Sportswear

Leyla AcikLeyla Acik

Turkey

My passion for fashion began when I was very young. Therefore, when it was time for high school, I wanted to attend a school that specialized in fashion. My interest continued after high school and I discovered that Instead of communicating through words, I’d much rather express myself through my sense of fashion. FIT helped me to make my dreams come true.

In my second year at FIT, I had the chance to show my designs in FIT’s Fire and Ice exhibition. I feel blessed by that opportunity because it helped me to be a part of another show in France. Every show that I attend confirms my point of view and affects my design aesthetics. From now on, my goal is to make each of my designs something that every woman would like to wear and that will make her feel powerful and beautiful wearing it.

Khelsea Al-ArefiKhelsea Al-Arefi

Charlotte Amalie, United States Virgin Islands

I am a women’s ready-to-wear fashion designer, and I launched my debut collection for my label “REFI” at NYFW ’18 last fall.

I design for professional women who aren’t afraid to be daring and captivate the room. Coming from the United States Virgin Islands, tropical aspects have always been incorporated into my personal style and my designs. Having lived in the city these past four years, my design aesthetic has grown to be a merge of street style and resort wear, which will be vividly represented in my current designs and future collections.

Adi AmzalegAdi Amzaleg

Tel Aviv, Israel

I am an Israeli fashion designer. Even though I didn’t come from a fashion background, I always gravitated toward fashion from an early age, and from the age of seven, it was very clear to everyone around me that I was born to be a part of the fashion world.

After finishing my service in the Israeli army, I traveled around the world. Experiencing the sights, colors, and cultures of the places I traveled to made me love fashion even more. I grew to understand that fashion is much more than a fun hobby; it is a powerful and empowering tool for the wearer. My goals are to strengthen women through my designs and to make them feel feminine and bold.

My biggest dream is to learn as much as I can from the industry and eventually establish my own atelier and clothing brand.

Veronica ApsanVeronica Apsan

Saddle River, New Jersey

I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer since I could pick up a pencil. I would create dress-up games and draw my friends wearing outfits from my mix-and-match collections.

I began FIT with a passion for outerwear and the intention to make a positive impact. By my third semester, I had an internship with CFDA couture outerwear designer George Simonton, and by my fifth semester, I had granted a young girl’s wish of creating her first runway collection with Make-a-Wish America.

By my sixth semester, I found my truth as a designer when a family member became ill and was hospitalized. I discovered I wanted to create clothes that positively affect our mood and physical well-being. I became fascinated with how the brain reacts to clothes, innovations in smart textiles, herbal medicine, and alternative therapies. My mission is to be a vehicle for advancements in fashion, textiles, and sustainable technology.

Yanira AraujoYanira Araujo

Brooklyn, New York

Fashion has been a part of me since childhood. I remember picking out my outfits at an early age. I always knew what would look best. As a teenager I was always the friend that helped others get dressed. I had my own style. I learned how to do hair and makeup and soon was the person my neighbors called for assistance before an event.

Fashion is more than just clothing. It is a way to define yourself, express your moods, and change your attitude. It can tell a story the same way a painting, movie, or song can. I chose this career because It allows me to help others while also satisfying my desire to create. I chose sportswear because I want to create pieces in everyday attire that have impact. As I design, I focus on functionality and wearability. My design aesthetic is casual elegance with practical elements.

Jessica AsfarJessica Asfar

Red Bank, New Jersey

Building on the core principle that women should feel comfortable in their own skin, I design with the intention of transcending the fashion industry body standard, which often asks women to aspire to unrealistic measures. My designs fall into the category of athleisure, and everything I create is purposefully designed to be versatile and to make sense to the wearer. The athleisure world has exploded with innovation and is continuing to be on the cutting edge. This is the segment of the industry that excites me the most. With my background in fine arts, I create with an eye for color that is crucial to the world of athletic apparel. My mission in fashion design is to create comfortable and effortless clothing for all body types, without sacrificing style and elegance.

Helin AydoganHelin Aydogan

Istanbul, Turkey

In my opinion . . . fashion is alive! Fashion is a manner of speaking. Fashion is political. Fashion is a form of individuality. Above all, fashion is freedom! If all these elements were restricted, what would you feel? What could you feel?

This is my journey from Turkey to United States. The core of my designs reflects my background, culture, and values. The shapes of my designs come from the Anatolian part of Turkey, and include caftans, salwar, and tarboosh. I want to revitalize the lost and forgotten heritage and craftwork of my country in my collection. I feel that fashion is about creating a national ID without borders!

Ozum AzakOzum Azak

Turkey

I have wanted to be a fashion designer since I was seven years old. Since then, I have made every decision, every step of of my journey, according to this dream of mine. I was interested in Italian culture and, of course, fashion, so I went to an Italian high school in Istanbul, my hometown. After that, I chose a dual-diploma SUNY program.

My fashion career journey started at Istanbul Technical University and will continue after FIT. I had always wanted to specialize in women’s sportswear. After having so many good classes here, I’m also considering making a career in lingerie and swimwear design. And now, I’m starting to make my dreams come true. My design aesthetics are fairly simple, with soft colors.

Carrine AzulayCarrine Azulay

New Jersey

I have been dancing and drawing from a young age. Dance is art, and art in general is an important part of my life. I can express myself through art. Ever since I was little, I was the stylist for my family, since I knew early on that I loved fashion. When it came to deciding what I wanted to do as a career, I put styling, fashion, and drawing together and the outcome was fashion design.

When I design, I always think to myself, “What can I do as a designer to make my customers look different from everyone else?” I want them to stand out from the rest while feeling comfortable with what they are wearing. My design aesthetic is feminine with an edge, modern with a twist. I design clothing that is wearable and comfortable.

Lori BacichLori Bacich

Cliffside Park, New Jersey

It’s been seven years since I began my fashion journey. It is just the beginning. I have always been an artist, so it feels natural to pour my creativity into design, more specifically, fashion design, where I can give my art a body and soul.

I am blessed to have been born as a first-generation American and to have been raised in such a diverse neighborhood. It opened my eyes to different cultures and fostered my curiosity and desire to travel the world.

Studying in Milan for a year, I learned a lot about myself as a person and designer. I want my work to inspire, reflect humanity, and have a purpose. My aesthetic is ever changing but always bold, sexy, and fearless. I want to make clothing for the people, with a positive impact on society and the planet. We have too many “just pretty” clothes—let’s change that.

Elaine BackElaine Back

Seoul, South Korea

As a child, fashion was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t even pick out my own clothes. Then one day at school, a mean girl mocked my attire. From that day on, fashion intrigued me. I saved up money to purchase my own clothes. Eventually, I realized I loved fashion, ultimately leading to my desire to create. Today, I design for the little girl still inside of me.

My aesthetic is refined and minimalistic. At parties, I don’t dance, and I may appear cold. I may not dance, but internally, I am full of excitement. I may look cold, but inside, I am full of fire. My designs let me explore a different side of myself, full of color and life. The pieces are tailored and draped. They are inspired by ideas that are a bit creepy and weird, but fun and classic with a twist of deconstruction.

So Jung BakSo Jung Bak

South Korea

Fashion allows me to create art around the body. It gives me the freedom to portray my aesthetic in ways that would not be possible in other forms of creative expression. I chose the fashion industry because ever since I was young I loved clothes, but I chose fashion design in particular for my love of design and construction, and for how I could manipulate those two elements. Sportswear allows me to implement my love of all specializations into a single collection. This is important to me, because as a designer I would love to design for all areas of ready to wear. I believe art comes before the market, and feel it is important to believe in your aesthetic and creative mind above all else.

Lauren BarkleyLauren Barkley

Atlanta, Georgia

When I think about how I got to where I am now, I can never tell if I chose fashion design or if fashion design chose me. Some of my earliest and fondest childhood memories are of my mother handing me the sewing kit and scrap fabrics and telling me to make myself something. By the time I was in elementary school, my grandmother had taught me to knit and crochet, and by middle school I was hemming my own clothes. In high school, I taught myself how to embroider and haven’t stopped since. One of my favorite things used to be buying vintage clothes and reworking them. Over the years I have combined my love of vintage clothing with more modern looks, which has led to my aesthetic as a designer. I believe we can use the past to drive us into the future of what fashion can achieve.

Clara BelevanClara Belevan

Miami, Florida

I’ve never thought about being anything but an artist. I love all forms of art, and it was difficult to choose just one to focus on. My journey in fashion began when I got accepted to a specialized design high school in Miami. There, I became captivated by the world of fashion design and decided to keep pursuing it. I love that it goes hand in hand with other forms of art that drive my inspiration, such as music and film. They help me create a visual world that I express through my designs. When designing, I want to share my own aesthetic universe by making it reality. Sportswear has allowed me to combine and layer the various ideas that come to my mind to complete a functional and innovative look. I would describe my design aesthetic as a reconstruction of traditional elements for my vision of a future world.

Neville BoasiakoNeville Boasiako

Bronx, New York

I was just nine when I decided to become a fashion designer. I was staying with my aunt that summer and poured over her Vogue magazine. I fell in love with the beautiful fashion spreads and the stunning garments worn in them. I began to look into the fashion industry in depth, reading about its history and key players and how to get into the industry and be successful. From there, I attended the High School of Fashion Industries, studying fashion design for four years, which had a big impact on my path to success and FIT.

My design aesthetic and inspirations are rooted in my love of history, art, movies, and books. My style is romantic, intricate, ethereal, and elegant. I like designing clothes with a couture sensibility. I want my clothes to last forever and have great quality of craftsmanship, which creates a sense of individuality and narrative.

Jeanill BolandJeanill Boland

Dominica

I’m a designer—fashion, web, and graphic. Prior to attending FIT, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in web and graphic design. My style embodies a contradicting luxurious/unpredictable attitude, with forward-thinking textile/woven application, infused with a commercial sensibility. It is highly influenced by my cultural heritage and global tribal inspirations, which are injected with experimental creations. There is great emphasis placed on fabric manipulation, especially around weaving, which is cleverly wrought into elegant and sophisticated constructions. Furthermore, it’s crafted with impeccable tailoring with a touch of highly polished detail. Overall, my design aesthetic is engineered to reflect and highlight a new approach to femininity.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

Samantha BradleySamantha Bradley

Westchester, New York

I am a senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology, with an associate’s/bachelor’s degree in fashion design, specializing in sportswear. I stand out by incorporating my personal experience into my aesthetic. The reason why I always dreamed of becoming a designer is that ultimately I want to alter the way we look at body image. The social definition of beautiful has always been based on one’s weight and clothing size. The internalization of the “ideal” thin body figure is why so many fashion brands’ largest dress size is typically a size 12. Our society is forced to think that anything larger than a size 12 is not fashionable or beautiful. In regard to my personal aesthetic, I hope to contribute to change and prove to the industry that beauty is not simply a piece of clothing on your back, but rather something that reflects who you are inside and out.

Teresa CampenelliTeresa Campenelli

New York

I have always been surrounded by fashion. My father inspired me to pursue a career in fashion by being a pattern maker himself. Details are important to me. I have a great appreciation for intricate detailing, such as lace appliqué. It amazes me how a garment can be completely transformed when details are added. I decided to go with sportswear because I feel that it covers everything and does not restrict you. For my senior thesis I wanted to bring an awareness to mental health, mainly focusing on the mind and how it controls us. Traces of the various emotions one can experience are reflected and incorporated into my designs through the materials, silhouettes, and eclectic intricate design details.

Lexie CapelloLexie Capello

Novi, Michigan

I found myself bored with what was being sold in stores. I was always looking for something specific, something I thought up in my head, but could never actually find while shopping. That is what initially motivated me to become a designer. I’ve also become interested in how to create sustainable collections that produce less waste and pollution, thus reducing the fashion industry’s negative environmental impact. My aesthetic has developed into a combination of feminine silhouettes with functional utilitarian details. I enjoy playing with gender fluidity, often creating edgy designs with architectural construction. I specialize in women’s sportswear; however, I find myself combining aspects of intimate apparel and athleisure in my collections as well.

Zaide CaraballoZaide Caraballo

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

As a child, I dreamed of being the person who got to create the beautiful garments displayed everywhere. In 2011, I started making this dream a reality. I attended the School of Design of Altos de Chavón in the Dominican Republic, my home country. In 2013, I moved to the United States to attend the Fashion institute of Technology. Since then, I’ve worked with an array of designers, including Joel Diaz, Cristina Ottaviano, and Angel Sanchez. These people have guided me and helped me find myself.

In 2015, I found the Amerex Group and worked alongside a great team of designers, under Red Carter. This showed me the importance of teamwork and how much designers can learn from one another. Therefore, I aspire to always be part of a team where the energies merge into one to develop the our best capabilities as a family and learn from one another.

Romy ConradRomy Conrad

Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey

When I was maybe a year old, my mom was changing my diaper. As she held up the outfit I was going to wear, I hit it and said “No!” It was at that moment that my mother realized her baby had her own sense of style. In the twenty-two years since then, I never let her doubt it. As soon as I was physically able, I picked out my outfits and just went wild. Tags in the front, pant legs of two different lengths, and some days, four pairs of socks worn at once. Once I could grasp a pair of children’s scissors, I was cutting up my clothes. By age seven I was in sewing class. I just ran with it. Throughout my years of school, I have built a wide skill set and refined my aesthetic. I know that fashion is something I’ll always be running with.

Nicole ContiNicole Conti

I loved designing, but never thought of pursuing it as a career since creative industries were not in our high school’s curriculum. Instead, I went to school for a degree in environmental science. The first university I went to (SUNY Potsdam) had the Crane School of Opera attached to it. I joined the school as a technical theater major with a focus in costume design, double majoring with my environmental science degree. I quickly finished almost all my major area required classes and, looking at a full year of nothing but liberal arts requirements, I decided to transfer schools. I applied to the School of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and decided whichever school I got into would be the career I pursued. I got into both. It wasn’t hard to choose because I was much happier when I received my acceptance letter to FIT.

Julia CorbettJulia Corbett

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

As a child, I would obsess over drawing horses. I was a great artist, but my teachers would worry about the fact that I wouldn’t draw anything else. This would soon change.

I first heard about FIT in the seventh grade and was instantly hooked. From that day on I only drew fashion designs and geared all of my high school classes toward building my portfolio. I decided to specialize in sportswear because I am extremely passionate about designing swimwear and sportswear gives me the opportunity to explore similar fabrics and techniques. Sportswear also gave me the opportunity to study on exchange in Melbourne, Australia. There I was able to selectively study swimwear and practice starting a small, mock business. My design aesthetic combines swimwear and athletic wear. I design for the girl with an active lifestyle, whether that be running, surfing, or snorkeling; anything truly adventurous and breathtaking.

John CruzJohn Cruz

Jersey City, New Jersey

I have always been attracted to color. When I went into a fashion-based program in high school, I was instantly amazed by the endless possibilities that can happen when you start mixing and matching different colors. In any collection I design, my aesthetic revolves around the specific emotions I want to convey through the pieces I create. Color allows me to deliver my message, often through whimsy and humor. What I enjoy most about design is being able to communicate my thoughts without say a single word. My goal as a designer is to make my audience think and smile.

Emily DanaEmily Dana

Growing up, Barbie was my idol. She had the most stylish clothes and succeeded in every career path she had. I learned to sew by making Barbie clothes out of anything I could get my hands on. Beyond Barbie, my childhood experiences with “fashion” were graphic tees with jeans or the plus-sized racks at the local department store, trying to help my mom find something that wasn’t covered in sequins or an ugly print and not shaped like a paper bag. Stylish clothes that were made well and actually fit were few and far between. When Mattel expanded the body types that Barbie dolls came in, I was on cloud nine. It combined my love of fashion with my belief in equity. After I graduate, I plan to be part of the solution by bringing that same sense of fashion equality to contemporary designs for the plus-sized market.

Soukeye DiopSoukeye Diop

Queens, New York

I have always loved drawing and art. When it came time to choose a school and a direction, I took a chance on fashion design, and it has become my means of artistic expression. Design is a platform I use to express inner emotions that I am otherwise very cautious about sharing. This allows me to provide an outlet for other people to do the same by wearing my designs.

I chose sportswear as my specialization because I find everyday street-style to be intriguing. People can express themselves with individual pieces that can be worn in a variety of ways for different occasions. My aesthetic is defined by chance; it can vary a great deal, depending on my inner emotions and personal experience at a particular point in time.

Nicole DubovNicole Dubov

Brooklyn, New York

Starting at a young age, I always had a drive to create art. My body would always feel a rush at the thought of finishing a project and seeing the end result. Once I discovered that I wanted to become a fashion designer, it felt as if my mind expanded and opened up a whole new space for its own creativity.

Through my journey at FIT, I’ve discovered my love for stretchy material and for making leisure wear that is comfortable, yet edgy and diverse. My love for digital design has also progressed, and I have found talent in myself I never thought I had. I hope to continue being inspired on a daily basis and to eventually become a successful designer and make an impact in the fashion industry.

Cindy FengCindy Feng

China

For as long as I can remember, designing has always been an innate form of expression for me—my first language. As a fashion designer, I enjoy being the bridge through the process of conceiving ideas and fantasies, illustrating them, and then bringing them to reality. I love expressing my thoughts and passions through beautiful designs and believe fashion is a very intimate way of communicating a beauty that could not be conveyed through words.

I specialize in sportswear because I want my designs to be useful to my customers’ everyday lives. My aesthetic seeks to be unique and stand out, yet remain subtly elegant with poise. Striving to be innovative, I like to share my ideas and experiment with creative techniques and asymmetrical constructions. My ambition is to be an influential designer who honors women’s wisdom, independence, and beauty through designs that empower the wearer with confidence.

Nicole GalbraithNicole Galbraith

Montclair, New Jersey

My love of fashion design started at a young age. It all began with sketching designs at age eight, then starting sewing classes at age ten, and later attending weekend FIT classes in high school. I decided to major in fashion design because I have always loved the idea of designing something that was uniquely mine and being able to bring it to life.

Many things have inspired my designs over the years, but I always tend to return to geometry. Anything from the structures of bridges to geometric shapes seen from aerial views of Earth. After two years at FIT, I chose sportswear as my specialization because it is worn daily for both work and leisure time by a majority of people. That to me seemed like the smartest direction for opportunities in the industry, and the best for the type of clothing I love to design.

Angelica GreenAngelica Green

Oyster Bay, New York

I have always had a drive to create. As a senior in high school, I won a contest that granted me the chance to attend my first New York Fashion Week show. From the colossal amount of inspiration throughout the day, I was certain that fashion design was the creative career path I was meant to pursue. Fashion is one of the purest articulations of identity. It allows individuals to express themselves in a way words might not. Regardless of the genre of my collection, I always center my silhouettes around enhancing femininity and flattering the figure, no matter what body type. One of the best feelings is to see others look and feel beautiful in my garments. When you look good, you feel good, and that is a beautiful thing I strive to achieve with every design.

Ian GreerIan Greer

New York, New York

I design sustainable, compelling, and modern clothing for women who value understanding where their clothing comes from and the impact it has. I incorporate environmentally friendly techniques such as eco-printing and natural dyeing to create a one-of-a-kind product that embodies equal parts craft and commerce. Through locally sourced materials, I am able to connect with New York State vendors that share my same values of sustainability and transparency. Collaborating closely with these vendors, I am able to offer a socially conscious and fashion-forward option into an otherwise lacking women’s wear market. I hope to initiate an honest and open narrative of responsibility and collaboration within the fashion industry as we all adapt to our ever-changing global climate and economy.

Tiahna GuerreroTiahna Guerrero

Brentwood, New York

Growing up, I always thought the arts were unrealistic. I needed to prepare myself for a life as a doctor, or a lawyer, because that was what was realistic and the only way I would be successful. However, life steered me toward designing, when my high school guidance counselor told me I needed another class. It just so happened that the only one available was the fashion illustration class I had been avoiding. From then on, I knew I had found my true love.

As a designer, what makes me so unique is that I am interested in all fields of designing. Even though my specialization is sportswear, I tend to venture out and see what I can combine together. FIT has opened my eyes to all possibilities. There is no design (for the most part) that you cannot do. I consider my aesthetic to be very chic and simple.

Hazal GulserinHazal Gulserin

Turkey

When I was a little girl, something I really loved to do was dress up my Barbies. I really enjoyed using my imagination to come up with creative design ideas that I would use to make my dolls different garments to wear. It was so much fun and always seemed so interesting to me. Then one day, I had the realization that I didn’t just want to dress up Barbie dolls. I wanted to dress up people. This realization was really what motivated me to pursue a career in fashion design.

Rosie HaoRosie Hao

Chongqing, China

I was born in Miami and grew up in Chongqing, China. I went to high school in Corvallis, Oregon. I have been separated from my family and living in many different cities since I was fourteen years old. My experiences have made me become an independent and responsible person.

As a designer, I am trying to break the “rules of clothing” and create fashion. Playing and draping with different fabrics always opens my mind. A three-dimensional design process can give garments more natural and fluent silhouettes with interesting details. My designs are distinguishable and avant-garde. I am really inspired by the strength of modern women, and my garments are designed for independent women with strong personalities.

Luis HernandezLuis Hernandez

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; born in Mexico

When I was a kid I was constantly moving. I lived in Mexico, Texas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, but I never dreamed that I could live in New York City, much less while paving a future for myself in the world of design. Up until my senior year of high school, I thought I would have to forego college and go into landscaping like my father, who works long, hard hours to support our family. Fashion design gave me a purpose, and DACA (known as the Dream Act) afforded me the opportunity to improve my life as well as the lives of others through my work. I hope that my future career in fashion will give me a platform to tell the stories of the Dreamers who aren’t yet able to speak up for themselves and create lasting change in this industry and the world through sustainable practices and innovative design.

Jose HolguinJose Holguin

New York, New York

Throughout my four years at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I had always thought that finding and strengthening my aesthetic was my main purpose as a fashion designer. However, I have found out that that is not the real reason, or at least, not the only reason. Who I am as a designer is someone who wants to help fashion progress and become the means through which we can create a better and healthier world. I want to design with a higher purpose. In other words, at this point in my journey, I want to make a difference, rather than just make more clothes.

Morgan HooperMorgan Hooper

Potsdam, New York

Art has always been significant to me. Eventually, it became clear to me that fashion design was what I was most drawn to. As I got older it became bigger than just my love of designing. I realized the people around me didn’t have clothes available to them that made them feel good. The fit, fabric, style, or price was never quite right. Upon witnessing this, the need to design clothes for all body types drove me. I want the people who wear my designs to feel empowered and beautiful. Sportswear appealed to me the most because it seemed like it was so broad, and I love the idea of mixing pieces. My aesthetic is feminine and transgressive.

Elif IpekElif Ipek

Turkey

I have wanted to be a fashion designer from the time I was young and sewing clothes for my Barbie. My mother is, and always will be, my inspiration because she raised me and my brother alone. She is my hero, and I learned from her how to be successful in this life by being independent and not relying on the help of others.

My aesthetic is a fusion of colors and layers. I love exploring new fabrics and trying to figure out how I can use them without the result being too simple. I know nearly everything about denim fabrics because my family business included the complete manufacturing process. Now, I will be graduating from a dual diploma program from FIT and ITU, and I feel ready for the fashion industry.

Stacey IsaacsStacy Isaacs

Bronx, New York

Growing up, I’ve always found myself looking for ways to express my thoughts and feelings. I’ve always had a love the arts, in all forms. No matter what form you choose, art gives you the opportunity to say what you can’t normally say to get your point across. As a kid, I tried my hand at many things, like music, dance, acting, singing, and more. While I consider myself to be an all-around creative person, fashion design has become the closest to my heart. Clothing is poetic. Clothing is expressive. With clothing you can tell people what your interests are and make a statement, bold or subtle. I became a fashion design major to be a part of that. As a designer, my collections are personal; they express my struggles and questions. Through my clothing design, I hope to give a voice to those who need one.

Liana Jaime-LópezLiana Jaime-López

Stamford, Connecticut

I am a women’s wear designer currently specializing in sportswear. Being a culturally informed woman has influenced me a great deal as a designer. While developing my thesis, I referenced cinematography and interior spaces in my design. My studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology have strengthened my sense of silhouette and visual impact. Social resonance has also brought awareness to my design aesthetic.

I design because I want equity in an industry that lacks autonomy in the representation of cultural aesthetics. I strive to be a trailblazer for equality and empowerment, and I hope to eventually develop my own namesake brand.

Brandon JohnsonBrandon Johnson

Gardner, Kansas

My journey to becoming a fashion designer started late into my senior year of high school. Though I had always been interested in art and fashion, I never considered it to be a viable career path for myself. I was mostly considering going to school for investigative journalism to hopefully cover foreign and domestic civil rights issues. As college applications were slowly becoming more and more of a reality, I had to ask myself such questions as “Would I feel empty if I didn’t fully commit to a career involving fashion and art?” and “Would I be happy, in the long run, with having these fields as just hobbies to fill my time with?” The answer to these questions was no, so I took the plunge and started working on my portfolios.

Mallorie JonesMallorie Jones

Baldwin, New York

Originally, I was planning to study biology in college. It wasn’t until I started losing weight that fashion became more important to me. With every pound lost, I was able to expand my closet. For the first time in my life, I actually had options and I wasn’t just wearing whatever fit my body. I was becoming more confident, and with that confidence grew my interest in fashion. Not long after, I started thinking of my own ideas and sketching them out on paper. I enrolled in the fashion design courses at my high school as well as the pre-college programs at FIT. From there, my fate was set. I knew I wanted to design clothes and help people fall in love with themselves through fashion, just as I had.

Tatiana KingTatiana King

Bronx, New York

Fashion design has been an enlightening journey that has pushed me to create something different. Being a native New Yorker, I learned quickly that being different is one of the hardest, yet most cherished, traits for someone to have. Through design, I’ve been able to express my point of view on different topics from my own perspective, which is not only important to me, but also an essential element in the fashion industry.

My style has developed since my younger years. I’ve always had a minimal style, but I have come to love statement pieces. I’ve always loved the comfort of neutral tones and the clean lines that work with them. Every now and then, I love to add statement details that help bring out the charm of an outfit. Focusing on sportswear has allowed me bring my creative style into the world of fashion.

Hannah LajbaHannah Lajba

Omaha, Nebraska

I am a designer who delights in the challenge of design. I begin with research, and I am often found between the shelves at the library, finding those obscure books that have not been checked out in twenty years. In these books I find images, quotes, and personalities that help me imagine the customers of each collection. These personalities manifest themselves into characters that I delve into more deeply, using my acting experience to conduct character studies, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of my potential customers. I then begin to drape the silhouettes in my head on a virtual form, from which I am able to transfer designs into reality through flat patterns. This process of design leads my aesthetic to be focused on technical construction while pushing the contemporary notions of fashion dress and marketing.

Jessica LazoJessica Lazo

Huayna-Capac, Cuenca, Ecuador and New York

I have encountered various challenges throughout my life. Every challenge made me stronger because of the process I had to go through to overcome each one. My fashion journey began when my mother started to work in the city as a jewelry sample maker. She would describe to me how big and full of creativity the city was, especially the fashion world. Her love for luxury and unique things inspired me to pursue fashion. I entered FIT and soon discovered that I had the ability to create modern textiles from ordinary ones and to create rare and unusual silhouettes. I decided to specialize in sportswear because I want to provide an outlet for the unconventional, to create a sense of allure and refinement through my design work. I consider my design aesthetic to be conceptual and organic with a blend of craftsmanship.

Nicole LeeNicole Lee

New Hyde Park, NY

I had the opposite beginnings from many of my peers who fought hard to pursue fashion. Being the introverted, accountant dreaming, self-conscious, undriven person that I was, it was surprisingly easy for me to get persuaded into attending FIT. At FIT, I have been fortunate to meet a passionate group of people who have made me feel I could work harder, I could stay at school until 2:00 a.m., and I could sleep just seven hours per week. They instilled in me a new confidence. Fashion itself has taught me that in life, you can’t go into something half-heartedly and expect to be successful. Blood, sweat, and tears are the minimum requirements for a timeless collection. Fashion has taught me to think and work efficiently. Fashion has taught me to be fearless. As a designer, I have the ability to give someone else the confidence that I always lacked.

Carly LemboCarly Lembo

Westchester, New York

Ever since I could hold a pencil, I was drawing on paper, furniture, screen doors, and basically anything I could blame my sister on so I wouldn’t get into trouble. From drawing constantly, I built up my skills in illustration and discovered my love for fashion design. I knew FIT was going to be the only school to help me grow as a designer, and four years later, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve come a long way from scribbling crayon doodles on mom’s favorite coffee table to creating the luxurious, streetwear-inspired designs you’ll see now. I’m greatly inspired by the interesting textures and feelings that surround New York City, and I design for the fresh, risk-taking trendsetter.

Li LiLi Li

Foshan, China

I was born in China, into a relatively conservative family that wanted me to be a doctor, scientist, or something math involved. Feeling tied up from so much expectation, I decided to study in the states, where I could discover who I am and what I wanted to do. By fifth grade, I had wanted to buy my own clothes, so that was one clue. I decided to study fashion design at FIT. Learning something new was not easy, but I am glad I stayed true to myself and am living my own life.

My style is classy with a playful twist. I use asymmetric and irregular cuttings a lot, as well as mixing different fabrications. I value emotion and often use it as my inspiration. Without feelings, we cannot be who we are, and I believe showing our emotions in a visual way is an interesting interpretation of fashion.

Jisu LimJisu Lim

Seoul, South Korea

My passion for working in fashion started from the self-assurance I got from my experiences. First, while working for the fashion web magazine Hanger as a contributing editor in my country, I realized that what I really want to do is not simply pass along information that is already out there, but to create something new and be one of the people who make new trends in fashion. Second, while working through every design process at FIT, I found myself enjoying every single process, from researching for inspiration to completing garments. Third, when I did assistance work, helping my friends at 3.1 Phillip Lim, I worked alongside other highly creative people, and I became sure that this is the career I want to pursue. Ultimately, my life goal is to be an artist and a designer who can inspire not only the public, but also other artists through my work.

Grace McCartyGrace McCarty

Detroit, Michigan

I am always looking to push the boundaries in my designs, either aesthetically or functionally. I am interested in using new and different materials to elevate my design process and materials. I believe in sustainability and wearable tech, and I believe the two can exist together. My design perspective has changed over the years, but it is now very focused on how the world is changing around us in tech and sustainability and how these can be incorporated into fashion. I chose sportswear as my specialization because it is a broad field, and since I’m into reinventing my process and materials, I know that within sportswear, I will be able to elevate myself as a designer. My aesthetic is determined by shape and garment manipulation through the use of color blocking and creative materials.

Grace McElroyGrace McElroy

Long Island, New York

I design because the clothes I wear determine my confidence. When I have an outfit that I feel comfortable and beautiful in, it changes my mood and the way I carry myself. I want to spread this feeling to others and bring out the confidence and beauty of those who wear my designs.

I’ve always had a fascination with fashion. My dream was to study fashion design at FIT and take those studies abroad. I fulfilled both aspects of this dream when I headed to Milan for my junior year. There, I was able to expand my boundaries as a designer, and as a person, as I exposed myself to a plethora of new cultures. Traveling throughout Europe gave me a new perspective that I now build into my designs, making them unique and eye-catching. But most importantly, I want the people who wear my clothes to feel beautiful.

Seline MeislerSeline Meisler

Mountain Brook, Alabama

From a very young age, I was interested in fashion and art, so it was only natural for me to combine the two and pursue fashion design. I love the artistic aspects of designing that enable me to create flattering shapes that allow a woman to feel beautiful and confident. After considering several specializations, I chose sportswear because I am able to apply techniques and influences from other disciplines while designing for a broader range of events. I am inspired by modern and contemporary art as well as influences from lingerie. I have a modern, feminine aesthetic that is both whimsical and sophisticated. My silhouettes are flirty and romantic, and each design features unexpected details.

David D. Melgar AlvaradoDavid D. Melgar Alvarado

New York

My journey as a fashion designer began not long ago, after I attended two exhibits that changed my perspective on fashion. After seeing different designers’ aesthetics, interpretations, and understandings of design, I realized that fashion was both a form of self-expression and an extremely creative art form. Having experienced the immense amount of creativity that is involved in fashion design, I realize now that there are a thousand ways to interpret an idea and a million ways to develop a concept.

The Fashion Institute of Technology has taught me what it means to be a fashion designer and has helped me understand the process behind developing a collection. After all the struggles and learning experiences, I have realized that I want to spend my life developing concepts into art, turning fantasy into reality, and making visions come to life.

Yesim MesutYesim Mesut

I chose fashion design due to the fact that I love creating new things. My first sewing experience was when I couldn’t find the exact prom dress I was looking for. I decided to make it on my own, with a little help, for sure. I also designed sports team uniforms in secondary school and high school. I wanted to be a part of a really business-oriented school, and I found out that ITU and FIT have a dual-diploma program.

As a designer, I describe my aesthetic as elegant and tailored, with a focus on details and functionality. I have traveled a lot and still travel around the world as much as I can. The world is full of inspiration, and I love learning and trying new things. I come from a multicultural country, and these new experiences give me a different point of view about designing.

Valentina NagyValentina Nagy

Szekesfehervar, Hungary

My first sewing experience was at the age of two, when I placed my finger at the hand wheel of my mom’s machine and it scrolled my finger up. Since I was a little girl, I saw my mother sewing on a daily basis, taking care of her dressmaker’s salon, and creating an experience for her clients.

Growing up, I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and become a designer. I admire her dedication and talent, so my future goal is to collaborate with her to create my own clothing line, with her help. I feel like as a sportswear designer, I have the flexibility to put myself up to a lot of challenges and get exposure to different fields of the industry. I think with humility and diligence, I can learn from the most experienced designers to achieve my goals and become the designer of the future.

Stephanie NavarreteStephanie Navarrete

New York

Initially, I wanted to become a fine artist, but as I continued to learn new mediums, I started to see fashion design as another form of art. Throughout my fashion design education, I have experimented with applying my paintings to the form while playing with shapes and different types of silhouettes on the body—all in an effort to create wearable art. I want to change the way fashion is portrayed by getting rid of the basic silhouette and creating new and interesting shapes on the body. I am drawn to the idea of creating a loop in the fashion industry by including recycled fabrics—an oxymoron of new shapes, yet old fabric.

Altinay OgutcuAltinay Ogutcu

Along with integrated cultures, such as Western and Asian, clothing no longer is an expression of where someone is from, but has evolved further into a description of an individual’s personality. The line of clothing we choose depicts who we are, and the colors and shapes we prefer reveal not only ourselves, but our generation. Fashion now not only depends on, but also severely embraces, this sense of individuality. It roots itself in being unique, new, and edgy. I come from a multicultural heritage. I was raised with Turkish values and traditions, and grew up within American, and later on, French cultures. This has exposed me to many varied types of styles, patterns, and fabrics. Designing made me understand that I could tell someone’s story through fabric and thread, and this realization pushed me toward costume design.

Jiyeon OhJiyeon Oh

Suwon, South Korea

My various experiences have inspired me a lot in the area of fashion design. In my early days in New York, I traveled most of the United States and South America. I also studied fashion design as an exchange student at Polimoda in Florence, Italy. These experiences taught me about global fashion, art, and business, from Asia and Europe to the Americas.

Since returning to New York, I have been devoted to studying fashion design, specifically women’s wear, at FIT. In my junior year, I was selected as a finalist for the CFDA Scholarship Award 2017. This was a great step forward in my career, and it really motivated me to work harder as a designer.

I am now getting into my work even more, and I believe I just keep growing. I would say that my development and growth as a designer have only just begun.

Michelle OrtegaMichelle Ortega

La Vega, Dominican Republic

Fashion gives us the opportunity to express who we are and what we believe in. As an artist, I want to be a part of that. I design for a strong, fierce, confident, and urban woman—a woman who inspires others and isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in.

I am constantly inspired by what surrounds me. The start of an idea could be anywhere. Architecture, modern and ethnic art, nature, and the human body are examples of the inspirations that influence my work, from the garments, silhouettes, and fabrication to my prints and illustrations. I also feel inspired these days by companies that use fashion as a tool to support social and environmental causes. My goal is to be part of this vision, believing strongly that “art is love made visible.”

Ariana PearsonAriana Pearson

Texas

Since I was young, I have been fascinated with the fashion industry, especially the process of constructing garments. Zooming in, I appreciate the attention to detail and careful craftsmanship that goes into a garment. On a macro scale, I see the industry as a fascinating ecosystem that provides an opportunity to learn about many different aspects, specialty trades, and innovations. Striving to be a lifelong learner, I am excited to explore it all. Through my education at FIT and experience studying abroad in Milan, Italy, I see myself drawn to designing sportswear for women who have an adventurous lifestyle, are mindful of their clothing, and who appreciate craftsmanship and design in the details. I aim to purposefully craft garments that express my aesthetic, which highlights multifunctionality, relaxed sophistication, and minimalist femininity.

Kristen PrattKristen Pratt

Nassau, Bahamas

As a little girl, I was always surrounded by fashion. My closest cousin did accessory design, and many of my aunts were seamstresses. Even my mother would sew my ballet exam skirts from time to time. So it was no surprise to my family when I told them that I wanted to pursue fashion design. What intrigued me the most was being able to see 2D flat sketches on a page come to life. I chose sportswear because I think it is a very versatile specialization. Through sportswear, I can incorporate aspects of other specializations, like knitwear or special occasion pieces.

Shakeema ReidShakeema Reid

Middletown, New York

Imagine searching store after store for hours looking for that top, that one top that you had envisioned in your mind, but it simply does not exist. For me, becoming a fashion design major is a way of filling that same kind of void that I have had for so long.

I consider myself to be ambitious, determined, and down to earth. I value my faith, diversity, and having a healthy regard for one’s own happiness and well-being. My designs are bold, feminine, and edgy. My play with color and prints is truly what makes my work one of a kind. Being in sportswear has allowed me the freedom to create pieces that you can layer up, mix up, or just wear separately. There are so many options and ways I can create something new and then take it right to the street.

Alina RiveraAlina Rivera

Union, New Jersey

Since I was ten years old, I have been sewing new clothes and redesigning the clothes in my closet. In my opinion, I didn’t choose to design clothing. It has always played a large role in my life, so in a way, it chose me. When I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for a summer high school class, it became clear to me that FIT was where I was supposed to be. I chose sportswear because it is the everyday person who inspires my designs, whether that person is in the mood to have a sporty, romantic, or urban look for the day. My design aesthetic is an urban look with an upscale feeling, which may include sheer or appliquéd fabrics.

Jazmine RodriguezJazmine Rodriguez

Queens, New York

Being creative has always been an innate characteristic of mine. Sketching in my marble notebooks led to stitching up holes in my clothes, to painting garment ideas, and finally to persuading my mother to enroll me in sewing lessons.

I turned down the High School of Fashion Industries and attended my local high school, where I was an art major and a member of the fashion design club.

I have always been intrigued by how fabric is made and woven. I am a timelessly free-spirited person, but I am also in touch with the times. I feel my aesthetic carries that essence.

I always knew I would attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. Now here I am, so close to the end, and realizing that it is only the beginning. I feel like I have finally begun my journey to becoming the young designer I always aspired to be.

Ayah SalamaAyah Salama

New Jersey

My soul was made to curate a world I understand. My intuition knew this before I did myself. Fashion was never what caught my eye. It was always the possibilities behind it. Once I understood its inflection, design became something like breathing to me. I see design as a form or medium as any artist would use to express their views, but with that added element of personal intuition and curation at hand. I do not see design as clothing or body, but as opportunities for discovery. I’ve found great integrity in producing considerate designs, something that the wearer feels a connection to when wearing my ideas. That is what I believe is true luxury in design, and that is what allows my world of creation to reach such a personal realm that resonates with others.

Lili ShiLili Shi

China

I believe in creating garments that have a certain sense of originality and timelessness, where everything from the design to the fabrication of clothing is well considered. I don’t believe in creating quantities of trendy garments for specific seasons, but prefer to invest in a smaller number of well-thought-out, quality pieces. My fine arts background helps me see fashion as a bridge, a way of connecting art and functionality that helps express an understanding of one another.

Annemarie SmithAnnie Smith

Cardiff, California

Cutting up socks to make clothes for my Barbies at age five was a telltale sign of where I would end up in life. Luckily, my fabric choices have improved. In pursuing a life in fashion, I designed costumes for school plays, ran the school fashion club, acted as style editor of the school paper, and took sewing lessons. At FIT, I have enjoyed learning multiple aspects of design—technical, illustrative, digital, and more. I aspire to design powerful clothing for women that embraces color, prints, and bold silhouettes, while maintaining functionality and comfort. Now and then, I like to throw in a dash of humor, just to keep things interesting. Contrary to my Barbie sock-couture, I love designing with interesting fabrics, which usually serve as the starting point of my design process. I believe fashion should make people feel as good as they look, and that is my goal.

Julianna SouzaJulianna Souza

Fresno, California

I have always been creative, but where I was raised, academia and athleticism were valued more than art. In elementary school, I would get in trouble for drawing during math. Fortunately, my extremely supportive parents saw my creative potential. They helped me pinpoint my skills and interests. After researching industries, I became fascinated by the fashion world. One quick Google search proved FIT was the place for me. I have since learned that I love the design process! I have been on the dean’s list at FIT for three years, I won a Critic’s Choice Award in my associate’s exhibition, and spent my junior year in Milan learning the Italian design perspective.

I would describe my personal aesthetic as sophisticated, sensual, feminine, and functional. I like to design for an upscale, artistic customer who has an appreciation for quality. I always focus on making my garments both wearable and marketable.

Hong TangHong Tang

Beijing, China

I think that fashion is culture. People should know that different styles are for different people, different occasions, and different locations. In China, for a lot of people, fashion means famous brands designed for rich people. As a Chinese person, I hope to be able to interpret fashion in a special style that integrates both Western and Chinese styles and cultures.

Madeline TiltonMadeline Tilton

St. Paul, Minnesota

I grew up in two households decorated with artifacts from around the world—textiles, sculptures, masks, and the like—which instilled in me a love of the foreign and arcane, combined with the modern and minimal in a chaotic, yet calming, way. My fascination and obsession with pattern making was developed through the example of my two aunts, entrepreneurs who built successful careers as pattern makers, seamstresses, and textile experts. Through them I learned the necessity for precision and how 2D shapes can transform into 3D bodies. I learned too how textile choices can drastically alter the flow of a garment. These inherent challenges contained within translating an idea into a tangible design all contribute to enchanting my imagination and building up within me constant anticipation for the next unknown.

Michelle TranMichelle Tran

California

Although I adore books and words, I’ve always found it tedious to find the right words to express what I want to communicate. With design, I can comfortably communicate visually.

My thesis is based on the feeling of familiarity, yet there is something subtly off about it. I like to visualize it as a freshly pressed tablecloth that has been offset—a wardrobe that everyone can relate to, yet it’s been manipulated by offsetting shadows and layering opacities. In general, I appreciate this quiet side of design. In a generation where we are so fast paced, there is something charming about subtlety.

Nhi TranNhi Tran

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

I think fashion is the poetry of the body, fleshed inside out. If poetry is the extension of the unconscious, the inner self, or one’s lucid dreams, then fashion is the extension of the skin, the hidden language of the self. To be able to wear one’s inner skin is to speak the unspeakable.

For me, a woman’s body is a sensuous enigma and clothing is its sanctuary. A designer’s job is not to make clothes that stand out, but rather to make them disappear. To be a fashion designer is to create clothing that elevates the body in the most quiet and discreet way. After all, the meaning of fashion is to bring out a woman’s true self—her elegance, her experience, her character—and to make her feel at home with herself. The responsibility of a fashion designer is solely to help a person achieve that goal.

M’Balu TurayM’Balu Turay

Harlem, New York

When I was seven years old, I attended my cousin’s wedding, which was actually the first wedding I had ever attended. I remember seeing her wedding dress and being amazed with the style and the details of the dress. I automatically became obsessed with it, and at that moment something clicked in my head and I said to myself, “I am going to be able to make that dress one day.” From that day on, I tried to sketch wedding dresses and also other clothing designs. I remember I would get in trouble with my mom for cutting my hosiery to make clothing for my dolls. Being a fashion designer is all I have ever envisioned for myself since I was a little girl. I would never have thought that I would now be living out my childhood dream.

Sarah ValleSarah Valle

Queens, New York

I’ve been in love with fashion since I was a teenager. Though I attended college before coming to FIT, I’ve always dreamt of getting into FIT to start my fashion journey. Despite not knowing anything about fashion, let alone how to sew or draw, I have discovered myself through this industry over the past seven years. As I have gone through many fashion phases, I finally feel that I am finding myself. My aesthetic has a dark look, with an edgy twist. I chose sportswear design because there is room to explore and not be limited to just one category. Simplicity is key in my designs and wardrobe, but I am also a risk taker. I want the woman who wears my designs to be confident and powerful enough to show some skin but still be elegant—a woman who can pull off a masculine look and still be sexy.

Cristina VelizCristina Veliz

Milford, Pennsylvania

I did not know I wanted to be a designer until I met my uncle Claudio on my first trip to Peru. He taught me how to draw and about the beauty of art. I was also inspired by my aunt. She was a seamstress and would customize my father’s clothing when he was child. In high school, I took a variety of art classes, including jewelry making, but during my free time I kept designing clothes. I realized that fashion was the medium that allowed me to interpret what inspired me from art galleries, architecture, my rich culture, and my emotions. I chose sportswear design because it allows me to create modern clothes by interpreting the balance between masculine and feminine. I love to pay attention to small details and embellishment, and to combine fabrication in different ways. My aesthetic is edgy, chic, and modern, with a tailored twist.

Sara VetserSara Vetser

New Jersey

My path to becoming a fashion designer was not a direct one. For a while, I pursued computer science, but the moment I first learned how to sew, I knew fashion was the industry for me. I fell in love with creating garments with my own two hands and found the process of seeing a project from conception to reality extremely rewarding. I love to challenge myself and that trait has carried into my designing. FIT was the ultimate challenge. I have a special interest in gender-neutral clothing, in women’s wear as well as children’s wear, and often find inspiration in the unconventional. I enjoy designing sportswear that is street-ready, using bold, beautiful colors and oversized silhouettes.

Phuong VoPhuong Vo

Saigon, Vietnam

As a teenager growing up in Vietnam, I was always intrigued by Western pop culture. Vietnam was still a developing country and imported magazines were extremely expensive. I would wander around the foreign book publishers every month just to wait until they dropped the price on old magazine issues. There were a lot of French and Italian Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and Wallpaper magazines. The photos and content were so fascinating and completely different to a middle schooler browsing through all those pages.

I was in a transitional period after high school, and fashion design wasn’t my first decision. I was considering going to a national university for fine arts or studying abroad. Hence, I worked as a production assistant for a TV channel, went to a college in Singapore, and then opened a vintage store in Northern Vietnam before finally deciding to be a fashion major at FIT.

Susan S. WuSusan S. Wu

New York, New York

Dreamy, Divine, and Empowered are my personal words for 2018. The goal is to make these words a reality. Hi! How are you? You can call me Susan or Su! I am a native New Yorker with a dash of Chinese heritage. I would describe myself as an artist, a work in progress, an advocate for loving oneself, a curious explorer, and a coffee enthusiast. I am in love with growth and connections. I want my work to be loud, to change the world, to empower people, to challenge society, to be art, to be sustainable, and to be me.

Beste YalcinBeste Yalcin

Istanbul, Turkey

I grew up in an artistic environment. My mother encouraged me to pursue my dreams and reminded me I should always do what makes me happy. In high school, I studied visual arts, and as a senior, I joined my school’s annual fashion show, which was about designing with a nonfashion material. I won first place, and it was the true beginning of my fashion journey.

New York has always been my dream city. To me, its nonstop energy is incomparable. Therefore, I decided to study fashion design in this magical city. Studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology was an excellent choice for turning my dream into a reality. I chose sportswear as my specialization because it gives people more opportunity to express themselves and feel free. For my design aesthetic, I like to combine feminine and masculine forms. I am greatly influenced by streetwear, soul, and androgynous fashions.

Wenhui YueMiyelo Yue

China

To me, clothing is the best way to express oneself. People can understand who you are right away when they look at you just by what you are wearing. The voice from a good garment is sincere and charming.

A garment is not just a garment. I always want my design to tell a story or express some kind of emotion, such as the joy I experience in my journeys to other cultures, the anger I feel over the unfair treatment of certain people in our society, or just the curiosity I have over a piece of junk I found on the street.

Yet, the garment is a garment. Comfort is my first concern, sometimes more than uniqueness. I cherish the balance and harmony between clothing and the body, for together they make a beautiful melody.

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