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

How to Balance FIT and School

If you’re reading this you more than likely take Precollege classes at FIT, or are considering it. With this, we all have one thing in common (other than the obvious), which is that we have to go to high school five days a week as well. As we all know, high school is not a breeze and is extremely stressful most of the time. After being in Precollege classes for three semesters and having experienced the hassle of completing a report for FIT due on Saturday and trying to study for the 2 tests, a quiz and powerpoint due for regular school on Friday, it can be alot. So, here are the things I do to try to balance the two:

  • Set a day during the week to dedicate your time to do FIT work, for me, I choose Fridays. I just feel like Friday is a good day because I don’t have to worry about high school work since I have all weekend to do it. Just don’t leave all your work for one Friday! Span it over a few Fridays,
  • Use your class time. If you’re falling a little behind on, say, your mood board, then maybe consider staying back on your 20 min break to catch up. Sacrifices. Sacrifices.
  • Have fun while you’re doing your work for FIT! You’re at FIT for a reason, and you probably like what you’re doing so in the end, work shouldn’t seem like work!

Hopefully those tips helped! I know I will be using my own tips with two different projects due in two weeks for both my FIT classes. This week in my merchandising class we went down to the library and got a look at the Vogues and Harper Bazaars from as late as the 1900’s for our decades project. I have to say, they were pretty cool to look at.

 My professor even extended our project due date a week so that we have another week to look at the archives again because we didn’t have enough time to get through all the ones we wanted! I’ll be sure to share my projects with you guys when I’m done.

 

Fashionably Truly,

Michaela

 

Goodbye for Now!

The time has come to say goodbye! I have had an amazing experience this semester, not only in my

Professor Uvennio and I on the last day

class, but also blogging and sharing my experience. My last day of class was terrific, although bittersweet, I had lots of fun, and I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s work, it was fantastic! But of course I was sad that it was the end!

I have learned so much about tons of different designers, and my drawing skills have really developed, as well. I have gained an overall broader understanding of fashion design. Also, I have created a design journal and a designer board, I am very proud of all of my work. I will really miss the class, especially my professor and all of the people that I got to meet this semester. I will really miss the whole experience in general.

I will definitely be back at FIT in the fall for another precollege course. I’m still deciding which to take though, so many of them sound amazing! I am considering taking The Ins and Outs of Fashion Merchandizing, Introduction to the Fashion Design Industry, or maybe Jewelry Design. I’m going to have a tough time making my decision!

The best advice I can give is to always go after what you want. I have learned that you can achieve any of your dreams if you work hard enough. That’s what got me here, a sophomore in high school attending FIT and blogging for the program! I would never be here if I hadn’t chased after my dreams. I know that one day I will be able to achieve all of my goals in the fashion industry by working hard. And always remember to be yourself, copying others won’t get you anywhere, I love originality. FIT’s Precollege Program is beyond incredible, I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the world of fashion and art, I promise you will not be disappointed. I always look forward to coming to FIT for classes, over the past year that I have been a student, I have grown so much in each class, especially in this one. I can’t thank my professor as well as the other staff at FIT enough for making it such a great place to be.

Don’t think of this as goodbye, I hope to see you all soon enough at FIT!! :)

Yours in Fashion,

Justine

Bittersweet Goodbyes

The bitter sweet goodbyes we must all face, not knowing if we will ever see anyone in our class again, is an indescribable feeling.  Sure, we have all exchanged info; added each other on Facebook, followed each other on Twitter – but it’s not the same as seeing your classmates every Saturday like we all have gotten accustomed to doing week after week.  But for the most part, aside from the friendships I made in class, I learned so much more about the fashion industry through FIT classes than I could ever have learned from a book or a movie or any website.  With the help of my professor, I believe I have become even more eager to get into the fashion industry.

With the lesson of how to make a resume and proper edict for a job interview under my belt; I have the confidence and knowledge I need in order to work in the fashion industry.  This summer I plan on going on a job hunt, most exclusively clothing retailers.  Living in Jersey isn’t completely a loss; we have tons of small boutiques and shops surrounding all of our small towns looking to hire local students.  Maybe even a city job is in my future for the summer, I plan on spending a lot of time in the city between hanging out with friends and taking FIT Summer Precollege classes.  If I could only stop putting off signing up, I plan on taking two classes this summer semester, HAD 150 Magazine Design and HPH 159 Digital Camera Use and Photography for the Beginner.  I believe these classes will widen my perspective of the industry as a whole, aside from the business aspect of it, which I was taught in The Ins and Outs of Fashion Merchandising this semester.

For all those high school or middle school students who want to take an FIT Precollege class, I suggest you take a variety of classes.  Whether you know what you want to do in the fashion industry or your just taking classes for fun, the business and artistic sides of fashion always intertwine and having a good background in both can only help you that much further.

Amira

Time to Say Goodbye: Reflections, Regrets and Advice for Future Students

What a busy weekend I’ve had this spring, driving to New York every Saturday with my mom, who has been so devoted to waking me up at seven in the morning. I definitely could not have experienced Precollege Programs without the help of my mom. By this time, I can reflect about the things I regret and wish had done better over the past several weeks.

  1. Time management. There’s a blog I’ve written that is all about how I control my use of time, or at least attempt to, in the midst of a homework-packed schedule and extracurricular activities for school. Make sure you know what is happening in your life—create a calendar or use a schedule organizer on your phone to keep upcoming events on time. That way, you know when you have time to work on fashion sketching or whatever assignment from class.
  2. Transportation. Unfortunately, and I cringe at this, I never went on the train. I constantly claimed to plan to ride the train this weekend, but it never happened. For me, the problem was that I had other plans that conflicted with the train time schedule. Going to New York by our efficient Prius was definitely not a burden, but the train is much faster.
  3. Commitment. To succeed in the class, whether for designing, marketing, or sewing, put your heart into it! I love fashion and the magical feeling I get when I immerse myself in its world, but in order to apply the most of myself to a sketch I am working on, I need to plan ahead and save time.

These three factors in my experience are correlated, so think about these before you take class, and if it cannot be fit into your schedule, sign up for the summer classes. Don’t let a time problem thwart you from taking a class, especially if it has to do with your passion.

I can’t call myself a New Yorker yet, although I would love to live in the city one day after college. The city exuberates with vibrancy, and I soak up the atmosphere without taking it for granted. Anyone living close enough to commute to New York should take advantage of the proximity, so consider yourself lucky!

I’ll never forget the skills I have acquired and the time I have spent during the span of my two classes from last year and this spring. Thank you, FIT!

Jenn