Tag Archives: FIT Students


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.”


For its 40th anniversary, Carolee, the noted costume-jewelry maker, held a contest within FIT to design five collections that blend the classic, sophisticated Carolee look with a fresh, fashiony edge.

On Thursday, September 13, the winners convened at the Carolee counter at Bloomingdale’s to try on their designs. They, along with execs from Carolee, FIT, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Nylon magazine, crowded into an aisle between jewelry cases and sipped prosecco, nibbled on macarons, and took in congratulatory remarks.

The five winners of Carolee's design contest

Carolee’s FIT Student Design Competition Winners from FIT’s Jewelry Design major, left to right: Palwasha Iqbal ’12, Prakshi Sharma ’12, Elyse Spencer ’13, Yoonji Choi ’12, and Christine Gonzalez ’13 (and Advertising and Marketing Communications ’99). (PRNewsFoto/CAROLEE)

“This store is about dreams and aspirations,” Joel Fivis, president and COO of Carolee, said. “We are very proud to have played a part in helping these students reach their aspirations.”

“The future of design is secure,” Karen O’Brien, vice president of marketing (and fellow FIT alumna), said.

Each winner received $1,000, and five dollars from the sale of each piece will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Carolee also sponsored a $2,500 annual scholarship to one Jewelry Design student. The first winner was Vanessa Marek, Jewelry Design ’13.

FIT students’ winning designs for Carolee. Clockwise from top left: Palwasha Iqbal’s Deco Jazz, Christine Gonzalez’s Bold Geometry, Yoonji Choi’s Peacock Blues, and Prakshi Sharma’s Heirloom Lace. Center: Elyse Spencer’s pieces. (PRNewsFoto/CAROLEE)

The winners were charmingly modest about their stunning works.

“I was afraid of these earrings. I didn’t think people wore earrings like this anymore,” said Prakshi Sharma, who flew in from India for the occasion. Her Heirloom Lace collection drew on the shapes that snake charmers make out of their snakes. “American style is simple and straight, but this is complex.”

Yoonji Choi based her collection, Peacock Blues, on the cockiest bird in the animal kingdom. “People will get a chance to feel like a prima donna on the stage,” Choi said. She brought in a splash of light blue to make the pieces feel younger and trendier.

The People’s Choice award went to Elyse Spencer, the youngest designer in the contest. The secret to her populist appeal? “My roommate Natalie got a lot of people to vote for me,” she said.


FIT is home to talent of many stripes. One such stripe, apparently, is figure skating. Kevin Coppola, International Trade and Marketing ’13, took home first prize at the U.S. Figure Skating Collegiate Championships in August.

Hue is doing triple axels in the office.

Kevin Coppola, figure skating champion

Kevin Coppola skates for the win. Hue wishes more people had come to watch.

Coppola skated two programs, one to the music from Requiem for a Dream, the other to Children of Dune. His total score was 113.42, light years ahead of the second place senior man, who earned a 78.99.

The numbers are equally impressive on the academic side: he’s a Presidential Scholar with a stellar GPA.

He’s been skating since he was five, though he retired in high school after fracturing his hip bone. He shed his Olympic dreams and focused on his academics.

“If you get hurt and take time off, there’s no way to catch up again,” he says.

Like Cher and Michael Jordan, however, he didn’t stay retired for long: When he came to FIT, he decided to give skating a go once more.

“At first I thought I was going to be fine with moving on,” he says. “But I felt like I wasn’t finished with it yet.”

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt (This is Coppola’s long program, set to the Children of Dune soundtrack. Skip ahead to 00:50 to see the beginning.)

These days, he wakes up at 5 am four days a week and buses an hour out to Hackensack to practice for three hours. On the weekends, he coaches kids to help pay for school.

Already he can land four triple jumps: the triple Salchow, triple toe loop, triple loop, and triple flip. He’s working on his triple lutz. The famed triple axel, which is actually 3.5 turns, isn’t in the cards right now.

“To learn triples, one jump can take up to a year,” he says. “It’s really a lot of practice.”


The verdict is in: Fashion Merchandising Management students have all the fun.

Earlier this summer, Professor Jane  Werner and the 16 students in her FM 226 class crossed the pond and spent almost a month soaking up the sights of London, Paris, Barcelona, and Florence.

Their drool-worthy itinerary could not have been more glamorous. They met with Topshop’s designers; toured a distribution plant run by robots; met fashion forecasters from Stylesight and WGSN; presented marketing and merchandising plans to Spanish women’s wear company Encuentro; explored Pitti Uomo, a massive menswear trade show in Florence; watched leather workers and silk weavers make their product; and cooked with an Italian chef. Among many other equally impressive activities.

“The students finally got to see things they studied in class,” Professor Werner said. “And they learned not to be afraid of a place where they don’t speak the language.”

Behold, the slideshow.


Hue is stuck at work today, sitting in front of our glowing screens.  Bummer.  We would much rather be out frolicking in the world, looking at art, trying on shoes, and smelling trees.  But, to paraphrase our favorite tautology, a deadline is a deadline.  We have taken heart, however, that on this gray day, we have some beautiful photographs to look at from a beautiful, exotic place.

That place would be Italy, where Ron Amato, chair of FIT’s program in Photography and the Digital Image, spent part of June.  Hue has spent the day looking at his pictures and sighing.  With longing.  Like, a lot.

These two particular images were taken in Venice.

Amato also took some mouth-watering pictures of food:

And, to boot, a few lovely abstract images that make Hue happy in the most indescribable way, like this one taken in the Giardini di Boboli, in Florence:

Hue is also quite interested in the blog that Amato put together called, “FIT Students in Italy.”  It is nice.  Between June 3 and 23, Amato taught a for-credit course for students studying photography.  The group traveled to Florence, Milan, and Como, and along the way Amato gave the students who traveled there with him assignments in the form of a theme—“Old and New,” for example, meant the picture should include things that are…you guessed it.  The students got to practice looking and framing and thinking about how to make a bodacious picture, and now you can look too.  And look and look and look.  Here are the photos from that course.