Whenever we buy new clothes we express our sense of style. But that style started with a fashion designer's idea. The fashion industry relies on skilled creators and workers that learn their craft at schools like this one in New York City.
The world of international fashion: it's creative, exciting, and big business -- but what makes all this happen? It starts in places like this. This is the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. It is one of the special places where fashion begins.
The Fashion Institute of Technology, or FIT, as it is called, brings a substantial number of students from all over the world to learn how to design, make and sell clothes.
John Mincarelli, an instructor and chairperson of its Global Fashion Management department ,says he has students from all over the world “in every one of my classes."
He says there's an increasingly global fashion culture at FIT and, in turn, it influences the fashion world. "I see the influence of all nations in American design, European design, and Asian design."
One of Mr. Mincarelli's students, Moto Baba, says, "FIT is a famous school in Japan," and shows an ornate shirt he designed. Mr. Mincarelli says of his student, "Moto is a master at his work and I'm really thrilled with his progress over the last year and a half here at FIT."
Student Fred Bodner is the son of Ukrainian immigrants and came to the U.S. at age four. Although thoroughly Americanized, he is still influenced by his background. He talks about his inspiration, "My mother's style inspired me a lot. My grandmother was a tailor. My mother used to design all the things she would make for her in Russia, so she has amazing style and it really trickles down."
He continued, "This is the jacket I made for my American cloture class. On every project I have I learn so much and it takes me a few steps foreword in terms of my knowledge as a budding designer."
The Fashion Institute has a full curriculum, including liberal arts courses. It also teaches the business aspects of fashion. Fred recalls one such class, "I remember, I had this one manufacturing class where we learned about factories and production. That's probably one of the most useful classes I've had at FIT."
And the proximity of the school to the commercial capitol of New York City offers the students opportunities in the 'real world' of the fashion business.
Fred says, "I can't imagine the school being anywhere else. I mean where would you have it? If the school wasn't here I wouldn't be able to go to the Garment District, which is ten minutes away. FIT wouldn't be FIT without New York I think."
Student Irum Mahmood came to the U.S. from Pakistan as a teenager in 1998. She shows off one of her designs, "This is one of the jackets I made, it's called Princess Kimono, and this is a wool plaid. When I first started here I didn't even know how to thread a needle, so I learned everything at FIT and I've accomplished a lot and I've learned a lot here.”
She hopes to make it big as a designer and someday take her creations back to Pakistan.
Irum adds, “I would like to design the garments according to the culture, so it won't be as Western, it will be more Eastern and Western mix. But I would like to give them a new look."
At 20-years-old Irum hopes what she learned at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology will give beauty to the world someday.
She says, "I have big dreams."