Instructor Spotlight: Leticia Valdez

Leticia is a New York City-based freelance fashion and portraiture photographer who works with digital, film and 19th-century alternative photographic processes.  Her photographic style is dim and soft, often drawing inspiration from art history and solitude. She is moved by dull and dark color palettes, opting for a quiet and serene mood.  Leticia earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Master of Arts in Costume Studies from New York University.





Leticia Valdez Teaches:
HSX 111: Fashion Photography Workshop
 
Teaching Philosophy: 
My mission is to excite students by introducing them to not only the technical skills needed to craft a photographic image but to expand their knowledge and vision by acquainting them with the history of photography and fashion photography.  My end goal is that my students put into practice the tools and lessons learned in the classroom and, when combined with their personal aesthetic and imagination, they embark on a visual fantasy with a realization there is no limit to what can be created photographically.
 


Industry Experience/Recent Exhibitions: 
Soho Photo Gallery, New York City
July 2016
The 30 Collective – BFA Photography Exhibition, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City May 2015
Departures – BFA Photography Exhibition, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City December 2013
Commission / Features:
Photo Vogue, Lucy’s Magazine, Icon Magazine, Latent Magazine, The Gloss Magazine, The Quiet Front.
Garment Collection Photographer for New York University and private collectors and retail.


Photography by Leticia Valdez:

Instructor Spotlight: Megan Madden

Self-portrait by Megan Madden

Megan Madden, an alumna Precollege student, is an Associate Photo Editor on Refinery29’s Photo Research team. During her course of study, Megan interned for MILK Studios, Refinery29, and Ecko Unltd. Post graduation she was an assistant at SkyPie Studios shortly before joining the Refinery29 Editorial Photo Team. Megan graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with her Bachelors in Photography in 2016.
Website:
www.megan-madden.com

 

Megan Madden Teaches:
HWE 011 55A Creative Careers: Photographer

Teaching Philosophy: 
Curiosity is key! No matter how strange or random, it’s important to explore your ideas and exercise your visual muscles because regardless of the outcome it will always be a learning experience to grow from. Exploring and executing your creative ideas only leaves room for more to come! 

Industry Experience:
Post-college Megan assisted a stop motion animator working on visual campaigns for companies like Fendi, W Mag and Walmart. She then went on to work for Refinery29’s Editorial Photo Team producing and photographing original content along with creating imagery for Smirnoff, Halo Top Ice Cream and Sephora. 

Photography by Megan Madden:

Instructor Spotlight: Daniel DeMatteo

Photo by Marta Regulski

Daniel Matteo is a menswear designer whose work has spanned from Nicole Miller to his own clothing brand, Destino Vero. He is a graduate of the FIT Menswear Design program. Despite no previous apparel experience, he quickly moved to the top of his class and was hired by Nicole Miller while still attending FIT. For over 20 years, Dan made his way through every corner of the fashion industry – and the globe. He conquered design, merchandising, sourcing, and beyond for marquee brands and boutiques alike while learning from their successes and failures. Then after years of incubation, Dan launched his own clothing company and brand in 2012.

Daniel DeMatteo teaches the following FIT Precollege Classes:
HMW 157 Intro to Menswear Sewing 

Teaching Philosophy:
I take great pride in teaching the next generation of designers, tastemakers, and creatives. In my class I focus on the importance of sharpening the students’ skills, leading by example, and encouraging a strong work ethic while infusing a sharp attention to detail. I provide my students with a unique hands-on experience that parallels the fashion industry’s demands and helps to ensure future success.

Industry Experience:

  • In 2012, Dan launched his own clothing company and brand, Destino Vero
  • GQ Magazine-Bombay Sapphire exhibition, “New Designer of the Year” award ceremony
  • Day for Night exhibition, Menswear design award
  • Italian Trade Commission Exhibition award, Daniel was sent to study and work in Prato, Italy
  • FIT Outstanding Menswear Student Achievement Award, Daniel was sent to study in Paris, France

Work by Daniel DeMatteo:


 

The FIT dream experience by Alexis Carey

In 2011 I decided it would be fun to do the FIT middle school summer workshop with my best friend, Sarah. I had heard about it through my mom, since she went to school at FIT and knew I was interested in fashion.

On July 11, 2011, our very first day, my mom walked Sarah and me from Penn Station to FIT, where we waited in a long line with many other kids from all over the world. I was expecting to get there and have to be super serious, since that’s the vibe I got from the orientation, but it was the opposite. Our mornings were spent in the classroom learning some of the future trends in Fashion Forecasting. In the afternoons, we took pictures around FIT and Bryant Park for landscape photography.

Being so young, I enjoyed the photography classes a little more than the Fashion Forecasting because we were active and didn’t just sit in one place for a long time. It was also fun to enjoy lunch outside and explore the FIT campus. Our first week at FIT flew by. Everyone was shy, but Sarah and I did manage to make a couple of friends on the last day whom we tried to keep in touch with. At the end of those four days, we realized how fast it went and wished that we had more time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By taking seven classes over six years (2011-2017), I learned so many new things that I would have never learned without FIT. Each year I learned not only about fashion, but also about myself.  Taking all the FIT classes has helped me decide what I want to pursue in college and in my career. After taking a few design and business classes, I decided that I really have a passion for the marketing and business side of fashion. I took my passion for the business a step further by creating my own blog, www.fashionfitnessfun.com, where I blog about some of the fashion classes I took at FIT. In 2016, I took the course, “The Week in the Life of a Merchant.” I really enjoyed experiencing stores through a merchant’s point of view, and not just as a consumer. Through this workshop, I got to form my own opinions on which brands do well and those that do not, which did not occur to me before. In Fashion Forecasting, which I took in 2017, I really enjoyed looking at the current trends and those for the future. Not only is it interesting to see what will stay the same and what will change, but it helps me integrate styles into my wardrobe and inform my blog followers!

Although there were many things I loved about taking courses at FIT that made me continue to do so for many years, the thing that was the least enjoyable in my experience was the process of signing up for each course. Sarah and I could never figure out what we did wrong, but the system would always lock us out of our accounts when it was time to sign up. It caused a lot of stress over whether we could get into the class we wanted to.

Fast forward six years to my last year taking classes, and a lot has changed. First of all, each summer I’ve basically grown up at FIT and experienced so much more than I ever thought I would through four day workshops. I’ve learned of inspirational places to go to in New York City, like Barney’s, Story, Dover Street Market, and the Meatpacking District – some of the coolest places to take pictures. There have been some incredible professors during my FIT experience! My landscape photography professor was very cool and could relate to students!  Since I took Fashion Forecasting my first year and then again six years later, it was interesting to see how I have grown during this time. I also had the same teacher, Gary Wolf, who was amazed to have the same student twice. I think it was cool to see the similarities and differences of that course from a middle school to a high school workshop. The high school workshop is more in depth about the fashion business, as opposed to the middle school class which covered the basics.

Overall, I cherish the experiences I have had at FIT throughout the years and will definitely miss the students and professors. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to explore every aspect of fashion, which has helped me get to where I am today.  What I have learned at during the summers at FIT will be a part of my future endeavors.

-Alexis Carey

Been There, Done That – Precollege Alum Caitlyn Hansen

CaitlynHansen_WP
My name is Caitlyn Hansen and I attended Precollege Programs while I was a high school student. I would like to share some recent accomplishments of mine and the wonderful opportunities I have had at over my four years at FIT.
In high school I took two Precollege courses at FIT. I took HFS 180 Fabric Styling for Fashion Saturday live class and HSX 121 The Fabulous World of Fashion Forecasting workshop class as well. I am a current senior at FIT majoring in Fashion Merchandising Management with a specialization in Product Development. I have had over eight internships during my time at FIT while maintaining a full course load with a GPA of a 3.6. Some of the internships I have had include working at companies such as Lanvin, Tory Burch, The Doneger Group, Brooks Brothers and more.
I currently hold the position as President of the Merchandising Society at FIT. The Merchandising Society is the oldest and largest club on campus, comprised of over 300 members while have been established in 1961. Our mission is to enhance our members college experience by exposing our members to all facets of the fashion industry.
Most recently, I was awarded the Henry Doneger Endowed Scholarship through the FBM department and The Doneger Group.The Henry Doneger scholarship is named for a former leader in our industry.  Mr. Doneger, founder of The Doneger Group, was one of the industry’s most innovative and influential men.  Mr. Abbey Doneger, the son of Henry, established this scholarship in his memory. The scholarship is awarded to four FBM BS students in the amount of $5,400 for each, and one AAS student in the amount of $3,100 with a minimum of a 3.2 GPA. A choice of two essay topics were given. One being about Generation Z and the other about activewear. Personal scholarship essay was written on the rise of activewear and how it has become an important category in women’s and men’s fashion.
FIT has given me more opportunity’s and experiences than I could have ever imagined. It is a bittersweet feeling to think that I will be leaving behind such an incredible four years of my life, but I am excited to see what the future holds.
-Caitlyn