Connect with us

Business

Keisha Drammeh: The art of redesigning vintage clothes

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Keisha Drammeh’s eye for history comes in handy, especially with her line of vintage clothing.

Published

on

By Ameera Steward

Keisha Drammeh’s eye for history comes in handy, especially with her line of vintage clothing. Based on what she buys from thrift stores and estate and garage sales, she can always tell what was going on in the world when a certain item was in style. She researches the year and the era to make sure the attire is “authentically vintage.”

“There is a lot of copycat stuff out here,” she said. “You can look at zippers, buttons, and stitching to see if [an item] is truly vintage or not.

“Art is in everything, and fashion is an art form. So, anything I see can be used for fashion. I’ve always been taught to appreciate everything because you can see nature in it all. Patterns, fabrics, designs all have naturally occurring aesthetics [that] can be turned into artwork.”

It’s Poppin!

Drammeh creates artwork from used clothing she finds and recycles, and she sells those creations through her business, It’s Poppin! Vintage. Her “sustainable” vintage clothing store, which opened in 1994, features trendy, urban, vintage items while sustaining the environment and minimizing carbon footprints. She chose the name “It’s Poppin” because it’s long been one of her favorite phrases.

“I was saying that before it got trendy,” she said. “Now everybody is like ‘It’s poppin!’ It’s been poppin’ for me.”

A self-professed fashion activist, Drammeh doesn’t feel there’s a limit to what a person can wear, where they can wear it, and how they can wear it.

“I like gender-neutral items,” she said. “I’m not super-girly, but I’m not super-tomboy, [either]. I like to mix men’s pieces with women’s pieces. … There’s … no limit to fashion. It runs the gamut.”

In addition to telling the story of the clothes, she uses the word “sustainability” in what she does because “that’s what [my parents and I have] always done, being sustainable, … recycling and reusing, trying to reduce the amount of money [we would] spend on stuff,” she said.

Black History Month

February is a big month for Drammeh. On February 1 she was part of a fashion show presented by Golden Hour Productions and Unity Culture. And on February 10, she will host a Sip and Shop at the current It’s Poppin! Vintage, location, 1904 2nd Ave. N., inside the Paisley Pig in Bessemer; tickets are $10, and those attending should bring five items and have about three minutes to shop.

“[It] kind of gives it like a little exhilarating rush,” Drammeh said, explaining that any clothing that isn’t sold during the event will be donated to Olivia’s House, a transitional house for women and children.

“I hope I can be a part of that whole movement [to change fashion],” she said. “If it’s trendy to shop at a thrift store, please be trendy. You’ll save so much money, and you’ll have your own unique look.”

Beyond fashion and business, Drammeh is part of the National Hook Up of Black Women, an organization that started in Chicago, “because this sister felt like black women didn’t have a place to meet or hook up and be resourceful with each other,” she said, adding that the group is resourceful to the point that they have become her team for whatever she needs when it comes to her programs.

Drammeh also has established an art and culture program. Because it’s Black History Month, the topic of discussion will likely be about Africa, and participants will make three-dimensional masks.

“The event is for kids,” she said. “It’s a [two-day] youth program … in conjunction with the Hook Up, … which is the type of organization that [will provide support for] whatever you want to do.”

“Spirit of Birmingham”

Drammeh, a 44-year-old mother of three, was born in Chicago, Ill. When she was 14, her family moved to Detroit, Mich., where they lived for the next 20 years. She then moved to Atlanta, Ga., where she lived until August 2018, when her husband received a better job opportunity that brought their family to Birmingham.

Drammeh loves the Magic City, but for her there’s no place like the Motor City.

“I love Detroit, and I see some similarities between Detroit and Birmingham,” she said. “I like the spirit of Birmingham. I’ve been able to connect with some really creative people here, and I like how the creative community is tight knit. It seems like a small, big city. I like that feel versus coming from a place that was on steroids.”

Artistic Beginnings

Drammeh was an only child, and her parents were activists.

“My parents always [bought black]. We’ve been buying black since I was little,” she said. “[We] lived a real African-centered lifestyle, so we put black before anything.”

Her mother was an account executive who sold commercial time for major television networks, and her father was an artist.

“[My dad was always] digging, … pulling up, and putting stuff in the back of the car that people were trying to throw away,” she said. “He didn’t believe in wasting.”

Drammeh’s family didn’t go to church, so Sundays were the creative days in their household.

“Jazz, Miles Davis playing. Painting. … Just doing stuff in the house. … That’s the type of vibe my parents were on,” she said. “Looking back on how I grew up, I think a lot of black people could have benefitted from coming from such an African-centered household. … I don’t think a lot of black families were having the type of conversations that took place in our home and letting their kids be part of them.”

Growing up in such a creative household helped Drammeh develop her own style—and not care what others thought about it.

“I was one of those kids putting graffiti on and holes in their clothes before [designers] started selling [clothes like that],” she said. “You know, that was tacky for some people, especially your parents. I feel like that [style] was kind of inspired by [my] generation.”

Growing up in the Motor City also influenced Drammeh’s sense of style.

“In Detroit, you’ve gotta be ready for whatever at all times,” she said. “I look at [rapper] Kash Doll, [singer, rapper, and songwriter] Dej Loaf, and other Detroit artists and say they are basically still Detroit girls.”

Community Work

Drammeh earned a bachelor’s degrees in mortuary science and community development from Detroit’s Wayne State University, but she has always been an educator at heart.

“I ended up in art education because I love art and I love community,” she said. “I’ve always worked with after-school programs and had my own after-school programs for youth.”

Drammeh has been in the education and youth-development fields for years, both with her own cultural art programs and with the Boys and Girls Club in Atlanta, where she served as the cultural art director. She left that job in 2014 to devote time to It’s Poppin! Vintage.

In Atlanta, Drammeh found several nice thrift stores, where she would often shop for her friends. She also would add fabrics or patchwork to pieces to create different looks.

“For my friends and myself, … if I saw something cute [at a thrift store], I would buy it because it was cheap,” she said. “One day, I woke up and realized I had about 50 pieces that I didn’t give away. I couldn’t fit [any of the items], so invited people over for a big sale at my house. After that, I just kept shopping, [and] I never stopped.”

Drammeh recalled the number of people who showed up to her sale, and she has since turned her hobby into a hustle. Most of her customers are people who like to thrift: women and some men between the ages of 24 and 50. She also has seen her customer base grow among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning and/or queer (LGBTQ) community.

Drammeh feels she offers her customers hope, as well as a sense of unorthodox style. The selections available at It’s Poppin! Vintage blends patterns, colors, and textures, but it’s about more than just selling clothes.

“It’s selling style, personality and character all in one,” she said, adding that her ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of money people spend on stuff.

“You spend money on a T-shirt that was made in a sweatshop by someone who was paid maybe 3 cents and can’t even feed their family. [Manufacturers] use gallons and gallons of water to make the cotton,” Drammeh said. “It’s just stupid when you can get something that has stood the test of time and is still great.”

When it comes to pricing, Drammeh doesn’t try to match other retailers. She takes a few things into consideration: her time, the clothing selection, and the era in which the clothing was made.

Visit www.itspoppinvintage.com to not only shop but also check out Drammeh’s blog, which includes the history of some her pieces.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bay Area

Oakland Healthcare Unions Denounce CDC and California’s New Guidelines

While federal and California state guidelines now allow healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 to return to work without quarantining as long as they are asymptomatic until at least February 1, it’s unclear what this will mean for several Oakland healthcare facilities.

Published

on

Oakland Highland Hospital screening tent at the emergency entrance on July 5, 2021. Photo by Zack Haber.
Oakland Highland Hospital screening tent at the emergency entrance on July 5, 2021. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

Two unions representing healthcare professionals have denounced recent moves by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and The California Department of Public Health that have eased, or in some cases temporarily eliminated, quarantining guidelines for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been directly exposed to the virus.

“Part of why there’s this rise in transmission is that people aren’t quite well and they’re able to come out and mingle with the public,” said Zenei Triunfo-Cortez in an interview. Triunfo-Cortez has worked as a registered nurse for 42 years, and she’s the president of National Nurses United (NNU), a registered nurses’ union with over 175,000 members.

On December 22 of last year, as news that the CDC was considering shortening their COVID-19 quarantine duration guidelines from 10 days to five days was spreading, the NNU published an open letter to the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, that urged her to maintain the 10-day quarantine period.

“Weakening COVID-19 guidance now, in the face of what could be the most devastating COVID-19 surge yet,” the letter reads, “will only result in further transmission, illness and death.”

On December 23, the CDC changed their guidelines for healthcare workers. To address staffing shortages, the new guidelines stated that medical facilities could have both vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers who test positive for the virus return to their jobs immediately without quarantining in certain crisis situations as long as they were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

On December 27, the CDC changed their guidelines for the rest of the population, shortening the quarantining period from 10 to five days. The new guidelines stated that as long as a COVID-positive person has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving and they don’t have a fever, they can end their quarantine on the sixth day.

“The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of [COVID-19] transmission occurs early in the course of the illness,” reads a statement from the CDC about the reduced quarantine guideline, “generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and 2-3 days after.”

In their letter, the NNU pointed to the extremely contagious Omicron variant, and warned “Now is not the time to relax protections.” They mentioned pressure from businesses to maintain profits “without regard for science or the health of employees or the public” as the primary motivation for shortening the quarantine time. The letter included a link to a story about Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian asking the CDC to consider such a change.

Data from Alameda County, and California show that after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 began to become widespread in mid-December, local and statewide cases surged. By late December, average daily case rates were higher than they ever had been before.

Hospitalizations also rose sharply. Then cases and hospitalizations continued to rise through early January and have continued to rise. At the time of publication, information on recent COVID-19 deaths is unclear as the county and the state are updating that data.

“It’s stressful because some of our co-workers might be coming into work sick,” said Sonya Allen-Smith in an interview on January 7 about working under the new guidelines. She’s been an X-ray technologist at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Oakland for 13 years and is a member of the SEIU UHW union for healthcare workers.

“We think about if we’re going to take it home to our families,” she said. “My husband’s immune system is compromised. If I bring it home to him, he definitely will not make it.”

The Oakland Post obtained a flow chart Kaiser e-mailed to their employees on January 7 that guided them through the quarantine process the company required them to enter into if they tested positive for COVID-19.

It showed Kaiser employees had to quarantine for five days and could return on the sixth day if they tested negative for the virus with an antigen test. Allen-Smith said she felt the quarantine period was too short.

“We’re not giving people enough time to heal or recover,” Allen-Smith said. “Weakening the guidelines is not going to stop the staff shortage. It may increase it because people will spread it.”

In an e-mail, Kaiser Permanente’s media team wrote that they’re “implementing CDC and CDHP guidance and isolation with considerations to vaccination status and staffing levels.” It also stated that “all employees coming back or continuing to work, wear the appropriate PPE and follow all infection prevention measures.”

On January 8, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) decided to temporarily adopt the guidance for healthcare workers the CDC had released on December 23 to address staffing shortages at healthcare facilities.

“From January 8, 2022 until February 1, 2022, healthcare professionals who test positive for [COVID-19] and are asymptomatic,” reads their statement announcing the new guidelines, ”may return to work immediately without isolation and without testing.”

The statement also said such returning employees would have to wear N95 masks while working and that these new guidelines could again change as information becomes available.

Both the NNU and the SEIU-UHW unions immediately denounced CDHP’s decision.

“For healthcare workers on the frontline it is very disappointing to see the State of California bypass common sense safety measures,” said Gabe Montoya, an emergency room technician, in a statement SEIU-UHW released. “No patient wants to be cared for by someone who has COVID-19 or was just exposed to it.”

While federal and California state guidelines now allow healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 to return to work without quarantining as long as they are asymptomatic until at least February 1, it’s unclear what this will mean for several Oakland healthcare facilities.

When asked for a statement about their Bay Area healthcare facilities, Sutter Health’s media team wrote an email stating: “Consistent with CDC contingency tiered guidelines released in late December, and in response to critical staffing conditions, we have revised our process for how employees who work at patient care sites return after they have been sick with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. It’s important to note that symptomatic employees are not returning to work until their symptoms improve.”

When asked directly if asymptomatic COVID positive employees were currently returning to work, Sutter Health’s media team did not respond.

When asked about their current COVID-19 quarantine policies, Alameda Health System’s media and communications manager Eleanor Ajala wrote “Alameda Health System is reviewing guidance” and that they planned to attend a meeting with the state to discuss the issue.

On January 11, Allen-Smith said she hadn’t heard of any change to Kaiser Permanente’s quarantine policy, but that she knows three co-workers sick with COVID-19 who had just returned after five-day quarantines.

In an e-mail, Kaiser Permanente’s media team wrote that to address staffing shortages they were “employing traveling nurses, adjusting elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures as needed, and offering our industry-leading telehealth capabilities in addition to in-person care.”

The media team did not directly answer when asked if Kaiser was allowing asymptomatic COVID positive employees to return to the job at Bay Area healthcare facilities.

Allen-Smith is unhappy about the guidelines changing and is unsure if Kaiser’s policy will further change in the near future due to CDHP’s recent announcement.

“A lot of us are confused and sad and just don’t feel safe in the workplace,” she said.

Continue Reading

Advice

Evangelical Technology: The New “E.T.”

In his book, “Branding Faith,” Phil Cooke wrote, “Whatever the purpose, the goal is to win the hearts and minds of the largest audience possible and imprint an indelible story around your church, ministry or mission.” In short Mr. Cooke is saying that how we tell our story and how our story looks, will determine the impact that we will have on a world in need of relevance.

Published

on

Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is the senior pastor at the Faith Church in Oakland, CA. He is also managing director of Global Acquisitions at Nimbus Networks, LLC.
Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is the senior pastor at the Faith Church in Oakland, CA. He is also managing director of Global Acquisitions at Nimbus Networks, LLC.

By Curtis O. Robinson, Sr., M.A., Resident fellow ’19 Harvard Divinity School

The year was 1982 and Steven Spielberg released the blockbuster movie of the century entitled, “E.T., The Extra Terrestrial.” The movie outgrossed Star Wars and in 1983 grossed more than $359 million in North America and $619 million worldwide. Spielberg was making an estimated $500,000 a day, and the rest was cinematic history.

With the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, the strain and challenge of presenting a relevant Christ to a culture in need of spiritual balance has been demanding. For the most part, houses of worship have had to close their doors. However, a few have been strategic enough to weather the storm with minimal attendance for in-house worship. So, it is still a daunting task to continue to get the Word of God to a culture desperately in need of spiritual enrichment.

In his book, “Branding Faith,” Phil Cooke wrote, “Whatever the purpose, the goal is to win the hearts and minds of the largest audience possible and imprint an indelible story around your church, ministry or mission.” In short Mr. Cooke is saying that how we tell our story and how our story looks, will determine the impact that we will have on a world in need of relevance.

Enter Nimbus Networks, LLC. Nimbus Networks is a certified solutions provider that creates tailored communications plans for you in collaboration with the world’s leading telecom providers.

We work with over 220 vetted worldwide carriers as a full-service technology consultant, and we have engineers who can help you design, deploy, and maintain your environment. Because no two organizations are the same, we tailor our Cloud, Voice, IT, and other technology services to match your unique requirements.

This is the first in a series of articles that will talk about the importance of having a reliable and robust IT platform. And for churches, we must still engage the world for Christ. It is important that our ET platform is effective and inviting. Stay tuned.

For more information concerning your IT or ET needs, you can reach him at crobinson@nimbusnet.net. You can also visit our website at nimbus-networks.com or you can call 925-285-8357 for a free consultation.

Curtis O. Robinson, Sr. is the senior pastor at the Faith Church in Oakland, CA. He is also managing director of Global Acquisitions at Nimbus Networks, LLC.

Continue Reading

Activism

El Cerrito Hosts 33rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Rally

The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

Published

on

“Keeping the Dream Alive - Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.
“Keeping the Dream Alive - Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.

By Clifford L. Williams

The City of El Cerrito invites all of its residents and surrounding cities in the Bay Area to join in its 33rd Annual Community Celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

“Keeping the Dream Alive – Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.

The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

Event chairperson, Patricia Durham said “this peaceful protest began in 1989 on the back streets of El Cerrito because of the City’s refusal to acknowledge King’s birthday as a federal holiday.

“Members of St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), the City’s only African-American church, and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, in true Dr. King style, took to the streets. The City eventually came around and acknowledged the peaceful and powerful works of Dr. King.”

Durham added, “El Cerrito’s birthday celebration of MLK is one of the longest-standing parades and rallies in the Bay Area.”

Because of the global pandemic, this is the second year the city will have a car parade because of COVID-19 protocols. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station (in the parking lot of Key Boulevard & Knott Avenue). At 10 a.m., the parade will caravan down San Pablo Avenue to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station and at 11 a.m., the rally will begin. To ensure everyone enjoys the parade safely, all CDC guidelines will be enforced. Masks and social distancing are required.

“Keeping the dream alive even during a pandemic is a necessity,” said Durham. “We are fighting for our democracy and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us that we need each other to embrace our new normals of survival.”

“The City is expecting more than 100 cars, so we encourage everyone to decorate your vehicles so that yours stands out the best,” noted Durham. “Entertainment will be provided by the Japanese American Citizen League, The Black Cowboy Association, Ujima Lodge #35, the Mardi Gras Gumbo Band, Mighty High Drill Team, Smooth Illusions Band, and El Cerrito’s Poet Laureate, Ms. Eevelyn Janean Mitchell, among other talents.”

The MC of this illustrious event will be Jeffery Wright, president of the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce. The event’s keynote speaker is Diana Becton, the first female African American to be elected District Attorney in the history of Contra Costa County.

For more information, contact Patricia Durham at (510) 234-2518.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending