Instructor Spotlight: Su Ku

Su Ku is a dynamic and dedicated fashion design instructor who has been teaching in the Fashion Design-Art Department at FIT since 2012.  She taught courses ranging from the first year foundation class to the senior portfolio development class.  Before coming to FIT, Su Ku held positions of leadership in the fashion industry such as the Design Director of Liz Claiborne and designed multiple collections addressing all different price-points and lifestyles. She studied art and art history at Yale University as an undergraduate, and received a masters degree in Regional Studies from Harvard University and a second masters degree in Art History from Columbia University.  Su Ku also earned an associate’s degree in Fashion Design from FIT and is combining her academic and design industry knowledge and skills to teach the Fashion Inspiration and Research course where students study the arts of western civilization to form creative design journals.

Prof. Su Ku teaches:
HAR 016 Creating the Fashion Figure
JSX 011 Fashion Art: Silhouettes


Teaching Philosophy:

I believe that utilizing history as a research tool to design means that you will never run out of ideas.  For example, history provides a palette filled with sumptuous Byzantine mosaics, brilliant Renaissance hues and gorgeous Rococo florals, just to mention a few.  Combining any of these elements together with one’s imagination will create unique designs.  I engage my students to connect with the geniuses of history to find inspirations that will enable them to become great designers.

Industry Experience:
Director of Product Development at Carlisle Collection
Design Director at Liz Claiborne
Designer of Collection at Dana Buchman
Designer at Joseph Abboud

Inspired Designs by Prof. Su Ku:


The Inspiring Colors of Spring

Hello Everyone!

I’ve recently been thinking about what inspires me and more specifically what inspires me when I sew.

Over the weekend, I soaked up fresh air and sunshine by taking a walk through Central Park. Spring is one of my favorite seasons because of all the beautiful colors. Spring also happens to be my birthday season!

As I strolled through the park, I took in all the lovely springtime colors: the clear blue water of the reservoir, the bursts of pink and white apple and cherry blossoms, the bright yellow tulips colored like egg yolks, and the fresh green leaves and grass that give the park its green haze.

Colors are an important aspect of fashion. Although you will often find me wearing blacks and grays, I enjoy using bright fabrics when I sew or design clothing. In my FIT menswear class, I am currently making a dress shirt using yellow fabric. I thought this would be a fun and an appropriate color for a spring shirt.

Nature is definitely a source of inspiration for me not only in my sewing but in other areas of my life as well. There is something invigorating about simply breathing a breath of fresh air, or I may just be a nature-deprived New Yorker and subsequently romanticize every leaf, twig, and flower I lay eyes on.

There are many things that inspire me, and not necessarily to do something specific. They just imbue me with an energy and motivation to learn and create new things. I realized that another main source of inspiration is visual and performing art. In our society, art plays the important role of inspiring others. I draw hope, happiness, and motivation from all art forms. There are more things such as lectures, feelings, and experiences that also motivate me. All the above lift my spirits and keep me working towards doing something that maybe one day will inspire others.

  • What inspires you?
  • Do you also like to walk through parks people-watching and soaking in fresh are and colors?
  • Where do you draw inspiration from for your fashion designs?

Happy Creating!

– Ella

The Best DIY Halloween Costume: You

alivia-cooney

Alivia

Hey guys and ghouls! It’s the Halloween season, a time to celebrate individuality, theatricality, and plain old absurdity. What better time to experiment with new styles, based on some of your favorite icons? Make every look a costume! Treat your wardrobe like it’s a Halloween pop-up store, not a uniform factory!

It has been four classes and one field trip into my weekly Sunday odyssey at FIT’s Precollege Program. It’s time for a new post that might send shivers up the skinny jeans of the fashion-conservative, while making us fashion deviants scrounge the shelves of the nearest thrift shop within seconds.

Who are you supposed to be? Are you the winner of the costume contest, or are you just another stray cat?

My Product Development class has gotten me thinking about how an individual’s fashion choices come together to create a character. At a certain point, our fashion becomes our costume; we are not referred to by name or number, but by “girl-with-heavy-contour-and-heels-she-can’t-walk-in.”

On my first day of class at FIT, the professor started the course by going around the room and having each student say where they shop. In the context of a Product Development class, this is only logical; our goal is to meet the wants and needs of the common buyer, and what better way to learn what average buyers seek than by studying the models of successful stores? From a business standpoint, we can extract the popular stores’ models by placing their products in terms of the Pyramid; no, not Abby Lee Miller’s pyramid- the Product Development Pyramid.

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On a more personal level, this class discussion led me to consider what contributes to an individual’s style. I know what stores my peers shop at, but what brought them into that store? What has influenced their fashion sense? Who are their style icons? What did they first see that subconsciously caused them to believe that this store is the best reflection of them?

To best answer these questions, I will discuss the influences and influencers of the character whose style I know best: myself.

My style icons are mainly renowned for their bold and theatrical aesthetics. I’m very passionate about music, so most of them happen to be musicians (the context of which their dramatic aesthetics are fitting). I’ve listed a few below, along with some key examples of signature looks that should say it all:

FKA Twigs
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(FKA Twigs, reposted from stealherstyle.net, glamourmagazine.co.uk, pinterest.com/passionn5050, and elleuk.com)

Gwen Stefani
screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-3-34-46-pm
(Gwen Stefani, reposted from cosmopolitan.co.uk, © Mark Ferguson/Rex via dailymail.co.uk, 90sgwenstefani.tumblr.com, pinterest.com/jennyelina)

Marina Diamandis
screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-4-12-10-pm
(Marina Diamandis, reposted from pinterest.com/janbergazzi, elle.com, pinterest.com/billboard, and fanpop.com)

Nicole Richie
screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-4-22-51-pm
(Nicole Richie, reposted from Nicole Richie for House of Harlow 1960 by Vijat Mohindra via rebloggy.com, peoplemagazine.co.za, pinterest.com/churachura, and celebitchy.com)

Stevie Nicks
befunky-collage
(Stevie Nicks, reposted from imgfave.com, pinterest.com/alanalda45, pinterest.com/mollymcisaac, and pinterest.com/9gypsy)

St. Vincent
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(St. Vincent, reposted from tumblr.com, © Ben Hassett for Harper’s Bazaar, pinterest.com/twotickets, and vanityfair.com)

Aside from public figures, I also draw a lot of the inspiration for my aesthetic from other media, like movies and TV shows. Sound similar to choosing a Halloween costume? For example, I’m greatly influenced by the aesthetic of 90s cult films like Clueless (1995) and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997), as well as Tim Burton movies like Coraline (2009) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). I love wearing hyper-feminine 90s-style crushed velvet and chokers whenever possible, and I love to style it in as whimsical a tone as possible. The theatricality! I also really love the look and feel of old school low budget films, like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). It doesn’t get spookier than that! Various television characters, for example Fran Fine from The Nanny and Samantha from Sex and the City, as well as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (QUEEN of wearing the same outfit for thirty years), have also contributed to my look. It sounds funny, but I also find unlikely inspiration from nonhuman characters like Betty Boop, Jessica Rabbit, and Miss Piggy. The more imaginary, the better! What can I say? It’s a concept!

miss-piggy-front-row-fashion-jpg-pagespeed-ce-briemqggut
(Miss Piggy, reposted from femalefirst.co.uk)

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-7-42-29-pm

 

 

 

 

 

(Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, reposted from sugarrockcatwalk.com)

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-7-43-28-pm

 

 

 

 

 

(Texas Chainsaw Massacre, reposted from evilontwolegs.com)

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-7-44-08-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Fran Fine from The Nanny, reposted from racked.com)

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-7-44-58-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, reposted from buzzfeed.com)

To best express the influence of such nouns (people, places, things) on my vibe and aesthetic, I shop mainly at local and online boutiques (mainly for statement pieces, which would fall under the top “fashion” part of the pyramid).

These stores include:

~Buffalo Exchange (locations all over the U.S., including five in NY, one being a block away from FIT in Chelsea at 114 W 26th St)
~Dolls Kill (dollskill.com)
~Fashion Nova (fashionnova.com)
~Free People (freepeople.com, locations all over the U.S., Canada, and U.K.)
~House of Harlow 1960 (houseofharlow1960.com)
~Mystique Boutiqe NYC (mystiqueboutiquenyc.com, locations in Manhattan and Long Island)
~Nasty Gal (nastygal.com)
~O-MIGHTY (o-mighty.com)
~Ruby and Jenna (rubyandjenna.com, locations in NY and NJ)
~So Aesthetic Shop (soaestheticshop.com) ~ use the promo code “Harmony” for 10% off
~Twenty5A (twenty5a.com, located on Long Island)

Where will you buy your daily costumes? Will you mix-and-match and DIY, or will you choose a prepackaged number off the wall? What character will you be? Will you masquerade as the most convenient persona, or will you take the time to develop the best product, a conglomerate of all your favorite icons and influences- you? Creep in the comment section below and tell your tale!

Join me next week as we continue to “Liv” On The Edge of true enterprising artistry, brought to you by FIT’s Precollege Program!

~Alivia

Lights, Camera, Action!

Image

In this week’s amazing blog I decided to write about inspiration, because any artist knows that the worst thing is the terrible, no good, and dreaded ARTIST BLOCK. Here are some simple tips to avoid the dreaded ARTIST BLOCK.

This might sound silly, but you should watch movies and surf the internet for your idol. For example, when I’m drawing fashion designs I watch old movies and look at pictures of my idols: Audrey Hepburn, Anna Wintour, Jackie O., and who can forget Coco Chanel.

If you’re not doing fashion designs; look at things that interest you such as food, beaches, even your own backyard. Sometimes, it helps just to do nothing. It may sound weird that I am saying to do nothing. When I say “do nothing” I mean scroll through pics on Instagram, look at snapchat, and facebook. Our generation has so many social media apps it is pretty hard not to find something to draw.

Once for a class I was assigned to design a skateboard. I had gotten ARTIST BLOCK… but then after staring at my phone I got the best idea! Why don’t I make the iphone screen the front of my skateboard. My skateboard eiphone picnded up being super cool.

If nothing comes to you, try listening to music. The song could have a meaning to you and might remind you of someone you know. This may cause you to draw things that person enjoys.

Try drawing what you’re feeling, you never know it might just be your best drawing. It is also great therapy. The simplest feeling such as sadness is a great example. Picasso painted a whole period of blues just to show how he was feeling.

The hardest thing to find inspiration for is photography, because you want your photo to express yourself. It is also really hard because you might want to try something and it reality is just that it is not working out. For example, when you want to take a picture of someone jumping, and you don’t to get them until they are already on the ground. You want the
in the air! So when taking a photo try timing it out. Just take pictures of things that interest you and that could be anything.

Comment how you find inspiration. Also tell me if I helped you. Thanks for reading and until next time!

-Livia

Inspiration, Critiques, and my New Favorite Friends

Professor's Shading Demo

Professor’s Shading Demo

There are a million ways to describe FIT’s unique environment. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough space in this post to list them all, but my favorite term to describe the FIT atmosphere is inspirational. At FIT inspiration can be found around any corner, in any hallway or classroom, in FIT’s own museum, and even in the lobbies. Looking back on my first time walking down hallway of D building on the first day of classes, I remember stopping to think, what inspires me? How will I take advantage of all the opportunities presented to me this spring? Will I make any lasting friendships? Who will influence my art, and help me better my artwork?

My New Friend, Sofia

My New Friend, Sofia

Inspiration as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary is a person, place, or experience, that makes someone want to do or create something. Although classes were not in session this Saturday, looking through my work from my past weeks in HFA 024 Life Drawing has inspired me to continue drawing even without the early morning trip to FIT. So I spent my Saturday working on a drawing I had started about two weeks ago in class that I never had the chance to finish.

This spring, I have the pleasure of being taught by Professor Martino. I came to FIT with no knowledge on how to accurately proportion and draw the human figure. You can’t imagine how drastically important it is to know about the human anatomy to draw it. Believe it or not, when drawing the human figure each body part can first be sketched as a sphere, cube, cone, or cylinder. Simplifying the body is not as easy as it looks! Another factor that is considered when drawing the human figure is light source. The light source in a composition heavily influences the dimension and depth of the drawing. The three types of shading that Professor Martino demonstrated for us are shown above.
About two weeks ago at FIT, my class started working on drawings of a skeleton that is stored in the classroom. This was my favorite day of classes at FIT so far, because while working o n drawing the skeleton, my class managed to name him (Steve) and we all got very attached, unlike his shoulder. Steve the skeleton’s shoulder is permanently dislocated; this coincidence turned into a challenge to draw, and a joke to laugh about with my classmates. Throughout class, the girls in my class grew together by making parodies of popular songs, all revolving around Steve. “I knew you were Steve when you walked in” was sang out in the middle of a sketch, as the classroom erupted with laughter, even Professor Martino let out a giggle.

That class two weeks ago brought the class out of its shell. I believe that the opportunity to work hard to draw the skeleton together and joke around about Steve brought my class together more into a group of friends and not just a regular school class.The friends I have made have also inspired me, after our first critique on some homework to work to better my drawing even after the professor has checked it. My friends have inspired me to be persistent in my work because practice makes perfect. If you are anything like me, you LOVE critiques. Critiquing is the best place to find ways to improve not only your current artwork, but to keep in mind the advice and the mistakes you made on the piece of art and work towards becoming a better artist in the long run.

With that I would like to thank you for reading this week!
Until next week,
Yours Truly,
Kathleen

Steve the Skeleton

Steve the Skeleton