Author Archives: Emily

Like, Share, Retweet, Follow – FIT is All Over That Social Media Game

Want to stay updated on all things FIT? Well here is an easy map to make it easy for you:

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

FIT’S EVENTS CALENDAR

THE GLADYS MARCUS LIBRARY

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

FIT’S LIBRARY INSTAGRAM

PINTEREST 

THE SPECIAL COLLECTION’S FACEBOOK

THE SPECIAL COLLECTION’S TWITTER

STUDY ABROAD

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

BLOG

THE MUSEUM AT FIT

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

EVENTS CALENDAR

FIT has endless blogs, Twitters, Facebooks, Instagrams, etc. so feel free to comment with one you found and particularly liked and I will keep updating this list. These were just some highlights I thought most would find helpful and interesting.

–Emily–

Maybe a Minor?

Camus to Caravaggio. Da Vinci to Darwin. Aristophanes to Zappa. Know who they are? You should. Because a well-rounded knowledge base is the sign of an inquisitive mind — and a solid liberal arts education is the best way to work that muscle – FIT’s School of Liberal Arts

Despite the fact FIT is an extremely specialized arts college, everyone here still has to take math, science, English and even phys ed. Yes, every FIT graduate has to complete two gym credits. This is because FIT is a SUNY school (State University of New York) and since we receive funding from the government, we are required to follow some of their rules. At first, this may seem very annoying and you are not going to want to do it. Hey, I feel you. Did I want to take another math or science class after high school? No. Did I drag my feet everyday to those classes when I took them here? Yes, but it wasn’t that bad, I promise.

In fact, I think that the liberals we have to take make for a nice break from the never ending deluge of fashion we are under (or photography, or graphic design, or interior design…you get the picture). Sure, you may not enjoy all the liberal arts classes you take, but I bet you will really enjoy a few. Because we are required to take so many liberal arts, it actually makes it easier to complete a minor, which can really bolster your degree.minor card

You can declare a minor after completing five courses (or 15 credits) from the specified classes for the minor you choose. If you have transfer credits coming in from high school or another college, plus the class or two you are required to take in that subject here, you may already be more than halfway done!

I personally have finished an Art History minor and am one class away from finishing my Fashion Studies minor, and the classes I have taken for those have easily been my favorites. Yes, it is more hours of class, but knowledge and better understanding of the world outside your major’s industry can greatly impact the success of  your work and make you a more rounded person. If nothing else, speak to your adviser and see how many classes you would need to complete a minor, you never know, you could be only one class away!

Fashion Studies minor example

Fashion Studies minor example

FIT offers minors in English, Speak & Communication, Modern Languages & Cultures, Film, Media & the Performing Arts, Science, Math & Economics, History & History of Art, and Sociology, Psychology & International Politics. For a complete list of classes click here. There are really interesting and engaging classes so I encourage you to check them out. (side note: if you want descriptions of the classes you can copy the course number – i.e. HA 347 – and paste it into the search bar at fitnyc.edu)

–Emily–

Let’s Dance

The Museum at FIT is one of the best resources for design students here. There is almost always two exhibitions on view that can serve as inspiration for any personal or required projects. The exhibits can also be helpful for any student who is interested in learning more about fashion history.

Currently the upstairs exhibit is called Exposed: A History of Lingerie (on view until November 15). The main exhibit, which is located below the main floor, is titled Dance & Fashion (on view until January 3).

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The exhibit starts its focus on the development of the “traditional” ballet outfit and continues through  the Ballet Russes, modern and then contemporary dance.

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The "Team Vicious" steppers featured in Rick Owen's Spring 2014 runway show

The “Team Vicious” steppers featured in Rick Owen’s Spring 2014 runway show

In the main lobby, there are benches surrounding a television that plays videos of designers, costumers and choreographers collaborating on a loop. It is very interesting to see  where the lines of modern design, stage costume and the athleticism of the dancers intersect.

Prabal Gurung's design for the NYC Ballet (Fall of 2013) in the workshop. The finished garment is on display in the exhibit

Prabal Gurung’s design for the NYC Ballet (Fall of 2013) in the workshop. The finished garment is on display in the exhibit

The Museum at FIT also hosts two day symposiums every fall that bring together experts on the current exhibit. I personally love the symposiums, and although I sometimes have to miss some of the presentations because of classes, I try to stay for as many as possible. It is a completely free way to hear some of the most brilliant minds in fashion and cultural history.

A presentation during the  "Ivy Style" symposium in 2012

A presentation during the “Ivy Style” symposium in 2012

Some other resources the Museum provides are online exhibitions and (some of) their extensive archive is available to outside researchers as well as graduate AND undergraduate students. I will talk about the research opportunities in a future post, but the online exhibitions are a very valuable resource as well. It is not quite the same as seeing the exhibit in person, but the museum provides the academic information and pictures of the key garments that were on display. It is very helpful if your inspiration for a project relates to a past exhibit.

Lastly, the Museum at FIT is a strong advocate for student work. While the main exhibition spaces are reserved for scholarly shows curated by professionals who work for the museum, there is a side gallery that almost exclusively features student work. Displays of faculty work rotate with the final projects of some of the graduating students. The Museum Studies graduate program also curates their exhibitions in this space.

The Museum is open to the public and completely FREE! So be sure to stop by if you are visiting campus or if you live in the area. It is located on the corner of 27th street and 7th Avenue.

–Emily–

You Gotta Get Dirty to Be Beautiful

“New York is so dirty and the people who live there are mean!”

Ok, I’m not going to get into perception vs. reality, and how perception can affect reality, but i have to admit, we are a dirty bunch. I don’t think it is as bad as most people believe, but you can see overflowing garbage cans on street corners, the subway tracks are treated like one huge dumpster, and people don’t seem to have any problem with spitting anywhere and everywhere.

This is no excuse. If you ride the subway regularly, I’m sure you have heard the announcement condemning littering and reporting that it has contributed to an incredible amount of  track fires. Not only should you throw your trash in a trash bin whose sole purpose is to collect said trash, it would benefit all New Yorkers, and some could say the whole world, to go the extra step and pick up other, less considerate, people’s trash.

Last Saturday I went to Riverside Park’s Pier i to help out in their regular volunteer powered clean up. I was surprised, but pleased at the amount of people who had turned up early on a Saturday to help, especially because most were young people who seemed genuinely happy to lend their services. I have done the Riverside clean up before as part of the Pres Scholars push to impress the importance of community, generosity and giving back to others upon us. Previously, we have raked leaves, dug draining trenches and pulled weeds, but this time we were climbing rocks that descended into the river to pick up trash.

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Three other Pres Scholars and I formed a mini team that took a section of the riverbank and just started scavenging. At first it looked relatively clean and I thought we would be done very quickly, but boy was I wrong. The rocks were big, so although it looked clean, all the garbage was hidden in the crevices, and there was a lot. Part of my job was to keep track of what exactly we found and how much, so I am not exaggerating when I say the amount of trash there was obscene. And it’s not even a place where people hang out directly adjacent! By far the most garbage we found was plastic bottles and, for some reason, foam. There was SO MUCH FOAM. I guess it’s because foam doesn’t really disintegrate so it was probably just there forever? All I know is, STOP USING FOAM PEOPLE. IT’S BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILL BE HERE AFTER WE ALL DIE. I cannot express the monstrous amount of foam we found. We also found two condoms (still packaged, thank God), a used tampon applicator (gross), a syringe (scary), and a full ball of yarn (why?). Whoever left all of that there, y’all are nasty.

Look at all our success!!

Look at all our success!!

Despite being thoroughly grossed out by not only the physical objects we found, but also by the knowledge that there is so much trash that no one sees or bothers to clean up, volunteering was fun. It was a beautiful day out, we made a real and quantifiable difference in the beauty of our city, and by not sleeping in like  I wished to, I got a lot done today! Since I was already on the West Side I even went to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries and it cost HALF of what I usually spend at the grocery store near my apartment! (More on that later). Most people want to help, but always find a reason not to, whether that be they are too busy, intimidated or tired. But volunteering can be fun! Just find something you like to do, bring a friend and remember that you are being one of the few and the great who proactively improve our world!

–Emily–

Annoying Apartments

So, I finally decided to move out of the dorms and stake out on my own. I had heard that looking for real estate in New York City was hard, but heeeyy it can’t be that bad, right? “It will be fiiiiiine” I told myself.

omg totes gonna be my apartment

omg totes gonna be my apartment

Um…no.

There are many reasons why looking for an apartment in New York is so frustrating, but I think most stem from people changing their minds. One of the biggest issues I had was finding a roommate. This didn’t seem so hard at first, I was going to live with one of my friends who hadn’t moved in with the rest of our group in their place on Wall Street. Great, awesome. Fast forward to the middle of the summer before the semester starts and all of the sudden she is graduating a semester early and then moving back home to go to grad school. I mean, I’m happy for her of course, but it put me in a really crappy position. Then, I met this guy through a friend of mine who was also looking for an apartment near Columbia because he was going to start grad school. I met him, he seemed chill, so we decided to go in it together. However, neither of us was really doing a good job researching places and it kind of hung in the air for a while. Then a friend of mine who just graduated from FIT said he wanted to look for a place on the west side so he wouldn’t have to commute from Long Island for his job anymore. Great! I told Columbia guy “Sorry, I have to back out,” and he said he was going to tell me the same anyway because he got into med school! New roommate guy was an actual friend of mine and I looked forward to living together. Well, living with a guy who is not your significant other made finding the right apartment even harder (i.e. two bedrooms only, and railroads are not an option). Add in some inflexibility about location and price and the situation becomes almost impossible. Finally, after many frantic lunch break and after work trips up, down, and all over town I found one that would work for us! Only to have him tell me he decided he wanted to continue commuting to save money to go to grad school next year. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I mean I didn’t take it very personally, I know that I am not hard to live with, but it was incredibly frustrating to have seemingly every option presented pulled out from under me just as I thought it was really going to work out. Eventually I met my new roommate through the last guy I was supposed to live with. It was scary jumping into a year long contract with someone I had only met once or twice, but it all worked out fine. She’s super nice and incredibly easy to live with as well.

There are other issues, like the speed at which apartments are put on the market and then sold, pushy brokers and their exorbitant fees, picky landlords, and just finding a place that actually works and you feel comfortable in. Yet, I do find it really nice to be able to come home to my own place after class or work and truly not feel like I am still in school. It has also pushed me much further into becoming more responsible. I have to pay my bills on time now, budget my money and be extra careful about my own safety. Am I adult-ing yet?

my new room! yayy!!

my new room! yayy!!

–Emily–

I Made it to Santiago! (and back!)

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Hello again! After a very busy summer I am back in the NYC swing of things and there is so much to talk about, but I have recently found out that many of you readers were interested in the last post I made about doing the Camino de Santiago (read it here) so I thought I would give you a little follow up.

The few weeks building up to my start were pretty stressful, it didn’t help that I also had finals and was trying to figure out how to move out of my apartment and get all my stuff back home from Italy. I had done plenty of research on what to bring, what to expect in terms of weather and terrain, and how to get to St. Jean, but I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to know what the experience would be like until I was actually walking, and I liked it that way.

Getting to St. Jean Pied-de-Port was pretty difficult. I had to fly to Bordeaux (via London for some reason) then the next day I took the train to Bayonne and then a bus to St. Jean. It was a little overwhelming, there were a lot of pilgrims all arriving with me and I didn’t have a room booked yet, although there were plenty of places catering to us there so it wasn’t a problem. The first person I met was a school teacher from New Zealand who was doing the camino because teaching didn’t excite her anymore and she didn’t know where her life was going next. I also met four girls about my age who were from Kentucky. I knew that the first day of the walk was going to be the hardest because you have to cross the Pyrenees mountains, so I was a little nervous to go at it alone. To make the day better it was raining at 6 am when I got up. Luckily, those four girls were leaving the same time as me and also wanted to make it all the way across in one day, so I joined up with them. Before I knew it, I had my walking buddies. We ended up walking all the way to Santiago together and even picked up a few extra people along the way!

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To describe the entire camino experience would take pages and pages. Even then I don’t think I would be able to communicate the truly amazing time I had and all the fantastic characters I met along the way. It sounds corny to say, but this is one of those life changing experiences that can take you from crying and broken one day to looking out over a mountain range with exhilarated gratefulness the next.

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One of many incredibly breathtaking sunrises I was lucky enough to experience

I think everyone should do it at some point in their life. It is physically difficult, but not impossible. I met many elderly people doing the camino (and I mean 60 plus) as well as kids! One girl was 9 and doing 15 kilometers a day on her tiny bike; there was even a baby. A BABY. If a baby, well if a mother carrying her baby, can do it so can you.

The journey is more about the relationships you build with those who are also on this soul searching pilgrimage, and discovering about yourself. While it is important for your body to be physically prepared, I would say that preparing myself mentally was much more helpful. I definitely thought a lot about the questions I hoped to find  answers for, and things I wanted to improve upon in my everyday life.

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I will leave some pictures to try and give you a broad idea of what walking the camino (500 miles!) was like, and if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them! If people really show an interest I wouldn’t mind making more posts about my experience in greater detail, but for now I will be going back to New York/ FIT based posts.

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all the pilgrims in one albergue (hostel type thing) would make big family style dinners a lot. They were one of my favorite parts!

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–Emily–

I’m Going on an Adventure!

I know I said that this year was my “year of travel”, but I am about to embark on my biggest adventure yet! After my last final on Thursday I will be packing up everything I brought to (and bought in) Italy and sending it home. Fingers crossed nothing gets lost or broken in transit. All I will be keeping is my trusty bright red backpack, hiking shoes, the ever important Nalgene, and a minimal amount of clothes and travel necessities. When you have to carry everything you own on your back, the line between needs and wants becomes much more clear.

I am doing this because in a week exactly I will be walking. A lot. I’m going to walk from one end of Spain to the other. Actually I am walking from a little town in France called St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Santiago, Spain and hopefully if I have time to Fisterre or “The Ends of the Earth” – the last place people believed you could go before falling off the edge of the world. I can’t think of a better, or more dramatic, place to end my pilgrimage.

Full disclosure: I have never actually watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies, this is just too perfect to not include

Full disclosure: I have never actually watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies, this is just too perfect to not include

That is what I am doing, a pilgrimage. Specifically El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, as it is officially called, is a medieval trail that Christians crossed to see the remains of Saint James. By proving you walked a certain amount of miles (by getting stamps at stops along the way) each pilgrim receives a fancy diploma-like document in Latin that absolves you from all your sins. To be honest, I am not an extremely religious person (I don’t really see the point when the basis of all religions boils down to the same basic beliefs, but that’s a whole different conversation), so completing this journey will be less about being forgiven for my sins and more about focusing on making myself a better person, and just the fact I could do it.

Each one of those blue dots represents a day of walking

Each one of those blue dots represents a day of walking

This whole thing started a few summers ago when I went to go see a movie with my mom at the little, artsy movie theater in my hometown. It was called “The Way” and it started Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. When the movie finished I just said to my mom “One day I’m gonna do that.” And here we are, I’m following through with the promise I made myself. (Also the movie is really good and still on instant streaming on Netflix ((I think)), check it out!)

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With only a week left I am getting pretty nervous. I was originally going to have a friend from high school who is fluent in basically every language come with me, but due to money issues she had to cancel. After that, trying to find someone not only willing to walk 458 miles, but who also had all of June and some of May free proved extremely difficult, and so, I will be doing this on my own. In a way I think it might be better this way. I will be forced to meet new people and I will be able to reflect on my own life in more peace. But that in itself is pretty scary, let alone the actual physical dangers that the Camino can hold.

On the other hand, you can’t have an adventure without a little danger!

–Emily–

Reflections on Italy

I love Italy. I love the food, I love the views, I love the art. Everything. There is one thing that I have been missing though. It is the one thing that has made me appreciate FIT immensely since I have been here, and that is our teachers.

I’ll admit that as a freshmen I really didn’t think that the teachers at FIT would be the absolute best. I mean, it’s not like we’re Harvard or Yale. But after three years I realized how wrong I was, and I didn’t comprehend how great they were until I didn’t have them anymore. This semester was the first time I have been exposed to teachers other than ours at FIT, and they were not all bad, but they just could not hold up to the quality back home.

I didn’t realize how much our FIT professors strive to make our lectures interesting and engaging, or how (relatively) easy it is to get help from them one-on-one. For example, I am currently taking a class called “History of Italian Fashion” and every time I walk into the classroom I find myself wishing that Lourdes Font was teaching the class. Professor Font is by far one of the smartest and most knowledgeable people I have ever met. She knows everything about fashion! I took her class “Costume and Fashion in Film” and despite it being a four hour long class on a Friday, it was one I constantly looked forward to attending. If you can make history of anything interesting to a twenty year old at six o’clock on a Friday, kudos.

As much as you may believe your professors are trying to drive you to the loony bin for all the work they give out (especially during finals and midterms), they are truly invested in your success. Linda Sands was my first draping professor and she scared the crap out of me for the first half of the semester. Every time she came by my table to check my work I felt like I was going to throw up. By the end of the semester I realized she was so harsh because she was pushing us to pay attention and make our garments perfect. Needless to say our whole class ended up loving her and we even threw her a surprise birthday party! I was so happy when I got her the next semester for pattern-making. She can be a little scary, but it’s just her mamma bear claws. I know that if I were to show up at her office with a project I was working on, she would stop what she was doing and help me solve my problem.

The professors at FIT are the greatest asset I didn’t realize I had until I lost them. They always say one of the most important things you should do while in college is make relationships with your professors. I always thought that sounded really intimidating. I mean, they’re adults with lives, and there are so many of us how could they possibly single each one of us out to care about? But trust me, when you find a class you love taught by a professor you really admire, you will create that relationship. Honestly, there have been so many professors at FIT who have helped me grow, academically as well as personally.

And don’t always trust ratemyprofessor.com. You’ll be surprised.

–Emily–

It’s Happening!

I have some exciting news, but first read this post from a few months ago.

Done? Okay cool. Well guess what? I did it! I’m an adult!! Not really. Actually I just got my act together and learned to cook a few meals…but whatever, same thing right? And I did it without even taking a cooking class! (Which, to be fair, is one of my biggest complaints about this study abroad experience. Most kids here only take about four classes and those will include “Italian Style Cooking” and “Pairing Food & Wine”. WHAT?! I’m taking six classes and none of them have anything to do with food. Ugh.) But like the proverbial baby turtle crawling its way back to the ocean, I persevered. Just look:

Parmesan zucchini - Healthy AND delicious

Parmesan zucchini – Healthy AND delicious

Roasted potatoes, zucchini and pasta with shaved provolone

Roasted potatoes, zucchini and pasta with shaved provolone

family burrito night!

family burrito night!

Just makin' risotto

Just makin’ risotto

I am now the fried rice QUEEN

I am now the fried rice QUEEN

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan

the classic pesto pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella

the classic pesto pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella

I mean come on, that’s pretty impressive considering the first post, no? Alright fine, they’re pretty much all pasta dishes, but what can I say? I’m in Italy! (Also we thought our stove was broken for like, two months. Turns out we had one of the knobs turned wrong….oops!) Pinterest and Epicurious are two fantastic websites (who are we kidding, just download the apps) for cooking inspiration. If I can do it, you can do it! (Unless you live in CoEd or Nagler. Then you won’t have a kitchen, so you can’t do it, soz mate.)

–Emily–

Pantomimes Anonymous

Two different Italians stopped me on the street today to ask for directions. On the one hand, I was proud because these authentic Italians mistook me as one of their own. I get a strange sense of satisfaction from being able to blend in with other cultures. However, this happiness quickly became became uncomfortable and embarrassing. This is because, wait for it….I can’t speak Italian!

Yes, my name is Emily Bennett, I’ve lived in Florence for three months and I still cannot speak Italian. I am so ashamed. For most people, the biggest worry while traveling abroad is whether they will be able to understand the locals. This, of course, leads to desperate hopes that most people will know English and even conversations stating how much easier and better the world would be if everyone just spoke one language (i.e. English). But what a horrific white-washing of culture that would be! Can you imagine living in a world where no one knows the subtle romantic quality of the French language, or the explosive passion of Italian, or even the mysterious Swahili?

I get it, it’s intimidating and embarrassing to attempt to speak a language that you haven’t mastered, especially to people who have been speaking said language since they were babies. Trust me, that is what got me in this situation in the first place. When I was studying in France, it was a whole different ball game. I had been studying French for six years before I was living on my own there, so I had a sturdy background of the language and was well-informed of the culture as well. This is the first time I have ever studied Italian, and I know what you are thinking, if I live in Italy, I should be learning the language twice as fast, right? No, wrong, completely wrong. Everyone here speaks English! At least the French have the decency to refuse to speak English to you! Obviously, it would have been much harder for me to survive here if people didn’t speak English, but I think I could have done it, and forcing me to attempt even the most broken Italian in every situation would have sped up my learning immensely. However, I am a self-conscious little baby when it comes to Italian. Too quickly will I revert to English, or not say anything at all. I go to the grocery store at least once a week and I think the only things I have ever said to any of the cashiers are “si” “no” and “grazie”.

Now that my time in Italy is coming quickly to a close, I wish I had pushed myself harder to learn the language and speak it. Honestly, it is a really horrible feeling to be in a country and unable to speak the language. It is embarrassing! Not to mention completely disheartening. I don’t mean for this post to be such a downer, but if you can learn anything from my little failure, really take the time to learn the language before traveling. It will make your time there much more rewarding, and the locals will definitely like you more. Also, don’t be afraid to forget about English and instead rely on whatever of the language you do know (miming helps too). It is much more endearing to see someone struggling to speak the language than one who just starts speaking English and assumes whoever they are talking to will understand.

Buon viaggio!

–Emily–