Author Archives: 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–

Discovering a Major: Art History and Museum Professions

by Stephanie Zlotnick as told to Emily Bennett

Steph Zlotnick

Steph Zlotnick

 

I am entering my sixth semester at FIT. I was originally Fashion Merchandising Management, which I got my AAS in, and then I switched into Art History and Museum Professions for my Bachelors of Science degree. I actually did not know that FIT had this major until the middle of my freshman year. I knew coming here that they had an art history minor, so I thought that I would want to do that, but when I found out there was a Bachelors major for it I  chose that instead since I fell in love with the classes.

I had to take some art history classes in FMM for my liberal arts requirements and I just fell in love with them. I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want to stay in FMM for all four years, so when I found out that there was an Art History major, I decided to switch into it. I really like that it’s a combination of art history classes and business classes, teaching us the ins and outs of museums. I also like that the classes are more focused on writing, which is something I missed in my FMM classes. Art History and Museum Professions really teaches us both about art history in a variety of concentrations and how museums run. Many of our classes involve the history and purpose of museums as well as the administrative and business aspects of museum management.

Right now, I’m not completely sure what I want to do for my career in the end, but I really like the idea of doing special events or development in a museum. The degree is non-curatorial, but it prepares us for other departments within museums, like PR, development, education, special events, etc.

This past summer, I interned for ArtsWestchester, a small non-profit organization in White Plains, NY that runs programs and events to promote arts throughout Westchester County. I worked in the Development department as a Special Events/Fundraising intern, so I worked on planning an auction and gala to raise money for the organization.

It’s a difficult decision, but I think the most interesting classes I have taken are “Modern Art” and “History and Meaning of Museum”. I learned so much from them about art history in general as well as how much art and museums depend on culture and vice versa.

I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned at FIT is that it’s okay to not know exactly what you want right away. I came here thinking I would work in fashion, but when I didn’t love FMM as much as I thought I would, it was nice to know that I could switch my major to something I really wanted to learn more about, and it’s not wrong to want a change.

 


 

 Find out more about the Art History and Museum Professions major (BS) here!
–Emily–

Discovering a Major: Fabric Styling

Despite the fact that the Fashion Design and the Fashion Merchandising Management programs are by far the largest here, FIT is not just a “fashion” school. We offer 29 undergraduate programs and 7 graduate programs. However, even after four years I was shocked, shocked, to find out that majors existed that I had never heard of (I’m looking at you Home Products Design). So, in an effort to bring to light the many other fantastic opportunities FIT offers, I am started a new segment called “Discovering a Major”.

Usually, I will have mini interviews with students from each major giving insight into what they actually do and learn, but for this first installment I think I will discuss my own rather unknown major: Fabric Styling.

This was a tabletop styling project we did this semester

This was a tabletop styling project we did this semester

Originally, I was a Fashion Design major and got my Associates Degree in that. However, towards the end of my second year I was getting frustrated and overwhelmed with the program. After many hours of crying on the phone with my mom questioning every possible path I could take, I decided to switch my major on the last possible day to apply for Fabric Styling.

Fabric Styling is a weird major, and no one really knows how to describe it. I say it’s a very broad field of study that mixes textile development, trend forecasting and actual styling. This variety is a big part of why I chose it. At 20 years old I really didn’t have a clear sign of exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and choosing a less specific major was actually really freeing for me and re-ignited my creativity.

This was a fashion styling project we did with a real studio set up and model

This was a fashion styling project we did with a real studio set up and model

I am still not totally clear on where I want to be after I graduate (and yes, it is still extremely stressful), but i know I want to stay in the fashion world and travel around the world. Hopefully I will be able to find a job that allows me to do both. So far I have had internships with a small fashion designer, ELLE magazine, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an agency for stylists.

I was the first Fabric Styling student (along with one classmate) to have the chance to study abroad. Florence was amazing, although most of our classes were not exactly what students in New York were doing. I will say the program is not run perfectly, but there are lots of opportunities available if you take advantage of them.

This was a mood board for a lingerie design project

This was a mood board for a lingerie design project

I really enjoy the “Fabric Styling” and “Research Techniques” classes because although the projects have specific end goals, we are free to achieve them however we feel and it has allowed me to creatively stretch my presentation skills. My least favorite class so far has been  “Advertising and Promotion”. I just don’t think the advertising and marketing worlds are for me, although it was helpful to be introduced to the more business side of the industry.

We learn many different programs for developing textiles

We learn many different programs for developing textiles

My favorite part of the major is that it is only a Bachelor’s degree program so everyone comes from different academic backgrounds. Most people started in the Fashion Merchandising Management (although the department has been changing their policies and as of now is no longer accepting anyone from the business school unfortunately), but I have classmates that have studied Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, Textile/Surface Design and even transferred from outside liberal arts colleges. It has been really helpful to not only see how they interpret the projects, but also hear their critiques and past experiences.

If you are interested in more examples of work I have done for Fabric Styling you can see my portfolio here. To learn more about the major itself click here!

I hope to introduce you to more of the lesser-known majors FIT offers soon!

–Emily–

Influencers at FIT – Valerie Steele

Here at FIT we have a vast resource at our fingertips: the Museum at FIT (located below the Gladys Marcus library). In addition to the numerous exhibitions held every year, students also have access to the study collection where garments, accessories and textiles can be seen up close.  Valerie Steele is the curator of the Museum, a prolific fashion academic, and the editor of the journal Fashion Theory. I sat down with Ms. Steele to discuss her impressive history as well as the museum’s past and future:

Credit: Aaron Cobbett

Credit: Aaron Cobbett

This interview has been edited and condensed for publication


Since this interview is for the Admissions Blog, I wanted to ask you a little about your own education. What did you find most helpful about your university education?

Hmm…well, I’ve never been asked that before. I guess that the most important thing I learned, both as an undergraduate at Dartmouth and a graduate student at Yale, was how to do research–learning how to use primary research. I know when I used to teach in the graduate school here at FIT, that was something I pounded into the students, the difference between primary and secondary research. That was something I thought was especially important.

You said that while getting your PhD the study of fashion was really vilified. Being here in New York, which is one of the “big four” fashion capitals, and also being here at FIT one of the best design schools, it may seem like this has passed, but do you think there has actually been change outside of this bubble?

Well, I think fashion is much more accepted as a field of serious study. There are many more people around the world working on articles, books and exhibitions about fashion. On the other hand, there are still very few places that offer a doctorate in fashion studies. It is still very much an interdisciplinary field. So, if you want to go ahead and study fashion you still have to think, “Will I be in an art history department or history or cultural studies? Where can I find someplace to study that?”

And you never studied museum-ology or museum theory, so was it difficult to transition from academic writing to more creatively focused exhibitions?

It’s interesting you should ask that. My doctorate is in Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History, but I did every single class, except one, and my dissertation in the history of fashion. When I started teaching in the graduate school at FIT, it was in what was then the Museum Studies Costume and Textiles Department, now it is called Fashion and Textiles Studies: History, Theory and Museum Practice. So I was teaching fashion history, but within the framework of a museum studies program. Obviously it was exciting and new to actually be putting on exhibitions here. That was a big thrill. It is not that different from the kind of research you do for putting together a big article or a book. In fact, all my big exhibitions here are accompanied by a book as well, so it is the same kind of research procedure.

In that same vein, who do you see as the audience of the Museum at FIT, and how do you pique their interests?

Well, our audiences are multiple. Obviously the FIT community is one of our core audiences, and then people in fashion and design-related fields are another. A third is just the museum-going public, and that is very much an international public. So, we try to do shows that represent original research, but that are also accessible to people at all levels of sophistication. A lot of the FIT community or designers who come to shows really know a lot about fashion history and design so you have to give them more, extra in-depth things. But you also want to be accessible to people who walk in off the street. They might be anyone from a six-year-old to a grandma who might not know very much about fashion, but you have to intrigue them as well. That is the idea to try and present it in a way which is visually stimulating and exciting so that whether they know anything about the topic or if they bother to read anything, they can still get something out of the show.

I actually have noticed a lot of children when I am in the museum, and I am amazed they are not only interested, but they comment on stuff!

Oh they will! Absolutely! A colleague of mine brought her two-year-old son to the corset show, and she said he just sat down on the floor and gazed up at this Vivenne Westwood corset-dress. She thought it was wonderful, she said, “oh there he is fantasizing about the eternal feminine.”

What do you think the hardest part about developing a show is? Is it picking the topic or is it finding people to work with or…?

Oh, I don’t know if there is a “hardest” part. I think one of the challenges is actually getting your hands on the things you want to put in the show. You’ll do all kinds of research, and you’ll think, “Okay I want this dress, I want this dress…” but then you have to find out who owns that? And will they lend it to me? And how much will it cost to borrow it, how can I raise the money to borrow it? Et cetera, et cetera.

Well, that leads me into my next question. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute collection is the only one, at least in New York, that can even compare to the one at the Museum at FIT. So what is your relationship with them, do you borrow and lend a lot for shows?

We do borrow and lend with them. I wouldn’t say a lot, but every few shows they will borrow something from us or we will borrow from them. Two pieces in the dance exhibition are from the Met, and we’re lending I think four pieces to their China exhibition which will open in the Spring.

So it is only a few pieces then. I guess you both have such huge collections neither of you need to borrow anything.

Well, it is interesting, we will borrow back and forth for a few key pieces, and both of us have a pretty good idea of what is in the other collection. We also borrow and lend from the Museum of the City of New York, which also has a fantastic collection. Most of the older things, for example, if there is a 19th century thing, we will try and borrow from them. We also loaned to their Stephen Burrows show a year ago.

Oh yes, I saw that show and I have to admit I was a little surprised. I didn’t think the Museum of the City of New York had that much fashion, but I guess they do.

Oh, they do! They have a really wonderful fashion collection.

Is there one specific exhibit that sticks out in your mind as being particularly exciting or difficult or just interesting for you?

Well, a couple. I loved working on Gothic: Dark Glamour. That was the first time we did a really immersive mise-en- scène with a graveyard, a laboratory, and a ruined castle and things. That was great fun, and I think good preparation for upcoming shows like our fairy tale show, which we will do in 2016 that will similarly have dramatic mise-en-scènes. And then, of course, A Queer History of Fashion won us a lot of prizes, particularly for the work that we did both in reaching out to the LGBT community and doing media online. I think that was also good preparation for remembering to focus on diversity themes in all of our shows and also remembering to emphasize media media media! It is a great way to reach out to people. Even if they cannot come in the door of the exhibition, they can still get information and images online.

Who writes for Fashion Theory, which is your journal?

It is mostly curators and professors and graduate students.

So is it mostly people you have met? Or do people apply?

No, no it is a peer-reviewed journal which means that people send things in, and then I have to find one or two experts in their field who will peer review it and say whether or not it is good enough to go in, or absolutely not, or can it go in only if they make x, y, z changes. It is much more prestigious and important for scholars to be published in a peer-reviewed journal than just a regular magazine.

I just wanted to introduce the readers to the Couture Council, because I think a lot of people don’t even know that it exists. And to be honest, I don’ t know that much about it because there isn’t that much information available.

Yes, the Couture Council is a friends group, which many museums have. It is a membership group; members pay $1,000 a year and young members under 35 pay $350 a year. They can come to various events, and the money–their membership fees along with the awards luncheon–help fund exhibitions, public programs and acquisitions for the museum. We get some money from corporations and foundations, but the Couture Council is nice because it is reliable. No matter what our show is about, whether it is a kooky one that we can’t get any corporate sponsors to fund, or it is controversial in some way, we know the Couture Council is there to help support all our exhibitions and all our public programs.

Lastly, is there anything you would like to do professionally that you haven’t had the chance to do yet?

Well, of course, if you had your own television show, you could reach a bigger audience. I do a lot of [appearances on] TV shows, but I think there is a lot more that could be done. Now, of course, television is becoming a bit outdated, so you really have to think in terms of the world-wide web. We have a new department specifically focusing on media and new initiatives. Many of the videos shown in the lobby are on the YouTube page. On YouTube there’s a little of this and a little of that. Each of the fashion exhibitions has its own website and we’re increasingly doing videos for those.

Yes, I have used the exhibition websites for information for some class projects. They are done really beautifully. Well, thank you so much for sitting down with me. It was a pleasure talking to you!

Of course, with pleasure! Thank you, it was nice talking to you!

–Emily–

Curious About the Dorms?

Wondering what the dorms are actually like? Take a look at some FIT student’s room tours!

Nagler:

Alumni:

Coed:

Kaufman:

How to Apply for Housing:

Hope that answers some questions!

–Emily–