Instructor Spotlight: Daniel DeMatteo

Photo by Marta Regulski

Our dreams and true destinies are within reach when we have the courage to embrace them. Dan’s innate creativity and compelling individualism were overshadowed by hard times that lasted through his adolescence. He lost sight of his destino vero — or true destiny.

One day as he walked by the Fashion Institute of Technology, he caught a glimpse of the destiny before him, it was time to embrace his greatest skills. After creating a design portfolio in one night, FIT found his work so compelling they offered him a space in their Menswear Design program. Despite no previous apparel experience, he quickly moved to the top of his class and was hired by Nicole Miller while still attending the Fashion Institute of Technology.
For over 20 years, Dan made his way through every corner of the fashion industry — and the globe. He conquered design, merchandising, sourcing and beyond for marquee brands and boutiques alike while learning from their successes and failures. Then after years of incubation, Dan launched his own clothing company and brand, Destino Vero, in 2012.

Daniel DeMatteo Teaches:
HMW 157 Intro to menswear Sewing 

Teaching Philosophy:
I take great pride in teaching the next generation of designers, tastemakers and creatives. In my class I focus on the importance of sharpening the students’ skills, leading by example, encouraging a strong work ethic while infusing a sharp attention to detail.  I provide my students with a unique, “on the job experience,”  that parallels the fashion industry’s demands and helps to ensure future success. I have always said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Quality is a parallel to integrity, especially in fashion.”

Industry Experience:

  • In 2012, Dan launched his own clothing company and brand, Destino Vero
  • GQ Magazine-Bombay Sapphire exhibition, “New Designer of the Year” award ceremony
  • Day for Night exhibition, Menswear design award
  • Italian Trade Commission Exhibition award, Daniel was sent to study and work in Prato, Italy
  • FIT Outstanding Menswear Student Achievement Award, Daniel was sent to study in Paris, France

Work by Daniel DeMatteo:


 

The FIT dream experience by Alexis Carey

In 2011 I decided it would be fun to do the FIT middle school summer workshop with my best friend, Sarah. I had heard about it through my mom, since she went to school at FIT and knew I was interested in fashion.

On July 11, 2011, our very first day, my mom walked Sarah and me from Penn Station to FIT, where we waited in a long line with many other kids from all over the world. I was expecting to get there and have to be super serious, since that’s the vibe I got from the orientation, but it was the opposite. Our mornings were spent in the classroom learning some of the future trends in Fashion Forecasting. In the afternoons, we took pictures around FIT and Bryant Park for landscape photography.

Being so young, I enjoyed the photography classes a little more than the Fashion Forecasting because we were active and didn’t just sit in one place for a long time. It was also fun to enjoy lunch outside and explore the FIT campus. Our first week at FIT flew by. Everyone was shy, but Sarah and I did manage to make a couple of friends on the last day whom we tried to keep in touch with. At the end of those four days, we realized how fast it went and wished that we had more time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By taking seven classes over six years (2011-2017), I learned so many new things that I would have never learned without FIT. Each year I learned not only about fashion, but also about myself.  Taking all the FIT classes has helped me decide what I want to pursue in college and in my career. After taking a few design and business classes, I decided that I really have a passion for the marketing and business side of fashion. I took my passion for the business a step further by creating my own blog, www.fashionfitnessfun.com, where I blog about some of the fashion classes I took at FIT. In 2016, I took the course, “The Week in the Life of a Merchant.” I really enjoyed experiencing stores through a merchant’s point of view, and not just as a consumer. Through this workshop, I got to form my own opinions on which brands do well and those that do not, which did not occur to me before. In Fashion Forecasting, which I took in 2017, I really enjoyed looking at the current trends and those for the future. Not only is it interesting to see what will stay the same and what will change, but it helps me integrate styles into my wardrobe and inform my blog followers!

Although there were many things I loved about taking courses at FIT that made me continue to do so for many years, the thing that was the least enjoyable in my experience was the process of signing up for each course. Sarah and I could never figure out what we did wrong, but the system would always lock us out of our accounts when it was time to sign up. It caused a lot of stress over whether we could get into the class we wanted to.

Fast forward six years to my last year taking classes, and a lot has changed. First of all, each summer I’ve basically grown up at FIT and experienced so much more than I ever thought I would through four day workshops. I’ve learned of inspirational places to go to in New York City, like Barney’s, Story, Dover Street Market, and the Meatpacking District – some of the coolest places to take pictures. There have been some incredible professors during my FIT experience! My landscape photography professor was very cool and could relate to students!  Since I took Fashion Forecasting my first year and then again six years later, it was interesting to see how I have grown during this time. I also had the same teacher, Gary Wolf, who was amazed to have the same student twice. I think it was cool to see the similarities and differences of that course from a middle school to a high school workshop. The high school workshop is more in depth about the fashion business, as opposed to the middle school class which covered the basics.

Overall, I cherish the experiences I have had at FIT throughout the years and will definitely miss the students and professors. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to explore every aspect of fashion, which has helped me get to where I am today.  What I have learned at during the summers at FIT will be a part of my future endeavors.

-Alexis Carey

Been There, Done That – Precollege Alum Caitlyn Hansen

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My name is Caitlyn Hansen and I attended Precollege Programs while I was a high school student. I would like to share some recent accomplishments of mine and the wonderful opportunities I have had at over my four years at FIT.
In high school I took two Precollege courses at FIT. I took HFS 180 Fabric Styling for Fashion Saturday live class and HSX 121 The Fabulous World of Fashion Forecasting workshop class as well. I am a current senior at FIT majoring in Fashion Merchandising Management with a specialization in Product Development. I have had over eight internships during my time at FIT while maintaining a full course load with a GPA of a 3.6. Some of the internships I have had include working at companies such as Lanvin, Tory Burch, The Doneger Group, Brooks Brothers and more.
I currently hold the position as President of the Merchandising Society at FIT. The Merchandising Society is the oldest and largest club on campus, comprised of over 300 members while have been established in 1961. Our mission is to enhance our members college experience by exposing our members to all facets of the fashion industry.
Most recently, I was awarded the Henry Doneger Endowed Scholarship through the FBM department and The Doneger Group.The Henry Doneger scholarship is named for a former leader in our industry.  Mr. Doneger, founder of The Doneger Group, was one of the industry’s most innovative and influential men.  Mr. Abbey Doneger, the son of Henry, established this scholarship in his memory. The scholarship is awarded to four FBM BS students in the amount of $5,400 for each, and one AAS student in the amount of $3,100 with a minimum of a 3.2 GPA. A choice of two essay topics were given. One being about Generation Z and the other about activewear. Personal scholarship essay was written on the rise of activewear and how it has become an important category in women’s and men’s fashion.
FIT has given me more opportunity’s and experiences than I could have ever imagined. It is a bittersweet feeling to think that I will be leaving behind such an incredible four years of my life, but I am excited to see what the future holds.
-Caitlyn

If At First You Don’t Succeed…: A Conversation With Typhani Sheppard

Typhani

Typhani’s current work

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.

Tiffany SheppardTyphani 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.”Quote

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.

typhaniedress

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:

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– Matt

Been There, Done That – An Interview With Precollege Alum Bruno Meira

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Bruno Meira’s Lifestyle Blog

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.

BrunoMeira

Photography by Silvana Fazzalari

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.

I took two Precollege courses: HAC 063 Careers in Advertising and Marketing Communications and HAD 101 The Principles of Design.

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.

Cordially,

Bruno Meira
President, FIT Models and Stylists Association