Monthly Archives: November 2012


Until December 7, passersby of shoe addict heaven DSW on 34th Street will get a peek at this fancy footwear created by FIT students:

DSW shoes

Creativity meets value: FIT students’ shoes at DSW.

Over the past year, DSW, looking to nurture the next generation of accessories designers, sponsored a contest to design their dream shoe and boot; the top designs would find their way to store shelves.

“We didn’t specify the season,” says Cynthia Watson, director of merchandise initiatives at DSW, who organized the contest under the guidance of Debbie Ferrée, vice chair and chief merchandising officer. “We wanted to make sure the design was innovative but also commercially viable. We weren’t trying to hit a price point, but we wanted to make sure they would sell.”

About 30 of DSW’s buyers narrowed the 45 entrants down to 15 and then five finalists, who presented their designs to a group of the company’s executives in the spring. The winner, Sun Jeong Kang, Accessories Design ’12, took home $1,500; her Wallis Sandal and Sandy Shootie will sell for $99.95 at the 34th Street location and on DSW’s website beginning after the launch party on February 5.

DSW shoes

Two right feet: Sun Jeong Kang’s Sandy Shootie and Wallis Sandal.

It gets better. The Fashion Footwear Association of New York chipped in $10,000 to fly the five finalists to Ars Sutoria, the renowned footwear design school in Milan, for a 10-day intensive training.

Kang’s designs use basic colors but incorporate a variety of materials and textures.

“The sculpted heel isn’t your usual stiletto,” says Vasilios Christofilakos, Textile/Surface Design ’02, Fashion Design ’84, chair of FIT’s Accessories Design department, “and the trims flatter the woman’s foot, making it fun and empowering at the same time.”

But, he admits, all the finalists created gorgeous, wearable designs. “It’s kind of like Dancing With the Stars,” he says. “They’re all great, and someone gets an extra point because that’s the way it is.”


“If you like doing something, find a way to call it work,” said Sophie Blackall, the prolific Australian/Brooklynite illustrator known for her quirky picture of New York City subway riders.

Sophie Blackall's MTA poster

Hue has spent many hours gazing at Sophie Blackall’s MTA poster while waiting for the Q train to start moving again.

At FIT last night, she presented her work and narrated her career trajectory for Illustration students and faculty, as well as her husband, who occasionally fed her planted questions and loving looks. She showed a charming four-minute video about the subway poster, in which she does a lot of biking, plus some painting.

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YouTube Direkt

Hue’s favorite moment of the video: She says, “I love drawing animals, but I almost always want to put clothes on them.”


Perhaps her coolest project is called Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found, in which she translated her obsession with Craigslist’s missed connections into a poignant illustrated book.

Utterly romantic and totally weird: Sophie Blackall’s Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found.

Apparently, she likes to put animal clothes on humans, too.

Check out Blackall’s Etsy store to see dozens more of these gems (prints of the art are for sale). Or just buy the book.


Flash back to Lollapalooza 2007. Amy Winehouse delivered a legendary performance. M.I.A. brought down the house. And a little-known solo artist named Lady Gaga was performing underground dance music and shaking her booty. This was a year before Gaga’s megahit The Fame launched her celebrity.

Enter Monica Schweiger, Fashion Buying and Merchandising ’97, then a fashion editor at WWD. Schweiger was producing a spread on Lollapalooza style when she came across the performer.

“She was this crazy girl from Brooklyn who basically performed in her underwear,” Schweiger recalls. “She had a penchant for disco balls and sparkles.”

Schweiger pulled together a shoot that involved “a bunch of really sparkly underwear,” she says. “I put her in Dolce & Gabbana silky hot pants and sequined lingerie from Coco de Mer, all really bright and fun stuff. She had her own disco-ball bra that she made.”

Gaga made love to the camera. “She was totally fearless,” Schweiger remembers.

The article ran on WWD’s cover. “We were trying to portray innerwear as outerwear. And now pants are definitely not necessary for performers anymore.”

Who’s that girl? Oh, it’s Lady Gaga, pre-meat-dress.

That night, however, pants would have been useful. The cops hit Gaga with a citation for public indecency.