Tag Archives: culture


Student Profile: “The Multicultural Ambassadors of America” at Tailored Heritage

How Tailored Heritage came about sounds like the workings of fate. When three, first-generation born Americans came together at USF, they all shared a similar vision to impact the world at a local and global level through fashion. From this fateful meeting and a series of opportune events, Tailored Heritage was conceived.

USF students Umar Issa, Cesar Martinez and Milton Smith are the visionaries behind Tailored Heritage — a platform that aims to bridge cultures and societies through style.

Tailored Heritage is not only just a brand, platform, or project. It is an outlet for them to voice their own opinions, to share their perspectives, and to document what inspires them. Ultimately, Tailored Heritage is their journey and it is depicted in different forms of media via blog entries, video, photography, and music. They aim to bring cultural awareness through their media.

The creators of Tailored Heritage pose surrounded by city culture. (Photo courtesy of Tailored Heritage)

The creators of Tailored Heritage pose surrounded by city culture. (Photo courtesy of Tailored Heritage)

“Tailored Heritage has been a really long process for all of us in terms of formation. It has also been an organic process, meaning the pieces have fallen in place really well,” Umar said. “Tailored Heritage itself has been about creating the brand, and  2013 was the big year for molding what we’ve become.”

On their website at www.tailoredheritage.com, which just launched in Nov. 2013, they state in their mission: “Each region of the world has a unique and beautiful way of dress. By documenting these fabrics, stories, and lifestyles, we hope to build a better understanding between peoples across the globe. In doing so, we will also learn more about our own multi-cultural roots and incorporate our discoveries through the clothing that we wear.”

Each of them have a favorite piece that embodies their own heritage and identity. For Umar, who is Syrian, French, and Indian, he wears traditional prayer-beads around his wrist to represent his Islamic background. Cesar is Latin American and wears a gold-plated elephant hair ring that belonged to his mother when she was 16, and was then handed down to him. And Milton, who is Latino and African-American, accessorizes with gold earrings because it is another means of his self-expression besides clothing.

“All our different backgrounds tie together as we bring our own skill points to Tailored Heritage,”Cesar said.

Cesar is a junior business administration major who works on the development of Tailored Heritage as a brand, by networking with other creative individuals that share the same values and beliefs.

Umar is a senior international studies major, minoring in Middle Eastern studies whose coursework at USF has focused on exploring various cultures, peoples, and societies.

Milton is a junior U.S. history major, researching narratives of the past, and how our history has translated into the modern world.

With their cultural backgrounds and different areas of study, they are able to collaborate and be “Multicultural Ambassadors of America,” as they aspire to be. While they contribute different skills and perspectives to Tailored Heritage, they all share an experience.

“One thing I can say about all of us, is that we’ve all been abroad and immersed in another culture one way or another,” Milton said, “That’s something we all have in common, and it’s what we take with us when we do Tailored Heritage.”

Umar studied abroad in Morocco, Cesar traveled to Spain, Majorca, and Egypt, and Milton studied in Italy for four months, as well as visited France and Spain. In their worldly travels, their experiences supplement their vision in being ambassadors and bridging cultures and societies.

“This ambassador idea works on so many levels. We’re ambassadors for America being that we’re all first-generation, born

Tailored Heritage creators flaunt their style on a park bench in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Tailored Heritage).

Tailored Heritage creators flaunt their style on a park bench in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Tailored Heritage).

Americans. It is our identities and our different cultures that we’re sharing with people from the outside world to see that there is more to America,” Umar said. “On another level, we’re ambassadors to America for our cultures. Where we’re from and where we travel to, we want to show the beauty of those places and show the authenticity of it through the clothing of those places.”

In addition to their website launch, Tailored Heritage has built its online presence through various forms of social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, Tumblr). More recent travels the Tailored Heritage team  embarked on was a week-long trip to New York City, where they gained inspiration and met with other creative individuals. They were also named the 2013 Pioneers of Style by the American shoe brand, PF Flyers, and were featured on www.PFFlyers.com. PF Flyers was established in 1933, and was popularized as the American all-purpose shoe in the mid twentieth century.

Their plans for 2014 are to further develop their perspective and to allow room for collaborations with other creative minds and brands.

Their short term goal is to showcase the history and culture embedded within San Francisco. Their first short film, which was shown at CAB’s Campus MovieFest last semester, highlights a small, local business in SF called Parkside Market.

“The people [at Parkside Market] are Palestinian. They’re so genuinely nice and they make the best sandwiches,” Umar said.“I don’t think this could happen at a better place than in SF. It’s such a unique city and our immediate goals is to showcase San Francisco in a beautiful light. Luckily at USF, we have the tools to do that through technology and working our teachers and the students that we know. We’ve been blessed to have this opportunity at USF and in SF. Its really the start of Tailored Heritage.”

Sorority Raises Funds for Leukemia in Honor of Sister

The Delta Zeta catchphrase “Once a Delta Zeta, always a Delta Zeta,” is more than just a quote to these sorority sisters. Each year, the Ali’s Way event is held to celebrate the memory of sister Ali Facella, who passed away from leukemia in 2006 while attending USF. Over 200 USF students and staff, and Delta Zeta members gathered last Tuesday to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). In its seventh year, the event featured a silent auction, and a benefit dinner and concert with music local rock bands Solwave and Hibbity Dibbity.

Delta Zeta is a nationwide sorority and was chartered at USF in April 1983. There are currently over 100 members. USF chapter director Kiara Kempski was president of Delta Zeta at the time of Facella’s passing. Kempski remembers Facella as an involved and dedicated member of the sorority. “She was always the life of a party and brought that joy and outgoing personality into Delta Zeta. Ali was never about sadness nor heartache, but always about fun and community. She was our recruiter and advocate and showed everyone in the Greek community that we were a Greek family,” said Kempski. The decision to start the Ali’s Way events came about after Facella’s memorial, which was held at Saint Ignatius Church. “The support we got from the Greek community was overwhelming so we knew we had to continue something in her name and that is when we started Ali’s Way in 2007,” she said.

Kempski noted that Facella was not the only sister that Delta Zeta has lost to cancer. Sister Ashley Spiller passed away a year before Ali, in 2005, after transferring from USF to Loyola Marymount University to be closer to her doctors. The Ali’s Way event has become a way for Delta Zeta to keep the memory of their lost sisters and loved ones alive while raising money and awareness for LLS.

“While I did not know Ali personally, she has often been described as someone who was very involved, supportive, fun-loving, and enthusiastic about life” said Jessica Small, a junior advertising major and vice president of philanthropy for Delta Zeta. Fellow sister Elizabeth Nigh, a senior politics major, shares the same feelings toward Facella. “I’ve heard she was very fun and loud,” she said. Even though the girls never got the chance to meet Facella, her outgoing energy serves as the inspiration behind the Ali’s Way events. “This semester, I thought that a benefit concert, featuring bands that USF students are involved in would represent these qualities of Ali’s personality. The themes of our events have focused on both honoring not only Ali, but also anyone affected by these diseases, as well as creating events that will bring about support and awareness of the LLS.

The money raised from the event is donated to the LLS to help patients cope financially and emotionally with cancer. For leukemia survivor Forrest Brunson, the LLS helped his family out by setting him up with a social worker for free counseling to work through his diagnosis emotionally. “Events like this make it possible for people like me to survive,” Brunson said.

Brunson overcame leukemia two years ago and spoke at last years Ali’s Way event. “I like how it’s geared toward people our age, and it’s different from other events our campus does,” said the senior communications studies student.

This year, the sorority raised over $4,150. Small and philanthropy assistant Elizabeth Anderson, a freshman marketing major, came up with the concert idea together for this year back in April. “This wasn’t something we’d done before” said Anderson. “The main thing is getting everyone motivated to donate prizes and push college students to donate time and money to the event,” she said of the challenge to raise money from college students. Performances by Solvwave and Hibbity Dibbity pumped up the crowd. Both bands include USF and non-USF students.

“Ali’s Way is not a memorial event where we mourn the loss of Ali or any persons who have left us to cancer,” said Kempski. Instead Delta Zeta has turned the pain of losing their sisters around to create a productive and inspirational event to celebrate the progress toward finding a cure. “It is a celebration for research, an event to raise awareness and to raise funds to help those battling cancer,” Kempski said. “Each year we try to do it in a fun and community involved way, because truly that would have been Ali’s way.”

Electronic feel: An Interview with Electronic Artist FAREOH

    San Francisco’s premiere nightclub, Ruby Skye, had a lively, whimsical energy Jan. 17th due to the highly anticipated joint concert of Fareoh and Madeon. Both powerhouse DJs are under the age of 21, but that didn’t stop them from performing booming sets that showcased their heavy-hitting and melodic styles. The Foghorn met up with Fareoh before his set to introduce this NYC native to the Bay Area, and ask him about his tour, opening for EDM superstar Kaskade, and his plans for the rest of 2013.

FOGHORN: Tonight is the first show of the winter leg of your tour. How are you feeling and what’s going on in your head right now?

FAREOH: I’m feeling great. To be honest, not that much. I have one track that I know I’m going to start with and I just go from there. I have an SD card with hundreds of songs on it and I know them very well and how to mix them in and out, so it won’t be the same as my other sets.

FOGHORN: Has this always been your method of mixing during your shows?

FAREOH: The majority of the time I’ve done my sets like that. Whenever I play shows like [tonight’s] I just go for it. It really is about having an experience with the crowd. I’m not going to play what they don’t want to hear.

FOGHORN: This past year, you got to open for Kaskade on his “Freaks of Nature” tour. What was your experience like?

FAREOH: It was amazing. He is a big mentor [to me] and we did a lot of work on the tour. It was really a great experience.

FOGHORN: What did you learn from Kaskade while on tour together?

FAREOH: The main thing I’d say is his attitude towards everything. He’s a very humble, “family” guy. Being as famous as he is, he’s very grounded and all around just a great person.

FOGHORN: Do you think that you taught him anything?

FAREOH: The only thing I could maybe say I taught him is some of the outlook from the younger scene. But I mean, what can you really teach Kaskade? (laughs)

FOGHORN: What is your status in regard to releasing new music?

FAREOH: I’m working on an EP/mini-album. Right now I have five finished tracks, but I feel like six [tracks] could be a mini-album. I got a lot of people saying that 12 is the minimum for an album. I personally don’t agree with that. I feel like an album is just an EP. I feel like is more of a collection of tracks while an album is just a collection of an idea and they’re all attached.

FOGHORN: I read that you try to make each track have a different sound. Is that what you did when producing these five tracks?

FAREOH: They’re pretty different. A lot of my stuff that I’ve put out so far is kind of within the boundary of the same sound, but this EP is all over the place. I listen to a lot of different types of music, and so I try to put out a lot of different styles.

FOGHORN: Besides your tour and potential album, what are your plans for 2013?

FAREOH: I have a bunch of productions that are getting finished up: a number of remixes, a number of originals. My plan is just to release as much music as I can.

Study Abroad? International Student Brings World to USF

For USF students and college goers worldwide, studying abroad is an opportunity to jump on if you want to take a break from American college life. It’s a chance to experience another culture, meet new people, eat different food…the list goes on.

I have not had the opportunity to study abroad just yet, but having lived with an international roommate from China, I have had a cultural learning experience in my own home here in San Francisco. Getting to know Yue Li has opened my eyes to just how life-changing the experience of moving and going to school in another country really is. To my surprise, I’ve also broadened my perspective on my own American culture while living with an international student.

I decided to pick Yue’s brain to learn how she feels about differences between American and Chinese college culture. Yue hopes to divide her time between the U.S. and China after college, she thinks America is “amazing,” and came here to immerse herself in our culture.

Yue told me that international students tend to make friends mainly with fellow international students. Living with Yue has taught me the importance of getting to mingle with the international student population and of understanding another culture from someone in the same situation as you.

As Yue and I discussed differences in social life between China and America, she commented on how late we wake up here, and how she found it odd at first that students hang out in mixed gender groups—she told me that in school in China, girls would mainly hang out with other girls and guys in groups of guys. Yue also appreciated that on-campus living is only required for two years whereas in China, students are typically required to live in the dorms for four years.

Yue sees Friday as a day to relax instead of the kick-off to the weekend, so  despite weekly invitations from my roommates and I to go out, she prefers a Friday night in. Also, Yue saw a noticeable change between the atmospheres of the Chinese and American college classroom. Here, she says, the students are given much more encouragement from the professors to participate in class and finds it interesting that the instructors are willing to learn from their students.

Maybe most surprisingly, I’ve learned that by living with someone from a different culture, I also saw my own culture through an entirely different pair of eyes. So if you want to gain a new perspective on American culture as well as a foreign one, from my experience I would highly suggest befriending, or even living with, an international student!



Chicana Author Cherrie Moraga Speaks About Culture and Storytelling

Artist and scholar Cherríe Moraga, whose books, poems and plays have been especially influential in the Latina, feminist and queer community, spoke about her experiences as a Chicana lesbian on February 7.
Moraga began her lecture at USF speaking about a trip to Barcelona, Spain in which she became aware of her roots in the Spanish-colonized country of Mexico.
“Our identities have been forged by those 500 years of colonization,” Moraga said. Linking her heritage and the history of her country as a part of her identity, Moraga added, “I’m proud that we have built a culture for ourselves.”
Her latest book, A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings 2000-2010 (2011) which Moraga promoted at USF, features essays and poems about herself, her life as a feminist Chicana, and the political and social situation that permeated the first decade of the 21st century.
“We decided to bring Cherríe since she is a classical pioneer Chicana-Latina writer,” said professor Susana Kaiser, chair of the L atin American Studies department.
Moraga’s many works include the 1981 book “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color”, an anthology she co-edited with feminist writer Gloria Anzaldúa. The book criticized white, middle-class, Western thought in mainstream feminism seeking to give a voice to third world women. “Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Pasó Por Sus Lábios” (1983) and “The Last Generation” (1993) are books in which Moraga interweaves themes of politics, love, sexuality and cultural identity.
Her latest play, “New Fire”, a production about indigenous healing rituals, showed at the Mission district’s Brava Theater in January.
While reading the prologue from A Xicana Codex at USF, Moraga talked about traditions that emerged in Mexico post-colonialism. “This book follows in that tradition, reflecting a map of my own journey in the first decade of this new century, as writer, teacher, teatrista, mother, daughter, and lesbian lover,” she said.
Moraga also read a piece about her experience teaching theater to her son’s second and third grade class during her presentation.
In teaching theater to her eight year old son and his classmates, most of them African-American, Latina and Asian-American, Moraga said she hoped to instill lessons of oppression, and Chicano history and culture. “We came in with memory…Particularly working with young people of color who are artists, my commitment is to help people remember that”, said Moraga.
Moraga said storytelling was instilled in her home since childhood. “My mother was our contista, you know? She was a story teller,” said Moraga. Alzheimer’s disease, however, made it difficult for Moraga’s mother to remember stories, and she passed away in 2005.
The lecture concluded with Moraga reading part of an essay that explored issues of gay marriage and transgendered life.
“There is no critique of the normal without the queer. The beauty of the queer is that she/he requires society to question itself, its assumptions about desire, about masculinity and femininity, about power,” Moraga said.
When she transitioned to book signing, the audience quickly formed a long line.
“I read about her a lot since I’m a Latino-Chicano Studies Minor, but I also wanted to come for myself, because both my parents are from Mexico and I love Chicana feminist work and art,” said Senior Elizabeth Castro, who waited patiently for Moraga’s autograph.

Multicultural San Francisco

And finally we’ve arrived at the last issue of the 2009-2010 academic year. It’s been great gabbing about global pop culture with you these past few weeks. To top it all off here are some of San Francisco’s upcoming cultural festivals to check out in between cramming for finals and fantasizing about the soon to come summer-time debauchery…or a responsible summer job if life is cruel to you too. Most of the festivals are free and they’re a great way to get to know San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods like North Beach, the Mission and SOMA. Good luck with finals! In no particular order:

1. San Francisco Carnaval- A celebration of Caribbean, Afro-Fusion and Latin American cultures takes over the city with dancing, food and all day entertainment.

When: May 29/30, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: On Saturday the party will be hopp’n on Harrison between 16th and 23rd streets. On Sunday the Grand Parade starts at the corner of 24th and Bryant streets. It will travel west to Mission Street and from there, the parade heads North on Mission down to 17th Street.

2. Buddha’s Birthday Celebration (presented by Buddha’s Light International Association, aka: the BLIA) – In celebration of Buddah’s Birthday there will be ceremonial blessings, vegetarian food, games and more.

When: May 16, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Where: the San Bao Temple of Fo Guang Shan on Van Ness Ave.

3.  Bolly Weird Street Fair- This is pro-peace extravaganza/freak show/street party. There’s a promise of 10 stages, each with its own set of musical performers and hopefully a new world record for the largest synchronized Bollywood dance number.

When: May 9

Where: Howard and 2ND Street

4. Cinco De Mayo- Celebrate Cinco De Mayo and the cultural connection between Mexico and San Francisco with performances, crafts and eats.

When: May 5

Where: Dolores Park

5. North Beach Festival – One of the largest outdoor festivals, the North Beach Festival takes over takes over the location famous as San Francisco’s Little Italy and home of the beats. With over 125 craft booths, food and cooking demonstrations, it’s a great way to spend a day. And it’s free!

When: June 19/20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: North Beach District