Been There, Done That – An Interview With Precollege Alum Isabella Muzzi









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?
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?
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)?
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)

Vanessa Paradis 1 Vanessa Paradis 2 (1) Vanessa Paradis 3 Warrior Goddess 1 Warrior Goddess 2 Warrior Goddess 3

AFTER (current work)

Rudi Gernreich 2

Body Skin Blood 2 Madonna Sex 2

Been There, Done That – An Interview With Precollege Alum Lilly Truscott

Lilly Truscott

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:

HAD 146 Typography for Graphic Design
HFM 064 Business of Fashion

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Been There, Done That – An Interview With Cecily Moore

Cecily Moore

This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alum, Cecily Moore! Cecily was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri then moved to Providence, Rhode Island during High School. She completed her AAS in Fashion Design at FIT and is expected to graduate in May 2013 with her BFA (also in Fashion Design) with a double minor in History of Art and Psychology.

Cecily is currently involved in FIT’s Student Ambassadors and the assistant coaching staff for FIT Volleyball, and was a previous Vice President of the AAS Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa.


  • National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DIII Region XV Volleyball
  • All-Region (2009 and 2010) and All-Tournament Team (2009)
  • Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (2009-2011)
  • Dean’s List (All Semesters)
  • FIT Foundation Scholarship (2010-2011)
  • Selected for appearance in FIT recruitment video (2011-2012)
  • Monohasset Mill Artists Open Studio (2007, 2009)
  • Fashion Week Volunteer (2009)
  • Fitness Center Attendant at FIT 2011-Present

Courses taken in Precollege Programs:

HPM 067: Manual Patternmaking and Sewing
HAP 026: Sewing for Fashion Designers

Precollege Programs: What is your fondest memory of Precollege Programs?
Cecily: I really enjoyed finally having the opportunity to meet friends really driven and interested in the areas of art and fashion that I was. In my small high school there was no one else who shared that connection to fashion design, so it was wonderful to be able to share both class time, lunch time, and after class adventures with new found friends who had a lot of the same interests I did. My clearest memory was weeping as I said goodbye to my new found friend Akela as he boarded the 1 train, I will never forget the day my Summer Precollege Program ended. Akela and I have stayed in touch since then though so it wasn’t “goodbye” but “see you later!”


Precollege Programs: Any other memories about Precollege  that you’d like to share?
Cecily: On the last day of my classes, all the students began to cry and hug each other and we gathered round the classroom to get a huge group picture of all our new friends, these pictures, and the friends I made throughout my experience here at FIT Summer Live have stayed with me to this day. When I look back through the pictures we took that summer, they still bring me a warm fuzzy feeling, something that can only come from the realization that I had a life-changing experience here that summer, one that helped me grow into the person and designer I am today.


Precollege Programs: At what  moment did you decide FIT was your college of choice?
Cecily:  It kind of all came together at different times for me, but the moment I began to dream about FIT was my sophomore year of high school before I had even moved to Rhode Island or had been to New York City when one of my closest friends started telling me about this amazing design school in the heart of the city named the Fashion Institute of Technology. Immediately after school, I ran home and googled FIT and explored their website for hours, and I was hooked. From then on it was my dream school which was only further solidified by my excellent Precollege experience, the cost of tuition, and the fact that FIT has a Volleyball team, which was very important in my college making decision.


Precollege Programs: What advantages did you gain from Precollege courses?
Cecily:  I strongly agree that taking a Precollege course gave me an advantage over other students admitted to FIT. It’s something that gives you confidence and ease as you step onto the campus. You already know where your classrooms, the library, cafeteria and bookstore are located when you arrive, and you are comfortable with the machinery inside the classrooms. So all you have to worry about is the first assignments you get, and making friends in your block, the basic college experience, instead of feeling lost and overwhelmed; and that doesn’t even touch on the technical abilities that it starts you off with as well! Being previously exposed to professors, classrooms, sewing machines and techniques all before being admitted gives you a better head about attending the Institute and really succeeding in your classes here.


Precollege Programs: How is college different than you previously  imagined back when you were in high school?
Cecily: College actually isn’t that different than I imagined, a few more sleepless nights and coffee runs than I would have expected, but the people, professors and classes have panned out similarly to how I expected. My rigorous high school courses and being the youngest sibling to watch my older sister go through college helped prepare me with a realistic college picture, and Summer Live helped to further form the picture I had of an design college prior to attending FIT.


Precollege Programs: Are there any specific learned traits from your days as a Precollege student that really hit home with you? Was something said by an instructor, for example, that remains with you today?
Cecily: Draping and Patternmaking were two skills that were very difficult to develop and grasp on my own as a high school student, so those are topics that I touched on with my Summer Live Program, as well as a Sewing class to get used to the industrial machines here, and better hone in on those skills. The process of draping really hit home for me in my Precollege days because my professor took the time to drill every step and procedure into my head, something that I was able to take home and replicate when I wanted to make my Prom dress and other formal dresses. Without that experience, I never would have had the confidence to tackle such intricate garments on my own.

I also vividly remember my sewing professors bubbly and energetic attitude in every summer class, and I ended up having her in my BFA as a professor again, and was delighted to see that she remembered my face! It was lovely to have a firsthand experience of the professors here really taking care of and getting to know the Precollege students they have.


Precollege Programs: What advice do you have for Precollege students?
Cecily: Take your classes here seriously, and really absorb everything the professors teach you because it really will serve you well in your future endeavors. Besides, you never know who you may see in the future, and it’s better to establish a professional and working relationship with every person you come across, they could save your grade, or job some day.



Been There, Done That – An Interview With Precollege Alum Timothy Brucato

Timothy Brucato

This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alum, Timothy Brucato. Timothy, who hails from Long Island, NY, completed his AAS in Fashion Design at FIT and is expected to graduate in May 2013 with his BFA in Accessories Design.

Timothy is a FIT Student tour guide and a Theatre Ensemble member. Other noted experiences and exhibits include winning 3rd place in the Capezio competition for accessories, feature in AAS Film noir exhibit, and a feature in an Aids Awareness fashion show. In addition, he has worked as an “alterations specialist” at Davids Bridal.

Courses taken in Precollege Programs:

HAR 016: Fashion Art for Fashion Designers
HAR 089: Fashion Design Portfolio
HAP 017: Fashion Design Techniques
HAP 026: Sewing for Fashion Designers

Precollege Programs: What is your fondest memory of Precollege Programs?
Timothy: The excitement I had when I took my first fashion art class in Precollege I learned how to draw a figure and that night went home and drew a million of them. The next class we learned rendering and how to use markers. My art looked so professional! My mom could not believe what I was creating. Just sitting in that class with music playing and Professor Galanos teaching us about rendering was amazing.


Precollege Programs: At what  moment did you decide FIT was your college of choice?
Timothy:  I decided FIT was for me when Project Runway came out. The idea that I could be making these things was what made me want to come. It became the only college I wanted to go to in the 10th grade.


Precollege Programs: What advantages did you gain from Precollege courses?
Timothy:  The precollege program is literally the reason that I am in this school. The portfolio class gave me the exact tools I needed to get into Fashion Design. The project you have in that class is literally the portfolio FIT wants. Also it allowed me to get used to New York City before I started college. The city is amazing, but I remember that when I was in 10th grade I was so scared to go there alone. The precollege program helped me get over my fears and also helped my mom feel I was going to be safe in the city.

I feel I definitely had an advantage over other people at FIT both in the admission process and once I started freshman year. I took a draping class, so first year draping was familiar to me when I entered. Also the sewing class I took was very helpful because it got me used to industrial machines (which are a lot faster than home machines) before my degree classes started.


Precollege Programs: How is college different than you previously  imagined back when you were in high school?
Timothy:   High school is nothing like reality. There is so much more freedom in college. There is also so much more acceptance in college then there is in high school. But also, college, unlike how people told me, is not impossible. It is very doable with hard work and determination. The precollege program also allowed me to see this.


Precollege Programs: What advice do you have for Precollege students?
Timothy: For those looking to go into fashion design, definitely take the fashion art, sewing 1, and portfolio classes. They help me get into the program. The portfolio class is literally what they want for your interview. Also, you are making the right choice to test out your major, and FIT before making a definite decision.


Been There, Done That – An Interview With Precollege Alum Stephen Weisbrot

Stephen Weisbrot

This week, Precollege Programs had the opportunity to speak with FIT undergraduate student and Precollege alum, Stephen Weisbrot. Stephen, who hails from Huntington NY, completed his AAS in Communication Design at FIT and is expected to graduate in May 2013 with his BS in Advertising Design.

Stephen is the President-elect for the 2012-2013 year in the Art & Copy Club. Other noted experiences and exhibits include:

  • Created a 1.5 minute motion graphic on how social media affects advertising for the exhibit for D2PC (Death to Pie Charts) group exhibit in the Museum at FIT put on by the Media Club at FIT,  February 2012
  • Freelance Art Direction for Street Attack (Innovative Marketing Agency, NY, NY), Fall  2011 – Present
  • Master Tutor, FIT Academic Skills Tutoring Center – Facilitated professors in classroom demonstrations in courses taught in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, Sep 2010-Dec 2011
  • Graphic Design Intern February to April 2011 – promoted to Junior Art Director from April – August 2011 Mysuites New York (Boutique Suites in the West Village & Chelsea)
  • Graphic Design Intern from August – December 2010, Versace Corporate Headquarters NY, NY
  • Graphic Design Intern  from May – Aug 2010, White Box Art Gallery, SoHo, NY
  • Gallery Manager from May 2008 – July 2009, Ripe Art Gallery, Greenlawn, NY

Courses taken in Precollege Programs:
HAD 018: Advertising Design Basics
HAD 149: Advertising and Graphic Design Portfolio

Stephen’s Website:  


Precollege Programs: What is your fondest memory of Precollege Programs?
Stephen: There really are so many fond memories from my Precollege days. Immediately, I recall popping out of bed in my quiet suburb on Long Island whilst it was still dark outside and just feeling so alive and excited for the day to come. I vividly remember my Saturday morning routines. I’d forgo going out on a Friday night so that I could wake up at 6:15 the next morning to catch the 7:03 train to Penn Station. I’d be more awake than you’d expect as I was running on endorphins from the pending day’s excitement. I’d look over all of my sketches and homework on the train ride in making sure that everything was up to my standard. I’d get into Penn around 8:15 and make my way down 7th Avenue where I’d stop at Bagel Maven (yummmmmm!) for a bacon, egg, and cheese. It just became like a ritual. I’d meet my friends from class there and we’d catch up on each others’ weeks. It made me feel a lot cooler walking into class with friends and not alone (I know I know).

Ultimately though, the friends I made in those classes were probably what I’d say was the fondest part. Many of them I still am in touch with today over Facebook and I even run into some on campus for those who decided to attend FIT for their undergrad. It was nice to see other kids my age who were passionate about something. Regular high school classes weren’t cutting it for them either and they shared similar interests with me. Being in that setting gave me a fresh start to be who I wanted to be. After classes, we would often go out for lunch or take the train down to Battery Park to just be those “cool” kids hanging out in the city.


Precollege Programs: At what  moment did you decide FIT was your college of choice?
Stephen:  I’ll probably regret saying this, but I recall coming into the city in January of 2008, a few weeks before my first Spring Precollege course was to begin. I came to get my official college ID. This was my first time ever at FIT, or a college campus for that matter. The campus was pretty deserted as it was still Winterim, but I just recall this euphoric feeling walking down 27th street and up to the security office to get my ID. I don’t think that the chain with my ID left my neck for the rest of that day. It’s hard to describe, but it was just one of those moments where you feel as if everything fits into place perfectly. I knew that I had to work even harder now that I had a clear vision of what I wanted, as I would settle for nothing less.


Precollege Programs: What advantages did you gain from Precollege courses?
Stephen: I became familiar with the campus, first of all! All the local restaurants (very important for me), respectful attitudes with professors, and familiarity with class structure and course load; with a Precollege Program class all of these things become familiar!

I was able to get first hand pointers from professors about what to expect and how to prepare for the portfolio review for my major. Anyone who’s tried to contact FIT knows that it is not the easiest task in the world. Any week I could have all of my questions answered and all of my concerns addressed. My professor even looked at my portfolio book and gave me a dedicated critique.

You can either go into this in the dark and present a portfolio that you think is good or you can get first hand answers from the people who are going to be reviewing it. The answer seemed pretty simple to me.


Precollege Programs: Are there any specific learned traits from your days as a Precollege student that really hit home with you?
Stephen: This was shortly after my Precollege classes ended, but I had a professor who truly coached me on my portfolio and how to present myself. She was an integral part of my application process to FIT. I wrote her an e-mail thanking her for all of her advice as soon as I got my acceptance letter into the Communication Design Department back in February 2009 and she replied praising me for the work that I had done and reassuring me that she had the utmost confidence in my design abilities as I were to grow and learn at FIT.

She unfortunately passed away in the fall of my freshman year and that correspondence was the last time we had any interaction. Her words still remind me why I work so hard and give up having any form of a social, relaxed life. I have her e-mail printed out posted on my wall as a constant reminder and to help me get through times when the going is tough (especially during finals).


Precollege Programs: How is college different than you previously  imagined back when you were in high school?
Stephen:  In high school, college seemed like this unachievable thing. It seemed like this place where the work was so hard that I didn’t think that I’d be able to handle it. I thought that it was a place where professors didn’t care or try and learn students’ names. I thought it was just a cold place.

I was wrong. So wrong.

College allowed me to be an individual. On the other side, I realized that I was on my own driving force. No one was going to push me. That was a harsh reality to own up to, but an important one.

FIT is not a cold place though. It’s an incredibly friendly place with some of the most talented people that I’ve ever met. My professors have always learned my name and given me the personalized attention that was necessary to become a better designer.


Precollege Programs: What advice do you have for Precollege students?
Stephen:  Take as many classes as you can! You meet amazing people. You’re taught by amazing professors. You get to hang out in New York City. What’s bad about that? Also, take these classes seriously. The biggest change from high school is that your professors don’t always care if you do your work or not. It’s up to you. Professors respect students who stay on top of their work and are passionate about what they do.

FIT is a place for people who are 110% entrenched in their work and their studies. Precollege classes give you a taste of that reality. Take AS MANY classes as you can.


Trapeze School New York Print Ad by Stephen Weisbrot


Boca Burger Print Ad by Stephen Weisbrot in collaboration with Margaux Le Pierres & Dylan Ostrow


Vintage Television Print Ad by Stephen Weisbrot and Rachel Michaud


Skull Candy Earbuds by Stephen Weisbrot


Drug Free America, by Stephen Weisbrot, collaboration with Margaux Le Pierres