Tag Archives: Introduction

Life in the Concrete Jungle: An Introduction

I know what you’re thinking… it’s New York City – I’ll never make it, I’ll go broke, I’m one in a million who have the same dream of being successful in the fashion industry… These thoughts running rapidly in your mind are holding you back… But let me tell you this –


The Empire State Building

To the prospective students across the world… if FIT is your dream school, go for it. Getting an education in the BEST city in the world is an experience that you cannot get anywhere else.


The Freedom Tower

My name is Mariano, I am an 18-year-old Puerto Rican boy, from a lower-middle class family in California; studying Advertising and Marketing Communications. FIT was just a dream to me and now it is a reality. Never underestimate yourself and the opportunities in front of you. If you are thinking about starting a new chapter of your life in New York City at FIT, find out more information on the application process here.

New York Fashion Week, one of many opportunities at FIT!

New York Fashion Week, one of many opportunities at FIT!

In the last month, I’ve learned and experienced so much that I will never forget. Hopefully, you will soon! Please reply with any questions about the application process, I don’t bite!

Until next time… xoxo – M

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.


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.


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!


Have the best registration EVER

While many dread the planning and prep and stress of registration, I LOVE IT.  I love being able to schedule my life and know how my following semester is going to look.  I thrive on planning and organizing so registration is my Christmas.  While I have made a post on registration every time it rolls around, there are important points to reinforce and introduce (and who wants to dig through thousands of posts):

  1. Talk to your academic advisor
    Make an appointment with your academic advisor even if you know what classes you have to take.  It is comforting to have your schedule and courses solidified by those who know best.  Also, for those who don’t know, not all courses are available to all majors – including liberal arts.  Therefore, it is best to make an appointment before you register!  Here is the link to make an appointment: http://www.fitnyc.edu/13575.asp
  2. Plan Ahead
    Once you have the classes that you are planning on taking, make up your schedule.  Map out a tentative schedule and plan out your biggest/most important/longest classes first and revolve your classes around that.
  3. Write down the CRN codes
    The CRN codes are the first things that you can type in to register for all your classes.  If you have all the CRN codes for your classes, you type them in when it’s your registration time, hit submit and you’re all set. 
  4. Be flexible
    This one isn’t the easiest, especially for me.  Sometimes you won’t get the classes you want so you have to be prepared to move your schedule around.
  5. Don’t stress
    Registration is exciting because that means you are one semester closer to graduating. Keep your chin up and know that winter break is soon!