Reem Acra is a renowned international fashion designer known for her breathtaking collections in ready-to-wear and bridal. She combines tradition with a modern aesthetic and leads the way by continuously redefining the boundaries of fashion.
She launched her eponymous line, Reem Acra New York, in 1997, and after successfully establishing herself in the bridal market, expanded into ready-to-wear in 2003.
Of Lebanese heritage, Acra graduated from the American University of Beirut with a business degree. She went on to study at FIT in New York and the École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode (ESMOD) in Paris.
Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, and Kate Hudson have worn her intricate designs to red carpet events such as the Oscars, Grammys, and Golden Globes.
Some of her notable accolades include being named the Seventh Most Powerful Arab Woman in the World by Forbes magazine, alongside the likes of Amal Clooney, Nemat Shafik, and Zaha Hadid. She also received the Building Bridges Award from the Bridges of Understanding Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve relations between the Middle East and the United States. In 2012, she received an honorary award from the United Nations for her support of the work of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Acra is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Bridal Council of America, the International Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut, and the Fashion Group International. She also serves on the honorary board of the American Foundation for Saint George Hospital and the board of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council. In 2019, Reem Acra was announced as goodwill ambassador for Tamanna, an organization that grants life-changing wishes to children in the Middle East suffering from critical illnesses.
For four consecutive years, Acra hosted the hugely successful Middle Eastern reality TV show Fashion Star, where she mentored 12 aspiring up-and-coming designers.
Maggie Bacon is a New York-based fashion designer and the founder of Thistle & Spire, a collection of showstopping intimates aiming to uplift women through an ethos of self-love and inclusivity. Bacon has built Thistle & Spire to be a go-to lingerie brand with stockists at top U.S. accounts like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Revolve, and URBN Brands. Getting her start at Carole Hochman Design Group in the Betsey Johnson Intimates division, Bacon has worked in the fashion industry for over a decade.
A vibrantly talented American designer, Dennis Basso has been hailed by both celebrity and private clients for over three decades. Inspired by pure glamour, his collections – from fur and evening wear to bridal and accessories – are consistently featured in the media and at red carpet gatherings worldwide.
Basso launched his business in 1983. He brought a new perspective to designing with fur, treating it like a fluid fabric: lighter, with more sinuous silhouettes, and bolder in coloration and patterns. There was consistent press adulation, and socially influential women, no matter their generation, sought Dennis Basso furs.
As his business grew, it was a natural evolution for Basso to design ready-to-wear. With his signature verve and glamorous styling, the distinctive day and evening looks were a perfect complement to his furs. In 2002, he opened his first freestanding boutique, at the prestigious Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, followed by the 2003 opening of his original flagship on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Dennis Basso collections also expanded globally, and he now has a 2,400 square foot in-store boutique at Harrods.
Throughout his career, Dennis Basso has dressed international notable women and Hollywood celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Kelly Ripa, Rihanna, Eva Longoria, Sofia Vergara, Dakota Johnson, Hayden Panettiere, Emmy Rossum, Thandie Newton, Helen Mirren, Tyne Daly, Angela Bassett, Mary J. Blige, Brooke Shields, Naomi Campbell, Katie Couric, and Olivia Palermo, to name a few, and his designs have been featured on screen, worn by stars including Meryl Streep, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Jennifer Lopez.
Believing that all women should have access to a quality, sophisticated wardrobe, Basso embarked over 20 years ago on a collaboration with QVC, presenting faux furs, ready-to-wear, and accessories, and, subsequently, a home collection. A loyal customer following grew exponentially, making Dennis Basso a foremost QVC collection with an audience in the millions, also appearing on QVC in the United Kingdom.
Dennis Basso’s most recent brand extension, in 2011, was an exclusive collection of bridal designs for Kleinfeld Bridal salon in New York. In 2015, Gabrielle Union wore a Dennis Basso gown for her wedding to Dwayne Wade.
In 2014, Dennis Basso opened a new flagship in a four-story landmark townhouse at 825 Madison Avenue, presenting the designer’s collections of furs, ready-to-wear, and accessories.
Basso attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and FIT in New York. A respected voice in and supporter of the fashion industry, he is a long-standing member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He has received numerous humanitarian awards for his charitable contributions, including honors from the Alzheimer’s Association, Boys Town of Italy, and the Children’s Hearing Institute. Basso also received the QVC Q Star Ambassador Award, and in 2013 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from FIT in recognition of his talent, vision, and business acumen.
Jaci Carley is the head designer at Inhabit NY, a luxury knitwear brand that emphasizes modern and effortless sophistication. Her relationship with FIT began during her high school years when she started her design training with the Saturday Live program. Her first sewing project (an impractical ruffle-edged bikini top done with her mother) was the catalyst for pursuing fashion at such an early age.
Travelling to Milan for FIT’s study-abroad program set her on her current knitwear trajectory. She relished the experience in Italy, where such a strong knitwear heritage helped shape her focus. Her love of yarns and their endless possibilities is a constant source of inspiration. Always looking for new and innovative ways to complete her designs has been a driving force throughout her career.
Jaci graduated from FIT with a BFA in Fashion Design with a knitwear specialization, and went on to head up sweaters for the Catherine by Catherine Malandrino collection launch. Now at Inhabit NY, she furthers the brand as a style and fit pioneer in the sweater industry.
Working with FIT students as a critic has been an exceptionally rewarding experience for her. Their love of the design process has impressed and inspired her tremendously.
Michael Colovos studied design at FIT in New York and at Polimoda in Italy. As an emerging designer, Michael was the American winner of the prestigious Kashiyama Search for New Design Talent in Japan. After graduation, Michael interned for luxury fashion house Guy Laroche in Paris before launching his eponymous collection.
Michael was the co-founder of the premium denim label Habitual, which reached cult status and was sold at every top retailer around the world. Habitual won the runner-up prize for the Vogue/CFDA fashion fund. From there, Michael went on to co-lead the relaunch of Helmut Lang, where he built the company back into a global success and helmed the brand for nearly a decade.
Michael is now the co-founder of Colovos LLC, which was launched as a sustainable lifestyle brand with denim at its core.
Molly Gambler is a fashion designer specializing in children’s wear. She has been designing for Polo Ralph Lauren Boys since graduating from FIT in 2011. Molly holds a BFA in Fashion Design, with a minor in Art History. Her work has been featured in Emerging Fashion Designers 3 by Sally Congdon-Martin. Molly has her own small business, Salvidged Stitches, embellishing vintage, upcycled, and new garments with hand-chainstitch embroidery. Originally from eastern Long Island, she can be found on a boat or in the woodsin her free time.
Born in Jamaica, Dushane Noble came to New York as a young boy with his mother, a hairstylist. Growing up in Brooklyn on a tight budget and in search of stylish clothes, Noble eventually found a local tailor to mentor him in the art of making and altering clothes. What started as a solution to fitting in at school developed into a love and passion for creativity and aesthetics.
An FIT graduate, Noble worked for Oscar de la Renta, Peter Som, and Donna Karan before joining TSE in 2008. He was one of the brand’s lead designers until 2011. He went on to become the senior knitwear designer at Helmut Lang from 2011 to 2014. In late 2014, Noble was asked to join the design team at Narciso Rodriguez, where he was charged with establishing an identity for the brand’s knitwear. After four years working closely with Narciso to develop noteworthy knitwear and create an increased appetite for that product category, Dushane was invited by Francesco Fucci to join Theory as the director of knitwear.
B Michael is co-founder, fashion designer, and creative director of b michael AMERICA Global. He is the chief designer for the brand’s couture and ready-to-wear collections. He won acclaim for designing the costumes with Ruth Carter for Whitney Houston’s last film, “Sparkle,” and costumes for the Joffrey Ballet’s premiere of “Windy Sand,” and has received numerous commissions to design for film and television. B Michael started his career as a millinery designer for the hit TV show “Dynasty,” and later worked as a millinery designer for Louis Feraud of Paris and Oscar de la Renta. B Michael is a member of the Council of the Fashion Designers of America ( CFDA ) and serves on the board of the Youth America Grand Prix. In 2016, he was awarded the prestigious Design Visionary Award by the Lighthouse Guild. In 2019, b michael AMERICA Global made history by becoming the first African-American luxury fashion brand to dress an Oscar recipient, Ms. Cicely Tyson, for her red carpet moment, a first in the 91 year history of the Academy Awards.
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce honored b michael AMERICA Global with the 2019 Company To Watch award for its numerous groundbreaking achievements in fashion and retail.
B Michael’s collections have garnered appreciative fans, including socialites and personalities such as Cicely Tyson, Agnes Gund, Ashley Bouder, Phylicia Rashad, Amy Fine Collins, Jean Shafiroff, Valerie Simpson, Brandy, Beyoncé, Nancy Wilson, Susan Fales-Hill, Barack Obama’s poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander, and Lena Horne, among many others.
Chic tomboy has remained the core DNA throughout Daniel Vosovic’s career, which began in 2006. After winning Project Runway, participating in the notable CFDA Fashion Incubator, and launching his eponymous label, Daniel recognized the evolving landscape of fashion and the demands of today’s consumer. Today, THE KIT is the brainchild of Daniel and his concept of the modern woman, a mix of masculine and feminine in compatible separates created in an unprecedented six to nine days using cutting-edge technology. Acknowledging the stress the fashion industry has put on the planet and its inhabitants, he has placed THE KIT at the forefront of change in how modern fashion is produced and delivered to style lovers around the world.
Karolina Zmarlak develops modern, feminine silhouettes through innovative technical fabrics and structured variability, with an aesthetic driven by her Polish heritage: European minimalism.
Her European sensibility and immigrant spirit inspired her understated design aesthetic, personal style, and dedicated technical training. She studied apparel design, specializing in fine tailoring, at FIT, graduating with high honors.
Named a Gen Art Styles winner in 2005, Zmarlak honed her skills at Carolina Herrera and Theory. In 2009, with her partner Jesse Keyes, she founded her eponymous designer ready-to-wear line, launching her debut collection at Takashimaya.
Karolina creates modernist designs, with clean, bold forms that permit personalization to the body and the self. Her focus on precision tailoring, fabric fusions, and the feminine silhouette highlights each woman’s unique style and voice. Her collection is designed and produced in New York’s Garment District to the designer’s hands-on, exacting standards.
Karolina and her collections have been covered in Style.com, WWD, The New York Times, Refinery29, Interview, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Lucky, Crain’s, InStyle, and Fashionista among others.