Author Archives: Emily

Internships: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Everybody seems to have an opinion on internships. Are they necessary for “real world” learning? Is it just free labor? Do you actually learn anything worth while?

My opinion has certainly changed since starting at FIT. On the one hand, internships are necessary for the “real world” experience of working with a team, in an office and reporting to people above you. Almost any successful professional will tell you that working under someone is necessary, and you should do it even if it is unpaid. This is where it gets a little complicated.

On the one hand, internships offer (hopefully) invaluable experience, networking opportunities, helpful references, business insight and something to put on your resume. There is no doubt that employers want experience. It can also guide you in deciding what you actually want to do when you graduate. Even if you are absolutely positive you are going to be in advertising, do you want to work for a big company or a small company? An exciting but risky start-up, or a stable respected company where you will have much less responsibility or creative freedom? Are you sure the job you think you want is actually fulfilling?

However, many people now believe that internships are detrimental to students. They certainly take up a lot of time with most companies wanting at least two full days a week. It is also hard to quantify how much someone is learning at an internship. Are you just getting coffee, making copies and running things back and forth, or is your supervisor taking the time to make sure you understand what you are doing and, most importantly, why it is important? Most internships are unpaid, which brings up the argument that internships really only benefit middle to upper class kids who can afford to work for free. If a student is paying their own way through college it is unlikely they will have time for school, their job and an unpaid internship.

Of course, most places try to get around this now with “credit bearing” internships. These are also usually unpaid, but the student can get credit for a class. This allows the school to check up on the work place to ensure it is safe, and that the student is getting enough of an education to make the time spent there worth it. However, these credit-bearing internships are not offered by every company and usually require the student to add  another class to their schedule. This limits the flexibility of their schedule for other classes and obviously takes away more time.

If I may interject with my own opinion here, I do think internships are necessary. The ones I did have certainly helped me see what jobs I thought I was interested in more clearly. I have been exposed to big companies, little companies and growing companies. I have learned a lot and made many helpful connections. However, I have never been paid for my work. I have never even been compensated for lunch or travel. Looking back now, it is very frustrating as well as quite disheartening considering I am looking for a job and having done all this work is not  a guarantee I will get hired. I met a woman recently and asked her if she would ever need a research assistant. She replied that she would love an assistant, but could not afford to pay fair compensation at the moment, and did not feel it was right to accept that labor for free. Even though it was an opportunity I could not have, I was so happy when she said that! I mean it was so refreshing just to hear someone say, “I can’t hire you, but I respect you, your work, and your time too much to let you work for nothing.”

What are your opinions? Have you had any good or bad experiences with internships?

–Emily–

Tips for High School Students

  1. Take AP classes

If your school offers them and your schedule allows, Advanced Placement classes can really free up time in your schedule when you get to college (IF the school accepts them, definitely worth it to check first)

2. Take an Art History course

Here at FIT everyone has to take at least one Art History course for the general education requirements. It’s pretty helpful considering this is by and large an art school, even for the business kids. However, having general knowledge of art can be helpful in understanding concepts in history, sociology and even science  and math! (Ever hear of the golden ratio??) Also, if you take this as an AP and the credits transfer you can get out of this requirement (see above)

3. Apply early

4. Enjoy the summer!

It’s not like summers post college won’t be fun, but right now you have very few responsibilities compared to your future so revel in it baby!

5. Get to know the area around FIT

If it’s possible, you might want to come to 27th Street and scope out the area, find a few food places, see how far the walk to the grocery store is, start making a mental list of cool places you want to visit, etc.

6. If you will be commuting, do a test run day so you know where you’re going

You really don’t want your first day of class to be when you realize the walk from the subway to the school takes fifteen minutes longer than you thought. Trust me, you will be stressed out enough on your first day, and knowing where you’re going will make everything easier. Also, the other people on their way to work won’t hate you for getting in their way.

7. Do creative stuff!

Even though many of your classes and projects will force you to be creative, there will be a lot of stress and guidelines. If you have any personal projects you want to work on do it now while you have the time!

8. Keep up with cultural events around your area/the world

9. Talk to other people starting FIT on Facebook or social media

10. Get to know your roommate(s) and plan what you’re bringing

You really don’t want to end up with three microwaves and no dishes.

11. Talk to people in the industry in your area (boutique owners, FIT alumni, artists, etc.)

People are busy, but if you are respectful of their time everyone loves talking to the next generation of artists!

12. If you’re going to be an Art & Design student consider getting the Adobe Suite

Most of the Art & Design majors will require you to take classes in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign as well as use them independently in projects. Look at what classes you will be taking in your major and see what Adobe is offering (student pricing!) to decide what would be best for your needs.

13. Immerse yourself in culture (movies, books, paintings, etc.) because you will be expected to be able to reference things for projects

14. Save up some money

 NYC is expensive man.


Do you guys have any tips you want to share?

–Emily–

Discovering a Major: Jewelry Design

by Ashley Yakaboski as told to Emily Bennett

Ashley Yakaboski

Ashley Yakaboski

                  When it came time for me to decide on a major and to start looking into colleges, I was one of those people who really wasn’t sure where they wanted to go, or what they wanted to do. Being a creative spirit, and someone who grew up playing with beads and making jewelry throughout high school, the decision to enter into the Jewelry Design program came from my mother. I had always known about FIT, but when my mother informed me about the program I thought this must be a sign. I had never known that such a program existed, so when my mom said, “Ashley, you love making jewelry and working with your hands, why don’t you just apply and see what happens?” I started thinking about it seriously. Since being a part of the Jewelry Design program here at FIT, my love for design has only become more passionate. For me, jewelry is something that is always on my mind.

Looking into different schools I found that this was the only program that was appropriate for what I wanted to learn. Other schools have metal smithing, but FIT has everything from designing to actually making jewelry. For someone who never had much talent in drawing and painting before, my admissions process was a bit difficult, but rewarding. My first task was to write three different essays, one asked why I wanted to go into the jewelry program, and I had to prepare a portfolio. Taking an art portfolio class my senior year in high school was where I spent my time working on drawings and designs that I would submit. I also included pictures of different bead works I made at home. Coming to FIT to show my portfolio was intimidating, but in the end the chairman has positive things to say.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.19.57 AM

Jewelry Design is a major where you either fall in love with the program, or you fall apart. The teachers are so knowledgeable, passionate, and patient that you can’t help but be inspired by them. Jewelry Design is a small, close-knit program where you learn everything you need to know about making jewelry, from designs, technical drawings, soldering, wax carving and so forth. In Jewelry Design the main goal is to understand the process of jewelry and all the different aspects of it, so that way you can discover exactly what part of design you enjoy.

Since Jewelry Design is only an Associates program, they cram many different classes into your schedule. My first semester the main classes were Basic Sculpture, Drawing, Beginning Soldering Techniques, Piercing and Sawing, Wax Carving, Mechanical Drafting, Intro to Jewelry Design, and lastly Tools, Equipment and Processes. After learning all the basics you are then submerged in other classes such as Casting, White Metal Model, Jewelry Design Two, and eventually you pick between studio classes and jewelry design for your third and fourth semester. (Studio classes only involve the techniques of physically creating jewelry, and jewelry design only involves designing and rendering)

Design I created for my final portfolio

Design I created for my final portfolio

I have taken so many inspirational classes and each teacher has given me so much, but one of my favorites was Jewelry Casting with Rebekah Laskin. I never knew there are so many options when it comes to casting. Although I made a lot of mistakes in this class, those mistakes further helped me understand the process. In this class we took part in cuttlefish casting, where you pour hot metal into a cuttlefish bone, and the bone becomes the design. We also had a project where we were supposed to take a found object and get a mold and casting of it, then our found object would then be made into metal and jewelry. I had lace casted and made a pretty pair of earrings and ring.

From the casting class

From the casting class

Jewelry Design here at FIT prepares us to either work in studios, where we make jewelry, or we can work for companies that need designers to design and render different pieces that can be manufactured by the company. My ultimate goal would be to have my own home studio where I can design and make jewelry, depending on my inspiration.

Since graduating from Jewelry Design, I am now in a completely different major at FIT called Production Management, where we learn about the mass production or garments and all the steps of making a garment, from the tools, stitches, seam, construction, fabrics and so forth all in order to make the garment in the most efficient way. Although Jewelry Design is completely different from Production Management, and although I miss Jewelry Design tremendously, I have discovered that I have different areas of interest, but I also have learned that I further see myself working in the jewelry industry.

FIT Tigers Tennis Team!

FIT Tigers Tennis Team!

While in Jewelry Design the least amount of classes I took in a semester was 10 and my most was 12, so the idea of having an internship during that time is unimaginable. In Production Management I am eligible for an internship my senior year, so until then I am focusing on school and side projects. Even so, I am a very busy bee and time management is my ultimate strength in life. I was involved with the FIT women’s tennis team for two years, I am a student designer for the Style Shop, I was involved in the FIT Skyliners Acapella group for two semesters, I am involved with the production management club, I am a Resident Assistant and mentor, I am a Student Ambassador and I still have time for side projects that make me happy. In all honesty it sounds like a lot and that it would be hard to maintain extracurriculars, but that is the beauty of time management and calendars! Furthermore, when faced with a homework assignment it is always my priority to get it done right away in order to enjoy my free time with these extracurriculars, which make me less stressed.

Since starting FIT I have learned so much about myself and my future, but I think the most influential thing I learned was that everyone has different styles and techniques and each one is unique to who they are. Each project, assignment, and talk with a teacher is something that we shouldn’t take for granted because in those moments we learn about ourselves and about what we like in our major. If you don’t take that seriously, then how will you ever know if you are learning and ultimately how will you know where you see yourself going in life?


To learn more about the Jewelry Design major click here!

–Emily–

Discovering a Major: Entrepreneurship

by Laura Vitarelli as told to Emily Bennett

Laura Vitarelli

Laura Vitarelli

I just recently decided what I wanted to do. Within the past two years I decided I wanted to become an esthetician, which is doing professional makeup, facials, peels, laser hair removal,  and other things related to skin care. I definitely want to try to start my own line of skincare and makeup products, which is why I chose Entrepreneurship as my major.

Many of the classes I take in Entrepreneurship revolve around fashion, which I am interested in as well. The program aims to address the real life demands of today’s marketplace. It is an option for students who want to become more impactful members of society, learn how to manage creativity, become more innovative in business, and learn how to build a sustainable enterprise.

The fact that FIT has a major dedicated to learning how to run a start-up was a huge factor in choosing the school. The admissions process was the same as anyone else applying to a major in the School of Business and Technology. I had to write an essay about why I was the perfect fit for this school, send transcripts and test scores. I didn’t have to show a portfolio or anything like the Art & Design students.

Currently, I am enrolled in the AAS Advertising and Marketing Communications program (Entrepreneurship is a Bachelor’s Degree program). I believe having both majors when I graduate from FIT will prepare me for being involved in today’s crazy marketplace and enhance my knowledge about the business world and how it works. So far, Computer Design has been my favorite class. Right now I am working on a portrait of Ariana Grande made solely of typed letters. It is really challenging and interesting. I visited the club fair last week, and WFIT, the campus broadcast club,  has me interested. And I am definitely going to join the Models and Stylists Association so that I can do makeup on people.

Even though it is only my first couple of months at FIT, the biggest lesson I have learned is to get out of your comfort zone. I think it is something everyone has to do in order to succeed and realize who they are.


To learn more about the Entrepreneurship major click here. And to find out about Advertising and Marketing Communications click here.

–Emily–

Pre-College Programs

If you just cannot wait to study at FIT, there are classes available to middle and high school students. The program is called Saturday Live (or Summer Live depending on what time of year it is). One of my friends, who is now at RISD, told me about the classes and I ended up taking  five different courses while I was in high school:

Manual Patternmaking and Sewing

Introduction to Fashion Design Industry

Creative Fabric Painting

Fashion Art for Fashion Designers

Fashion Art Portfolio

The classes would run from 9-12 and then 1-4 after lunch. I lived in Westchester so I did the morning Metronorth commute with all the parents who lived in my town. The classes were good for laying down the basics for the courses I would take when I got to college. They were fun and not very stressful, so we could take risks and not worry about failing. You do get graded in these courses, but the grades do not hold any college credit value and are therefore just meant to help you evaluate yourself.

While you certainly could never replace, say, the college level patternmaking couse with the one I took over the summer, the classes were a fantastic place to meet other fashion-focused kids my age, test the waters of various disciplines and evaluate my base skill levels.

I realized that I was set on going into fashion design in college, so I took classes specifically to improve my portfolio. Taking these classes certainly does not guarantee you will get into FIT, but actually working in the classrooms with real teachers from the college helps tremendously. I think it also gives a great sneak peak into what it would actually be like to go to FIT. My Fashion Art Portfolio teacher reviewed my portfolio before I sent it in with my application and then I ended up having her as my Fashion Art & Design professor second semester! She even recognized me on the first day of class. Now, they have even organized the classes into groups so you can see which to take in preparation for certain majors.

–Emily–

Girls (and Guys) Gotta Eat!

Although there are ample places to get food around FIT, we do have dining plans for anyone who wishes to have one. In fact, for anyone living in the Coed or Nagler residence halls, a dining plan is required (because those dorms do not have kitchens).

There are different types of meal plans offered. Each one includes a certain amount of declining balance money. This can be used for items that are not “meals” like candy bars, bottled drinks, Starbucks items, etc.  Meals include an entree, drink, side salad, fruit or cookies. The different plans include varying amounts of declining balance dollars and meals per week. (ex: 14 meals a week with $110 declining balance for the semester) However, money can always be added to the declining balance if you run out. Declining balance money carries over from Fall to Spring semesters, but not when a new academic year starts.

For more information on Dining Plans click here. And for FAQs click here.

The dining hall entrance

The dining hall entrance

There are several different places you can get food on your meal plan. First is the main dining hall in the Dubinsky Center. There is a grill station (you’ve got your standard hamburger selection, quesadillas, fish fillets, etc.), sandwich station, salad and soup bar, pizza, sushi and breakfast bar.

Breakfast cereals and coffee

Breakfast cereals and coffee

The Salad Bar

The Salad Bar

The dining hall

The dining hall

The dining hall itself is pretty basic, although FITSA and Student Life do hold different activities there throughout the week. Last week there was breakfast for dinner where scrambled eggs, hash browns, pancakes, etc. were given to students for free after 9pm. Also, a movie is screened every Wednesday night at 8 (save on those vastly over priced movie tickets and popcorn!)

FIT's Starbucks

FIT’s Starbucks

We also have a Starbucks on campus where, as I mentioned earlier, you can use your declining balance, which is nice because if you come during a break in class you don’t have to bring your wallet down, just your id.

FIT Express dining

FIT Express dining

"Grab and Go" salad and sandwich options

“Grab and Go” salad and sandwich options

There is also the “FIT Express Cafe” in the lobby of the Feldman building. You can’t have food made for you here, but there are “grab and go” options like sandwiches, salads, snacks, candy, coffee, fruit, bottled drinks, etc. I use this more than the main dining hall now because I don’t live on campus or have a dining plan, and almost all my classes are in the Feldman building. It is extremely convenient.

If you are living off campus or in Alumni or Kaufman, a dining plan is not required. There are many grocery stores and food options along Seventh and Eighth Avenues, so no need to worry. I had a dining plan for my freshman year but did not get it after that. Personally, I used the declining balance a lot, but never used up all my meals each week. It really depends on each person and their preferred diet though.

–Emily–

Discovering a Major: Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design

by Kate Kim as told to Emily Bennett

Kate Kim

Kate Kim

I am currently in my final semester in Fabric Styling, but I got my Associate’s degree in Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design.

A display I designed for Sol Republic headphones

A display I designed for Sol Republic headphones

The Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design (VPED) major focuses on the visual aspects of designing displays and equipment, and the overall merchandising of a store. We also gain experience designing “pop-up shops”, which are gaining popularity in today’s market. People who choose this major generally have goals of becoming visual merchandisers, merchandise display designers, store layout designers, or window display designers. This major was the number one factor why FIT was my top choice. There is no other program like VPED in the whole country! What really drew me in was the fact that it specializes in a specific industry, yet it provides so many various opportunities career-wise. Because of the classes I took, I have experience creating visual presentations and displays for brick-and-mortar stores, pop-up shops, museums, showrooms, exhibition and event spaces as well as experience in event planning, set design, mannequin styling and even more! Right now I am interning with Michael Kors.

A Point of Purchase design encouraging voting

A Point of Purchase design to encourage voting

Mannequins I styled that were on display in the windows looking out onto Seventh Avenue

Mannequins I styled that were on display in the windows looking out onto Seventh Avenue

  I chose VPED because I was fascinated with the idea of capturing people’s attention on the street with a window display, therefore creating interest to come inside to shop. Some of the classes I really enjoyed were Display Graphics, Point-of-Purchase Display Design, Design and Rendering, Event and Promotion Design and Exhibition Design. I think the most interesting class I took was the Exhibition Design one. We had to design a pop up shop layout as well as the merchandise displays. I remember working on the 7th Avenue window with a group to create props and design a window to display merchandise. This was seen by everyone who walked by the school!

A design for the pop-up shop version of Bonobos

A design for the store Bonobos

The greatest thing I learned from attending FIT was mastering several computer graphics programs as well as familiarizing myself with the fashion and visual design industry.


Find out more about Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design here!

Note: Starting in Fall of 2015 the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design major will no longer be an Associate’s of Applied Science Degree. The College has changed it to a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. The College recommends any students interested in pursuing a BFA in VPED to first complete their Associate’s Degree in Communication Design.

–Emily–

Discovering a Major: Technical Design

by Olivia Jorge as told to Emily Bennett

Olivia Jorge

Olivia Jorge

Technical Design involves fitting garments and understanding both the design and production sides of the industry. Most students in the program came from a fashion design background or took prerequisite courses in draping and pattern making. The Technical Design program focuses on understanding garment construction through flat and computerized pattern making and fit corrections, as well as technical sketching and measuring garments.  Live models are also brought in to strengthen our knowledge of fitting.

I’m in my 8th semester now. My Associate’s degree is in Fashion Design, and I switched right into Technical Design for my Bachelor’s. I didn’t know about the major when I started at FIT; I originally chose the school for the Fashion Design program because it was so prestigious.  The location and in-state tuition didn’t hurt either! However, once I heard about the Technical program I knew I wanted to switch. After my first year of Fashion Design, I realized I was becoming less motivated in actually designing. I’ve always liked math, and the pattern making classes were what I enjoyed most in my first major. When I heard about the Technical Design major, I knew I would enjoy the more “technical” side of things.

These pictures show one final project I completed last year. This is the technical sketch I created as the first step

These pictures show one final project I completed last year. This is the technical sketch I created as the first step

I really enjoyed the pattern grading class I took. We first learned how to grade, or increase and decrease the size of a pattern, by hand using a device that had precise measurements, down to 1/32 of an inch. Then we moved on to using a computer pattern program. Grading involves a good amount of math, and it’s interesting to see how such small differences in measurements actually amount to complete garment size differences.

This is the first fitting we had of the design. We worked with partners to sew it and correct the fit

This is the first fitting we had of the design. We worked with partners to sew it and correct the fit

Because FIT is so career-oriented, it’s hard to focus on anything but your major. FIT taught me that hard work can take you far, as long as you love what you’re doing. Coming in as a freshman, I had my mind set on becoming a designer. Once I realized that wasn’t truly right for me, I became a little discouraged but eventually found my path. As a senior now, I’m still not completely confident that technical design is right for me, but I’ll continue figuring things out as I go on.

These were the fit issues we documented and fixed for the final presentation. Everything was handed in as a technical packet to show our process

These were the fit issues we documented and fixed for the final presentation. Everything was handed in as a technical packet to show our process

While in Fashion Design, I did two internships with small design companies and worked for another designer making patterns. After my first year of Technical Design, I did a (paid!) summer internship at Victoria’s Secret in their swimwear department. The people I worked with loved having me, so they’ve been extending my time ever since. Right now my last day is in February, but they’re already working on getting an extension approved. The maximum time allowed for their interns is one year, so by then I’ll have graduated and they can hopefully hire me full-time. If not, I’ll be applying for an assistant or associate technical design position. I would be working with other technical designers in achieving a brand’s ideal fit each season. I’d be assisting with the fittings and sending tech packs overseas with all the garment details and fit corrections to prepare garments for production. Ideally, I’d like to end up working with fitting bras and lingerie.


Find out more about the Technical Design major (BS) here!
–Emily–

The Last First Day

Most of you reading this probably haven’t even started college yet, so I’m sure you’re not thinking about the way it will end. Well one day, in the distant future, you too will have your last first day of school.

It is a weird sensation to know that this could very well be my last first day of school ever. That is, unless I go to grad school or take a night class. I’ve always had the strange desire to be that one old person who is in at least one of your classes each semester without fail.

^^ Me tho

^^ Me tho

I couldn’t sleep the night before. I’m not sure why, I mean I have done this first day of the semester thing seven times already – maybe it was because I stayed up until 4 am over the weekend? Nah, that couldn’t be why. Of course, waking up the next morning was hard and I ended up oversleeping a little which meant I had to rush. Great. The commuting time is earlier than it had been in the past few weeks for my job, so I forgot that the hundred or so elementary schools surrounding my apartment opened at the same time. This meant that the Dunkin’ near my house was full to the brim of yelling, confused and spatially unaware ten year-olds. No coffee for me then. Already late I rushed to the 6 train station only to find it was backed up. Even going to the very end of the platform didn’t help! Two trains later I got on, woo! Oh wait, just two stops and we’re delayed because someone got sick. About fifteen minutes of waiting. It was at this point that I realized I would not have time to wait on line for the new sticker for my ID. Every dang semester! Would I ever learn? Guess it’s too late now. I decided I would just have to do what I normally do, which is mumble something incoherent to the security guard about being late and run through too quickly for them to stop me. I could always come back after class. Five minutes late to film class. Damn, he already started. Luckily, the professor turned out to be really cool and the class was quite fun. Leaving class I have five texts and a missed call. The rest of the day was cancelled because of the impending blizzard. Tuesday too. This was the strangest last first day ever.

–Emily–

18 Reasons to Love NYC in the Winter

If there is one thing New Yorkers love to do, it’s complain. We complain about a lot of things – rent, traffic, construction – but the biggest offender by far? Weather. Especially cold weather. Every winter there is incessant whining about slushy sidewalks, freezing rain and wind tunnels created by the grid streets. But with all this Grinch-yness it can be easy to lose sight of why it is some awesome to live in this city all year round! So, even if you’re reading this holed up in your room with hot chocolate and an impending Netflix queue because it is too dang cold to leave the building, let me try to remind you of some awesome things you are experiencing!

18 Reasons to love nyc winter

Do you have any winter activities you look forward to doing each year?

–Emily–