FSSA Alumnus Partners with LIFEWTR

by Maeve Gopeesingh

Desiree Scarborough, who graduated FSSA in 2016, recently entered into artistic partnership with LIFEWTR.

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) has had many talented and successful alumni over the years accomplish incredible things with talents that were encouraged and grown throughout the school building.

Former FSSA art major and current artist and designer Desiree Scarborough, who graduated in 2016, has achieved several impressive achievements since moving on and graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Desiree has been interviewed by Vogue, hypezine, fashionista.com, and has had work displayed in the MET as a semifinalist for The Costume Institute Camp: Notes of Fashion Undergraduate & Graduate Fashion Design Competition. 

Clearly her talents have taken her very far already, and her latest collaboration has been with LIFEWTR, where an image of one of her fashion designs appeared on a LIFEWTR bottle (Heavyweight Drip) was the name of the piece.

“I’d seen LIFEWTR bottles all over when I was back in the city. I knew what kind of reach they had and that having my art on these bottles could take me further than my social media account could,” she said.

LIFEWTR is a Pepsi-owned premium water bottle company with purified, pH balanced water that has been known to fuse creativity into its bottle design. Desiree’s piece was featured in LIFEWTR’s Series 11: Life Unseen collection.

According to the lifewtr.com: “Too many artists go unseen and it’s time for change. That’s why LIFEWTR is opening the floodgates of creativity for everyone with LIFE UNSEEN. In partnership with Issa Rae, we’ve found the 20 most incredible yet unseen creators in America and commissioned one piece of work about a story they believe needs to be told.”

As a creator on social media, Desiree was surprised when a marketing consulting agency reached out to her via Instagram asking her if she would be interested in an upcoming project. After meeting with them, she was grateful to find out LIFEWTR had chosen her to represent their LifeUnseen platform. 

“I had the chance to have my work and my name known nationally (some of my bottles were even found in Amsterdam) with help from a large company. They gave me the freedom and the financial means to fully realize any clothing design that I thought best represented me and my story,” she said.

After receiving this amazing opportunity, she chose a coat design that she created in her sketchbook months prior to be represented on the bottles.

When recognizing her work, it’s important to understand that all of Desiree’s works are emotion based, and reflect different parts of herself and her personal journey. 

“All I know is that it’s a reflection of me in whatever time or emotional space I’m in. I have no idea what it means or why it exists, it’s just because I felt it was important and something I needed to put myself into, and then put out into the world,” she said. 

Since putting these personal themes into her works, she’s seen people connect with the visuals on her LIFEWTR bottles and have had the opportunity to learn more about her story. She’s seen an increase in her follower count on instagram, had strangers mention her in their instagram stories and even DM her about how much they loved the art on her bottles. 

“I guess I say all of that to say the theme is me, what cool thing did I see on the street that’s living rent free in my head, what am I feeling, what am I going through, what keeps me up at night, what truth about myself am I grappling with right now. I think I get hyper-focused on some aspect of my life, create one thing or a bunch of things surrounding it and then for a while I move on completely,” she adds.

 Needless to say it’s been a rewarding experience for Desiree to see her personal works come to life in a way that’s easily accessible and relatable to many.

She came to FSSA knowing she wanted to be a designer, but didn’t want to limit herself to the fashion industries just yet. She wanted her time in high school to be able to explore herself as an artist and play with her general love of the visual arts to help find herself. 

“Going to Sinatra reiterated to me that no journey is a straight path, I was interested in so many mediums and techniques and that was okay, I didn’t eat sleep and breathe fashion and that was okay, too,” she said.

She’s grateful that FSSA gave her the starting tools and freedom she needed to create and advance in her artistic career. 

She then went on to explain that it was actually Mr. Twarog, one of FSSA’s fine art teachers that told her about RISD and encouraged her to apply. The close-knit campus felt familiar to her as well as the environment full of artists. She felt very comfortable and prepared as an artist in this space.

Desiree discussed that she wants to continue collaborating with non-fashion specific companies to expand her palette as an artist.

It was her work as a student at FSSA and RISD that brought her into this part of her journey as an artist and will undoubtedly bring her even farther in the future.