New York, New York
I wanted to become a fashion designer because I always enjoyed being unique in my style choices. I was never the type to follow the crowd as far as what everyone else was wearing. I love fashion because it represents a person’s inner self.
I feel working hard and applying oneself to get what one wants is more rewarding than being handed something. I enjoy a challenge and tend to push myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t mind working from the bottom up. Fashion design is definitely a field that requires dedication, perseverance, and hard work, and my studies at FIT have prepared me for the rigors of this field.
I chose to specialize in knitwear because I find it requires more attention to detail and creative ability. In reference to my design aesthetic, I tend to keep everyone guessing because my style is constantly evolving.
Corte Madera, California
Since the age of five, I would always play around in my mother’s fabric room. My mother taught an after-school sewing and knitting class for my friends and me. I was hooked on knitting. I took as many art classes as I could. I enrolled in precollege fashion programs at RISD and the Art Institute of San Francisco. I went to the Pratt Institute for a year and a half, then finally settled at FIT. I went to Florence my first year at FIT.
I would say I am a well-rounded designer. I have been exposed to many experiences that have made me a very hard worker. The years I have spent designing and creating have brought my design aesthetic into focus. I love color and patterns and playfulness in silhouettes. I like to have fun and want to convey that as best I can through the clothing I design.
I have wanted to be a designer since I was a very young girl. I have always been attracted to creating things and making them come to life. That is why I really enjoy the process of coming up with a design and then figuring out the best way to make it. Knitwear is taking it even a step further—you get to design your own fabric and think about how it all will come together. As a designer, I believe that garments should not only look beautiful, but also be comfortable and functional. I love being a part of an industry with a rich history that helps define generations by style and culture.
Green Brook, New Jersey
My love for fashion began at a young age when I took sewing classes at a local fabric store. In high school, I continued to pursue my passion for design by attending FIT Precollege classes on the weekends. In college, I was extremely fortunate to take advantage of study-abroad programs offered by FIT. I studied knitwear at Politecnico di Milano, in Italy, for a year, and spent a semester at Nottingham Trent University in England. These programs also broadened my horizons through the amazing opportunity to travel to many different countries. My experiences from traveling have inspired many of my designs. Choosing to specialize in knitwear was easy, as I was enticed by the unlimited variety of creations that can by produced from a single piece of yarn.
Brooklyn, New York
Falling in love with fashion design was never intentional; as a little girl I desired to be a writer. I fell in love with the art world at thirteen. As I explored the different types of art, I came across designing for the human form and discovered it’s my favorite canvas. I chose knitwear because I’ve gotten to the point in my studies where I am interested in designing men’s and children’s wear as well as women’s wear. Knitwear gives me more creative freedom. I can control the textiles, numerous colors, and stitch work I put into one fabric. Learning knitwear makes my dream very possible because once you learn how to make the knitted textile, you just have to adjust the fit and color and then you can design for anyone. I would definitely say my design aesthetic is more quirky and fun, full of color and vivid details.
St. Petersburg, Russia
My design aesthetic is a culmination of my life experiences and passions. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, and I have carried that rich culture into my design. I often find myself borrowing or reinventing techniques from Russian folk arts and crafts. Quilting, beading, embroidery, rug making, and wood burning all have appeared in my collections. Music, and the culture that goes along with it, is another major influence on me. Rips and tears, leather jackets, and statement-making hardware all come together to create a modern point of view with clear references to everything that forms my identity.
I grew up moving every few years and moved to London from Dublin when I was nine. I remember crying my eyes out in a department store because I had to buy a school uniform. I felt displaced and I felt that my freedom was being taken away. It was during those years that I grew obsessed by fashion and by what people were wearing in the streets of such a diverse and vibrant city. It definitely helped that my parents would take us to art galleries everywhere we traveled. Moving to a new country twice more, I quickly realized the effect clothing and personal presentation had on how people treated me in the new cities we moved to. I realized the importance of fashion as expression and as an immediate visual language.
Holmdel, New Jersey
Design evokes emotion, thought, and transformation. Over the past four years here, I have tried to embrace all three of these concepts that I feel design embodies. It has been an outlet for discovering who I am and what is to come in the future. Specializing in knitwear, I feel I can create from the purest form. I believe the fabric is where it all begins. Texture, clarity, and shape influence the design of each piece of clothing. My aesthetic speaks to this, focusing on simple, clean lines. I design for myself and I design because it simply makes me happy.
New York, New York
I like to look at fashion from a product-design perspective. In other words, I like to ask: What can a outfit do besides looking nice? Regulate body temperature? Monitor cell division for cancer patients? Two years ago, I started teaching myself how to program and put together circuits. As I progress, I see the endless possibilities technology can bring to everyday clothing. My fashion design goal is to have my own wearable tech design agency that focuses on helping and enabling other companies to create innovative products.
Bronx, New York
Someone recently said: “No one gives you credit if you stay up all night working and no one can tell.” This is the motivating force that has gotten me through many all-nighters when I have felt like wrestling with my designs. I grew up in the Bronx, one of seven children, and studied in Italy and New York. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had huge ideas that were stunning on paper, but such a pain to bring to life. So, long ago, I decided to work smart in every design so that my overly ambitious designs were able to appear complex, but were, in actuality, quite simple. My aesthetic in a nutshell: uncomplicated but intricate garments that are effortlessly wearable. My art is constantly changing. I look forward to discovering where my art will take me next.
My dad was a cotton farmer and I learned how to hand-knit in high school, but I knew I wanted to pursue knitwear design after I gained experience working in knitwear production for a prominent NYC-based company. I fell in love with the process of creating knit fabric and garments and how different it is from wovens, especially swatch development. It is also more technical, which marries my production background with my design training. My time at FIT is just the tip of the iceberg, and it excites me knowing I could do this my whole life and never create the same thing twice. I am also passionate about a product’s life cycle and seeing our industry slowly turning from a cradle-to-grave system to a cradle-to-cradle system. I’m grateful to be a part of the larger collective that is our industry.
New Providence, New Jersey
Fashion has allowed me to combine my interest in design with my concern for ethics and sustainability. I understand the impact the fashion industry has on the environment, and I am interested in researching ways to reduce waste production throughout a product’s life cycle. I have worked with natural materials, natural dyes, and other alternatives while taking into account their environmental impacts.
I believe that clothing has to be beautifully crafted from start to finish. Inspired by the essence of form and construction, my aesthetic is a fusion of minimal and classical design. I continually allow myself to grow by experimenting with various materials, techniques, and processes.
I was a science student in high school; my major was biology. Then I came to the United States, at first to study economics and finance, but my interest in making textures and combining different textures to create garments brought me to FIT to study fashion design. I had never studied drawing before I came to FIT and never thought about being a designer before I came to the United States, but life is interesting; you never know what is in your future. Eventually, I hope I can help more Chinese designers to promote their collections to the world while welcoming more international designers to expand their markets in China.
Incheon, South Korea
I have been interested in fashion since I was young. I used to like to play with Barbie dolls and make garments for them. By pursuing an education in fashion in Korea, Paris, and New York, I believe that I broadened my outlook on fashion and expanded my horizons. This experience has made me different from others in that I gained a better understanding of the human form and the fashion industry. As one of New York City’s premier institutions, FIT provides an opportunity to pursue a knitwear specialization for a BA program, and I would love to explore it further. I design not just for by myself, but to appeal to the majority of people. I want to communicate with people through my design.
When I was little, I made clothes for my doll “Mimi” with fabrics from my mom’s workplace. As a teenager, I would draw pictures of pretty girls, but I didn’t consider a fashion major seriously. I treated fashion and drawing as my secret hobby. I had a difficult time my first year of college in Korea. I belatedly listened to my inner voice, and realizing my dream of a fashion design major was still inside of me, I began to pursue my dream.
Fashion is the bridge between the limitations of life and the freedom of imagination. My aesthetic is about the geometric abstraction that balances in an asymmetric shape and graphic inspiration. I chose knitwear because I love its unique texture. When I shop, I always look for the knitwear and touch as much as I can. I enjoy being surprised when different combinations of yarns create different effects.
Seoul, South Korea
When I was young, I had a lack of confidence in my appearance. As I grew up, I made an effort to dress up in clothes that were well suited to my face. Once I spent about six hours choosing one piece of clothing, and suddenly I thought, “What if I make it?” On the street, I always think about what clothes I would design for the people I see passing by. I want to be a designer who can bring out people’s hidden magnetism and make them feel that they are a better person than they thought they were—just like I use to feel when I was young. I chose knitwear as a specialization because I think that knitwear design is like creating something out of nothing. It is fun to think what to use for my design, from yarn, stitch, and gauge to silhouette. I love simple styles with subtle design details.
Farmingdale, New York
Why do I design? Fashion design is the one thing I’ve been absolutely sure about in my life. I’ve been sewing ever since I can remember, starting when my mom taught me how to sew beads onto my jeans when I was in kindergarten. I wanted to design because I found that it was the easiest form of expression for me. I think the most unique thing about me as a designer is that I like to be as textural as possible, whether it be manipulating fabrics or adding crazy stitches to my knits. I chose the knitwear specialization because I felt it would give me the best opportunity to play with my love of texture.
I have always been drawn to different forms of creative expression. I have played piano most of my life and taken drumming lessons and I love to paint, draw, and sew. Fashion design has allowed me to incorporate all that I love into one creative outlet. I think design is strongly inspired by your environment, and my designs are just as eclectic as the world around me. I am inspired by what life has brought me. Fashion design has taught me to feed my curiosity and realize there is always something new to learn. A year into knitwear design and I feel I have found a new medium to create garments in a different way. I have always been attracted to texture, and knits allow me to play with that as well as loosen me up to color. I’m enjoying learning a new way of thinking when producing a collection.
I design because I love the whole process, from concept and research to proto and final product. It is an exciting challenge to keep the balance of being artistic but also designing a garment that is wearable. I come from a family of artists, and I have a background in fine arts, art history, and museum studies. This gives me a unique perspective to my creative process. I chose knitwear specialization because creating your own fabric, stitches, and pattern elements is like painting. I also love the surprise element unique to designing sweaters. Important elements of my design are color, texture, and silhouette.
The most basic function of clothing is to cover the human body. However, when designers put magic into those clothes, the meaning of them becomes deeper. Not only does clothing give people happiness and confidence, it also helps people to define themselves. That’s the reason why I chose fashion design to be my major when I entered college. Some people say that, unlike other forms of art and design (for example, film), fashion can’t afford to have too much meaning or thought. A designer shouldn’t put too much into one garment. But for me, I think the best thing is when a garment gives people warmth and beauty at the same time. I chose knitwear as my specialization because I think it’s the most crafty and experimental aspect of fashion. I want to use my own power to design to make something that can warm people’s heart.
I have always been really interested in styling and drawing. I love to watch what people wear and to see how fabric or color reacts differently on people. I have a passion for knit. As a designer, I love to mix knit with woven and hard fabric with soft fabric to create special effects. I also love doing fabric manipulation. I think using our hands to create our own fabric makes it unique and special. In my sophomore year when I went back home for the summer, I tried a knitting machine and I absolutely fell in love with them. I love playing around with knitting machines just to see what kind of fabric I can create. My design aesthetic for now would be clean, well constructed, and made of good material that plays with color and texture.
Tori Lee Macrina
Atlantic City, New Jersey
A friend of mine from home dragged me to sewing lessons my freshman year of high school and little did I know, the day I left would be the day I packed my bags for FIT. I fell in love with creating something out of nothing. The satisfaction when you finally sew the sleeve in correctly, baste the zipper so it doesn’t pucker, and complete the tedious steps to create the notch collar…well, a lot of all-nighters taught me about that feeling. The talent and skill that go into creating clothing, let alone live up to the expectations of this major, you can only imagine, and still never get it right. I am honored to have been a part of this incredible school for the last four years, where they have inspired my past, my present, and now the future that I get to experience in the fashion design industry.
Fashion takes itself seriously enough to have fun, but not so seriously it can’t make progress. Fashion is also fast-paced, sometimes contrived, and, for me, the perfect environment to find peace of mind. Researching, designing, and creating a collection captures a snapshot of life in today’s world, and I feel a sense of belonging in creating my own tiny square in the quilt shared by creative people everywhere. There are countless ways to share a story, and fashion offers us all the chance to preserve our stories beyond the confines of time and location. I would love to help reframe my generation’s perception of our place in the world, but I would settle for making that pair of pants that makes your butt look good. Fashion is spinach.
Priscilla Mendes Lopes
I am Priscilla Mendes. I am from Brazil and a senior knitwear student. My passion for design began in the Amazonian city of Manaus, where I received my first bachelor’s degree at Centro Universitário do Norte in architectural design and planning. This May, I will graduate with my second bachelor’s degree from FIT in fashion design, with a knitwear specialization. I’m drawn to knitwear by the ability to create unique and beautifully intricate patterns using raw materials, making each piece special in its own right. For this reason, I see knitwear as its own art form—one that appeals to all markets worldwide. Like everyone else, I was always drawn to New York City. After five years of going back and forth between working for firms and freelancing in Brazil, I couldn’t ignore my calling. I chose to begin a new life and career in the greatest city on Earth doing what I love: knitwear design.
Pierangeli Mendez Rosario
San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Fashion is as simple, yet exceptional, as having that favorite dress, that lucky sweater, that pair of shoes you want to wear every day—that piece that makes you feel like yourself and that you never want to get rid of. I do not seek the instant gratification of creating trends; instead, I strive for something so unique it becomes timeless. My drive every day is to create those special pieces that would be in someone’s wardrobe for years—their “go to” outfit that they will eventually pass on to a loved one. My long-term goal is to have a clothing label with my name on it and have people wonder how to pronounce it.
Long Island, New York
Illustration was my first introduction to art. I loved visualizing something and then documenting it. I was most interested in sketching people because of their individualism. That, combined with my fascination for creating things with my hands led me to fashion design.
I think the ability and challenge to design comes from experimenting with technical knowledge. Specializing in knitwear has given me another skill and has opened my eyes to understanding the complexity of design in all forms. Even though there are many technical limits to knits, knowing why exposes more possibilities for manipulation.
Whether I am doing illustration or fashion design, I always keep someone in mind. I think you need to generalize those whom you are designing for, but not assume they are one-dimensional. I want my clothes to be in alignment with my customer, who is constantly growing and striving for a nuanced but classic style.
Osan, South Korea
To me, fashion is an expression. There are many forms of expressing yourself; however, I believe fashion is the most beautiful and powerful one among them. This is the fundamental reason why I decided to be a fashion designer. I have lived in four different countries so far: Korea, Thailand, Mexico, and the United States. Since my early years, I have been naturally exposed to diverse cultures and various people from all over the world. Because of this unique experience, I am always ready to accept and adapt to new things, which still have a great influence on me as a young designer. My design aesthetic is a blend of sophistication and delicacy, reflecting the femininity of my muse and customers.
Sydney Luv Renkewitz
Northport, Long Island
Art, and the love of art, run in my blood. Growing up with an artist for a father and a creative, hardworking businesswoman for a mother, I found that FIT was the perfect place for me, offering the combination of business and creativity needed to strive for success in this industry. I’ve always seen fashion as a wearable form of art. I believe being able to express yourself through dress is very important. By specializing in knitwear design, I have gotten to experience firsthand how a garment can be equal to a piece of art. This is especially true when you consider how much blood, sweat, and tears it takes to create a wearable form of art, starting with yarns that become stitches and eventually develop into an actual garment. I believe in precision and workmanship when designing, with the idea of quality over quantity always in mind.
New Rochelle, New York
Art has always been my means of escape. Being the odd man of the bunch, I was always able to express myself through my artwork. As I began to experiment with design as another art form, I saw that I could take inspiration from something dark and ugly and turn it into something wonderfully beautiful. Nature, culture and tradition, and other art forms provide people with feelings of pure happiness; I get my inspiration from these kinds of positive experiences, as well as from the less attractive aspects of the world around us.
I come from a family of hand knitters, so it was only logical for me to study knitwear design. Becoming a knitwear designer has allowed me to further expand my skills and understanding of the foundations of creating textiles. My designs reflect a sense of relaxed and timeless elegance, focusing on fine fabrics and the perfect fit.
Ana Luz Sanchez Cohen
I always joke that I decided to become a fashion designer because it was the only thing I was good at. In a way I guess it’s true because I’ve been doing it for so long and I still love doing it. It’s my passion. I love creating something out of nothing. Designing, draping, sewing, etc., bring me great joy. What would make me the happiest in this life is to be able to do what I love for a living.
Uniqueness is a rarity nowadays, but I guess my uniqueness is in my aesthetic. It reflects my take on old traditional textiles and combines it with a more modern and minimalistic fashion aesthetic.
Holbrook, New York
Like many young girls, I found myself loving clothes and creating outfits. More than that, though, I wanted to design looks and styles. I wanted to make the things I couldn’t go out and find at the store. I gravitate toward a minimalistic aesthetic that focuses on design detail in construction and knit structure. The various ways to combine silhouette and knit structure are endless and make generating new styles and innovations a constant process. When it comes to knitwear, the idea of creating the fabric and being a step closer to encompassing the entire design process is completely consuming. Knowing knitwear—the actual knitting and its language— helps to translate ideas and techniques. It is an indispensible skill that that will only get more and more exciting.
Queens, New York
My earliest childhood memory of fashion had a lot to do with my grandmother, who was a sample maker. Growing up, she would take me to work and I was able to explore the fashion world from “behind the scenes.” That is what truly inspired me to pursue this. When she passed away, I became more connected to fashion. Fashion has become a part of who I am. If it weren’t for fashion, I wouldn’t know what to do. I design because it makes me feel good. I find the process of having a sketch and seeing it come to life beautiful and satisfying. Knitwear design is not only about creating designs; it’s also about creating the fabric. I studied in England and found myself creatively. My aesthetic is all about beauty in simplicity and attention to detail. I also like to keep a nice balance of femininity and masculinity.
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
From an early age I have been enthralled by the arts. At age sixteen, I took my first pre-college program at FIT and fell in love with designing. Thus far, I have been nurtured creatively by my professors and inspired by my peers; I had a chance to study fashion in Florence, Italy, at the Polimoda school; and I have been mentored by the creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo, Massimiliano Giornetti, and Thom Browne. I have also gained experience through my design internships at Tommy Hilfiger, Lane Bryant, Ohne Titel, Nanette Lepore, and Kimora Lee Simmons. I chose knitwear because I wanted to learn more and create my own fabrics. My design aesthetic is making elegant silhouettes that are comfortable, stylish, and easy to wear, with a hint of color. I design for the woman who wants to feel effortlessly chic no matter what size, shape, or color she is.
Boca Raton, Florida
I’ve always seen designing clothes as a form of self-expression. I was exposed to different art mediums when I was young, but the use of yarn and fabrics were the most intriguing to me. I don’t see designing as just making something “pretty”; it’s about creating something new and interesting. It’s about experimenting—making lots of mistakes, seeing what works—while observing people’s reactions and then implementing their reactions into my own process while never losing my own viewpoint. I don’t always find inspiration through visuals; inspiration to me is something very emotional, interactive, and complex. It’s something I don’t force, yet is always there. It’s very personal and often not direct; it could be what happened, what changed my mind, what inspired a choice.
The Bronx, New York
I attended the High School of Fashion Industries, studying fashion design, and that was my first real experience of being hands-on and creative. Growing up in a place where things never really change inspired me to push myself to get out there and be a part of something that is always reinventing itself. I find beauty in simplicity and details; things don’t always have to be over-the-top to be interesting. I chose knitwear because you as the designer have complete control of how you create your final outcome. You start from fibers and work your way up from there. My design aesthetic is a mix between femininity and masculinity with attention to details.
Hong Kong, China
My background is in interior design and fine arts, and I incorporate these fields into my fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. My concept of design is coming up with unique ideas and converting these ideas into fashion. The magic of using two needles to create a piece of art is what attracted me to knitwear as my specialization. In my opinion, a real aesthetic is when a piece of cloth is transformed into a garment that has the ability and power to show the character of the person who wears it. I want to create clothes for women who are not only fiercely fashionable but also own their power and femininity.
I enjoy creating visual narratives of complex concepts through multimedia collages that include original watercolors, magazine clippings, and textile swatches. I decided to attend FIT because of its phenomenal, technically based program, which has pushed me toward impeccable garment execution. I have gained irreplaceable industry experience through FIT’s connections and well-earned reputation in New York and worldwide. Through my specialization in knitwear, I push the boundaries of expression through custom textiles that are knit with the emotion my collections evoke. I aim to create compelling and luxurious garments that toe the line between personal and shared experience. I hope to help make the luxury fashion industry a more compassionate one, and to work for a socially conscious and creative design house.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Having grown up in the Middle East has really shaped my perspective on life and fueled my inspirations as a designer. When I was sixteen years old and living in Abu Dhabi, my school held its annual “Career Day,” which was, much to my shock, actually key in helping me make my career decision. Meeting a successful Emirati designer and hearing her firsthand experiences really opened my eyes to the possibilities of working as a fashion designer. Designing is always a very personal process; I have to put myself into a certain mindset and find what sparks my current interests. Very frequently, I find myself drawing on my travels as a child and young adult, using these experiences as my inspirations. I have always been attracted to prints and colors, so naturally the limitless textile possibilities that knitwear design allows for is what led to my selection of this specialization.
New York, New York
I’ve loved fashion design ever since I was little. I remember filling up my composition notebooks with sketches of stick figures dressed in whatever clothes that came to mind. In middle school I decided that I would take this interest a step further and that’s when I decided to attend the High School of Fashion Industries where I majored in fashion design. There I learned the basics of design—how to sew, drape, and develop and transform my sketches into reality. This is when I fell in love with design and I was sure that this was the career path that I wanted to pursue. Now here I am, in my senior year at FIT specializing in knitwear. I chose knitwear because I liked how I could be involved in the whole design and production process from producing my own yarns to knitting out the garment. My design aesthetic is fun and quirky, and I feel that I’m able to express my style freely through knits.