Tag Archives: community

Community at FIT

I learned something very disturbing today. This morning I went to the Bryant Park holiday shops just browsing for Christmas presents, and I stopped in a booth that was selling jewelry and scarves made by women in Ethiopia (This has nothing to do with the story, but this company’s mission is to create sustainable business for African women which is pretty awesome so you should check it out). The girl running it was super nice, so we started talking and realized that we were both fashion design students, but she completed her degree at another fashion school. We were comparing our experiences and I mentioned that I thought it is funny when people would ask if the fashion design students would really destroy each others work, and steal things from one another because that is so ridiculous to me. Suddenly, the girl cut in saying those things actually did happen at her school! I couldn’t believe it. She told me stories of a girl’s project getting paint thrown on it the day before it was due, people being rude to one another and just being generally mean.  I am not writing this to discredit other fashion programs, just to say that this is not how it works at FIT. I was in the fashion design program for two years and I never experienced anything like that. Of course, some teachers can be intimidating and harsh because they really expect the best from you, and don’t expect strangers to walk down the halls smiling and high-fiving each other. The fashion design curriculum is stressful and tiring, but I’ve never been afraid for my work. It is common to ask a stranger in the workroom to look after your stuff so you can grab dinner when you’re working on a project. Of course you want to be careful with your personal items no matter where you are, but I have never been scared someone would try to ruin a project I put countless hours of work into. In fact, I have had people return things to me after accidentally leaving them after class. FIT is not a scary place and people are not vindictive or horrible to each other here so don’t worry!


Notes From the 6 Train: From Negative to Positive










The subway is like an alternate universe.  A place where all riders are kind of forced into a community, usually different from the one in which they reside. One in which an internship, or job can be secured by a simple smile or compliment (yes, this actually happens. I met a girl who complimented this nicely dressed guy who ended being the VP at Donna Karen & offered her an internship).

All riders know that we are just puns at the mercy of the transit gods. These gods, are inaccurate and imperfect, regardless of bitter cold and the sweltering heat. These are the times our true character is tested. It’s a place where the virtue of patience is sometimes thrust upon us, however unwelcome. This moment of clarity usually comes exactly when one realizes how unethical it would be to push the lady with the walker out of your way, even if that means being late to a morning class.

The world is a hard place. If anyone knows that, it’s New Yorkers. We are often such in a rush it becomes easy to forget what to means to be kind. So, my advice is this: smile, take your headphones out once in a while and pay a compliment to a fellow traveler. I figure that if one imposes this way of thinking on the train, these skills can be transferred across all areas of life.

A positive attitude is an asset in the fashion world. As fashions students, we are bombarded with images and ideas that people in our industry are mean, nasty and sneaky (The Devil Wears Prada, anyone?) Yet, whenever industry professionals talk about interns, new employees, etc., they always make it a point to mention just how stifling a bad attitude can be. Earlier this week I sent a short email to a professor. I don’t know her that well, but I knew that she is from the Philippines and her country recently experienced one of the worst natural disasters in recent history. So, I sent a brief message letting her know that I was sending positive energy to her family and friends during the aftermath of the typhoon. She responded with a sincere and appreciative message, thanking me time out of my busy schedule to send her a message ( her words, not mine’s.)

I’m not a saint, by any means. Often, you will find me aggressively pushing through the crowds like everyone else or trying to fine solace in chaos that is the train with my headphones unreasonably loud, writing or reading. But i try not to give off unfriendly vibes, bad to maintain a smile even when my train is late. I’ve learned the importance of building and maintaining community. Constantly being a source of negativity is bad for the community.From Harlem to mass transit to FIT, I try not be a source for bad energy.

FIT is our community, and we can support each other, even if they’re just small acts. Words travel fast in small communities, and before you know it, everyone in the NY fashion community will know that you were the girl/model/ intern with the short temper or rude remarks. No one wants to be THAT girl. A bad attitude is never fashionable, consequently, a smile is always in style.

All things Color Love & Fashion,

Aya L.