Category: student work

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.”

 

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We wish all of the finalists good luck!

 

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.
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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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”

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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!

Communication Design students moving forward

By , May 22, 2014 11:20 pm

“When first-year Communication Design students put up their work and stand back, they say ‘Wow! I didn’t realize I did this much!’” says Prof. Leslie Blum about the end-of-year review of student work from the two-year foundation program. “Now everything they’ve done in the first year makes sense to them.” 

first-year communication design student work

First-year communication design student work

The design principals are the same regardless of the project, says Blum. “They understand how to carry a design concept through different applications and different media.”

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First-year communication design student work

Classes students have completed to get to this point include color theory, typography, and digital design. Next up: digital graphics, and advertising, graphic and web design courses, to name a few.

“What they did for Design Studio II was intended to get them off their computer screen and to be inspired from the world around them–to filter what they see through the eyes of a designer,” says Prof. Blum. “Hopefully over the summer they’ll continue to be inspired by things that they notice that others might not. It’s about being curious and open.”

Photos: Leslie Blum 

Joe Zee reflects on FIT’s graduating fashion design talent

By , May 4, 2014 7:20 pm

“These people…I don’t know who they are, but I know they’ve traveled from four corners of the world to come to FIT.

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“They blow me away with their talent, and if that’s what they are doing at the school level…

 

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I can’t wait to see what they do when they actually get out in the world and can do it for real. ”

 

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Joe Zee, creative director Elle magazine, FIT fashion design alum

 

Setting the stage

By , April 30, 2014 5:05 pm

For the Future of Fashion!

FFFL_0315Catwalk alert: FIT’s Future of Fashion 2014 runway show goes live at 7pm May 1. Watch here: FIT Fashion Show

 

When poetry and angst meet

By , April 21, 2014 5:22 pm
What happens when poetry, artistic talent and biographical angst meet in Prof. John Nickle’s fifth semester Illustration class? One example is Rebekie Bennington’s mind explosive self-portrait, suggestive of the “agony of sensual chisels,” “lilac shrieks” and the “scarlet bellowings” of E.E. Cummings’ poem “My mind is.” The poem ” says Bennington, “makes references to color and explores how art can be used as a vehicle for self-discovery, something I very much relate to.”
Self Portrait by Rebekie Bennington

“My Mind Is” self-portrait by Rebekie Bennington

For Nickle’s Materials and Techniques class assignment, students were to apply classical painting techniques to a contemporary treatment of a portrait using acrylic paint.

“I like the raw energy and rough texture of Rebekie’s mixed media self-portrait,” says Nickle. “It gets at the heart of the E.E. Cumming’s poem. Rebekie is an accomplished cartoonist and usually works in a very different, elegant but more detached style. This shows that she has artistic range.”

"Drug Bath" by Rebekie Bennington

“Drug Bath” by Rebekie Bennington

Bennington had previously been crafting what she calls “tight, reference-based paintings,” such at “Death Bath,” also a vibrantly colored acrylic. It’s message is very direct. “It is an exploration,” says Bennington, “into the dangerous self indulgence of drug addiction.” 

 Her self-portrait was a return to mixed media. “I began by gluing down torn paper and then attacking the canvas with acrylic paints and colored pencils. I found old sketches to incorporate into the piece,” she says.

 

my mind is
a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and
taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and
chipping with sharp fatal tools
in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of
chrome and execute strides of cobalt
nevertheless i
feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am
becoming something a little different, in fact
myself
Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet
bellowings.

—E. E. Cummings, from “Portraits, VII,” in “E. E. Cummings: The Complete Poems”

Students Join Mashable.com Vine Challenge

By , April 12, 2014 12:45 pm

Mashable.com’s weekly Vine Challenge produces a frenzy of infectious animation snippets on topics like creepy fantasy creatures, Jack-O-Lanterns, playing with food, and talking cars.  The more sophomoric the topic, often the more sophisticated the response in the form of six-second animated, blooper style shorts. Illustration students easily met the time limit to demonstrate: how a burger eats itself, the crush of a dinosaur, and a monster’s phobia of butterflies–a  condition called lepidopterophobia.

“Crushed” by Ella Fastiggi

On April 2, Mashable.com’s creative producer Jeff Petriello and company animators visited Prof. Dan Shefelman’s Illustrator Mentor Special Projects class to discuss Vine initiatives and work with students.

“Burger Monster” by Lauren French

“Vine is a smartphone video app. It’s used as a short-form animation tool,” says Shefelman. Vines (6-second videos) at their best can be particularly intriguing to illustration junkies and their geeky followers. 

“Lepidopterophobia” by Chelsea Morano

“Mashable is interested in student illustrators making Vines,” says Shefelman. “The bigger picture is that Vines are so user- engaging that including them increases the engagement among their own followers. Petriello is an early adopter of all social media because it engages Mashable users.”

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Chelsea Morano creating a monster with lepidopterophobia

“Vines are compared to Tweets. Nobody thought at first that messages limited to 140 characters would be useful, nor does everyone think six second videos are useful. At their best however, they are engaging indeed, and FIT students nailed it,” says Steve Ross, editor of Broadband Communities magazine. His publication serves the industry that makes the bandwidth for this stuff possible.

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Chelsea Morano animating a monster’s phobia

The Snapchat app allows you to draw pictures on your cellphone or tablet (see above) and share the results with friends. To experience more, download Vine on your smartphone and search for #creaturecrawl.

“A Horror Story” by Grace Batista

But not all apps are for everyone. “There’s nothing I could video for six seconds that anyone would want to see,” says fabric design student Ashley Ray.  “Who wants to see you and your friends running through the streets screaming?”  But someday fabric designs may be animated with six second videos while people wear them.

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Lauren French animating her burger

But the trend is going strong. Out of weekly Vine challenges come Vine celebrities and the promise of a big payday. “The students were happy to hear that animators are being paid five figures to make Vines,” says Shefelman.

 

Portrait of Christine: not overdoing the details

By , April 4, 2014 5:30 pm
It’s so well executed: the bright-eyed sideward gaze and razor thin eyebrows. Teal-colored nails the right degree garish. A hidden expression behind a fantasy novel and an overall noir feel. “It was a process of learning when to stop, so as not to overdo certain details,” says Hiu Lim of her “Portrait of Christine,” created in Prof. John Nickle’s fifth semester illustration class.
Hiu Lim's "Portrait of Christine"

Hiu Lim’s “Portrait of Christine”

Part of Lim’s process was to create a grisaille, a painting executed almost entirely in monochrome. “It was very helpful in establishing the values and the overall warmth of the piece,” she says. “The undertone helped bring a brightness to some parts of the skin and clothes.” 

“Portrait of Christine” is on display on the third floor of the Pomerantz building. “I first saw Hiu’s work in the second semester and I am quite impressed by her growth as a painter,” says Prof. Nickle. “In just the fifth semester she is painting at a very high skill level.”

Says Lim “The painting was really a great learning experience.”

The masters reloaded

By , April 2, 2014 5:51 pm

Holding a teddy bear hostage while flaunting an arcade machine gun and goggles may be a geek’s mojo. It’s also a characterization of video game-obsessive Hyoung, a close friend of student illustrator Giancarlo Alicea. “Hyoung has a vivid imagination and a wry wit.  He’s a happy guy who is also serious and driven,” says Alicea who sought classical means to capture his friend’s duality.

Giancarlo Alicea

Giancarlo Alicea’s “Hyoung Uncommon”

“Hyoung Uncommon” was a product of “classical portraits re-imagined,” Prof. John Nickle’s assignment for a fifth semester illustration class. Students applied classical painting techniques and a “contemporary spin,” to an acrylic painting. It struck Alicea as an opportunity “to make a post-apocalyptic video game character seem magnanimous.”

Alicea chose a pharaonic pose and an undefined background, so that the focus would remain on his subject — a trick of the old masters. “The lack of extraneous detail helped focus the piece.” 

Says Prof. Nickle, “The portrait of Hyoung is both sensitive and comical.”

Giancarlo Alicea's Initial rough sketch

Giancarlo Alicea’s Initial rough sketch of “Hyoung Uncommon”

Alicea completed an early drawing, “mapping the value relationships and figuring out composition.” He then worked on an “in-progress monotone painting,” a technique “of painting in values first in order to glaze in colors on top. It helps give the final painting good luminosity.”

Monotone underpainting before color glazes are applied

Monotone underpainting of “Hyoung Uncommon” before color glazes are applied

“I love seeing the sketch with the finish to reveal some of his process,” says Prof. Nickle. “Giancarlo made constant revisions to the finished painting, which continued even after the semester ended.”

From the earliest concepts to the actual painting, says Alicea, “Prof. Nickle was a source of wisdom and support. Without his help I wouldn’t have had ‘Hyoung Uncommon’ in my portfolio.”

Vanishing Ethiopian Tribes

By , March 21, 2014 3:39 pm

In January 2014 Trupal Pandya and Alexander Papakonstadinou, 4th semester photography students, traveled to Ethiopia to document the vanishing tribes of the Omo Valley. The tribes’ way of life is already stressed by hunting restrictions (tourists can hunt game, tribal members cannot). Soon a new dam will flood the valley as well.

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“I was working with Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, who does a lot of trips to Omo Valley,” says Trupal. “He had just come back from Ethiopia. I was looking through his pictures and found them inspiring. That’s when I decided to document the tribes in my own style. I wanted to bring studio lighting to the remote areas of the Omo Valley to create modern-style portraits.

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A young man on the day before the bull-jumping ceremony. Photo: Trupal Pandya

“We found that the way the tribes dressed, and their lifestyle, is still traditional. Visually the tribe members were very beautiful to us. We wanted to document that before it vanished. It is already under stress from globalization and development. Dress is changing, customs dying.”

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In a rite of passage, a boy jumps over the backs of cows. Photo: Trupal Pandya

“Every time the strobe went off the people thought that it was draining their blood and made them uncomfortable, so it was a difficult thing to do,” says Trupal.

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Photo: Alexander Papakonstadinou

Alexander shot in a completely different style, black and white 35 mm film. “My way of shooting was more documentary. What’s happening in their everyday life, capturing their expressions without them knowing, focusing on details, finding patterns. It helped me realize how uncluttered their life is. There’s no materialistic pleasure. It’s peaceful.”

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Photo: Alexander Papakonstadinou

Trupal and Alexander spent 10 days travelling within the valley and had the chance to reside with some of the tribes, which brought them closer to the culture.

“We were really lucky to find the right fixer who gave us access to these tribes,” Trupal says. “We took huge sacks of coffee or corn whenever we went to a tribe so they would let us stay. Sometimes it was money, sometimes clothes, sometimes food. It was always a bartered thing.”

They visited the Benna, Mursi, Hamar, Arbore, and Ari tribes. “Our tents were right next to their huts,” says Alexander. “We ate the same food. We exchanged food. We gave them canned food in exchange for their local chicken and lamb. They didn’t like the canned food of course.”

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A Hamar hut made from thatch, river reed, branches & sticks.  Photo:Trupal Pandya

“We had a lot of mentoring,” said Trupal. “Our professors really inspired us to do something out of the ordinary.”  Alexander and Trupal credit Ron Amato, Jessica Wynne, Brad Paris, Max Hilaire, Brian Emery “and all other faculty who played a role.”

The students showed tribal members some of the photographs they took; for some it was the first time they were seeing themselves in a digital form. They are planning to go back to the Omo Valley with the prints with a touring exhibit in their villages. “I’m planning on doing this with tribes of India as well” says Trupal, who grew up in Gujarat.

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Photo: Alexander Papakonstadinou

From now to the 4th of April some 40 of their photographs are in exhibit at the Marvin Feldman Center, Fashion Institute of Technology (C Lobby). There is a sense of regality to them. And that beauty in its natural form is what they want to show the world.

Trupal and Alex will be there to talk about their photos on the 25th of March from 6 pm onward.

Opening: Trupal Pandya & Alexander Papakonstadinou “Vanishing Tribes of the Omo Valley” photos in FIT C lobby, March 21 – April 4

 

photos used with permission

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