Yes, it’s been quite some time since I’ve published my “FAB FIVE FAVS!” The reason? Let’s just use the word recycled to sum in it all up! There’s very little happening in the originality department. But, seeing the talent that’s pouring, or shall I say oozing out of the 2013 BFA Fashion Graduates of The Fashion Institute of Technology inspired my to the point of dusting off my MAC keyboard.
Selecting my “FAB FIVE FAVS!” in the categories of SPORTSWEAR, KNITWEAR, and SPECIAL OCCASION was no easy feat. I spent hours basing my selections on my experience and knowledge as an Evening Wear Specialist & Personal Shopper for Barneys New York for nine years, and of course I was looking for innovative expression, wearability, and most importantly, originality. I love the unique usage and combination of materials. The contradictions of styles and textures, the pushing of boundaries, it all proved to be quite refreshing!
Take a look at the Future of Fashion and leave me your comments on my selections, and who were your favorites in the show.
Here are my FIT FUTURE OF FASHION “FAB FIVE FAVS!”
I come from a very arts-oriented family and I was encouraged to explore my artistic abilities at an early age. Before my teenage years, I was very shy and not that good with words. So fashion became a great interest of mine and, in a way, a medium of expression. Since the age of 14, I have worked in several clothing stores where I enjoyed learning more about fit and customers’ needs and aesthetics. Before coming to the Fashion Institute of Technology, I studied one year of fashion design in Los Angeles where I improved my patternmaking and design skills. New York is my favorite city (I have also lived in Spain and Mexico). The cultural variety inspires me to design better and to think outside the box. I enjoy designing for people who love to get dressed and add their own personality to their outfits.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
From a young age, I have loved all aspects of art and design. Thanks to an encouraging upbringing I have been able to explore and fall more in love with them each day. After high school, it was a natural transition for me to apply to fashion schools. After finishing a one-year degree program in Milan at IED I applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology. My years here have taught me a lot about creativity, hard work, technique, and dedication—strengthening my passion for this industry. People and their stories inspire me and I love approachable and beautiful design that helps transform them. As Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
New York, New York
I love the technical and creative aspects of fashion design. I was probably going to major in computer science like the rest of my family. But I went on to study fashion after taking a summer class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I really enjoy solving problems, and the enigma of turning a sketch into a garment. There are so many unexpected glitches along the way. I love how designing forces me to think on my feet and be really clever sometimes. Another thing that I love about design is creating a really desirable and wearable garment. To me that is the ultimate—making something that is both irresistible and strangely sensible. I feel that in our education, we are so often steered toward designing showpieces and more experimental clothes, but that’s not my aspiration at all. I am especially inspired by the early 1990s Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani looks and Bill Cunningham’s late 1980’s runway shots for Details. They were such cool and easy looks and so New York. I think this special “New York” quality is lost now and I would like to channel that in my designs.
I’ve always had a love for clothes, because it’s a perfect way to express yourself. Actually, my family has a background in the textile industry. That was the biggest factor for me to choose a fashion major. My grandmother is my fashion leader because she is the best tailor I’ve ever met. When I was a child I went a fabric store with my grandmother and we sewed little clothes together. The fashion world is very challenging. You have to develop yourself day by day. You must be creative to succeed as a fashion designer. Knowing how to mix and blend colors, choose the right pattern and fabric, and mix and match styles with accessories shows good qualities for a fashion designer. On the other hand, it helps to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I am an international student in fashion design at both Istanbul Technical University and FIT. This collaboration gave me very important experiences and knowledge.
Miguel Angel Pena
My sister was always my idol as a child. Due to her severe childhood illnesses, she never had the chance to live the full life that I had. So I guess I always pursued her interests to fulfill her dreams for her. That being said, I fell into fashion by chance. I was always a creative person, but I never knew that design would be my ultimate outlet. I’m interested in how clothes can emanate a certain type of energy or confidence from a person. Once I started to pursue fashion, I developed a better understanding of how to think about clothes creatively and abstractly. I realized that designing meant thinking of new ways to solve a problem, much like an engineer. I was fascinated with the idea of looking at a garment like a problem that needed a new solution. I don’t like to make my inspirations too literal. I like my ideas to be a bit disguised. I try to use humor and cleverness to express these ides. I like when you can’t really understand how great something is until you get to experience it in detail. Subtleties excite me the most.
I was born and raised in Venezuela until I was 10, then immigrated to Orlando, Florida. My mom raised me there until I was 18; then I made the big move to New York City. My mom is a big part of why I am a designer; she always put a big emphasis on art and culture. Growing up, I was always the big kid attending every art class at the local museum. This greatly influenced my childhood and, ultimately, my pursuit of fashion design. As I matured, I became more interested in the fashion design field than general fine arts. A lover of all things art, I think my perspective in knitwear is different because I love playing with interesting yarns and textures and I really try to make my designs as well as my sketches miniature works of art.
Ever since I was a kid, I was very interested in the art world. I began to appreciate art and study art history at the University of North Florida. After receiving my associate’s degree, I was determined to study fashion design. There is no better place to study fashion than New York City. The only school that I applied to was the Fashion Institute of Technology and that is where my journey began. I design because through fashion, our personalities and identities are enhanced. Becoming a designer gives me a voice through which I can create a personal relationship with clothing and people. I feel that personal style is unique and through street style, individuals create their identities for the world to see.
Northport, New York
I want you to pull the wool over your own eyes. My passion for art began in early childhood, drawing stick figures in dresses on all available surfaces—sofas, antique furniture, walls—until my mother substituted paper and alternative forms of art media to satisfy my creativity. My mother’s constant refrain of “draw your own lines” motivated me to pursue my interest in fashion design. The relationship between natural elements and advances in technology drew me to the knitwear specialization at FIT, where I could combine my interests in textile and design development. The duality of my design aesthetic incorporates the idea that there should be as much beauty as there is comfort in my creations.
Tae Kyung Kim
Seoul, South Korea
I believe a designer can be a storyteller. Each person can interpret a story differently and sometimes the meaning can get lost in the process. To be considered a good designer, however, I think one must be able to stimulate and help the listener understand his or her creativity. This is what I am trying to do as a designer. I want to create designs so that people can understand my story easily through my garments. Mostly I am inspired by abstract things such as emotions and feelings; I like to express them in garment form.
Jennifer Seung Yeon Sim
I decided to attend fashion school because I loved picking out outfits for my friends. I wanted to gain knowledge of how clothes are made, what makes them special, and why people buy and wear certain things. I believe fashion is a tool of expression. What one wears can express one’s status, beliefs, morality, personality—maybe even where someone is going. That is why fashion fascinates me. I design to create a look that expresses not only a beauty that can be seen outside but also the inside beauty that one possesses; a beauty that can be translated through clothes.
Antigua, West Indies
My journey started with my love of art and my education as an art student at the Antigua Girls’ High School. Additionally, I am motivated by my parents who always encourage me to follow my dreams and work hard even though Fashion Design isn’t a conventional career choice. Most of all, my sister pushes me constantly to be better than I think I am. She’s my partner, assistant, intern, and manager. My continued success is in part due to her. Attending the Fashion Institute of Technology has long been a dream of mine. Many of the school’s alumni are inspirations to me, including greats like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. I applied to FIT in fall of 2004. However, despite my hard work and eagerness, I was unfortunately rejected. I applied two more times and was finally accepted. My ultimate goal is to be an acclaimed designer and have my design grace the runways of the largest stages in the world. I want to be known for creating great women’s wear pieces adored by celebrities and the average woman alike. I would absolutely love to one day be a recipient of the Council of Fashion Designer’s award, one of the highest accolades awarded to fashion industry professionals.
Suwon/ South Korea
All my life I have had a passion for the fashion industry. As I studied product design in Australia, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer and come to study in New York. This city is filled with inspirations and I love translating and expressing my ideas and experiences into my designs. As I grew more confident and informed, I became very interested in the business and management aspect of the fashion industry. I would like to incorporate my design skills as a skillful designer and merchandiser.
San Diego, California
Since my childhood I’ve drawn women in fabulous gowns and other luxury attire. I illustrated women running through castles and strutting through executive offices. As I got older, it became apparent that I was actually drawing my target customer. I love to design because it allows me to express my inner creativity and passion for women’s apparel. Another thing that informs my design is my background in acting. I did theater and took acting classes when I was younger and learned to write back stories for my characters. I’ve applied this tool when approaching my design concepts. I write back stories for my target customer. I place her into a scene because it gives my designs a meaning, a life, and a history. It explains why my muse is wearing the garments I’ve designed.
San Fernando, La Union, Philippines
I took a liking to the arts in my childhood. I was classically trained in dance and voice and I majored in fine arts in high school. I knew I wanted a career that would allow me to be creative. I chose fashion design as this outlet because I thought it was interesting to express myself to society through clothing, a very common object. I gather inspiration mostly from nature. I feel it is most pure because it has not yet been touched by man. I am drawn to textures, like moss and bark, and patterns, like those in autumn leaves and on the sides of glaciers. Their color story is simple to interpret, because nature created it. My clothing is sophisticated, and is for the woman with a subtle glamour. My designs concentrate on showcasing a woman’s best features to make her feel most important on any occasion.
Soo Jin Kim
Designing a dress is my way of interacting with people without language. I want my dress to ask, “What makes you so special?” If she hears this voice, I will be as happy as a child discovering his secret friend. Fashion is one way to express yourself; however, there are so many different approaches because everyone has an individual style. A line, a color, a fabric, a silhouette, even a little bead pronounces its mood. I try to understand how these components transform into the customer’s life seamlessly. I think one of my strengths is that my design is very communicable.