The Importance of Construction in Design

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all have had a great past week! As I turned in my first project (as mentioned in last week’s post), I began to think about how I have grown since my interest in fashion really began.

In the beginning, most of my interest was geared toward the design aspect of fashion. I hadn’t yet fully grasped the concept of producing what I drew, so I just spent hours on end sketching garments that I never thought would leave the pages.

When I began to sew, I started with the basics: stuffed animals, pillows, and mini-purses. I created countless variations of the same basic design before I even began to think about transferring my knowledge of how to sew pillows to the creation of my designs. I soon found myself (poorly) constructing blouses made from curtains and blankets, and wearing them proudly!

As years passed, and I have grown older, my skills have developed more.  I found myself sewing more and more successful pieces, more closely resembling my designs, but I still felt as though there was some sort of disconnect between my, then, abilities and what I thought I was capable of achieving.

In the summer going into my freshman year of high school, I took a two-week long precollege course at a prestigious fashion school, notorious for their incredible design graduates. I went into the program confident in both my construction and design skills, but soon realized that my ability to design far surpassed what I was actually able to make; I knew that I had to develop my construction skills more, but I felt hopeless in terms of how I would do it.

A friend that I met in the course suggested that I try precollege at FIT. She told me that she had found herself in a similar situation where she did not have the skills needed to grow in her design career, but after just one semester at FIT, she felt more confident than ever!

Since starting classes at FIT, I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my construction. FIT does an amazing job teaching the basics, while also helping each and every student find their own style and personal techniques! If I could only leave you with one piece of advice, it would be that in the design world, your ability to make what you design is just as important as the design itself!

I hope you have a great rest of the week and a fabulous start to spring!


Experience Outside of the Classroom

Hi Everyone!

I hope you have had a great past week and a lovely holiday weekend (if you celebrated) full of pastel colors and sweet treats! Even though FIT did not hold precollege classes this past weekend, because they were on break, that did not stop me from practicing the skills that I have learned so far this term, as well as in past semesters!

FullSizeRender (1)At the beginning of the semester, on my first, of many, trip to my favorite fabric store, I stumbled across an absolutely gorgeous light yellow fabric with a white, paisley pattern. I have historically had a deep-rooted love for anything that brings a little sunshine into any situation, so this fabric seemed like a no-brainer. I eagerly went to the makeshift checkout counter made of stacked rolls of exquisite fabrics and snagged three yards of the paisley perfection for my assignment: a simple circle skirt.

I thought about the fabric constantly in the seemingly endless days leading up to that next Saturday; my pure excitement to begin the L.O. N. G. process of pinning was unlike anything I had every experienced before.

I had set a goal for myself to finish the skirt in time for Easter, as the fabric literally could not have been more tastefully festive, and I was actually able to finish with more than enough time! The only problem was, I could not think of a top that was worthy enough to be paired with my new favorite skirt. I made the executive decision to make the trek back up to my favorite store and purchase another yard of the fabric.
As a result of a combination of a crazy week at school, and the copious preparations for my family’s Easter celebration, I was unable to even think about starting my new project until the final hour: Saturday night.

An onlooker might have described the scene as a final, on-the-spot elimination round on Project Runway. Shreds of paper and fabric were strewn across my bedroom floor as I assembled the simple top, but in the end, I was extremely proud of my finished look: the yellow paisley perfection with pastel blue shoes and a corresponding sunhat!

I am SO grateful for the skills that I have been taught and acquired through my time at FIT, and I am sure that every other precollege student would agree! I hope you all have an amazing day and an even better week!


Same Shirt, Different Day: A Conversation With Taylor Orsino

Taylor Orsino, from Staten Island, was determined to leave her mark on her school’s homecoming. She decided to make a IMG_0569goal of hers to design the homecoming tee-shirts. Her art career began when her school’s art teacher told her about a class she taught at a private studio, “she handed me fliers for the class, and from there I joined fashion design.” She joined the homecoming committee at her school and began creating designs. She tried several but none caught on. This Viking with a skeleton face (below) was outright rejected by her school. She combined her carnival tent and Viking design (below), and this ultimately ended up being the design that her school picked.  According to Taylor, her shirts were a big hit at her school, “They sold out. I didn’t even get one.”



Taylor continues to work at her art teacher’s studio teaching fashion design. She started doing inventory in the studio store but was quickly moved to assisting the classes for younger children. She then was able to teach with a partner and soon, on her own. I asked about her career prospects, “I want to go into fashion merchandising.” She is taking FIT’s HMF064 Ins and Outs of Fashion Merchandising, “the main theme of the class is imagery, so looking at what makes brands stand out and what draws people to them.”


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

Congratulations Ilene!



Courses taken in Precollege Programs include:
Advanced Fashion Design Art
Basic Patternmaking Sewing
Introduction Draping for Fashion Design

Were you accepted to FIT this fall too? We’d love to feature you on the blog as well!

Email: for more information