New York, New York
When I was about seven or eight years old, my mother told me that one day, I would go to the Fashion Institute of Technology and major in fashion design—and I scoffed at her. Years later, after achieving a career in the fashion industry as a product developer, I am fulfilling my mother’s prophecy. I am drawn to designing clothing, especially knitwear, because it blends form, function, and creativity. There is something magical about transforming a piece of one-dimensional fiber into a 3-D construction—going from nothing to something. Creating the textile and the garment simultaneously will never get old for me.
My childhood playtime became a passion and a career. Knitwear became the canvas I would use to further develop my desire to not just make clothes, but to create the textures as well. As humans, we are in constant evolution and clothing is a reflection of society as a whole, which is also constantly evolving. The idea of being able to predict how society will evolve next and the future direction of fashion design is very exciting to me.
My interest in design didn’t sprout from the need to have a creative outlet or a love for dressing myself up. In fact, the sole reason I designed my first garment was to solve a problem I encountered multiple times in my eight-year-old life: I was always mistaken for a boy. You see, I didn’t understand why boys got to wear comfy clothes like basketball shorts and sweatshirts—a typical outfit I would wear—while girls were expected to wear things with flowers all over them and ruffles on the sleeves. Therefore, I set out to create looks that were comfortable enough for my liking, while also appearing somewhat feminine. To this day, my design aesthetic still incorporates this concept. I love to experiment with bright colors and combinations of various kinds of unique fabrics. One day, I hope to improve the fashion industry with ethical and sustainable solutions.
Marlboro, New Jersey
Fashion design has become my platform to push against the accepted, to constantly question why we do things the way we do and how it can be improved. My analytical brain creates design by combining creative and fact-based research, molding philosophies that embrace the reasons we wear clothes and the immense power we gain through our choices. I love understanding new perspectives, especially in New York City, where I interact with people in fashion, music, finance, technology, and more. These interactions influence what and how I design. At the end of the day, I want to create product that provokes the thoughts that happen after the first impression, progressing beyond simply what looks “cute or not” to a new level of understanding. I believe that good design should not be based on what is comfortable and conventional, but should instead push people and make them take another moment to think.
Undoubtedly, my interest in clothing extends from my heritage. While growing up I would watch my grandmother embroider her own saris, making them truly hers. My choice to study fashion stems from my interest in artistic creation, engineering, and societal observations. I believe that what we wear is the cornerstone of our culture, which is always evolving. For me, designing starts intuitively with emotions, and is harnessed with technical skill. I chose knitwear because I appreciate the challenge, craftsmanship, and freedom of starting from scratch.
Growing up in Massachusetts, my grandmother taught me how to sew and paint. As a young adult, I balanced a formal education in classical ballet and the arts with working for local artists. I graduated from Rhode Island College with a BFA in oil painting with a minor in art history in 2009. I was also a principal ballet dancer for the State Ballet of Rhode Island. I dedicated twenty-six years to studying ballet and performance.
I am currently completing my BFA at FIT, specializing in knitwear design, with three minors: ethics and sustainability, dance, and art history. Outside of FIT, I have had wonderful and insightful internships.
Through continuing education classes at Rhode Island School of Design, I participated in multiple workshops on sustainable practices. As awareness of sustainability rises, I hope to continue my search for enduring, sustainable, and ethical practices within the fashion industry community.
I had always admired beautiful clothing, so I decided to become a fashion designer. I started out studying business administration, though, because that is what my parents wanted me to study. But in the end, I could not give up my dream, which is to become a fashion designer. I have had the same dream for many years in which I am putting on a successful fashion show in front of many people. I believe that fashion design is my destiny.
I want to make beautiful clothes that make everyone feel happy and beautiful. This is my dream and the reason why I am happy to be studying fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Brooklyn, New York
My journey to becoming a fashion designer started in childhood. I loved being creative and made outfits out of anything and everything. I used to watch the show That’s So Raven, and it definitely influenced how I saw fashion. That show showed me a young, carefree black girl who had fun with whatever she did and dressed as funky as she pleased because she designed her own clothes.
What makes me unique is that I’m an emotional designer. I try to design from things that come from within or from things that have happened. When it came to choosing my specialization, I wanted to be a double threat and have an associate’s in sportswear and a bachelor’s in knitwear. Having knitwear as my specialization has helped open up my imagination to a bit more than what I experienced with sportswear. As for my aesthetic, I’d say that it’s streetwear chic.
When I was a child, my mom gave me a large piece of black fabric with tiny white marks all over that was transformative to me. It was everything from a cloak to a dress and everything in between. I’ve always carried with me how my world changed with that piece of fabric. I believe clothing can transcend its functional purpose and help people be and feel their best. It is a very unique way we express ourselves without saying a word.
When I discovered knitwear, I felt the same as I had with that magic childhood scrap fabric. I taught myself how to knit and was enchanted by the new language of fabric construction that seemed to have infinite possibilities. The very nature of knitwear is infused with words like softness, comfort, and sustainability. These things are extremely important to me and are present in my own design philosophy.
Fashion is my great love in life. From an early age, I believed fashion had the rare ability to reveal the best of ourselves and what we aspire to be. I gravitated toward design because so much of it relies on creativity and breaking rules. I chose knitwear for my specialization because I knew the least about it, and that curiosity has driven me to explore and experiment.
I feel knitwear is the future of fashion, with its rich history and potential for limitless invention. My aesthetic has evolved over the years, but has grounded itself in wearable, yet innovative, garments with a playful mix of classic shapes and streetwear. My thesis collection ties these ideas to my heritage and aims to reflect my essence as a unique entity, distinct from purely Japanese or American culture.
Greenwich, New York
Throughout my life, fashion has been a medium of self-expression. As a teenager, I taught myself to sew so I could create unique garments for my body type; something not easily found in my rural hometown. Perhaps my penchant for fashion was inherited from my grandmother, an expert seamstress and patternmaker. Continuing her legacy, I aim to create garments for all body types, sizes, and genders. Inclusivity and diversity are extremely important to me.
My design aesthetic is bright and colorful, mixing bold and sometimes clashing patterns. With my thesis, I hope to explore the psychology of color—how wearing vibrant outfits affects your mood and how others perceive you.
Knitwear is an exciting frontier of fashion because the possibilities are endless. Designs can be transformed by mixing different yarns, stitches, gauges, and textures. Knitwear straddles a line of tradition and technology, and that is what makes it so thrilling.
Seoul, South Korea
The moment I knew I wanted to be a designer was when I had the chance to peek inside my mom’s closets. In her closets, there were so many fantasies that I wanted to have. Today as I pursue my dream, the thought of becoming a fashion designer makes me feel inspired and alive. My aesthetic is to create designs that many people can enjoy and be inspired by. My educational background in fine arts has also amplified my creativity and design aesthetic.
The process of designing and sketching and then refining those designs and sketches not only makes for a better design, but also lets me live a richer, more valuable life. The reason I have chosen knitwear as my specialization is that the variation of knit construction lets you think deeply and express yourself aesthetically through harmonies of many colors, tensions, and stitches.
Fairview, New Jersey
I have always been a creative person, constantly succumbing to the forces of color, texture, and most importantly, emotion. Emotion is the driving force behind everything I do. I do not get inspired simply by an image, but more by what I feel when I view the image. It’s this energy within me that led me to choose a specialization in knitwear, where I believe the connection with apparel is more personal. I find myself fascinated with the subtleties found in design, whether it be a soft drape creating a unique silhouette or the feel of a stitch that commands the design of a garment. I want to bring forth the emotion I discover and, simply put, share it. My thesis collection focuses on an idealized human body—the complexity and beauty of the human form and our relationship with it.
Croatia and Buffalo, New York
I design because it feels natural to me. It’s not something I can turn off in my brain. The more I learned about design, the more important sustainability and ethics became to me; now it is the backbone of my work. I chose knitwear because having the ability to fully fashion a garment to shape produces minimal production waste. Additionally, who doesn’t adore the comfort of a knit? I studied haute couture in Paris and imagined that I would end up in that area of fashion. However, designing knitwear often feels like haute couture because of the amount of handwork that is required to create a garment. I’ve been told my designs look “ethereal.” I will claim that as my aesthetic. My ultimate goal as a designer is to make our field kinder to our planet and to those who reside on it.
I’m Zoe and I’m from China. I decided to be a fashion designer because of my grandfather, who was a suit designer since I was very young. I like to draw inspiration from everyday life. For example, one day I saw an old sweater with a hole under the arm. The shape and the idea of it really inspired me, so I created a collection of sportswear from this inspiration.
I chose knitwear as my specialization because, first of all, I really like knit fabric. I also chose it because knit fabric is versatile and has more possibilities to be developed. Additionally, knit is trending right now in the fashion industry and it is also comfortable and environmentally friendly. My senior thesis is a collection about my grandfather and me. In my collection, I try to combine the suit with my own design philosophy in honor of my beloved grandfather.
Seoul, South Korea
“Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will pursue me always. I know it.” This is a statement by the painter Paul Klee.
Before I decided to become a designer, I was a painter who adored Paul Klee. Klee believed that color is a potent element of visual language. You don’t need to know different languages if you know how to communicate through color. As a designer, I would say that I am a color coordinating knitwear designer. I want to dress people with the best color choice for them and show them how they can transform themselves, not just by changing makeup, but also by choosing suitable colors. Knitwear is my chosen concentration because I want to explore the majestic world of color. With knitwear, I know I will be able to manipulate yarn and combine strands of different colors in various ways to create incredible fabric.
Seoul, South Korea
I am a senior at FIT fashion design, with a knitwear major. My decision to start my path as a designer comes from my photography background at Rochester Institute of Technology. I was always fascinated by fashion photography. Then I finally asked myself, “Why don’t I just become a designer?” I try to use as many colors and shapes as possible in my designs to make the garments exciting and unique. I decided to specialize in knitwear because it has a special meaning to me. When I was young, I learned how to knit from my grandmother, and I completed my first beanie for an unknown child in Africa through the “Save the Children” program. I participated in this program with my family, and I was amazed by the fact that I could help someone with my own hands. This definitely inspired me to pursue my career in knitwear.
Inspired by the outfits my mom used to sew for me when I was a kid, I decided I was going to become a fashion designer. Four years ago, I left my home and family to pursue my dream here in New York City. I can’t deny that there have been good times and bad times, but it has been worth it.
I like the idea of creating something from nothing, and that’s what fashion allows me to do: to create a garment from scratch that a person can wear and feel beautiful in. Furthermore, I chose the knitwear specialization because it allows me to create my own fabric by designing and playing around with stitches and textures. I would describe my aesthetic as eclectic, organic, feminine, and detail-oriented.
I used to struggle and have questions about why I wanted to be a fashion designer and what I could do for society as a fashion designer. It was by accident that I found the answer to my question in daily life. It happened when I saw an old woman in front of mirror with a big smile on her face because she loved the way she looked wearing her new coat. I realized then how fashion has the ability to make people feel happy and confident. I know that there may be many challenges and difficulties in achieving my goal, but I will keep being myself and moving forward, knowing that my purpose is to make people happier and society better.
Paola Lizano Umana
I have always been creative, but it wasn’t until I discovered fashion that I was truly able to express myself. Knitwear was not only the best thing that FIT introduced me to, but it was then when I found my passion and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I fell in love with knitwear because there is no waste and because it is very technical and creatively demanding. Knitwear has become my language.
My inspiration comes from my spiritual journey and experiences as a Christian, which I merge with visuals that inspire me at a deep, personal level. Coming from Costa Rica and having this spiritual background has reflected my design aesthetic radically. As a designer, I am an emotional storyteller who searches for a connection to everything that I make. I want my designs to provoke emotion, bring hope, and trigger love and happiness within people.
Midland Park, New Jersey
Hello! My name is Emily Luberto, and my specialization is knitwear. I design because I love to create, whether it is through clothing, food, or even memories. Creating beautiful things from what seems to be nothing—that is why I chose a knitwear specialization. I love the idea of turning a strand of yarn into whatever my brain can think of through my own hands, with the help of some machines! I love to design unique and interesting pieces that tell a story all their own. Through my work and my life, I hope to inspire others to start creating what they dream of, too!
I started drawing and painting at a very young age, because it was a beautiful way of expressing the rebel in me. Over time, my passion for art turned toward fashion. Growing up in a small town in India, there was no Internet or Vogue magazine. There was only one channel on TV, FTV, which showed Paris Runways. The vision of beautiful girls strutting down the runway with exuberant confidence, like they were surreal goddesses or warriors, captivated me. I decided that fashion was for me. Ever since, I have never looked back. I believe that I will be a successful fashion designer because I love my work and I want to work hard. Along with successes and failures, I am confident that one day I will use my strengths in design and creativity to create a difference in this world. I will create a legacy.
Cornwall, New York
I took a knitting class when I was in middle school, and since then I have not been able to put my needles down. Knitting allows you to create something unique from start to finish. I think that is why I am so drawn to knitwear. I come from a family of creative and hardworking women. My mother and both grandmothers were skilled in hand quilting, knitting, and needlepoint, and I grew up surrounded by creativity and inspiration. I feel so passionate about knitting and knitwear because of how unique and detailed the process can be, and how you can dictate every aspect of creation.
I draw inspiration from nature and things I observe. In Hawaiian culture they believe that when you create something with your hands, you put a piece of your soul into it. I am looking forward to continuing to put my soul into everything I create.
For all of my early life in Israel, I always wanted to study fashion design, and I decided that if I was going to do it, I would do it big, in New York City. I decided to study fashion design because I love how, as a fashion designer, I must think not only from an artistic perspective, but also from a commercial point of view. People are intriguing to me: their buying habits, their likes and dislikes, their body shapes, their unique traditions, the colors they choose to wear, the music they choose to listen to, and so on. All of these things are reflected in my designs, which are street inspired and colorful, and mirror powerful emotions and personal stories.
Kings Park, New York
Being a fashion designer is a way to achieve self-appreciation, self-expression, and a connection between oneself and others. My design aesthetic is fun and bold. I was originally exposed to the possibilities of fashion through the show That’s So Raven, which starred a character who wore funky clothes and didn’t look like anyone else, just like myself in school. I would create fashion shows using my American Girl dolls. My parents were always supportive, and I began taking sewing lessons at the age of 12. As a designer, I love to use colors and mix textures. At FIT I was drawn to knitwear by admiring other students’ work. I felt I would learn the most from this specialization, and I believe I have. Knitwear is like learning a new language with endless possibilities.
My journey as an artist and a designer can be traced back to my early childhood, when art was the easiest way for me to express myself. In recent years I’ve tried to reconnect with some of that candor, so that I can feel that I’m being true to myself in my design work. I’ve fallen in love with the medium of knitwear, and through it I am shaping a collection that embodies my personal journey and inner turmoil. In the future, I would be interested in pursuing knitwear in relation to textile development, fashion design, technological innovation, or sustainability.
My journey to become a designer started when I was seven years old. However, it wasn’t until after a BA in economics and business administration that I decided to follow my true passion and study fashion design.
Creating and seeing things in different ways gives me great fulfillment. There is a constant little fire inside that makes me run to my sketchbook or computer to get my ideas out on a daily basis. Knitwear encompasses the perfect combination of creativity and technical skills, and the possibilities of development are endless.
In terms of aesthetics, I love creating elegant and classic looks with a twist: relevant and fashion forward, but not compromising on being comfortable and wearable. Incorporating sustainable practices, such as being conscious about the content of materials and using natural dyes that don’t harm the environment, is very important to me as a professional entering the fashion industry.
With coffee in one hand, garment bag in the other, and a measuring tape adorning my neck, I push open the door with as much grace as one can muster. As I enter, the pulse of air awakens the pencil sketch designs from their pin-boards. Even the thrum of the machines sings their greetings with a rhythmic melody as they take bites of the material fed to them. Where the morning light lands, fabric particles are seen to drift and dance with the down feathers almost in a giddy, excited way. Even the bare dress forms beckon to be clothed in silks, woolens, and other wovens. The scent in the air is a mixture of thrill and anticipation—it is so thick that one can almost taste it. Today, we do more than design. Today, we create something new.
Union, New Jersey
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer. The Fashion Institute of Technology was my dream school, and when I visited for the first time, I knew it was where I wanted to go. During my time at FIT, I have gained a lot of knowledge on illustrating, draping, patternmaking, and more! I have even gained new passions, especially in knitwear. I did not know much about knitwear until I took my first knitwear class. Being able to pick out yarns and design the stitch, then design the garment and full-fashion all its pieces together is time consuming, but something I really enjoy. My design aesthetic would be creating simple silhouettes but bringing them to life with the stitches I create and the yarns I use. FIT was a great decision, and I cherish everything I have learned here.
Some people get into sustainable design once they are in the fashion industry; for me it worked in reverse. Fashion became an outlet for me early on in my life, allowing me to combine my creativity and my interest in the environment. Sustainability led me to the fashion industry, and I continue to integrate ethical queries into my designs.
I chose knitwear for my specialization because of the endless creative possibilities embedded within the technicality of knitwear design development. My design aesthetic is uncontrollably Scandinavian. I tend to design simple yet highly technical silhouettes, and I love to play with color.
I think for many designers and artists, the need to create appears early on as an innate itch we just can’t seem to scratch. This was also my case. From a young age, I knew I wanted to create, but didn’t know what, why, or through what methods. Around adolescence, I started to pinpoint it. I realized then that fashion was unique, being one of the few art forms that possessed the ability to transcend its medium in such a diverse, individualistic way. Clothing holds so much power in determining not only the way we see the world around us, but also the way we feel about ourselves in it. As a designer, I want to channel this power for an active good. If I can, at the very least, offer a new perspective to the world around me through the things I create, I will have achieved my goal.
Brooklyn, New York
I am a Brooklyn-born knitwear designer who takes inspiration from the beginnings of modern art and architecture. I strive to maintain a delicate balance between creativity and functionality, and I am deeply influenced by the Bauhaus style, where the mesh between art and industry give birth to the designer. Straight, menswear-inspired silhouettes are softened with curved lines and organic surface details. My color palette is made up of tonal whites, grays, or neutrals with harmonious accents. Texture takes an important role; the focus is for any garment to feel and look lived-in rather than simply worn. My brand seeks to give the wearer an air of mystery and transcendence.
Los Angeles, California and Taiwan
I have always enjoyed looking at and analyzing all kinds of art forms. Among them, fashion is one of the most direct means of communication. I think fashion is really about delivering and receiving information. The best part about being a designer is being able to discover new perspectives, experience different thinking processes, and send messages out to the public for open interpretation. I love to incorporate my various interests, such as art, philosophy, history, astrology, and psychology, into my designs. My design aesthetic is very colorful, a little whimsical, but elegant and sophisticated at the same time.
I am a narrative designer. I design because this is the way I express myself and show my creativity. It is important to me that people who wear my designs feel more confident by doing so. But what is more important to me than aesthetics is my passion to create garments with my own hands. I feel that if I can take a cone of yarn or block of fabric and create a jacket from something that was just material before, I have achieved something worthwhile. I chose knitwear as my concentration because unlike other specializations, I have complete freedom to determine every step of the design process. I believe that memories make the best designs, for example, memories of things you have seen and feelings you have experienced while traveling. Memories like these have always been my inspiration.
I learned how to knit from a very good friend when I was eight years old. My first scarf was full of accidental increases and decreases and looked more like an odd shape than a scarf. But it didn’t matter to me. I took joy from creating it. Simply creating things makes me happy. When I graduate and immerse myself in the fashion industry, I hope to continue creating things, whether it’s for myself or for a company that I’m working for. I hope to take the various skills I’ve learned here and better them. And I hope to work passionately in an environment of passionate individuals.