Admit it. Every student at FIT has been subject to this very conversation: you have just been accepted into fashion school, and you’re ready to get your career going, when to your surprise, those around you simply cannot wait for you to make them a dress. Yes, your charming yet naïve aunt and uncle, teachers, peers and so forth want to be the first for you to design them an outfit. Surely, all of your business and academic studies go right out the window when the idea of creating someone something of their own comes into play.
As an institution within the fashion industry, FIT has been home to some of the greatest and most creative minds. Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Candy Pratts-Price and Brian Atwood have all walked these corridors and sat in our seats to study the same things that we all are learning right now. The idea of reaching the level of the Kleins and the Herreras of the fashion world remain as a daunting and sometimes terrifying task.
I came to New York to be in this industry and to immerse myself in fashion with some of it’s greatest talents. Like the rest of the wannabee Anna Wintours and Karl Lagerfelds, I fawned over and adored any magazine, book and article of clothing pertaining to the industry, which gave me a rush of euphoria and the idea that I am somehow one-step closer to achieving what I came here to do.
That all changed when I worked with a real-life Miranda Priestly. Although she was not an editor, she was a stylist for multiple high-end fashion magazines in the city. She worked with a few major talents along the way, including her seemingly endless rolodex of high-profile friends within the industry. What started as eagerness to do something new for the summer quickly shifted to loathing, rage and pure hunger. Over the three ten-hour days I worked with her, I had barely any time to eat more than a Nutrigrain bar.
On my third day working with this stylist, it was time for a photo-shoot. In the past I was the right-hand man to assistants and was able to get up-close and personal with the models which, at first, felt like I had a real sense of purpose. Unfortunately, this time, I sat and stared at a wall of garments for 12 hours. I even witnessed the stylist shoot the same outfit over and over and over again for four hours straight. By the end of the shoot, tempers flared between the stylist and myself, causing a bag of lingerie to be thrown. She forced me to stay until after ten at night to sift through garment bags, simply because she felt I didn’t do a good job.
An hour later, I made it home. After not eating for so long, I savored a McDonald’s Chicken Select meal as if it were a Thanksgiving feast. I emailed the stylist saying I was unable to return. After this horrible experience, I questioned every decision I made in the past year. Did I want to continue in fashion? Do I want to only call in samples for photo shoots for the rest of my life? Do I really want to spend my time in a hostile environment? Quickly, a lot of my answers simply became “no.” It was one of the first times in my life I actually enjoyed saying it.
With the help of friends and confidantes, I wanted input on where I should continue my career path. To my surprise, many of those close to me felt that I should make the jump into book publishing. After applying to nearly forty different internships, I emailed Rizzoli Publications and to my surprise, they wanted to meet with me. Two weeks later, I secured a spot as an editorial intern for the famous Italian publishing company.
Just because you go to one of the top fashion schools doesn’t mean you need to work in fashion. You should explore and understand that you truly can branch out and discover other interests you never thought would be plausible. A school like FIT can be incredibly intimidating because there are so many chic and effortless looking people who seem to be gliding through life without a care or a worry about what their career might entail. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to try new things and experience the world that is New York City. Dive headfirst into what interests you. For years, I had imagined myself as a younger Anna Wintour, wanting to dominate the fashion industry. Now, who knows what the world has in store for me — maybe the next Truman Capote? Only time will tell.
COMPOSTING, AND OTHER SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES AT FIT
by: Dan Nissm
I’ll be honest. When I set out to write this article, I had an agenda. This is my first semester at FIT, and I’m still getting used to how different it is compared to my old school, the University of Vermont. The biggest difference, by far, is the apparent lack of composting at FIT.
Now I wouldn’t say that I’m a ‘green’ person – and UVM wasn’t all about composting – but there definitely was a pervasive culture when it came to sustainable practices. My first experience in the FIT dining hall came down to two things: plastic utensils and no composting bins. Composting, like recycling, is about using waste materials, in this case, to make soil. You can compost food scraps, paper products, natural fibers (such as wool and cotton) and much more.
Upon further investigation, I was proven wrong. The utensils are not your ordinary plastic utensils. They’re composted along with plates, cups, napkins and food scraps, and all the leftover food from the dining halls is composted in Wilmington, DE. While it would feel better to be an active participant in the process, it is reassuring to know that nothing goes to waste.
FIT engages in various other sustainable practices. There are recycling bins – for both paper and plastics – all around campus. Beyond the basic recycling, FIT recycles construction metals, wood, print cartridges, electronics, refrigerants, lamps and concrete. The buildings have been retrofitted with energy efficient lighting and energy efficient washer/dryers in the residence halls. There are two green roofs currently available (on A & E buildings) with more on the way.
If you’d like to get your composting fix on outside of the dining halls, there are plenty of collection sites around the city. You can drop off your fruit and vegetable scraps at Greenmarkets or if you are too lazy to leave your apartment, you can actually set up an indoor compost bin. They come in a wide range of sizes and price points.
For me, composting and recycling is about being conscious of my waste. I get bummed if I’m walking down the street and can’t seem to find a recycling bin to throw away a bottle. I settle for throwing it in the garbage, but I don’t forget to recycle the next time around. I think everyone would benefit from being more conscientious of how much they waste. We only have one planet (until we find another one, of course) so it is important to recycle our resources.
Enough of my preaching, this is a personal choice that everyone must make for him or herself. If you’d like to get more involved with the sustainable practices at FIT, get in touch with a member of the Sustainability Council.