FIT’s Future of Fashion 2017 Show & Awards

FIT’s Future of Fashion show featuring their graduates’ collection of sportwear, special occasion, knitwear, intimate apparel and childrens wear, never fails to impress and last night was no exception.  In fact, when I bumped into FIT’s PR director Cheri Fein last night before the 7 p.m. show, she told me that she thought this year’s crop of graduates were especially talented. The show, in its entirety can be watched here.

Randy Fenoli of “SayYes to The Dress”

I always mention that I love that the students get such invaluable personal attention and mentoring from such big name designers, but of course, these graduate designers represent the fashion industry’s future. As Diana Tsui of New York Magazine’s The Cut points out in the show’s opening video, “social media is democratizing fashion” — the barriers that once existed to getting noticed by a working designer are broken down now.

Ruth Finley founder of the Fashion Calendar

Critics this year were: Morgan Curtis of Morgan Lane (a lingerie and swim line), Peter Do of Derek Lam, Chris Gelinas, Flora Gill of Ohne Titel, Sander Lak of Sies Marjan, Victoria Lambourne of Tory Burch, Erin Rechner of WGSN Trend Forecasting, Karen Sabag , Sophie Theallet, and Isabelle Tonchi. Judges were Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus, Kemal Harris (fashion stylist), Nicole Phelps (Vogue Runway), Diana Tsui, and Liliana Vazquez (The LV Guide).

Fern Mallis

This event always brings out some of the industry’s best — I spied Dennis Basso, Fern Mallis, Randy Fenoli, Ruth Finley, Stefan Larssen,Ty Hunter, Shaun Ross as well as many of the aforementioned judges, critics and designers on the red carpet. Notably missing however were Calvin Klein who is the presenter of FOF as well as an alum and huge supporter of FIT, as well as Ralph Lauren, both who were in attendance last year.

Dr. Joyce Brown welcomes guests.

Dr. Joyce F. Brown, FIT President welcomed the packed house mentioning that although FIT offers over 50 other programs besides fashion design however “our signature is fashion design. It’s our calling card. Not only here in New York but all over the world. In Thailand and Turkey and China and Italy It is what we are known for. All those places, their educational institutions call upon us to provide expertise to their developing fashion programs.”

This year’s tech sponsor is Optimity, which provided the FOF app allowing you to favorite and save looks from the show and to contact the student designers. Other sponsors included Chicos which helped to produce the opening video discussing technology including 3D printing of textiles and the role science has played on sustainability, as well as interviews with the designer judges, critics and student designers.

Celin Cardoza Diaz

In the video, Professor Eileen Karp comments on this year’s designs calling them “very personal in how they’re exposing their own voices” which was the “overarching theme of the show.”  I would have to agree particularly since a few of the designers imbued their personal political statements in their clothing including a coat which read “Open the Borders” designed by Celin Cardoza Diaz and a jacket which read “Vegan Revolution” by Christina Degaglia. Naturally, she used “cruelty-free” fur on a bomber jacket to get her theme of “compassion is cool” out there to the masses. A few designers subtly wove “messages” into their creations but these were two of the most obvious examples.

Is that you Katy Perry?
Design byAravanh Ackharath

Deconstruction was a trend that many of the designers embraced, as well as volume including Critic Award Winner Taylor Ormond’s who used an actual pillow as a bustle, and Eleni Kouvaris whose black matte vinyl puffer jacket evoked a Vetements oversized vibe. There were several repurposed materials used including Critic Award Winner Bria Hendrickson’s patchwork plaid oversized coat and Valentina Russi Rondon’s “hobo-chic” burlap jacket among others. One look by Aravanh Ackharath channeled Katy Perry at the Met Gala’s “red bride.”

Ayao Sasaki

Standout looks IMO included Ayao Sasaki’s navy leather coat dress with flower applique, Dan Yongeun Lee’s “Yield” sign trench, Jing Wang’s black wool kimono coat with multicolored metallic crochet discs.

Jin Young Kim Critic Award winner

Critic Award Winners were Taylor Ormond, Bria Hendrickson, Jinwoo Hong, Selen Sahin, Aleksandra Gosiewski, Yekaterina Burmatnova, Jongah Lee, Jin Young Kim and Carolina Sanz. People’s Choice Award Winner was Shannon Cooney.

Ken Downing

Ken Downing, an FIT alum, probably summed up the evening best. In his video interview he said he has “a soft spot in my heart not only for the school but also for the students creating the work because it’s really putting your heart and soul in front of everyone.”

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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