Family Input on Precollege Experience

imageSalutations Precollegers!

I’m currently blogging to you all at 5:30 am from my airport, on my way to visit a college in the culturally rich New Orleans! Being that it is Monday and this is set to post on Tuesday, I have very limited time to get this blog post done and uploaded—therefore, I have decided to blog about a very simple topic for this week—my family. My parents and sister have been nothing but supportive on this artistic endeavor that I have taken upon myself this semester. My parents have been good enough to drive me to my train station at 7:15 every Saturday morning (even though they could be asleep being that the weekend is their only break from early rising—they both work in the city, too). In the afternoon, I rush from class to my train to get home at 2, only to have to rush to my 2 o’clock shift at work, and of course, I couldn’t do that either without one of them waiting for me at the station. My younger sister, although not able to physically assist me, has been morally supportive and has been my biggest cheerleader. She is a very creative and imaginative person, so watching her older sister travel to the city every week to create something that she is passionate about must be neat (I can only imagine, obviously). She has actually shown her own interest in what I have been doing, and I can imagine that she will be taking a precollege course sometime before she graduates high school, too. I can always count on my family to give me feedback on my work, and my parents have been very excited about this course due to the fact that they both have taken film and darkroom classes before. Last class it took me about 3 and a half hours to fully develop and print a single (final) photo in the darkroom. After various trials with different time and contrast variations, I finally figured out to let my paper be exposed on a 4 contrast level for 24 seconds (film photography terminology, everyone!). I am very pleased with how my final product turned out, and the only regret I have is that I printed on glossy paper instead of pearl finished.There isn’t that much of a difference honestly, but personally I like the minimalist touch that the pearl finished paper adds to the print. The next time I restock in photography supplies, I’ll be sure to pick up some pearl, but for my first time, glossy is totally fine. Sorry about this post being on the shorter side, next week I’ll be home from college visits and I will have much more to talk about, considering next week I get to start shooting for my final project! Attached is the final print of my black and white film photo of my friend from my class, Natalia.

Until next time,

Helping Hands

Times SquareHi everyone and Happy December!

This week I wanted to keep it short and simple and brush on the topic of family.

Above all, I feel having a supportive family is key to finding your passions. Somehow I got extremely lucky to have parents who support my interests as well as my career ambitions. It’s not often you find parents who whole heartedly will do everything they can to help you achieve your goals. My parents go above and beyond for not just me but my 5 other siblings. They’ve always taken the time to watch my progress within school and my interests. Even from when I attended my summer classes my mom visibly noticed a difference in my work from when the class started to right when it ended. Having an extra pair of eyes look at my work as well as watch my progress is nice and reassuring that there’s always room for improvement. I mean, if we were all perfect then we wouldn’t be going to school now would we?

My siblings are really supportive as well. I appreciate how they always ask about my classes as well as what I’m doing in them. My 2 younger sisters love crafts and fashion so it’s always nice to be able to share things with them that I didn’t know before going through the Precollege courses.

I’m honestly over the moon grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to attend these classes and gain the experience I have. I know to some it’s not a big deal but not only is it fun for me, I also enjoy learning more about the industry and all the different paths you can take based on your desires.

At the end of the day, whether your parents support you or not, follow your heart and do what you’d like to do. Having the extra support is great but I can only imagine how it would feel to have no one. Though think about it this way, I can assure you that out of the 7 billion people in this world, someone will be interested in whatever it is you have to offer. I’ve been privileged enough to have the supportive parents I do but it goes to show, many successful people out there followed their passions and went out to do what they desired.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

-Emily Kelly

My Journey to FIT

I vividly remember having my hundreds of Crayola crayons and markers layed out on my carpet- in color order – and designing my dream house room by room when I was about 7 years old. Each room was a different color, and I had a spiral staircase with a custom-made fish tank built into the hand rails. I definitely had a wild imagination, fueled by any products sold by A.C. Moore and my mother’s willingness to buy them, despite the fact that all of the craft projects would be done within the next hour. I began drawing my dream tree house, dollhouses, and clothing. I made up every aspect of my life and drew it onto paper. I was a girl who had always known what she wanted.Eyes 2

I began drawing clothing, my halloween costumes, and first-day-of-school outfits. I began imagining shoes, and dresses, and being utterly disappointed with all the stores that didn’t have them. Hadn’t someone thought of those things yet? I sketched them all, in dozens of notebooks given to me by family members. I showed my mom outfits that I drew, and she noticed that months later some of the things would show up in stores. I had a knack for predicting trends. I would cut up my jeans and make them into skirts. I’d cut shirts apart and imagine how they were put together. My mom was not so happy about that.

My mom attended SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz where she had gotten her Masters degree. She told me that she had heard of a SUNY school that was centered around fashion. She wanted to take me to visit. We went down with a couple of my friends, to visit this school, The Fashion Institute of Technology. It was 7th grade and I was on my first and last college visit. I knew where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do with my life by the time I walked out of the Katie Murphy Ampitheatre.Eyes 1

My grandmother bought me a sewing machine the following Christmas, and lessons with a friend of hers, a seamstress. Both her and my mom said if I was going to design clothing I had to understand how they were made. I had no idea that it would be some of the best advice I would ever get. The seamstress who taught me is incredibly talented, generous, and kind. She became like another grandmother to me and was a huge part of me being accepted into FIT.

I loved reading, I was great at simple math, and I thought history was interesting. My mom’s friends and coworkers said they wish they had students as interested in learning, but for some reason, I hated school. The school I went to was not exactly the highest ranked, and had very little funding for the arts. I began absolutely dreading school. Every day was a battle with myself to go. I knew I had to keep my grades up to make sure I got into FIT, but school was extremely discouraging. I asked my mom if she would homeschool me, but she told me to visit the school that she had taught at instead.

I was amazed with the school, Fox Lane. They took art very seriously, and had great teachers who were motivating and helpful. The academics however, were another story. The standards were higher than I had imagined, and I wasn’t sure if I could keep up. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could in art, and I knew I would have to keep up in my other classes to. The competitive edge in the school would push me to do better in all of my classes. I decided to switch schools after one quarter, and go to Fox Lane, in an affluent area, a culture I had never seen before, with kids who had grown up together and were complete strangers to me.Fabric Rendering

There weren’t any classes related to fashion or sewing, but there were dozens of clubs. I decided to start a sewing club. I was craving the company of people who loved to do the same things as I did. We raised money to buy several sewing machines, cutting boards, irons, and fund several trips to the city.We went to Mood Fabrics and received free tours, we went to fashion shows at the Waldorf-Astoria, we ran workshops to give blankets to kids in the emergency shelters, and what hit closest to home was visiting the Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met. I had heard of Alexander McQueen, but I didn’t know much about him. By the end of the tour I was obsessed. I had been battling depression just as he had, and found the same love for design as he did. The rooms evoked emotion, and the passion and detail in every garment was incredible. I used to shy away from my edgy side, unsure of how people would feel about it or stereotype me. His work inspired me to not be afraid of who I really was, or putting my feelings into my work however bizarre they were.

So my eagerness to get into the fashion world grew, until it engulfed my life. I had a 45 minute commute to school, and had to stay after to run clubs and so my mom could do after-school help. I was working in the art room during every free moment I had, and I went to FIT on Saturdays. I left at 6:30 in the morning, and got home at 7:30 pm. It was exhausting, but I loved every minute. My skills were getting better with every class I took.

Mondays, I would get into school and talk nonstop about my classes. One of my friends had been working at Panera Bread when a costumer came in and started talking to her about her daughter. She said she wanted her daughter to take photography classes at FIT, and my friend told her about me and how much I loved it there. The woman handed my friend her card and told her to give it to me.

Spilt TeaIt turned out that she was the Senior Buyer at a department store, and she wanted to see my portfolio. I got together all of my work from my FIT classes and brought them to her house, where we talked about possible internships. It was as if a miracle happened. Somehow, another amazingly generous person with endless knowledge became a part of my life and had wanted to help me reach my dream.

She had given me a phone number to call, a small design company called NCO2. Everything on was a dream. I had interviewed with them, the two owners and two designers, and they were incredibly kind. They taught me so much in the short Summer I had spent there, and I was on Cloud 9. I honestly couldn’t have had a better first experience in the business of Fashion, getting to experience the life of a designer. On the train ride in every week, I would read biographies on fashion designers. It seemed as though it had been my calling in life. Excerpts from close friends of designers would describe their personalities, as if they were describing me.

Every time I went to FIT it got harder to not actually be in school there yet. I wanted it to be my every day life, I wanted my classes to never end. I wanted to learn everything the professors could possibly teach me. I daydreamed of my life there, exploring the city for inspiration, my dorm room, and the new people I would meet. I loved the competition. It drove me further into love with Fashion.

I spent my last year of high school taking the Fashion Portfolio class, perfecting every detail of what would determine my future. At school, I took an advanced placement art class where I decided to make artistic garments for my portfolio. There were many, many late nights as I also had a part time job to start saving for college and buy the ridiculous amounts of art supplies I used. I waited for my letter to come, getting a little more frustrated every time someone asked if I had heard back yet. I had thought about what might happen if I didn’t get in, but the thoughts hadn’t been very deep. I couldn’t really imagine not getting in. I had to. I had no idea what I would do if I didn’t.

When the day did come, it was a huge wave of relief in some ways. In other ways, I still had the same stresses. I just wanted to be there already. I had been waiting for so long.


My friends at high school modeling my designs

Why I am where I am today…

Considering that my dad drives me to and from NYC for class every single Saturday, I think it’s safe to say that he supports me immensely. Need I say more?

I have always wanted to be involved in fashion since I was little. In school, when my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I got older I always wrote down “fashion designer” much like the majority of the girls in class did. For some reason, everyone just wanted to be one, without even knowing what a fashion designer did! Sadly, I was one of those girls at the time. Then, about 4 years ago in the 6th grade, I realized I wanted to make fashion a lifelong career. At that time I did all the research possible to ultimately come across FIT’s Precollege Programs. It did take a while (three years) to finally convince my parents to let me take a class. Although this was understandable because I was only 12 years old at the time and my parents didn’t think I was serious about it.

Finally, this year (freshman year) my parents allowed me to take my first class in the fall and they couldn’t be more supportive. Both my mom and dad are extremely supportive of everything I have accomplished so far involving fashion. Also, they honestly don’t care what route I take in the fashion industry as long as I am happy and feel satisfied. That so refreshing to hear because I would hate feel pressured by them to be successful in a certain field, and only that field. Truly, I couldn’t ask for more loving and encouraging parents. Ultimately, they are the reason why I have the courage to set high goals for myself and believe I will reach them.



My Biggest Fans

Over the years my family has supported me in all the activities I have participated in. When I had first gained an interest in getting involved with fashion, my parents helped me find a good program to try out the different aspects of Fashion. When we had all come to an agreement that FIT Precollege programs were the best choice, I was ecstatic.

As time moved on and I was participating in the programs at FIT, my parents saw an improvement with me. I knew what I wanted to do in the future, my grades at school were better, and most of all I was more focused and serious about preparing myself for college. Before spring semester, I had come across about an email about FIT looking for Precollege bloggers. I have always enjoyed writing so I said hey why not try – the worst that can happen is they deny me from blogging. When I had received the email that I was chosen, I couldn’t be more happy and proud of myself. Of course like any mom, my mom told everyone in my family about my blog posts! They all were very impressed that I decided to blog for FIT!

Overall my family has been very proud of my progress at FIT so far! How have your families reacted to you taking classes at FIT? Leave  a comment below!

Until next time…..

xoxox Tori