New York-based fashion designer (and friend of Blindie) Nary Manivong debuted his latest collection at New York Fashion Week on Thursday, and Blindie got a hold of his recent interview with famed photog Patrick McMullan for NBC.

For those who don’t know Manivong yet, the Columbus-bred designer has lived a life that could be made into a hit rags-to-riches story (in fact, a documentary based on his life, titled Dressed, will be debuting at film festivals this spring): At 14, the Laotian American designer, his twin brother and two younger siblings were homeless, abandoned by their parents and Manivong did his best to support himself and his siblings.

After graduating from high school, the ambitious youngster moved to New York with $200 in his pocket and a dream of becoming a designer. Blindie is ecstatic to see that Manivong is making moves this season with his strongest collection yet–and a spirit that helps fuel the craziness that is New York.

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Rising starlet Joy Bryant recently opened up about ditching the Ivy Leagues for the fashion world.

“I dropped out of Yale at the end of my sophomore year to model,” Bryant, 31, tells the Huffington Post. “I gave myself a year to make it happen.”

Shortly after leaving college, she was booked for Seventeen magazine’s back to school issue. “They seemed to dig my Ivy League credentials,” she reflects. “Others seemed shocked that I wasn’t an idiot.”

The fashionista, who has been ‘shutting it down’ on Bravo‘s The Rachel Zoe Project, also dishes on her unceremonious meeting with a ‘VERY famous designer’:

I was on line for at least an hour or so, which SUCKS but that’s what you got to do, so you do it. I finally get to the room, where the VERY famous designer is sitting at a long table with a few associates. I say hello, hand my portfolio over, and proceed to “walk” (please reference “Top Model”). I do so and then the VERY famous designer says to me, with a smile of course, “Joy, you are soooo beautiful, but I’m not using black girls this season.” (Insert sound of record scratching here). Yeah, he actually said that to my ‘beautiful’ face. He’s lucky he didn’t get a black eye.

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Savile Row designer Ozwald Boateng is pitching in to help the national campaign, The Reach, to find role models for the U.K.’s black youth, according to the Press Association.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said the drive was “crucial.” At least 20 black role models, who will tour schools and delinquent institutions, will be chosen by a panel, which includes Boateng and others.

“It is crucial that we improve the life chances of young black boys,” she said. “Too few black men and boys are achieving their full potential…There needs to be a collective effort to combat underachievement and low aspirations amongst our young black men.

PHOTO: AP

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