I have always had a love for art and design. From a young age I would doodle fashion illustrations in my notebook and on scraps of paper, using anything I could get my hands on as an outlet for my creative mind. Growing up, it never occurred to me that I could pursue a career in fashion design. It was simply an unattainable fantasy, that is, until I switched high schools and enrolled in a fashion design course. My teacher taught me to sew and sketch, and guided me in developing my portfolio for applying to fashion design programs. My dream school was FIT, but I thought of it as an unrealistic goal until, to my surprise, I was accepted. Intimate apparel design has taken hold of me, and I’m holding on tightly in return—trying to maintain my grip as I enter this unbelievably challenging and highly rewarding specialty.
Eastchester , New York
My dream of becoming a designer started when I took precollege courses at FIT during my freshman year in high school. My passion only grew from there. I design because I like to see the smiles on my customers’ faces when I give them something to wear that they feel amazing in. As a designer I would like to replace the fashion industry belief that everybody should be a size 0 to look beautiful with the idea that women should embrace their curves whether they are a size 0 or a size 12. I chose intimate apparel as a specialty because of the name—it’s, well, “intimate.” Feeling good about yourself starts with the first clothing item that you put on, and that’s normally your undergarments. My design aesthetic is contemporary urban. It’s a modern style for the unapologetic woman who still likes to be on trend with a bit of glam.
Art is my forte; design is my passion. Growing up in a traditional Taiwanese family, I was expected to have a career direction by the end of middle school. Although my parents encouraged me to pursue a business major, my decision to follow my dreams in fashion design was supported. Design is seen everywhere in the world—from the architecture of a building to the packaging of a candle. However, the most relatable design is fashion design. When designing intimate apparel, I am often inspired by neoclassicism, infusing modernity with a touch of Victorian. Intimates allow me to feel beautiful from the inside out, and I want every woman to feel great about themselves in that way.
As far back as I can remember, I have loved dreaming up clothes with a special twist that was all my own. Learning how to make those dreams a reality became a hobby that expanded into a college degree in fashion design. I love to learn all aspects of making clothes, be it creating embellishments, patterning, draping, sewing, and more. Every specialization presents a challenge that needs a different solution. I chose intimate apparel as my specialization because it is my belief that if you can do intimates, you can adapt your skills for any kind of design. Intimate apparel also meshes very well with my classical aesthetic.
Shirley, New York
As a child, I always loved being creative and making anything crafty I could get my hands on. At age twelve, I started making my own clothes and thought it was incredible to be able to create something unique that no one else would have. I eventually realized costuming was my calling. The ability to put on different clothes and transform into another character, yet feel comfortable enough in your own skin to do so, was elating. When it was time to choose a specialization, I knew intimate apparel would teach me the skills and attention to detail I would need. I have been honored to receive scholarships from the Underfashion Club in both 2015 and 2016. The fashion design program at FIT is truly wonderful; it has broadened my skills as a designer and creator, and I am excited to see what the future brings for me.
Farmingdale, New York
I first became interested in fashion design in high school; I took my first design class and then attended the Summer Live program at FIT. I want to design pieces that make women look and feel beautiful and powerful. That is what inspired me to become a designer in the first place, and it is still the reason I design. Intimate apparel is such an exciting industry to be in. I think feeling excitement when starting a new project or while looking for inspiration is a sign that you have found your true passion, your niche, and I have definitely found mine. Besides, what specialization combines the ideals of beauty and power better than intimate apparel? Women love the feeling of confidence they get just by putting on their matching bra and panty set, and I think that’s inspiring. I would describe my design aesthetic as a combination of edgy and feminine.
Lafayette, New Jersey
I come from an artistic family and was encouraged to create and explore as much as possible from an early age. I was always exposed to art and cultures and ideas other than my own. I am thankful that I was able to take classes at FIT while in high school as it gave me the skills I needed to succeed here. I learned a lot from my professors but also from my fellow students whose own creativity compelled me to push myself as far as I could. Intimates was a passion I found in my first year at FIT when I looked at examples of past work and was struck by the intricacy and beauty of intimate apparel. A scholarship from the Underfashion Club in my fourth semester prompted me to study it further. My aesthetic is very feminine and meant to accentuate a woman’s body.
Brooklyn, New York
My grandfather has been a motivating force in my life. He taught me to never overlook a great opportunity. As a little girl I was interested in design, and every year I attended the Kiddie Carnival during the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, which is known for fabulous costumes. From a young age I was driven to gain the skills to become a fashion designer. I attended performing arts schools and took precollege classes at FIT in the Educational Opportunity Precollege Program. I wanted to specialize in intimate apparel so I could work with luxurious lace and embellishments. However, I wanted to make it more intimate and comfortable for women. I come from a family with very diverse body types, and fit is important when you’re catering to different shapes and sizes. To enhance that concept, I add my edgy yet feminine aesthetic to my designs.
Mission Viejo, California
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” Steve Jobs’s quote has been my daily mantra. I have laser focus when it comes to what I want. At a young age, designing became my obsession. I started attending sewing classes and my teacher, Nancy Gray, encouraged me to choose FIT for its excellent program. My personal journey has been ever changing, but my passion for creating continues to be constant. My design aesthetic is a dichotomy, mixing hard and soft textiles, concepts, fantasies, and colors. In other words, refined experimentation: a mix of sophistication with a dash of sexy and edge. I feel that the Intimate Apparel program offered the challenges I wanted and needed. I am extremely grateful to be able to follow my passions and will continue to challenge myself in the industry.
Mary Kate Kauffelt
I spent my childhood dressing up Barbies and have wanted to become a designer ever since. I design because I love to create emotions through clothing. A good design can also give someone so much confidence. I have found my personal style with clothing, and I want other people to be able to do the same. I have always had an interest in intimate apparel. It is the section of a woman’s closet that is filled with things that make her happy and confident. My designs have feminine components, but I like to use them in a way that results in a more athletic-inspired look.
Jin Young Kim
To me, fashion design is not just a decoration I create for people, but a connection between me and the world in which I combine beauty and practicality together in an art form. I believe everything in the world—people, art, and nature—are all connected. Some people may have yet to find their own direct connection between their life and art, but I forge that connection by designing fashion.
Most of the time my inspiration comes from my surroundings, especially from what I see, what I hear, and what I feel in nature. The world offers me a free source of inspiration, which I convert into practical art forms. The aesthetics in the world around me give me the resources to change a community’s environment. The direct translation of beauty in German is “to take care.” Fashion design gives me the opportunity to take care of and transform a community through beauty.
Matawan, New Jersey
Hi, my name is Shannon, and I am a fashion design student here at FIT. My journey as a designer started at a young age when I learned how to draw and sew. I was always very creative as a child and was fortunate to discover my passion for design early on. I would watch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and be very inspired by the beauty of the lingerie, and I soon put the two things I loved the most together. By the time I was ready to go to college, I knew I wanted to design intimate apparel. I would say my design aesthetic is flirty and whimsical. I love designing for the young customer who wants to feel confident and feminine in her lingerie. I am inspired by nature and bright colors, and I want my designs to be read as a beautiful story for the body.
Jersey City, New Jersey
I decided to become a designer because I love to see my designs come to life and see how they can change people’s moods and how they feel about themselves. We, as designers, provide something essential for the human experience. We provide comfort, support, protection, and style. I chose intimate apparel as my specialization because I love designing clothing that provides these essential things—plus makes a woman or man feel confident and fierce! Fashion design has been an outlet for me to express myself and has helped me to overcome difficult challenges. I would say that my Guatemalan background provides me with a unique design aesthetic.
Northport, New York
I design because I love how clothes are a form of expression that is as individual as the wearer. I gravitate to intimate apparel as it empowers women with the confidence of inner beauty and strength. Intimate apparel can be subtle, shaping a woman’s figure to enhance the drape of her clothes, or brazen, trumpeting a woman’s strength. Wearing intimate apparel is very personal; you are in your most vulnerable form, but also very strong. I love the construction details of intimate apparel and how they affect the overall look and support of the garment. My design aesthetic is classic, elegant, and playful.
Greenville, South Carolina
I pursued many creative outlets growing up, and I think my imagination was always the biggest fuel for my creativity. I danced all my life and was always really enamored with the costumes. I also loved the creative expression I had through art. These two things led me to wanting to design clothes. While design is my outlet for creative expression, it also challenges me every day, and that is what keeps me growing in my journey as a designer and in my ability to create things. When I was choosing a specialization, I had already learned enough about my aesthetic and about myself as a designer to make intimate apparel the only choice for me. I was drawn to the silhouette, the small attention to details, and the functions of intimate pieces. It is really where I’ve found my niche for creating things.
Highland Park, New Jersey / Chashmonaim, Israel
The relationship between identity and appearance has always fascinated me. Growing up in a large family, hand-me-downs were a big part of life. The desire to choose how to dress myself led to an interest in fashion design. After some research into art and design, I was hooked. The many conceptual approaches and varieties of fit, style, aesthetics, artistic interpretation, branding, and technological adaptations made me feel this was a field I would never grow tired of. I strive to achieve an aesthetic of well-designed apparel with a touch of fearlessness. When I go shopping, my favorite thing is when I find a piece that makes me laugh or wonder at first, and then, as I try to search for something that feels more natural, it draws me back, until it is all I can think about. That’s what I love: things that are intoxicatingly strange but perfect, like life should be.
East Northport, New York
From the time I was little, I never once questioned that I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up. Fashion has always meant more to me than just clothing. Fashion is how I express myself and show my own creative visions. Creativity can be shown in many ways, and mine is shown through carefully crafted garments. I design so that I can create my own expression of art. I chose intimate apparel because the garments are special and unique. When a woman puts on a piece of lingerie, it makes her feel beautiful, sexy, and good about herself. My goal is to create pieces that can transform a woman into someone who is confident and radiant. My design aesthetic is feminine and modern. My designs are on the simple side so that the pieces can be worn by and inspire many different types of women.
Cary, North Carolina
When people ask, “Why fashion design?” the answer is always easy. Simply put, I love clothes. Clothes and fashion are simply an extension of who I am, and it completely fulfills me. It is in my blood: my family sews and the women in my family love clothes. Fashion design came to me naturally, and my parents knew that one day they would have to let me go to New York City. I chose intimate apparel because it is unlike any other type of fashion design. It is like being an architect—the building needs to stand, but it should also be attractive. There are a lot of factors to consider when designing lingerie, and it is a challenge to make a garment functional and desirable.