Instructor Spotlight: Janice Giardina

Janice Giardina is an adjunct assistant professor at FIT.  She has taught Fashion Design Art college and Precollege classes at FIT since 2001. Janice embarked on her career in Fashion Design while still in high school in the late 1980’s in FIT’s precollege Saturday Live program and was later accepted to the university as a Fashion Design major.  She graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design and went on to design womenswear in the industry.

She has designed eveningwear, activewear, knitwear, and career and casual sportswear for branded and private label manufacturers who have sold to major department stores such as Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Talbots.

Prof. Giardina Teaches:
JSX 011 Fashion Art: Silhouettes
JSX 012 Fashion Art: Rendering Fabrics

On Precollege Programs:
I started out in the Precollege program myself in the late 1980’s!  Since most art universities require you to know your major when applying, I think it’s great to explore this early.  Taking Precollege classes is a great way to help you find out where your passion lies, and you’ll have fun and make friends while doing so!

Teaching Philosophy:
You will excel when you’re passionate about what you’re doing and enjoying yourself.  I tell my students to have fun while they’re working.  Find something that inspires you and bring that into your work.  You cannot be creative without inspiration.

Artwork by Prof. Giardina:





Instructor Spotlight: Elida Behar

Elida Behar has been teaching in the Fashion Business Management Department in the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology since 2009.  She spent her life’s work in the retail industry.  First, in luxury at Saks Fifth Avenue and then at the NYC off-price specialty retailer, Daffy’s.
Prof. Bahar has experience in buying and developing multiple product categories, such as shoes, handbags, toys, dresses, childrenswear, and men’s furnishings.

Prof. Behar teaches:
HSX 123: A Week in the Life of a Merchant

Teaching Philosophy:
I believe in succession building; I have an obligation to impart my knowledge to those who will follow and lead in the industry and in the American society. I have always approached teaching as the business practitioner.  I connect the dots for the student – they are hearing merchandising theories for the first time – it is difficult to comprehend.  I give many examples from my experience and the multiple product categories which I bought.

I believe that it is important to be positive in the classroom and to exude enthusiasm about the industry, more so than ever due to the changes that are being caused by technology.  I am envious of the students, and I say so, as I wish that I was at the start of my career during this important and exciting period.

Recent Industry Accomplishments:

International Teaching | Summer 2015-2017

Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China

Prof. Behar has been selected to teach Global Merchandising to the upper divisions and has been re-appointed every year.  This past summer, she was a keynote guest speaker at the International Forum of Fashion Brand Development at the university.  Her speech addressed the Global Market and Merchandising Strategy.

Prof. Behar is a contributing researcher to Retailing in Emerging Markets, 2nd Edition by Bloomsbury Publishing, which was released in October 2017.  The textbook is used in the Global Merchandising course: Elida Behar Contributes to Book on Retailing

Instructor Spotlight: Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth Hunter is an experienced communicator with a background that includes creating successful publicity and marketing campaigns on behalf of top consumer products, consulting firms, luxury brands, and governments.

Hunter attended Fordham College and the Gabelli Graduate School of Business with a focus on business and marketing. She lives in Manhattan and in her free time works as a professional calligrapher, making appearances on location for cosmetic companies, liquor brands and charities.
 As Vice President of Public Relations of the original campaign supporting Absolut Vodka she worked with 500 contemporary artists and dozens of American fashion designers who created original designs for the brand’s celebrated advertising campaign.   She has worked with all major news outlets worldwide, and been interviewed and quoted on the front page of major dailies, fashion magazines and interviewed on television.

Hunter is a member of the New York Society of Scribes and the International Association of Master Penmen and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH). She tells us that she will write on any surface — and that writing in silver paint is her favorite!

Prof. Hunter teaches:

Teaching Philosophy:

“The world is changing very quickly. I believe that developing polished, strategic writing skills, and understanding the modern media, will give students a distinct advantage in their careers and in their lives.”

Industry Experience includes:
Absolut Vodka
K2 Investigations
Avon Products
The Country of Japan


Instructor Spotlight: Seth Hiler

       Seth Ruggles Hiler is influenced by geography and the communities of his surroundings.  He creates and records connections to people and place through painting.  Seth received a BFA from Syracuse University in 2002 and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2005.   He applies the combination of passion for connection and expertise in figurative painting in the classrooms of FIT’s Pre-College Program and Bard College’s High School Early College in Newark, NJ.  

Seth Hiler Teaches:
HSX 022 Portraits for Portfolios
Teaching Philosophy:
My approach to teaching is directly aligned with that of my art practice.  Passion, discipline and community engagement are essential in both.  Teachers must share the clear concepts of their subject matter, while at the same time creating a community in which their students can express their own ideas using their newfound knowledge.
Selected Recent Exhibitions:
“The Transcendence of Us,” Brooklyn Fire Proof’s ‘Gallery 104,’ Brooklyn, NY
“Art at the Abbey,” The Great Hall Gallery, Brooklyn, NY – group show, curated by Seth Ruggles Hiler
“Artists Emerged: NJ Emerging Artists Series New Works,” Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ
“Season of Creativity,” Palette Art Studio, Woodbridge, CT
“Personality Test, Contemporary Portraiture,” Mikhail Zakin Gallery, Demarest, NJ

“X Contemporary Exhibition,” Art Basel, Miami, FL
“Transitions,” ANNEX Arts Space, Williamsburg, NY – Solo Exhibition
“KUNSTKAMMER,” Parenthesis Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
Artwork by Seth Hiler

Instructor Spotlight: Stacy Mehrfar

Born and raised in NY, Stacy lived in Sydney, Australia from 2008-2016.  During that time she taught photography at several Arts Universities where she lectured on Documentary Photography, taught workshops on on-location lighting, and assisted students in building portfolios and executing graduation exhibitions. Previous to her move to Sydney, Stacy taught Continuing Education classes at the Makor Steinhart Center, and was also an active teaching assistant at the International Center of Photography, in New York and southern France. Stacy has also given several lectures on her artwork at Universities and arts organizations in both the US and Australia.

Stacy Mehrfar teaches:
HSX 112: Documentary Photography

Teaching Philosophy:
Photography is about discovery. We throw questions out into the world and take photographs to try to find answers. Students should have the freedom to discover through mistakes and experimentation. Most of all I want students to take pleasure in that process after all my own greatest discoveries have come from the unexpected.  Through class projects and group discussion, we learn to grow together as a community, pushing one another to greater heights.

Industry Experience/Recent Exhibitions:
Stacy exhibited her photographs and video installations in the United States, Australia, Poland, and Germany, at institutions including the International Center of Photography and ClampArt in New York, Edmund Pearce in Melbourne, the Australian Centre of Photography and the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney.

Australian Post Graduate Award, Arts New South Wales Grant, the National Association for the Visual Arts Grant, the Camera Club of New York Darkroom Residency, the Makor Artist Residency at 92nd St Y, Moran Arts Foundation, Head On Portrait Prize, Photo District News, Photobook Melbourne, and Center for Photography at Woodstock.

Moran Arts Foundation, Head On Portrait Prize, Photo District News, Photobook Melbourne, and Center for Photography at Woodstock.

Stacy’s first photobook, Tall Poppy Syndrome, was published by Decode Books, Seattle, 2012.

ICP Museum Projection exhibition, 100 Days (2017)
“In Search of Lost Time,” exhibition at the ICP School (Oct 2017).