Learn From The Best (So You’re Not Like The Rest)

alivia-cooney Happy December, dolls!

With college applications due right around the corner, this past Sunday found many class discussions centered around the future. Even more so than the immediate future, many of my classmates were concerned about the longterm future, particularly that which would ensue following their potential acceptance into FIT for college.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the average FIT student is ambitious. They respect and value their creativity, but understand the need to have a solid career grounded in reality. Thus, my classmates had some insightful questions for our professor. Such intelligent questions included “How do I become a buyer?”, “Does FIT have good connections for internships?”, and “What’s the best major to enter if I wanted to start my own business?”

Luckily for me, I have an aunt who graduated from FIT to ask these kinds of questions to, and to rely on for advice on entering these related industries.

This week I decided to interview my aunt, Antonette Bivona. She graduated from FIT in 1991 with BS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, after first getting her Associate’s Degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising, also at FIT. Today, she holds the prestigious title of Director of Global Marketing for Revlon Cosmetics Products Corporation.

(image reposted from global-customer.com)

(image reposted from global-customer.com)

I wanted to ask her a few questions to find out more about her FIT experience for both my knowledge, and the knowledge of my readers, fellow Precollege students, and FIT hopefuls.

Me: What originally made you interested in FIT?

A: I’ve always been interested in fashion and beauty, and FIT is the premier school for the industry. In fact, the [Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing] program I was in was really unique because it was the first one of its kind. When I graduated, it had only been around for two years.

Me: How did FIT help you get to where you are today in your career?

A: FIT helped me get an internship at Revlon, and I was lucky enough to be offered a position there once I graduated. I’m still here today, after 25 years, largely thanks to FIT’s well-rounded education of the industry.

Me: What skills did you learn at FIT that have contributed to your success in the workplace?

A: Hard work, diligence, creativity, professionalism. FIT was excellent with giving us real world experience, bringing us straight into the industry. For example, they would take us to spend the day at different cosmetics companies’ headquarters. They’re great with nurturing their students to seamlessly make their way into the industry straight out of college. They ensure we build lasting connections through different internships.

Me: What were some of the challenges you faced along the way?

A: Due to the economic recession of the times, the fear of not getting a job was very real. The workload was intense, and the expectations were high. In my last year specifically, I had an internship, school, and a job. Nonetheless, it was a great experience.

(image reposted fromhttps://www.fitnyc.edu/business-and-technology/deans-forum/past.php)

There you have it, FIT friends! Next time you draw some designs for your Precollege portfolio, draw inspiration from happily successful FIT alumni like my aunt, and even more well-known fashion figures like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors! Hard work and dedication, along with the tools and skills learned from such a great school as FIT, always make the experience well worth it!

– Alivia

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

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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)

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.

Exhibitions/Awards/Scholarships/Recognition/Experience:

  • 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.


CURRENT WORK:

 

Chat with Precollege Alumni Tomorrow from 12:30-1:30pm

Tomorrow, July 19, 2012, you have the opportunity to speak with Precollege Alumni currently working towards a degree at FIT in the Dining Hall from 12:30 – 1:30om. Have questions about Fashion Design, Communication Design, Advertising Design, Fashion Merchandising Management or Internation Trade and Marketing majors? Wanna hear what it’s like to be a college student at FIT? These questions and more can be answered one-on-one with students who are just like you. They will be easy to spot in thier Purple FIT shirts (pictured above).

Alumni Bios:

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) and 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.

 

STEPHEN WEISBROT
Stephen hails from Huntington NY and completed his AAS in Communication Design at FIT. He 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. Click here to view his website: http://www.stephenweisbrot.com  

 

 

CLAUDIA HUERTA
Claudia hails from Queens NY and completed her AAS in Fashion Merchandising Management at FIT. She is expected to graduate in January 2013 with her BS in International Trade and Marketing. She is a member of ITSA (International Trade Student Association) and has worked as an intern at Continental Reliance Group Global Licensing, a Visual Merchandiser at Banana Republic, a Catalog Fulfillment at Bloomingdale’s, and an Assistant to Designer for Quinn New York Inc. She is also a recipient of the BRAG Scholarship for Academic Excellence, was on the Dean’s List 2009-2012 for FMM and ITM, and is currently a contender for the Harold Sachs International Practicum Scholarship.