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FIT’s Annual Future of Fashion Showcase Debuts

Includes the Premiere of Runway from Home, a Short Fashion Video Featuring Collections from Class of 2021 Fashion Design BFA Students

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) today debuted its annual Future of Fashion showcase, featuring nearly 200 senior thesis collections from its class of 2021 Fashion Design Bachelor of Fine Arts students. Traditionally presented as a professionally produced runway show, the Future of Fashion is reimagined this year as Runway from Home, a fashion video that celebrates the creativity and resiliency of students hailing from 42 countries and six continents. In addition to the video, the designs can be viewed through digital portfolios inclusive of sketches, photography, and personal statements, presented across the five concentrations offered in the BFA program: Sportswear, Knitwear, Special Occasion, Intimate Apparel, and Children’s Wear.

Faced with challenges posed by virtual learning, the student designers demonstrated innovative techniques, bold themes, and distinctly different points of view. Inspiration for the collections was drawn from themes including inclusivity, gender neutrality, and the most prevalent, sustainability.

“The energy and talent on display make it clear that what we are presenting is indeed the future of fashion,” said Troy Richards, dean, School of Art and Design. “While it would be preferable to see the original garments in person, our students have done a remarkable job of capturing these details on film. Many chose locations and models that truly bring their creations to life, demonstrating an understanding that for fashion to truly be successful it must live in the world.”

“Many of the projects were created with recycled, repurposed, and sustainable materials,” said Sandra Markus, chair, Fashion Design. “As these student designers bring these fashion-focused social justice issues to their future workplaces, FIT will continue to focus on supporting the core value of sustainability and inclusivity.”

Throughout the spring semester, students benefited from mentoring and feedback provided virtually by esteemed designers who served as industry critics covering the five specializations: Sophie Theallet, Megan Smith, James Thomas, Jussara Lee, Kobi Halperin, and Haidee Findlay-Levin, Sportswear; Jessica Ly and Sergio Guadarrama, Special Occasion; Stacey Tester and Victor Glemaud, Knitwear; Erin Rechner, Children’s Wear; and Jane Woolrich, Intimate Apparel. At the end of the semester, the critics named 12 standout students Critic Award winners.

Edited by FIT alumnus Emiliano Sanchez, Film and Media ’20, Runway from Home features footage that was created and produced exclusively by the graduates. The redesign of the Future of Fashion website was led by Julian Catasus y Brüggemann, Advertising and Digital Design ’20.

The Future of Fashion is supported by a $2 million multiyear gift from FIT alumnus Calvin Klein through the Calvin Klein Family Foundation, as well as the company he founded, Calvin Klein, Inc. 

For updates, follow FIT on Instagram at @FITNYC and on Twitter at @FIT.

About FIT

A part of the State University of New York, FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Dennis Basso, Francisco Costa, Norma Kamali, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor in chief, Elle


Featured Collections

Name: Hawwaa Ibrahim
Hometown:
Mankato, Minnesota

  1. What inspired your collection? The inspiration behind my collection was genderless fashion along with art in The Islamic World. I wanted to combine the two things that are most important in my life – that being gender identity and my religion of Islam – and create a collection that encompassed that.
  2. How would you describe your personal design aesthetic? My personal design aesthetic is very whimsical and colorful. I believe that fashion should always be fun and make a positive impact, so I always keep that in mind when creating my designs.
  3. How did the pandemic affect your design process? I believe that the pandemic allowed me to narrow down what I truly wanted to bring to the fashion industry. I became more mindful with my designs and decided that the work I put out should be as meaningful as ever. It allowed me to be more vulnerable in my design process.
  4. Why children’s fashion? I never gave children’s fashion a thought before coming to FIT, but as I continued to design in sportwear, I noticed something was missing. I also admire the cute and fun children’s clothing I saw in stores and I always thought it fit my design aesthetic better. So, I decided to make children’s wear my concentration and, in turn, I felt like I finally belonged. It was a very personal and emotional decision.
  5. What kids’ labels do you admire? A label that I discovered while doing some research on genderless and gender-inclusive children’s wear was Mini Rodini. They are a sustainable Swedish children’s wear brand who creates fashion that is playful yet serious.
  6. How do you see our industry evolving over the next five years? I see children’s wear, along with a lot of other aspects of fashion design, becoming more inclusive. Whether that be with gender labeling or sizing. The world is becoming so much more progressive, and fashion has always been at the forefront of showcasing differences.
  7. What’s your dream job? My dream job is running my own fashion brand full-time. I currently have a small brand called because (www.becauseofficial.com) and I would soon love to grow it and incorporate genderless children’s wear.

Name: Carly Holliday McBride
Hometown:
Freeport, NY

  1. What inspired your collection? I was inspired by The Sound of Music. In the movie, Maria takes the curtains and makes “play outfits” for the kids so that they wouldn’t feel constricted by their uniforms. I LOVED this idea, so I wanted to do a spinoff on school uniforms while keeping them fun and childish.
  2. How would you describe your personal design aesthetic? I would describe my personal aesthetic as comfy and confident because I’m most worried about the kids’ comfort and confidence when designing. My clothes give you the confidence to do anything.
  3. How did the pandemic affect your design process? The pandemic actually allowed me to hone in on my design process and focus on the preparation and development of the collection.
  4. Why children’s fashion? Children’s fashion is FUN. Its colorful, playful, and full of prints. I have so much more freedom designing with color in the children’s market.
  5. What kids’ labels do you admire? I admire Mini Rodini – their prints are crazy. I also get a lot of my inspiration from unisex adult brands.
  6. How do you see our industry evolving over the next five years? I see the children’s industry getting into the hype area of fashion. These young celebrities and child influencers are going to be looking for children’s clothes that go along with their personal style.
  7. What’s your dream job? My dream job at the moment would be designing children’s wear for Kidsuper. His design aesthetic aligns with mine and I would be able to have so much fun designing.

Name: Nicole Windram
Hometown:
Brooklyn, NY

  1. What inspired your collection? As a child, one of the most exciting times of my week was going to the Brooklyn Museum. One year, the artist Takashi Murakami had an exhibit, and his art changed everything for me. His use of colorful and fun imagery with the dichotomy of deep symbolism allowed me to view and create art from a more thoughtful lens. This project is a homage to Takashi Murakami and the beautiful world he created. I wanted to create my own, and “Our Little World” was born from this inspiration. For this collection, I created my own characters and one-of-a-kind prints based off of various Murakami pieces. I incorporated bright vivid colors, as well as experimental silhouettes to immerse the wearer of the collection into a different world. Each piece is multi-functional in in order to have the ability for ultimate play and discovery.
  2. How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?  My personal design aesthetic would have to be the complete opposite of minimalistic. I have a minor in Art History, so all of my previous design projects have been inspired by both modern and more classical artists. My designs are a mixture of my artistic background and modern-day clothing. Clothing should be innovative, but it should also be comfortable, especially when designing for children. I also want to create clothing that all kids feel content and confident in. If a child is happy in the clothes I have designed, I know I have done something right.
  3. How did the pandemic affect your design process? The pandemic has challenged my creative process in so many ways. I think the biggest change is my design process in general. With stores closed, I had to become creative with how I design clothing. An example of this is creating my own personalized textiles. I learned how to dye various fabrics in a natural way with ingredients such as turmeric and avocado. I also now design my own patterns, such as the floral pattern in my thesis. I am not sure if I would have created textiles this way if it were not for the pandemic. I also have made my clothing more innovative. Children grow and change so fast, and clothing should be able to adapt to this. For example, the pants snap on and off with ease if the child needs more space to play. The pandemic has allowed for my designs to be more innovative, personalized, and comfortable. It will be exciting to see how my process changes as we progress through the pandemic.
  4. Why children’s fashion? At FIT, we have the option to pick a specialization in our sixth semester. I was unsure of what specialization I was going to choose. When I attended a meeting to help choose what specialization to go into, Professor Zodel was so kind and informative. I immediately knew that childrenswear was something that I wanted to try. Since then, children’s fashion has been something I am really passionate about. There is so much room for creativity, and the possibility for design is endless!  There is also such a vast option for designing. From infant to juniors, it is so exciting to be able to cater to each market.
  5. What kids’ labels do you admire?There are a lot of brands that I love to look at for inspiration. I personally am a big fan of mini-me style clothing. For example, Gucci kids, Baby Dior, and the Marc Jacobs kids collection. I also enjoy brands such as Maisonette, and Moncler kids.
  6. How do you see our industry evolving over the next five years? I see the children’s fashion industry becoming a more prominent player in fashion. We are living in a time where fashion is important with tools such as social media. Parents also are seeing an importance in sustainability and genderless fashion. The idea of self-expression is more prominent than ever, and having children have the ability to explore their identity through clothing is such a wonderful opportunity for them. I think that there are a lot of really exciting things going on in the industry, as well as great progressions moving forward.
  7. What’s your dream job? I would love to run my own brand one day that focuses on sustainability and inclusivity. The fashion industry still has a long way to go in becoming completely ethical and sustainable, and I want to be able to make the industry a better place for everyone. To create my own brand in which my customer feels confident and loyal in shopping with me would be a dream come true!

About FIT

A part of the State University of New York, FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Dennis Basso, Francisco Costa, Norma Kamali, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor in chief, Elle

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