is a lot in store for the business. However, these improvements are still on track with the same values the brand has now. Rando values the special niche of chic, affordable fashion that she has gathered, and Bobbles and Lace never wants the personable vibe of their boutiques to go away, no matter the evolution. Rando says she “never wants to stop evolving and growing.” What Lindsay Rando started on a street cart in LA, isn’t going away any time soon. “I hope to make [Bobbles and Lace] a household name with my $70,” said Rando. @bobblesandlace; bobblesandlace.com

Ava Neeley

Photography by Nicholas Borsodi


Allison (Left) Dress: SoWa Vintage Belt: SoWa Vintage Priscilla (Right) Shirt: DIVERSITY Consignment Pants: DIVERSITY Consignment Earrings: NROR Art Gloves: SoWa Vintage

Allison (Left) Bathing Suit Top: LIT Boutique Pants: LIT Boutique Priscilla (Right) Jumpsuit: Fits the Vibet Heels: LIT Boutique Earrings: NROR Art

Priscilla Jumpsuit: Fits the Vibet Heels: LIT Boutique Earrings: NROR Art

Allison Bathing Suit Top: LIT Boutique Pants: LIT Boutique

Priscilla (Left) Shirt: DIVERSITY Consignment Pants: DIVERSITY Consignment Earrings: NROR Art Gloves: SoWa Vintage Allison (Right) Dress: SoWa Vintage Belt: SoWa Vintage

Priscilla (Left) Tank: LIT Boutique Shirt: LIT Boutique Skirt: LIT Boutique Allison (Right) Dress: Global Thrift Store Belt: Global Thrift Store

Allison (Left) Cardigan: LIT Boutique Pants: LIT Boutique Bag: Fits the Vibe - Tima’s Boutique Rings: Fits The Vibe Priscilla (Right) Blouse: SoWa Vintage Skirt: SoWa Vintage Earrings: NROR Art Gloves: SoWa Vintage

Allison (Left) Dress: Global Thrift Store Skirt: Global Thrift Store Belt: Global Thrift Store Priscilla (Right) Tank: LIT Boutique Shirt: LIT Boutique Skirt: LIT Boutique Heels: LIT Boutique Bag: DIVERSITY Consignment

Night studio at the


ake a moment to think about the last time you stayed at a hotel. What made you choose that specific place? Location? Price? Convenience? More often than not, these are the first questions that consumers consider when thinking about lodging. Imagine walking into a lobby with bright hues of reds, blues, and greens canvasing the walls in magnificent abstract strokes. Statues and murals bring life and extravagant texture to the room. If you’re an art lover, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Studio Allston. Found in the community of bustling Allston, MA, Studio Allston is an eccentric boutique hotel that credits inspiration to the art, culture, and lifestyle of Boston. The hotel works directly with over twenty-two national and local artists to drive an entirely new, creative, and innovative take on the hospitality industry. The idea behind partnering with artists to create this one-of-a-kind visual experience came from the desire to merge directly with the fast-growing lifestyle of its native town. In recent years, Allston has developed into a culturally driven and high-energy area that introduces the population to a life of exhilaration. The name of the city comes directly from an American artist, Washington Allston. It is home to passion, dedication, and authenticity. Creators of all types come to share their stories through the power of art, food, and even music.

“Allston is a neighborhood exploding with new projects: educational, artistic, cultural, and scientific. The concept of growing along with that was what excited the developers,” said Cory Kramer, Director of Sales, at the Studio Allston. The owners of Studio Allston, The David Company, have a history of renovating old hotels, and shifting them into new and exciting experiences that fit with the surrounding areas; this was the main idea behind Studio Allston. When constructing the carefully curated lobbies and rooms of the hotel, the design team wanted to ensure the work of the artists they collaborated with became the major focal point of guests’ attention. The theme of the hotel is constantly evolving, which allows them to expand their artistic license in the design and layout of the physical works of art. When it comes to sourcing new artists, the team only has one requirement: that the talent represents growth and creativity, the same ideals as the hotel. The team goes out to immerse themselves in new emerging talent in the city. Once they secure a new artist, the team gives the creator complete freedom on the pieces they want to showcase and how they choose to do so. Their artwork can be found in public spaces, guest rooms, and employee work zones. Each and every person, whether it be a guest or worker in the Studio Allston space, gets to bask in the swells of art and culture that makes this hotel its own work of art. “We always call ourselves a blank canvas hotel because there’s always something you can add and make your own. We use that in terms of what we can do in our service as hospitality professionals and also how we design the building,” said Kramer. The hotel offers a variety of different guest spaces, each with its own, eclectic finish. You have the choice to book a Standard Room, Studio Suite, or an Artist’s Suite. The Artist’s Suites, for example, feature five resident artists, whose

work has graced the walls since the opening of the hotel. These rooms are designed to offer the same level of comfort most people seek from a hotel but are a step beyond basic. For example, the “Reel Countdown Movie Suite” is practically a micro-scale movie theater. What are the odds you leave your hotel trip saying your one-bedroom suite had a separate screening area with a state-of-the-art flat-screen HDTV? Aside from size and amenities, the craft and techniques detailed in every guest space are enough to evoke that first-time feeling with every visit. The building is a mecca of hidden talents and features the work of truly astounding people. Sophia Ainslie, for example, a South African native, is a contemporary artist whose designs can be found in the “Top of the Mind” Suite. Ainslie’s work, “focuses on the connection between diagnostic imaging technologies and landscape, interior and exterior, and the microscopic and macroscopic.” (hotelstudioallston.com). Her runway-inspired suite elicits an experience of luxury and grandeur.

When it comes time to plan your next getaway, keep Studio Allston in mind. Travelers from all over the country have sought out a night in this one-of-a-kind getaway gallery, knowing their stay will be like no other. Studio Allston gives you the chance to be surrounded by luscious art that bridges each and every corner of this space, where you can dive headfirst into the flair and talent each creator has poured into their works of art. @hotelstudioallston; hotelstudioallston.com

Tala Khoury

Photography by Victoria Grodzki

Another featured artist is Thomas Buildmore, a fine arts painter from New York who uses spray paint as his form of expression to transform works of art history. His work is on the walls of various guest rooms throughout the hotel. The effort and dedication of these artists is profound, as their confidence and talent shine through the walls. These creative works can single-handedly transform a guest’s experience and personal feelings as they spend time at Studio Allston.



any invisible ribbons connect one culture or person to the next, but one ribbon that runs through us all is the influence of music. Every person has a list of songs that amount to the playlist of a lifetime. These melodic works of art have accompanied celebratory and somber occasions for thousands of years. What better way to immortalize this playlist than by singing along and sharing these memories through the art of karaoke? Karaoke is Japanese for “empty orchestra,” or as we interpret it, the act of singing popular songs in a nightlife entertainment setting over an instrumental-only track. While Japan is known for its sprawling karaoke scene, Boston, Massachusetts is the last place many would think about jumping on a stage at a bar and singing anything other than “Sweet Caroline.” Owner Henry Wong and Head Manager Alex Vichienrat saw the need to bring the excitement of the Far East, to the East Coast. Vicherant grew up in the Boston area and has had a variety of experiences in the hospitality industry, ranging from managing a Mexican-style cocina to a Polynesian-themed bar, but his knowledge and perspective completely shifted when he began his karaoke bar journey ten years ago. Together, with their parent company, Viva Hospitality group, they opened the doors to STAGE Karaoke, in Allston, MA in December of 2021. When talking to Vichienrat, he discussed that STAGE is “bringing what was already present in Asia, into the future here in the United States.” “We wanted to break the stigma of karaoke and the dive bar setting and wanted to introduce more of the Asian nightlife scene to the American market. We wanted to showcase the future of Karaoke, and what Karaoke can become,” said Vichienrat. STAGE Karaoke is a beautiful melting pot of futuristic nightlife mixed with a high-class Bostonian atmosphere. Over 100,000 feet of high-tech LED lights adorn the space. According to Vichienrat, many patrons have attributed the colorful neon setting as a real-life incarnation of Disney’s “Tron” universe. While our first impression is always based on sight, the STAGE team goes above and beyond to offer an inclusive and heartwarming environment, where everyone can feel welcome. Along with their stunning display of visual stimulation, STAGE also employs the use of state-of-the-art karaoke and sound technology. The sound system carries songs in a multitude of languages from Hindu, Portuguese, and Spanish to Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, and Taiwanese. The company prides itself on supporting Boston’s diverse melting pot of culture on the main stage.

While some are brave enough to stand up in front of a crowd, others may be more comfortable just jamming along to the soundtrack in a room with their friends, and STAGE is more than able to provide that setting as well. Along with the main stage area, the Private studio rooms are perfect for 6-10 of your closest friends to enjoy the movement of melody. Along with your private studio, you will receive the assistance and service of the friendly STAGE staff. The private studio experience is the next step in Karaoke, allowing people to safely gather together with their friends. Although geared towards a luxurious pricepoint, Vicherant ensures fair pricing for their consumer. The target market for STAGE is the young

hospitality industry professional, whose unusual hours often have them leaving work when others are just pulling in. Catering to the earlier nightlife crowd, by the time hospitality staff are off the clock, there aren’t many places to go, have a drink, and unwind from the stress of their own evening. When thinking about the ideal STAGE community, Vicherant says giving these young professionals a place to play was at the top of the list. “The demographic is definitely young professionals from twenty-five to forty years old and industry staff. We really are an adult playground,” said Vicherant. Karaoke may seem like a breeze to the consumer, but for Wong, Vichienrat, and the Viva Hospitality group, finding the rhythm of STAGE was no easy feat. While the concept and idea came together with gusto, the implementation of service and opening doors took a long way, rerouting itself through the detour of a highly contagious pandemic. COVID-19 hit the team at STAGE, just as it had hit the entire world, fast and hard like the bass of a classic eighties rock song, shutting down life as the world knew it. The space, which was set to turn into a karaoke wonderland, sat dormant and empty for many months, while the rent bills kept arriving. The nightly power ballad blues had to wait as a new type of blues took over: quarantine. Eventually, like the pyrotechnics at a concert, STAGE rose up from the flames and finally opened and welcomed in the crowds. “It was hard, COVID made people nervous to be around others but it 100% feels that restrictions are being lifted because cases are dropping. We are a group entertainment spot and you come to the venue with your core group,” said Vicherant. Now, as we emerge back into the new normal, the power of song takes on a whole new meaning. The idea of karaoke can be frightening, but it can be used as an expressive outlet that helps us to better understand the emotional rollercoaster of life. The notes of a song can elicit those nostalgic memories of childhood where you always wanted to be a rockstar. These songs uplift our souls, and although it may seem a little corny, this “crazy little thing called song” allows us to connect with each other on a higher level. STAGE is just a stepping stone on the traveling journey of karaoke. Viva Hospitality group has plans to send this timeless activity into the future, creating a chain of Karaoke Bars and Lounges across the Boston area. The group’s current project is creating a new spot on Tremont Street and introducing food into the existing venue.

The speed of sound is three hundred and forty-three meters per second, but the reach of STAGE Karaoke travels faster. The next time you are looking for some late-night fun, try singing your heart out on the STAGE. @stagekaraoke; stagekaraoke.com

Kiersten Brown

Photography by Erin Tilley


Duckling Day Parade: 9th

Hosted by The Friends of the Public Garden, the Duckling Day Parade is a family-friendly event, honoring a beloved children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Attendees honor the book by dressing as their favorite characters, as they march through Boston Commons, ending at the Public Garden. Here you will find the original sculpture that acts as the story’s inspiration. This event is to honor Mother’s Day, made for every duckling to follow their duck! https://friendsofthepublicgarden.org/events/ducklingday/

Boston Calling Music Festival: 27th-29th

If you love reconnecting with music and nature, this festival is for you. Bringing together global artists, Boston Calling connects people with one another after years of being distanced. This festival has some of the best food from 35 renowned vendors. Held at the Harvard Athletic Complex, luring diehard music fans with headliners: Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, and The Strokes. If you prefer to listen to your music from 100 feet up, you may consider riding to the top of the Ferris Wheel for your favorite song. Revive your body and social spirit through the music at the Boston Calling festival! https://bostoncalling.com

Beacon Hill Art Walk: 5th

You didn’t think Beacon Hill could get more beautiful, did you? The Beacon Hill Art Walk showcases visual art pieces from local artists as residents of Beacon Hill open their gardens to guests. Throughout the day, musicians will be performing to accompany the sights within this historic district. Strolling beside the faded brick, art-goers will be enchanted by both music and canvas. Admire the beauty of Beacon Hill along with the art pieces adorning the Hill. https://beaconhillartwalk.com

Paul McCartney playing Fenway Park: 6th-8th

The best place to be during the warm summer months is at “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” Fenway Park. In this unique and treasured venue, Sir Paul McCartney will be performing his greatest hits from his extensive career for his dedicated fans. If you are looking to watch the sun fall down behind Fenway, while listening to your favorite McCartney songs, this event may be the one for you.


New Kids on The Block at TD Garden: 15th-16th If you don’t remember these 80’s heartthrobs, your mom definitely will. Scream for your favorite member inside the legendary TD Garden. This group is coming back to their hometown to perform an electric show. Before the performance, be sure to stop at Wahlburgers to visit Paul before heading back to the garden to see Donnie on stage. This show is bound to be enjoyable for any fan of music, not only your mom and her friends, be sure to bring your party animal!

Shakespeare On The Common: 20th-7th

Every year, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company holds a free performance. This year, Megan Sandberg-Zakian will be directing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. This romantic comedy follows two couples and their roundabout route to the altar. This sometimes-bawdy play explores themes of trust, betrayal, power, and privilege. Consider listening to the poetry of Shakespeare the next time you’re looking for a relaxing evening on the Common.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World Tour: 7th

RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to Boston! The famous Werq the World Tour will include the finalists and winners from the previous seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. This event will engage the audience with a gripping tale of time travel as the queens try to get back to 2022. Cheer for your favorite queen on the House of Blues stage. This event is perfect for everyone, especially devoted lovers of the hit TV show.

Off The Beaten Path Food Tours Harvard Square Chocolate Tour: 12th

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Starting at Harvard Square, this beautiful and decadent outdoor tour goes about a mile towards Boston Commons. On this journey, experience four hidden gems of rich goodness around the city. During the tour, you will hear stories of Boston and facts about its chocolatey history! This tour is perfect for a romantic night out or a fun evening with friends! https://offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com/tour/harvard-square-cambridge-chocolate-tour/

Emily Hamm


Gel Nails and

Marathon Trails P

olished Nail Boutique founder and CEO Shannon Sullivan left her lucrative corporate career 12 years ago. She was unsure of what to do next, describing the moment in her life as a breaking point. Her aunt passed away from leukemia at 47 years old, and her corporate boss had left the company. It was then that Sullivan realized she did not have a plan. She was now on the search for her next daring venture. One day when working out at Assembly Sports Club, which her family has owned for 30 years, she noticed a vacant space fit for a new idea. Sullivan called her brother-in-law and owner of the gym, asking to lease the space. The business idea itself was still unknown to Sullivan. “Gel nails had just come out, and I said I’m going to nail school. I want to create a business where women feel seen and heard,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan received her training at Cali For Nails Academy in Malden, Massachusetts before opening the salon in July of 2010. Sullivan had always loved to get her nails done; however, her main focus was to improve the salon experience. Winning the title of “Best Salon in Somerville” eight years in a row, Sullivan’s top notch salon team offers a wide array of dry manicure and pedicure techniques from gel extensions to detailed nail art. Even though creating these nail masterpieces may be their staple service, Sullivan and the team put a strong emphasis on building a personal connection with every client. “We’re really about building a clientele and keeping that clientele...When you walk into our space, I want to know all about you. Why are you here, what can I do for you, how can I serve you. I think that’s what makes us different,” said Sullivan. While reflecting back on starting her business, Sullivan pointed out the importance of hurdles and setbacks.


“Break it down, every setback that we go through in life is a setup for a comeback. I tell my 10-year-old son this - Do not give up - Go until the end. Just keep fighting for it. Instead of playing the victim to that setback…you just have to keep moving forward.” said Sullivan. These difficult and trying times did not hold back this entrepreneur, unwavering in keeping herself grounded. One foot after the other, Sullivan kept adding to her business, building it into an empire of passion. One of her biggest passions is volunteering, providing her services to multiple charities in Massachusetts. In 2015, Kimberly Sheridan, former founding executive director of the Ronald McDonald House in Boston Harbor, was a client of Sullivan’s. One manicure later, Sullivan was painting nails for sick children and families who were being treated at Mass General Hospital. It was not long after that Sheridan asked Sullivan to represent the charity in the 2016 Boston Marathon. “I trained all alone, and I raised $20,000. I was the 70th highest fundraiser for the 2016 Boston Marathon. I then did the same thing in 2017,” said Sullivan. The Ronald McDonald House would not be the last charity that Sullivan represented at the Marathon. In 2018, Sullivan ran for the organization, Photo Shoot for a Cure, an annual gala event produced by Diana Levine, a photographer at Boston magazine. This event was deisgned to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease. Sullivan volunteered her time to the event for two years in a row, providing manicures to guests and attendees. The average amount raised for the charity totaled over a hundred thousand dollars. Sullivan would continue her volunteer work, painting nails for Spaulding Rehab in 2019, and was set to run for them in 2020. That was when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, placing Sullivan’s

POLISHED nail studio and social house

volunteering on a pause. She is proud of her volunteer work and believes that her life gives her the opportunity to share her talents. “I just believe that (volunteering) is an essential part of life,” said Sullivan. While she is happy to share her success in the nail business, and as a volunteer, Sullivan was adamant that she still has more to do. She is grateful for what she has learned and continues to foster these ideas of connection and community with her work. “…What I enjoy most about owning a nail salon is the people that I meet. It is the greatest healing for me. We’re all so strong, we have so much strength inside of us and so many women are not aware of it,” said Sullivan. Along with her newfound knowledge, Sullivan shared her hopes for the future. She dreams of opening a space that provides scholarships to attend nail school for previously incarcerated women or women struggling with addiction. “That’s what I would want is to give women that have no hope in their hearts an opportunity. To feel like they’re doing something. They’re making a difference in someone’s life. Women have to support women,” said Sullivan. Opening a business is no easy feat, and Sullivan understands that the world is full of women like her, trying to overcome the obstacles of life. It takes drive and passion to harvest success, and Sullivan leaves aspiring entrepreneurs with one final piece of advice.

Photography Courtesy of Shannon Sullivan

“Stand up and show up…There’s enough to go around. We need to be supportive of each other. I’m everyone’s cheerleader and I think that’s why I’ve been so successful,” said Sullivan. This social salon is located in Somerville, MA. Be sure to make an appointment with Sullivan and the Polished Nail Studio Team, the next time you are looking for a pamper session with personality. @polishedboston; polishedboston.com

Samantha Vega-Torres


The Uncommon



hat does it mean to live your own mission? It may seem like a loaded question, but Susan Kanoff, Founder of Uncommon Threads, is a breath-taking example of what this means. Uncommon Threads originated as a closet in Kanoff’s social work office that was used to spark joy in her clients. Serving as a social worker and wardrobe stylist simultaneously, Kanoff combined her two passions to create her now booming organization. What was once just a complimentary service, is now a full-blown “innovative non-profit” in Lawrence, Massachusetts. In the Fall of 2016, the vision of Uncommon Threads became a reality. The mission of the organization was, and still is, to empower women in need. Using fashion as a tool, Kanoff is able to provide women with confidence and build community. She achieves this through her selfless acts of providing clothing, personal development coaching, workshops, and emergency services to women who are referred by social service programs. There are a variety of needs are served, including those of women who have suffered from domestic violence, those who are unemployed or underemployed, cancer patients, homeless women, the elderly, and women in recovery. These women are met with private styling sessions that fit their wishes, whether it be getting dressed for an interview or choosing everyday clothing to wear. The empowering quotes on the walls and private styling rooms immerse clients in a boutique atmosphere. This is an important touch in creating the comfortable environment of Uncommon Threads. Kanoff describes that she “didn’t want this to look like a social service program” as she recalls her time spent at similar programs. It was important to Kanoff that Uncommon Threads was different; these women needed a choice in what they wear, and a place where they would be treated with dignity and respect. Although starting out with only 400 square feet of space, Uncommon Threads managed to catch the attention of the media early on. Within the first year of operation, they were featured in Woman’s World Magazine, The Boston Globe, and other various Boston news outlets.

“It just catapulted. When you’re passionate and excited about something, and you’re excited about something, and you really feel like you’re living your own mission, good things happen,” said Kanoff. Quickly, Uncommon Threads built a robust clientele and was able to expand its business to make room for many more women in need. The new space, in which they still reside today, covers 4,000 square feet, which offers much more room for styling and comradery. Unlike the normal second-hand clothing businesses, Uncommon Threads styles clients free of charge, with the intention of empowering women for future success. Kanoff is what truly ties together the unique and inspiring qualities of the business. She feels strongly about the impact clothing can have on others. She detailed an experience she had with a client who went back to

influencers that support Uncommon Threads by donating from their own closets, helping with fundraising, and working on projects together to spread awareness of the program. On the website, consumers have the ability to shop the influencers’ closets, which offers a personal touch to the influencers’ impact. Even though Uncommon Threads has already made a strong impression on the Greater Boston area, they won’t stop there. Kanoff is not done sharing her mission and has plans for Uncommon Threads to become national. With the help of a committee, Kanoff and the team are working to put guidelines together, along with expanding trademarks and branding. While this is still in the early stages of planning, Kanoff is eager to open new chapters of Uncommon Threads and Uncommon Closet.

school at the age of 50 and needed a nice outfit for her first job interview in years. The woman was given a Burberry coat to wear for her interview and was unaware of the coat’s material value. Regardless, when she put it on, she felt like a million bucks. She said to Kanoff that it was a “magic coat” and she felt “so empowered, confident, and polished.” This story is one of many compelling experiences that Uncommon Threads has created within its community. Susan Kanoff has curated and nurtured such an uplifting environment for women in need. She truly displays what it means for women to support women, and she appreciates being surrounded “by this sea of like-minded, amazing women.”

Uncommon Threads is always looking for clothing donations as well as monetary donations to support the organization. Next time you sort through your closet clutter, consider donating your new or gently worn apparel to this special nonprofit. If you feel drawn to the Uncommon message, Uncommon Threads and Uncommon Closet are always looking for volunteers. Visit their website to learn more about how you can help, or even just browse their merchandise and learn more about their mission. @uncommonthreadsboutique; @shoptogiveuc; uncommonthreads.org

Kaitlyn Duarte

Uncommon Threads has created lifelong connections and friendships, one of these being a friendship Kanoff shares with “one of the most amazing women” she knows. Karla, who started out as a client at Uncommon Threads, now serves as a volunteer. Kanoff shared a touching story with me about Karla going out of her way to get fresh, organic juice for Kanoff when she noticed she was struggling. After being diagnosed with Leukemia a year after opening her business, Kanoff faced many hardships but was met with support from her clients and volunteers alike. When she was down, the wonderful women around her lifted her back up, and that is truly the message she hopes to spread throughout her business.

Photography Courtesy of Uncommon Threads

The successor of Uncommon Threads launched in 2018 under the name of Uncommon Closet, an upscale thrift store offering new and gently worn designer fashion this social enterprise now helps to support the non-profit. It began as a series of pop-up shops and now is a neighboring boutique to Uncommon Threads. The store features an array of name-brand and vintage pieces like Gucci, Armani, Hermes, and more. All profits now go directly benefiting Uncommon Threads. Uncommon Closet also recently launched an e-commerce site so women from across the U.S. can “shop to give.” “It’s shopping with a purpose. The younger crowd loves to rock these vintage looks,” said Kanoff. Additionally, businesswomen frequent the store looking for great deals on professional clothes, everyday wear, and designer handbags. While luxury pieces are priced generously, the consumer receives good quality for the best value; putting their dollar towards a worthy cause. Kanoff is also a well-known style influencer @TheMidlifeFashionista and she recently launched #UncommonInfluence, a group of style and beauty




ithin Boston’s dense metropolitan landscape, a glimpse of nature can be encountered on West Broadway in Southie. Behind marvelous and imaginative window displays, there exists a flourishing environment focused on integrating art, flowers, and plants. This breath of fresh air is known as the Micro Plant Studio. Beginning with a straightforward goal to increase the world’s appreciation for greenery, this business has expanded far beyond its initial intent. They have become a critical component of cultivating communities throughout the greater Boston area.

The Micro Plant Studio was founded in 2017 by Julio César Román. Since its inception, the business has been leading the city towards the future of plant life. Through exploration with 3D printing, Román has developed a unique fusion of art and nature. He uses 3D printing as an instrument to create complex molds and experimental plant holders that would not be achievable through traditional means. Micro Plant Studio is showing the world how we can utilize once environmentally damaging technology to instead nourish nature.


Román is a Boston-based artist who was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. After moving to the United States, Román lived in Hartford, Connecticut. Soon after, he went on to pursue higher education. He moved to Boston to study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Román continued on to graduate school, earning his Master’s in Public Policy. With this education, Román worked

for non-profit organizations as well as the Boston Public School system. Even before starting his own business, Román was driven to make this city a better place for the people that live in it.

In 2017 Román needed an unanticipated surgery that would change his life forever. During the recovery period, Román found himself caring for an ever-expanding collection of succulents from his little studio apartment. Through these tough times, Román used plants as a tool to sustain his mental health. “Through the process of caring for plants, I found hope and light at the end of the tunnel,” Ramos said. Román began photographing these plants, adorning them with collectibles and toys to complete the scene. This quickly became a dominant medium for his artwork. Inspired by this self-sustaining experience, Micro Plant Studio came to light. Román journey stands as a reflection of Boston’s gritty and resilient attitude and proof that oftentimes the toughest conditions will blossom the most beautiful flowers. When strolling into the studio, you are instantly immersed in a rejuvenating reality, with an organic presence that is often missing from our daily lives. Boston architect, Elvin Zayas worked collectively with Román to devlope the studio. Drawing upon countless inspirations from nature, the aesthetic of this studio can be defined by its earthy color palette as well as the use of energetic textures and lighting. In an endeavor to expand the studio’s utility, Román created this space with the idea that it would serve a multitude of purposes. One way the studio has done this is by encouraging the local communities. He uses the studio as an innovative environment to explore artistic expression. Román makes his studio space available to a variety of groups: educational, corporate, and nonprofit. As a host, Micro Plant Studio allows these

organizations to have more in-depth discussions about nature or use the space to partake in creative workshops, in addition to displaying the benefits plants and flowers can have on a room. “What I am trying to do is provide you with an experience,” Román said. When browsing the showroom it is obvious that the Micro Plant Studio team is constantly and meticulously curating the inventory. The studio offers a diverse collection of greenery that suits all lifestyles and tastes. For personal gardens, the studio sells a mixture of different plants, from miniature succulents to vast sprawling outdoor plants. Their team is also able to create magnificent bouquets and arrangements for any occasion. The brand is most well-known for its exclusive array of whimsical embellishments and unique planters. The studio carries over fifty different types of micro pots and hundreds of decorative plant toys. Along with their extensive inventory of pots, they also accept custom projects and orders. This encourages customers to take advantage of Ramos’s experience and skills to bring their own ideas to life. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or if you have never owned a plant, there is something for you at Micro Plant Studio that can brighten your life. In a country that is defined by its combination of cultures, Ramos is using his art and platform to express his identity, representing the ideal on which America was founded on. Aside from being a trendsetter in their industry, Micro Plant Studio is making history for being the first Latinxowned and operated plant business in all of New England. Julio Cesar Ramos is the ideal representation of the American dream. He has proved that passion and an idea are all you need.

conversation. Life in the city can be hard when it feels as though nature is slipping away. As long as we show love to our environments, our communities, and our earth, we can utilize the benefits of the natural world. “We need to take care of the planet and in return, the planet will take care of us,” Ramos said. Beyond creating amazing art that can be appreciated in our homes, Ramos hopes that Micro Plant Studio will have a larger influence on the world. He hopes to expand our collective perspective. In a city and world that is increasingly painted gray, Ramos is helping return elements of natural beauty to Boston’s environment. Whether you are just trying to liven up your desk or attempting to learn more about nature, Micro Plant Studio can offer you a dynamic experience. It will undoubtedly impact your thinking about the environment and how we interact with it. Micro Plant Studio is showing Boston’s citizens there is a chance for a greener life. @microplantstudio; microplantstudio.com

Griffin Bryan

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ramos has developed an incredibly unique perspective regarding the concept of sustainability. This idea is perceived through a hodgepodge of buzzwords and greenwashing. Ramos is using Micro Plant Studio to cut through this noise and shift the

Photography Courtesy of Micro Plant Studio, Senné, & Cleo Stracuzza


Allison (Left) Breastplate: Jacque Label Jacket: DIVERSITY Consignment Pants: DIVERSITY Consignment Heels: Fits the Vibe

Priscilla (Right) Breastplate: Jacque Label Jumpsuit: Fits the Vibe Gloves: SoWa Vintage Heels: LIT Boutique

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