The college application process is daunting and rewarding. It combines the best and worst aspects of academic pressure. Typhani Sheppard knew she wasn’t the best, but if she worked harder than everyone else, and didn’t just give up, she could succeed. Typhani story is one of perseverance, hard work, and dedication.
Typhani was in the midst of finals week when, we here at Precollege got to sit with her. Typhani is currently on track to graduate from FIT’s class She was bright and chipper, a departure from how most college students are during finals week. Typhani joins us as former Precollege intern, who took part in our community outreach program, where students are able to fulfill required internships and community services hours as an office intern.
Going back to the beginning, Typhani’s story starts when she is just twelve years old. She discovered her love of drawing when she would sketch while her mother braided her hair. “I knew all I wanted to do with the rest of my life was draw.” Typhani had her heart set on going to FIT after high school. “My mother was in the fashion industry, and would always mention FIT, for me that was the pinnacle.”
Typhani’s application process began in 2012, “I applied to FIT, Parsons, several art institutes, and some of the CUNYs.” At first, Typhani was rejected from FIT, “I cried.” Her backup plan consisted of Brooklyn College and Hunter College. “I finished my entire liberal art requirements and Hunter started to e-mail me about a choosing a major.” She decided that while Hunter was an excellent liberal arts college, she yearned for the arts and fashion-centric nature of FIT. In 2014 after learning a few lessons, she reapplied.
Every FIT student does a portfolio for their Art & Design application and this turned out to be the most difficult part for Typhani. “The flaw in my first portfolio was inconsistency.” Her first portfolio was littered with tiny mistakes that cost her. Typhani’s internship supervisor at FIT encouraged her to not give up and to make sure that she took note of all of the portfolio instructions on the Admissions website, when she reapplied.
“You have to follow the instructions to a tee,” Typhani says.
Typhani was more determined than ever to create a portfolio that would get her into her dream school. The second time around; she was more concise and professional with her designs and what she wanted to show.
“You can have great ideas but if you can’t present them well, it’s not going to go well.”
Typhani’s grit paid off and she was accepted. “FIT accepted everything but a theater class when I transferred” she says.
When asked if she had any advice for students who didn’t get in the first time she said, “Remember that this does not define you.” As we were wrapping up, Typhani had some wisdom from a professor that she wanted to share, “People who make it in the industry aren’t necessarily the most talented, they are the ones that work the hardest.”
Typhani’s early high school work:
I was born in Brazil, and raised in New York. I have just graduated with an AAS Degree in Communication Design, and now I am entering my first semester as an upper division student pursuing a BS Degree in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries, planning to minor in French and International Politics.
The FIT Models and Stylists Association has become one of the biggest clubs on campus, attracting models, stylists, photographers, bloggers, and fashion lovers from all different majors.Over 100 students have attended our weekly workshops and activities. We have brought many opportunities for our members, including a Models and Stylists Networking Conference that included a speaker from America’s Next Top Model. Our members have signed contracts with modeling agencies, worked for various fashion events, been featured in FIT Publications and social networks including W27, Blush Magazine, @FITNYC Instagram and other social platforms and one of them was even featured in Vogue last year. FITMSA was recognized at the Student Association Recognition Ceremony with the New Club of the Year Award. On the same night, I was recognized with the Michael Noeth Memorial Leadership Award and the FIT Student Gold Leadership Key.
I am a Presidential Scholar, Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society member, and have received scholarships from PVH Corporation, Gemini Shippers Association Ralph Lauren, and New Times Group.
Fashion has always intrigued me. I knew FIT was the right school for me, however I wasn’t sure of how I was going to make a career out of my passion. Taking courses that fit my personal interests helped me develop my identity within FIT to find the appropriate majors to explore all my talents in business, fashion, art, and design and follow the right path to “making a living” by also making the world more interesting and dynamic.
After my Principles of Design class I knew that I had to explore that talent. Precollege gave me a taste and an insider view of what the FIT experience was going to be.
After Precollege I came to a realization that a great artist is not only one who invents great works; but one who has a bigger vision for such works.
My best advice for students is to start your career as early as you can and take as many Precollege courses as they can. On top of being ahead, they will always learn more about themselves and the school in the classes. It’s a great opportunity for trial-and-error, especially in terms of interests before committing to a specific major at FIT.
Have a wonderful day and believe in the dream.
This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alumni, Isabella Muzzi. Isabella was born and raised in Manhattan. She loves New York City because of its diversity and ability to change so quickly. It has been a major inspiration to her as an artist. She is currently in her third semester at FIT, working towards her AAS in Fashion Design.
Courses Taken in Precollege Programs:
HAP 017 Introduction to Draping for Fashion Design
HAP 025 Sewing for Fashion Designers
HAP 026 Sewing for Fashion Designers
HAR 082 Junior Special Occasion
HAR 087 Advanced Fashion Design Art Techniques
HAR 089 Fashion Design Portfolio
HAR 091 Anatomy of Fashion
HAR 123 Adobe Photoshop for Fashion Design-Art
HGD 174 2-D Animation Using Adobe Photoshop and After-Effects (Level 1)
HPM 067 Manual Patternmaking and Sewing
JAR 120 Fashion Design
JFA 133 Designing with Color
JSX 010 Drawing Fashion from Inspiration
JSX 030 Composition and Space
Precollege: Do you have any exhibitions, awards, scholarships, recognitions, or experience?
Isabella: In both junior high and high school I was awarded for achievement in website design and studio arts. I was also a semi-finalist in the P.S. Art competition 2013 to be exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have a lot of experience interning in many artistic fields. Some of the places in which I have interned include the New York Philharmonic Archives, Hiho Batik in Park Slope, the couture and bridal department of Madame Paulette headquarters, and Gauge by Design / Michel of Hong Kong knitwear. Finally, I launched my own label under my name MUZZI in June 2013, which I continue to work for and progress.
Precollege: What courses did you take in our Precollege program at FIT?
Isabella: I have taken 18 classes in the Precollege program at FIT. I started in 7th grade and ended in 10th grade. I took 3 classes of Drawing Fashion from Inspiration, Illustrating Fashion Design, Designing with Color, 2 classes of Composition and Space, Advanced Fashion Design-Art Techniques, Photoshop for Fashion Design-Art, Fashion Design Techniques, Anatomy of Fashion, 2 classes of Fashion Art Portfolio, Manual Patternmaking and Sewing, 2D Animation Using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects, Sewing for Fashion Designers (Level I), Sewing for Fashion Designers (Level II), and Junior Special Occasion.
Precollege: What is your fondest memory of Precollege programs?
Isabella: My fondest memory of the Precollege programs was taking the Fashion Art Portfolio class with Steven Stipleman over the summer session. I was so excited and nervous leading up to the class and to be able to learn from him, whose books and illustrations have served as a great inspiration to me. The experience of taking his class has had the most rapid and impactful affect on my work out of any course I took in the Precollege programs. He never ignored mistakes and was always constructively critical of all my work, which ultimately made me an infinitely better artist.
Precollege: Any other memories about you Precollege program experience that you’d like to share?
Isabella: I also really enjoyed the last class I ever took in the Precollege program, Junior Special Occasion with Kathy Strack. I was uncomfortable with the idea of designing prom dresses and for specifically the junior market, so she encouraged me to take the projects to a higher level if I felt I could. She also recognized where I was with my artwork, and worked with me individually to take it to a higher level. She wanted to find something I had not done before and did not have any experience in, so she challenged me to do the final project in watercolor. This challenge inspired me to work harder and tackle an area in which I was not familiar, which also helped me become a better artist.
Precollege: At what moment did you decide that FIT was your college of choice (if you attend/have attended FIT for college)?
Isabella: I always knew that FIT was the ideal place for me to go to college. After seeing how much success I had in the Precollege programs and how much my work improved, I knew that continuing my education at FIT would have a lasting impact on myself and my work.
Precollege: What advantages did you gain from Precollege courses?
Isabella: I learned so much about FIT and about myself through the many Precollege courses I took. For one, taking Precollege courses familiarized myself with the physical campus of FIT, with the class structure and instruction, and with many of the incredibly knowledgeable and talented professors. In addition to that, taking Precollege classes every semester between 7th and 10th grades ensured a constant flow of progression in my artwork and better prepared me for the rigorous college program at FIT.
Precollege: How is college different than you previously imagined back when you were in high school?
Isabella: I think taking so many Precollege classes at FIT gave me a taste of what the college program at FIT would be like. I knew in high school that it would be incredibly rigorous, but I think the act of actually experiencing it and being a full time fashion design major is something there is no way to prepare for. It is a lot of work, and you really learn how to manage your time in the most efficient way possible when being immersed in it.
Precollege: Are there any specific learned traits from your days as a Precollege student that really “hit home” with you? For example, was something said by an instructor that remains with you today?
Isabella: All of the professors I had in the Precollege programs were wonderful. I think something that several of them said to me that has always stayed with me is to always keep pushing myself, and to always keep pushing boundaries. They reminded me that art is constantly in evolution, and that I can always work harder and do better. That is something that I constantly remind myself of today.
Precollege: What advice do you have for Precollege students?
Isabella: Take advantage of the experience. You are incredibly fortunate to be learning from some of the most experienced and talented names in the industry. Be open to criticism and know that they are there to help you improve. Know that you can never stop learning and you can always push yourself harder to do better.
Precollege: Do you have any work from Precollege?
Isabella: Yes, I did a ton of work in Precollege that I am proud of for the time. I attached two projects from my final class Junior Special Occasion, one group of cocktail dresses entitled Warrior Goddess, and one watercolor project of evening gowns inspired by my muse Vanessa Paradis.
Precollege: Do you have any current work that you’d like to share with us?
Isabella: Yes, I also have a ton of work from my second and third semester Art & Design classes. I have attached work from second semester inspired by reinventing the house Rudi Gernreich, and work from third semester from one project entitled Body Skin Blood, and the final project inspired by the book Sex by Madonna.
Work by Isabella Muzzi:
BEFORE (work done in the High School Precollege Program)
AFTER (current work)
This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alumni, Lilly Truscott. Lilly was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, but moved to Nashville, TN during high school. She is currently in her first semester at FIT, working towards her AAS in Advertising and Marketing Communications. After gaining her Associates Degree, Lilly plans to graduate with her BS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing.
Lilly currently works in the Precollege office through FIT’s Work-Study program, where she is able to share her experiences as a Precollege student with current students and parents.
Courses Taken in Precollege Programs: