I was born in Colombia. Since then, where I live is constantly changing. My approach to fashion and styling a client is through my ever-changing surroundings. Whether it is an old photograph, a second-hand piece, or the song that’s been stuck in my head for days, I know she can relate. I like to emphasize the five senses through the clothes I put out there. I try to design something that embraces her right back.
I come from a family of painters, illustrators, and journalists who nurtured my creativity while still grounding me in reality. I have always been fascinated with clothes and images that evoke whimsy. This final semester I aim to work with color, texture, and romantic shapes to convey an aesthetic that is fresh, elegant, and lighthearted. Over the last few years, I have become particularly engaged with the transformative power of clothing: How certain garments can convey whom we wish to portray in society while fulfilling our own creative fantasies. It is this key sociological aspect of fashion that has been my inspiration since childhood.
Fashion is my identity. My whole world revolves around fashion design, specifically knitwear design. I remember the first time I picked up a pair of needles, thinking I could knit anything I ever wanted with these two needles. Thirteen years later, that thought still holds truth. With the right understanding of gauge and tension, geometry and algebra, knit and purl stitches, you could potentially knit anything you could ever dream of designing with a single snip of yarn at the end. Knitwear allows me to explore the deepest roots of fashion design. It destroys any barriers I face while fabric shopping. It opens up a world where I can dissect a design, down to the fabric’s knitting sequence, and make it come to life exactly as I imagined. It allows me to take a classic silhouette and distinguish it with a completely unique textile or think up an incredible three-dimensional design and pair the perfect yarn and stitch density that will bring the shape to life. I’ve never experienced anything as satisfying as looking at a finished knitted garment, knowing that a piece of me went into every single stitch.
Old Greenwich, Connecticut
For me, design is a process of constant exploration and discovery. I was originally attracted to fashion because of its immediacy and accessibility as visual art. Now, I find the intricacy of creation and construction an art form of its own. Not only am I inspired by fashion as a reflection of the world around me, but I also see materials and technology as a new and exciting means of looking at design. Having spent my childhood exploring creative mediums, I have found little has changed with age. By applying unconventional topics and research to the study of art, I strive to explore fashion as a multidimensional field of communication.
I spent my formative years in suburbia, and, upon realizing I survived, traded Jersey for SoCal. It was there where, while busy obtaining a BA in Biology, I cultivated my trademark thoroughness in research (and love of fro-yo).
As a designer who is heavily concept-based, I enjoy working through the complexities of thoughts and ideas in the design process. My collections often study the nature of duality, with elements of wryness and whimsy. An explorer at heart with a fondness for the unexpected, I am also enthusiastic about innovative fashion—experimental techniques and materials and the intersection of new-world technology with old-world craft and luxury.
As a collector of experiences, I have secured jobs and internships at a variety of brands so far, including Michael Kors Collection, Alice + Olivia, and Ralph Rucci.
Attending creative art classes all of my life and coming from an art-focused high school, design has always been very important to me. I’ve never lost faith in the desire to create new and innovative techniques and play with traditional form. I originally focused on architecture and interior design, but after attending college I found myself much more interested in fashion. The idea of taking raw material and creating something in 3-D continues to excite and enthrall me. Every day, I strive to be more of designer than I already am.
I am first-generation, born of immigrant parents in a country where anyone can be anything, regardless of how monumental or trivial it may be. I describe myself culturally as an amalgamation of many things, belonging neither here or there. I’ve been designing since I was a child but never considered making it into a career. I chose visual arts and science instead. I dealt with the business side of fashion through jobs in visual merchandising and sales analytics. I learned everything I could about the science of consumerism and came to realize that I had both the art/design background and the business experience—why not combine them? My experiences designing garments from childhood to the last few years in fashion retail came full circle when I was accepted to FIT. It hasn’t been boring since, to say the least; however, I’m almost married to the school because I see it more than my boyfriend.
Seoul, South Korea
Design, for me, is a natural response to the world. When I was a little girl, I drew clothes in my journals, because I did not have the means to go out and purchase the beautiful things. This allowed creativity to flow and since it was my interpretation of how clothes should be worn, no one could tell me to stop. I have lived in Korea, California, New York, and Milan. In Milan, I reconnected with knitting, the art that I was first taught when I was little. As a designer, I learned to truly appreciate the art and science behind knitwear. During my ongoing journey, I will continue to see the endless possibilities of how fashion and science can tie into our everyday world.
Alexis Yunyoung Chung
Seoul, South Korea
There are many artists who express their beliefs and values in many ways to others. Just like fashion designers who inspire people in their own way, I want to be connected with people as I communicate ideas and creativity through my collection and give off beautiful energy with beautiful things. I want people to wear my clothes for at least 10 years or more. I want to let them see something fun and beautiful that people didn’t think of as a beautiful thing. I want to find something of my own as opposed to traditional values.
Moscow region, Russia
I enjoy fashion design because it allows me to share the beauty of my inner world with others. Great fashion concepts combine the elements of inspiration and visualization with modern trends before undergoing a highly technical process that transforms them into products we proudly wear. In my opinion, fashion should be guided by a sense of ethics and gratitude for the planet, and my interest in the development of clothing is to ensure the preservation of the environment and to respect other forms of life. I believe that a fashion designer can capture the essence of eternity by protecting our Earth more than by capturing a trend.
My initial interest in fashion design came from an immersion in dance costuming and cultural exploration. I have had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world from a young age; these experiences opened my eyes to unique cultures, national dress, and even the most luxurious of fashions. In my first love—ballet—I learned the discipline required to hone an art form while keeping my mind open to the possibilities of the world, life, and fantasy. I hope to create for others what fashion has created for me—an escape from the hardness of the world to experience even a fleeting moment of beauty.
Newburgh, New York
Art has always been my means of escape. Growing up shy, I was always able to express myself through my artwork. As I began to discover design as another art form, I fell in love with the idea that I could take inspiration from something dark and turn it into something beautiful. Things like nature, culture, and artwork are already appealing on their own; I tend to draw my inspiration from harsh emotions or experiences and the less attractive aspects of the world around us. My designs reflect the minimal yet powerful identity that I’ve developed as both an artist/designer and as a person.
Growing up, I wanted to be an artist. I always felt like art was the greatest form of self-expression. Then at the age of 10, I saw a movie called “The Cheetah Girls” and it inspired me to become a fashion designer. I loved how diverse the characters were and how they each wore outfits that expressed their particular personalities. I then thought of all the different women in my life and their distinctive personalities, body shapes, complexions, etc. I realized that I wanted to capture who they were, their stories, and their culture in clothing that really glorifies their individuality. After graduating from the High School of Fashion Industries in 2012, I studied abroad for a month in Florence, Italy, and again in for a semester in 2014 through FIT. I met people from all over the world and came to the conclusion that people are my greatest inspiration.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I grew up in my grandma’s atelier in Paraguay, but I never thought I would find my career path in clothing design. My love for fashion design started through my passion for photography and architecture. I was 18 years old and found myself at a Richard Avedon exhibit, which inspired my affection toward several designers but especially for Cristobal Balenciaga. Seeing one of his couture gowns in person sealed the deal, making me want to become a fashion designer. I knew that I wanted to attempt to influence someone else the same way all those designers still influence me today.
Maplewood, New Jersey
I have an innate appreciation of the visual arts, and my passion led me to pursue my interest in design. Design was fundamental at an early age for me. I used art as a form of personal creative expression. As a child I was a very shy and timid, but I found an alternative way to show my personality with my love of illustration, watching my late grandmother crochet, and my ability to find interest in anything different. Those early beginnings fueled my creative approach to style with comfort. My unique ability to take unlikely elements and infuse them into the development of textiles is what enriches my aesthetic.
Maplewood, New Jersey
My love for fashion started before I can remember. The act of putting articles of clothing together and creating a look speaks volumes. I relish expressing myself through clothing; every garment tells a story. I design because I am exceptional at it. I truly have a passion for creativity. My design consists of mixing prints, textures, and playing with color. I have an unusual and eccentric esthetic. Having a specialization in knitwear is a bonus. Starting from yarns to develop and create your own textiles is just amazing—applying color and stitches and ending with a work of art. Studying in Milan really enhanced my skill and techniques as a knitwear designer. The technology we have in knitwear is growing every day and I am ready and elated to grow with it.
Jiyoung Jeannie Kim
Daejeon, South Korea
Since I was young, I was open to exploring various arts such as painting, playing music, and sculpture. My parents supported me having an artistic mindset for my life. I knew I was not good at music, and I found that I have a huge interest in designing something. After I came to New York, I finally got an answer about what I want to design. In my mind, design is the story, life, habits, and personality of people. With fashion, you do not need to explain yourself. It represents you, your lifestyle, and your thoughts. I want to design your lifestyle through fashion and art. As I define myself as a designer, my garments reflect how I live and how I design your life.
Seoul, South Korea
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved fashion and art. When I was a young girl, I became used to creating things with my little hands. My parents also supported me in experiencing various kinds of art and having artistic thoughts.
To me, fashion defines one’s identity. Fashion allows people to express themselves. Unlike other forms of art, fashion shows one’s characteristics, lifestyle, and feelings directly. I design because fashion also makes me express myself as I am. I want to be a fashion designer to create an ideal vehicle that lets people express themselves and also makes them look as beautiful as they are.
My main source of inspiration is my family and people around me. I grew up looking at my mom painting with watercolor and oil. She would use a lot of toned-down earthy colors and they are still my favorite color palettes that have always been reflected in my work. My designs are very feminine and consider the natural silhouette of women. I always aim to express an elegant and classic aesthetic through my collections.
As a design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology for the past few years, I learned how truly important it is to really know your trade. By the end of this spring semester I will have earned a Fashion Design AAS, an Accessories Design AAS, and a Fashion Design BFA with a focus on knitwear. And, as a bonus, an Art History minor. Art history has been one of the most enjoyable resources for my inspiration. After graduating from FIT and working for great companies, I aspire to become a creative director for a design house that matches my aesthetic.
The one thing I’ve always played with since I was very young is clothes. When I was a child, my mom’s old closet was my favorite toy box and mom’s jeans were one of my unforgettable toys. They were always with me. I knew the jeans looked fabulous when they were rolled up or destroyed. When I became a fashion design major, I couldn’t ignore that it was not that easy to achieve my dream. However, I knew how to look fabulous since I was young, so there was no reason to give up. Now I’m ready to go out into the real fashion world and show my ability. Dream comes true!
I moved to New York City to attend my dream school, having had a lifelong dream of becoming a fashion designer. In high school, I took every fashion-related course and interned for Luna Luna and K-Swiss. I graduated magna cum laude with an AAS in International Fashion Design and am fortunate to have studied worldwide, including at Polimoda (Florence, Italy), Nottingham Trent University (Nottingham, England), and Central Saint Martins (London, England). I was a knitwear design intern for Franziska Fox and Band of Outsiders. I won first place in the international “Out of the Vase” competition in Amsterdam, taking home $10,000. I am a recipient of $5,000 from YMA’s Fashion Scholarship Fund for two consecutive years. Other honors include FIT Foundation scholarships and competitions by Teen Vogue with O’Neill and Scholastic Publishing Co. I am overambitious and enjoy school way too much. I like pink, mac and cheese, and long walks on the beach.
I design because fashion lets me express myself truly to the world. Some people have a way with words, with music, or with actions. For me, it was always clothing. I remember afternoons spent outdoors, hands dusty and knees dirty, drawing massive malls on the driveway where my designs would be sold in the future. The margins of my planners and journals were always filled up with doodles of clothing, and I’m fairly certain I’ve promised more than one wedding dress. Nowadays, I’m a knitter who believes in the value of—and the need for—wearable, beautiful clothing that allows its wearer to tell their story. Fashion designers are storytellers—creating the sentences that every person in the world uses to write their personal biography.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved art. I think fashion design is an art form that is more practical and related to everyday life. Clothes can define, extend, and transform a person. Before studying fashion design, I earned my business degree from UNC and worked for two years at technology companies. As time went by, I could feel my urge to pursue my passion in fashion. I was thrilled to join FIT and have enjoyed every minute studying and creating garments. I want to design for women everywhere and bring to the market clothes that make wearers feel beautiful and confident.
My love for knitting was sparked at the age of 13, when my mother opened a yarn shop in Poughkeepsie, NY. Being surrounded by yarn and textiles instilled in me a love for knitting and its unique design process. I soon realized that there was no other place for me than FIT. After spending my junior year studying knitwear design in Milan, Italy, through FIT’s study abroad program, I was able to engross myself in a new culture and design process. Studying in Italy also developed my love for art history, and I spent the following year working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My work reflects an eclectic range of inspirations, from Russian folk art to urban architecture. A prominent part of my design process is finding unexpected connections in history, art, or culture, and linking them together through my work.
I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in fine arts in Chile. I worked as an artist doing exhibitions, being a teacher’s assistant at my college, and doing set designs for Chilean television. Then I went to Argentina to do a master’s degree in digital design. There I turned my interest to fashion, meeting a very important fashion designer, Min Agostini, whom I assisted for one year. She experiments with fabrics by generating volume and contemporary structures. I fell in love with the connection between fashion and art. At the same time I started my own brand with a young fashion designer. That brand lasted almost four years, until I decided to move to New York City in order to finally do my bachelor’s in fashion design. I wanted to become more skilled and competent in technique. My goal is to go back to my hometown and bring all I have absorbed around the world.
Mexico City, Mexico
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had the desire to create with my hands. I was always engaged with art, whether it was crafting, oil painting, or watercolor. I can recall many times that other girls played with dolls while I would be painting, sewing, or eager to learn new techniques.
Fashion design to me is the best form of self-expression. There is nothing more satisfying than being inspired by a piece of art, travel, or a personal experience and being able to conceptualize those feelings into clothing. The thought process that goes into a garment is what makes it successful and what truly transmits beauty and confidence to the wearer.
Bronx, New York
My grandmother always tells me about this time when I was three or four. I was watching the animated movie 101 Dalmatians and I came over to her and said, “Grandma! Cruella de Vil scares me! But I do like her gloves…” That story always makes me laugh. It just shows me exactly how long I’ve been doing this fashion thing. Even if it wasn’t part of what I was doing at the time, design was always on my mind. Eventually I realized there are only so many dresses you can doodle in your geometry notebook before you admit to yourself that there is a direction for you. I adore designing. To me, it creates an emotion of creativity, artistry, beauty, and confidence. I want to make a woman feel just as artistic and creative and confident wearing a garment as I felt designing it. Fashion is an expressive outlet I use to tell my story of femininity; I want other women to tell their own story in my clothes.
Sometimes being a knitwear designer is smooth: you create a perfect swatch in the perfect tension. Other times it’s a little more complex: you drop a stitch on the finicky slippery fine gauge, and your work is zapped away like a ladder in pantyhose. At this point you take a breath. In my short life as a knitwear designer, I’ve gained so much knowledge. Much of my insight is technical: for example, I know a full cardigan rib knit has more drape than a full milano rib knit. A lot of my insight is creative; I love exploring new possibilities on the Dubied knitting machine with transfer needles. I want to learn and contribute. I want to be able to prove myself and I’m confident I can, through the education the Fashion Institute of Technology and Nottingham Trent University have given me.
I was raised in Lee, MA, and there was always an absence of art in my town. The Berkshires were known for art, thanks to Norman Rockwell. But high school sports were more important. The first time I came to New York City, I fell in love with the fashion around me and was completely inspired. Unable to find great art in Lee, I went on a personal crusade to create art that would inspire me more and tried to bring art back to my hometown. I used fashion as a medium to promote my ideas and developed my own style and aesthetic that is seen in my designs today. My designs are based around how your mind works and the feelings you have throughout your life. I try to show emotions and what goes through our wandering minds in a new way, while being edgy and very chic.
Busan, South Korea
Growing up in Busan, I still wore my uniform after school, and I began to breathe once I reached the library, where I found art books, and the video store, where I found films from around the world. For me, art and creativity became an essential way to explore the wider world and to discover myself. As I began to discover fashion, I felt it taking me to the other side of life. And I just kept on following this feeling all the way to New York. I am interested in creating fashion to explore for myself what it can be.
Katie Hyunkyung Sung
Cheon-an, South Korea
A girl who came from a faraway country to New York has been struggling, and growing only because of fashion. During some periods I remember, cutting and sewing clothes was my sole pleasure and interest. These things made me who I am. Many people say fashion is a way to represent themselves. I totally agree with that, but I also think of fashion as a way to communicate with others. Fashion is a conversation between you and me. A way to feel connected with you without talking. I want to express this emotion in my own way and share it with people.
Fashion is not only about clothing, it is also one of the best ways to express our moods and represent our personalities. Growing up learning art and drawing has built my confidence and helped me understand myself and my strong interest in fashion design. Doing fashion design allows me to share my ideas and aesthetic with people around the world. The idea of connecting different people with different cultures in the world excites me. And cultures always interest me: the experiences of living in Taipei, New York, and Milan have broadened my horizons, and knowing people from different cultures has nourished my design.
I never imagined that a high school elective course would become so valuable to me. A teacher who became my mentor introduced me to fashion. She is the person who helped me explore myself to discover what my dream was, what I was passionate about. I design because I have a vision; I design because that’s the only way I know how to convey my inner voice. Designing is an act of freedom. Through design I convey my innermost self. Through the creative process, I learned a lot about myself. I am blessed to have been surrounded by imaginative and creative people while I was on my journey to find my own creative expression
New York, New York
“Try to leave the world a better place than when you arrived.” — Sidney Sheldon
Growing up in New York City, I was profoundly impacted by art. The ability to excite, stun, and awe people without saying a single word has always astounded me. I learned about design in high school and it seemed to me the perfect combination of everyday utilitarianism and art. I study fashion design to bring fashion to the next level, to spark an enlightenment age of fashion where the limits of creativity are constantly pushed. I use new-age technology to create designs and patterns that would otherwise not be possible. My designs combine the technology of activewear, the ‘cool’ chic of street style, and the luxury and glamour of high fashion.
The fashion industry has a fascinating language of its own. It is a means of global communication between people from various places. I strongly believe fashion plays a vital role in our everyday life, and it has great influence, not only on our perception of ourselves but also on how we look at others.
Fashion design has been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember. Before I started college at FIT I put together 20-25 ready-to-wear women’s pieces for an exhibition under my own name. My knowledge further increased when I designed and styled for two television shows in Pakistan. In addition, I designed costumes for my high school play, Chicago. Later, I took part in a flood-relief effort by designing and selling a dress. The proceeds went directly to the flood victims. Designing made me realize I absolutely love what I do, and in my own little way, I’m always trying to make a contribution to the industry. My residency in New York City and my study abroad year in Italy enhanced my understanding of my own style. I believe my designs are chic and sophisticated, with a slight edge to them!
Expressing myself through words has never been a strength of mine, but designs allow me to express myself well. I decided to become a fashion designer because fashion can tell you a lot about a person at first glance. Clothing gives people confidence and gives them a chance to express themselves daily. I want to create garments that make people feel that. Traveling has always been my main inspiration. Whenever I go on trips, I can feel the butterflies in my stomach and the urge to design. My creativity comes from experiences in my life, which become stories to share.