Building connections with art and fashion

Nominees Sandler Fleurima and Jesula ”JJ” Jeannot are camera ready before the awards. Photo by Lindsey Britton

Fashion is not the only avenue for the CEO and founder of Burghalie Ensemble, a local clothing brand.
Terrance “Rashad” Smith, Burghalie Ensemble’s founder, hosted the inaugural Burghalie Art Awards on Wednesday to help connect individuals through art and fashion.

The evening featured passionate individuals, entertainment, food and friendly conversation. Those involved in the event were able to be recognized while also networking with others.

Smith talked about the growth of the event and the purpose of his clothing brand.

“Burghalie Ensemble, is an urban clothing brand whose goal is to unite individuals through fashion and art, regardless of race, ethnicity, and sexuality. We host different events in the community that are all about bringing everyone together, and expressing talent and creativity,” Smith said. “In the future, I would like for there to be more awareness; I would like to reach more people, more attendees, and just have a bigger impact.”

Smith believes the event went well and wants to advise young entrepreneurs to do something monumental that could become something more significant for them and those around them.

CEO/Founder of Burghalie Ensemble smiles with content after an eventful night. Photo by Lindsey Britton

Jesula “JJ” Jeannot, a native of Haiti, was recognized for her outstanding involvement in the community. Jeannot, who received the Outstanding Community Service Award, talked about turning her past into fuel to create a partnership clothing brand (that is more than just clothes) to life and the message she wants to convey.

“I am a co-founder of UDT, which stands for universal dream team. We don’t consider ourselves a clothing line, we consider ourselves a movement, which we want to promote resilience around the community, especially with the youth,” Jeannot said. “Many times, we tend to let our past define where we are going, but Jackson (co-founder), and I believe that being resilient is what got us out of our situation.”

Jeannot and her partner believe that they can help the youth in the community to change their paths. When you buy their clothes, it doesn’t just cover the body and provide warmth, but it tells a story of their past and hard work, she said.

Jeannot was a survivor of the major earthquake in Haiti of 2010 and shared her story about why she fights so hard for the movement she believes in.

Other attendees shared their stories and gratitude toward Smith for spreading awareness and highlighting talented people in the community.  Sandler Fleurima, a sophomore broadcast journalism student at Florida A&M University and nominee for the Artist of the Year award, talked about the future and why he is grateful for the event.

“I am forever grateful because I’ve always had an eye for fashion and an eye for being a business owner. At the age of 12, I was the CEO of my own business. I used to sell bowties called SF Bowties. Then, of course, I wanted to do more and became a wardrobe stylist,” Fleurima said. “I just feel like, being recognized for something I put my hard work into, really means a lot to me.”

Fleurima started his wardrobe business through the hardships of his freshman year and it became the light of his life. He wants to use his degree to be a multimedia journalist, TV personality, and stay involved with fashion to utilize his business of wardrobe styling.

Smith and others showed their strengths at the awards ceremony with hopes to continue their dreams and stay involved in the community.