Sportswear, knitwear, children’s apparel, intimate apparel and special occasion are the five specializations offered at the Fashion Institute of Technology and represented in its annual fashion show. Industry insiders might debate whether the NYC's school’s ultimate prowess lies in its lingerie expertise or its eveningwear skills but this year’s graduate show introduced a new category upon which the school is placing emphasis: the Street Style and Athletics Capsule Collection.
Entitled “Future of Fashion” the runway show, featuring looks from a selection of the graduate collections, was supported by a 2 million dollar multi-year gift from FIT alumnus Calvin Klein through the Calvin Klein Family Foundation, as well as the company he founded, Calvin Klein, Inc. Brother International Corporation supplied FIT with over 100,000 dollars worth of sewing, embroidery and electronic cutting machine products to help bring the students’ designs to life while the event which was live-streamed by Teen Vogue. As with all prestigious fashion programs today, the unenviable editing and culling involved in the selection process for the end-of-year show means not all graduates are rewarded with inclusion, but a sampling of work which didn’t show was on display in the foyer of the Pomerantz Center for guests to view as they entered. The task of selection in FIT’s case fell to a panel of industry, media and retail elite which included Vogue’s Laird Borelli-Persson and Ken Downing who just joined Triple Five Group as CCO after his 28-year stint at Neiman Marcus.
A marriage of industry experience and educational know-how
Students of each specialization also received mentorship from notable industry representatives throughout the process of creating their collections. Thom Browne was assigned to the sportswear students, as was Dao Yi-Chow of Public School; Stacey Tester of Marc Jacobs worked with the knitwear group; CEO of Fleur du Mal, Jennifer Zuccarini, lent her expertise to the intimate apparel designers, while Lisa Di Napoli of Tommy Hilfiger guided the childrenswear group. The who’s who of critics throughout the year also included Christine Blaine of Ralph Lauren, Luke Edward Hall of Ann Taylor, and Mona Kowalska of A Détacher.
The new Street Style and Athletics Capsule Collection was judged by Christopher Bevans, founder of DYNE and former creative director of Nike, and celebrity stylist, Kesha McLeod.
Students Dorshelle Guillaume and Claire Serruya both claimed Intimate Apparel awards for their luxury market-ready Chantilly lace, feathered and beribboned bustiers and body suits; the Special Occasion award went to Jia Chen Shi for her asymmetrical tuxedo gown with dramatic shoulder embellishment; Knitwear award winners were Aldrian Diaz for his collection of colorful rhinestoned layers complete with giant yellow hands and Jesse Doherty for his sophisticated embellished hand-crochet. The inaugural Street Style/Athletics prize was won by Gwen Hine whose wafting techno separates expanded our perception of the category.
Pictured in order, walking the runway with their winning designs are Critic Award winners, Claire Serruya for Intimate Apparel; Aldrian Diaz and Jesse Doherty for Knitwear; Street Style & Athletic Sports Capsule Collection winner Gwen Hine; Dorshelle Guillaume for Intimate Apparel; and Jia Chen Shi for Special Occasion.
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Photos Steven Vlasic/Getty Images for FIT