Paola Aguado
Miami, FL and Venezuela
Art has always been a big influence in my life because of my mother. My mom is a sculptor
and she sold her work in local art festivals in Miami. She has always inspired me
to create. When I was in the fifth grade, I designed my own dress for my graduation,
and my mother made it for me. Since then, I wanted to be a designer. I loved the entire
process of making my dress. I would often sketch things out and have my mom make them
for me. As I got older, my mother taught me how to sew and since then Ive been making
my own clothes. Creating has always been part of my life and that’s what I love about
fashion the most. Fashion to me is not just clothes. Its art, its something beautiful,
and something I hope Ill be doing for the rest of my life.
Raul Aktanov
New York City
My mother taught me how to sew at an early age. That experience has helped me understand
the fundamental principles of clothing construction. I have lived many different places
and traveled the world. My life before the Fashion Institute of Technology opened
me to the simple joys of living wherever I am. Experiencing different cultures and
people has allowed me to look at art through a prism of understanding and openness.
As I entered FIT’s stimulating environment, my technical skills were polished and
my creative abilities were honed even further, thus making me a better creative curator.
Raife Aydin
I have been interested in artistic expression since I was a little kid. I started
by making music and writing, but I have since discovered that I have a passion for
design. Design excites me, and I have a talent for expressing myself through garments.
I find it very interesting to adapt any kind of inspiration into covering our bodies.
This led me to enroll at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I evolved my skills
and my vision in school. I am trying to feed myself every day from any kind of art
or life form to design unique pieces. My uniqueness as a designer is that I have an
unusual sight on interpreting life through art, and yet I embrace the fact that there
is no limit for learning, or improving myself as an artist, or a human being.
HeeJin Baek
I was born and raised in Korea. When I was a student at Art College in Korea, I decided
to challenge myself by traveling abroad alone. My first destination was New York.
New York really opened my eyes to fashion. I was very fascinated by the people and
their freedom of expression through fashion. I had never realized how much I had been
in love with fashion until I visited New York. New York City is my inspiration. Every
experience I have had here influences my design. Everybody has a unique personality
and life story. I believe what we wear daily tells stories of our lives and our unique
personalities. This is why fashion continues to inspire me and urges me to work harder
than ever to obtain my dream.
Ariel Biern
Rhode Island
My interest in fashion started at a young age. I enjoyed spending my days alone playing
with my Barbies. I repurposed their clothes with a stapler and tape and gave them
haircuts to match their look. I loved all aspects of design. If I wasn’t dressing
my dolls, I was rearranging the furniture in my house or picking out my mothers outfit
for the night. My father is a jewelry designer and his work influenced my interest
in design. I was also inspired by his impressive collection of erotic vintage movie
posters and rare marbles. The only time I am truly in my element is when I am designing.
It stimulates me in every area. I also enjoy being around other designers. We all
have a connection and it’s exciting to be around people who share your passion.
Brandie Burditt
Houston, TX
I grew up in an unexciting town outside of Houston. I became interested in art and
drawing mostly as an escape from my boredom. I gravitated toward fashion sketches
in my teenage years as I became more aware of clothing and style. The total lack of
clothing stores, much less exciting clothing, only fueled my desire to become a fashion
designer. If I couldn’t buy cool clothes, Id just have to make them. My teenage desire
for interesting, weird, but wearable clothes speaks to my aesthetic now. The combination
of dramatic, gathered silhouettes with simple, modern fabrics or pared-down garments
covered with a curious print really encompasses my lifelong desire for captivating
Jinjoo Cho
My designs won’t just stay on flat paper. I design clothes that are tangible. The
most exciting part for me as a fashion designer is the process of actualizing the
designs that are in my head. The process is not like waving a magic wand. I struggle
for hours or days to figure it out, and it is hard not to give up. But as I struggle
with it, I get a better understanding of the human body and fabrics. It always spurs
me on to another creation. And that, I believe, makes me a better designer.
Lynn Choi
Chicago, Il
I have been interested in fashion ever since I was little. I loved the assortment
of fabrics and colors in the aisles of fabric stores. I have always been captivated
by the fact that you can express yourself by manipulating fabrics into something new
and exciting. My design aesthetic focuses on creating new things out of simple shapes,
always searching for something unexpected and organic. Fashion is a form of art, a
way to express who you are and how you’re feeling. This is why I became a designer.
Michael Christopher Creegan
Clarks Summit, PA
Forward and progressive. My design aesthetic has been in the making from a very young
age. My youth revolved around creativity. My passion for architecture and graphic
design (and prior education in the latter) eventually informed my work in fashion.
Since moving to New York in 2009, my perspective has found a home in fashion design.
With a sci-fi look into the past and a pure look into the future, my design aesthetic
straddles the lines between minimalism and maximalism, utopian and dystopian. As a
young designer, I believe that my work stands tall due to my unwavering point of view
and my conviction with silhouette and textiles. I strive to make people think through
blurring the lines of fantasy and reality.
Carla Davis
Brooklyn, New York
I’ve had an innate interest in fashion ever since I can remember. I had my first encounter
with fashion design in my high school fashion class. Since then, I have been immersed
in it between classes and industry experiences. Fashion design, like other modes of
art, provides an outlet for self-expression without verbalization. Fashion has a truly
transformative power, and can invoke feelings in the wearer, making him or her feel
any range of emotions. I love the process of seeing a design through to fruition,
from the initial idea, to sketching, to production.
Dani Dvash
Tel Aviv, Israel
My first encounter with apparel—or perhaps I should say proper clothing—was in grandfather’s
atelier in my hometown in Israel. When I was around seven years old, my dad would
invite me to tag along. Each time, I would gladly oblige, anticipating the reunion
with the wool stacks on the first floor, and the brown patterns hanging by my granddad’s
sewing machine, along with chalk and a cushion of pins. For me, it was a place where
refined sorcery happened every single day. It was where a plain piece of wool was
cut and carved to fit a man’s body in the most attractive and intelligent way I could
imagine. Sometimes we would meet a client who came in for a fitting, trying on a raw
jacket that was missing its sleeves. I would observe them as they fine-tuned the piece,
learning the little secrets of the process almost like a spy. Years later I rebelled
against my family’s wishes for me to pursue a more “realistic” career, or at least
a science-based one. (Both of my parents have degrees in chemistry from the University
of Moscow). Instead, I followed my passion to carve something of my own. I started
with private sewing lessons, which evolved into a professional fashion design program
in Tel Aviv. Eventually, I found my way to New York City to continue my education
and professional training at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Corby Enfiejian
McEwensville, PA
For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with beauty. Be it the opulence
of Versailles or the simplicity of a sunset, it all fascinated me. At some point,
I began to think about how people can incorporate beautiful things into their daily
lives. Fashion was the first thing that came to mind, and in my early teenage years
I decided to go into fashion design. When it comes to apparel, there are infinite
ways to create wearable art. As a designer, I am inspired by art, nature, fantasy,
and grandeur, and I incorporate these elements into my design process. Because everyone
wears clothes, and everyone deserves to wear something beautiful.
Nil Ergun
I’m a 22-year-old Fashion Design student. I am half Colombian and half Turkish. I
have always felt very lucky about this combination because I grew up with two completely
different cultures. Therefore, I have gained different points of view and tastes of
life. I am fluent in three languages: English, Spanish, and Turkish. Besides fashion,
I’m interested in dancing and have been doing professional Latin dancing for two years
now. I was seven years old when I decided to become a fashion designer. Because I
have always been determined and patient, I never lost the excitement and the enthusiasm
I had inside. And I know to survive in the fashion industry. You need to be willing
to observe and create each time and be happy with what you are doing.
Emily Downs
New Hope, PA
Since I was a little girl Ive been attracted to fabric, color, and fashion. I always
wanted to pick out my own clothes and mix and match different colors, patterns, and
textiles. I always knew my love for fashion could be my career path. During my time
at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Ive channeled my passion through design. Ive
also learned elements of the industry that not only can fulfill a dream, but also
a career. Ive come a long way since I was a little girl, but I still am attracted
to the same inspirations. In my senior collection I went back to my roots, quite literally
(in my Swiss chard print). I have incorporated colors, images, and patterns that are
close to my heart. One element Ive always loved about fashion is the ability to cohesively
mix and match all different kinds of textiles. My collection illustrates that combining
fabrics in different innovative ways has been my inspiration.
Kaiya Fine
New York City, NY
I do not know if I would label myself as a designer. I have always been observant.
All my life I have been inspired by my surroundings, from people to materials. All
our secrets are held in the details. It is a scientific fact that we are always evolving,
and I think that fact pertains to both our physical and emotional states. Emotion
is what drives us and fashion is just another way to express that. I have learned
through my years at school that fashion comes in all shapes and styles. Everyone needs
to dress him or herself, and as a designer we get the privilege to give another self-expression
through our own artistic inspiration. I can only hope that as I continue to grow my
love for things and people grow with me.
Dianna Gonzalez
Yonkers, New York
I became interested in fashion design as a child. My mother used to work for a clothing
factory. I took fashion seriously when I was in high school, where I majored in fashion
and learned sewing and draping. I loved sewing and drawing but did not know how to
pursue it until a former student of the Fashion Institute of Technology talked to
me about the school. I continued my education in design because I enjoy making something
conceptual into a garment. I enjoy the process of sewing and garment development.
I was most inspired by my mother. I differentiate myself from the rest because I am
inspired by firsthand experiences, such as train stations. I want my clothing to be
realistic and wearable.
Simone Henry

I was born on the right side of an island in the West Indies. I lived there with my
father on a huge farm until I was seven years old. Instead of playgrounds and Barbie
dolls, my sister and I had never-ending fields, gardens, and flower dolls. We had
the freedom to explore and let our imaginations run wild. I was very active as a child
and had dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete. I still have that athletic spirit mixed
with island vibes. Sportswear allows me to express that through design. I am especially
drawn to swimwear and resort wear. I love to play with contrast and I’m greatly inspired
by people and cultures.

Robert Jakacki
Detroit, Michigan
I am constantly toying with the themes of simplicity and androgyny. I design by stripping
classics down to their essentials and giving them new functions, like a jacket into
a T-shirt or a tunic into a men’s coat. I am drawn to tight color stories and fabrics
with very rich textures. I like applying these rich textiles to simple contemporary
silhouettes that are easy and wearable. It gives the feeling of a relaxed elegance,
not too dressed up and not too dressed down. I have a heavy interest in menswear,
whether as a source of inspiration for women’s wear or designing for the menswear
Rachel Jones
Auburn, CA
My love of sewing developed at a young age. I learned from my grandmother and my aunt
after school and on summer vacations. After high school I moved to New York to study
theater, but quickly realized that the life of an actor was not for me. Struggling
to figure out my next step, I bought a little Singer on a whim and was reminded of
my childhood passion. I soon found myself creating costumes for dance and theater,
marrying my love of storytelling and my passion for design. Several years passed and
I realized I wanted to tell stories of my own, which brought me to the Fashion Institute
of Technology.
Jiwon Kang
Seoul, Korea
As a designer, I am influenced by architecture, nature, and cultures. I grew up in
Korea and moved to New York in 2009 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.
I have always believed that an outfit allows for more self-expression than any other
source. That is why I started designing. I try to reflect a woman’s personality through
my garments. This woman has a personal and artistic integrity but is mysterious and
independent. I pay attention to details, quality, and craftsmanship. I value the honesty
of interpretations. I don’t compromise to be understood by everyone. I embrace the
idea of not being fully accepted so that I can remain different.
Cigdem Feride Kayral
I am a 22-year-old Fashion Design student from Turkey. Besides being interested in
fashion, I am also interested in learning new languages. I already speak four: Turkish,
English, German, and Spanish. Ive also played piano since I was six and it is also
one of my passions in life. Since I had artists in my family, including my mother,
I was always interested in painting and artistic pieces. During primary school, I
started drawing figures of the girls of my own class in the clothes I envisioned them
in. That’s how my fashion journey started. As the years went by, I enhanced my abilities
and now I am in New York City with my dream job title. I worked really hard to get
this point of my life. Therefore, I will work as hard as I can to take this point
to the top. It is really important not to lose our passion for our job. Luckily, the
fashion industry is an industry that if you’re in it once, there is no way out.
Gabrielle King
Chatham, NJ
I became a fashion designer because I love clothes, but I couldn’t always find what
I wanted to wear in stores. Before I started designing clothes, I was always drawing.
My love of art also pushed me into fashion design. Music is a huge part of my life.
Most of the time when I am designing, I am influenced by the music that I listen to.
Specific musicians also influence me. I got into Japanese pop culture a while ago,
and it has had a big influence on my designs. I love Japanese clothes and music. I
even took a few Japanese language classes a few years ago. However, I am not even
close to being fluent in Japanese. My dream vacation is to go to Japan. I’m sure that
the trip would boost my creativity.
Adnan Kutay
I have been interested in fashion design since early childhood. Being a designer was
my dream and I moved to New York to fulfill my dreams.Fashion helps me express myself, my interior, my world. For me, there can never be
enough fashion. I want to be in every part of it. I design, create, and produce. I
study women’s wear, I have my own menswear line, I do shoes, I do bags and even that
is not enough. Basically, fashion feeds me.

I feel like I am on the right track. I am ready to work so hard and do my best in
fashion. I can’t imagine myself in any other job. With luck, I will reach my dreams.

Jennifer La Punta
Monroe TWP, New Jersey
Inspired by history and fiction, I create ready-to-wear clothing with a touch of my
unique interests. I was always artistic and designed clothing even before I realized
I wanted to become a designer. Through a close family member in the fashion industry,
I was exposed to a whole new spectrum of art. I immersed myself in the field. I realized
how a wardrobe can define an individual. So I set out to define myself and others
like me. I took pre-college courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology three years
before being accepted into the associates program. With an immense love for costume
and theatrical themes, I find ways to marry my theatrics into convenient, individual
garments that can fit into everyone’s wardrobe. I strive to create clothing that spans
across the many genres of fashion.
Jae Lee
Hicksville, NY
Before entering the world of fashion design, my main focus was in Fine Arts. Fashion
was never something I thought I would be a part of. But the more I became involved,
the more I fell in love. I won the AAS Art Specialization Critics Award, worked as
a fashion production coordinator, and studied abroad at Central Saint Martins. All
these experiences have helped mold me into the unique designer I am today. I aim to
create visual conversations between the old and new, a dance of tradition and innovation.
Now I offer designs fueled by conceptual ideas combined with consumer-aware aesthetics,
a multicultural mix between the avant-garde and the functional. I strive to not only
design beautiful clothing, but to also tell stories through my creations. Embrace
the then, embrace the now, and embrace what’s to come.
Emily Beth Levine
New York City
I have always worked hard to do well in school, but found myself more inspired and
successful with creative projects and art than in other subjects. When I attended
the summer RISD program for fashion design as a high school student, I really decided
to make it a career path. I think every creative person has something unique about
them. We think differently and that’s something special, but what makes me who I am
is my drive to never give up. I constantly set goals I think are impossible so that
I can push myself into a positive learning experience. We all have our doubts, but
I think that if you have the passion and love for the field you want to enter, there
is no reason why you wouldn’t make it. My rule of thumb has always been to work hard,
do your best and success will follow.
Susan Mooney
Troy, NY
I began my journey as a designer long before the day I walked through the doors for
my first fashion class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I cannot recall the
exact day, since I was only four years old. But I remember the moment I exclaimed
to my aunt who had taken me clothes shopping, Wow, look all those beautiful bras and
panties! I did not realize they were bathing suits, but I knew that I saw something
beautiful and I had a vision for what I wanted. That vision has stayed with me and
grown into a desire to create clothes that make women feel empowered and beautiful.
Cecily Moore
Providence, Rhode Island
I spent my childhood building rockets out of soda bottles and molecules out of gumdrops
with my chemist mother. But I also spent it layering three pairs of pants and matching
my underwear to every outfit I wore. Thus, I developed a strong interest in both science
and fashion. Somewhere along the way, I learned to connect scientific thinking with
my creative side. I utilize it as inspiration for my imaginative force. This drive
led me to Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue a Fashion Design career in the
worlds greatest city. Fashion helps people express individuality, and through fashion
design I can give the world a window into my aesthetic. I focus on crisp, clean design
with a modern luxe spin. I channel ingenuity through inventive silhouettes, creative
styling, and a sophisticated color palette to match any woman’s adventurous spirit.
Bradley Mounce
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
From a young age, I have loved all aspects of art and design. Thanks to an encouraging
upbringing I have been able to explore and fall more in love with them each day. After
high school, it was a natural transition for me to apply to fashion schools. After
finishing a one-year degree program in Milan at IED I applied to the Fashion Institute
of Technology. My years here have taught me a lot about creativity, hard work, technique,
and dedication—strengthening my passion for this industry. People and their stories
inspire me and I love approachable and beautiful design that helps transform them.
As Coco Chanel once said, In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Young Joon Oh
Seoul/ Korea
I have been many things: a technician, a waiter, a salesman, and a businessman. But
those careers did not satisfy me because I always wanted to be a fashion designer.
I fondly remember my first night at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Muslins on
the ironing board smelled like golden brown bread that had just come out of the oven.
When pins dropped and scissors cut the muslins, the sound was of music. Now I am an
intern at Thom Browne, my dream company. Sometimes I rush around mid-town running
errands. Though the streets and avenues are the same, they are different to me now.
I find a bona fide happiness in fashion design. I know who I was, who I wanted to
be, and who I am. I am Young Joon Oh.
Aubrey Pedersen
Lancaster, PA
After spending the majority of my childhood with my family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
I moved to New York City to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer. Creativity
was a clear passion from childhood as I hosted my own Barbie fashion shows and drew
on every surface in reach. I attribute my motivation in this challenging industry
to my loving family and friends. Throughout my career as a fashion student, I have
remained true to my feminine aesthetic. I am driven by the love of color and the idea
of creating garments that women want to wear. I believe that life is beautiful—an
idea I try to translate into my work.
Rosita Nathalie Oviedo
Jackson Heights, New York
I have been drawing since I was four years old. I chose to pursue a creative life
because drawing and sketching felt natural to me. Designing clothes is my way of expressing
myself freely. I have always had a sense of style in the way I dressed. I felt that
with my natural talent and my artist mindset, I could design clothes without any restrictions.
In general, designers appreciate even the littlest things that the world offers. They
see beauty in everything and use that beauty to design clothes that the world can
appreciate. I can observe something from different angles and tap into a deep philosophical
meaning of it. That is how I think when I begin to design and get inspired. I like
to combine beauty and strength in both colors and fabrics because I think, as a woman,
it is important to feel that way about yourself. It is my hobby, my passion and my
Seohyun Park
Republic Of Korea
Ever since I was 11 years old, fashion has been in my mind. I have a passion for this
industry. There is no other place I want to be, and I am eager to see my creations
come to life. I observe everything around me, taking bits and pieces that inspire
me to make my designs. Although fashion tends to recycle every season, trends and
fit are important to me. I do not say that I love fashion; rather, I say that I am
addicted to fashion.
Miguel Angel Pena
Healdsburg, CA
My sister was always my idol as a child. Due to her severe childhood illnesses, she
never had the chance to live the full life that I had. So I guess I always pursued
her interests to fulfill her dreams for her. That being said, I fell into fashion
by chance. I was always a creative person, but I never knew that design would be my
ultimate outlet. I’m interested in how clothes can emanate a certain type of energy
or confidence from a person. Once I started to pursue fashion, I developed a better
understanding of how to think about clothes creatively and abstractly. I realized
that designing meant thinking of new ways to solve a problem, much like an engineer.
I was fascinated with the idea of looking at a garment like a problem that needed
a new solution. I don’t like to make my inspirations too literal. I like my ideas
to be a bit disguised. I try to use humor and cleverness to express these ides. I
like when you can’t really understand how great something is until you get to experience
it in detail. Subtleties excite me the most.
Hannah Renfro
Knoxville, TN
I have always enjoyed the process of making things—it is so rewarding to be able to
come up with a concept and see it through. I felt this way even when I was a little
girl living in Tennessee making clothes for my dolls. I always hoped I could have
a career making things come to life. I was thrilled when I realized that people actually
had to design and make the clothes that we wear. I immediately knew this was what
I wanted to do. I have learned that I also love to make women feel confident and cool
and that I am interested in fashion as a business. I am inspired by everything from
my travels out west and abroad in Europe and Japan to my fear of the dentist. I am
so excited and humbled to be here in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology
living my dream!
Ninette Rodriguez

I have always been an artist in some way, always different taking the different route
while others were going down the same path. I fell in love with fashion as a sophomore
in high school. It was the only thing that I knew belonged to me, and that I saw myself
doing. I started the fashion club and the modeling club, which are still alive today.
When it came time to pick a college, FIT was my only choice. When I was rejected the
first time, I was scared. I said to myself over and over again: Where do I go? What
will I do? Now I laugh when I think about my reaction. Now, I know that moment four
years ago was the beginning of my fashion career, not the end. I did my first semester
at Nassau Community College, determined to apply to FIT again. The second time I was
accepted and I was going to be a part of the fashion world I wanted to enter so badly.
FIT very much evolved my artistry, my mind, and even my way of thinking. The designers
that I admire, especially Alexander McQueen, shaped my aesthetic. When I design or
sketch, he sparks so much inspiration, which I translate into my own style. To me,
he is the epitome of Fashion the one the other designers look to for inspiration.
Now close to graduating, I’m concentrating on my senior collection, which is a dream
come true. Yes, the process is overwhelming, but I’m extremely excited and can’t wait
for my new beginning as part of the design world.

Carly Rosenbrook
Minneapolis, Minnesota
I began designing because I had a strong affinity for aesthetics, specifically the
conceptual and technical possibilities of fashion and the human form. I find the process
of collection development (from the first spark of an idea to the last detail of construction)
to be a captivating and fulfilling journey. I believe in the continuance of building
on knowledge and skill as well as maintaining a grasp on contemporary culture both
subversive and mainstream. To produce innovative, intelligent fashion design, it is
crucial to understand what is new and relevant globally and to analyze, criticize
or interpret. In my most recent work, Ive tried to concentrate on unusual materials
and current high- tech processes to reflect the evolving, technical world of today
through understated minimalist form.
Daniel Silverstain
Raannana, Israel I am an Israeli designer based in New York City. Since I was a kid, I always knew
I would live in New York one day. The moment I realized I would like to study fashion
design, I knew it was the right time to make that step. Every single time I step off
the plane at JFK, I feel that instantaneous rush that inspires and gets me to create.
New York is a massive hub of fashion. The norm in New York City is not to be the norm,
and that is my daily motivation and design ideology. I explore textiles and natural
forms in an era of high technology and industrialism. Architecture and art of the
mid-20th century interlock with every inspiration and I use them in a range of simplified
shapes that complement the female body and give it a sophisticated, yet comfortable
Amiko Simonetti
Huntington, NY
I design because I love creation. I enjoy the ability to harness an idea, nurture
it, watch it grow, and build it to full fruition. At the most basic level, I like
design because I like to play. I like to experiment with prints, colors, and embellishments.
I am in awe of the endless possibilities of products that can be built with the creative
Michelle Sweet
Castleton NY, USA
I am from a small town in upstate New York. I came to New York when I was 19 to pursue
my dreams of becoming a designer at FIT. I love design because it allows you to express
yourself through your work. It also allows others a creative outlet through wearing
your designs. I have wanted to be a designer ever since I was young. I grew up making
cloths for my dolls and quickly graduated to making clothing for myself. Designing
has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, and I couldn’t imagine doing
anything else. I love coming up with new and interesting ways to create and wear a
garment, and mixing elements that one would not normally put together. Designing is
a fun creative process, and I am excited to see what the fashion industry has in store
for me after graduation!
Asli (Oblina) Tapucu
Before I came to FIT I was planning to be an illustrator or cartoonist, but then I
realized that I have an interest in clothing, styling and other divisions of fashion
industry. I worked in the fashion business before I started school so I already had
connections with contemporary artists who encouraged me to study fashion design. In
my country, there is a lack of design and creative understanding. So I want to improve
myself in every subject and meet new people. Eventually, I want to share my ideas
with my country and the world. I am open to new challenges, always curious about new
things. Every journey, my cultural background, and different visions give me inspiration
and all my decisions are a lesson. I hope to have a remarkable place in fashion world.
Natasha Thomas
New York, USA
I grew up making Barbie doll dresses out of cut-up socks. I don’t know if this is
normal for most kids, but it was normal to me. My grandmother was a seamstress and
my mother is a Fashion Institute of Technology alum. Growing up with women like that
is how my taste for creating began. Creating is one of the best ways for me to express
myself; its part of my being. I design because I love to see the process of something
being made from an idea or concept. I can take two yards of fabric to create a garment
that can change the idea someone had about the fabric or about their body. It can
actually make them feel really good about themselves. This is what pushes me to design.
Lauren Tormenta
New York / America
I was born and raised in Westchester, New York. My love for fashion began when I started
traveling at a very young age. Traveling to Europe exposed me to the massive differences
in cultures. I was exposed to great landmarks, such as the beautiful castles in Portugal
to the amazing paintings of past queens and kings. The paintings showed the details
of the costume and the rich moods. I immediately became drawn to fashion and began
sketching my own ideas right away. I design because I love to create things that do
not exist. I am drawn to moods, which lead me to create a design on paper. Then through
fabric, I am able to create something that can convey that mood. What is unique to
me as a person and a designer is the way certain things inspire me. I am inspired
by images and things that give off power, beauty, and independence. I want the woman
wearing my clothes and people looking at her to feel the same way—powerful , beautiful,
and independent.
Gizem Turan
Ive always had a love for clothes, because its a perfect way to express yourself.
Actually, my family has a background in the textile industry. That was the biggest
factor for me to choose a fashion major. My grandmother is my fashion leader because
she is the best tailor Ive ever met. When I was a child I went a fabric store with
my grandmother and we sewed little clothes together. The fashion world is very challenging.
You have to develop yourself day by day. You must be creative to succeed as a fashion
designer. Knowing how to mix and blend colors, choose the right pattern and fabric,
and mix and match styles with accessories shows good qualities for a fashion designer.
On the other hand, it helps to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I am
an international student in fashion design at both Istanbul Technical University and
FIT. This collaboration gave me very important experiences and knowledge.
Tuncin Uner
I left my hometown, and changed my life to become a designer. Every day, I realize
that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Its simple: I LOVE my job. I live and
breathe my work. It is really inspiring that as I create my work, my work creates
me. I do what I do because of my passion to be creative and my passion to produce.
I just start making things and learn from them. I’m constantly pushing myself to improve
and I keep learning every single day. Since fashion is unlimited, I want to be a designer.
I want to be unlimited.
Anna Vaynshteyn
New York, New York
I love the technical and creative aspects of fashion design. I was probably going
to major in computer science like the rest of my family. But I went on to study fashion
after taking a summer class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I really enjoy
solving problems, and the enigma of turning a sketch into a garment. There are so
many unexpected glitches along the way. I love how designing forces me to think on
my feet and be really clever sometimes. Another thing that I love about design is
creating a really desirable and wearable garment. To me that is the ultimate—making
something that is both irresistible and strangely sensible. I feel that in our education,
we are so often steered toward designing showpieces and more experimental clothes,
but that’s not my aspiration at all. I am especially inspired by the early 1990s Donna
Karan and Giorgio Armani looks and Bill Cunningham’s late 1980s runway shots for Details.
They were such cool and easy looks and so New York. I think this special New York
quality is lost now and I would like to channel that in my designs.
"" Crysbel Vivar
Brooklyn, NY
Ever since the third grade, I sketched outfits and dresses in my composition notebook
to pass the time when my younger brother and I were forced to visit my mother at work.
Her boss noticed my talent and suggested that I pursue a career in the fashion industry
as a designer. From that moment, I made fashion a priority. I auditioned for a design
major at the High School of Fashion Industries. As silly as it sounds, my high school
moments were the best years of my life because I absorbed and gained so much knowledge
from my teachers and classmates. Ive always felt accepted in the fashion industry.
Sofia Wahlberg
I come from a very arts-oriented family and I was encouraged to explore my artistic
abilities at an early age. Before my teenage years, I was very shy and not that good
with words. So fashion became a great interest of mine and, in a way, a medium of
expression. Since the age of 14, I have worked in several clothing stores where I
enjoyed learning more about fit and customers needs and aesthetics. Before coming
to the Fashion Institute of Technology, I studied one year of fashion design in Los
Angeles where I improved my patternmaking and design skills. New York is my favorite
city (I have also lived in Spain and Mexico). The cultural variety inspires me to
design better and to think outside the box. I enjoy designing for people who love
to get dressed and add their own personality to their outfits.
Tara Wood
Howell, New Jersey
Growing up, I found myself traveling to New York City from time to time. The city
felt like an adventure to me, something busy and exciting. I became interested in
all the people there, living together yet separately. The many views of humanity intrigued
me and I realized that people could be expressed any way they chose. That way, I saw
fashion not only as an expression of ones own views, but also how they wished to be
viewed, as projections, whether as a statement of art or a comfort for their wellbeing.
I like to mix the two spectrums. My inspiration never takes the form of a single physical
item, rather it is an abstract idea. I design thinking of life itself, its moments
and emotions. People aren’t simple so I feel my clothes shouldn’t be either. I want
to always explore that.
Alexa Wright
Kingwood, Texas
I chose to come to FIT to major in fashion design because I am passionate about expressing
myself through a three-dimensional practical, wearable art form. I design to represent
a strong, mysterious woman who values subtle details over frills and overt drama.
I draw much inspiration from the ease of Eastern dressing. I like clothing to feel
effortless and casual with fit, fabrication, and styling to create a unique look.
My favorite part of the process is selecting interesting fabrics that lend themselves
to mixing, matching, and experimentation. I am drawn to mixing classic prints and
patterns like florals and stripes or plaids and herringbones. In my designs, I explore
ideas of identity, gender, and ethnicity.
Ece Yavas
Bursa/ Turkey
I was born and raised in Turkey, where there is a long history of textiles dating
back to time of Justinian of the Roman Empire. I was exposed to fashion in early childhood.
My family has been in the business of producing fabrics from women’s apparel for three
generations. Therefore, I am able to work with fabrics and use textiles creatively.
I design because I feel compelled to create, give life to ideas. My designs are expressions
of my feelings and thoughts. My designs have a unique sense of shapes. Designs can
take many shapes and sizes, thus, showing your style. I take my inspiration to another
level and pass on the joy of my personality. I moved to New York to carry out my dreams.
I am excited to see what is next for me.
Kyunghee Yu
When I was young, my grandmother did a lot of hand sewing at home. Sometimes, she
made little purses for me. When I was around 12 years old, my mother took a Korean
traditional clothing course and made all of the pieces for me and my sister. Our country’s traditional
clothing is called Han-Bok. When I wore moms Han-Bok, I could feel how much she loved
me, especially since Han-Bok is a very complicated design. Even now, while I am in
fashion school, making the pieces is not easy for me. My mother inspired me, at a
young age, to make garments because I couldn’t believe that she made Han-Bok for my
sister and I. That made me happy. I think that if someone is really likes fashion
and my designs, I want to make them happy with my work. I want to communicate with
people through design.
Deniz Basak Zincirlioglu
Ive always loved clothes since I was a child so I decided to study fashion design.
I never had more passion or motivation than I have for designing clothes. I love to
be inspired by other designers and life in New York City to help me design my clothes.
Living in New York and gaining experience at the Fashion Institute of Technology was
one of my biggest dreams. As a sportswear major, I want to focus mostly on casual
wear. I think it appeals to a wide range of customers. After I graduate, I want to
work in a big name corporation until I can establish my own fashion line.
FIT, State University of New York

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