Category: in the news

Farm-home inspiration for handbag finalist

By , June 7, 2014 12:56 am
It’s all gone into her handbag:  The upstairs dresser in her grandparent’s Midwest farmhouse, memories of dressing up in vintage clothes, ballet and tap dance classes. For Kathleen Friedman, finalist for the Independent Handbag Designer Award, her sources of inspiration are as suggestive of  a romance novel as they are for accessories design.
 IHDA finalist by Kathleen Friedman

IHDA finalist by Kathleen Friedman

“My bag was inspired by vintage Americana,” says Kathleen, current Accessories Design major. “I loved exploring my grandparents’ house in the Midwest. I especially loved a dresser in one of the bedrooms.” An ornately shaped bedroom mirror there was the influence for the outer flap of her handbag.The hand stitched trapunto, a decorative design on the outer flap, is a technique Kathleen learned in a leather course at FIT. “I knew I had to incorporate it into one of my designs. It’s so beautiful and sophisticated. It can be applied in several ways, and I chose to hand stitch it as a tribute to my grandmother and her beautiful quilts.”

In early May it was announced that FIT’s Kathleen Friedman, Stephanie Carnes and Palwasha Iqbal were finalists in the category of Best Student Made Bag by the IHDA. The winner is to be announced on June 18 at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan.

Handbag by Kathleen Friedman

handbag finalist by Kathleen Friedman

“I chose black and cream for this bag because of my vintage inspirations. This was the first time I knew exactly the colors I wanted from the moment I drew it. Normally I take a lot of time at the leather store searching for the right color combinations and allowing that to inspire me in the process.”As a child, Kathleen helped her mother, a seamstress, and played in her studio. “I have been sewing since the age of nine. The knowledge is extremely helpful in all of my construction classes at FIT.”Kathleen says she is thankful for the exposure the contest gives student designers. “I am hopeful that it will help in my quest for employment after graduation. It’s exciting to show my friends and family all of the press.”



We wish all of the finalists good luck!


Tigers hold court at the National Tennis Center

By , October 30, 2013 5:09 pm

Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, and Billie Jean King made their reputations there, but they weren’t studying fashion design, fashion merchandising or jewelry design at the same time.  FIT women, competing at the national Division 3 championship, have scored second in the nation. The tournament, held at the National Tennis Center on October 22, also awarded its first sportsmanship trophy to an FIT student.

“The fact is, you can combine intellectuality with athletics,” says proud coach and communications design instructor Lynn Cabot-Puro.

Winning Tigers: Hilary Baxter, Ashley Yakaboski, Ravina Parikh, Fernanda DeSouza, Robyn Arteaga, Kayla Bohnhorst, Keerthana Sivaramakrishnan

Members of the Division 3 tennis team became National All-Americans and one, “Kiki” Keerthana Sivaramakrishnan, received the National Coaches’ Sportsmanship Award, given for the first time.

“They’re a dream team. They’re good at sports, they have a passion for the game and they play to win,” said Puro, FIT’s consecutive three-time Coach of the Year.

Fernanda DeSouza

Says Puro, “There were many exciting moments for the players — to play at the same venue that Sharapova, Federer and Nadal played on — not to mention Billie Jean King.” Of the seven players on the team, two are studying jewelry design, another fashion design, and three are fashion merchandising and marketing majors.

What about Serena Williams and her fashion line? Bet that the FIT players would win that competition too.

“By the way,” says Puro “we’re going for number one next time.”


Photos: Courtesy of FIT Athletics & Recreation



An award-winning living room takes the cover!

By , January 30, 2012 4:03 pm

The judges of Westchester Home design contest have chosen the work of Interior Design Professor Phyllis Harbinger as winner in the category of  Best Traditional Living Room. To add to the tribute, images of her award-wining interiors appear in the cover story of the issue announcing the award.

Harbinger, the magazine said, “made it look easy with this beautifully designed living room—sporting traditional lines in the furniture and accessories with added daring twists of color.”

Westchester Home magazine

“The Interior Design Department is extremely proud of Professor Harbinger’s professional accomplishments,” says Interior Design Chair Andrew Seifer. “We congratulate her on her work being shown on the cover of Westchester Home and for winning this award.”

“The architecture of the room called for two distinct conversation areas—one fireside, and then a main conversation area visible through antique wood-and-iron doors at the entry to the space,” Harbinger told  Westchester Magazine.

The winning living room

“The designer has balanced light and dark, ornate and strongly classical, and neutral shades with vibrant color to create a warm, rich, and inviting living room…It is neither over- nor under-decorated. The room is formal, but thoroughly hospitable and welcoming,” said New York School of Interior Design Associate Dean Veronica Whitlock, one of the four judges.

Erick Garcia in the “News”

By , January 26, 2012 5:26 pm

In a New York Daily News profile of Erick Garcia, the first-year Fashion Design student states his preference for “natural, subtle beauty.” He also admires top designers like Oscar de la Renta and Elie Saab.

Garcia’s vision and ready inspiration come from his immersion in New York City and Dominican Republic life. But with more  formal training at FIT there’s additional dimensions to explore.  Garcia had this to say about his experience with the Daily News story.  He also let on which special person in his life helps him with his homework.

“I’m entertained and excited by top designers – I’m such a big fan, so I follow their work. But I also do a ton of (other) research at the library. Pictures stay in my head or scenes from movies, actresses from the 30s and 40s…I don’t necessarily get my inspiration from designers but from people, culture and movies.”

                                   Erick Garcia in the New York Daily News

“The experience the with the Daily News was very special,” says Garcia. “It was like a conversation. It was like being on Charlie Rose.  It was easy to tell (reporter Kathryn Kattalia) how I felt.”

His earliest fashion venue was at home. “My grandmother, Santa, is really, really good at construction and pattern-making,” says Erick. “When she was younger, she made her living sewing bridal dresses, and also made clothes for her kids. If I run into trouble I go to her. If I don’t know how to sew a certain kind of seem, if I forget, she’s my textbook.”

To read the full story about Erick Garcia in the New York Daily News click here:  “The DR to DKNY: FIT student’s design inspiration” 

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