Category: student competition

FIT students clutch finalist spots in handbag contest

By , May 30, 2014 4:03 pm
Thanks to three FIT students, “Handbag Decision Paralysis,” may become more serious for the handbag obsessed. Coined by Wall St. Journal reporter Rachel Dodes, the term playfully refers to those with “commitment phobia in the accessories milieu.”

In early May it was announced that FIT’s Stephanie Carnes, Palwasha Iqbal and Kathleen Friedman were finalists in the category of Best Student Made Bag by the  Independent Handbag Designer Awards (IHDA).  Whatever the judges decide, we want one of each.
Handbag by Kathleen Friedman

Handbag by Kathleen Friedman

And consider this: there was a total of 1500 applicants worldwide for the IHDA industry awards.

Handbag by Stephanie Carnes

Recent Accessories Design grad Palwasha Iqbal told us about her process from conception to finalist:
“This recognition means the world to me! Being a finalist is  an amazing feeling.  Being nominated for a global award is such a honor.”
Handbag by Palwash Iqbal

Handbag by Palwasha Iqbal

“My process  begins with finding the right inspiration,” says Palwasha, which for her pop art clutch was found at the MoMA.

“I fell in love with 60s Pop Art. My next step was sketching and figuring out the perfect look for the clutch. I wanted to create something that was a nod to the Pop Art era but still modern and fresh. I countered the bright fun colored circles with a simpler gusset that takes its cues from modern architecture. The idea is Andy Warhol meets Frank Lloyd Wright.”


Applying disks on to frame

Once she finishes a concept sketch “for something I love” Palwasha refines it and adds measurements. “I then write out the supplies and steps required to make the bag.  After I bought my acrylics  and made my patterns I marked my acrylic and then used the bandsaw to cut each piece.”

J-2s- Copy

Arranging the layout of disks prior to gluing

Palwasha sanded the rough edges and made sure all the measurements were correct. “I did a tape mock-up to make sure everything fit and then marked and drilled holes for my hinge. After that I began a frosting process to give the acrylic a more matte  look. Once the polishing was finished, I carefully  glued the pieces together and  re-polished  the piece. I then inserted the lining hinges and magnets.”


Finished result


Palwasha says this particular clutch chosen as an IHDA finalist is “very dear to my heart.” She says it combines skills she’s learned in both the Jewelry and Accessories design programs. (She received her AAS degree in Jewelry Design.)

“It represents how my education has  shaped my passion. I could not be more grateful to get such wonderful  recognition for  my passion.”

Palwasha says it’s a great note on which to end her time at FIT. “It’s an even better one to start my career”


This is the eighth year that the IHDA has presented awards.

The Best Student Made Handbag category is for students who have started their lines while in school. Other categories include handbags made from sustainable or recycled materials, another for hand or machine made with proceeds given back to the country of manufacturing, and one for the “most trend-driven” use of denim.

Winners will be announced on June 18 at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. All will be featured in the September issue of InStyle. We wish all of the finalists good luck!

Packaging design students hit the sweet spot!

By , January 30, 2014 4:23 pm

Capturing 3rd place in Paperboard Packaging Alliance’s Design Challenge 

How can a candy bar compete these days, especially at the movies? Concession stands are a dazzle of popcorn, candy, half-gallon sodas, hot dogs, “cheez”-drenched nachos, and ice cream. Indie theaters sell fresh-baked goods, specialty coffee, beer and wine.

1But good packaging design can appeal to the palate. To that aim, PPA instructed contestants to design the packaging for a colorful candy line. A larger version was to appeal to moviegoers, and a smaller version targeted retail stores.  No easy feat when you must appeal to different ages and audiences, adhere to strict measurements and devise a way to prevent spills and include other conveniences.
2PPA_FIT_Presentation_Vegas (2)_Page_03FIT’s five-student team devised a one-handed, easy sharing, two-flavors-within-one-structure. They called it Wonka’s Tootifruitichocolicious. It’s playful and smart, with multiple uses to be discovered. After gobbling up the contents, one isn’t left with an empty carton alone.
3-PPA_FIT_Presentation_Vegas (2)_Page_09“The biggest challenge was to attract moviegoers with little predilection for sweets–the type who experience concession stand candy as a blur of Milk Duds, Sno Caps, Raisinets and Twizzlers,” Packaging Design Prof. Sandra Krasovec.

add_PPA_FIT_Presentation_Vegas (2)_Page_11

“This year’s Challenge was indeed challenging!” says Krasovec. “The typical objectives of form and function, coupled with fun and innovation, were tough, especially while keeping sustainability in mind. Our students came out winners with a package that has shelf-appeal and second-life play value built in.”

recyclePPA_FIT_Presentation_Vegas (2)_Page_12

And when the candy runs out, there’s no lamenting an empty carton. It can be used to make chains, periscopes and creative designs. “Diverting packaging material from the waste stream is a win-win for marketers and consumers,” says Krasovec.  Or we might just see it as creating fun memories. And that it did.


Fine arts photographer crosses over, fashionably

By , November 7, 2013 11:37 am

Jordan Tiberio faces a type of conundrum not unfamiliar to students who fully explore their craft: “I won a fashion shooting contest, but I’m a fine arts photographer,” says the recent winner of the Western Digital (WD) Fashion Walk. “I’m used to taking things from memories and my past and recreating them in an artistic manner. I’m more into fine arts than fashion. But the contest sounded like a cool concept,” she said.

Winning photo: Jordan Tiberio

The Fashion Walk competition took place along the High Line and was overseen and judged by WD’s “creative master,” photographer Bruce Dorn. The setup consisted of four groups, with two photographers, a fashion designer and model in each.

“It was this big FIT collaboration,” said Tiberio. “FIT makes you try everything and pushes your comfort zone.  It gave me more confidence.  I like staging stuff and making things up. You don’t know if you like something until you try it.”

Within a 40 minute time frame and a four block radius, participants worked on their creative concepts. “I used a lot of special affects filters on my lens. I cover my lens with scarves or crystals to create ethereal images. I picked up the techniques on my own,” said Tiberio. “We found an area wrapped in mesh material. I had [the model] crawl underneath the mesh and then stand up behind it.”

Photo: Jordan Tiberio

“We like to create challenges that require students to think outside their discipline,” says Associate Dean Sass Brown, who with photography professor Curtis Willocks, helped organize the competition.

“People have different approaches. I threw Jordan in there to mix things up,” said Willocks. “She used filters that people haven’t used for 10 to 15 years. She took an old process and did something different with it. She created [the image] in camera–She didn’t have to use any post production. There it was in the camera. Bang!”

Photo: Jordan Tiberio

Tiberio grew up in Rochester, NY, an area steeped both in photography history and in fine arts.  “We went to the George Eastman (founder of Kodak) House every year in elementary school. We have the Memorial Art Gallery. My mom’s mother was an art teacher and my grandmother was a really good artist.”

“I tried to not make my work look like the High Line or the city. I used a lot of special affect filters on my lens. I just picked the techniques on  my own. So that’s what I brought. It was the one that won the contest. ”

A day with Bruce Dorn, the “relentless pursuer of beauty,” and Curtis Willocks the “teacher’s teacher,” Jordan’s the winner.



photos provided by Jordan Tiberio


Amazon Fashion comes to Williamsburg

By , October 25, 2013 2:56 pm

Keeping to its philosophy of following the talent, this time clear across the country, has landed on Kent St. in Williamsburg in a big way.  No sooner had Amazon Fashion opened its 40,000-foot studio, then there was a call for local talent. Studio Sessions Challenge held on October 19, involved students from four New York City design schools. Their task was to create “campaign-worthy” editorial images showcasing the online behemoth’s fall fashion picks. FIT students from fabric styling, communication and photography all lent their talent.

pre-Challenge calm

In one frantic 9 to 5 content day, school teams for menswear and womenswear selected clothes and accessories,  dressed,  styled,  and posed models for photography and design layouts.

A blur of talent 

“They had to come up with a concept and idea, and come up with a single vision,” says assistant dean  of Art & Design Sass Brown whose enthusiasm ran high for FIT participants and the for the challenge itself.

Teams were judged by a range of high-profile judges on criteria that included art direction, set design and consistency with Amazon fashion branding.

Men’s school teams presenting editorial concepts

“It felt like a pretty natural evolution for us as we build our fashion business, to anchor it to key outposts where we have access to top talent,” Cathy Beaudoin, president of Amazon Fashion told Women’s Wear Daily.

Men’s school teams presenting editorial concepts

“The value of participating in an opportunity like this goes beyond the monetary prize,” says photography adviser to the contest Ron Amato, who chairs FIT’s photography department. “It’s really about the experience of engagement.”

The site also “intends to create hundreds of jobs for local talent, from photographers, stylists and models to hair and makeup artists,” said Beaudoin.

The grill

The Williamsburg studio location is one of six for and the first in New York state. Although the FIT students didn’t take home a prize, there’s talk of an annual challenge and opportunities for local talent.

Photos courtesy of

Hayley’s PAVE-winning men’s store

By , December 19, 2012 8:08 pm

It’s one thing to admire great menswear on the street. But how do you recreate that feeling of a great pair of pants walking by for a customer in a virtual store? In order to turn “Nice pants, man” into more than a stand-up line — and into a desire to purchase those pants online — was the goal of this year’s PAVE (The Planning and Visual Education Partnership) competition.

PAVE’s annual competition has categories in visual merchandising (or product display) and the interior design of retail stores. From among this year’s 400 PAVE contestants who submitted pop-up designs for Bonobos online men’s clothing store, senior interior design student Hye Young Hayley Park won honorable mention.

Hye Young Hayley Park in the middle of two fellow PAVE winners

“We’re proud to have Hayley represent the great work our students do at FIT,” said interior design chair Andrew Seifer. “Hayley is an incredible talent in our department. She won the Decorator’s Club award last spring and continues to flourish.”

Rendering of pants and denims display by Hye Young Hayley Park

“My pop-up store aims to create the virtual experience that’s closest to a physical experience by converging digital and retail stores,” says Ms. Park about the pants and denims shown in an on-the-go style in her rendering (above).  “For each pair of pants on display, an Ipad will be provided that allows customers to read reviews, check available colors, sizes, and find additional product information before making a purchase.”

Rendering of accessories display wall by Hye Young Hayley Park

“The accessories display wall is a 3′ x 3′ modular system with adjustable shelving sticks,” says Ms. Park. “The displayed products include shoes, ties, bags and belts. The LED seating cubes can be custom-colored and be rearranged. The material would be chipboard, good for sound absorption.”

While Ms. Park’s taste in fashion is commonly noted, it’s her interior design expertise that could make virtual shopping a sleek and wonderful experience.

To read about last year’s FIT PAVE winner go to: “Natasha Melo helping us locate lipstick, eyeliner & more”


Elle competition: your vote counts

By , September 14, 2012 5:18 pm

The innovators of the Elle Fashion Next award have stacked things in FIT’s favor. And still the competition is steep. For the first time they’ve sponsored a competition exclusively for our fashion design students. (See earlier post:  “City-inspired fashion at the core of one’s aesthetic” to read about some big-city experiences that served as inspiration for student designs.)

So far, two winners have been decided, one awaits our vote. Congratulations to Jongsuk Park who received the Maybelline New York Design Visionary Award  and Tae Kyung Kim who took home $25,000  and the Fashion Next Design Award.  They were chosen from 19 FIT student designers who had entered two or three big-city looks.

Now it’s the People’s Choice. Cast your vote for one of 19 finalists. To see their final “looks,” and for more about the competition — and most importantly to cast your vote! — go to: Elle Fashion Next FIT 2012 

Tae Kyung Kim, winner of the Elle FIT design award

The designs of each winner will be featured in the October and December issues of ELLE and on

Jongsuk Park, winner of Elle Fashion Next award

ELLE’s third annual Fashion Next runway show was held last week at Lincoln Center. It featured the work of the FIT finalists for the 2012 Fashion Next Design Award.

Remember to vote for the student designer of your choice.  Support Elle supporting us.

Photos used with permission.

City-inspired fashion at the “core” of one’s aesthetic

By , August 28, 2012 2:21 pm

It’s an assignment as big as the City.  Design fashions that draw inspiration from New York. It’s a natural for FIT students, and Elle magazine is on to it. For the third year, Elle is partnering with FIT for its Fashion Next Design Award, sponsored by Maybelline NY. Twenty student designers have been chosen as finalists. Their words and designs show how entrenched they are in city life and how they chose to express their influences through fashion.

Jongsuk Park design

There are sights that make people nostalgic in New York, says one of the finalists Jongsuk Park.  “They are rusts, found in every part of the city. Walking by the tall new buildings, it is easy to find old brick buildings and rusty structures.”

Karen Pancho design

“My work is on the edge of two extremes.” says another finalist Karen Pancho. “I’m inspired by the push and pull of opposites…”

Bobae Kim design

“I was inspired by the mood of NYC at night,” says Bobae Kim.  “[My] looks combine witty with modern silhouettes and present the youth and energy unique to NYC.”

Joshua Myrie design

“My aesthetic stems from my passion for industrial design and art,” says Joshua Myrie.  “The use of fabric oddities stays at the core of my aesthetic. ”

Who will the winner be? Check online to see the show live-streamed at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday, September 7 from  Lincoln Center’s Koch Theater during New York Fashion Week.


To learn more about the finalists and to see their work go to Fashion Next 2012 FIT


Kieran Dallison: Beyond the Grand Canyon

By , July 30, 2012 5:31 pm

To be young, full of restless drive and talent and have studied at FIT. That’s Kieran Dallison, the inaugural winner of the GILT/CFDA All-Star Scholarship Award.  Dallison was poised yet full of excitement in describing the import of the award – having his womenswear collection produced and sold by, an exclusive online fashion website. The experience was “surreal,” he said.

Kieran Dallison with his scholarship winner collection. Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency

Fashion writers swooned in to learn more about the vision of the boy from the Grand Canyon. “I think the pure ‘un-fashion-ness’ of northern Arizona has totally affected my life in fashion,” Dallison told Lucky magazine. “We’re designing clothes with an end purpose—they have to be wearable…I’m from a ski town—it’s actually a highland desert. So I draw on a lot of those desert colors in my work.” Dallison’s  mom is a dancer, so “Movement and how clothes react to the body is hugely important to me…I also use a lot of “dancerly” fabrics and leotard-like necklines.”

Dallison, who was recently hired by ICB as an associate designer for its NY office, told us about the “great response” to the collection.  “The sale was only up for two days. While it was up, about half of the pieces sold out, which is incredibly exciting.  I wanted to create  a collection of clothes that were easily understood, brightly colored, and super fun to wear. I like to put into my work lots of great pieces at affordable prices that still have a lot of the attention to detail and overall design aesthetic.”

In preparation for the CFDA award, Dallison told us he received an “incredible amount of support and guidance” from the Fashion Design Art department.  “Those professors made themselves available to me at any time, and are spectacular people.  They really helped me gain the confidence in my own work that has been crucial for me to get to this point.”

Dallison attended the awards with co-founders Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. “It was incredible to attend the awards with them,” he gushed.

Kieran Dallison with his scholarship winner collection. Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency

Dallison advises FIT students: “make it a priority to do as much outside of class as you do in class.  Internships are crucial, as you will inevitably need to foster positive relationships with your co-workers as you leave school and start to search for a job.  Contests are a fantastic way to improve on your work as well.

“If I just went along with the curriculum as it is, I would have never had the opportunities I’ve enjoyed over the past couple years.  Fashion Design is more than just a major – it’s a total life-commitment.  It’s hard work, but it definitely pays off.”

For more media coverage on Kieran Dallison go to:

Harpers Bazaar:

Lucky magazine:




Catering to Barbie’s every whim and loving it!

By , May 16, 2012 8:12 pm

With Barbie now ensconced in her parlors, bedrooms, and other habitats, and with a wardrobe to kill–and with Ken looking on–it was time for thinking of food and pink!  An awards ceremony recognizing those who catered many long months to Barbie’s every fashion whim took place May 10 in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater.  Cotton candy, pink cupcakes, popcorn, pink drinks, watermelon and strawberries were served to a jubilant gathering of students, parents, FIT faculty and Mattel representatives.

pre-award photo op w/ student finalists

“Play with Fashion” encompassed student work from five Art & Design departments. For the Visual  Presentation and Exhibition Design (VPED) department, their installation “The Pink Issue” serves as the graduating exhibition.

Prof. Ann Kong of VPED with students

Barbie luxuriates in her many settings and styles in the lobby of the D Building.

Maor Tapiro's winning Shopaholic design. "Barbie & I share the same shopping addiction."

Veronica Zhou beside her winning shoulder sparkle design

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the pinkest of them all?  Admirers (l-r) Colette Wong, Chair, Karen Scheetz, Assist. Chair, and Prof. Eileen Karp all of Fashion Design caught fawning over Barbie’s new digs and finery.

Elyse Falato next to her winning little girl’s jewelry box containing Barbie’s shoes and accessories

A proud VPED instructor Prof. Glen Socoli with winning students Mike Jonhston, & Phoebe King

 FD Chair Colette Wong,  and A&D Dean Joanne Arbuckle toast the event 

The evening celebrated Barbie’s new looks and environments created by Art & Design students

Binh Nguyen who won for "A Helping Hand" photos inspired by girls without dolls

Katie McTammany and her proud dad. McTammany won for Barbie's "green" digs. Her Interior Design showcase was made with reused and repurposed old clothes and accessories.

Jessica Mazur winner of "Timeless Barbie Powder Room" and Eirc Daniels Assist. Chair from Interior Design

Plenty of pink to go around: Prof. Johannes Knoops and Asst. Chair Eric Daniels of ID, with Craig Berger, VPED Chair


Luci Alpers' "Strike a Pose" bedroom for Barbie

Barbie finally gets  a moment to kick up her heels.

The Barbie exhibit will remain on view in FIT’s D-building lobby, corner of 27th & 7th Ave, until September 3, 2012.

photos: Rachel Ellner

Going for gold, pearls, the runway and more

By , February 8, 2012 4:18 pm

In honor of Carolee’s 40th anniversary, the high-fashion jewelry house has sponsored a competition exclusively for FIT Jewelry Design students. The on-going, 20-week competition that began in September, 2011 is nearing completion.  Tomorrow, 12 semi-finalists will be chosen.

“I’m always amazed how my students come through, even the shyest,” says Leila Tai Shenkin, professor of Jewelry Design in charge of the contest.”

The competition will culminate with five winners being named, one in each of four categories — pearl, metal, social occasion and fashion. The fifth winner will be a People’s Choice Award, selected through on-line voting.  Each winner will receive $1,000. The designs will be manufactured by Carolee and sold at Carolee counters around the world. They will also be displayed in windows at Bloomingdale’s in September.

This marks the first competition Carolee has had with FIT. “It’s an exciting competition by a company that has a long associations with FIT Jewelry Department,” says Chair Michael Coan.

The competition’s stages align with Professor Shenkin’s way of teaching: “I encourage students to imagine their design based on a theme. They then demonstrate ways to manufacture such a piece, making necessary changes. The students were well prepared for Carolee team, and the team was prepared for us from their first visit to FIT for the initial critique.”

To view videos of the competition’s progress follow the link to the  Jewelry Design webpage.


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