Get to Know AExME Council Member Imani Jai Chisom

 

Faith-Based Activist

@imanijai 

 

A champion of social justice and racial healing, AExME Council member Imani uses her platform to address issues facing black women at predominantly white colleges.

 

“I fight for the little black girls who don’t think they’re going to go to college in Pittsburgh, who are written off because of their ZIP code,”

says Imani, who grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood.

“I represent the black women in college who don’t feel safe at their schools, who feel marginalized, and don’t feel like they’re enough because they’re told they’re small and voiceless.”

 

A junior at Duquesne University studying theology and writing, Imani aspires to become a pastor. She’s interned at the Friendship Community Church, works with youth programs at Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, and believes that religion and faith are rooted in love—both a love of yourself and a love of your community. “When you have that group and that village, that’s where you can learn to be fearless,” Imani says.

@imanijai 

Imani writes about her experiences as a black women at a private, mostly white, Catholic university on her blog, Honestly Imani Jai. When she’s not writing, she reading everything she can get her hands on, from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.

 

“The thing that I’m most passionate about is authentic storytelling and creating spaces for young women of color to authentically share their stories.”

 

Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.

 

 

Get to Know AExME Council Member Gabby Frost

 

Buddy Project Founder

@gabbyfrost

 

At age 15, AExME Council member Gabby Frost noticed many of her friends were struggling with suicidal thoughts. So, she started a suicide prevention website, and within the first 12 hours, 3,000 people signed up.

 

Six years later, that site—Buddy Project—has turned into a movement that connects people with online friends to prevent all forms of self-harm and raise awareness around mental health, bullying, and negativity on social media. The Buddy Project matches people by age and regularly spreads messages of positivity and empathy online, including advice like, “Self-care doesn’t have to be glamorous,” and, “Block people who don’t benefit your mental health.”

 

“I want to help de-stigmatize mental health issues because 1 in 5 people may have a mental illness, but 5 in 5 people have mental health. And we all need to understand the importance of keeping in check with our mental health,”

says the Drexel University student whose nonprofit has, so far, paired 232,000 buddies.

@gabbyfrost

The Buddy Project is open to anyone 13 years or older who wants a new friend—you don’t need to be going through any type of mental illness to sign up! You just need to want to make friends, and support them with compassion and love.

 

“I can’t believe an idea I had as a 15-year-old laying in my bed at 1 in the morning is what it is today,”

says Gabby, who will soon be launching a Buddy Project app to further its reach and help even more young people.

“I hope I inspire more people to use their voice and not to be silent, because silence is so deadly.”

 

You can help celebrate Mental Health Month and support the Buddy Project by purchasing a limited edition hoodie online and at our SoHo store.

 

Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.

 

 

GUEST BLOGGER: AExME COUNCIL MEMBER GABBY FROST

Buddy Project

Inspired by the bold voices of people like YOU, we’ve introduced the AExME Council, our first-ever crew of young advocates and change makers. In this guest post, AExME Council member Gabby Frost shares why it’s so important to talk about mental health and how her organization, the Buddy Project, helps prevent suicide.

Want to show your love for Gabby and the Buddy Project? We’re proud to share 100% of sales of this limited-edition hoodie to support the Buddy Project this May, which is Mental Health Month!

SHOP NOW

AE MENTAL HEALTH GRAPHIC HOODIE

Mental health. It’s something we all have, whether or not we have a mental illness. And we all deserve to take care of our minds and our health in general. Mental health affects physical health, and vice versa.

It wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I began to understand why keeping our minds healthy is so vital. My best friend at the time told me she was self-harming and had suicidal ideation. The only other time I heard about mental health was through Demi Lovato speaking about going to rehab. My school didn’t really talk to us about mental health and suicide. The only time we discussed it was an assembly in 7th grade where a father who’d lost his son to suicide shared his story. Although that assembly was important, my school didn’t work hard enough to equip us with proper skills to help our peers who were going through mental health problems. I had to rely on the internet to learn more about being a supportive friend and the basics of mental illness, self-harm, addiction, and suicidal ideation.

At the time, I was a huge fangirl and was in love with One Direction and Justin Bieber. People in my area weren’t necessarily as passionate about them as I was, so I went on Twitter and Instagram to find the community I wished for and needed in my life. Most people think of fangirls as these hyper, passionate, and happy young girls, but through social media I was able to discover that a lot of my fellow fangirls were going through mental illness, just like my best friend. This is when my compassion and empathy grew the most, and I wanted to be a friend to these girls around the world who didn’t have friends or family to support them.

On April 8, 2013, in the early hours of the night, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed since I couldn’t fall asleep. I ended up stumbling upon Tweets from people I followed, and three of them were thinking of suicide. I immediately sent them supportive messages and encouraged others to do the same, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to actually do something instead of waiting for someone else to get an idea and make a change. In that moment, I had the idea to pair together people with a buddy based on their interests and ages, after thinking about my experiences of finding close friends through social media. I wanted to create a community where people could find people just like them, and openly talk about mental health. This simple yet effective idea is what led to the inception of Buddy Project.

That happened over six years ago, and since then I have learned a lot more about mental health and suicide. I’ve learned a lot about myself, too, and have grown into a more empathetic, compassionate person who I’m proud of. I’ve been able to analyze my own mental health, and realize that I’ve gone through mental health struggles since middle school. I’ve experienced anxiety, social anxiety, and extremely low points of my life. People always think that because I run Buddy Project, it means I don’t struggle myself. But that’s completely false. The most recent low point of my life happened just this past week. My life has been absolutely wonderful since starting college in the fall of 2016, but sometimes your mental health doesn’t care if you’re thriving. Waves of emptiness, boredom, and no motivation can hit you out of nowhere.

This past week, I had little motivation to get out of my bed or do anything. All I did was go to class and then come right back to my room and lay in bed just to do nothing. Everything I tried to do instantly made me bored, and I had no idea what to do. I laid there feeling empty and like there was nothing to do to make my life exciting. I felt hopeless and my mind made me think I had nothing to look forward to whatsoever. I also had no appetite, and had to force myself to eat meals because I knew it was what my body needed. It’s been really hard for me to talk about these points when they’re happening, especially because I don’t always understand what’s going on in the moment.

This is exactly why we need a more genuine and open discussion when it comes to mental health. No one should be ashamed to say they’re struggling or need help. You don’t need a mental illness in order to go through hard times. We need to normalize therapy, medication, and other coping mechanisms, techniques, and ways that people manage their mental health. Mental health is normal and we need to embrace the fact that we all have it. It shouldn’t be seen as a taboo subject, and the longer we stay silent about it the stronger the stigma surrounding it will grow.

I encourage everyone to have a real, genuine conversation about mental health, whether it’s with your friends, family, or strangers that you met on the internet. Speaking up will save lives.

AE MENTAL HEALTH GRAPHIC HOODIE

Advice from Buddy Project’s Youth Advisory Board

 

AJ DeLeon

Life can get pretty tough, things may not go your way, or you might just not be feeling your best. In moments like those, never be afraid to reach out for help. People care and love you more than you may think.

 

Reilly Brady

My daily mantra is “this too shall pass” and it helps me a lot.

 

Leah Snelling

Love and empathy are two of the most powerful emotions I believe a human can feel. If someone you know is hurting, or if you are hurting, reach out. Hearing that you are not alone and that someone does care can change your life.

 

Ana Cecilia Chavez

Patience, love, and support.

 

Breeanne DiGiacomo

I believe education is the key to erasing the stigma of mental illness.

 

 

 

GRADUATION DAY YOUR WAY: DIY GRAD CAP IDEAS

First things first, you did it! We’re talking about graduation day which means you can finally cross “high school” off of your To-Do list. All you have left to do is collect your diploma and turn that tassel, and we’ve got a few ideas to help you look your most awesome while doing it. After all, everyone’s going to be wearing the same thing so you’ve got to do something to stand out, right?

Before you bust out the hot glue gun, let’s talk about what’s going on under the gown. Since graduation marks both an end and a beginning, think about repping your new school while you say goodbye to the old one. Vintage-inspired graphics and super soft jersey are two of the best things about Tailgate tees, and together they’re perfect for channeling that effortless, laid-back college vibe you’re going for. Even the most shapeless graduation gown can’t cover up the kind of confidence you get from your favorite pair of jeans, so go for those on the bottom.

animating GIF of NCAA graphics

Once you’re feeling good about your outfit, it’s time to give that square cap a little love. Whether you’re going for a ‘gram-worthy DIY that matches your campus color scheme, or you just want to have some fun and break up the sea of squares, here are a few ideas to help you stand out in the commencement crowd:

 

GO FLORAL

A flower crown is always a good idea, and graduation day is no exception.

animation of graduation cap design

  • Use fabric paint to cover the top of your cap

animation of graduation cap design

  • Faux flowers are perfect for crafting – just trim the stems and glue onto whichever corner you like

animation of graduation cap design

  • Once the top flowers are dry, flip your cap over and add more blooms to the front to create a flower crown effect

 

GET SENTIMENTAL

Add a quote that keeps you inspired, or make space to have a few friends sign. Either way, this is one for the memory book.

animation of graduation cap design

  • Use masking tape and fabric paint to color block the top of your cap, make sure at least one side is light enough to write on.

animation of graduation cap design

  • Bring a permanent marker to have your friends scribble their messages before the ceremony

 

BUTTON IT UP

Create any kind of design, or easily spell out your school letters, while adding plenty of color and texture.

  • Start by placing large buttons first and then gluing them down

animation of graduation cap design

  • Fill in the rest of the space with a variety of smaller buttons

 

KEEP IT LIGHT

You’ve worked hard to get here, now have a little fun!

  • Paint the top of your cap in one of your school colors

animation of graduation cap design

  • Rip a page from one of your old notebooks, glue it on, and write your message

 

 

URBAN NECESSITIES

Urban Necessities at American Eagle at 599 Broadway New York, NY

When Jaysse Lopez opened Urban Necessities in Las Vegas in 2014, he raised the bar for retailers everywhere. Offering an unprecedented consignment collection of rare, vintage, and one-of-a-kind sneakers not available anywhere else, he quickly became known as one of the most innovative and influential voices in the industry. Merging elements of both high-end fashion and on trend street style, Urban Necessities is also famous for offering an inclusive in-store experience as accessible to Nike newbies and Fila first-timers as it is fresh to the most diehard sneakerheads.

Urban Necessities Sneaker Collection

With an approach to shopping and personal style that is as unique as the products they offer, pairing up with AE for their first East Coast brick & mortar was a natural fit, with both brands standing strongly for individuality, self-expression, and authenticity. Now open inside the AE Soho store, Urban Necessities’ first and only location outside of Las Vegas continues to move the needle, offering an assortment of rare and hard-to-find sneakers curated exclusively for the New York market.

Urban Necessities Sneaker Collection

Sneakers will be added to the collection and rotated frequently, but that’s not the only draw to making the store one of your regular stops – you can also print custom apparel on site, and play a game or two on the in-store pinball machine for a chance to nab store credit. Plus, you know, the AE jeans collection right there, too 😉

Urban Necessities Sneaker Collection

 

 

Curvy Jeans: FAQ By You, Answered By Us

We recently introduced you to our new women’s jean fit – the curvy jegging – many of you have tried them on, took them home, reviewed them and loved them. A few of you did have some questions though, so we teamed up with our denim designers and customer service team to find answers to your most frequently asked questions about the new curvy fit. With more details about the design and fit of our curvy jeans, we hope this will give you all the info you need to figure out if they’re right for you. Want to know more first? Read more about Curvy jeans and check out the full curvy denim line. To curvy or not to curvy, that is the question.

 

You’ve got Qs, we’ve got As.

AE Curvy Jeans

Q: How curvy is curvy? How do I know if I need curvy or regular jeans?

A: There are a couple different ways to tell if you could benefit from a curvy jean:

  • If you wear high-waisted jeans and have waistband gapping (when your jeans are too roomy at the waist and leave a gap)
  • If you have a 13” hip vs. waist difference (we’ll get to more on that in a sec)
  • If your jeans are tight through the thigh and hip

Q: What are the measurement differences for curvy jeans?

A: Most women’s jeans use a 10” hip vs. waist measurement, but curvy is designed with a 13” difference for more room at the thigh and hips. For example, if your hips measure 41” and your waist measures 28”, you have a 13” hip vs. waist difference. 

Q: Is length any different in curvy jeans verses regular jeans?

A: Nope! Our x-short through x-long inseam lengths are the same across all AE regular jeans & curvy jeans. So, if you typically order a 10 Short when buying AE jeans, you should order a 10 Short in the Curvy fit as well.
Curvy Highest Waist JeggingCurvy Super High-Waisted JeggingCurvy High-Waisted Jegging

Q: Are the rises the same for curvy versus non-curvy jeans?

A: They’re similar in the front but longer/higher in the back to give you more coverage & help prevent dipping in the back of the waistband.

Q: If I wear XX size in regular jeans right now, what size do I wear in curvy?

A: Try your regular AE jean size in curvy jeans. For example, if you wear a size 6 in AE jeans right now, you would order a 6 in curvy, too. A few things to note:

  • Due to the design, if you’re in-between sizes you might want to size down.
  • If you’re not sure what size is right for you, order 2 pairs to try and keep the one that fits best.
  • With free shipping and free returns on curvy, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Q: Are the fabrics different in curvy?

A: No! You can find curvy jeans in all your favorite stretch fabrics like Super Stretch and Ne(X)t Level Stretch.

AE Curvy Jean

Q: Are curvy jeans available in store?

A: Not yet! They’re currently available online only, but will expand to stores starting in late June.

Q: Are you making curvy in other fits than the jegging? What about shorts or skirts?

A: The curvy jegging is one part of an amazing assortment we’ll be rolling out soon. Check back in frequently to stay on top of the latest designs and releases.

Q: Is there a curvy jean for guys?

A: While we don’t have a curvy-specific men’s jean, we do have our Athletic fit jean designed for the guy who needs a little extra room through the thigh. The fit is relaxed through the thigh and tapered for through the leg for a slimming, comfortable fit. 

AE Curvy Jean

We love that you love curvy jeans, and we can’t wait to roll out more fits and styles soon.

Stay in the loop by signing up for emails and checking back frequently. Already own a pair of the curvy jeggings and want to show them off? Tag us on Instagram & Twitter with #AExME or #AEJeans @americaneagle and you could be featured on our site, social media or blog!

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